An Interview with Jim Busby

Posted on: August 21st, 2019 by WNG


My name is Jim Busby and I live in Mount Pleasant, Utah and I’ve been in piano tuning and technology for about 44 years.

How did you become a full time Piano Technician?

Well, actually my uncle was a piano technician and I’ve always thought I’d tune pianos because I liked my uncle so much, and I just tuned on the side and then one year I decided to quit school for a little while and I was going to come back in, but I never got back into teaching again so I just found out I had an aptitude for it and I liked it and actually made more money than teaching so win, win.

When was the first time you encountered Wessell, Nickel & Gross parts?

I think the first time I was exposed to them was at Brigham Young University. We had a Mason & Hamlin there—an A, a really nice piano. I really liked the way it felt and then I went to Boston for a visit and I decide to tour the factory and spent the day there. I fell in love with the people there. I loved the factory and the people were so good to work with and there is kind of a small feeling in the factory and I just loved the way it felt there. I loved the dedication the people put into their parts and the things they were doing there.

What is your experience with Wessell, Nickel & Gross parts?

Well my experience with Wessel, Nickel & Gross parts is mainly is at BYU. I had a fellow colleague that bought some and we hung some hammers with the shanks and flanges and there is just nothing like them. They were so even, and I put it on a piano, a 9-foot Steinway, and I had the faculty come and play the piano, and they were saying how wonderful it was and how much quicker it played and responsive it was. So, I put it on two more pianos and the same thing with the faculty—they just loved it because it was so responsive, and it is just very dependable. It stayed where you put the regulation. The next day that you came, the next month that you came, the next year it still stayed regulated very well and very easy to maintain.

What are your thoughts on our hard bushings?

You know, at first, I was skeptical of them but now I just love them because after years and years it doesn’t vary. It’s 3.5 grams for the flanges and years later it’s still 3.5 grams unlike the other bushings—the cloth bushings—and so I’m very sold on the parts.

In your opinion, do the carbon fiber shanks change the tone of a piano?

That’s a good question. You know, some people think it changes the sound of the piano, but I didn’t perceive that. And most people that I had play our pianos with the new Wessell, Nickel & Gross parts didn’t perceive any tone change—just more velocity and control—but I really didn’t see the difference that other people talk about and I think my ear is pretty good and I didn’t perceive any huge difference. In fact, not even a little difference with them—it’s just was easier to play. I didn’t notice any different tone quality or anything.

Find out more about Jim Busby by visiting his website: