cleaning ivory keys on a piano, Journal of a Piano Teacher from New York to California, Mark Schecter piano technician, pianist, piano, piano maintenance, Piano Street, piano technician, piano tuner, Piano World, playing piano, regulating a piano, Shirley Kirsten, Shirley Smith Kirsten, using Windex to clean ivory keys, voicing a piano

My Baldwin grand piano gets its first diagnostic, tune-up, and regulation

It sounds like I’m talking about a used car.

For Mark Schecter, Registered piano technician it might as well be. He emphasizes that the piano has thousands of parts that must work harmoniously to make playing a smooth and pleasurable journey over the 88s.

In the case of my blind date Baldwin, “the old car syndrome” might have applied.

Over the weekend Schecter stopped by to do a “diagnostic” as a preliminary to a whole day devoted to regulation, tuning and some voicing.

My decision to hire Mark followed an in-depth screening of three candidates. Basically good credentials and the right chemistry sealed the deal. It also didn’t hurt to learn that Schecter was maintaining the Steinway concert grand housed at Berkeley’s Zellerbach for the Cal Performances Series. He tuned and voiced for Murray Perahia, my classmate at the NYC High School of Performing Arts, before his recital on Sunday March 11. Impressive!!!

My piano’s top priority needs:

1) Determine the nature and quality of the work done prior to the piano’s arrival in El Cerrito as accurately as possible. (A little forensic pianology, with Schecter as my instrument detective)

a) Assess the hammers, strings, and total action

2) Regulate the piano (Let me know about any compromises needed given the state of hammers, bushings, etc)

3) Tune the piano

4) Voice the piano in areas where it was sounding a bit “too glassy (upper treble.)

5) Diagnose why the ivory keys were constantly picking up gray that’s wasn’t responsive to permanent dirt removal. And provide a long-term cleaning solution.

This series of videos fleshes out why it’s important to have a technician inspect a piano thoroughly before its purchased. (An unbiased expert should be enlisted)

While I love the character of this piano, to bring it up to peak playing condition would require a cost prohibitive investment.

Part One: DIAGNOSTIC–“Old Car Syndrome”

Part Two: Regulation and Challenges


The Back Story

Six part video-Just in Time for Valentine’s Day, I Meet my Blind Date Piano

2 thoughts on “My Baldwin grand piano gets its first diagnostic, tune-up, and regulation”

  1. I hear you! Today we had to have our repairman out. One of the pieces of the action needed gluing. Then well we had a tune-up too. Now our pre 1900 upright grand is back in action. (pun intended) 🙂


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