Frequently asked questions
How often should a piano be tuned?
We recommend tuning your piano at a minimum once a year. In our experience with pianos in Arizona, twice a year is the ideal for the average player, to maintain your piano in optimum condition and ensure it a long happy life. Four times a year may be recommended if your piano is played more than average (concert pianists and piano teachers). Keep in mind that each piano is as unique as its owner. If you are not sure what your piano needs, always feel free to ask! Your piano technician should know you and your piano well enough to make a recommendation. The best thing you can do for your piano is to play it, build a relationship with your technician, and strive to become as knowledgeable as you can about your instrument.
Why won’t my piano stay in tune?
There are several things that affect a piano’s ability to stay in tune. One is the piano’s environment. A piano has thousands of wooden and metal parts, which are prone to swell and shrink with changes in heat and humidity. So the turning of seasons as well as a change in climate can affect the tuning. As time passes, these changes cause natural wear on the piano’s mechanisms, so the overall age of the piano as well as the time that passes between tunings are also factors. If a piano has not been tuned in a long time it may take two or more tunings to get the strings to stretch and pins to settle to where they will hold a tune. In the case of advanced age or neglect, a piano may also be unable to hold tune because of a failing pinblock. If you are concerned that there may be serious damage to your piano, we are more than happy to help. If you feel that the piano is out of tune because the last tuner did not do their job, we may recommend giving them another chance – but we are still happy to answer any questions you may have.
What is the ideal climate for a piano?
The best thing you can do to ensure a safe environment for your piano is to avoid extremes. The factory ideal for a piano is 75 degrees and 45% humidity. Because of our generally drier climate, in Tucson a safe range to aim for is 25-35% humidity at 79 degrees. Pay special attention to changes during the monsoons and as air conditioners are run. Keep in mind that winter is our dry season. You may want to invest in a humidifier. While excessive humidity will cause the wooden parts in your piano to swell, excessive dryness can cause cracks and failing glue, presenting a danger to the piano’s structure. Never place open containers of water on, in, or under a piano. This presents a risk of spilling into or around the piano (and breeding mosquitoes).
Do I really need to have my piano tuned if it is not being played?
A piano has thousands of intricate parts, all carefully balanced to work together when tuned to A440. For the integrity of all those parts it is important to have your piano regularly tuned. With the passing of time and changes in environment or weather wooden parts, including the soundboard, pinblock, and action will swell and shrink and cause pins to shift and strings to stretch, slacken, and even rust. Even without being played, neglect will affect the sound as well as structural integrity of your piano. It is very important to have your piano regularly tuned by a knowledgeable piano technician. And also to play it regularly – that is what they are made for!
Where is the best place for a piano in a typical home?
Any part of the house where the temperature and humidity can be kept fairly steady should be safe. We do not recommend placing your piano near frequently opened windows, exterior doors, or heating or cooling vents.
Is it okay to place things on top of my piano?
It may resemble a nice piece of cabinetry, but keep in mind that your piano is also a finely crafted instrument. That vase of flowers could spill and cause permanent damage to its inner workings. That coffee cup or scented candle could leave stains on the finish. That favorite picture of your grandchild or cat could cause buzzing when it is played (and drive you and your technician crazy before it is identified). For the sake of sound quality and longevity, we recommend caution in placing decorations on or around your piano.
Why should I use a piano mover rather a regular moving company?
A piano mover is specialized type of piano technician. They are trained to know exactly how each part of a piano fits together (inside and out), and to identify hazards to the piano at a glance. They have all the equipment and technical knowledge needed to perform even the most dangerous moves safely. We also carry piano insurance, which unlike mover’s insurance is calculated by the value of the piano rather than the weight, and which covers your piano from the moment we pick it up.
Is tuning a piano like tuning a guitar?
What is the best way to clean a piano?
You can wipe your piano’s finish with a damp cloth (careful to rub in the direction of the finish if it is not polyester), and then with a dry cloth. For dirty keys you can use a little mild soap, being careful not to let any moisture soak between the keys or into the action. You can use compressed air to removed dust as long as it is not too high of a psi. To maintain the inside of your piano, avoid touching the strings or inner workings and make sure you close the lid while dusting around it. If the inside needs to be cleaned or the finish has been damaged, make sure to contact your piano technician to schedule a cleaning or assessment for repair.
Can all pianos be fixed?
Pianos are made to last a long time. If properly maintained and played, they can bring music and joy to your home for decades. Most pianos can be fixed. Action, belly, and keys can all be replaced. However, from time to time we do come across pianos that have reached the end of their lifespan. If a piano no longer holds tune and is of an age where any repairs would exceed the value of the instrument, we may recommend humanely disposing of the piano.
What is voicing?
With time and use the felt on a piano’s hammers becomes packed and hard where they hit the strings. This causes the piano to have a “bright” or metallic sound, particularly with the notes most played. Conversely, hammers that are new or have been affected by changes in environment may be too pliable and render a sound that is soft or muddy. Voicing is the process of manipulating the hammer felt to adjust the tone and even out the sound of the piano. If the hammers are not too old or damaged, your piano technician will sweeten or brighten the tone of your piano to your preference.
What is regulation?
Regulation is the process of bringing your piano’s action back in line with the manufacturer’s specifications. It involves carefully adjusting the many intricate mechanical parts of the piano and affects the responsiveness of the keys and pedals.