John Ginter purchased Plum Pianos, Inc. in 2010 and with its new name, Plum Piano Restoration, Inc. continues the legacy of high-quality piano restoration in central Texas. The original company was founded in Plum, Texas in 2000, hence the Plum name, and soon relocated to a larger facility near La Grange, Texas.
John’s career started with a major oil company, delivering project management and mechanical engineering services at their research facilities in Houston, Texas. Twenty-plus years later, he took advantage of a severance program to pursue a wild notion — becoming a piano technician. When he moved to Houston, John began piano lessons as an adult. The lessons continued for many years, but he always found taking his piano apart and putting it back together more fun than practicing. That’s the mechanical engineer in him.
John studied Piano Technology at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music working alongside the university’s head piano technician. He was hired and worked for 10 years as an assistant piano technician, helping care for an inventory of more than 125 pianos. His work at the music school provided many opportunities for him to troubleshoot and repair infrequently seen piano problems along with practicing the high-end skills needed to service performance instruments.
Additional technical education was gained through Yamaha’s Little Red School House and a Steinway & Sons’ factory training program for university technicians. As an Associate Member of the Piano Technicians Guild, he continues his professional development through seminars and conferences, presentations, and networking with other piano technicians.
The basics of how a piano functions to make sound are fairly easy to explain, but fully understanding how a piano makes music is not. Besides making strings vibrate to generate sound waves, a piano is also a work of art and sculpture. When combined with a skilled musician, the emotional response it elicits far exceeds just the sum of the parts. When restoring a piano, everyone in our shop has a mental (or aural) vision of what the instrument is capable of becoming, and that motivates us to produce the best instrument possible.