Contact James

In addition to his notable music career, James Carney has become one of the most highly regarded piano technicians and piano rebuilders in New York City. He began tuning pianos in 1994, and over the next fifteen years he carefully studied & practiced the technical aspects of piano regulation, repairs, voicing, and troubleshooting. He turned professional in 2008, and quickly amassed a large roster of private clients and recording studios; some of whom he still tunes for 80-100 times annually. Carney's entire piano technology career has been catapulted by word-of-mouth only, with no advertising whatsoever. As of 2023, he has approximately 600 clients, including some of the top pianists/musicians in jazz, pop, experimental, and classical music. Carney also tunes for a large number of high-end recording studios in NYC, including The Bunker, Big Orange Sheep, Brooklyn Recording, The Bridge Studio, The Samurai Hotel, The Power Station at BerkleeNYC, Sear Sound, Human Music & Sound Design, The Magic Shop, Douglass Street Records, The Loove, Strange Weather, Studio G, Yamaha Artist Services, Systems Two, Skillman Music Studio, Pulse Music Studio, Manhattan Beach Recording, and many others. 


Around 2010, Carney also began rebuilding pianos, gaining hands-on experience at local rebuilders who imparted foundational knowledge on both action and bellywork aspects of the rebuilding trade. For years Carney rebuilt piano actions at his apartment - along with the occasional grand piano - and in 2020 he founded his workshop JAMES CARNEY PIANOWORKS at 68 34th Street in Industry City, Brooklyn.

 "I was fortunate to acquire my workshop in Industry City during the Covid lockdown, which allowed us to be able to afford this wonderful space - and all the new tools and equipment necessary to perform high-end piano restorations" says Carney. "Since the summer of 2020 we've rebuilt six grand pianos, two vertical pianos, and we've also replaced about ten customized actions for recording studios and private clients. We now have several Steinway grands ready to rebuild and sell, and we continue to restore client pianos as well; our specialty is working with discerning recording studios, pianists, and musicians who appreciate customized work that transforms the touch and tone of any given factory piano. We spend copious amounts of time on refinement of the original instrument, new parts preparation, and the actual rebuild itself. We also specialize in customizing all of our actions through highly detailed key releading, new hammer weight preparation, and geometrical modifications as needed to minimize undesirable inertia, while maximizing playability, consistency, and the broadest tonal and dynamic palette possible. " 

The large, secure, light-filled space with 13' ceilings and polished concrete floors is perfect for Carney's high end, meticulous piano work. "It's a modern, clean, and technologically advanced shop with real humidity and acoustic control. Featuring state-of-the-art tools and equipment, the focus is on rebuilding techniques that make the most of an instrument's performance potential while preserving the vintage parts and aspects of a piano that can’t be replaced. We’ll engage in time-honored rebuilding techniques while utilizing newer innovations such as wire rescaling, hybrid wire inclusion, and customized action modifications that elevate the touch and tone of each individual piano."

68 34th Street, Building 6, Floor 5, Suite B518, Brooklyn, NY 11232