Services - The BIG 3
Aside from an occasional repair like a broken string, action part failure or breakage, or a chipped keytop, piano servicing can basically be broken down into 3 main categories: Tuning, Regulation, & Humidity Control.
Learning about these will help you to understand what pianos need to live and play longer.
1. TUNING - Does the pitch on my piano match the correct musical frequency? (see pricing)
The act of tuning requires a piano technician / tuner to carefully rotate over 200 tuning pins, drilled through a high density wooden block, to align hundreds of strings to sound pleasing when a single or multiple keys are pressed. The reference pitch is A440 at the A4 key (the A above middle C). Correctly tuned, this key's strings should vibrate at 440 cycles per second, giving the perceived musical pitch of A440. Tune your piano at least every 6 months as recommended.
2. REGULATION - Do my keys work correctly? (see performance)
The way your piano plays & sounds will inevitably change over time. Your piano is constructed with thousands of internal parts, called "action parts". These parts control how much power your fingertips deliver to the volume of the strings. By resetting the angles & distances of the parts, determining the correct amount of friction for them, and correcting the timing of when each part engages another, we can continue to keep the control at the pianist's fingertips. Regulate your piano every 4 to 8 years, or as needed.
Part of regulating a piano is to properly voice the piano. Voicing pertains to the tone quality, whether it sounds warm, mellow, or soft or if it sounds piercing, harsh, and tinny. Proper voicing creates dynamic nuisances on an action that is well regulated. On your own piano, you may notice that one or more keys do not blend in with neighboring notes in tonal characteristics, even when you use the same amount of force at your fingertips. This means the voicing on your piano is not consistent and should be addressed for uniformity.
4. HUMIDITY - Single-handedly, one of the most important parts of a piano's health. (see piano care)
For a healthy piano that stays tuned far longer & plays better, your best friend is a stable temperature & humidity in the room. The less the soundboard moves (the amplifier made out of sitka spruce wood), the more stable your piano's tuning is. Many of the other parts of your piano, comprised of felts, leathers, glues, & metals, will all benefit from a stable environment. ALWAYS control your humidity.