Institute Classes








(E) Foundations of Function with Steinway Pianos

Ben Gac, RPT, Steinway & Sons

In this class we will explore the factory perspective and reasoning behind the order of operations in the assembly, regulation, tuning, and voicing of a modern Steinway piano. We’ll discuss the challenges, as well as the importance, of gauging and executing these standards objectively with precision.


(I,A) Grand Action Installation, String-to-Hammer Mating, and Voicing

Chris Brown, RPT, Grandwork Tools

When after one trip to the bench your grand regulation fits, fine-space hammers, settle wire, tune, and mate strings to their hammers. You will learn how, with vertical-at-strike regulating, strings turn out parallel to the keybed, facilitating damper regulation and simplifying voicing, and, particularly soft-pedal voicing.


(I,A) Grand Regulation Actionpalooza

Rick Baldassin, RPT & Carl Teel, Renner USA

This hands-on class combines the popular “Are You Regulationally Challenged?” and “Are You Still Regulationally Challenged?” classes into an all-day experience. Students will first work in small groups to diagnose problems on a series of action models after which the solutions to the problems will be presented. Each student will then regulate a PTG test model according to a step-by-step procedure and his or her work will be checked for accuracy. This will be an intense day, but the instructors will make it fun. Limit 24 students. Pre-registration required. Fee: $40. Materials and tools will only be provided for 24 participants, but observers are welcome.


(E) LightHammer Tone Regulation

Ed McMorrow, RPT, Seattle, WA Chapter

Tone regulation skills are fundamental knowledge a piano technician must have to evaluate the quality of a piano and what service it requires to meet pianist expectations. Learn how to understand the how and why of great tone and touch. If your piano playing skills are modest or nonexistent, learn how to develop a "feel" for how a pianist senses control and repetition. Specifications and a method for establishing the proper strike point in the top octaves when mounting hammers will be presented. Learn why downweight and upweight tell you nothing about how an action will feel, and how and why to build tone in soft hammers. See why the precepts of LightHammer Tone Regulation first presented over 30 years ago have stood the test of time. 

(E) Mason & Hamlin Grand Regulation

Jude Reveley, RPT & Bruce Clark, Mason & Hamlin

This class teaches factory action regulation procedures for Mason & Hamlin pianos. Learn the appropriate tools, techniques, and jigs used by Mason & Hamlin. The Mason & Hamlin system of regulation yields a feel that is responsive, uniform and appreciated by pianists.


(E) Sell Your Grand Customers More Regulations

Chris Brown, RPT, Grandwork Tools

The Grandwork Protocol provides one-stop bench regulating for grand actions. Work fits in the piano and steps don’t undo previous steps. Good referencing prepares hammers to address their strings vertically, improving tone, power, and repetition. Consistent success with the Grandwork method brings confidence and enthusiasm that sells this work.


(I,A) Taking the Upright Piano Seriously

Fred Sturm, RPT, New Mexico Chapter

Are you providing comprehensive upright service? An upright can be made into a relatively refined musical instrument by using focused and organized techniques. Fred will use procedures learned at the Sauter Piano factory in Germany and refined during over 30 years of university work to show you how.


(E) Turbocharging Your Service Call

Jim Busby, RPT, Utah Valley Chapter

Do you ever find yourself merely tuning pianos due to lack of time to really improve the instruments? Improve your efficiency by 20 to 30% right now. This class will cover time saving tips and techniques learned from over 30 years in institutional settings where you must get in and out in very short time periods. Improved efficiency can translate into better service and added value to the client with less stress and more income for you.


(E) The Business of Concert Work

Kathy Smith, RPT, Los Angeles, CA Chapter

This class is for anyone who ever services a performance piano, whether in a church, recital hall, teaching studio or large venue. The class is half business and half tips-and-tricks. Other great classes cover full concert setup, but this one concentrates on additional details not commonly discussed (such as billing styles, repairs, maintenance plans) gleaned from 35 years of experience. Many photos and examples, tools and ideas, especially solutions for common and unusual problems.


(E) Dealers, Manufacturers and You

Greg Cheng, RPT, Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter

We as technicians want to constantly build our businesses. To do that, we need to build bridges with our dealers and manufacturers. Learn how and where we fit in the piano industry, and how to augment our business through relationship building. We will also discuss how to avoid pitfalls and build trust with customers while working with dealers and manufacturers.


(E) Estimates Made Accurately

Mike Ello, RPT, Houston, TX Chapter

Estimating a piano service job accurately is a developed skill that improves over time with field experience. Mike will share his own methods, forms, and formulas from 34 years of experience in estimating, quoting, and preparing proposals for various levels of piano service.


(B) Facebook Ads for the Piano Technician

Torger Baland, RPT, Twin Cities, MN Chapter

Explore Facebook as a business marketing resource for the piano tech. Learn how to select, target and create a FB marketing campaign that will strike a chord with your intended audience.


(E) Gazelle - Reinvent Your Business

Tim Barnes, RPT, The Gazelle Network

If you are trying to make a living as a piano technician in the 21st century, you need Gazelle. The Gazelle Network is a comprehensive software that enables you to manage your business on the go. Gazelle will save time and increase your revenue. Learn how Gazelle can transform your life by helping you focus on the things you love. Gazelle will enable you to spend your time servicing pianos and caring for people rather than playing phone tag and doing office work.


(E) Gut Taxes?

John Gallen, Connecticut Chapter

So filed your taxes. Did you claim everything to which you were entitled? What can you do to change it? You put a sign on your car. Can you deduct all your mileage? What about health care? Will you ever retire? Let’s find some answers.


(B) How Do I Get My Business off the Ground?

Malinda Powell, RPT, Twin Cities, MN Chapter & Apryl Johnston

Most technicians say they get their clients by "word of mouth." But how do you get to that point? We'll talk about how to obtain and maintain your clientele along with some technical tips and hints. The class is taught by a mother/daughter team who are both piano technicians.


(E) Jumpstart Your Business

Tim Barnes, RPT, The Gazelle Network

Geared towards young businesses and new piano technicians, this class demonstrates how the Gazelle Network, a new software that enables you to manage your business on the go, can save you time and increase your revenue. We will also focus on how Google, Facebook, and others have changed their platforms and capabilities.


(E) My First 44 Mistakes in the Piano Business

Isaac Sadigursky, RPT, Los Angeles, CA Chapter

You'll enjoy hearing Isaac as he shares dozens of his own mistakes so that you don't repeat them. We'll look at business practices, customer relations, dealing with commercial accounts, scheduling, record keeping, selecting proper tools, shop organization, keeping clients...and a lot of what NOT to do. Back by popular demand. Last offered at the 2017 Convention in St. Louis, every class with Isaac is a unique experience.


(E) Women's Forum on Piano Technology

Ricki Klos, RPT, Ft. Worth, TX Chapter

Take advantage of this chance to talk with women (newcomers and veterans) in the field of piano technology in a round table format. Explore opportunities, challenges, resources, and feedback of our experience in this unique profession! Share, learn, give, and receive your thoughts and ideas about this business. 


(I) Your Business - A Structural Analysis

Tim Barnes, RPT, Gazelle Network & John Gallen, Connecticut Chapter

There are various options for your business structure: Sole Proprietorship, LLC, Partnership, S or C Corp, etc. Tim & John will discuss the pros & cons of each type. Whether starting out or considering a change, this class is for you. 

College & University Technicians (CAUT)

(E) CAUT Forum

Lucy Urlacher, RPT, Columbia, MO Chapter

Join a discussion covering a variety of topics relevant to college and university technicians. There will be a list of topics to start the session, but anyone can bring up anything they would like the group to discuss.


(E) Making (More) Simple But Very Useful Tools

Paco Morales, RPT, South Florida Chapter

In this class, the participants will have the opportunity to watch, feel and try some tools that are very easy to make using inexpensive materials. Economical and very useful for servicing and regulating both grand and upright pianos.


(E) The Steinway Sostenuto - Shedding Light on a System in the Dark

Lucy Urlacher, RPT, Columbia, MO Chapter

This class is for the piano technician who has clients who must have a functioning sostenuto. Often this client would be playing a Steinway. We’ll clarify use and functioning of the Steinway sostenuto and discuss an organized approach to regulating the sostenuto.


(E) Voicing Through the Ages

Lonnie Young, RPT, Mississippi-Gulf Coast Chapter, University of Southern Mississippi

How many different things can one do to a piano hammer? Are techniques used in past pertinent today? What were industry leaders 100 years ago saying about piano tone? This class covers an overview of voicing techniques. Featured topics include the teachings of Steinway’s Fred Drasche from the late eighties, factory experience, and current trends. Free homemade tools.


(E) Building a Vertical Piano in a Small Shop

Wally Brooks, RPT, Connecticut Chapter & Joyce Meekins, RPT, Washington, DC Chapter

Learn about constructing a traditional vertical piano including the back, pinblock, bridges, action and making of keys. We will use slides, models and the actual piano made for a 1974 convention class by Steve Jellen, Frank Stopa and Wally Brooks. Great class for all along with a little PTG history.


(E) Casting the Plate

Shawn Hoar, Connecticut Chapter

Learn more about the history and evolution of the piano plate. Shawn will review the components of plate making, sand cast and vacuum process methods, a foundry tour, plate finishing methods and more. 


(E) Fitting the Plate

Shawn Hoar, Connecticut Chapter

See how the plate functions in different variations of piano making. Topics will include structural and tonal considerations, full fit (Steinway style) pinblock / plate to case system, and the floating block with tuning pin plate bushing system. Shawn will also cover fitting the plate to the rim with an overview of acoustical dowel system, rim liners, and adjustable plate bolts.


(E) From the Sheep to the Cloth

Emily Townsend, RPT, Boston, MA Chapter

Gain a new appreciation for one of the most versatile materials used in piano manufacturing- WOOL! We'll start with a raw fleece straight off the sheep and see each step of the cloth making process up-close and in-person: scouring, combing, drafting, spinning, dying, weaving, and fulling/wet finishing. Materials in each phase of production will be passed around the classroom. Each process will be demonstrated small-scale in class (yes, on a real spinning wheel and a real loom), with a discussion of how these procedures are scaled-up for mass production.


(E) Fully Tempered Duplex Scale

Ed McMorrow, RPT, Seattle, WA Chapter

See, hear and learn about the state of the art of string terminations. This knowledge allows you to understand how this fundamental design feature of pianos should be configured for optimal tone and durability. Most of the pianos you encounter have below standard string terminations and this is something piano technicians can play a role in remedying in the industry if we put our minds to it.


(I,A) Soundboards We Love to Hate -- Soundboard We're Going to Love

Del Fandrich, RPT, Puget Sound, WA Chapter

The description of "traditional" soundboards is becoming blurred. Increasingly pianos are using “laminated” soundboards. Some are even using “composite” soundboards. What does all this mean? In this class, we will examine how historical soundboards work and then look at how alternative technologies are now being used to improve future pianos.


The Dangers We Face

Blaine Hebert, RPT, Los Angeles, CA Chapter

Piano work exposes us to many biological and chemical hazards which, according to public health recommendations, should be avoided at all costs. Figuring out which of these are actually deadly and which are "CYA" can be tough. Together we will sort out some of the issues.


(E) Harmony, Health and Music

Daniel Sponenburg, RPT, Reading-Lancaster, PA Chapter

Modern medicine uses laws of harmony to image, diagnose and treat illness. Music and sound has long been used in healing and renewal in many cultures. This new class explores ancient beliefs, current science, and technology that uses vibration and music. We'll also compare A-440 and A-432 tuning.


(E) Lifting Stuff

Kathy Smith, RPT, Los Angeles, CA Chapter

Piano technicians need to lift stuff pretty often. It impresses clients when you can work independently, not needing help lifting actions, corners of pianos for caster and leg repair, and so on. There are many ways to use mechanical advantage, or at least safe body mechanics, to get the tasks accomplished without damage to piano, home, client, or body. Even your own tool cases can cause repetitive injury. Some common needs and situations are presented, with many photos, demonstrations and ideas, and class participation for those who desire it.


(E) How to Organize a Chapter Seminar

Ricki Klos, RPT, Ft. Worth, TX Chapter

Learn more about the logistics of putting on a one-day or weekend chapter seminar. We will cover booking travel and hotel, communications with members, estimating food, utilizing volunteers, tool lists, registration, budgeting and more -- all with the aid of PTG website tools. Lots of handouts, samples and templates. Come learn how to create an event!


(E) Get Connected With QRS!

Lori Clutter, QRS Music Technologies

QRS has done it again! A "Ground Breaking" product ! Every technician will want 2 or 3 of these in his tool box to maximize on-site service call income. Come see what all the excitement is about - you'll be glad you did.

PianoDisc - The Future Is Here

David Huegel & Mark Burgett, Piano Disc

Hear the most up-to-date information on app and hardware development for PianoDisc iQ Player and ProRecord QuietTime systems. Also included will be music download, recording and MIDI file demonstrations.


(E) To Player or Not to Player

Matt Hirschfelder, Portland, OR Chapter

If you've ever walked into a pneumatic player piano and suddenly gasped...this is the class for you. Come explore the tools, tricks and wisdom of how to diagnose, tune, and understand this complex pre-computer system. This class will alter your piano reality!


(E) Yamaha Hybrids: It's Just Routine!

Ryan Ellison, RPT & Bill Brandom, RPT, Yamaha Corporation of America

Did you know that 20% of Yamaha acoustic piano sales are electronically-equipped?! In light of this statistic, we ask the question: “Why do acoustic piano technicians shy away from hybrid service?” In this class, we demonstrate Yamaha’s current products, discuss how hybrid service is profitable and easy, and give you the key to unlock your own hybrid business.


(E) All About Hammers

Norbert Abel, Abel Hammer Company

What raw material is used to make good hammer felt? How is hammer felt made? What is the difference between quality felt and standard felt? With the use of live videos and visuals, you’ll learn the process of felt making and take a tour through the Abel Hammer factory in Germany. In addition, Norbert will teach the basics about weight, voicing, elasticity, and hardness in hammers.


(E) All About Woodworking Hand Tools

Ben Rocke, RPT, Connecticut Chapter

Hand tool methods remain essential, even in a modern shop. Learn how to sharpen, adjust, and use the bench plane, spokeshave, chisel, rip saw, and card scraper. This class is focused on the tools, but applications to the piano shop and field service will be mentioned.

(E) Drop-In Shop 

Drop-In Shop is an onsite micro-workshop created especially for the convention so that convention attendees can observe and interact with a handful of select shop technicians and rebuilders while they work in their “shop.” We all have preferred learning styles. Drop-In Shop utilizes a variety of alternative teaching techniques other than lecture-style. Drop-In Shop will take place all day Friday in the same room as Competency Playground.


(I,A) Grand Balancing Act - Action Weigh-Off Simplified

Bruce Stevens, RPT, South Bay, CA Chapter & David Vanderlip, RPT, Orange County, CA Chapter
How many technicians approach the weigh-off of a grand action with fear and trepidation because there is not a clear definition of proper down-weight vs. up-weight? Join Bruce and David as they demystify this subject with an innovative, quick and easy method using Balance Weight protocols that greatly speeds up the weight-off procedure and provides consistent results. Other considerations of fine grand action work such as geometry, action ratio, inertia, parts selection and hammer preparation will also be covered. With time permitting, you will have a hands-on opportunity to experience this innovative method, going beyond just facts and figures. If you have been apprehensive about any of this work, you should gain confidence after attending this two-period class.


(E) Grand Rebuilding Teardown

Debbie Cyr, RPT, Boston, MA Chapter

This class is a step by step procedure for disassembling the piano before starting the rebuilding process. We will discuss a variety of ways to organize measurements, materials, and thoughts in the teardown process.


(I,A) Hand Tool Woodworking and Pianos

Ben Rocke, RPT, Connecticut Chapter

Learn about wood behavior and how to apply the techniques of hand tool woodworking to common piano repairs. Get involved with live demonstrations and class participation. With these versatile tools, you will be able complete repairs in the field, augmenting your income and avoiding costly return trips.


(I) How Piano Dampers Work

Del Fandrich, RPT, Puget Sound, WA Chapter

A theoretical and technical analysis of how piano dampers work, both grand and vertical. We will work towards understanding damper design so that when we have damper problems, we have a better approach to resolving them, taking the guesswork out of damper issues. This is not a damper regulation class.


(A) Hybrid Wire Scaling Protocols

Ed McMorrow, RPT, Seattle, WA Chapter

The new hybrid piano wire types offer many paths to improving the portions of piano scales where fully modern piano wire is placed at a low percentage of the breaking point. Some of these wire types can also be used for core wire in the wound strings to allow much cleaner, warmer tone in small pianos. The range of possibilities is quite wide and a few technicians around the world are exploring them helping to establish a new state of the art protocol for scaling pianos. Come see and hear one example of this work and a lecture explaining how to approach engineering scale modifications.


(B) Installation of the Full Fitted Grand Pinblock

Christian Bolduc, Pianos Bolduc

Watch as Christian demonstrates from A to Z how to replace a full-fitted grand pinblock. Learn how to take necessary references before removing the plate, how the use the Plate-Puller, and how to remove the pinblock using the Bolduc pinblock extractor. This class also includes fitting the new block to the plate, drilling the block, and gluing and doweling in the case. You’ll hear many tips and tricks that will help simplify your work.


(E) Keyboard Replacement: Why? How? & How Much?

Richard Cromwell, Detroit-Windsor Chapter

Replacing a worn out, badly damaged, or geometrically problematic keyset has remained an elusive and even intimidating procedure to a vast majority of technicians. This presentation will aim to change that by arming you with the knowledge required to offer this valuable and specialized service to your clientele.


(E) New Hammers - Do It Yourself or Outsource?

Norbert Abel, Abel Hammer Company

Whether doing all hammer replacement by yourself or outsourcing some jobs, it is important as a technician to use your time efficiently to improve business and optimize your work. Norbert talks about unbored (for self-boring), standard bored and custom-made hammers. We’ll also cover refelting existing hammers and making square grand hammers. 30 years of quality hammer making allows the Abel Hammer Company to offer expert advice and full service for all technicians.


(I,A) Rebuilder's Grab Bag, Chapter 2

David Hughes, RPT, Baltimore, MD Chapter

Attendees of this class in St. Louis last year suggested it should be stretched to a two-period class to cover all the promoted material. Their wish is Dave's command! This new 180-minute potpourri will cover a myriad of topics for rebuilders of all experience levels including plate refinishing, plate fasteners, bridge cap layout, damper action installation, hammer weight, keyboard touch weight and more.


(A) Reimagine, Reinvent and Rebuild Bridges

Jude Reveley, RPT, Boston, MA Chapter

Rebuilding bridges is one of, if not the most, complicated tasks a rebuilder can face. The work must be precise and so much is on the line. Until recently, the industry standard involved an antiquated process for setting down-bearing and replicating the bridgepin pattern. The standard has now changed, and the revolution is about to begin. Don’t miss out!


(B) Replacing the Upright Pinblock

Christian Bolduc, Pianos Bolduc

In a time where people are downsizing, upright pianos are in greater demand. See how replacing a pinblock can give new life and value to an old upright piano. In this fast-paced class, you will learn how to take necessary references before removing the sides of the piano, protocol to removing the pinblock using the Bolduc’s upright pinblock extractor and fitting the new block to the piano frame, as well as drilling it, gluing and dowelling in the case. You’ll come away with many tips and tricks to simplify your work.

(E) A Special Piano Deserves Special Preparation

David Durben, RPT, Bösendorfer

In this class, we will show the manufacturer's own procedures for the best refinement and most true-to-form preparation of the Bösendorfer piano.  Whether making the piano ready for selection, public performance, or a child's education, we want you to have the manufacturer's recommended specifications and methods in hand, for the best possible results, to say nothing of the efficient use of your time.

(E) Setting Up Shop

Norman Cantrell, RPT, Central Oklahoma Chapter

This class will present an overview of basic considerations when designing and putting together a workable shop space or improving what you already have. We will discuss "must have tools" as well as consider space saving options. We'll also discuss ergonomics, and health and safety in the workplace. All participants will receive a template for tracking time and expenses to move from having a hobby to becoming a professional.


(E) Simple Ways to Adjust Action Touch Resistance -- a Contrarian Approach

Keith Akins, RPT, Appleton, WI Chapter

Why is it that static touchweight measurements do not reliably predict dynamic player experience? What is the "velocity constant" and how does understanding what it is help in setting piano touch? What might a customer really mean about the condition of a piano they say has a "heavy touch" or "light touch"? Learn why using that terminology may even lead away from finding a workable solution. This class will challenge some of the popular notions about setting touchweight, and will equip you to implement simple and effective solutions to your customers touch effort issues.


(I,A) To Hang or Not To Hang (the Upright Hammer)

Keith Bowman, RPT & Mike Carraher, RPT, Hailun USA (Vienna International)

What action part wears the quickest? The hammer. What action part most affects the action geometry, tone and tuneability? The hammer. When dealing with hammer wear, you must decide whether to file the hammers or to replace them. This all-day class covers action evaluation and diagnostics, action tear down, parts alignment and traveling. We demonstrate accurate hammer filing with the shanks attached, and hammer hanging using a new fixture. Never use old shanks! Learn how to accurately bore the original hammer butt to accept new shanks. Equipment setup and shop safety also covered.


(B) WNG Product Handling and Installation

Mark Burgett & Bruce Clark, Wessel, Nickel and Gross

This class will demonstrate hard bushing pinning, hammer hanging with CA glue and composite shanks, installing the sostenuto system, modifying the grand whippen rail for WNG repetitions, and more…

(I) Working with Hammers

Dale Erwin, RPT & Jacob Erwin, Erwin's Piano Restoration Inc

Explore what makes piano hammers work, choosing the right hammer for the piano, shaping hammers with a mini belt sander, voicing with B72 and other solutions, and choosing the right action parts and hammer weights. 35 years of hammer expertise in an hour and a half! All skill levels welcome.


(E) Action Cloth, Action Felt: How to Make a Firm Choice

Norman Cantrell, RPT, Central Oklahoma Chapter

This class provides an overview of felt and cloth used in piano actions. Students will learn proper selection criteria for felt and cloth as well as methods to cut and prepare material for use in pianos. A discussion of proper adhesives will also be included.


(E) Buzzing About Buzzes - Finding and Eliminating Buzzes

David Reed, RPT, Kawai America

One of the most frustrating parts of our job is finding and eliminating buzzing noises. In this class we will not only cover possible sources of buzzes, but more importantly guidance on how to track them down and locate the noise - which can be the hardest part - and then how to eliminate the noise.


(I,A) Evaluations and Comprehensive Piano Appraisals

Mike Ello, RPT, Houston, TX Chapter           

As professional piano technicians, we can offer our customers a simple evaluation of a piano for a potential purchase or sale. We can also provide a more comprehensive piano appraisal that will meet the requirements necessary for insurance value coverage or the fair market donation value on IRS form 8283. Find out more about providing these services to your customers.


(E) First Do No Harm

Steve Brady, RPT, Seattle, WA Chapter and Carl Lieberman, South Bay, CA Chapter

A look at the ways in which piano technicians tend to damage the pianos they work on, and how they sometimes hurt their own bodies. Includes suggestions for reversing or preventing the damage.


(E) Fix That Lyre

Debbie Cyr, RPT, Boston, MA Chapter

Learn about all kinds of grand lyre repairs, featuring proper repairs for unglued lyre posts, a whirlwind pedal box tour, and all kinds of pedal mechanisms. You’ll also see a demonstration of just how easy installing a Steinway lyre really is.


(E) The Full-Service Approach to Piano Maintenance

Steve Brady, RPT, Seattle, WA Chapter

Take your daily work to a new level with this full-service approach, by "servicing" instead of "tuning" the pianos in your clientele. Increase your income and customer satisfaction while making your job more interesting and rewarding.


(E) Glue: Getting into a Sticky Situation

Duane McGuire, RPT, Salt Lake City, UT Chapter

In repair and rebuilding, many choices of glues are available. This class will discuss the attributes of glues available and their application in piano work. We'll also have a bit of fun with some destructive testing, but without destroying an actual piano.


(B) Humidity & Wood

Christian Bolduc, Pianos Bolduc & Charles Rempel, Dampp-Chaser Corp.

Join in this discussion-style class in which we analyze the relationship between relative humidity and wood. Our goal is to equip technicians with a better understanding of exactly what fluctuating humidity does to wood in general and pianos specifically. We'll also discuss what steps are taken to counteract improper humidity levels and fluctuations in the Bolduc factory, and what can be done to help pianos wherever they are.


(B) It's Not Up to You

Bill Monroe, RPT, Madison, WI Chapter

Come learn a philosophy to selling work – from basic repairs to complete rebuilding - based upon educating our clients and helping THEM decide how best to service their pianos. We’ll show organizational worksheets and templates, talk about how to present information to our clients, and will explore many of the jobs we sell - as well as some potential pitfalls.


(I) It's Your Caul - The Spurlock Method

Jacob Erwin & Trix Erwin, Erwin's Piano Restoration, Inc.

We’ll make keybushing replacement fun, fast and accurate using the Spurlock Two Caul Method. The class includes a step-by-step slide/video presentation and a hands-on portion.


(E) Lacquer Finish Repair

Ruth Zeiner, RPT, Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter

See a demonstration of the touch-up of traditional finishes. Discover how to make repairs and de-gunk the finish. Burn-ins, color matching, pigments vs. dyes and other subjects will be covered. Bring your questions.


(E) Make It Shine – Polyester Finish Repair

Ruth Zeiner, RPT, Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter

Having the skills to cope with scratches, dings and gouges in glossy finishes enhances your value to your customers. Many nicks and scratches are easy to repair with minimal material investment. Repairs, sanding out scratches, and polishing will be demonstrated and discussed.


(I) Marking & Measuring

Louis del Bene, RPT, Boston, MA Chapter

How do you say that? Visual marks vs guiding marks. Matching marking tools to cutting tools. A discussion of these things and more can improve our communication with customers, technicians and suppliers, and increase precision and speed in our daily work on site and in the shop using traditional tools and methods.


(E) One-Day Grand Piano Service

Don Mannino, RPT, Kawai America

This all-day class will feature a grand piano which has been used and abused and needs service badly. Don will demonstrate practical and efficient methods for making an unhappy older piano into an enjoyable, pleasing musical instrument in the space of a one-day service appointment. Topics discussed and demonstrated will be prioritizing and planning the day’s work, cleaning, keyboard easing and lubrication, fast hammer filing methods, and a session on grand regulation for maximum performance. Mixed into the demonstrations will be discussions of action center service, grand action regulation methods with and without specifications, full-piano voicing, tuning stability, plus snippets and guidance for concert tuning voicing (piano permitting!). Don will not just talk about the work - he will be demonstrating the actual work for us, filing hammers, regulating and voicing one section of the piano, allowing us to experience the results and see how he got there.


(E) Piano Cleaning

Joe Garrett, RPT, Portland, OR Chapter

Learn more about total cleaning of the piano from top to bottom and side to side. We’ll discuss needed materials, too. This class also deals with contamination that can be found in pianos.


(E) Piano Technicians Playground

Bill Davis, RPT, Gabe Granitz, RPT & Sheffey Gregory, RPT, Atlanta Chapter

The ever-evolving Playground has multiple workstations where individuals watch a video demonstration, then practice the skill. All tasks are presented in a step-by-step manner in an environment that promotes success. Whether a beginner or a 30-year technician, you'll find this hands-on class, where tools and materials are provided, to be a best-practice opportunity to explore, discover, improve and polish skills.


(E) Pre-Purchase Inspections for Long Distance Piano Buyers

Ben Rocke, RPT, Connecticut Chapter

In the age of Amazon and eBay, piano buyers are increasingly willing to spend thousands or tens of thousands on used pianos, sight unseen, from buyers across the country. Learn how to perform and document an inspection so thoroughly that your clients will feel secure in their decision. With these skills, the value of all your inspections will be enhanced, along with your reputation and income!


(I, A) Progressive Approach to Agraffe Repair

Mike Ello, RPT, Houston, TX Chapter           

Is there an element of fear you sense when you take on an agraffe repair? Mike will share his smart six level systematic approach to repairing agraffes. This method is foolproof and will replace the fear with confidence when performing this repair.


(E) Rattles and Buzzes and Clicks, Oh My!

Emily Townsend, RPT, Boston, MA Chapter & John Parham, RPT, Charlotte, NC Chapter

When a client uses words like buzz, rattle, or click, many of us are filled with a sense of dread. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we were filled with a sense of adventure instead? Through many video and photographic examples, we will cover reliable, step-by-step protocols for diagnosing unwelcome noises.


(E) Required Reading for Piano Technicians

Greg Cheng, RPT, Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter

Hands-on learning, coupled with personal experience, is great but what if you could enhance your hands-on knowledge with theoretical and practical knowledge that is readily available to us? We’ll go through the required text every technician should have, discuss the pitfalls of only book knowledge, and finally lay out a step-by-step guide for beginners, intermediate, and advanced techs.


(E) Respectfully Refining the Steinway Piano

Jude Reveley, RPT, Boston, MA Chapter

What makes the Steinway piano and its servicing different from other pianos? As a custom-crafted instrument, each Steinway piano has unique characteristics, and its maintenance and restoration therefore require specific skills to realize its full potential. This class will explore these unique features, procedures and specialty tools that go beyond routine piano service, and whether modifications to the original design can be taken too far. Or not?


(I,A) The Una Corda

Carl Radford, RPT, North Shore, IL Chapter

We’ll take a closer look at the second most overlooked and neglected pedal on the piano, and learn how to make it operate smoothly, consider various shift positions, and examine several techniques to voice the hammers in the shifted position for optimal tone. When well-regulated and voiced, the soft pedal can add another beautiful color in the musician’s palette and take your voicing to a higher level.


(E) Vertical and Grand Dampers

Richard Bittner, RPT, Detroit Windsor, MI Chapter

This technical class focuses on grand and vertical dampers and what to do when the dampers are not working correctly. We’ll start with damper sitting, move to adjusting the up-stop rail and also view a demonstration on what to do when the ringing will not stop.


(B) Wood Identification for Piano Technicians

Louis del Bene, RPT, Boston, MA Chapter

As technicians, understanding our materials is vital to creative problem solving and gaining confidence in our work. This class takes a hands-on approach to identifying and describing woods found in and around the piano. Participation is encouraged by examining, describing, and drawing various pieces of wood and their grain orientations. 


(E) Advanced Basic Tuning Theory

Keith Kopp, RPT & Aaron Kopp, Audio Sound Technician

This is a new in-depth study developed for this year’s institute. We will explore the traditional way we have been taught what “beats” are and how we have tuned with them. We will provide new insights into what is actually being heard. Beginning tuners will have a better understanding of what to listen for. Experienced tuners will gain new insights into what they are hearing. In both cases, you should come away a better tuner.


(E) All's Well That Ends Well: Interpretation of Piano Music Played in Equal and Well Temperaments

Carl Radford, RPT, North Shore, IL Chapter

Do pianists play music in Well Temperament differently than in Equal Temperament? Should the tempos, pedaling or nuances change? Do composers compose differently based on the tuning? A variety of music will be performed and interpreted on two pianos tuned in Equal and Well temperaments. We’ll explore how to utilize each tuning to bring out the best in the music, and the music to bring out the best in each tuning.


(E) Better Tunings, More Money: Dead Simple Tools You Can Use Right Now

David Andersen, South Bay, CA Chapter

A lot of incredible career opportunities have come David's way because he could tune a piano to sound better, more musical, than the last person. It’s opened many doors over a four-decade career. He's made it his business and pleasure to break down his protocol for a great tuning into super-simple, easily heard and understood parts, instantly useable no matter what tuning method you employ. Your ears are the final judge of a tuning. No question. David will show you ways to immediately increase your precision, focus, and “musicality.”


(E) Dynamics of Pitch Raising

Joe Garrett, RPT, Portland, OR Chapter

The dynamics of pitch raising is based on ETD use, but it is not exclusive to ETD’s and can be used for aural tuning. Come learn more about how this works.


(E) Five Masters

Rick Baldassin RPT, Steve Brady RPT, Dan Levitan RPT, Don Mannino RPT, Eric Schandall RPT

Experience a rare opportunity to learn from five of PTG’s finest. Each will demonstrate their tuning hammer technique, how they develop stability, how to tune perfect unisons, and how they manage pins and strings that do not render well. You’ll see demonstrations on both grand and vertical pianos. Compare their techniques and learn how to improve your own.


(E) The Fundamentals of Tuning

Don Mannino, RPT, Kawai America

This class is a "bottom to top" lecture and demonstration of the many aspects of piano tuning. Discussed are fundamental physics of musical sounds, the harmonic series, the source of the beats we hear, an aural temperament sequence, octave tuning methods and styles, unison tuning, and tuning stability. Although the class is intended for relative newcomers, it has materials useful to all technicians.


(E) Hearing Aids and Our Clients

Joe Garrett, RPT, Portland, OR Chapter

Join this open forum discussion on communicating with customers who wear hearing aids. We’ll also have a discussion on hearing aids in general. Joe comes at it from lifelong personal experience.


(E) Pass the PTG Tuning Exam the First Time: Techniques for Mastering the Mid-Range

Randi Potter, RPT, ARPT, Portland OR Chapter

In talking with examiners and examinees, you hear that many (some say most) who fail the aural portion of the Tuning Exam actually passed the Temperament Octave (13 notes), but failed the 11 remaining notes in the Mid-Range. Learn why this happens, and how to tune smooth octaves not just in the center but also extending your good temperament into the treble and bass (whether or not you are using an ETD, or tuning strictly aurally).


(I) Piano Tuning Theory: Inharmonicity, Partials, Math, Hertz and Cents

Eathan Janney, RPT, New York City Chapter

Gain confidence with theoretical knowledge. More deeply understand what inharmonicity curves are, how they interact across the range of the piano, what 6:3, 4:2 octaves or coincident partials “look” like represented graphically. Quickly calculate fundamental frequencies of adjacent notes and convert between Hertz and Cents in different ranges of the piano.


(E) Reinventing the Tuning Hammer

Dan Levitan, RPT, New York City Chapter

Learn more about the physics and engineering behind the C-shaped tuning lever, a radically different approach to turning tuning pins that - since its introduction 5 years ago - has become the hammer of choice of an increasing number of technicians. See why they find it to be more effective and more ergonomic than traditional L- and T-shaped levers.


(E) Strategies for Passing Part 1 of the PTG Tuning Exam

Bill Bremmer, RPT, Madison, WI Chapter

The focus will be exclusively on the techniques required to pass Part 1 of the PTG Tuning Exam. We'll cover finding pitch from a tuning fork or electronic tone. Four temperament tuning sequences will be demonstrated: traditional 4ths & 5ths and three sequences from a chain of contiguous major thirds.


(E) Temperament Theory Without Tears

Steve Brady, RPT, Seattle, WA Chapter

Not quite clear on why we have to temper the scale? Or the difference between Meantone Temperament, Well Temperament, and Equal Temperament? In this class we explore the whole topic with no need for mathematics beyond arithmetic. Includes demonstrations at the piano and video musical examples.


(E) Tuning: Dialogue with David Andersen

David Andersen, South Bay, CA Chapter

Find out everything you wanted to know about aural tuning, but were afraid to ask. You'll enjoy this unique opportunity to hear from one of our most talented technicians and presenters.


(I,A) Tuning Hammer Techniques and A Little About the Human Ear

Eric Schandall, RPT, New York City Chapter

We begin with some interesting facts about the human ear and its capacities, the difference between hearing and listening, and some thoughts on what we can do to enhance both. This will be followed by techniques that can help in achieving better tuning stability, one of the most important aspects of our work, whether tuning aurally or with an ETD.

(I,A) Tuning Limits

Daniel Sponenburg, RPT, Reading-Lancaster Chapter

Craftsmen must know and enjoy their materials and their limitations - be it wood, stone, metal, clay or sound. We tuners must know the material that is harmony. Tuning Limits explores the tangible factors that make harmony sound good, the musical commas and other factors that compromise harmony.


(E) Tuning Mechanics, Tuning Hammers and Their Techniques

Baoli Liu, RPT, Madison, WI Chapter

The first part of this class is a report of tuning mechanics research conducted by three piano technicians with mechanical backgrounds. The research introduces a few conclusions regarding tuning mechanics. The second part of this class is a demonstration of a variety of tuning hammers and hammer techniques related to the application of these conclusions.


(E) Tuning Tutoring

Taylor Mackinnon, RPT, Portland, OR Chapter & Richard West, RPT, Tucson, AZ Chapter

There’s no better way to improve your tuning than one-on-one tutoring by a master tuner. Private tutoring will benefit you no matter what your skill level. With outstanding tuning tutors, you’ll find a universe of tuning

Knowledge to explore. This all takes place in a one-on-one format lasting 90 minutes. Limit of 18 Slots. Fee: $120.00. You must pre-register for this class by calling (913) 432-9975. 

(A) Victorian Temperament: A Practical Method for Accurate Realization on the Modern Piano

Dennis Johnson, RPT, Twin Cities, MN Chapter

Are you interested in exploring tasteful adaptations of Unequal Temperament but confused by countless formulas and unsure where to start? Have you tried available user temperament files on a modern piano but were dissatisfied with the results? In this class we will immerse ourselves in the aesthetic of Victorian Temperament and reveal a simple method for accurately realizing this subtle, but difficult style. For Cybertuner users, you will also receive new user temperament offset numbers in two different versions, depending on size of the piano being sampled.  It doesn’t get easier than that. While we discuss information useful to tuners at all levels of experience, and all are welcome, it should be noted that a confident understanding of equal temperament will be presumed. If you have not heard a well-balanced, subtle Victorian Style tuning on a nice, modern piano you will be in for a surprise.


CyberTuner's Continual Evolution

Dean Reyburn, RPT & Carl Lieberman, RPT, Reyburn CyberTuner, Inc.

Optimized for both iPads and iPhones/iPods, iRCT matches the way you work. Learn about improved Pure 12th, single pass tunings including pitch adjustment, more customizable with NEW Custom Equalizer.


(E) Tuning Effectively with the Accu-Tuner

Randi Potter, RPT, ARPT, Portland, OR Chapter

Learn how you can use the Accu-Tuner to lighten your work load. It has the ability to take the work out of tuning, letting you auto pilot through your tunings, saving your ears and brain a lot of work. Take three measurements and get tuning quickly and accurately. We'll cover creating tunings with and without custom adjustments to tailor the tuning to your taste. Come with your questions and we'll make time to answer them.


(E) Tuning with the Verituner

Dave Carpenter, RPT, Veritune, Inc.

See up close how to take advantage of the unique tuning features of the Verituner product line, including our app for iPhone, iPod and iPad. We will cover pitch raises, fine tuning, setting standard pitch, temperament, stretch styles, and saving tunings. Learn the best practices for getting a great sounding tuning on any piano with the fewest steps.


(E) Unison Building with Unisono

Bernhard Stopper, Germany & Kent Swafford, RPT, Kansas City, MO Chapter

In this class, presenters demonstrate unison building in the tuning process with support from the Unisono app, which provides a fascinating visual feedback to get the unsions ultra clean, projecting and long sustaining. Unisono is used along with OnlyPure in this class, but can also be used side by side with other ETD ́s or even as support with aural tuning.


(I,A) A Master's Approach to Performance Preparation

Ace Ugai & David Durben, RPT, Yamaha Corporation of America

The class is listed under the category Voicing, but involves much more than shaping and needling hammers. A master of the craft must include consideration of the room acoustics, tuning and action regulation specifically tailored for those conditions, and finally manipulation of the hammers for best effect. In this class we will identify the sounds and effects to look for, and demonstrate how to listen, evaluate and manipulate all of those facets.

(E, I,A) A Practical Method for Efficient and Effective Tone Regulation

Dennis Johnson, RPT, Twin Cities, MN Chapter

In this class we'll talk about the proper mind-set for quickly strategizing your approach to voicing piano hammers. It turns out even experienced technicians can be guilty of tackling this problem from a reverse direction that will compromise your effectiveness. How do we make initial strategy decisions in contrasting situations, with flexibility to modify our approach as the piano dictates? This class is not just talk though, because you’ll also witness a complete, reasonable voicing on a nice, sample grand piano within our time limit for the class. The techniques revealed in this class are methods evolved from over 30 years of experience as a full-time CAUT. If you have any doubt regarding your voicing procedures on a variety of makes this class will be helpful to you.


(E) Angel Shot Voicing

Zhiwei Huang, RPT, San Francisco Chapter

Learn a revolutionary technique for coping with too-loud pianos with hard hammers. This easy to learn, fast and effective method eliminates spending hours pounding needles into hammers with little effect. Give customers dramatically improved tone at low cost. This popular class was written up in the December 2011 Piano Technicians Journal.


(E) Butter Your Tunings

Greg Cheng, RPT, Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter

Find out how an extra 5 to 10 minutes during a tuning appointment can lead to a lifetime of satisfaction and improvement for both the customer and technician. Learn to apply a service level of voicing to create a better tuning for your customers. The methods shown in this class can be handled by all levels of technicians. While employing these methods the technician will gradually enhance voicing proficiency as well as provide a better service for the customer.


(E) How To Make A Piano Sing                              

Davis Andersen, South Bay, CA Chapter

When a good piano is brought to its maximum efficiency via regulation, tuning, and voicing, something magnificent happens; it starts to “sing,” to bloom, to sustain. Players start to smile, checks are written, everybody’s happy. If a piano technician can master these skills, success in our business is assured. We’ll be working with one of the finest pianos in the world, the Mason & Hamlin, and we’ll be paying special attention to the revolutionary and spectacular WNG parts, and how the whole M&H system works together, but the information presented applies to all pianos. Special and famous guests will appear.


(E) Tone Building: Pragmatic, Intuitive, and Inclusive

Jim Busby, RPT, Utah Valley Chapter & Vince Mrykalo, RPT, Kansas City, MO Chapter

In this class we will approach voicing, or "tone building" from a different angle. While we still primarily use "traditional" methods of voicing, we will also explore tried and true "alternative" voicing methods. As the title states: Pragmatic: Do what works. Intuitive: Use tactile and auditory skills rather than follow rote methods. Inclusive: Explore techniques that others have successfully used for years.


(E) Two Steps Forward: Game-Changing Advances in Piano Hammer Voicing

Dan Levitan, RPT, New York City Chapter & Ken Eschete, RPT, Inland Northwest, WA Chapter, Special Guest: David Koenig

Introducing Acryloid B-72, an inexpensive, non-toxic, rapidly-drying hardener that increases power but not stridency; and a new method of needle insertion that rapidly and precisely changes the distribution of tension and compression in hammer felt. Added bonus: a high-efficiency, low-tech hammer mating and string leveling method.


(E) Voicing Abel Hammers

Joe Swenson, Samick & Norbert Abel, Abel Hammer Company

This class will begin with a presentation covering the piano hammer manufacturing process, and materials used in three separate types of Abel hammers. You’ll then see a demonstration of a variety of voicing procedures ­using examples of these various types of hammers which have all been installed on a section of a single piano. This set-up will help highlight the various tonal characteristics ­- and voicing requirements - of the different types of hammers.


(I,A) Voicing the Treble In Grand Pianos

Eric Schandall, RPT, New York City Chapter

The treble in grand pianos can be the most difficult register to voice. There are many techniques that can be used to help in getting the best we can from this area. As time allows, we will explore the tolerance of the hammer to needling, over needling, and possible recovery of good tone from overzealous voicing. There will be reference to preparation of concert and recording instruments throughout the class.


(E) Voicing Without Needles

Zhiwei Huang, RPT, San Francisco Chapter

To piano owners and technicians, voicing means using needles and lacquer, but these should be "weapons of last resort." This class demonstrates other ways to get quick and effective results without jabbing or juicing. Learn how to make tone more focused and make a spinet sound like a grand. 



(E) Introduction to the RPT Written Exam

Robert Guenther, RPT

This class is revealing. It will acquaint you with the field of knowledge that will be explored on the Written Exam. It will expose the breadth of material with which you will need to be familiar as a piano technician. If you are new to the field, come find out what you need to know. For PTG Associate members only.


(E) Take the RPT Written Examination

Robert Guenther, RPT

This is your opportunity to take the RPT Written Exam. Examinees should come to the room indicated on the schedule. Visually impaired technicians will take their exams in the ETSC office. You must bring your current PTG membership card with you to take the exam. No extra fee required to take the written exam. For PTG Associate members only.



(E) Inside the Tuning Exam

Keith Kopp, RPT 

You will be led through the requirements of the RPT Tuning Exam and an overview of exam equipment and procedures. Find out how to prepare for the exam, what tools and supplies you will need to bring to the exam site and what examinees are entitled to before, during and after the examination. Learn how to best utilize your time, improve efficiency and cope with exam anxiety, and other skills and strategies you need to successfully tackle the exam. For PTG members only.



(I) Intro to PTG Technical Exam

Dave Davis, RPT & Hannah Beckett, RPT

We will walk through the Technical Exam and its requirements. There will be examples of exam equipment, models, and jigs such as one would find on the test, including a preview of the new 3-note grand model which will be implemented in the near future. Come find out how to prepare for the exam, what tools and supplies you will need to bring to the exam site, and what examinees are entitled to before, during and after the examination. Learn ways to best utilize your time, improve efficiency, and cope with exam anxiety and other strategies to help you successfully tackle the exam and become a part of your daily field work. There will be plenty of time for Q&A. For PTG Associate members only.


Tuning Examiner and Assistant Training

Alan Crane, RPT & Atsundo Aikawa, RPT

RPT certification is one of the core benefits PTG offers to its members. Also, exam rooms can be the best place to learn. In this class, you’ll find out how to become a Certified Tuning Examiner (CTE). We’ll discuss tips for giving a good exam, aural verification, and possible pitfalls. For RPT members only.


(I) Technical Examiner Training and Requirements

Dave Davis, RPT

The supervising examiner on a Technical Exam must be certified as a Technical Examiner, Certified (TEC) in order for the exam to be valid. We’ll discuss the certification requirements, demonstrate exam equipment, analyze the skills and attitudes required of a competent examiner, and talk about common exam problems and issues. All RPTs with an interest in Technical testing, TECs with questions, TEC trainees and RPTs just thinking about getting involved in testing are invited to attend. For RPT members only.