Should I really be buying a piano without warranty?

While having a piano warranty often removes any worry or concern from the buyer, buying a piano that has been thoroughly checked for you by a piano technician should be just as worry free. If there are no major concerns with the instrument it takes many years of improper care for a piano to encounter costly repairs. If you are prepared to have the piano 1.Shipped by professional movers or 2. Placed in a climate regulated condition and 3. Intend on keeping up with regular maintenance of the piano, you have more or less guaranteed the piano and your investment for yourself.

How do I know if a second hand piano is ok to purchase?

The advice of a piano technician is your best bet to knowing that you are spending your money wisely. The technician who you would pay to evaluate the piano would check and inform you about:

  1. The outside cabinet
  2. The Pinblock and Strings
  3. The Soundboard and Bridges of the piano
  4. The “Action” of the piano
  5. Its age and current market value

What is the biggest Concert Grand Piano sold today?

The Concert Grand Piano made by the Italian piano manufacturer Fazioli measures 10’2” however the American manufacturer Rubenstein now manufactures a Concert Grand Piano that measures 12’2” in length.

What are the differences between a Baby, Parlour, Semi Concert and Concert Grand Pianos?

A Baby grand piano is usually smaller in length (from the keys to the end of the “bell” of the piano) than 5’6”. A Parlour Grand usually measures from 5’8” – 6’6” in length while a Semi Concert Grand Piano (Sometimes called a Conservatory Grand Piano) measures from 6’8” – 7’4” in length. A Concert Grand Piano is one that measures 9’ or larger.

What is a square piano?

Square pianos, made popular by Steinway & Sons, were pianos that were rectangular in shape and positioned on the floor with legs like a grand piano. The strings were set out horizontally in the cabinet (opposed to vertically in grand pianos) and the action had a very simple design. They are not a good candidate for restoration often being uneconomical to repair and should only be purchased for their look opposed to their playability

What is an upright grand piano?

This was a term used to describe certain upright pianos in the early part of the 21st century. It was a mainly a marketing ploy made by piano salesmen to sell upright pianos that were taller than the average upright console piano. It was a play on words used to try and make the piano buyer think that they were purchasing an upright piano that had certain qualities of a grand piano which in the early 1900s was noted as being of higher quality than an average upright piano.

What is a spinet piano?

A spinet piano is a name given to an upright piano that’s “action” sits below the keys. This was a design that came about in the 1930s when the space to house a piano became a serious consideration to most homeowners. Its short height had direct repercussions on tone due to its reduced size of strings and its soundboard. The spinet piano’s “action” brought about limitations to playability and repair. For these reasons it is not a highly recommended piano purchase. For more information read Larry Fine

What is the difference between an Upright and a Grand piano?

The first noticeable difference would be the appearance. While an upright piano usually sits against a wall with the “action” and strings concealed by the board of wood directly in front of the player’s head, the grand piano extends out from the pianist with the strings visible to the pianist when the top lid is open. The sound does tend to be more powerful from a grand piano than an upright piano as the soundboard is exposed from the bottom and the top (if the piano lid is open). The difference in playability is that the “action” of a grand piano is more complex than an upright with a system of extra parts that allows quicker repetition of notes. Certainly the grand piano is the most flexible piano however it is not necessary to make this the first piano purchase you make. An upright piano will fulfill all the learning needs of a beginner.

Should I rent a piano before I buy one?

Renting a piano can be avoided If you can trust the advice of your competent piano technician, purchasing a piano will always be a better investment than spending money on rentals. A good used piano will still retain its value when it comes time to sell if properly maintained. Also, it should be noted that when you approach the topic of “learning piano” with the idea to rent opposed to buy – you are setting a timeline of commitment that can be a discouraging factor to anyone. At the same time, most rental pianos are pianos that are often not properly cared for and have an uneven touch and tone across the keyboard which can discourage aspiring pianists.

Should I buy an electronic keyboard or a real piano?

It really depends on what you want out of a piano. While electronic keyboards can be fun with all their extra buttons and options to enhance a musical experience, they can never offer the true touch or sound that an acoustic piano will provide its owner. From an investment point of view – an acoustic piano will always retain its value if properly maintained while an electronic keyboard will not. A broken note in an acoustic piano can often time be repaired inexpensively as something has come loose or needs to be adjusted in the piano “action” while in an electronic keyboard the repair may cost more than the actual value of the overall piano due to the expertise needed to find the electrical problem.

What can I do about the finish of my piano cabinet?

It is hard for a competent wood restorer to give advice without seeing a piano. There are, and have been, many different methods used to “finish” a piano’s appearance. Older pianos used French Polish or Varnish while newer pianos are often finished with Lacquers, Polyurethanes or Polyester finishes. Sometimes careful restoration can return a finish to its formal new appearance and sometimes the piano owner may opt to have the piano completely refinished to the desired color and/or sheen. The best advice to give would be to not apply any substance to an old finish without knowing what the finish is exactly. Common household furniture polishes should never be used as they often destroy a finish or leave a temporary shine over the existing problem that worsens with the application of foreign substances. Keeping a piano clean and away from direct sun light, heaters, fireplaces, and vents are strongly advised.

When should I replace my piano?

A piano is never really in need of replacement. If you are upgrading from an upright piano to a grand piano or to a piano of higher quality then these would be sufficient reasons however if your piano holds sentimental value, has some playability issues or has an undesired appearance, then a restoration is entirely possible. Also, keep in mind that certain piano manufacturers have forever looked for ways of reducing the cost of manufacturing and or ways of reducing the overall weight of a piano. Certain older pianos are better made than newer pianos and the cost of restoration is often less than replacing the whole piano with something of equal quality. It should be noted that an aged piano’s soundboard sometimes sounds nicer than a brand new piano as it has had time to mature within its confines of the piano.

Can I clean my own piano?

Cleaning packing, unpacking and moving your piano of anything other than the outside of the piano should be done by a piano technician only. A piano with its 9000 – 14000 movable parts can be difficult to clean around and it is very easy to break a small intricate piece of the improper pressure is laid upon it. It is just as easy to knock a small piece out of regulation affecting the playability of a piano. There are many contours inside a piano from the underside of the keys to the inside of a piano action. A thorough cleaning should be considered once every few years and completed by your piano technician.

Moving your piano either relocating or moving to another room needs professional movers. We pack and unpack pianos for our clients.

How can I tell how much my piano is worth?

The value of a piano can really only be determined after a thorough evaluation by a competent technician. By checking the condition both inside and out, all major components and its make and age, a piano technician should be able to provide you with a general value of the instrument. If you would like your piano appraised, feel free to Contact Us.

How can I tell how old my piano is?

Every piano has a serial number usually written on the Cast Iron Plate or the Wood inside the piano. It is this serial number that allows a piano technician to use a serial number reference guide to find the date and place of manufacturing.

My piano makes a constant buzzing noise. What does this mean?

Sometimes buzzing on a piano can be created by the smallest of parts that have come loose and are vibrating against a piece of wood inside the piano. If this is not the case it may be an actual Soundboard or Bridge cracks that are causing the sound, a more costly and time-consuming repair. Minor Soundboard cracks can be repaired onsite by a piano technician using a system of clamping the cracks at the point of the unwanted vibration. Minor Bridge cracks can be repaired onsite by a piano technician using Epoxy Resin. More serious repairs of these parts can only be completed in a Piano Workshop.

My piano’s keys are discolored and chipped. Does this mean I need new keys?

White piano keys have a layer of acrylic (or ivory on older or High-end pianos) that can be replaced by a piano technician. Black piano keys made of plastic (or ebony wood on older pianos) can also be replaced. It is very rare when the entire set of keys (wood) has to be replaced. This would be the most expensive repair replacement that piano keys could encounter.

My piano’s keys are loose and WOBBLE. Does this mean I need new keys?

Piano Keys that are loose and make noise are often as a result of drying of the key wood. This can be repaired by re-bushing the balance and front rail key bushings. Though this is often times done as part of a piano’s restoration, the keys can be easily removed and taken to a piano workshop for repairs.

My piano’s keys are sticking. Does this mean I need new keys?

In one word, No! Piano Keys often become sticky when the wood and subsequently the felt on the front rail or balance rail (the pivot points of each individual key) of each key begin to swell. This can be easily taken care of by a procedure known as “key easing” that any competent technician can do.

How do I know if my piano needs new strings?

A piano’s strings are often not in need of a replacement for several decades. It is more often the Bass strings (strings that have copper winding over the steel wire and located where the left hand will play) that would need replacement before the treble strings. Bass strings that are getting old begin to resonate less and create a buzzing and or sound like a “thud” when hit by the hammer. Treble strings often sound brighter when they are new but do not tend to show as extreme a symptom of age as bass strings do.

What exactly does Voicing entail?

Hammer voicing, or tone regulating, is the process of ensuring that an even, pleasant and desirable tone is produced when the hammer hits the string. This is achieved by removing indentations on a hammer created by wear renewing a rounded striking point. Further to this, careful needling of the hammer felt at specific points achieves a specific timbre and an even tone from one note to the next.

What exactly does Regulation entail?

Action Regulation is a series of procedures and adjustments taken to ensure that the piano’s Action functions at its maximum controllability, speed, and power. The three main sections that a piano technician focuses on for regulation are the action, the damper system, and the trap work. The action is the mechanical part of the piano that transfers the motion of the pianist’s fingers on the keyboard all the way to the hammers that strike the corresponding strings. Each of the 9000- 14000 movable parts need to be carefully adjusted according to each manufacturer’s specifications. The Damper system is a separate part of the action which essentially stops the vibration of each individual string when the pianist releases a note. It requires careful adjustment based upon the regulation of the action itself as well as the trap work. The trap work is the term used by piano technicians to describe the system of levers, springs, and rods that allow the pedals to produce the controlled amount of sustenance and dynamics to the music being played.

What is the basic maintenance of a piano?

The basic maintenance of any piano should be keeping it regularly tuned. Depending on Climate and Region a piano should be tuned 1-3 times yearly or as the pianist requires. Other regular maintenance should include proper care of the playability of your piano or “Regulation” as well as care for the tone of your piano or “Voicing”.

What is “Equal Temperament” tuning?

Equal Temperament is the system used in tuning to make the 12 musical tones in a piano correspond with equal ratios to each other. There is a rich history in the evolution of Equal Temperament. It necessitates the compromising of theoretical purity in note relationships. This was met with religious, political and philosophical controversy for centuries past. Today, however, all western music utilizes Equal Temperament.

Do Piano Tuners need to have perfect pitch?

Piano Tuners, on the contrary, having perfect pitch would likely be a struggling point for a piano tuner. This is because pianos cannot be tuned to theoretical ideals. There is a certain amount of “inharmonicity” inherent in every piano and the job of the tuner is to perceive the best possible tuning for each individual instrument so as to maximize its musical potential. This is why a tuner who relies on a machine has a major disadvantage to a piano tuner who has understood “equal temperament” piano tuning.

The person tuning my piano uses his ear. Should I be looking for a tuner who uses a machine instead?

Piano tuning should be done by ear as each piano is different and machines have their limitations. If a piano tuner has studied the art of piano tuning and then uses a machine to aid him in his later years of service then it is still an overall better tuning than what a machine tuner can provide. Machines can aid a qualified technician in the tuning of “unions” or the beats between strings on the same note or between notes of the same name but it is difficult for a machine to tune notes in equal temperament to each other. A qualified piano technician has studied not only the ability to set an equal temperament of a piano but also how to set a tuning pin to its desired position. Someone who tunes a piano with a machine but has not studied piano tuning is unable to provide an actual tuning of a piano both with regards to sound and stability. A piano’s tuning is often perceived more so then measured!

Why do Piano Tuners hit the notes so hard when they are tuning?

It is important for a good piano tuner to strike a note considerably harder than the average strike the pianist would give it in order to allow the Tuning Pin to “Set” itself at the desired pitch. By assuring that the Tuning Pin has been placed at its most optimal holding position to withstand weeks or months of playing, the tuner is guaranteeing the best possible longevity to a piano tuning.

Why is it important that the Piano Tuner works in a quiet setting?

Piano Tuners are listening to more than just the note they are striking. They are listening for the sympathetic beats between certain strings in order to achieve an equally tempered overall tuning. It is difficult for a piano tuner to focus on this “inner sound” if there is outside noise being created around the piano. Through training, most tuners can accomplish this task with greater difficulty however it makes the work easier, quicker and more pleasurable if the focus on sound can be attained without added distractions in the environment.

Why is it important that the Piano Tuner works in a quiet setting?

Piano Tuners are listening to more than just the note they are striking. They are listening for the sympathetic beats between certain strings in order to achieve an equally tempered overall tuning. It is difficult for a piano tuner to focus on this “inner sound” if there is outside noise being created around the piano. Through training, most tuners can accomplish this task with greater difficulty however it makes the work easier, quicker and more pleasurable if the focus on sound can be attained without added distractions in the environment.

Will Tuning really make a difference to my child’s learning?

Piano teachers and piano players know for a fact that a well-tuned piano is encouraging to the ears of a beginner player. When properly in tune, a piano’s relative pitches are almost mathematically aligned to sound at their best harmony and this, in essence, is what Music is all about.

What is Concert Pitch or A-440?

Concert Pitch or A-440 is the universally adopted international pitch for all instruments since 1940. On a piano it is the A above Middle C that is meant to vibrate 440 times per second or at 440Hz. Though some orchestras are beginning to tune their instruments to A-442, A-440 is still the universal pitch. Concert Pitch has been progressively raised over the past 3 centuries to its current frequency. For example the famous composer Handel’s tuning fork was A-422.5 in 1751

What is a Pitch Raise?

A Pitch Raise is defined as what a piano tuner needs to do to a piano that has fallen below concert pitch or A-440. It is the raising of pitch of each and every string to the correct tension that the manufacturer had intended. Though a piano can be tuned at whatever pitch level it may sit at, it cannot be tuned to concert pitch without a pitch raise if it is Below Pitch. The designed pitch for an individual piano is usually where the optimal sound can be attained as the design was created around the tension of which the string should be sitting.

How long does it take to tune a piano?

A piano tuning being completed by a competent technician should take between 1-1.5 hours to complete. This would not include any additional tuning work such as Pitch Raising.

How do I know that my piano needs Tuning?

Acoustic pianos inevitably need to be tuned and serviced on a regular basis. Fluctuating temperature and humidity, as well as normal continual decrease of static tension, causes all pianos to go out of tune. These reasons listed are major factors in a piano’s tuning, however, the amount of usage the piano receives also dictates a number of tunings needed.

Where can I order a Piano Climate Control System?

Your local qualified piano technician would most certainly know where you could order a Piano Climate Control System. These systems and be able to recommend the exact model required for your piano as well as install it for you.

What is a Piano Climate Control System?

A Piano Climate Control System is a series of parts installed in your piano (or in the case of a grand piano – on the underside of the piano) as one unit working together to carefully control the humidity levels within your piano. This system maintains consistent relative humidity despite any external climate conditions surrounding the piano. The main parts of this system include the Humidistat, Humidifier and Dehumidifier. The Humidistat is essentially the computer that senses whether the wooden parts of the piano are too dry or moist. The Humidistat will then activate either the Humidifier or Dehumidifier depending on what is needed at any given moment. The humidifier tank moisturizes the dry wood when humidity drops to a certain point and the dehumidifier heater bars help carry moisture away from the piano using air currents when humidity levels rise.

This system is the best possible way to care for you piano. It is highly recommended by many piano manufacturers, piano technicians and piano technology schools. It should be noted that poor installation of this system can affect the optimal effectiveness and protection this system can offer. Only Professional and Qualified piano technicians should install these systems.

Relative Humidity Pianos What is it?

Relative Humidity (pianos) is the amount of moisture in the air compared to the maximum amount of moisture that the air is able to hold. Moisture level in the air is greatly affected by weather but also by the conditions and activities in any specific room that holds the piano. Relative Humidity is constantly changing in the atmosphere and therefore the wood and felt parts of your piano are always changing their dimensions as they absorb and release moisture. As Relative Humidity depends not only on temperature but the moisture content of the air, it is impossible to keep a constant relative humidity by trying to maintain a consistent temperature. The best way to combat the effects of humidity and temperature surrounding your piano is the addition of a climate control system built specifically for a piano.

How does fluctuating humidity affect my piano’s tuning?

The constant expanding and contracting of the piano’s wood (soundboard specifically), brought on by fluctuating humidity levels, will cause the most noticeable effect on the piano owner – the tuning. As humidity fluctuates in different seasons, the soundboard of the piano will cause the strings tension to increase or decrease the moisture level of the wood varies.

Will moving my piano affect its tuning?

Yes, moving any piano more than a few feet or to a different location will cause its tuning to be affected. With a large amount of tension on the back frame of a piano created by the strings, the piano will shift its tension depending on how or where it is being moved to and from. The motion is encountered on a moving truck or the position it is put in at any given moment throughout a move will alter its tuning. Also, no 2 places have the exact same climate and therefore tuning will be affected when put in a new location. It is common practice to have a piano tuned in 2-4 weeks after it is moved allowing some time for the change in the piano’s tension brought on by climate change.

Where is the best place to put my piano?

The best place to put your piano is in a room away from direct sunlight, away from any windows, vents, doors or fireplaces and on an inside wall. Keeping your piano in a place in your home that encounters the least possible climactic change is the best place.

How can I keep my piano’s tuning to be stable for the longest possible time?

It is inevitable that your piano will fall out of tune by itself with the change of season and with its amount of usage, however, the more stable environment you can provide your piano, the longer the tuning will hold.

Does Climate affect my piano?

In short, Yes. Climate is a major part of your piano, its longevity, and its tuning’s stability. The more care is given to your piano’s location, the more you will enjoy your instrument. Ideal Climate conditions for your piano is between 17- 24 degrees celsius and 42% relative humidity.

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