Pianos are fascinating instruments. Unlike the trumpet, which I played, or most other instruments, they require special tools and knowledge to be tuned. When my wife, who is a pianist, acquired her second piano, I went back to school, became a piano technician and created Tuning 88 Keys Piano Service. As a piano technician, I help you and your family make beautiful music with your piano.
See My Piano Services Below
What information do I need when you call me to service your piano?
As your technician I need to know if it is a grand or upright, the brand name, when it was last tuned, if it was just moved, and special service requirements or repairs you are aware of. Spinets, consoles, uprights and grands as well as piano brands are all different, and I make it my job to know your piano and care for its unique characteristics.
Learn More About Pianos Below
Before tuning, I inspect a piano to see if it is tune-able. If repairs are needed I give an estimate. After I inspect your piano case and hardware, action and camper, motion, key dip, hammers, spacing and alignment, strings and tuning pins, voicing, pedal regulation, pitch and tune, I can tune, service, repair, rebuild, or refurbish your piano as needed.
See Technician's Piano Care Below
A piano consists of 88 keys. Each note consists of 1 to 3 wires. To make beautiful music each wire must vibrate at the same wave length. Over time these wires stretch at different rates causing them to be out of tune with each other. Sometimes the change is so small you don't realize your piano is out of tune. A tuner identifies the out of tune wires and adjusts them.
Not only do the wires change over time but parts of the piano develop problems. As a piano technician, I can identify and repair all parts of the piano.
Before tuning I inspect a piano to see if it is tune-able. If repairs are needed I give an estimate. Your investment will be based upon the following:
~Tuning in Grand Rapids
~Repair Cost: Estimate less inspection fee.
~Minimal travel charge outside of Grand Rapids.
The following items are inspected:
~Case & hardware
~Action & damper
~System, motion, key dip
~Spacing & alignment
~Strings & tuning pins
~Pitch & Tune
I can repair piano ivories with real ivory or with plastic key tops. All key top repairs are done in my workshop. I also offer ivory whitening services. Replacing all your keys with plastic key tops is done in my shop. I recommend you have sharps redone as well. It makes the keyboard look like new. Call 616-881-2995 for more information.
Refurbishing a piano means bringing it back as close to its original condition as possible. This includes restoration of the case (strip, replace missing veneer, sand and refinish); replace missing wires or completely restring; restoration of the action (hammers, dampers, bridal straps, wippins, jacks, felts, stickers, etc. and complete regulation); new key tops or replace missing ivories; and restore and polish brass. Call 616-881-2995 for a free analysis and cost estimate for your piano.
Being aware of the differences will help you choose the right piano for your needs and future abilities before you buy a piano. A major factor in your decision will the amount of space in your home for a piano.
All upright pianos, whether spinet, console or studio, basically use the same amount of floor space, approximately 55" wide by 24" deep. Plan space for a bench and movement around it when being used.
A grand piano is about the same width but requires from 4 to 7 feet for length, plus bench space.
I offer inspection service on pianos being considered for purchase. Whether you choose a free piano or one for $5000, let me check to see if it needs expensive repairs before you take the piano home. If you purchase it, the inspection fee is deducted from the first tuning.
The spinet piano is the smallest looking piano. Although the floor space needed is the same as a console or studio, its height makes it look smaller. At an average height of 37 inches, it is a good choice for smaller living spaces. Scorned by some because of its shorter string length and smaller soundboard (height is four inches shorter than console), in reality it was the piano of choice for beginning students for many years. Be aware of models from the 1940-1960 built with plastic elbows in the action. These became brittle and broke, making keys inoperable. It requires all elbows replaced at the same time.
A slightly larger version of vertical piano, the console piano is no longer in length, but four to seven inches taller. At 40 to 43 inches this is the mid-sized vertical piano. The additional height is due to longer strings and soundboard which resonate a larger sound than the spinet.
The studio piano is a vertical piano standing 45 inches to 48 inches tall. The taller models often referred to as "full size uprights" are 48" to 52" tall. In early 20th century pianos they were often called upright grands. The string length and soundboard size of these pianos approach the size of the baby grand so their sound is very similar. More serious students of music typically choose the studio or full size upright piano when space is limited. When you want the sound of a grand but you don’t have the space, these pianos are a wonderful choice.
The baby grand piano has strings and soundboard specifications similar to the studio or full-size vertical pianos, but that is where the similarity ends. Like the grand piano, the horizontal orientation of the strings places the action in a position beneath the strings. The benefit of this design is a faster action resulting in more accuracy when playing advanced scores of music. The baby grand piano is usually between 4'6" and 5'7" in length. The baby grand piano is the piano of choice for serious students of music and concert musicians in every situation where the grand would be too large. The baby grand is a wonderful piano that inspires and beckons all to play.
The full-size grand piano ranges in size from approximately 5'8" to about 9'. Parlor or living room grands are in the 5’8” to 6’5” sizes. The larger models are usually referred to as "concert grands" and are primarily used for specifically that purpose - concert halls and large spaces. The grand piano provides the ultimate in piano experience and performance.
· The difference between a grand and baby grand is sound. To the distinguishing ear, the sound is much larger, more robust, more resonant than any other style of piano - the bass notes are very large and seem to come from everywhere, the high notes seem to sing. The strings of the grand piano are unmistakably longer than on other models of pianos and this gives them their "grand" sound.
· Like the baby grand piano, the horizontal orientation of the strings places the action in a position below the strings instead of horizontal to them. The result is that the action design on the grand pianos is faster than the action on the vertical pianos. The faster action results in more accuracy when playing the piano.
· The soundboard is larger and is horizontal. The larger the soundboard the bigger and more resonant the sound. With the lid of the piano open, the grand piano is capable of projecting this sound from the top and bottom of the piano. This feature makes the grand piano more suitable in large rooms and spaces.
· In concert situations, grand pianos are most suitable for the application of microphones when the sound of the piano needs to be amplified electronically.
· The grand piano action is the only style with repeater levers, allowing repeating of a single note without bringing the key completely up.
The grand piano is in a class of its own. For the sound quality, the grand is the premier choice. Any piano tuner will tell you, when purchasing a piano, choose the largest piano you can fit in your space and that your budget will afford. The grand piano commands attention, it sings like no other piano, it calls to the music lover in all of us.
The GRADE 1 PACKAGE is the most affordable. With the GRADE 1 PACKAGE I refurbish rather than restore. In other words, the GRADE 1 PACKAGE restores your piano to historically correct specifications while utilizing as much of the original mechanisms as possible. Materials that deteriorate such as felts, leather, strings, etc., are replaced, while the action parts are restored rather than replaced. The GRADE 1 PACKAGE includes a good quality cabinet repair and high quality refinishing job. Stings and pins will be kept original if possible (because a 100 year old piano may need new strings). Regardless of style, pin blocks will be inspected and pins tested with a torque wrench to assure tightness. Special glue may be used to tighten pins. Overly loose pins will be drilled, pegged, re-drilled and pins reinstalled. Hammers will be shaped and voiced. Only necessary felts, leathers, straps and bushings will be replaced. Only necessary refurbishing, repair and regulation necessary to make the piano play like new will be done. The keyboard is either restored or replaced with new keys as necessary. Soundboard bridge repairs are made as needed. Piano is then tuned in my shop and again in your home. Pickup and delivery of piano are included in price.
The GRADE 2 PACKAGE is my most popular restoration package. About 60% of the pianos I restore are GRADE 2. This package includes everything necessary to make your piano look like new, inside and out, as well as play like it did the day it was built. With the GRADE 2, the cabinet gets a high quality, grain filled lacquer finish with great pains to repair all broken/missing carving, molding, etc. The keyboard is restored. If ivory is present, every effort will be made to restore and save the ivory. If ivory is not present, faux ivory will be used in restoration unless a new ivory or bone keyboard is requested (at an additional cost). NEW ACTION PARTS such as butts & flanges, shanks and hammers are included in the GRADE 2 PACKAGE. In all pianos, the harp (plate) is removed from the piano, re-gilded, and the soundboard is repaired, shimmed and refinished. (Any original internal art-work or stenciling on the plate will be saved and clear-coated if possible.) All internal decals are replaced as necessary. New strings and tuning pins are included. Upright piano pin blocks are plugged and re-drilled as needed (which prevents the pin block from being cut from the case, weakening structural integrity). Lots of special attention to detail is included - all hardware, hinges, pedals, etc. get polished or re-plated to perfection as needed. Overall, our GRADE 2 is a top quality, prime restoration throughout.
The GRADE 3 PACKAGE is my premium package and only for grand pianos where cost is of no consequence where quality is concerned. GRADE 3 includes a new soundboard, new pin-block, new pins, all new wires, all new action parts, and absolute perfection in every detail. Due to the immense detail involved, the GRADE 3 PACKAGE involves nearly double the amount of time and labor to complete! GRADE 3 isn't usually necessary for most pianos, and is generally reserved for exceptionally rare, valuable and historically important instruments.
Piano Rebuilding & Refinishing
Grade 1 Package: $3,500 - $5,500
Grade 2 Package: $7,500 - $10,500
Grade 3 Package: Over $12,500
I am a retired missionary pastor. I have 4 sons, 4 grandchildren, and am married to my best friend. At age 12 I began playing trumpet by ear as my sisters played the piano. Although I never played the piano I recognized the need for a well tuned piano. Pianos fascinate me. Unlike the trumpet or most other instruments, they require special tools and knowledge to be tuned. When my wife got her second piano, I became a piano technician and created Tuning 88 Keys. I can help you make beautiful music.