Saturday, 27 February 2010

Haynes Piano Manual

W've had many good reviews and much positive feedback about the manual, but some professionals seem to question its technical accuracy. We are confident that what we've published stands up, but I'm happy to consider criticism and put something right if it's wrong.

However, I can't do anything in the absence of information. So if you're a pianist, piano tuner, piano technician or whatever, this discussion forum is your opportunity to provide specific details of where you think we've got it wrong, or where you'd do things differently, or where more clarity or extra information would help. If we incorporate your suggestions in later editions, we'll make sure you get acknowledged for it.

Some professionals may be uneasy about the amount of technical information the manual has now put in the public domain. I suggest we get grown-up about this. How many garages have car workshop manuals put out of business? The likelihood is that the Haynes Piano Manual will make piano owners more aware of the need to maintain and repair their pianos, and thus more likely to use professional services. Let's face it - providing information is not the same as providing skills. Here is the Sunday Times view of Amazon reviews: Culture, 12th December 2010.


  1. Really great book - particulaly for anyone interested in pianos and their ingenious inner workings but intimidated by more formal guides. For me the best thing about this book is its accessible, unpretentious style - the authors' enthusiasm for and love of pianos is obvious and make this an engaging, motivating read for anyone who wants understand and care for their piano better. As well as explaining in plain English what piano tuners/technicians actually do, this book also helps you appreciate their skill and craft.

  2. I was very glad to come across the manual. I haven't finished reading it yet but I'm finding it very interesting. I work as a professional performer and, although I probably wouldn't attempt to tune my own piano, acquiring more knowledge about the technical aspects of the instrument can only be a good thing. The book is interesting, informative and nicely illustrated. Well worth buying!

  3. This is a well-conceived and valuable addition to piano technology literature.

    The fact that it's published by a mainstream mass-market publisher means that economy of scale allows for full colour throughout. That is a most welcome feature and it makes everything much clearer visually as well as making the book more appealing.

    Piano technology books have generally been published for a small "niche market", and the black and white reproduction this necessitates, has made identifying parts in shades of grey more difficult (as for example in Reblitz, the "bible" of piano technology).

    The need for the content of this book to address the mass-market of piano owners doesn't mean that there's nothing useful for student piano technicians. I could see this being a standard text along with Reblitz.

    Of course, not every piano owner will try every task in the book. That's just as when I bought Haynes manuals for whichever car I owned: there was no way I was ever going to take out the engine and strip down the gearbox, even though it showed it in the book! But I still got value out of the manulas, for various other tasks.

    Technicians know that there are various ways of doing things, and I don't necessarily agree with every method described. But that's OK!

    There is perehaps a sense that there was a rush to meet a publishing deadline, hence the errors in labeling (see above). Sometimes parts are described as felt, when they are actually cloth; flange bushings, for example.

    I do feel that this is a very welcome and visually attractive and accessible addition to the piano technical literature. The dry humour in the text is enjoyable (the adjectival value of Essex!).

  4. Thank you for your kind comments, David. Nice of you to excuse me over errors "rush to meet deadline." No, straight incompetence.


  5. Last weekend I tuned a piano at Birmingham's ICC for Britain's Got Talent. A Petrof grand from Shackleford Pianos. Three new customers in one go! I'm usually a bit sniffy about BGT and most shiny floor tv. But I have to say they really do go to massive lengths to give each contestent every possible advantage. I shall start watching with new insight. A horrifyingly good young Chinese lad sat at it for a quick rehearsal after I had finished. I make 'em sound beautiful, but not by playing them!

  6. I've updated the Haynes Piano Manual page of my website, to include an Amazon link to the book.