Welcome to Fix My Piano. 

My name is Tom and I am a Master Piano Technician, an associate member of The Piano Technician’s Guild and a member of the New York Eastern Chamber Orchestra.

I’ve been a musician since my late teens and became a professional piano technician in 1973.  My clients include many well known professional pianists, recording artists, performance venues, recording studios as well as individuals and families in the tri-state area. 

My services include Tuning, Voicing, Regulation, Repairs, Refinishing & Restoration.  My mission is to provide reliable services at reasonable costs to my fellow piano lovers in Brooklyn, Staten Island & Northern NJ and to educate the public in the proper preservation of our beloved instrument.

 

Sincerely,

Tom

DOES YOUR PIANO...

Sound flat, nasal, dead or subdued, sharp, harsh, shrill or tinny, thin or too loud?

have an after-ring, makes ringing or buzzing sounds?

have touch or action that's too heavy, weak or sluggish?

have thumping in keys after release?

have keys other than those being played move, dip, or bounce?

have problems with blending sounds?

 

If you answered “YES” to any of the above, then it's time to call a piano technician.

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Tuning & Repairs

Tuning is the act of making adjustments to the tensions of the strings of a piano to properly align the intervals between their tones so that the instrument is in tune. The meaning of the term “in tune” in the context of piano tuning is not simply a particular fixed set of pitches.

Fine piano tuning requires an assessment of the interaction between notes, which is different for every piano.

Pianos are usually tuned to a modified version of the system called equal temperament. In all systems of tuning, every pitch may be derived from its relationship to a chosen fixed pitch, which is usually A440.

Piano Tuning requires patience, a good ear and practice. The piano is a complex instrument, requiring all work – tuning, repairs, cleaning, etc. to be done by an experienced, caring professional piano tuner. Keep in mind that professional piano tuners spend years learning the nuances, craft and art of Piano Tuning.

Most manufacturers recommend that you service your piano 2 – 4 times a year for the best sound depending on the condition of your piano.  New pianos will need servicing 4 times during the first year.  This is because new strings tend to stretch as they are being worked in, causing the piano to go out of tune more often. A piano that is used quite often, such as one being used all day for piano lessons, or one being used by high level pianists who practice many hours a day, will need to be tuned every 2 – 3 months.

I service All piano brands (Steinway & Sons, Baldwin, Wurlitzer, Chickering, Mason and Rich, Weber, Yamaha, Kawai, Bosendorfer, Schimmel, Knabe, Kimball, Mason and Hamlin, Story and Clark, Kohler and Campbell, Boston, Young Chang, Samick, Petrof, Pearl River, and many others).  All types – upright, grand, baby grand are supported.

Voicing

The felt hammers of the piano tend to harden over time, as the felt becomes compressed by repeated impact. They also form grooves at the points of contact with the strings. Harder hammers produce a brighter tone quality, which may ultimately become harsh and undesirable. Piano technicians can soften hammers using special tools called voicing needles. They also sometimes use special hardening agents when the hammers are too soft (though this practice is controversial among some technicians). In either case, an important goal is uniform tone quality across the piano, since the hammers are not used with equal frequency and therefore tend to wear unevenly. How much and how forcefully the piano is played is a factor in how often a piano is voiced, as are the piano’s setting and the preferences of its players.

Over time, the strings will wear grooves into the surface of the hammers. The grooves eventually become deep enough, and the head of the hammer flattened enough, that voicing cannot restore the piano’s tone. At this point, a technician can file the hammers, restoring their original ovoid shape and pristine surface at the expense of making them somewhat smaller. This process may repeat several times, until there is not enough felt left on the hammers for another filing, and they must be replaced.

Regulation

Over time, the performance of a piano action tends to decline, due to the compression of felt, warping of wood, and other types of wear. A skilled technician can restore it to optimal precision, in a process called regulation, which involves adjustments ranging from turning a small screw to sanding down a wood surface. Many new pianos are not perfectly regulated when released from the factory, or quickly lose their regulation when moved to their new home, and benefit from regulation in the store or in the home.

The goal of regulation is to make the piano’s touch and sound consistent across all notes, allow it to comfortably achieve the widest possible range of dynamics, and make the keys responsive to even the most rapid or most subtle motions of the player.

There are many dozens of types of regulation a piano may require. The most important include adjustment of:

Let-off, the point when the hammer disengages from the jack and flies freely. If the let-off is too large, it can be very difficult to achieve a pianissimo, to execute rapid trills, and to play powerful fortes; if too small, notes can acquire a “pinched” sound, or even block.

 

  • Drop, how far the hammers fall back after let-off. This affects the responsiveness of the action.
  • Repetition springs in a grand piano, which allow a hammer to repeatedly strike with minimal lifting of a key. If a spring is too springy, it can cause double-strikes; if not springy enough, it becomes difficult to repeat a note.
  • Key weights (and, in some actions, weight-regulating springs) control the inertia of the keys. A technician can add, remove, or change lead weights in the keys to change how light or heavy the keys feel to the player.
 

PIANO KEYS REPAIR

Piano Keys Repair
  • Piano key is sticky or stuck in place.

  • Piano keytops or ivories may be missing, broken, chipped or damaged?

  • Maybe the keys are uneven and not leveled?

  • Perhaps they wiggle from side-to-side?

  • Or they rock back and forth? Maybe some keys press down more or less that others do?

Restoring the keyboard on a vintage piano can involve a couple different approaches or a combination of two or more of the following (this list is not inclusive):

5. Key Bushings (front and center) – The holes where the front and balance rail pins enter the key levers is bushed with special piano felt. Over time, this felt can wear and compress, resulting in wobbling or rocking keys.

6. Capstans – Capstans are screw-like in that they are screwed into the key lever somewhere in its back half (see photo below). The capstan is the actual connection between the key lever and the rest of the piano action. These can also become oxidized beyond repair, and require replacement for smooth action of the piano.

7. Key buttons – These are pieces of wood glued to the tops of each key lever that help balance it on the balance rail pin. These can easily become cracked and damaged over time due to their relatively thin nature compared to the key lever itself. This issue can also be the cause of rocking keys on your piano, Replacement is recommended when this becomes the case.

Please call for a free consultation (917) 226-8312 or fill out contact form.

 

1. Key Top Replacement – Key top replacement always adds new life to an older piano–or on any piano that has worn or broken keytops. This is fairly straightforward as long as everything else in the key bed system is in working order.

2. The Key Bed – The key bed includes multiple components that can be addressed during restoration: the key buttons, the key bushings, balance pins, the front rail pins, capstans, and two sets of felt punchings. The key levers themselves could also become a restoration target if they are badly damaged/warped.

3. Balance Rail Pins – As the name implies, the balance rail pins are what each key lever “balance” on when pressed to activate a hammer. Typically the issue with these is that they become corroded and rusted beyond repair. When this occurs, replacement pins are necessary. (see photo at below right, which also shows one of the two sets of felt punchings).

4. Front Rail Pins – Similar to balance rail pins, but these are located towards the front of the key in the key bed, and hold the key in position at the front. Same issues can occur with front rail pins.

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REFINISHING & RESTORATION

 

  • Somehow ended up with “Grandma’s Piano”?

  • Your old piano holds a high sentimental value for you and your family?

  • Maybe you remember taking lessons on it as a child, or gathering around the piano for Christmas carols?

  • Perhaps you would like for your treasured family piano to provide enjoyment to your future generations?

 

I can help in the preservation of your treasured vintage piano, introducing your sentimentality to a new generation and maintain your piano’s optimum performance, whether it is older or newer.

Your piano does NOT have to be a Steinway or Mason and Hamlin or other high-end make to be worthy of restoration.  

Don’t make a decision about your piano restoration without speaking to a professional technician!  My goal is to provide you with honest options for your piano restoration.

Please call for a free consultation (917) 226-8312 or fill out contact form.

BUSINESS CLIENTS

PIANO RENTAL NY, New York, New York (Resident Piano Technician)

LANE MUSIC CENTER, Staten Island, New York (Resident Piano Technician)

VICTORY MUSIC CENTER, Staten Island, New York (Resident Piano Technician)

DROM NYC (Music Venue), New York, New York

METROSONIC MUSIC STUDIO, Williamsburg, Brooklyn

SONG PIANO, Englewood, New Jersey

UPTIME STUDIOS, New York, New York

 

I currently service individual clients in Brooklyn, Staten Island and Northern New Jersey.

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Tom Lam
Master Piano Technician

 

Phone:  (917) 226-8312
Email:   Info@fixmypiano.com 

 

Please call or fill out contact form
to request price quotes or to schedule an appointment.  

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