Chicago-area Piano Tuner Pat Roak on Quality, Process, and What to Expect

Uploaded by abtpiano on 30.12.2012

I have tuned over 30,000 pianos on the concert stage
and in the home.
I've tuned for practically ever major recording artist that has come to Chicago.
Grateful Dead, Elton John, Billie Joel, The Eagles, Guns 'N' Roses, Eric Clapton, Radiohead
Norah Jones, Vanessa Carlton, John Legend, and it's
exciting to tune for those people.
They know what they want, and you have to do a really good job for them... What really helps me, technically, in the field
is that I have built the insides
of literally dozens of pianos. And it's a little different
when you've got a piano that's completely stripped down to nothing
and you've got to put all the parts in there
and make it sound like a new piano again. So it's been very helpful for me,
as far as being able to
diagnose and find problems that other tuners could not find.
Now, there are certain pressures in concert tuning that you run into...
A lot of times I'm called at the very last minute.
A lot of times I'm tuning during the sound check.
And from tuning for so many years and so many pianos, I'm able to do that.
The stage managers from all the major production companies in Chicago
like me because of that - because
no matter what they throw at me, I just go up there and do it and walk out, and they're very happy.
(New speaker) My wife and I started Piano Trends
about 25 years ago.
I am a piano technician by trade.
I'd say over the last 25 years the store has been open,
there have been
four or five technicians
exclusively that we've worked with, an Pat is one of those five.
Pat is one of the best technicians
in Chicago.
The thing about Pat is
he's not just a piano tuner, per se. Pat can fix anything.
So when he is out on the job,
no matter what happens with that piano,
Pat is going to be able to take care of it right there, on the spot.
You want to tune a piano at least twice a year.
It's going to sound good year-round when you do that.
I have customers ask me a lot:
why I think my tuning is special or different than other people's tuning.
There is nothing inside the piano that I have not
repaired, replaced, or rebuilt thousands of times.
All that I know, is that when I'm done with the piano,
people's eyes light up.
When a piano is really super flat,
no tuner in the world can tune the piano where it's at. It just does not work.
The best way to describe that, the simplest way,
is that... let's say you've got a guitar
and it's been the case for eight or nine months...
When you pull it out, it's going to lose tension. It's going to be really flat. Tune the first string, the second string...
third, fourth, fifth, and sixth string...
You go right back and check the first string you tuned...
It was pulled out of tune by what you did on the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth string.
So you just have to go back and forth with your little guitar tuner...
All of a sudden, after two or three times, all six strings are the same.
Piano is exactly the same deal, except you have 250 strings and 18 to
20 tons of tension... Piano tuners, we talk
in cents. If I
say a piano is fifty cents flat, that's a
half step.
Raise the pitch
enough, then you go back and you do what's called final tuning.
When I'm done,
I've got every note within hundreths of a cent
of being in tune.
What should you expect after you've had your piano tuned?...
You should be able to play any melody
and just have it
really sound beautiful and luscious.
When I start tuning a piano, I do not stop until it's exactly where it's supposed to be.
So if you want the same tuning that you hear on
An Alicia Keys recording, or Norah Jones...
Just give me a call. I can do that on your piano right in your home.