Request Service Here

About Me

I recommend this book if you are thinking of buying a piano. It's very well written and has a lotof very useful information for you the consumer.

Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

I've been in the piano service business since 1966 when I finished technical and tuning training under instructor Cliff Johnson at the McPhail School of Music in Minneapolis.  My current responsibilities include maintenance of many pianos in schools, churches and concert halls in the Willmar area.  Willmar is located in south central Minnesota about 100 miles west of Minneapolis on highway 12.

I also offer keytop replacement, Dampp Chaser installation, and most rebuilding projects.


Purchase Humidity Control

Ecwid Store Buy more Humidifier Solution or Humidifier Pads

Square Store SquareUp Store


Servicing Your Piano

Your piano is an investment in your future. It can bring you and your family a lifetime of music, adding immeasurable joy and beauty to your home. Since it is also such a large investment, it should be maintained with the utmost care. Regular servicing by a qualified technician will preserve your instrument and help you avoid costly repairs in the future.

Because your piano contains materials such as wood and felt, it is subject to change with climatic conditions. Extreme swings from hot to cold or dry to wet cause its materials to swell and contract, affecting tone, pitch, and action response or touch. You can reduce the severity of these effects by placing your piano near a wall away from windows or doors that are opened frequently. Avoid heating and air conditioning vents, fireplaces and areas which receive direct sunlight. Your piano will perform best under consistent conditions neither too wet nor dry, optimally at a temperature of 68 degrees F and 42 percent relative humidity.

While pianos generally fall into vertical and grand model categories, each manufacturer selects its own materials and utilizes its own unique scale and furniture designs. Every piano requires a different level of maintenance, depending upon the quality of materials used and the design and level of craftsmanship. Manufacturers can provide general advice on tuning frequency but your technician can give specific recommendations based upon your usage and locale. Here's what some of the major piano manufacturers recommend:

What is regulation and how does it affect my piano's performance?

Regulation is the adjustment of the mechanical aspects of the pianos to compensate for the effects of wear, the compacting and settling of cloth, felt, and buckskin, as well as dimensional changes in wood and wool parts due to changes in humidity.

The three systems involved in regulation are the action trapwork and damper system. The action is the mechanical part of the piano that transfers the motion of the fingers on the keys to the hammers that strike the strings. It is comprised of over 9,000 parts which require adjustment to critical tolerances to be able to respond to a pianist's every command. The trapwork is the assemblage of levers, dowels and springs that connects the pedals to the action affecting sustain and dynamics. The damper system is the mechanical part of the piano that stops the vibration of the string when you release the key and is controlled by the key and pedal systems.

If I have my piano tuned regularly, why do I need to have it regulated?

While tuning corrects the pitch of your piano, it is only one component of a complete maintenance program. Regulation attends to the touch and uniform responsiveness of your action, all vital to making each performance pleasurable. In addition, regulation ensures that your instrument is capable of producing a wide dynamic range -- a critical factor, particularly in pianissimo passages.

Music is one of the most complex vehicles for expression. Its beauty is reliant upon personal dynamics and tempi. These changes require extremely fine adjustments to respond to the pianist's nuances and subtle shadings. A smooth, even response throughout the entire range of the keyboard and an extremely quick action capable of playing rapid passages and repeated notes evenly is essential. Outstanding response is essential for a pianist to create an outstanding performance.

What are the signs that my piano needs regulation?

If you instrument displays a lack of sensitivity or a decreased dynamic ranges, it's a candidate for regulation. If you notice that the keys are not level (some higher or lower than the rest), the touch is uneven or that the keys are sticking, the need for regulation is indicated. However, a sluggish action or deep grooves in the hammers indicate the need for reconditioning or repair. Ask your technicians to show you what needs adjustment on your piano.

No amount of practice can compensate for a poorly maintained action. Poor legato touch, chord playing where all notes of the chord don't speak clearly, a gradual loss of subtlety in phrasing and an inability to execute quick passages or note repetitions evenly may be the fault of the piano -- not the player.

Do all pianos need to be regulated?

All upright and grand pianos need periodic regulation to perform their best. Frequency of regulation is dependent upon amount of use, exposure to climatic changes, and the instrument's quality, age and condition. New pianos may require regulation in their first year because settling and compacting of parts sometimes necessitates adjustment.

How does humidity affect my piano?

Extreme swings from hot to cold or dry to wet are harmful to your piano. Dryness causes the piano's pitch to go flat; moisture makes it go sharp. Repeated swings in relative humidity can cause soundboards to crack or distort. Extreme dryness also can weaken the glue joints that hold the soundboard and other wood portions of the piano together. Moisture may lead to string rust. A piano functions best under fairly consistent conditions which are neither too wet or dry, optimally at a temperature of 68 degrees F and 42 percent relative humidity.

Using an air conditioner in humid summer months and adding a humidifier to your central heating system will reduce the extremes of high and low humidity. Room humidifiers and dehumidifiers, as well as systems designed to be installed inside of pianos will control humidity-related disorders still further. The PTG technical bulletin on humidity control discusses this topic in further detail.

Five reasons to tune your piano regularly.

5. Piano strings are steel wires under a tremendous amount of  tension, and they stretch.  The piano has 88 notes, but many of the notes have more than one string. In fact, an average piano has approximately 240 strings. All these strings add up to around 18 or more tons of pressure. (that's enough to lift your garage off it's foundation!) Over time, the strings will stretch and go out of tune. This is especially true of new pianos, and pianos that have been re-strung or rebuilt. 

4. Wood reacts to humidity changes. When it is damp it swells; when  it is dry it shrinks.  All these tightened strings rest across a piece of wood called a "bridge", which is glued to the soundboard. This is how the sound of the strings is amplified. The soundboard is slightly arched, and is glued tightly to the perimeter of the piano. When the ambient humidity increases, the soundboard arch increases causing the strings to stretch, making the pitch sharp. When the humidity decreases, the soundboard flatens, making the pitch flat.

3. The pitch of a piano (i.e.: the tension of the strings) is not arbitrary.  A piano must be kept at proper pitch in order to sound the way the  manufacturer intended.  The pitch of a string is determined by three factors; the thickness of the string, the length of the string, and the tension. If you look inside a piano you will notice that the strings are all a different length. This measurement cannot be changed, nether can the thickness of the string. These two factors were set by the manufacturer. Therefore, the only variable is the tension. As the piano goes out of tune, each string will not only be off pitch, but off-tone as well.

2. A piano that is tuned regularly, stays in tune longer.  Your piano was designed to be at a specific pitch: "Concert Pitch" or A:440 (this means that the note A above middle C vibrates at 440 beats per second). If you let your piano cycle through more than one season change, the above factors will cause it to go so flat, that the the piano tuner will have to stretch the strings sharp before tuning it at A:440. This is called a pitch raise and the tuning will not be as stable. A piano that is regularly tuned will stay close to pitch and will not need a pitch raise.

The Most important reason of them all

1. A properly tuned piano is essential for good musicianship.  Young students will be greatly hampered in their studies if their piano is not kept in tune and in good working order. They will notice the difference between their piano and their teacher's piano, and it will confuse them. It will also interfere with ear training. Worst of all, you may become accustomed to the sound of an out-of-tune piano, so that the sound of a good piano, in concert or recording, may sound strange. One thing is certain: it will be impossible for your children to progress far in their studies if they have to practice on a poor instrument.

Basic Rules of Piano Care

Keep your piano in tune. It was specifically designed to be tuned to the international pitch standard of A-440 cycles per second. Your piano will sound its best and give you and your family the most pleasure when it is tuned regularly and kept in proper playing condition.

Keep your piano clean. Keep the keyboard covered when not in use to prevent dust from accumulating (although ivory keys need some exposure to light to prevent yellowing). Clean keys by occasionally wiping them with a damp cloth and drying them immediately. If accumulated debris can't be removed with a damp cloth, try wiping the cloth on a bar of mild soap or moisten with dishwashing detergent before wiping. Do not use chemicals or solvents to clean piano keys. Call a qualified piano technician to remove anything from the keys you can't wipe away.

To maintain the piano's finish, you may wipe the case with a damp cotton cloth to remove fingerprints, or polish with a reliable emulsion-type, water-based solution following the manufacturer's instructions. Avoid aerosol spray polishes that contain silicone. Your technician may suggest a specific brand name.

The maintenance of the inner working of the piano and regulation should be left to a qualified piano technician. Resist dusting the inside of your piano, oiling the moving parts, or using moth or insect repellents. Your piano technician will take care of all internal problems.

Try to maintain a fairly consistent temperature and humidity control in the room where your piano is placed. It's important to keep your piano away from a heating register in winter, an air conditioning vent in the summer, a fireplace, a frequently opened window or outside door, and direct sunlight.

Play your piano regularly. You'll get the most enjoyment from it and also reach your potential much faster. A disadvantage to idle pianos, assuming they also suffer a service lapse, is that a detrimental condition or environment can't be identified, and an escalating problem can result in damage that might not have occurred with regular service. Tuning a piano after years of not having been tuned often requires a pitch raise. As a piano ages, it may begin to develop more major problems which your technician can help you assess. You may look into rebuilding or reconditioning the piano.

Keep all drinks and standing liquid containers off the piano. Should spilled water reach the action, notify you piano technician immediately. In many case, once liquids are spilled, the damage is irreversible which is why prevention is the safest rule to follow.

Select a piano technician with care. It's not only important that the service person be competent to perform tuning, regulation and repairs, but also that the person be someone you feel comfortable calling with questions concerning your piano's performance. Hiring a Registered Piano Technician who is committed to comprehensive service for your piano, and not just an occasional tuning, is your best assurance.

Do not perform repairs yourself. Though a problem may appear easy to solve (such as replacing a loose key ivory), a qualified technician will have the proper tools and parts to make repairs quickly and correctly. It's important to remember that unsuccessful amateur repairs are usually much more expensive to fix than the initial problem and may decrease the value of your instrument.

Use only a professional piano mover to move your piano. You will avoid injury to yourself, your instrument, and your home.