Piano Keytop Replacement Services

Our services are primarily intended for the piano service trade, rather than individual piano owners. Because there is considerable skill needed to remove and install piano keys, especially in grand pianos, we provide our service mainly to professional piano technicians, piano dealers and rebuilders. Often piano keys need to be aligned, leveled and regulated after being installed, and it requires training and experience to accomplish this. For these reasons you should contact a qualified piano technician to help with your project. You can find a technician at www.ptg.org or contact music teachers, choir directors and musicians for further recommendations.

When you are tuning a customer's piano…

Piano Keytops Photo

We will include an extra new keytop with your first order of keys to use as a selling tool for the customer. If there is any interest shown by your client in recovering keys, you can demonstrate how they can all look by inserting the spare in the proper spot on the keyboard. You may also want to check for worn or missing balance rail and front rail bushings and suggest that there are substantial savings by rebushing at the time the keys are out of the piano. By checking the side-to-side movement of the key fronts (before the keys are removed from the piano) from the middle of the keyboard in comparison to the bass and treble ends, the customer can feel the difference in looseness themselves. It becomes a win-win, the piano owner will have needed work done at a saving, and we both receive added revenue.

Factory stamped numbers are often impossible to see clearly. Please make sure key numbers are legible and if not re-number them while they are still in the piano or draw registration lines on the keys.

If you wish to make a commitment to your customer on when you may return to replace the keys, call me from your location. Tell us what you have and what is needed and we will give you an estimate as to when they will be shipped back to you. Typical turnaround time is 3-4 weeks. There may be times when there is a backup, so please call ahead. Rush orders can be accommodated if possible at no extra charge.

Packing your keys

It is important that your keys arrive here in good condition and that begins with proper packing at your end. I suggest you tape 5-6 keys together with masking tape wrap them and pack them alternating in a strong, well padded cardboard box. Pad the bottom, sides and top so the keys are snug and cannot move around in shipping. Keep in mind other heavier boxes may be placed on top of your box and they are often handled roughly by automated machinery. The extra time and effort in careful packing is well worth avoiding damage.

If you plan to do additional work yourself such as bushings, capstans or backchecks, send your keys after such work is done. Please do not send the black keys unless you require work done on them.

The Keytop Material We Use

Piano Keytops Photo

First, a word about ivory. There is a misconception that ivory is very valuable and should be preserved at all costs. In its day, ivory was the best piano key material available. It was cheap, plentiful and used by almost all piano makers. Because it is an animal product, it has some inherent drawbacks. With time, ivory can often dry out, crack and split. It sometimes discolors tending toward yellow or tan and with age the adhesive may fail causing the ivories to come off. Ivory can also become very brittle and will fracture easily.

Plastic keytops that first appeared after WWII tended to discolor, crack and break easily, similar to ivory. While the early generation of man-made keytops did not stand the test of time, today’s materials are tough, fade resistant, easily repaired if needed, long lasting, and moderately priced.

We have access to a number of different man-made materials to recover piano keys and typically use a high-quality German acrylic plastic keytop. This material combines reasonable cost, durability, and a fine, long-lasting appearance. A major benefit is that the top and front of the key cover are a single piece, making it virtually impossible for either to come loose. Because of this, the top and the front of the key will be the same color.

Leave the old key coverings in place as we need to verify the original overall key height. Any ivory pieces that we remove from your keys that are intact and usable will be returned to you.

Pricing and Information

Usable ivory will be returned and capstans will be polished at no extra charge.

First-time clients will receive a free demo keytop.

Include your check with keys, and we will pay your return shipping fee. We accept Venmo and credit card by individual arrangement.

Warranty: Your satisfaction.

Furnish and install one set of piano keytops. (.084″ with fronts) $345
Furnish and replace sharps, black acrylic plastic. $185
Rebush keys – each rail.
Please furnish pin sizes.
Rebush keys – both rails.
Please furnish pin sizes.

pricing effective January 1, 2024

Four Quick Steps to Sending Keytops

Call/Email 231-590-9733 or keytops@glpianoservice.com
Pack Keys snugly in a sturdy box
Include A Check to Great Lakes Piano Service or Venmo or Credit Card Payment
Send box to Great Lakes Piano Service
1846 Sleepy Hollow Ln
Interlochen, MI 49643
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