The Higher End Piano Service Call


Bosendorfer Bluthner C Bechstein Yamaha CF Shigeru Kawai Steingraeber Sauter Grotrian Schimmel August Forster Fazioli


Euro makers map




It’s Mostly In Your Head

Piano Technology: craft in service to other people’s art
Rewiring your  brain when you learn how to tune. You have more synapses then the average person and you should have fun with it
You may not hear IT, but you’d better hear something!

1. Be A Caretaker

  •  Do no harm
  • There is no tonal standard
  • Different cultures have different  cultural histories with the piano
  • uncover the characteristic sound, don’t instill yours

2. Everything Matters

everything matters on all pianos, but at the high level the subtle distinctions of each brand are easily buried

cycle of refinement

3. Results (and efforts to get them) can be subtle



“Life’s a beach” – Udo Steingraeber

At some point, a piano stops being an industrial product and starts becoming a tool for artistic expression.

Don’t look  at it as an industrial product.

Look at it as an assembly capable of being slightly better then the sum of the quality of parts and craftsmanship.

“futzing”  AND knowing when to stop.

Damn it Jim, I’m a Doctor, not a lawyer!

Piano technicians get paid to spend long hours in quiet isolated rooms doing tedious manipulations over and over


Piano work as meditation

the factory gives it body, the technician gives it soul (depends on the factory)


body of sound – tonal variety –  volume control


The high end tech must have opinion and judgement in an inexact world

Short Term – Long Term

rough it in – incremental improvements


Always be 30 minutes from walking




Tuning: – stability, clean unisons, octaves, 5ths … everything!

1 mute (no or little strip)

Using an ETD but keep yourself honest

Using a wheelbarrow doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten how to carry sh*t in a bucket

What is a “concert” tuning? Do That

String: seating, path, stability, level

 Action: friction BALANCE RAIL HOLE travel  HEIGHT & DIP rep spring blow AFTER TOUCH

Hammer: Shape, travel, fit, density

not an academic exercise. You need to know how a piano sounds different from a good key level