Bill Calhoun - Piano Tuning, Repair, & Maintenance - Rhode Island, Massachusetts, & Connecticut

About Bill

Do you tune by ear or with a machine? ►

I tune by ear.  I have an electronic tuning fork that helps me set the first note, then I tune the rest by ear.  Machine tunings are pretty accurate, but a tuning has to be adjusted to fit each piano, and this is more quickly done by ear.

Do you tune to concert pitch (A440)? ►

If the piano is close to A440, or if you request it, yes, but normally I leave the piano's pitch where I find it.  This leaves the tuning more stable, and unless you are a professional musician, or playing with other musicians, or playing with recordings, the piano will sound fine.

What kind of pianos will you work on? ►

Any kind, including square grands.  I'm especially fond of older pianos.  The tuning time is the same regardless of size or style.

What kind of repairs and adjustments can you do? ►

I specialize in tuning, repairs and adjustments in the home, regulation, and voicing.  I can even make some minor finish and case repairs.  I am equipped to recondition actions and do some replacement work.  I can supervise and manage a rebuilding project, but the large-scale work will be sub-contracted to a qualified shop.

Do you buy and sell pianos? ►

I can give you advice on selling a piano, but I do not buy them.  If you are looking to buy, I can give you advice, inspect pianos you may be interested in (for a fee), and provide referrals to salespeople at different dealerships.

Where did you learn to tune pianos? ►

At the New England Conservatory of Music, in Boston.  I received a Certificate in Piano Technology there in 1986 after training under Frank Hanson.

Do you have perfect pitch? ►

No, I don't.  Perfect pitch is not necessary because I do not tune by listening to pitch.  I listen instead to the interference patterns in sound known as beats.

Do you mind if we watch you work? ►

I don't mind at all.  Invite your kids to come and look, and I'll show them how the action works.  Feel free to ask questions as well.  If you try to listen to the whole tuning, don't be surprised if you fall asleep.

Do you ever take on an apprentice? ►

I do hire assistants and sub-contractors at times, but they are already trained.  I don't have enough work to be able to hire and train an employee.  I would be happy to give you piano-tuning lessons; the arrangement would be similar to receiving music lessons.

Who is your most famous customer? ►

The JVC Newport Jazz Festival, with whom I've worked for years.  I work at the Newport Folk Festival also, if they are using a piano.

Do you play the piano? ►

Yes, I do, mostly blues and barrelhouse, and I do play professionally.  By the way, you do not need to know how to play in order to tune a piano.

Can I hire you to play the piano? ►

Only if you agree to also hire my wife.  We play professionally as the Stay Tuned Duo.  We also have a marching band, if you really want to have some fun.

You are also a high-school teacher. What do you teach? ►

I teach physics to high-school juniors and seniors.

How long have you had a beard? ►


William H Calhoun · Piano Technician