Piano Tuning by Jim Selleck, Brighton, Michigan

Piano Tuning by Jim Selleck, Brighton, Michigan Piano Tuning and Repair Services in S.E. Michigan

Please visit the web site for more information: www.selleckpiano.com

Its great to be back to visiting customers to get their pianos back in shape, albeit with a few changes to keep things a...

Its great to be back to visiting customers to get their pianos back in shape, albeit with a few changes to keep things as clean and germ-free as practical.

Yesterday I tended to Jerry's 100+ year-old Cable-Nelson player piano. Jerry is a professional piano player and had been keeping the piano maintained regularly until about 12 years ago when his previous tuner passed away.

Now, he's ready to do some YouTube concerts using the big old piano to take advantage of its booming voice (you just can't find the same great sound on a digital piano), however the instrument needed some repair. At least 8 keys were either not working, working poorly, or making weird buzzing noises.

I had my work cut out for me, but fortunately had all of the necessary parts and pieces and tools in my kit to get all 88 keys back to full function. Bring on the concerts!

Pictured below are the harp of the piano just after removal of the player mechanism and the piano "action" (yes, if you have sharp eyes, there are 3 strings missing) and the action itself set up on Jerry's dining room table during the repair process.


Available to tune up your piano now.

As life slowly returns above ground here on Planet Michigan, I have resumed making appointments. Things have changed, of course, and your kids may now be communicating with their piano teacher via a laptop or even a phone screen. If so, that makes it even more important for the pitch of your piano to match that of the instructor.

Call 810-360-3896


The curve is flattening - but is it safe to have your piano tuned?

As I type these words, tomorrow will be May 1st, 2020, and what a March and April it has been! Most of us have been staying at home, practicing social distancing, and doing whatever we can to inhibit the spread of the C-19 virus. Meanwhile increasingly louder voices shout conflicting messages from all sides, and nobody can seem to agree on the best and safest way for us all to get back to work and school and life in general.

It's nearly impossible to filter out the noise to isolate the truth at this point, and your conclusions may be different than mine, but I am considering the following points to be probably right.

1. Covid-19 is highly communicable because it is new (novel) and therefore most of us don't carry protective antibodies.

2. Most people who catch it simply recover. Kids and healthy adults are pretty much not in danger of dying, except for rare exceptions where the disease progresses to a pneumonia stage, which is always serious and potentially fatal.

3. Older folks and anyone with a preexisting health condition that has weakened them are in danger from C-19. We continue to exercise caution and to observe extraordinary sanitation measures primarily to protect them from being exposed.

4. We know now that many people may be infected with C-19 without having any symptoms. We are not certain if asymptomatic carriers are also potential "spreaders" of the disease, but based on the way nursing homes have experienced rapid infection even without allowing symptomatic visitors, its seems likely that you can be breathing out droplets containing the virus even if you are feeling fine. This is why wearing masks in public buildings and continued social distancing are responsible decisions.

5. Doctors are actively working to develop drugs and possible vaccines for C-19. There are positive indications from around the world that certain drugs and therapies may be helpful in mitigating the symptoms (reducing contagion) and most importantly in helping patients resist the disease, recovering faster, and potentially avoiding the potentially deadly pneumonia stage.

6. There is no way to stop the spread of C-19 entirely. The most we can do is to try to manage our resources by slowing the spread for a time while we ready better defenses. We have done so. At some point the normal progression will continue until enough of us develop natural immunity sufficient to slow it down naturally. Shortly after that we should have vaccines to help protect those most vulnerable.

I see positive news among the negative. Nevertheless we are most definitely not out of the woods and likely will not be back to a place where everyone feels "safe" for several more months.

But continuing to keep large portions of our lives completely "on-hold" is not a viable option. Therefore, various businesses and services are being allowed to resume operations on a limited, phased basis. Everyone is being encouraged to behave responsibly to avoid needlessly spreading C-19 any faster than necessary.

So what about having a technician come into your home to service the piano? Well, first of all, don't do it if you feel in any way apprehensive about the possibility of contagion, because nobody can provide an absolute guarantee that their body, tools and clothing are 100% sanitized. The piano will not be damaged by waiting another 2 or 3 months to get it tuned.

As your piano technician, I offer assurance that, as I resume visits to customers' homes, I am observing extraordinary measures including frequent hand washing, frequent disinfection of my tools and tool cases using solutions containing chemicals we know degrade C-19. Also, I will immediately cancel all appointments if I am showing symptoms of any respiratory condition.

While in your home, I will observe social distancing and will clean any surfaces I touch with disinfectant. If you request it, I will wear a mask.

But... even given all those common-sense precautions, I can not guarantee you that I will not unintentionally bring C-19 into your home, just as you cannot guarantee that I won't come into contact with the virus from someone in your home who is unknowingly contagious. The risk level cannot be reduced to zero.

I am comfortable with resuming operations at this time on a limited basis, not more than one customer visit per day. Only you can determine, in discussion with the members of your household, what is your personal acceptable risk level.

The decision is yours.


Is your piano a vector for viruses?

Probably not, but germs like coronavirus can live on surfaces like your piano keys. If a contagious person sneezes or coughs and leaves fluid droplets behind, it could be possible to pick those up on your fingers for up to 48 hours.

The good news is there is no reason to nail the lid shut on your piano during flu season, and by using a few simple common-sense procedures and precautions, no reason not to have your piano teacher or piano tuner come to the house.

As the CDC tells us, we don't know everything about coronavirus just yet, but we do know that washing hands thoroughly with soap is a fantastic start toward avoiding spreading it. So, as your piano tuner, my first action is to do just that between visits to customer homes, just as I always have, only perhaps a little more carefully.

We know that disinfectants containing alcohol work well too, so its not a bad idea to spray a little Lysol around your piano, but be careful not to get too much on it, both for the sake of the furniture finish and to avoid saturating the felts.

Disinfectant hand wipes can be used on the keys as well, but again, always avoid getting too much moisture down around and between the keys. Its bad news if the wood absorbs enough moisture to warp, and just as bad if the felt bushings get too wet.

Better might be to have all players use hand sanitizer before and after playing, and of course, everyone needs to get out of the habit of touching their faces.

That's all I have to recommend. Epidemics can be scary, but we can still enjoy making music during the adventure if we just exercise a little of that old fashioned common sense.


Today I tuned a fairly unusual and fun piano. A blast from the 1970's past for sure! This 1978 Marantz Pianocorder is one of the first digital player pianos that used cassette tapes. It also had the unique (at the time) ability to RECORD the performance of any player on a cassette tape. That means in addition to the usual set of actuators that push up the back of each key for playing, it ALSO has a complete set of sensors to be able to capture the player actions on the keyboard and pedals. Very cool early digital electronic technology!


Piano tuning and repair services are uninterrupted and unaffected by the current rash of fear and panic that has overtaken the public at large. Its flu season. We do what we do every year. Spray disinfectant on touched surfaces, wash hands, use hand sanitizer, avoid touching our faces. Business as usual. Call me. I'll come to your house. If the kids start coughing, postpone. No big deal. Same as every year at this time.


Happy 2020 to everyone!!

New year note: a common problem with upright pianos happens when you set a pencil down on the music desk and afterward it rolls unnoticed down into the piano action. Said pencil may then adversely affect the operation of one or more adjacent keys.

I call the removal of pencils from the piano action a "Pencilectomy" to make it sound kind of like a medical procedure.

I perform pencil removals at no charge for my tuning customers as a courtesy, but mostly because I love saying the phrase:

"Pencilectomies are free."

Is your piano sounding farther out of tune this fall than usual?  If you live in Michigan, that's not surprising.  It's ...

Is your piano sounding farther out of tune this fall than usual? If you live in Michigan, that's not surprising. It's the damp weather we've had this year.

I haven't looked at the statistics, but the sheer number of pianos I have encountered in the last 6 weeks with very sharp notes in the tenor and lower treble sections speaks of a heck of a lot of humidity in the air this year. That humidity has been absorbed by piano soundboards resulting in swelling of the wood, pushing the bridges out and tightening the strings. This raises the pitch most noticeably in the area where the soundboard has its largest surface area, the lower middle.

And as it happens, when those particular notes (in roughly the left hand octave down below middle-C) go sharp relative to the rest of the piano, the result is a really awful sound.

Of course, your tuner can readily reduce the tension to bring those sharp strings back down into lovely harmonious intonation with the rest of the instrument, but its not quite that easy. The challenge lies also in the weather.

Michigan winters are dry. Well, the air is. And unless you have a really good humidifier servicing the room where you keep your piano, the soundboard is going to tend to shrink back down, making those same notes go flatter than usual.

So in a year like this we tuners are faced with some tricky decisions. Sometimes, if we can, we may try to leave those formerly-sharp notes just a LITTLE bit sharp, knowing that by November or December they very likely will ease back down a bit, potentially bringing the piano closer in tune and reducing how far it has to be brought back up to pitch if you have a winter or spring tuning done.

It's tricky alright, but there is a way to avoid these problems. If you can put the piano in a place where the humidity remains pretty much constant all year round (wood tends to most like about 45%) and does not change significantly, your piano will tend to stay much closer in tune between tunings, and your piano technician will be much happier too.

Hey friends - I have an electronic digital piano to sell.  First a word about why I have it, and why it's for sale:Natur...

Hey friends - I have an electronic digital piano to sell. First a word about why I have it, and why it's for sale:

Naturally, you would expect any piano technician like moi to have a REAL acoustic piano at home, and I would, only life is not quite that simple. I arrive home late often and want to practice after the house has gone to sleep, so I needed a real-sounding, good feeling piano that could be played silently through headphones, to avoid waking everyone up.

So in 2013 I did a bunch of research and tried a few, and eventually determined that the Casio CDP-200 series pianos had the piano-like feel and sound suitable to keep me (and my family) happy.

Only (and here's the rest of the story) I did not have any confidence that my new Casio digital piano would be sturdy or durable, so I ended up buying TWO. The first one I set up in the living room, where it lives today, still going strong, playing and sounding great. The spare has been in a climate controlled storage locker, never opened, literally still new in the boxes.

It has become clear to me that these Casio pianos are built like tanks and will never break down, so its time to sell the spare to a good home. I just about guarantee that whatever you put this one through, it won't be as rough as the workout I've given mine. Although its not made for it, I've played it on several professional gigs, including one at the Plaza Hotel in Southfield, outdoors at Grosse Point Yacht Club, in the Book-Cadillac Hotel downtown Detroit, and another at the Birmingham Hunt Club. Far rougher than that has been enduring the tender touch of our 2.5 year old granddaughter, not to mention the cats who love to tread on the keys.

It doesn't seem to matter. The Casio laughs it all off and continues to play just fine. And, although I love seeing you all periodically, the Casio never needs to be tuned.

Please see the pictures below. The one 'all set up' is from a dealer advertisement. Please note that this keyboard does NOT come with a pair of headphones. They put them in the photo to show you can plug in a pair.

Of course, the CDP-220R is far more than just a piano. It contains hundreds of different sounds plus a drum machine and a multi-track recorder if you're into that cool stuff. Mainly though, I just use mine as a really nice sounding and feeling piano with a realistic weighted (real hammer) action. This would work well in any living room or in a church or school.

Please email me with questions. First $500 takes it home.


Well here's something that doesn't happen very often.

I have an appointment to tune a piano in Farmington Hills this evening at 6, but somehow the appointment confirmation fell between the cracks and I have NO information on the schedule, not the customer's name, address, or phone number.

Posting this here just in case YOU are that customer, please give me a jingle so we can get it straightened out.

Wow.  Now here is an unusual instrument.  This 1947 Story and Clark console has a wonderfully engineered compact action ...

Wow. Now here is an unusual instrument. This 1947 Story and Clark console has a wonderfully engineered compact action with cantilevered keys, 90° rotated jacks, vertically mounted wippens and curved overhead back checks. Oh, and the damper arms are about half normal size. It's amazing and plays pretty well.

I'm just relieved no parts need replacement, because I would have to whittle them! Nothing standard or off the shelf here.


Happy holidays kids! Don't forget to offer your piano tech a nice cup of hot cocoa.


Best time of year to tune your piano revisited

We all know (right?) that manufacturers recommend our pianos be tuned twice a year (or more, in some cases). In reality (where most of us live) there are only a few customers I see more than once a year. Most find they can let it go a little longer before the pets and neighbors start complaining about the awful discordant noise where once were sweet harmonic tones. Many folks time the annual tune-up to a recurring event such as the start of lessons after summer or just before the family holiday party.

NOTE: Pianos need to be tuned periodically even if they are NOT played. The strings are under tons of tension, and that changes over time whether you play or not.

But is there a "best" and "worst" time of year for tuning? Short answer: not really. But as always, you have a little bit better chance the tuning will last longer if you can choose the more moderate weather seasons, spring or fall.

Okay, but why? The answer lies in changing temperature and humidity conditions in the room where your piano lives. The wood components are especially sensitive to humidity and will tend to swell in the summer and shrink in the winter, UNLESS you keep your piano in a room where conditions remain the same all year round. If you are fortunate enough to have such a music room or studio, you can have the piano tuned any time of year you please and it will hold optimally.

Back in reality with the rest of us "normal" folks, the piano is generally kept in rooms where the weather cannot be kept strictly regulated through the year. Still, if your home was built recently, it will be a far better place for the piano to live than were the homes of our parents and grandparents before the days of central air, high tech insulation, and energy-efficient windows.

Bottom line: if it's time for your piano to be tuned, spring or fall are recommended, but don't be too concerned with the time of year as long as you have it in a room that remains at a fairly constant temperature and humidity. Call up your favorite piano technician if you have any doubts or questions.


Tamarack Dr At Cowell Rd
Brighton, MI

Opening Hours

Monday 18:00 - 21:00
Tuesday 18:00 - 21:00
Wednesday 18:00 - 21:00
Thursday 18:00 - 21:00
Friday 18:00 - 21:00
Saturday 08:00 - 21:00
Sunday 08:00 - 21:00


(810) 360-3896


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