Donald Roberts Piano Service, Logo
   PA (610) 449-1575
DE (302) 798-4030
toll free (877) 926-5097
Claymont, DE 19703 and Drexel Hill, PA 19026
"Specializing in Piano Tuning & Repair Services since 1977"
Piano At Night

About Donald Roberts

My initial desire to become a piano technician in the year 1975 came from my musical background. I thought then that learning piano tuning would enhance my ability to write music. Unfortunately, it didn't do that, but it did open up an understanding and a curiosity to learn more about how pianos work.

I first apprenticed with the late Walt Sierota in 1976. He was then the president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Piano Technicians Guild. He was also the exclusive piano technician for "Electric Factory Concerts" in the Philadelphia area. Most of his work was performed at the Tower Theater, the Spectrum Theater, etc., for many professional artists, including Frank Sinatra, Chick Corea, and Bruce Springsteen.


Equal Temperament

We have progressed from the "Well Temperament" of Bach's day to what we use in piano tuning today, which is called equal temperament. Equal temperament is a means of tuning that not only alters the fourth and fifth intervals of the scale, but the major thirds, minor thirds, major sixths, and minor sixths as well. After about 2 years of practice, I learned how to tune pianos using an equal temperament aurally.

Temperament Tuning

Mr. Sierota taught me tuning and I found out that pianos are not tuned perfectly on purpose. Pianos are tuned by tempering intervals. The idea of temperament tuning was first developed by Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach used this in his "Well Tempered Clavier."
      
The purpose of tempering was to enable the harpsichordist, and later the pianist, to play in all 12 keys without having to retune if a particular selection was in a different key. Bach developed a system where the fourth interval of the scale was slightly sharpened, or raised slightly, and the fifth interval of the scale was slightly flattened, or lowered.

Don Roberts - Fine Tuning

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The Sanderson Accu-Tuner®

Today I use a tuning aid device called the Sanderson Accu-Tuner® for tuning, which was invented by Dr. Albert Sanderson. Dr. Sanderson is world-renowned for his mathematical formulas, understanding of acoustic string attack and decay, and especially his understanding of equal temperament and inharmonicity. His credentials include a PhD in acoustics. Dr. Sanderson also held a position as lecturer in applied physics at Harvard University.

My Career
After studying with Mr. Sierota and working part-time as a piano tuner for a number of years, I decided to become a full-time piano technician in 1983. At that point, I acquired a job working full-time in an area piano store, where I worked until 1989. I received a wealth of information in that period and tuned, restored, sold, and moved all kinds of pianos.

In 1989, I decided I was ready to work 3 days a week in the piano shop and spend another 3 days each week doing my own tuning and servicing. By early 1990, I began working solely on my own and left behind my job at the piano store. Since then, my business has grown steadily from mainly word-of-mouth advertising.

When you hire me, you deal directly with me, not a pressured, underpaid technician who feels rushed to get in and out of your house. I spend the time that I need to do the job right and genuinely care and enjoy making your piano sound better.


Contact Donald in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, or in Claymont, DE about the importance of proper piano tuning and to schedule an appointment.


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