Robert Callaghan, RPT

Registered Piano Technician

Robert specializes in piano tuning, piano regulation, voicing, minor parts replacement, minor key repair and replacement. He will sometimes also help with inspections, assessments and appraisals. This page offers general advice (below) on questions about piano cabinet refinishing, interior restoration, piano moving, and tips on buying and selling your piano. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact Robert either by phone, email, or the handy online form.

Robert Callaghan

Inspections, Assessments, and Appraisals

There are many things you can do yourself to determine if a piano is right for you.  The piano has very little tolerance for something being wrong, so if it sounds good and up to pitch, it is probably OK.  You could take an "A" tuning fork with you to see how close the piano is to being in tune, and play intervals such as double or triple octaves, and arpeggios to get a impression of the overall sound of the piano.  I recommend this technique over playing music because it helps to reveal irregularities in the tone and touch that playing a piece of music might miss or disguise.  Once you have found a piano that "speaks to you", we can look at it together and plan what kind of service it might need.

  • Contact Robert by Email:
  • Contact Robert by Phone: 775-287-2140.
  • Contact Robert by Online Form.

Piano Refinishing, Reconditioning, and Restoration

Refinishing a piano is very labor intensive and the best finishes are sprayed on.  Because of environmental concerns this kind of refinishing requires an oil-bath spray booth because of vapors. Water-based brush on finishes are available but they don't have the quality of a sprayed finish.  It would be best to send the piano to a spray finish specialist experienced with pianos for this type of work.

Reconditioning would be the same as regulation, except that you replace as many parts as necessary.  Often times the under key felt has been moth eaten, especially if the piano has been in a humid, wooded area, or they could just be worn down through use and age. Other parts might need to be replaced as well, such as the cloth key bushings that keep the keys from rattling, or the damper felt that stops the strings from ringing might have become hard and noisy.  The amount of work needed can be determined upon inspection.

Restoration can be thought of as all of the above, but including replacing the plank the tuning pins are driven into (the "pinblock"), repairing and refinishing the soundboard with brush-on varnish, and replacing the strings. Bass strings need to be special ordered for each specific piano. Plain wire strings are replaced in the piano's existing pattern or slightly updated if necessary, such as on a piano from the late 1800s.

For examples and estimates of the cost of piano restoration, visit sweeneypiano.com.


Beautifully Restored Pianos

Photos thanks to Sweeneypiano.com.
Piano Moving

Piano Moving

While Robert does not move pianos personally, he can make some recommendations about how to do it or who to call.

Piano Showroom

Buying & Selling Pianos


Buying a Piano

Robert recommends purchasing a piano from a local piano dealer rather than online.  This way you have someone local to call in case there is a problem.  Small problems are common in new pianos. As the new parts are being broken in by playing, some adjustments might be needed.  This is considered warrantee work by dealers, and buying a piano on-line is risky because you don't have someone to call if you need to.  A piano technician not associated with the seller will need to bill you for any follow-up work. 


Selling Your Piano

RobertI recommends selling your piano on consignment through a local dealer. You might not get as much as you would like selling it yourself,  but you have the convenience of someone else moving it, and you don't have strangers coming to your home to look at it.  It might take a little more time, too, but this can be helpful, especially if you have a deadline, such as moving away.


Robert Callaghan was the piano technician for the following CD recordings:

Robert Callaghan has published articles in the
Piano Technicians Journal.

Robert Callaghan Piano Tuning & Technology

Get the Best Care for Your Piano!

Robert Callaghan

Contact Robert Now

Since Robert is often "in the field" tuning pianos, sending an email is probably the best way to make sure your message reaches him. Nevertheless, use the form of communication that is most convienent.

  • Contact Robert Callaghan by Email:
  • Contact Robert by Phone: 775-287-2140.
  • Contact Robert by Online Form.