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A passion for pianos

MAN OF NOTE: Piano tuner Neil Davidge of Grafton plying his skills on a baby grand at the Salvation Army Citadel in preparation for the 2013 Grafton Eisteddfod starting today. Photo: Adam Hourigan
MAN OF NOTE: Piano tuner Neil Davidge of Grafton plying his skills on a baby grand at the Salvation Army Citadel in preparation for the 2013 Grafton Eisteddfod starting today. Photo: Adam Hourigan

THERE was a time when Grafton local Neil Davidge wanted nothing to do with tuning pianos, but now he's spending about six days a week doing just that and he's loving every moment.

"My father and uncle were both piano tuners and as a child I helped my father fix and clean the mud out of flood-damaged pianos which made me decide never to become a piano tuner myself, Mr Davidge chuckled.

Despite his vow though, Mr Davidge, now 75 years young, was slowly but surely pulled into the family business and the work finally struck a chord with him.

"It wasn't until I was about 35 that I decided that because my father was getting on a bit, maybe I should learn a thing or two about it so I could look after my own piano, so it all really started then," he said.

While beginning as "a bit of a hobby", when Mr Davidge took a redundancy from his job at Country Energy a few years back after about four decades of service, he started to get work around the Valley tuning and restoring pianos. He is now busy doing it about six days a week on average.

He said he loved the work, enjoyed meeting a wide range of people in his travels and also just the pure satisfaction of bringing an old, dusty piano back to life.

Yesterday Mr Davidge was busy with the important task of tuning up the baby grand piano at Grafton's Salvation Army Hall for the Grafton Music Eisteddfod which is being held today and tomorrow.

Looking up from his meti- culous work "under the hood", Mr Davidge said the complex task was actually much easier than it used to be.

Despite all the modern technology available, Mr Davidge said a good ear was still the most important tool for the job.

Topics:  grafton, grafton eisteddfod, piano, piano tuning


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