“As a professional jazz pianist who tours internationally and has recorded over 30 albums,
I am very particular about pianos and their maintenance. Christopher Ris has tuned and maintained my pianos for years. He has an extraordinarily precise ear, tunes impeccably, and is fully expert at everything from minor regulation to full-scale rebuilding. I have found him reliable, congenial, and completely trustworthy. I have referred him to a number of colleagues and friends who have been equally delighted with his work.”
Christopher is a fine piano technician. He has been doing it for a LONG time and it shows. The thing that puts Christopher over the top for me is the fact that he is willing to spend time explaining things to the point of helping me to understand my piano WAY better than I did before.
Best of all, he’s very good at what he does. All the work that he has done on my piano has been excellent!
“I am a professional jazz pianist and during a recent move from Boston to San Francisco I was in need of purchasing a high quality, used piano. Christopher had a very nice selection of hand selected used pianos that were carefully worked over, tuned and conditioned. He has subsequently been very attentive in servicing and tuning my piano and I couldn’t recommend him more highly. I’ve played some of the marvelous pianos he has rebuilt and I know that he operates with the highest level of care and attention that is required.”
“Five years ago I purchased a rebuilt Steinway ‘A’ from a reputable rebuilder in Manhattan. Although rebuilt, the piano did not allow for much artistry when playing. I had two other technicians work on the piano prior to Christopher, neither of whom were able to suggest clear cut and reasonable technical solutions to the problems I was having. Christopher went through the piano with a fine tooth comb. I now have a tremendous level of control when playing; the action allows very fine gradations of dynamic levels and tone quality. Quite frankly, the piano now exceeds the expectations that I had when I bought the instrument.”
“I have worked with many technicians over the years, and none have come close to Christopher Ris’ level of knowledge, expertise and integrity. I own a rebuilt Steinway ‘A’and was considering selling it because it was not my ‘dream’ piano. I talked to two highly recommended technicians; one said nothing could be done to improve the problems, the other tried twice and failed. As I articulated the problems to Christopher, he seemed to understand precisely what I was after and showed me how he thought it could be accomplished. . . The difference was astounding. The piano sprang to life. The range of tonal colors was incredible and the action was quick and crisp. Even after I expressed my satisfaction, Christopher continued to work with me, patiently experimenting with a few final adjustments. His work has made my piano an effortless extension of my artistic voice. Many of my students have had Christopher work on their pianos and all have reported that the results have exceeded their expectations.”
Christopher Ris was recommended to me when I needed a professional to take a look at a rare 1890’s era Steinway B I was considering purchasing. The musician who recommended him to me told me that he was conscientious, thorough and incredibly knowledgeable. . .
The piano was finished ahead of schedule and, due to the sudden availability of piano movers, I received the piano without visiting his shop to play it. I had high expectations for how I hoped the piano would play and feel and Christopher not only met, but far exceeded those expectations. The sound was as sweet as I remembered, but the action was perfect (not too heavy, not too light), with a much more even feel across the keys. The strings and hammers were precisely balanced and the tone was rich and warm.
What I appreciated most about working with Christopher, is his eye (and ear) for details (that I jokingly told him borders on OCD!)–but that level of perfectionism is coupled with such a down-to-earth way of working with clients. He managed to distill his encyclopedic knowledge of piano rebuilding in such a way that I felt informed and able to converse about what I hoped was possible for this piano, and he was able to deliver in spades.
I can’t recommend Christopher Ris highly enough for anyone looking for someone to appraise, assess or rebuild a piano. I am so thrilled with my instrument and the work that was done and I would use him again in a minute if I ever needed another piano–but thankfully I won’t as he has helped create “the” instrument that I will have for my lifetime.
Christopher Ris is an incredible piano technician! The first time he met my Yamaha C-5, he took out the action, called me over, and pointed out many misaligned parts, showing me how and where they should actually be positioned. He had me feel how the strings weren’t level with each other, and he had me feel with my fingernail how deep the grooves in the hammers were. He explained the negative effect that each problem was causing in terms of lack of responsiveness and tonal degradation. He seemed so insightful, he communicated with such precision, and I felt so immediately educated that I hired him to do everything that he suggested.
The overall result of everything he did is unbelievable. The tone and responsiveness are far better than I would have believed possible. I had bought this piano six and one half years earlier in almost brand new condition – it had hardly been played. I had always thought of it as an “almost – great” piano, but I now realize that it is a truly beautiful instrument. Now, it is actually beautifully warm yet bright, clear, clean and so easy to control due to the super even consistency of each note’s tone and responsiveness.
The experience is like having bought a new, far-superior instrument. Christopher initially said it would be as good or better than when it first left the factory, and I am convinced that it is!
It is for all of these reasons, and with great enthusiasm, that I urge you to let Christopher Ris give you a “new instrument” too!
Chris is the best piano tuner I’ve encountered. I am a professional piano teacher, I own an 1885 Steinway B, and have used many piano tuners over the years. Chris is the one who makes my Steinway sound angelic. I have close to perfect pitch, and Chris makes the overtone series sound correct to me. I would recommend him highly as a tuner, or as a technician, as he has demonstrated sensitivity and care in his craft.
“After much agonizing, I decided to get rid of my fine grand piano and buy a Steinway. I found a model M being sold by Christopher Ris in San Rafael for a very reasonable price. I expected the piano to be a disaster (given the low price), and Mr. Ris to be a salesman, because that’s what you typically find when you go to look for a piano, whether old or new. (If you think car salesman are bad, try looking for a new grand piano).
I showed up at Ris’s piano studio early and he had not arrived. He gave me access to the studio to play the piano without his being there, which was very nice and sort of unusual. I took one look around the place and concluded that this was a man who loves and knows his pianos on a level that is reached by few human beings.
I played the M for sale for about thirty seconds before deciding to buy it. Note, please, that this is the second most expensive thing I’ve ever purchased in my 45 years, after my overpriced and crumbling house in Oakland. The piano, unlike the house, had been restored to near perfection, and Chris, much to his credit, was quick to point out the imperfections. I had my own technician look at the piano and she quickly agreed: the restoration work was phenomenal. I didn’t bother haggling over the money because the asking price was very reasonable and it was clear Chris had put a ridiculous number of hours into restoring the 1927 Steinway M to its original glory.
I’d hire him as a technician in a heartbeat. I’d recommend him as a tech in a heartbeat. And I’d buy a piano from him in a heartbeat. If Yelp was scored on a scale of 1-100, I’d give Christopher Ris 100.”
Up until now, I’ve only been a Yelp reader, not a Yelp writer; however, the service that I received at Ris Piano was so fantastic that I decided it was time to start writing. A grand piano is something that I’ve wanted for the last 40 years and finally the opportunity presented itself. Because my hands have seen better days (middle age and too many hours on the computer), I knew that finding a piano with the best action was essential. I started my search by finding one of the best piano technician/tuners in my area- Christopher Ris. My thought was that I would find a good deal on Craig’s list and Christopher could evaluate the piano and service it. After looking at his website, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Ris Piano also sold used pianos.
So, one thing lead to another and I ended up buying a beautifully restored piano from Ris Piano. Besides the perfect sound and the very reasonable price for a quality instrument, the action was redone using the Stanwood method. I had no idea what the Stanwood method was, but Christopher patiently showed me and explained how the method provides perfectly balanced action which is exactly what I needed for my overworked hands. Christopher and his staff are very helpful and professional. I can’t say enough to recommend Ris Piano.
“Dear Mr. B,
When the technician you recommended to prepare the piano for my concert was finished trying to remedy several problems, the piano sounded worse than before. I immediately called my own technician, Christopher Ris, who has worked miracles on pianos for me in the past, and asked if he could do a final tuning of the piano and fix the problematic notes. Chris did substantial work, both tuning and repairs. When he was done the piano sounded much better than it had ever sounded during my practice sessions. He said that with very little money the piano could be made to sound considerably better, and he has my highest recommendation. He made my Yamaha grand, which I was never happy with, sound like a new piano, and he is a perfectionist.”
“In the nearly twenty years that he has been servicing our two Steinway concert grands and our Steinway and Baldwin teaching pianos, Christopher Ris has continually impressed our staff and many visiting artists with his beautiful tunings, consummate technical skills and deep understanding of the subtleties of the instrument. He has transformed every instrument he has worked on and we are grateful to him for this excellent service.”
“Hi Ben (manager of Sherman Clay, Seattle),
Just wanted to give you an update on my new Steinway D concert grand. As you know, it was a beautiful sounding D when I received it, but I asked Christopher Ris, my technician,
to see if he could address a few issues as well as to put the finishing touches on the action regulation.
Chris did a phenomenal job addressing these issues well beyond my expectations and achieved a balanced tone across the keyboard. Bottom line, the piano sings like I could never have imagined. Also, his work on the action has made the touch so precise that playing softly on any note is a dream.”
I want you to know how happy I am with the outcome of your work on the Mason & Hamlin and the Baldwin concert piano. These fine pianos needed some careful, expert work to bring them up to their full potential. I am especially pleased with your work on the actions. Both pianos now “float” under the fingers in a way that is extremely unusual and very special indeed. For the greatly increased expressive possibilities I am very grateful. Those who play the Baldwin in concert are consistent in their praise of the instrument.”
“I am writing to recommend the work of Christopher Ris. I am a performer and teacher and have owned a Yamaha C-7 for seven years. For the last 3 or 4 years I had been unhappy with certain aspects of voicing and regulation and had had three other highly respected technicians work on it unsatisfactorily. Mr. Ris immediately understood what I was describing, accurately diagnosed the problems and explained clearly to me what he was proposing to do. I am delighted with the sound and with the adjustments to the action and am very pleased to have found a technician with whom I feel I can communicate and work.”
“There is just not enough I can say to praise the craftsmanship and understanding that Christopher Ris has for pianos. As I watched him work on my Steinway ‘B’ and learned about the range of tone that is possible, and how important good regulation is, my ears became more sensitive and educated. I now feel that I’ve found a truly competent technician- but much more, a discerning artist who knows a good instrument is an integral partner to any musician.”
“We are so impressed with the restoration work you did on the Bosendorfer we purchased from you. We spoke with a number of technicians (who knew the piano from the KPFA radio station) who had said that the piano could not be restored. But after playing many American and German Steinways, Mason and Hamlins, Bechsteins, Grotrians, Shiedmeyers, the Yamaha S200 and several new Bosendorfers, we preferred your piano. While others offering new and used pianos generally spoke of the changes that could be made with voicing and action adjustment, you were the only one who on the spot made voicing changes to help us hear some of these variations. We also appreciate your patience and how much you taught us about the piano in the time we spent with you.”
I have a 1939 Baldwin E 5’8″ grand piano, and had chronic problems with having it stay in tune. Christopher first addressed the problem with a dehumidifier that is fitted to the piano to stabilize its environment. He then carefully and decisively went through the piano, correcting various issues – leaky dampers, harsh notes, and the like. My piano has never been so even in terms of the tone and relative volumes of its 88 notes — after he finished, it seemed as if I was playing a different, and far better, piano.
It’s been close to three months now, and things are still stable. If you care about your piano and need help from someone who really knows what he’s doing, give Christopher a call!
Christopher Ris has restored our piano, a 1927 Steinway model A.
First he listened to us, evaluated the pianos, explained to us about the options, did a marvelous job on the restoration, and even came back for a follow up visit.
He is an excellent piano technician and piano tuner. Those considering an action rebuild should talk to him about the Precision Touch System, it is an upgrade worth every penny.
On top of this, Ris Piano Company recently moved to a larger and better facility that includes a showroom, so whether you want to tune your piano, restore it, buy or sell, or even just for an evaluation, I am pleased to recommend Christopher Ris.
“I am happy to include this letter of recommendation in the file of Christopher Ris. He recently worked on our 1902 Model O Steinway, and the tone and action are unbelievably improved. In fact, when my piano group played it for the first time since his work, they were using words like “amazing,” “miraculous,” and “wonderful.”
Over the nearly hundred years of its life, the piano had undergone the rigors of Minnesota weather, some botched restoration, and several inept efforts by other high profile technicians. When Chris arrived for an examination and tuning, he was appalled by what he found, and carefully showed me the areas that he felt needed the most immediate attention. I made it clear that there were budgetary restrictions, and he was very professional in making suggestions within my means.
In fact, “professional” is a term that fits Chris in every respect. He was punctual and thoughtful of my time; he presented a clear and itemized proposal for the work to be undergone and checked it off at each stage; he took a personal interest in the job and was eager to get feedback from me on the improvements as they occurred.
I will be forever grateful to my piano teacher for recommending Christopher, and I am certain that anyone who calls on his skill and artistry will be equally pleased.”