It’s easy to forget that pianists would be nothing without piano tuners. Unlike the vast majority of music instruments, pianos are one of those instruments that aren’t tuned by most people who play them. So, in honor of those unsung heroes of the keyboard, here’s a profile of Mr. Grace from Alabama who has been taking care of pianos for decades.

Harlen Grace Jr. remembers the day he fell in love — with pianos.


“I was 8 years old and our neighbors had a piano,” he recalls. “I was over there one day and their daughter showed me how to do a few things on it. I thought it was the grandest thing I’d ever tried in my life. It was like, ‘Hey, I’ve got to do this!’”


His devotion was so great, in fact, that when his parents gave him the choice of having either a television or a piano, he chose the piano. It would be another dozen years or so before Grace became curious about the machinery under the hood of the instruments, and decided he’d like to learn to repair them.