Piano Servicing includes tuning your piano regularly, along with making minor adjustments to or restoring your piano's key performance, tone quality, making repairs, or establishing proper humidity for your instrument.
How often should I tune?
New pianos should be tuned 4 times in the first year (3 months, 3 months, 3 months, 3 months), then once every 3-6 months thereafter.
Why tune regularly?
Regular tuning is very important, to pianists of all levels, because it keeps the pitch (tuning) from spiking. While some pianists may be able to detect this, other pianists (especially young children) cannot. If you cannot sense this, it's a bad thing. Why? Because at a very young age, you are wired to focus your listening on what you hear and remember it much easier than as an adult. If the piano a child is playing on is not tuned to the correct frequency, he or she can & will develop a false sense of pitch, hurting any real chance of correct ear training.
Other important factors are:
stable pressure on the soundboard
keep the pitch as close to A440 as possible, which is where pianos are designed & built to stay
sustain the resale value
allow your technician to oversee the piano's overall health
What is a piano tuner vs. piano technician?
Piano tuning is the art of making changes and corrections to the pitch in order to correctly tune each of the 230 strings to sound as intended. A piano tuner can handle this but is limited to just tuning.
A piano technician is a skilled piano tuner who can also take on repairs, tone adjustments, action performance enhancements & corrections, finish repairs, and more.
Is there a "Best time of year to tune"?
Clients tell me, 'I hear I should tune my piano once when the heat kicks on and once when the heat shuts off.' To break it down, there is really NO best time of year to tune. What is best is that you tune every 3 to 6 months & keep a proper and stable humidity level around the piano. This both prolongs the tuning and keeps it (and the entire piano) better preserved.
Higher temperatures can hold more moisture before reaching the saturation point and lower temperatures can hold less moisture before reaching the saturation point. This means that the relative humidity, at any given temperature, will increase or decrease due to a change in the actual temperature. To achieve consistent humidity, installing a Piano Life Saver System inside your piano will help dramatically, along with the use of an external humidifier (in dry seasons) and an air conditioner or dehumidifer (in the damp seasons).
Purchasing a digital hygrometer, like this one, with a +/- variance of accuracy between 2% to 5% will tell you what the actual humidity level is in the room.
How can I keep my piano in tune longer?
Install a Piano Life Saver System. Pianos prefer consistent relative humidity levels hovering around 42% daily. This keeps the soundboard (the wooden amplifier the strings are tightly suspended over) from expansion & contraction. Excessive movement = an unstable tuning. Room placement is also important.
Where should I place my piano?
Inside walls are preferred, though many newer homes have better insulation. More importantly, pianos should also be away from windows, heating/cooling vents or radiators, open doors, & direct sunlight. If this is not possible in your home, installing a Piano Life Saver System is a must.
Will burning a fire hurt my piano?
100%, yes. The air in the room will have little moisture as fire sucks it right out. If you plan on burning a fire, even for a day, have a humidifier near (not blowing right on) the piano, and have me install a Piano Life Saver System for you.
We are moving. Is my piano safe to move?
Tuning and inspecting your piano beforethe move is VERY important as it ensures it's fit and worth hauling with you. Tuningafter the move allows the pitch to get back on track after it's shifted from the move. Give your piano one week to settle in the new home before tuning to allow it to adjust and acclimate to the new environment.
Where can I buy a good piano?
Quality used pianos can be bought through piano technicians or piano dealers. I sell pre-owned reconditioned or restored pianos. New pianos, of course, are sold from piano dealers. Stay away from used pianos listed online, free or not, unless you've had it properly inspected! If a seller, ANY SELLER, is claiming they are tuning to A440, ask them to show you the pitch. It's that simple. Imagine spending money on the move (which typically costs about $250+ for verticals & $350+ for grands), only to find out the piano needs substantial work or you'd had been better off with another piano.
How do I safely clean my piano?
Piano approved cleaners should only be used. Many modern cleaners use silicone that can damage your piano. Specific cleaning methods also need to match the finish used on your piano. You can get a basic idea for how I simply clean on my care page or have me clean it for you, as part of the tuning service.
Aside from tuning, does my piano need anything else?
Tuning is very important to ensuring your piano actually stays tuned to A440. Other items your piano will occasionally enjoy are regulation (adjustments made to the inner "action" to correct it's performance & tone) and voicing (adjustments specifically to the tone quality). Polishing & regular cleaning is also just as important to help sustain the value of the piano and keep it working correctly.
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