Aside from piano tuning, I offer the following services:
I strongly recommend getting all used pianos evaluated before purchasing. It is very discouraging to get a piano—especially a “free” piano which still cost hundreds of dollars to move—only to discover that it is, in fact, not able to be tuned.
If you are interested in looking up the age of your piano, many can be found online at Bluebook of Pianos. All you will need is your serial number and the piano’s make. The serial number is usually visible near the tuning pins (under the lid on an upright).
After evaluating a piano, I can give you a formal document with a monetary value. This is useful if you are selling a piano, or if you need documentation for insurance or tax purposes. I will also determine the value of damage to a piano.
As pianos age, they undergo many changes: Felt and cloth compact, wood changes shape, and glue weakens. This can cause many different feelings and sounds:
- Keys can stick or feel “slow”
- Keys can have “lost motion,” which creates an unresponsive, gummy feeling
- Keys can feel like they’re tight and “bounce”
- Keys can wiggle and feel loose
- Keys can become visually uneven
- Hammers can hit multiple notes
- Certain keys can make clacking sounds
A degree of regulation is included with a standard tuning; however, if a piano requires a lot of regulation in multiple areas, or if the regulation actually requires more serious repairs, there may be additional costs.
More Significant Repairs
Some piano issues require more than regulation.
- Pianos can emit mysterious buzzes
- Pedals can stick, clank or not work
- Strings can break
- Keys can fail to play at all
If the repair is quick and straight-forward, it is often included in a basic tuning. Otherwise, more complicated or extensive repairs can be made at an hourly rate.
Major repairs that require a shop—such as major rebuilding where the piano needs to be tipped or lifted—are referred to piano rebuilders in the area. I do not refinish pianos. Refinishing is a woodworker’s craft. Some rebuilders do refinish pianos, but many do not and refer that business to local woodworkers.
Dampp-Chaser Piano Life Saver System® installation
In many spaces, it’s difficult to regulate humidity to the degree necessary to protect your piano. For some people, the time and effort required might be unreasonable, and in some settings it might not be possible. A Dampp-Chaser Piano Life Saver System® will protect your piano from both humid summers and dry winters, and is capable of responding in real-time to the drastic changes that are an almost daily occurrence here in Maine. The only maintenance necessary is filling the humidifier, which needs to be done roughly every other week, and the periodic replacement of wicks (usually annually).
I’m registered with Dampp-Chaser as an installer, and maintain nearly 100 systems throughout the state. Every time I tune your piano, I’ll inspect the condition of the Dampp-Chaser wicks and replace them if necessary. I provide both the inspection and replacement as a complimentary part of my service.
See the Dampp-Chaser FAQs for more information, or the Price List for approximate prices.
The component of the action that strikes the string is called the hammer. As a piano ages and is played, the hammers becomes stiffer and more grooved. These hammers can be filed or needled to produce a softer sound. Sometimes, one particular hammer will become more hard or soft, making one note sound different from all the others. These hammers can be softened or hardened to make them sound more consistent with the rest of the piano. Sometimes hammers also move, causing a softer part of the hammers—one that hasn’t been grooved by years of use—to strike the keys and produce a very different tone.
If a piano has been stored or has been exposed to very high humidity, smoke, or mice for a prolonged period, it may require cleaning for optimal performance. Dirt and mold can change the sound and feeling of a piano and cause keys to feel “sticky.” Generally, this includes vacuuming all components and using an air compressor to remove dirt from between and under the keys and inside the action. This is not for restoration, but for playability.
Benches, covers, and other parts
I can order any parts and piano accessories for you and bring them to our tuning. For a full menu of available items, see the Schaff Piano Supply catalog.
My shop now has 3D printing capability with a wide variety of sizes and materials.
For individual piano owners, this means I can now replicate even the most difficult-to-find parts that piano suppliers might not carry.
To other piano technicians, I’m happy to offer my services duplicating those difficult-to-find parts. Please contact me and I’ll make that perfect party!