Guitar Restoration and Analogues to Piano Tuning w/ Danny Koentopp

Guitar Restoration and Analogues to Piano Tuning w/ Danny Koentopp

Today’s guest is a bit more unusual than what we do here at PTRH which makes it special and fun - Danny studies product design at Columbia College where he focuses on guitars. He joined the restoration team and worked on restoring museum-quality pieces from the 17th century. He has been acquainted with a lot of power tools but prefers working with his hands which is interesting for us piano makers! 

Danny says “While going to school for design work, I did learn a lot about technology and what I can do with a computer - so now I’m in the perfect world of combining the two”. He designs tools through the use of computers and in this session, he talks about his processes and techniques of going about toolmaking. 

As piano technicians, we are constantly working with our hands and shifting between tools - Danny’s approach is this: “I try to work with my hands. Each time I do it, I try to do it faster” - which is relevant to our profession of piano tuning, and we flesh out the parallels. 

The guitar has been mass-produced but now players are getting more specific about how they want their music to sound - Danny is in the business of tailoring this sound. As opposed to this,  for piano technicians, we are starting from specifics and technical details which become the basis of our practice. 
In this episode, we discuss the similarities and differences between working on the piano and the guitar. For every element of guitar restoration, Eathan provides an analog for the piano. 

If you would like to learn more about Piano Tuning from a completely refreshing lens while also getting a sense of how it contrasts with other string instruments, this is the episode for you. 

Here’s a little bit about our guest Danny Koentopp:

Danny started taking guitar lessons at age seven and from that point, the guitar became a lifelong passion. With the support of his professors and the college itself, he focused all his work on guitar. While making his seventh guitar, he met violin maker Michael Darnton and joined the restoration team Darnton & Hersh Fine Violins. He has acquired a lot of powerful tools over the years and after studying with Michael he has found it faster to work by hand. 


Browse more masterclasses and lectures from Piano Tuning Pros here:

Piano Tech Radio Hour is brought to you by Piano Technicians Master. We provide cutting-edge piano technology instruction from piano industry masters without leaving your home, featuring monthly subscriptions, conventions, single live streaming, and recorded masterclasses. Learn advanced skills:
  • How to tune pianos.
  • How to repair pianos.
  • How to rebuild pianos.
  • How to tune concert pianos for the finest performers in the world.

Creators and Guests

David Andersen
David Andersen
David Andersen, owner of David Andersen pianos in Los Angeles has been a professional musician, recording artist, and piano technician/consultant for nearly four decades. He has overseen the restoration and maintenance of hundreds of Steinway and Mason & Hamlin pianos during that time. Beginning in 1975 he apprenticed for two and a half years under Jack Cofer in Atlanta, Georgia; during the 1980s he studied at Steinway facilities both in New York and London.
Eathan Janney
Eathan Janney
Eathan has 20 years of experience as a piano technician. He studied with Dave Miller, the staff piano technician for the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, New Jersey. Dave Carpenter, the inventor of the Verituner electronic tuning device, provided mentorship for Eathan in Chicago. Eathan also worked with Ken Eschete and Bill Schwarts, the staff piano technicians at Northwestern University in Chicago. In 2009, he founded Floating Piano Factory of New York, a company that allows piano technicians to move from Apprentice to Craftsman level while offering value pricing to clients as technicians progress toward mastery. In 2017 he founded Piano Technicians Masterclasses, an online project designed to offer cutting-edge instruction from piano industry masters to anyone on the globe with an internet connection.
2020 Piano Technicians Masterclasses