Tuning levers are not cheap - and if they are, you shouldn't get them. If you're serious about piano tuning, the tuning lever will be your primary tool. You're only as good as your tools, so take some time to research before making a decision. This article features several tuning lever options, along with reviews from people who use them every day.
The photos and lever descriptions in this article were provided by the lever makers. Many thanks to all who gave us feedback in the survey! The survey is still open, and we will continue to update the reviews. If you'd like to give us feedback about your lever, you can fill out the survey here: Tuning Lever Survey.
Cassotto Tuning Levers offers complete lever customization using the most low-profile ultra-high modulus carbon fiber core & aircraft grade aluminum head, beautiful exotic hardwood shells, and a durable 2-part epoxy finish.
Cassotto Levers fabricates all of their metals in the United States with domestic alloys and machines their own "Prestige" tips and inserts from a case-hardened high-grade black oxide steel alloy that is superior in composition - modeled after the fit of the famous BKB tip. You have the option to feature a logo on your lever as well.
"It is lightweight, provides a lot of feedback from the tuning pin so I can feel very small movements, it is comfortable to use, it always clears plate struts on any piano, and it is very beautiful! Randy Cassotto provides the best customer service of any lever maker I have shopped with! He was able to adhere a design I drew digitally to my tuning lever. Not only is it beautiful and a very effective tool, it is one of a kind."
Faulk Tuning Hammers
The Faulk tuning hammers feature lightweight materials: titanium and carbon fiber which make up the core of the lever. They are all handcrafted - no two levers are alike. The handles are ergonomic, fitting the hand and giving the tuner multiple positions to grasp it. It is Charles' belief that the tuning hammer should also make an artistic statement like the tools used in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The tuning shafts and heads are his own designs. The core shafts are untapered to maximize the strength of the connection, and the tuning head is made with 7000 series aircraft-grade aluminum.
Faulk makes two basic models:
The CF-TR has a shaft with an external lightweight titanium tube reinforced with an ultra-high modulus carbon fiber tube on the inside.
The CF-3 has a shaft made up entirely of a 3/4” ultra-high modulus tube. Ultra-high modulus tubing has a strength which is 1 1/2 x the strength of steel.
(Faulk CF-TR) I love the shape of the handle. It fits naturally in my hand and is the perfect length for uprights and grands. The core is rigid, giving me control, but also has enough give to allow flex and pliability if need be. The head can be a little finicky if you want to use a tip other than the one provided because there’s a piece that has reverse threads. It isn’t the most user-friendly, but easy enough to figure out. - Sydney B.
(Faulk CF-TR) It's lightweight, a nice length, and gives me good control of the pin. The ball-end fits my hand size and allows me to have better ergonomics while tuning. It's cumbersome to change tips, but I've stopped changing tips and instead have several different heads with different tip sizes on them. I swap out the entire head instead of just the tip. This will protect the tip threads. - Jenny S.
(Faulk CF-TR) I like the rigidity, the length, and the ball handle. - Morgan C.
The Fujan Products piano tuning lever is a precision tool that combines extreme rigidity with lightweight materials to provide excellent ease of use and accuracy.
The lever utilizes tubular carbon fiber composite along with a highly engineered design to provide these high-performance attributes. Each lever can be configured with various head angles, lengths, and handle types to satisfy the multitude of technicians’ preferences.
I like the carbon fiber has no flex. Also like the diameter of the tube and the ball shape on the end, works well with large hands. The head is too big to tune A0 on many grands. It will not fit, so I use my backup lever. - Jeremy F.
It’s really light and the Jahn tips have the best fit for most of the pianos I encounter. It’s sometimes hard to clear high treble plate struts and I have to unscrew the extension at times. - Brent W.
Levitan Tuning Levers
Made from sections of steel tubing joined with welds, not threads, Levitan Tuning Levers
are not only lightweight and stiff, but also affordably priced.
Two of the levers, the Professional and Upright Professional, have a patented C-shape
that enables unparalleled control of a tuning pin by allowing a tuner to simultaneously
apply to it any combination of turning and tilting forces, and to instantaneously change
the proportion between the two.
On grands, the Professional has the additional advantage of positioning the tuning lever
hand comfortably and ergonomically next to the keyboard hand. As a result, the lid can
be left down during tuning; and the same hand position and technique can be used
throughout the piano, including in the high treble.
The other two levers have the traditional L-shape: The Classic, designed for fine-tuning;
and the Utility, designed as a companion to the Professional levers.
All four are made and distributed exclusively by Pianotek Supply Company.
(Classic) It’s lightweight, straightforward, and has a good pin feel. - Ken S.
(Classic) I chose this lever originally because of its affordability and have never felt the need to get anything else! It comfortably fits in my small hands and gives me very quick and accurate feedback. Highly recommend! - Hannah B.
(Classic) I love the economy of form and function this lever provides. It's affordable, compared to bespoke levers that claim superior balance, shape, or length. I invest in the best tips I can buy, and carry multiple Levitan Classic levers. It has a Hale-style thread for tuning tips. Simply put, it fits my tuning style and budget. - Kate R.
(Classic) I like the welded head, and it is lightweight. The end isn't comfortable in my palm when tuning grands, so I added a plastic ball from PianoForte Supply. - Cy S.
(Classic) The control is better than other options I've tried. - Andrew D.
(Classic) Similarly to letting a turning car wheel slide between your hands so it can rest to its resting position, I feel like the Levitan's handle allows me to smoothly change hand positions while tuning and maintaining different levels of control. - McKinely C.
(Professional) I love how ergonomic it is - I am never sore after tuning like I used to be when I used a traditional rigid lever for the entire tuning. - Megan W.
Dean Reyburn and Nate Reyburn
The Reyburns did not submit photos or a description of their levers for this article.
It is lightweight, helps me feel the pin, and I like how it fits in my hand. - Marianne P.
I love the handle - I had an issue with getting blisters on my palm with previous hammers, and the smaller Reyburn rigid lever is perfect - my hands never get sore or blistered, and I feel like I have great control not just at the ball of the hammer, but also in the center, which has an ergonomic grip point as well. The tip that comes with it is solid, and the best part is - it’s always easy to take off the tips! The tip sizes are a little different than levers I’ve had in the past - a 3 is quite large, and after a couple of months of using it I found myself back on the website ordering a size 2 for a tighter fit. This was more of a personal mistake, but it’s been my only negative experience with the hammer. - Hannah J.
Interested in trying any of these levers on a rental basis? Check out our rental program! You can rent a lever for one month to see if it's the one for you before you make the investment.