- How often should my piano be tuned?
- What is a pitch raise?
- What position in my home will provide for the best protection for my piano?
- How should I clean my piano?
- How do I know if the piano I want to buy is in good condition?
- Why does my piano go out of tune?
How often should my piano be tuned?
Your piano should be tuned twice a year if it is played and at least once a year even if it is not played. Pianos in constant use such as a church, country club, concert or recording instrument will naturally require tuning more often. Even when a piano is not being played, it will drop in pitch due to temperature and humidity changes. Allowing years to pass without tuning the piano is false economy, as it is often difficult and expensive to return a neglected piano to good condition. Pianos are designed to be tuned to the international standard pitch of A-440Hz. Your piano will sound its best and retain it’s value when tuned regularly and maintained in good playing condition.
What is a pitch raise?
Something happens when you neglect to tune your piano for a long time: every year that passes by, the pitch drops further and further away from where it should be, and it becomes harder for a piano technician to return the strings back up to their proper tension levels. Technicians have to raise the tension of over 200 strings, which puts a lot of strain on the piano’s structure. It’s impossible to make such a big jump in pitch and have a stable tuning in one tuning. So what they have to do is first raise all the strings to their proper average tension levels, and only then can the piano be accurately tuned. This is called a “pitch raise”. A pitch raise requires more time and effort than a regular tuning, and as a result, a piano technician’s fee is a bit higher. Also, keep in mind that it is highly advisable (usually necessary) to have the piano tuned again within the next 6 months after a pitch raise. This will help keep the tension level of the strings more stable – at the level it should have been in the first place. Regular tunings – at least once a year (every 6 months is preferable) will prevent the need for a pitch raise in the future. Like many other things, pianos require regular maintenance.
What position in my home will provide for the best protection for my piano?
Extreme swings in temperature and humidity are harmful to your piano and its tuning stability. Generally dryness causes the piano’s pitch to go flat, and humidity will make it go sharp. Repeated swings in relative humidity can cause the soundboard and bridges to crack or distort, weakening glue joints and wooden parts. Excessive moisture can result in rusted strings and metal parts. Avoid placing your piano in direct sunlight, near an open fire, heater, air conditioner or central air duct. Try to position the piano away from drafts, keeping the room closed or with limited ventilation during humid weather. Humidity regulating systems designed for pianos will help to control humidity problems. Contact your technician for advice on humidity controls.
How should I clean my piano?
Surface dust should be removed with a lambs wool duster or soft dry cloth. Finger marks may be removed from casework and keys with a moist cloth or chamois. Avoid using cleaning products that contain silicon and always seek advice before polishing your piano with commercially available polishing waxes. The inside of your piano should be cleaned every couple of years as part of the tuning service.
How do I know if the piano I want to buy is in good condition?
As an RPT* member of the Piano Technicians Guild, TJ is always willing to advise you, providing detailed information on any piano you may be interested in purchasing. This service may help you to avoid purchasing an instrument that requires expensive repairs or a piano that may be untuneable.
* Registered Piano Technician. One must pass 3 rigorous examinations in order to qualify for this credential. It is the highest standard of excellence in the Piano Technicians Guild.
Why does my piano go out of tune?
Seasonal changes in the humidity in Florida cause all pianos to go out of tune. The quality and condition of your piano and how much the piano is played are also factors in determining why your piano goes out of tune.
Installing a humidity control system will make a significant difference in the humidity changes within the piano and make the applied tunings much more stable (the tuning will last longer).