I don’t discourage DIY piano work. In fact, I think it’s a great thing for piano owners to learn more about their instrument and even do repairs when they feel comfortable doing it. However, there are some potential pitfalls and it pays to be aware of them in advance. One of the most common accidents when working on a grand piano: pulling the action out without keeping a close eye on the hammers, and snapping off a hammer that was sticking up too high. The previous owner of this piano had done all the work on it himself, and while most of it was decent work, there were three different hammers that had been broken off in this way. They were all repaired, but unfortunately the repairs were causing other problems since they, as well, were each somewhat experimental. So, by all means, learn more about your piano and try… Read More
When a string breaks on a piano, it often breaks at or very near the tuning pin. This means the majority of the string’s length is still perfectly viable, and in fact is ideally suited to the rest of the piano in age, timbre, and general wear. In these cases, it’s often best to splice the string (tie a knot, essentially), creating a new lead wire to attach to the tuning pin, but leaving the rest of the string’s length almost exactly as it was before. This is especially preferable on bass strings, where the length of the string and the thickness of the copper winding is completely customized, meaning a replacement string must be a custom order, and even still will not match the old strings very well in timbre and appearance. The picture is of a recent splice on a customer’s old spinet piano. The piano is not… Read More
One of the biggest and most immediate factors in how a piano “feels” to the player is the key dip. You’ve probably played a piano with very shallow key dip, and disliked it, but not been able to put your finger on the culprit (pardon the pun).The keyboard may have felt sluggish, clunky, hard, unresponsive, or just plain weird. Key dip is the distance the key travels downward when you play it. As pianists, we are used to a key dip of about 3/8″, and even the smallest fraction of an inch makes a significant difference in how the piano feels. Part of this is due to the fact that the key dip is directly related to several other action regulation items, such as how far the hammer travels, at what point it stops being driven by the action (let-off), how far the key continues to move after let-off… Read More
It’s important to recognize when you hire someone to work on your piano (or anything you own) that the fee or hourly rate you pay encapsulates the entire amount needed to run the business and offer you the service. There are significant cost overheads involved in any business; self-employment and in-home services are certainly no exception One of the biggest cost overheads in piano work is tools. In order to work efficiently and quickly, at a high level of quality, while minimizing the risk of any damage to your piano, there are a number of specialized tools that piano technicians carry. One of the most important is the tuning lever, or “tuning hammer.” This Fujan tuning lever is not cheap, but it is one of the best investments I’ve made. With a carbon fiber shaft and precision machined head, it gives the best possible grip and torque on tuning pins.… Read More
I’m happy to announce that I am now a Registered Piano Technician (RPT) with the Piano Technicians Guild! It has been my pleasure to professionally service pianos for the last eight years. This year, I chose to join the Piano Technicians Guild and complete their certification process. The PTG is the foremost organization in the USA for piano technician certification, networking, and professional development, and I am happy to now be a professional part of it. For more information about the PTG, check out their website! www.ptg.org In the meantime, I’ll be continuing to expand South Jersey Piano Service. I’ll also try to get back to regular social media updates!
Actually, I carry three with me for most appointments. And that doesn’t include many, many more tools at home. But one toolbag is typically all I need for a tuning. The extra materials are for those impossible-to-predict broken strings, regulation and voicing issues, broken parts, and miscellaneous repairs! And those extra toolboxes stay in the trunk. So you know it’s a serious job when you have to bring in the second toolbox…
Saw this in the home of a piano student. Made by an 11-year-old, completely from cardboard scraps! He said he just worked off a picture… I think I see a piano technician in the making.
Approximately twice a week, I post pictures of pianos I have worked on, usually focusing on a specific aspect of piano care, maintenance, or repair. Sometimes they’re educational, sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they’re scary, and sometimes just plain interesting. If you’re a pianist or a piano owner, follow South Jersey Piano Service on Instagram and Facebook! You’ll learn more about these incredibly complex instruments, and you’ll be better informed when you have your own piano serviced. And of course, if you live in South Jersey, you’ll know who to call! www.instagram.com/sjpianoservice www.facebook.com/sjpianoservice