PIANO TUNING – ONCE OR TWICE A YEAR
The average piano has over 40,000 pounds or 20 tons of tension on a cast-iron plate when at standard A-440 pitch. When a new piano first leaves the factory, each of the approximate 200-230 piano strings has between 180-200 pounds of torsional tension pulling on and pressing against specific parts of the framework designed and scaled precisely for that specific piano. As a result, the piano strings are constantly in a state of decreasing tension in varying degrees due to relative humidity (RH) and temperature changes. The piano quality, condition, age, usage, and location humidity/temperature consistency largely determine the periods between maintenance piano tuning. To help maintain the integrity of the wooden piano parts (bridges, piano tuning pin block, soundboard, and piano action parts) subject to moisture/temperature and/or torsional tension effects, piano manufacturers recommend piano tuning twice a year for students and active pianists and at least once a year otherwise. Much longer than this can result in a piano that should have the pitch raised to get the instrument back in tune. A pitch raise is really just a preliminary tuning to get it close so that a second tuning will be stable!
PIANO TUNING – PITCH RAISE
Pianos that have not received a piano tuning in the previous 12 months or are subject to significant relative humidity/temperature swings may have dropped in pitch too much to be brought back to standard pitch in one piano tuning. When the pitch of a piano string is first increased, it will settle back by 10-35% in less than 10 minutes, thus lowering the overall pitch of that specific string leaving it flat of its desired final piano tuning pitch. A pitch raise is necessary to increase the pitch by a precisely calculated amount that provides a predetermined drop bringing the pitch close enough to A-440 so on a second piano tuning, it can be optimally fine-tuned. Call 251-990-4994 or complete the CONTACT FORM so we can discuss your options and provide a quote.
PIANO TUNING – IMPROVING TUNING STABILITY
Pianos with humidity control systems require fewer tunings, less repairs, perform better, and last longer. Piano humidity control systems are installed inside the piano to stabilize the Relative Humidity (RH) at 45% to extend the life of the piano and help increase tuning stability. As the (RH) % rises the pitch pulls sharp. As the (RH) % decreases, the pitch falls flat. (RH) stabilized at 45% significantly reduces pitch fluctuations increasing tuning stability and extending the life of the tuning and piano considerably.
REPAIRS: ACTION REGULATION
I can repair or replace most common broken parts in a single visit at a reasonable price. I carry enough tools and supplies to minimize the need for additional visits, however if additional visits are required a quote will be provided. Returning and maintaining the piano action to factory specifications ensures the efficient and proper mechanical operation of moving parts working correctly together. These adjustments can significantly increase the touch sensitivity and ability to play more expressively. The tolerances set by the factory when new gradually change over time with use and can usually be affordably corrected. Often these changes and the tuning itself are so gradual that the instrumentalist is unaware of these slight moves, but over time they can add up to significant changes.
REPAIR: PIANO KEYS
The most common piano service request is piano key repair. Once the piano action is removed from the piano cabinet or case, a series of diagnostics are performed to determine the exact nature of the required piano key repair. Each key is carefully tested to ensure proper function and optimal performance. Most piano key repair issues can be avoided by installing a piano humidity control system and playing each key at least monthly.
REPAIR: PIANO STRING REPLACEMENT
I carry a complete restringing kit on all piano service calls and can repair or replace most piano strings. As piano strings age, the copper wound bass strings and metal wire treble strings lose some of their tone resulting in a more mellow sound than a newly installed piano string’s bright sound. The method of splicing an existing piano string rather than replacing it with a new piano string is preferred since a new piano string and an old piano string will sound very different in tone. The vast majority of broken piano strings are due to high piano humidity and dust resulting in rust corrosion and breakage especially if the piano is not tuned at least annually. The best advice to avoid rusty piano strings and ultimately unnecessary piano string replacement is installation of a piano humidity control system and tuning at least annually. Usually, I will clean the interior of the piano before tuning it and this goes a long way adding longevity to the strings and piano.
REBUILDING AND RESTORATION
There may be cost effective options to replacing a piano when it needs minor to major work. Bridge repair or replacement, key re-bushing, and key top replacement can enhance and/or bring a quality piano back to life. As a piano re-builder, I can offer some suggestions that can make all the difference in deciding when it’s time to repair, rebuild or seek a replacement. I have also repaired and restored several vintage turn of the century pianos and find them challenging as they are not rebuilt with the standard procedures.
PRE-PURCHASE INSPECTION CONSULTATION AND APPRAISALS
A Pre-Purchase Inspection and Consultation is recommended to obtain a professional evaluation of any piano considered a candidate for purchase. Establish the actual physical and mechanical condition of any piano that significantly defines the resale value before you buy or incur a $300+ moving fee.