Piano Maintenance And Tuning Tips
Piano’s are expensive items, so it is important that you know how to take care of it. Pianos add glamour to any home. The sound that it gives provides pleasure for any person listening to its tune. A piano that goes out of tune usually indicates that it is not getting the right amount of care it needs.
This wonderful musical instrument should be preserved and cared for so that you can hand it down to the future generation following you. When you take good care of your piano, you can be assured to use it to its maximum potential. If left uncared for, the piano may lose its sound. However, tuning and cleaning it regularly will maintain its wonderful sound for years. Start taking care of your piano by following these tips.
A piano is a valuable investment for you and your family. It can give you and your entire family a life-time of immeasurable joy and music to your life. Since it is a big investment, it should be taken care of with great care. Regular maintenance by a certified technician will maintain your piano and helps you to avoid high cost repairs in the upcoming future.
Since the piano incorporates materials as felt and wood, it will be subject to climate circumstances. Changes from cold to hot or wet to dry will cause the materials contract or swell, changing the pitch, tone, and action touch or response. It is possible to reduce the intensity of such effects by placing the piano away from windows or doors that are frequently opened.
Placing a piano at the middle of a big wall is a better idea. Also avoid air conditioning and heating vents or fireplaces. Areas which get direct light from the sun should also be avoided. A piano performs best under permanent conditions not too wet or dry. A optimal temperature of 68 degrees and 42 % humidity, are the best conditions for a piano.
Pianos in general fall into two categories, such as grand and vertical pianos. Each company uses their own materials and makes use of its own particular furniture designs and scale. Every single piano needs a individual degree of conservation. Each depending on the used quality of material and the model and level of workmanship. Companies could give general advice about tuning frequencies but a technician can give special suggestions based on your use and locale. Here are some recommendations from some of the big piano companies:
Baldwin Piano Company
In the 1st year, the Nat. Piano Man. Ass. is recommending that your piano should be tuned 4 times. Also called a period of environment adjustment for each new piano, and very important good attention.
Also after the 1st year, the instrument should at least twice every year be tuned. All depending on the amount of use and weather condition.
Kawai Piano Company
The best pianos demand the best care. Good pianos need regular maintenance in 3 areas: action regulation, tuning, and voicing. Tuning is required more than the other areas, but all should be a part of fine piano maintenance.
Because of settling stretching strings, settling, and the climate effects, new pianos need to receive at least 4 tunings in the 1st year. After that year, the model used and the place of the piano will determine the amount of required tunings, but Kawai suggests two times tuning as a minimum per year.
A piano has more than 200 strings that are responsible in giving you wonderful sounds. These strings should be regularly tuned at least twice a year by a qualified piano technician. Even if the piano is not used, it will still go out of tune so make this as a regular habit.? Brand new piano needs to be tuned three to four times annually.
The strings are new and still needs to be stretched to get a good sound.? Place your piano away from radiators, heating ducts, and other places where hot air is being released. Heat affects the piano’s tuning and may cause cracks in the wood. Keeping the piano away from direct sunlight is also important.?
Cleaning your piano
Whenever you clean your piano, avoid using furniture polish. All you need is a damp micro fiber cloth which you can purchase at stores selling auto accessories. You can also purchase polishes that are recommended for pianos at any music store.? Piano keys should be free from water spills when cleaning. Use a damp cloth and wipe the keys well. If you find some stubborn dirt, you can use a mild liquid soap to get the dirt out.
Dry the keys thoroughly with a clean cloth.? Should you decide to clean the interior of the piano, ask a qualified piano technician to do the job. Pianos have delicate parts that can easily break. Only a good piano technician knows how to handle each part and put them back altogether. As long as you follow these tips, there should be no reason for your piano not to last long.
It will definitely remain magnificent and sound wonderful just as the first time you bought it. If it gets into a bad shape, it suggests that your musical instrument is not getting the right care it needs. So keep in mind that your piano should be taken cared of properly. Buying a wonderful instrument at a very expensive price doesn’t mean it requires less maintenance.
Besides, you wouldn’t want to see your money wasted just because you didn’t provide enough care for it. A piano that will last for several years may turn out to be a treasured heirloom which you can pass on from generation to generation. And you have to take the credit for preserving it for your children and your children’s children.
The tuning of a piano
The technician starts with one string in the middle of the piano (where you can hear best) and gets the pitch for that.
Many people have a misconception that the piano does not need tuning. However, unlike in the case of a guitar, it does not need frequent tuning. But this musical instrument does need tuning if, it is not played for a substantial period of time and this makes shelling out piano tuning cost inevitable. The piano has to be tuned to a concert pitch, also known as A440 or standard pitch. Expert pianists recommend that you need to get your own specific pitch.
Why should I have my piano tuned every 6 months?
Six months is an approximate amount of time in which a piano with regular use becomes ‘noticeably’ out of tune. This length of time also compensates for the higher temperatures and humidity in the summer, and cold and dry weather in the winter. These factors can make the tuning become unstable due to expansion and contraction of the tuning pins, pin-block, and strings. Tuning a piano regularly helps keep these and the string tension consistent and therefore the tuning will last longer. It is recommended to have your piano tuned at least every 6 months, and more often if you are a pianist, music teacher, or play your piano on a frequent basis.
How long does it take to tune a piano?
A piano that is moderately out of tune will take about an hour to complete a full tuning. Naturally, pianos that are very out of tune will take longer. If a pitch raise is needed (see What is a pitch raise?) then either two appointments will be made or the tuning will take up to two hours. The age, make, and condition of a piano will all affect the tuning time, but not significantly.
What is a pitch raise?
Pianos that have not been tuned in several years are likely to be very out of tune and very flat; some being over a semitone away from concert pitch (e.g. A sounds like G#). When a piano like this is tuned it will often become out of of tune soon after. Think of a piano string like a very thick piece of elastic: the further it is pulled, the faster it will come back. Because of this, 2-3 quick tunings are done before the fine tuning to adjust the tension of the strings and plate.
This process is called a ‘pitch-raise’, and the new pitch is A440 concert pitch (however this can be adjusted to A442 or a pitch of preference). It is preferred to do the fine tuning in another appointment, or spend a longer tune tuning to give the piano time to adjust to the change in string tension. Pitch raises are not usually necessary for newer pianos, but are highly recommended when needed, because the piano at concert pitch allows for interaction with other musicians and recorded music.
How is a piano tuned?
In brief, a piano is tuned by adjusting the pitch of a particular string by turning the tuning pin the string is looped around with a tuning hammer. Firstly an equal temperament is set in the middle range of the piano by counting audible oscillations called ‘beats’. In equal temperament, the interval of a perfect 5ths is tuned almost beat less, whilst major 3rds and major 6ths are tuned slightly sharp, with the frequency of the beats increasing when the pitch of the note is higher. This is followed by tuning the octave then unisons of notes in the treble and bass.
Octave intervals are usually tuned very-slightly sharp to make octaves sound in tune throughout the whole piano (when tuned beat less, double and triple octaves can often sound flat). Finally, the temperament is checked again, and any necessary minor tuning adjustments are made. This entire process is quite time consuming process as there are over 200 strings in a piano. Tuning a piano is a delicate process requiring much finesse that takes many years to master, but can be learned by anyone with a musical ear.