Our clients have often asked us questions about their piano, its maintenance and repairs, as well as about tuning issues in general. As a courtesy to our clients we have listed below a number of often asked questions, along with the answers based on our many years of experience in the business. We hope you will find what you are looking for; if not, why not just send us an email (see the Contact Us page).
Ideally a piano should be tuned at least every 6 months although with modern pianos which get moderate use a yearly tuning is sometimes acceptable. Conversely regular use is likely to lead to the piano needing to be tuned more frequently.
The primary reason strings in a piano change pitch is because they move; this movement is mainly caused by atmospheric variations, particularly humidity. When the tension in a string changes, the pitch also changes, resulting in a note that is out of tune with respect to the other notes in the piano. Strings can also move because of loose tuning pins. These pins are the ones that hold the string in place and are turned during a tuning. When the tuning pins have lost considerable tension (typically in older pianos), movement of the strings is again possible. And of course, physically moving a piano is very likely to make a piano go out of tune.
Regulation of the piano action adjusts the overall touch and the consistency with which each note responds to your playing. A typical piano action consists of a few thousand parts, manufactured primarily with wood and felt. As the felt compresses over a period of time, the evenness of touch will change.
Voicing a piano controls, to a large extent, the tone of the piano and is separate from tuning. As a piano is played the condition of the hammer felts will change. A trained technician can adjust the condition of the hammer felts to affect the range of tone that can emanate from your piano.
Yes. Avoid positioning your piano in the path of direct air from heating or cooling vents, or in the direct proximity of a humidifier. Try to maintain the relative humidity in the range of 35-50%. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight as this may bleach the case finish and affect the performance and stability. We recommend monitoring your climate with a hygrometer that measures the relative humidity of the space in which your piano resides.
For most pianos, a piece of clean cheesecloth, lightly dampened with water will be the best tool to clean the exterior of the piano. Follow with a soft dry cloth to remove excess moisture from the finish. Always wipe in the direction of the grain. Interior cleaning should be conducted by a professional, please contact us for an appointment.
Most modern pianos are now made with plastic keytops. If this is the case in your piano, use a soft cloth lightly dampened in a mild soap and water solution. Follow this immediately with another dry cloth. Do not allow any water to drip down the sides of the key since the key is made of wood and some staining or swelling of the wood could occur. If coins, paperclips or other small articles get wedged in or between the keys, it is best to call a qualified piano technician to have them removed. Pianos with original ivories for key tops require more specific care. Please contact us for more information.