Hunter Piano Service

Tuning at the Stevens Center for the Winston-Salem Symphony

WINTER 2022 UPDATE: Sheila, who now only services harpsichords and clavichords, is referring all piano tunings to two of her skilled colleagues. Sheila and her colleagues are using health and safety protocols for the safety of clients. Email Sheila at tunehunter@aol.com to schedule an appointment. See below for our health and safety COVID-19 protocols.

Here are our health and safety protocols, at least until all are vaccinated:

1. We sanitize hands prior to going into customer’s home or church.

2. We maintain minimum 6’ distance from customer(s) of all ages.

3. We sanitize piano keys with Steinway & Sons recommended cleaner (hydrogen peroxide) prior to tuning.

4. We wear a fresh mask at each location.

5. We sanitize piano keys after tuning and/or repairs.

6. Accept payment from customers. Check is preferred, rather than cash but we will accept cash if necessary. We also accept Venmo and Zelle payments for piano tunings.

By wearing a face mask, we are in compliance with local mandates about wearing face masks in public. We know there are lots of opinions about mask-wearing, etc. but here’s the deal: We are self employed. Any day of work that is missed is usually not recovered since Sheila will have to send out a replacement technician should one become ill. Just catching a bad cold is an inconvenience to a self- employed piano or harpsichord technician because we lose work and it does affect our hearing! So, we respectfully request that our customers also observe the 6’ foot distance recommendation and wear a mask for our health, since the COVID-19 virus is easily transmitted.

In the meantime, Sheila is teaching lessons (ukulele, guitar, dulcimer) to her students online using FaceTime and Zoom. Let her know if you are interested in learning a new instrument. Her email is tunehunter@aol.com.

If you are interested in purchasing some of Sheila’s kitchen utensils made from repurposed vintage piano soundboards or her hand carved bag clips and bottle openers, click on the link “Repurposed Piano Soundboards” found under the website heading above.

See below for more details of our services and qualifications.

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Thank you for your interest in using the services of Hunter Piano Service, located in Winston-Salem, NC. Please see our note below regarding our prices and scheduling piano and harpsichord tunings.

(If you are interested in private music lessons, please scroll down this page to “Other Music Teachers.”)

PLEASE NOTE: Sheila is now scheduling Winter 2022 tunings and service. If you have an urgent tuning need, please let us know. If we are unable to meet your immediate tuning need, we will refer you to another experienced and qualified technician. Thank you for your patience!

EMAIL: Tunehunter@aol.com (Copy and paste this email address into your email server.) This is THE method for scheduling your tuning appointment with Hunter Piano Service. If you are a new customer, please include in your email the following:

#1) Your harpsichord, clavichord or piano's brand name and model (spinet, console, studio, antique upright, grand.)

#2) How long it's been since it was last tuned.

#3) Where you live and your phone number(s).

#4) If there are certain days of the week and times of day that you prefer for a tuning appointment.

(Please write "Piano tuning" in the subject line, to keep your email out of the spam folder.) Also, remember that TECHNOLOGY IS NOT PERFECT! We receive phone messages regularly that are unintelligible, because someone was calling from a cell phone and didn't realize what a bad signal they had. Additionally, emails don't always arrive at their destination. If you don't hear back from us within 5 business days, it is quite possible that your phone call or email was not received. Please try again! Office hours are Mondays through Thursdays, at varying times, depending on our tuning schedules. If you email on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, then your email will be returned the following week. If you have a "piano emergency" then, try calling my cell phone and leaving a detailed voice message.


Hunter Piano Service is owned by Sheila Hunter. For over 30 years, she was a member of the Piano Technicians Guild. Sheila was also a Registered Piano Technician with the Piano Technicians Guild, as well as a trained harpsichord and clavichord technician. She provided piano tuning services in the Winston-Salem, NC area from 1991-2020 to private customers, organizations and institutions, including the Winston-Salem Symphony, UNCSA, Salem College and Winston-Salem State University. She has also had the honor of tuning for such notable musicians as Orion Weiss, Conrad Tao, Wynton Marsalis, Al Jarreau, Dionne Warwick, Three Mo' Tenors, Diane Schuur, Roy Haynes Quartet, Terrence Wilson, Take 6, Antonio Hart Quintet, Slide Hampton Quartet, Ricky Skaggs, Barbara Lister-Sink, Mahan Esfahani (harpsichordist) and Music Carolina.

In July 2020, Sheila retired from piano service. Currently, she only services historical keyboard instruments such as forte pianos, harpsichords and clavichords.

Services and Products

Hunter Piano Service provides tuning and repairs for all types of harpsichords, clavichords and forte pianos. Additionally, Sheila also creates products made from repurposed antique piano soundboards that she has obtained from a local piano rebuilder. Please see the link at the bottom of this page, “Repurposed Piano Soundboards,” to learn about these products, if you’re looking for the perfect gift for a pianist in your life!

Fees: The basic tuning fee for the Winston-Salem, NC/Forsyth County area is $130 plus sales tax if your piano has been tuned and maintained at standard pitch on a regular basis (i.e., a minimum of once a year). If it has been more than a year since your piano has been tuned, and if you want or need your piano to be tuned at standard concert pitch (A-440), then your piano may need an additional tuning (called a "pitch correction" or "pitch raise") to return it to the proper pitch. That fee may be as much as $60 in addition to the basic tuning fee at your first appointment, as it will require additional time. Your first appointment also includes a thorough inspection of the action, soundboard and bridges of the piano. [Please note: Occasionally, a neglected piano is so far out of tune, that it may require more than one "pitch correction" or "pitch raise" to safely tune it back to standard pitch. If the piano is more than a 1/2 step flat, i.e., more than 100 cents below standard pitch, then it will most likely require more than one tuning appointment. We will inform you of what your piano needs before we start the process of tuning your piano.] We accept checks, Venmo and Zelle payments for residential customers, and we do expect payment at the time of your appointment.

Concert tunings for performance pianos are usually a slightly higher fee, depending on location and the demands of the performing artists. Please inquire.

Just a note about our prices: We are professional piano technicians, and active, participating members of the Piano Technicians Guild. We strive to stay informed of the latest methods for servicing pianos in a professional manner and to the highest standards. We stand behind the quality of our work. Our tuning prices are in the mid-range for the Triad area, so if you are looking for the cheapest price for tuning your piano, we recommend that you contact a non-Guild member. We are also legitimate, tax-paying service people, so our prices also reflect that. (See below.)

Since January 1, 2017, all legitimate service businesses that provide service to "real property" in the state of NC became reclassified as "retailers." All retailers are required to collect NC state sales tax and county taxes from customers who use their services. Some folks incorrectly assume that we receive a "cut" from the state of NC for the sales tax we collect, which is currently 7% in Forsyth County. (County taxes vary in NC.) We DO NOT receive any percentage of the sales tax that we are required to collect for the state of NC. Our prices include the cost of bookkeeping and record-keeping necessary to collect and pay what the state of NC requires us to collect. This change to the sales tax law, by the way, was passed in 2014, and became effective in 2017 for piano technicians.

If you live outside of Forsyth County

Because there are many PTG technicians in the Triad Area, we primarily service pianos in Forsyth County. We do realize that there is a shortage of professional piano technicians west and north of Winston-Salem. We are willing to travel as far west as Elkin, NC and as far north as Mount Airy, NC to service pianos; however, we will only travel this distance for a minimum of two piano tunings. Our tuning fee is higher for tuning appointments outside of Forsyth County, due to the extra travel time, sales tax differences and costs. Please email Sheila for details.

Piano Teachers in Winston-Salem, NC

Are you looking for a piano teacher for yourself or for your child in the Winston-Salem area? Please contact Sheila for recommendations for a teacher in your area.

Other Music Teachers

If you are interested in learning to play other musical instruments, please contact Sheila. She will help you find the best teacher for you or your child.

If you are interested in hammered dulcimer lessons, ukulele, bowed psaltery or guitar lessons, please contact Sheila Hunter at tunehunter@aol.com. She is currently taking beginning students in the Winston-Salem area. Sheila also does some minor hammered dulcimer repairs and restringing of any of the above-mentioned instruments, should you need to get your instrument in good condition before starting lessons. For more details regarding hammered dulcimer lessons, go to the upper left hand side of this page and click on "Hammered Dulcimer lessons in NC." Contact her for details if you are interested in learning the hammered dulcimer, ukulele, guitar or bowed psaltery. CURRENTLY, SHEILA IS TEACHING ALL LESSONS ONLINE USING FACETIME OR ZOOM, DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC, UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. This is a perfect opportunity to learn a new instrument without having to leave your home. All you need is an iPad or laptop/desktop computer, and the ability to FaceTime or Zoom the lessons. A smartphone can also be used, but the screen may be too small for some students.

Spurtles and cream cheese spreaders made by Sheila from antique Sitka spruce piano soundboards.

Go to the link below for purchasing information.

NEW in 2019! Sheila is now repurposing/recycling/upcycling antique spruce piano soundboards. Some items are for sale. See link at top of this page on the left entitled “Repurposed Piano Soundboards.”

NEW in 2021! Stay tuned for new wood carved utensils, as Sheila expands her carved designs for the kitchen.

How To Contact Hunter Piano Service

MOBILE PHONE: (336) 972-0594. As a courtesy to my customers, I do not answer my cell phone while in a customer's home, unless it is a call from one of my assistants. For safety reasons, I do not answer my phone while driving. This is why email if the preferred method of contacting me. You may use this number if you are a regular customer of Hunter Piano Service (i.e., you have your piano tuned by us once or twice a year) or you have an urgent need for piano service or you have no ability to communicate via a computer. Please leave a voice message if I am unable to take your call. I do not return calls from numbers that I do not know, unless the caller leaves a detailed message. Hunter Piano Service does not employ a secretary, but we will do our best to return your phone call within 5 business days. You may also text your piano or harpsichord tuning request.

E-MAIL: tunehunter@aol.com. (Write "Piano tuning" in the subject line.) Include in your email your piano's brand name and model, how long it's been since it was last tuned, where you live and your phone number(s), please. You may also include your best days of the week and times of day for a tuning appointment. Email is the best method for contacting Sheila to schedule an appointment. Emails sent on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, may not be read until the week following.

Recommended Reading for Piano Enthusiasts

The Piano Book, by Larry Fine (reference)

Piano: The Making of a Steinway Concert Grand, by James Barron (narrative)

The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, by Thad Carhart (memoir)

The Piano Tuner, by Daniel Mason (novel)

A Romance on Three Legs, by Katie Hefner (Glenn Gould's Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Piano)

Recommended Reading for Harpsichord and Clavichord Enthusiasts

Harpsichord in America by Larry Palmer

Three Centuries of Harpsichord Making by Frank Hubbard

The Modern Harpsichord by Wolfgang Zuckermann

A Guide to the Harpsichord by Ann Bond

Playing the Harpsichord by Howard Schott

The Harpsichord Owner’s Guide by Edward Kottick

Recommended Reading for Children

If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, DON’T! by Elise Parsley

Facebook page: Hunter Piano

Sheila's photo blog of pianos on location: tunergrrl.wordpress.com