Letter written to John Callahan, PTD installer in Oakland CA
It was with some fear and trepidation that I submitted my 1962 Steinway Model M to you for a complete action restoration last September.
Just one year earlier, my piano technician had replaced the original hammers with new Steinway hammers, with disastrous results. After his repeated efforts, adding lacquer, then punching, then more lacquer, over and over again, I finally gave up.
After all his work, the action felt like that of a truck and the sound was harsh. Needless to say, I didn’t enjoy playing the M after that.
Fortunately, I subsequently heard of the Stanwood action balancing system and that your firm used the system. Based on several glowing recommendations, I decided to have you do a complete action restoration, including new Ronsen hammers custom-made with European felt and new custom-made bass strings.
I can’t tell you how happy I am with the result. The action is totally even, responsive and smooth as silk. The sound is incredibly beautiful, the voicing perfect.
Now I’m saving my pennies in anticipation of the day when I can have you design and install the Stanwood system on my relatively new (2000) Steinway Model B (I’m a member of the Palo Alto Two-Piano club).
It is a fine piano but has a fairly heavy action, nothing like the smooth, light action you gave my M. Because of the wonderful transformation you achieved on my M, I now find myself playing it almost exclusively (and it is the piano of choice with my two-piano colleagues). I’m afraid the B is feeling very neglected.
Thanks again for the fabulous work..