For additional information or to schedule an appointment, contact Bernard by telephone at 314-772-0092 or by e-mail at bernardwhaggerty
"Piano tuners are like piano players: the efforts of each one yields a different sound. In my opinion, Bernard achieves an excellent sound. I have very much enjoyed playing a piano that he has tuned."
—Herb Drury, jazz artist
"After you finished tuning my piano and had left, I decided to take your advice. I overcame my reserve, sat down and just played. The difference in tone was remarkable, even given my amateur standing as a player. I have my sweet-sounding, melodic piano back. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed playing and am actually excited all over again about my piano. Thanks."
—from the e-mail of a satisfied customer
"Each piano has its own personality,
its own strengths and weaknesses," explains Bernard Haggerty Jr. "My job as a tuner is to understand an instrument in order to calibrate around any weaknesses and to accentuate strengths so the piano can best fulfill its function as a musical device."
Bernard Haggerty concentrates on tuning a baby grand prior to a recital at The Sheldon Concert Hall.
To achieve this objective, Bernard has two assets: his years of experience and his hearing.
Mentor Bernard Sr. taught his son to tune a piano the old fashioned way - by using his ears. Like all piano tuners, his son has available electronic instruments which define sounds and help calibrate a keyboard.
But these instruments are not the last word. Years of experience contribute to his highly developed sense of hearing, and this allows tuning to go beyond mechanical adjustments and to become a more personal process.
"I use an electronic tuner to set the pitch level of one note on the scale," Bernard remarks, "and then I tune the other notes by ear."
He adds that "my dad trained me on the job. He critiqued my work until I had it down. It took a couple of years
before I felt that my hearing and analytic skills were good enough to tune properly," he admits.
Tower Grove South resident Bernard Haggerty Sr., left, enjoys trade talk with Bernard Haggerty Jr., a Soulard resident and a practicing piano tuner. Bernard Sr., well known in music and Steinway circles in New York and New Jersey prior to retirement, can talk for hours about his career and the personalities with whom he worked.
"I was lucky to have such a good teacher," Bernard observes. "And then I did what every tuner has to do: I went out and tuned. The more you tune, the better you get," he comments.
And how did Bernard arrive in Missouri after being born, raised and trained in New Jersey? "A friend visited the state. When he returned, he told me how much he liked Missouri, and he suggested I visit, too," he notes.
Bernard took that advice and moved to Columbia in 1971. "It was just a natural fit," he remarks. Bernard earned a degree in business from the University of Missouri, Columbia, and he eventually moved to St. Louis, where he settled into the Soulard neighborhood - "the first place we came to in St. Louis" - in 1987 and purchased a home there in 1991.
"I just really enjoy the lifestyle and the people, and there is great respect for the piano, too," he concludes.
Writing, photography, technical assistance by Clark Rowley of People Productions.