Piano Tuning and Services

Neville Claughton Govt. Registered Piano Technician and Luthier
Late of Chas Begg and Co – Harrods London
Over 50 years experience local and international

Neville served his apprenticeship with Chas Begg and Co in Christchurch graduating as a fully qualified Piano Technician under the NZ Governments Registered Board in the late 1960’s. He then went on to study Musical Instrument Construction and Repair in all facets of Brass, Woodwind, Orchestral and Contemporary Instruments and is a highly regarded Luthier and one of a handful of trained technicians in New Zealand as possibly the longest serving craftsman in the country.

Piano tuning is a necessary part of piano maintenance with the frequency of tuning important to the life of the instrument. It is recommended a piano is tuned at least once a year to ensure stability and to keep the pitch maintained to Concert Pitch =A440. A new piano usually requires 3-4 tunings in the first year of use to allow the strings and structure to “settle” with regular follow up service/tunings by a trained technician. 


At times there are a few DIY so-called Piano Tuner/Technicians circulating throughout the country often overseas people here on a holiday or work visa sometimes even working illegally and in most cases will not be around to pick up the mess they leave behind them. Unless the person you are about to entrust your instrument with can present their credentials like you would expect from your qualified electrician or plumber, then show them the door. If they cannot present evidence of their membership of the NZPPTA or a Certificate Of Apprenticeship/Qualification from a recognised training  organisation then under no circumstances let that person near your piano. A properly trained technician will have spent at least four years of study and followed up with more industry experience and be allowed to offer their services within the required NZ framework. Some so-called technicians cannot even perform the simple task of changing a string or a broken part and often use a guitar tuner in an attempt to tune your piano. Hard to believe but it is true.


Regular checks carried out free of charge with each tuning usually reveals any problems and the need for service/repairs over and above the normal tuning work. Any such work should only be carried out by a qualified technician and best not trusted to the in-experienced person or “off the internet” DIY. Too often irreversible damage is caused to the instruments structure and as the saying goes “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Periodic regulating of both upright and grand pianos is of the utmost importance to ensure on-going quality is maintained.


  I can offer a comprehensive in-house service covering all aspects of cabinet work and polishing together with my network of highly skilled craftsman.. From basic touch-ups and minor repairs through to complete restoration to top quality uprights and grands.

I have one of the largest ranges of used European, USA and Asian Pianos in New Zealand. My focus is on quality instruments priced between $800.00 to $15000.00 dollars often less than half the price of retailers nationwide. I can offer free local delivery and generous subsidies across NZ. Certain conditions may apply.

I offer a comprehensive valuation and pre-purchase service from basic verbal assessments right through to detailed reports for purposes of sale and estate work. I am the first choice technician for leading insurers and assessors given my ability to complete the whole task when flood damage and earthquake repairs are necessary. There is of course a small fee for this service and a written report if requested. This can often apply to that $1.00 clunker just purchased to "get the kids started" and is usually deemed useless.

I have worked closely as a technician and in tutoring/technical roles to many international and local artists including performance venues across NZ. Included are Canterbury University, ChCh Town Hall, Kings College Auckland, Aotea Centre Auckland, Michael Fowler Centre Wellington, Pakuranga Performing Arts Auckland, Nelson School of Music, Marlborough Civic Theatre, Nayland College Nelson and many educational institutions too numerous to detail. I have worked with touring companies and contemporary artists including Neil Diamond, Rod Stewart, David Bowie, Peter Frampton, Blood Sweat and Tears, Sir Elton John, BB King and Little River Band. I travel extensively within The South Island and with some limited time in the north when required.