Tuning and Servicing, Piano Technicians and Piano Tuners, What’s the diff?
A piano tuner tunes the piano, loosens or tightens the strings as necessary, they rarely have any formal training, many are self-taught. 
A piano technician is schooled in the construction and correct tuning procedures, repairs and regulation of the piano so that it not only sounds better but plays at it’s optimum level. A piano technician needs and has more training than someone who only tunes pianos. Most technicians have spent many hours practicing as well as discussing tuning on “practice” pianos, honing their skills so that when it's time to tune a customer’s piano, they are ready. You won’t find them “practicing” on yours.
Your piano may not need all of the skills of a piano technician every time it’s tuned but it’s a comforting feeling to know the person who works on your piano has those skills when they are needed and can recognize and repair problems before they become critical. In the 3 pictures you see here the 2 at left are working on grand piano actions in a shop setting, the gentleman below is re-stringing an old upright that has been refinished inside & out!                                                         

Tuning is the service you will require most often on your piano. Most manufacturers and technicians recommend that you have your piano tuned at least twice a year (every six months) to maintain accurate pitch and sound as well as tuning stability.
Standard pitch is a tuning based on “middle A” tuned to 440 cycles/second. This international standard is particularly important for “ear training” in order to develop your own sense of proper pitch. This is essential for children learning to play the piano.
If your piano hasn’t been tuned for a long time, it may require a pitch adjustment. A pitch adjustment is an initial “rough” tuning to bring the instrument to pitch before a fine-tuning can be performed.


When I’m called to tune a piano I don’t just tune it, I give it a “once over” checking to see if it works properly and if it needs any repairs or adjustments. I also take care of any minor repairs necessary to allow me to tune it, minor repairs are frequently included in the tuning charge. If I find necessary repairs or adjustments that I do not have time to perform during the tuning appointment I will give you a verbal estimate and offer to schedule a time to perform them.
I will NEVER pressure you to do any work you do not wish to, my core belief is that it is your piano, I merely suggest necessary repairs or adjustments based on my expertise.
The “sticking key” is the most common repair. There are literally dozens of causes for this problem and, more often than not, this problem can be rectified during a tuning appointment.                    
With older pianos, as parts fatigue and become brittle, there can be outright failures like a broken hammer shank. A more gradual failure and common repair is worn hammer heads. If the hammer heads are not too badly worn, they can be filed down to provide a new even strike surface thus providing improved tone. In the picture at below the hammer in the left picture is badly worn & flat, note how much better it looks & will sound after being re-shaped in the picture on the right! Of course this is just the tip of the iceburg so to speak with 9 to 10,000 parts in a vertical piano and 14,000 in a grand the probability that the piano will need some sort of servicing increases as the piano is used and as it ages. There are many other problems that occur with an aging piano including broken strings, malfunctioning pedals, dampers in need of regulation or various cosmetic repairs such as chips on old ivory key tops.
Keytop Restoration or Replacement
Replacing old ivory key tops with new plastic keys is an attractive, cost-effective repair to your family’s favorite piano. Ivory keytops can become yellow, chipped, thin to the point of being sharp enough to cut one’s fingers and given the right circumstances can have an irritating propensity to keep”popping” off. Gluing them back on, properly, is time consuming(expensive)and not always in the best interest of the customer.
The ”newer” plastic keytops also chip rather easily, newer refers to the plastic that replaced the ivory about 70 years ago and was changed in various ways through the early 1960’s. This plastic also frequently yellows, discolors as well as chipping and cracking.
The new acrylic keytop materials we began seeing in the 70’s and continue to see today are much thicker and resist chipping much better than their predecessors. They also do not discolor or stain as easily.                     
The other part of key restoration is the “bushings‘ these are small pieces of felt/cloth that are glued into the openings of the keys where they make contact with the metal posts that guide the keys and keep them in place. Over time, with use, these bushings become worn causing the keys to be loose and rattle side to side, eventually causing keys to stick but in the earlier stages the keys become noisy and “rattle”. The keys will also begin to “lean” to one side or the other usually the keys above middle C will lean to the right and those about 5 to 7 notes below will lean to the left.
When it comes to needed repairs, I strive to educate you, the piano owner, throughout the entire process. As a highly-qualified and skilled technician, I will complete the repair by using the best materials available and ensure the best possible performance for your piano.
Contact us in West Salem, Wisconsin, at (608) 786-4404 for piano services that keep your piano playing like new.