Archive for September, 2019

Survival in the Piano Trade: Chris Brown

Posted on: September 4th, 2019 by WNG

Generally, people don’t think that a farmer or a sailor have much in common with a piano technician. However, much like a sailor or farmer, a piano technician is an individual with a very specialized set of skills and tools who must be able to adapt to solve a problem. To that end, a piano technician’s skill set involves much more than what initially meets the eye—resourcefulness, an aptitude for unique out-of-the-box solutions, and years of honing a specific craft.

Wessell, Nickel & Gross met with registered piano technician Chris Brown to ask him about his many years of experience in the industry and what led him to eventually develop his own entrepreneurial approach to improve piano technology—the Grandwork System. This innovative combination of benches, jigs, and fixtures incorporates Wessell, Nickel, & Gross parts to create a system that provides consistent, precise, and invaluable tuning and voicing guidance for piano technicians.

“As I went out and gave classes and socialized with my peers, I discovered the problems I had were universal. My mission is, similar to WNG, is to make the process more joyful, less of a problem, and more successful.”

Chris’ approach and philosophy of problem solving to make the piano technician’s job easier closely mirrors Wessell, Nickel & Gross’ mission of collaboration and creativity. We designed our tools and products to eliminate or reduce challenges and to simplify processes for technicians—more joy, less problems. Our innovations such as anodized aluminium capstans or hard bushings reduce the time it takes to hang hammers, and the bushings hold their shape over extended periods of time. Hammer flange pinning is also crucial to good voicing and regulation outcomes, which our hard bushings vastly help with.

“WNG has been a leader in encouraging smart people with great talent and imagination to make things for them or to share with them the things they have made, and make it available to the technician public.”

Collaboration in the piano industry is crucial to innovation and creativity. We value and appreciate technicians like Chris Brown and others whose work fosters and inspires innovation and resourcefulness for the next generation of piano technicians.

For more information on Chris Brown and his Grandwork System, visit his company’s website: