Marbles, cookies, pens, and mice — those are just a few things Greg Griggs comes across while tuning or repairing pianos through his business A-Sharp Piano Service.
“I’ve found a socket wrench in an upright piano once,” says Griggs. “The lady couldn’t figure out why it didn’t play very well in the top couple of octaves, and I looked in there and pulled out this big socket wrench. I said, ‘I think this might have something to do with it.’”
Griggs has been tuning and repairing pianos since 2005, when he retired at 50 from his management position with Aramark Uniform Services, and says he has always been interested in classical music. At 45, he decided to learn how to play piano, which led to him buying an old grand piano that got him interested in the mechanical side.
“A lot of it is self-taught, and it takes a considerable amount of patience,” he says. “I hadn’t the vaguest clue it would end up being this successful and I would be this busy. I love it.”
For a piano technician, there is no normal day. Griggs averages work on three to six pianos each day in a wide area from Bedford, Indiana, over to Harrisburg, Illinois, and down south of Madisonville, Kentucky. He also does piano work for H&H Music, the University of Evansville, the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, the Victory Theatre, and the Old National Events Plaza.
“When I put new hammers on — putting hammers on is quite involved and it’s not a very easy process — what is nice is when you get it all ready and you have them come in and try it, the look on their face is worth it all,” says Griggs. “That is pretty rewarding.”