Piano Tuning, Piano Repair, & Piano Restoration | Troy, Rochester, Bloomfield Hills & More

Gallery

This gallery contains 14 photos.

For many piano owners, the piano is a family heirloom. As with most things age can cause some major problems for a heirloom. Ace Piano is centrally located in Oakland County Michigan. Our service area include the cities of Troy, … Continue reading

Do you tune pianos in…?

Ace Piano services pianos in Oakland County, Michigan, and many cities surrounding Oakland County.  When I moved into the Metro Detroit area over thirty years ago and started my piano tuning company I had no idea what cities I could service and what cities and communities were just too far to travel, so I answered the phone and said, “yes, I service your area.”  I love what I do, so a bit of travel time is not bad when you consider the wonderful clients I have met over the years.

As the years have gone by, I have refined my piano service area a bit, but I still say yes most of the time.  My main service area is ALL OF OAKLAND COUNTY MICHIGAN.  I tune and repair pianos in cities including; Troy, Rochester Hills, Rochester, Auburn Hills, Waterford, Lake Orion, Clarkston, Bloomfield Hills, West Bloomfield, Southfield, Livonia, Royal Oak, Huntington Woods, Novi, Northville on a daily basis.  I tune pianos in communities outside Oakland County such as; Grosse Pointe, Sterling Heights, Macomb Township, and communities to the west such as South Lyon, Milford, Brighton, Plymouth and Canton.  All the areas listed are not charged for travel time or mileage.  All clients in these areas pay a flat rate for tuning.

I have on occasion been asked to tune a piano at a lake front cottage up north, or a summer home in the Lansing, Michigan area.  I am happy to travel to those areas, but travel time and mileage will be charged.  One of my clients when asking about long distance travel to their summer home up north said, “you get what you pay for… you have tuned my home piano for many years, I would not want anyone else to tune my pianos.”

My name is Craig Cole,  I am the owner/piano technician of Ace Piano Inc.

I’d love the opportunity to help you with all your piano service and repair needs.

For an appointment please call 248.624.0940 or 248.647.6810

Pianos and Humidity in Michigan

Piano owners in states like Michigan, will soon be playing and singing the blues. As we roll into the month of November, furnaces are drying the air we live in and our pianos are drying out. I have presented three options to help you manage the humidity level swings that are occurring now. Click on the video thumbnail to learn effective ways to prevent tuning instability, malfunction of the action of your piano, and in some cases structural damage that can render your beloved piano unplayable.

Craig Cole is a piano technician serving Oakland County, and surrounding communities of southeast Michigan. November through March are the optimal dry season months for piano tuning, and services such as action lubrication and action regulation. If you have questions about piano services Craig provides, or to schedule your piano tuning appointment please call Craig at: 248-647-6810.

 

Restringing a Piano with New Pin Block in Michigan

A piano that is exposed to dry conditions such as a harsh Michigan winter or a piano that is old, may have a pin block that will no longer hold tension on the strings.  The photo below is a pin block that was removed from a seventy five year old piano.  The tuning pins that are seen in the pin block are finely threaded screws.  They must fit in the pin block tight enough so they do not easily turn in the block.

pin-block

The photo below shows a new pin block that is being fitted to the metal plate of the piano.  When the fit is perfect, the pin block and plate are installed in the piano.

pin-block-#2

Piano owners that are told their piano is untunable will have to make a decision.  Options include; do nothing, have a chemical applied at the base of each pin which may give a few additional years of tuning stability, or have the piano restrung and change the pin block.

Of the three options indicated, restringing is the repair of choice when the piano is a family heirloom, or the piano is a high quality instrument such as Steinway, Mason & Hamlin, etc.

Please watch the video below to get an over view of the restringing process.  Ace Piano Inc. has been serving piano owners in the Metro Detroit area for close to thirty years.  Only the finest replacement blocks and strings are used.  Craig is an experienced and skilled craftsman that incorporates old world techniques, and up to date technology to deliver the highest possible end result…a piano that is able to provide many more years of beautiful music.

 

If  we can be of help please call Craig at; 248-647-6810

Piano Tuning and Service in Michigan

Time sure does fly when we’re having fun! Once again, the holidays are upon us. It won’t be long and family and friends will be gathering for all the holiday fun. Many families celebrate around a piano. The piano gets dusted, the keys are cleaned in preparation for all the favorite tunes that will be played…but we forgot the note that stuck last year in the middle of that tune uncle Fred tried to play, or how that song little Suzie tried to play sounded more like a cat fight outside the window because the piano had not been tuned for ten years. The point is; pianos are used for our enjoyment at this time of year. This is a great time to have your piano tuned and checked so all will go well as the family enjoys all the traditions of the holidays.

This is also the perfect time to get the humidifier ready and operating. A digital hygrometer at hand to help monitor the humidity level of your home will pay huge dividends by reducing repair and adjustment costs caused by the reaction of your piano’s wooden parts to sudden dry conditions that are just around the corner. The target humidity level to maintain is 42%. You may have to make minor adjustments to that reading depending on your home and the individual nature of the way each home is built, insulated, and the type of windows you have in your home.

Craig Cole services pianos throughout the Oakland County, Michigan area. Give him a call today to schedule your piano service appointment. Main office phone number is 248-647-6810.

 

Should My Piano Be Tuned to A440?

Why should I pitch raise my piano? I am asked that question almost daily as I explain to my clients what I have found upon arrival at their home, and I set up for a tuning job. It is important to understand that pitch corrections before the actual tuning is always the clients option. Let’s consider what tuning is. A simple definition is: the strings of a piano being adjusted so that when the instrument is played, the intervals such as: thirds, fifths octaves, and any other interval that is played will sound pleasing and musical to the ear. It is important to note, I did not include in the definition, the pitch of the piano. That is simply because a piano, like any stringed instrument can be tuned at any pitch that is desired. (all stringed instruments can be damaged if tuned to sharp/to much tension, or if tuned to low can sound dull and lifeless) So if all this is true, why should a piano owner have the pitch corrected on their piano? Quite simple; first, modern pianos were designed to sound their best when tuned at a pitch referred to as, standard pitch or A440. Second, if the piano is within the terms of the manufacturer’s warranty, the piano must be kept at A440 to avoid voiding the warranty. In my opinion all modern pianos should be maintained as close as possible to standard pitch…simply; they sound best when tuned to A440.

When a piano is allowed to set un-tuned for a long period of time the pitch will drop. It is common to find pianos a quarter step flat, a third step flat, and in some cases as much as a whole step flat. This condition brings an option to the table. You; the piano owner must decide what you want done. The piano can be tuned a quarter step flat, or it can be tuned a whole step flat, or you may decide to have the pitch corrected and tuned to A440.

Piano manufactures recommend tuning a piano every six months or more often depending on use and demand. Pianos that are tuned often require very little change in over-all tension of the piano. This one fact helps produce solid and stable tunings, and will help prevent the pitch from dropping. Pitch corrections of one half step can effect the tension on your piano by thousands of pounds. The piano structure will react to this change, making it necessary to make two or three passes through the key board to get the piano to stabilize. Pitch corrections can, and should be avoided, by tuning regularly. If your piano needs to be pitch corrected before tuning, know this: it is a common procedure and all care is taken to avoid damage to your piano during the process.

Craig Cole is a piano technician serving piano owners in Oakland County, Michigan as well as many surrounding communities. Call for your piano service appointment today: (248) 647-6810

 

Piano Tuning and Regulation – Michigan

For those of us that have dedicated our lives to the craft of piano technology, answering client’s questions is an important part of the service we offer. Questions like; when should I tune my piano, or why should I humidify my home in the winter months, and where is the best place to put my piano are all commonly asked questions. I was asked another question the other day by a client that was very frustrated with the way her piano was performing. She told me she had made her purchase eleven years ago based on the wonderful dynamic range of the Steinway model B grand piano. She told me of the ease of which she could go from soft and intricate to loud and powerful, had sold her on the piano originally. But now…well, she was not happy. It took only a moment to check her piano and identify the problem. The problem was a maintenance issue. Her piano was suffering from the lack of proper service and maintenance required to keep the action of a piano performing at peak capacity. piano-regulation-miShe interrupted my explanation with a question, “What is action regulation, and why is it needed?” Most piano players are not technicians, and this young lady had very little understanding of the way her piano works, so I made an attempt to give her a user friendly, and understandable answer to her question.

First; I asked her if she had ever driven a car that hesitated, coughed and sputtered when she stepped on the gas to accelerate quickly? Second; I asked her if she ever had a door hinge that squeaked when she opened the door?

She answered yes to both of the questions. I suggested to her that action regulation is to her piano what a tune up is to her car. I told her that a squeaky hinge needs to be lubricated to reduce the friction that is causing the hinge to drag and squeak. I explained that the poor performance she was experiencing with her piano was nothing more than the results of the settling of the moving parts of the action, due to the compression of the felt and leather parts of her piano’s action caused by use and gravity. I further explained that a grand piano action has hundreds of moving parts that rub and move against each other. To keep friction in her piano action to a minimum, lubrication is required on a regular basis. Action regulation is a series of adjustments that put the moving parts of the piano back in proper position and alignment allowing peak performance from the piano’s action, coupled with lubrication of the moving parts of the action that will reduce friction, and eliminate that perceived feeling of heavy touch weight and lack of responsive touch.

piano-regulation-and-lubrication

A smile came across her face and she said, “I get it!” This client took the steps to restore the playability she had loved when her piano was new. If your piano is more than five years old, and if it has never been regulated and lubricated, it is time for normal piano maintenance. Remember; pianos need to be tuned, regulated, and lubricated to keep them performing at their best.

In the Oakland County, Michigan area call: Ace Piano Tuning at 248-647-6810. I would be happy to help.

Piano Tuning in Michigan

Winter is upon us, and our pianos are beginning to react to the dryness of our homes. Those of us who live in cold northern climates need to take aggressive steps to humidify our homes or any space our piano is located.

piano-tuning-mi-1One common problem piano technicians come across at this time of year is the note on the piano that sounds like two or three notes played together, though only one note is being played. The most common cause is a loose tuning pin. The tuning pin can be thought of as a finely threaded screw. When the pin block is dry and old, and in some cases new pianos can, if exposed to extreme dryness, lose the ability to hold the tension of the string. When this occurs, the tuning pin can turn/unwind and the note will sound like two or three different notes.

There are three different approaches to remedy this problem.

  1. Remove old tuning pin and replace the pin with an oversize pin. This approach is great if there are just a few loose pins…perhaps up to a dozen loose pins.
  2. Apply a chemical at the base of each tuning pin, which will be absorbed by the pin block causing the wood to expand and tighten around the tuning pins. This can be an effective approach if the entire pin block is loose. It is also a cost effective way to gain a few more years of use from the piano without the investment of new pin block and new strings.
  3. The third approach as just mentioned is pin block replacement and re-stringing of the piano. This is the best approach when the pin block is unable to hold the tension of the strings through out the entire pin block. It is the most costly approach, and may not be practical if the instrument is of poor quality, or if the instrument has other major repair needs that will cost more to have done than the purchase of a new piano.

piano-tuning-mi-2If you suspect your piano is suffering from the effects of dryness and age, it is best to consult your piano technician. They can provide you with information concerning the best approach to remedy the problem. Keep in mind each piano is unique. The approach recommended should be tailored to your specific situation…no cookie cutter approach will due. Insist on a full explanation of the benefits and problems associated with each approach.

piano-tuning-mi-3Craig Cole is a piano technician servicing pianos in the Metro Detroit Michigan area. He has clients in Howell and Grosse Pointe, Clarkston to Plymouth and Canton. With thirty years of experience and thousands of happy customers Craig is the piano service professional to call. His central phone number is; 248-647-6810. Call for an appointment today.

When to tune a piano

Is it time to tune my piano? It depends on who you ask. If you ask your Aunt from Tuscaloosa, she will tell you, “No, not yet…wait three more years.” If you ask your piano teacher, you may be told, “Sounds good to me, wait a few more months.”

I have heard those two responses from piano owners that I contact as a reminder, that it is time to tune. The problem with the Aunt from Tuscaloosa is, she has a hearing aid, and the problem with the piano teacher is, most piano teachers are not piano technicians. So how can you get a honest answer to the question, “Is it time to tune my piano?”

Piano manufacturers are a great source of information on this subject. I am providing three examples of what piano manufacturers suggest;

Steinway says; Your Steinway has been designed and built so that in normal use and under normal conditions it should need only periodic tuning. We recommend that your technician be called at least three or four times a year.

Kawai says; Due to string stretching, settling, and the effects of climate, a new piano should receive at least four tunings in the first year. After that, the type of use and the location of the piano will dictate the number of tunings required, but Kawai recommends two tunings per year as a minimum.

Baldwin says; In the first year, the National Piano Manufacturers Association recommends that you have your piano tuned four times. This is a period of environmental adjustment for a new instrument, and proper attention is important. After the first year, the piano should be tuned at least twice each year, depending upon the frequency of use and atmospheric conditions.

A second source of information on best times to tune, would be your piano technician. Technicians can provide a wealth of information on best times to tune that will be specific to the area of the country you live in. I service pianos in the Oakland County Michigan area, and due to our hot and humid summers, and our cold and dry winters piano owners need to have their piano tuned at least twice each year. Humidity level changes that occur in your home, or other locations will cause the soundboard of the piano to expand as it absorbs moisture, and shrink as it looses moisture. The change in the pitch of a piano can be quite dramatic in Michigan. I have found pianos can fluctuate as much as a quarter step. This fluctuation in pitch is why the piano needs tuning at certain times of the year. The humidity levels at this time of the year, (May 2011) are quite high. The piano has reacted to that change making this a perfect time to tune your piano. The humid season in south east Michigan runs from May through October. Be sure to have your piano tuned during the wet season, and then again in the dry season. Call your piano technician and schedule a tuning today.

For an appointment with Ace Piano Tuning, call Craig at: 248-647-6810

Why won’t my piano stay in tune in Michigan?

Have you ever said, “My piano tuner was here two weeks ago…my piano was tuned, but it sounds terrible!?” First, I would like to tell you, that you are not alone. Many other piano owners have experienced the unstable piano tuning syndrome. Let’s eliminate the obvious. The piano tuner should be able to tune your piano using the proper technique to set each tuning pin, as well as equalize the tension of the strings so they do not go out of tune the first time the piano is played. An experienced, and highly skilled tuner is worth their weight in gold.

Now lets consider the most common cause of the unstable piano tuning syndrome. I service pianos in Oakland County Michigan, which has dramatic weather changes, accompanied with humidity level changes that are quite extreme. It is common to have humidity levels as high as eighty percent on a hot humid day in August, followed with humidity as low as ten percent in January. This change in humidity level will cause the soundboard of your piano to expand and contract, causing the strings of the piano to move and settle. This can happen seasonally, or as often as the weather changes, even as quickly as a few days.

humidty-systemA simple, and cost effective way to bring your piano tuning under control is the Dampp-Chaser system. The system is installed inside an upright piano, or it is installed on the underside of a grand piano. Humidity levels at the piano are kept at a constant level for year around protection. Please take a moment to read what piano manufacturers have to say about the Dampp-Chaser system.

Steinway& Sons:

“The installation of a Dampp-Chaser Humidity Control System can, in our opinion, provide a degree of climate control for the piano which may not otherwise be attainable.”

Bösendorfer

“The usage of Dampp-Chaser humidity control systems effectively compensates climatic changes within the piano’s environment and is for that reason beneficial in terms of stability and long term reliability.”

Schimmel

“The best way to preserve the value of fine grands and uprights is to automatically regulate the humidity right within the instrument .. with a System from Dampp-Chaser Corporation.” – Nikolaus Schimmel

Yamaha

“…Yamaha fully endorses the use of the system with Yamaha pianos in areas that are subject to extremes in humidity. Without such a system, it is very difficult to control the humidity around the piano.”

Kawai

“Your Dampp-Chaser humidity control systems are the best and most carefully designed systems we have seen.”

Pearl River Piano

“Pearl River Piano Group USA believes that a properly installed and maintained Dampp-Chaser system can enhance the performance and longevity of our pianos.”

Seiler

“The Dampp-Chaser Climate Control System helps retain both the regulation and pitch of top quality instruments, thus stabilizing the tonal character inherent in a particular make or instrument as well as its long-term value.” – Ursula Seiler

Baldwin

“Baldwin recommends the Dampp-Chaser system as a valuable means to help insure the longevity and stability of our pianos.

To schedule your Dampp-Chaser installation, call Craig at Ace Piano Tunining today at: (248) 647-6810