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History of the Slouch

Chair3 409x1024 Our latest Infographic.  Layout: Sarah Redohl Storylab.com
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Is the Customer always right?

As a piano tuner, I occasionally have to pronounce a customer's piano dead, ready for the landfill.  This happened last month, when I was asked to come tune an otherwise fine looking spinet piano.  Spinet's are the bane of the piano technician.  At under four feet tall, the length of their strings are too short, and soundboards too small to create the sound you expect from a piano.  With the keys too short and the action shrunk and crammed in too small a space, normal repairs are equivalent to removing a car's engine to change the spark plugs.  Thank goodness they haven't been produced for decades.  As the last surviving ones reach the end of their lives, they can pass through a number of hands causing all sorts of disappointment and expense.  The customer always feels duped, because these pianos look all right, their keys may all be in place, the case may have been cared for and is a good piece of furniture.  Folks sooner or later find out how little theirs is worth compared to the cost of moving or rebuilding it.  Then they place it back on Craig's List for free for someone else to take off their hands.  The next unsuspecting owner thinks they've got a deal, until the piano tuner comes and informs them of the cost to make it functional.  The cycle repeats. The poor spinet can't please anyone.  Its quality as a musical instrument is so poor that it doesn't flatter anyone who tries to play it, it doesn't satisfy the piano tuner since it rarely sounds appreciably better once tuned.  Because of the way it's designed,  normally affordable repairs are triple what they would be on any other piano.   Why,  you wonder, would such a pile of compromises ever be produced? We the customers brought this on ourselves in collusion with piano makers.  This sad state of affairs began in the 1950's when the piano industry was too accommodating to what customers said they wanted.  Piano owners had complained for decades about the size and weight of pianos.  We customers complained about...
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