Following are some frequently asked questions - with answers - regarding pianos

  1. How often should my piano be tuned?
  2. Is there anything of which I need be wary?
  3. What position in my home will provide for the best protection of my piano?
  4. How should I clean my piano?
  5. How do I know if the piano I want to buy is in good condition?

Using the CyberTuner

How often should my piano be tuned?
Your piano should be tuned at least once a year.  Pianos in constant use as concert or recording instruments 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 when tuned regularly and maintained in good playing condition.

Is there anything of which I need be wary?
More than tuning is required to keep your piano in good working condition.  If you look inside your piano, you will see a cast-iron frame with steel and copper-wound strings over a timber sounding board.  You will also see piano hammers connected to the keyboard via a complex series of levers.  This system of levers, called 'the action', cause a hammer to strike a string when you press a key.  When a piano leaves the factory, each of its action parts is adjusted to a tolerance of a fraction of a millimetre.  This adjustment process is called action regulation.

Regulation  - Precision of regulation allows the piano to respond uniformly to the pianists touch.  Each note should respond equally to the demands of forte or pianissimo playing.  Because the wood and felt components of the action change dimension due to humidity and wear, the action should be serviced occasionally to maintain its responsive qualities.  Your pianos tonal qualities will deteriorate as the felt hammers wear and age.  Consequently, it will periodically require a service procedure called 'voicing'.

Voicing - Voicing typically involves restoring the hammers to their original shape and softening the felt through the judicious use of voicing needles.   This maintains an even and pleasing tonal quality throughout the compass of the instrument.

What position in my home will provide for the best protection of my piano?
Extreme swings in temperature and humidity are harmful to your piano and its tuning stability.  Generally dryness causes the pianos 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 draughts, keeping the room closed or with limited ventilation during humid weather.  Humidity regulating systems designed for pianos will help to control humidity problems.  Consult Jeff for further information.

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 a member of the Piano Tuners and Technicians Guild of Qld. (PTTGQ), Jeff 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.

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