Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Autumn news and piano SALE!

Autumn is well under way and our annual bonfire party this Saturday looks set to be an indoor affair this year as the forecast is wet. The Devon countryside around us is ablaze with wonderful colours this season as always, and with a huge waiting list of repairs, our minds are turning to Christmas already! 

We have several large restorations which will be completed during November, including a unique and extremely special 1890s Bechstein grand featuring ornate gilt embellishments on its rosewood case. 

It's a joy to work on this unique antique Bechstein V grand piano

 Another rosewood Bechstein is going back to Exmoor next week to its piano teacher owner having been full restored, and a beautiful restored Bluthner upright will be delivered to its new owner later this month - a recording studio in Bristol.

Bechstein grand piano soundboard during restoration
Our new technician Henry has proved himself invaluable to Bill in the workshop this year. His engineer's mind and expertise as a pianist mean that he's learning fast, and Henry is now undertaking everything from complex action work to restringing and fitting new wrest planks. He now works several days a week with Bill, as well as keeping up with his private teaching commitments, and has also enjoyed developing his refinishing skills during the year. As well as refinishing conventional wooden cases, both antique and relatively modern, Henry has become highly skilled at bespoke lacquer finishes. He's also made some amazing key rings from reclaimed piano parts which are proving popular as gifts.

Key rings made from authentic reclaimed piano parts are just £3 each.
Top to bottom: ebony notes, Bechstein hammer heads and tuning pins

We have seen a huge rise recently in the number of clients requesting bespoke coloured pianos. Using ultra hardwearing lacquer colour matched to Farrow & Ball shades, we're able to transform lacklustre mid-century pianos into statement pieces. Greys are perennially popular of course, but we've also had requests for some fabulous dramatic colours, including Inchyra Blue (see photo), which looked amazing in its new contemporary home. 

Bespoke colour upright pianos. The right hand one is in Inchyra Blue by Farrow & Ball
Tom, our tuner/technician, remains busy as ever touring many weekends of the year with The Beach Boyz Tribute Band but is also essential to our team! Tom got married earlier this year and he and his new wife Becky are expecting their first child just before Christmas. Most of the team has now seen Tom perform and we were all blown away by his stage presence as well as his voice! Luckily, Tom still finds time to undertake tunings and many repairs, and we've lost count of the glowing reports coming in from clients. 

Another exciting development for the business this year was when Edward Jacobs joined us in a sales role - albeit very part time, as he has many other commitments including teaching and as musical director for several choirs. Edward is a talented pianist and has a happy knack of sourcing the perfect piano for clients, taking into consideration their budget and preferences. Edward has already been able to grow our piano sales this year and has also helped to increase the number of pianos available for sale. We're all looking forward to working together next year and beyond. Edward currently has nearly 20 upright pianos for sale, some ready for immediate delivery, with a few one-off price deals on pianos delivered before Christmas - so if you're considering a family piano in the near future, do give him a call on 01297 552143. 

Hailun SE120 upright piano, £3,399. Brand new, soft close hinges.
Beautiful piano with a 10 year manufacturer's guarantee
Our newly augmented team gave W Young Pianos a strong presence at the Honiton Show back in August. We took our usual stand within the Blackdown Hills Business Association tent, and were delighted to see so many visitors, from long-established clients to new faces. Everyone loved the variety of pianos on show and the chance to see behind the scenes with a baby grand currently undergoing restoration.  A lot of work to move so many pianos for a one day show, but it was another successful show and we're looking forward to next year already!

The full team at Honiton Show! L to R: Tom Read,Henry Perry, Sarah Young, Edward Jacobs, Bill Young
As always, we tend to be too busy with the ever-growing business to update the blog much, but we are always delighted to hear from piano lovers anywhere! Keep in touch with us on Instagram and Facebook where you'll see the very latest news on pianos for sale, including any flash offers, and plenty more inspiring photos of the beautiful instruments we are lucky enough to work on. 


Monday, 25 March 2019

Another year, many more pianos...

Spring 2019 news

Somehow we're well into 2019 and this is the first blog of the year! We're delighted to say that we've never been busier and our team continues to grow.

The team expands
Our Man Friday, Mark, who helps with casework is still incredibly helpful, coming in once a week to speed up repairs and is enjoying developing his refinishing skills, as well as burnishing brassware, reassembling cases and fitting backcloths. We still undertake veneering and polishing work on other pieces of furniture - skills honed on large grand piano lids are always in demand for dining tables and so on!

Our tuner Tom Read is in great demand with private clients and venues alike; he's currently with us 1-2 days a week but is planning to increase his availability for us this summer, which is very exciting. He will shortly be taking on the dubious honour of booking in tunings, so we hope to have slightly more organised systems in place very soon! Tom is also a skilled technician so is able to undertake minor repairs on the road and advise on larger jobs. When he's not out tuning, he loves coming into the workshop for a day or two, helping Bill restore the numerous pianos always awaiting repair.

Pixie loves to help Tom sort out his tuning schedule...
Finally, (and continuing the part time, self-employed theme!), we were delighted to welcome Henry Perry to the team late last year. Henry has two degrees, including a Masters in piano performance, and is keen to learn the other side of the keyboard as a complement to his recital and teaching work. He's already enormously helpful on the technical side, and is restoring an upright piano for his own use in his spare time - finished in Farrow and Ball dark grey, which looks fabulous. The only downside is that we're all reluctant to play in front of clients now when Henry is with us! We're all far too rusty these days, so we're only too happy to let him demonstrate when clients aren't experienced pianists.

Henry and Tom are also going to help us develop a proper client database so that we're far less reliant on memory and scraps of paper - which, although a huge challenge for them, will hopefully be a great bonus to both us and our long-suffering customers!

Sales company
Although piano sales are a comparatively small part of our business, the administrative side can be tricky to manage so we've been advised to create a new company specifically for sales. This has just been done and we're awaiting new business cards and invoices for that side of things. The new company is called W Young Piano Sales Ltd and will run seamlessly alongside the current Tuning and Restoration business.

We were delighted to agree the sale of our gorgeous Bluthner grand the other week.
This restored Bluthner boudoir grand in rosewood came from the BBC's Maida Vale Studios, where it had been used for many years for recordings. It will go to a new home in the French Alps in the next few weeks.
A Canadian couple living in London have earmarked this ex-BBC beauty for their home in the French Alps, which is currently under construction. We will all be sad to see it go but it couldn't wish for a more glamorous new home!

I keep meaning to get some 'team' photos on the website and blog and hopefully this will happen soon. However, in the meantime the office is as busy and chaotic as ever. I'm hoping that Tom taking over tuning bookings will free me up for more of my own work as well as making it easier to stay on top of repair estimates and scheduling.

It's wonderful to see the sun this week and Spring finally feels as though it's here. Working from home in the glorious Devon countryside is always a huge blessing, but never more so than at this time of year!

Does your piano need help?
We'll be back soon with more news, but in the meantime if your piano needs any TLC, from a sticky note and fine tune to a full rebuild, do get in touch. Our additional pairs of hands mean that we've brought the waiting list for large repairs down from over a year to about 8 months now, and we're hoping to refine that even more. In the meantime, we can usually squeeze smaller jobs in within a month or so.

Many thanks to all our valued clients for continuing to trust us with your heirlooms - whether it's a priceless ancestral instrument or an auction bargain brought here on a cattle truck (that happens more often than you might think!), we're always delighted to help.