What are your qualifications?

 I am a Certified Master Piano Technician through the Master Piano Technicians of America, a member of the Piano Technicians Guild, and a former member of the  Norges Pianostemmer og  Teknikerforening (Norway's equivalent). Certified installer of Dampp-Chaser humidity control systems. Certified installer of Pianodisc and QRS Pnomation player piano systems.  

What is a pitch adjustment?

A pitch adjustment (or pitch correction/pitch raise) is a rough tuning performed prior to a fine tuning.  This is necessary to  bring the tension on the strings and plate into equilibrium and stability.  When a piano is not tuned regularly, this desired balance is thrown off, and the results of a tuning without this preparation are unsatisfactory.  

What is regulation?

Through the years, the various felts and leathers in the moving parts of the piano action become compressed, creating lost motion.  Furthermore, each note of the piano will be played a different number of times and to varying degrees, causing considerable variation in the feel from one note to the next. Regulation is the process of  correcting for these inconsistencies by adjusting the numerous screws and springs in the action, thereby setting these tolerances and measurements back to factory specifications. Regulation also includes making sure the hammers are hitting the strings exactly right, adjustment of the pedals, and a thorough check of all parts of the piano. 

What is hammer reshaping ?

Years of playing causes piano hammers to  gradually lose their ideal pear shape and flatten out where they strike the strings.  This also causes the hammers to form grooves  on them from the strings, which can dramatically affect the tone quality of the instrument. Reshaping is the act of carefully filing the hammers down to their correct original shape. Reshaping is always followed by voicing. 

What is voicing?

Playing on a piano causes compression of the felts, not only in the action, but the hammers as well.  As the hammers become more dense and hard, the tone of the piano will become brighter and louder.   In advanced cases, the piano will sound harsh and unpleasant, losing all of the warmth that the hammers used to be able to  create. Voicing is the process of inserting needles into the hammers to soften the felt and break up overly dense layers. By knowing exactly where on the hammer to insert the needles, and how deep to go, a good technician can change the tonal qualities of a piano considerably. 

How old is my upright piano?

First, find your piano's serial number, then send me a message, and I'll let you know if there is a record giving us the answer. Usually there is! Here is some helpful info on where to find the serial number:

How old is my grand piano?

Where to find your serial number. 

How often should my piano be tuned?

This is our most frequently asked question. Almost all piano manufacturers suggest tuning a new piano four times in the first year and then twice a year thereafter.  At a minimum, a piano should be tuned at least once a year.  Read my blog entry for a more detailed discussion of this topic. 

Do you tune by ear or by using electronics?

I tuned strictly by ear (starting with just a tuning fork) for 20 years. I continuously rejected the idea that electronics could make an improvement over centuries-old methods. Then a highly respected colleague insisted that I watch him use an ETD (electronic tuning device). I was amazed - the added visuals and precision can tell us things that we simply could not detect by ear alone. I adopted an ETD into my routine, and indeed, it made my tunings even more perfect. I do not rely on the ETD alone, I still listen as carefully as ever. I do not use an ETD to tell me what to do, rather I use it as an additional valuable tool to help me decide what is optimal for bringing out the very best in your piano. 

What forms of payment do you accept?

Cash, check, debit/credit card, paypal. For chuches and schools, I will invoice if needed. 

What is my piano worth?

I will cover this in detail a blog post soon, but in brief:

  • Spinets have little or no monetary value. 
  • Tall old upright pianos, in spite of their beauty, historical value, and sound quality, are a dime a dozen - unless they have been very well cared for, restored, or were made by a great maker such as Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, or Chickering, in  which case they may have some value, but will almost never bring more than a couple thousand dollars. 
  • Console and Studio pianos, if well cared for and of good quality, may be worth $400 - $1500 in the St Louis area. 
  • Grand pianos vary considerably and could be worth anywhere from $500 - $50,000 or more. 
  • I am available for appraisals and insurance estimates of a piano's monetary value. 

A piano's true value though, lies in what it's worth to you and your family. Kept in good playable condition, it's priceless!