On many instances, I turn up to tune a customers piano for the first time only to find that the piano hasn’t been tuned for years since the player has stopped using it for various reasons. The owner decides to tune it again the day that a friend or relative is coming over who enjoys playing the piano or all of a sudden the owner has developed interest to play again and thus needs it to be tuned. More often than not, the piano will require more work than anticipated since it wasn’t looked after during the period it was left dormant.
“But I have just bought my piano and I am determined to play it on a regular basis. What’s the best way to take care of it?” That’s good question… following to a few straightforward steps can make sure that your piano will give you a lifetime of enjoyment.
It’s essential that you have your piano tuned regularly, even if it’s not used on a regular basis. Tuning should be done by an expert who’ll also make sure that it’s functioning at it’s best. If a piano is left untuned, the strings will slowly start to settle and relax and after several years the piano will go flat. It will then need an extra time and labor to get it back up to concert pitch and this entire process can be costly.
After a few years of tear and wear, the piano will require few adjustments to keep it at its best. In addition, it is a good idea to have the process repeated after every 5 years varying on the amount of time it’s being played. It is always advisable to call an expert on what ought to be done to the piano to keep it well maintained.
REGULATION affects the feel and response when your fingers meet the keys. A well regulated piano helps you to achieve the expression and dynamics, or the “colours and shades” of your performance. One common issue on upright pianos, for example, is called “Lost Motion” which makes the piano feel somewhat spongey and lacking in power. This is a simple adjustment which normally takes around 30 minutes to perform and can give your piano ‘a new lease on life.’
VOICING affects the sound and tone as you play up and the keyboard. From time to time, especially when it is being played regularly, your piano may start to sound too bright or “tinny” and require voicing. This process entails working on the hammers, strings and other parts to adjust the pianos tone, making sure the piano is sounding it’s best for it’s surroundings.
It is good to keep in mind that the piano is typically made of natural organic materials and needs to be kept safely. This implies that it is directly affected by it environment and will act in response. Below are a few good rules to follow :
Avoid keeping it close to Windows – this is because direct sunlight will harm the polished exterior of the piano. Windows also bring about changes in temperature and humidity particularly if it is hit by direct morning and afternoon sun which will have an effect on the pianos tuning constancy.
Avoid Heaters and Air-Conditioners – As mentioned earlier, pianos don’t like sudden changes in temperature. Although it’s ok to keep your piano in a large air-conditioned room, placing it next to a heater or directly under an air-conditioner with air blowing on it will once again affect the tuning but will also dry out the wood causing expensive repair work over time.
Avoid placing things on your piano – Pianos make good shelves and a good substitute for a mantle piece to place your photo frames, but remember that it’s first and for-most a sensitive musical instrument. It’s not a good idea to place things such as picture frames on top of it because they sometimes buzz or rattle while it’s being played leaving you thinking that there’s something wrong with it. Also placing drinks or things that may spill on the surface of the piano is not advisable as the liquid may accidentally fall inside and damage it completely.