A: Most manufacturers recommend that you have your piano tuned twice a year. We are in an area with dramatic seasonal changes. It is cold in the winter and dry from our furnaces. In the summer it is very hot and humid. It is this change in humidity and temperature that causes out pianos to go out of tune. You may have your piano tuned as often as you like. Pianos used in concert halls are usually tuned before every performance. You may opt for only tuning once a year but letting a piano drift too far out of tune may well result in it requiring a pitch raise tuning when you do get it tuned and a frequently tuned piano will be more stable and can get more of a fine tuning when it is tuned than an instrument that is far from in tune. For a listing of tuning recommendations from a number of leading piano manufacturers - CLICK HERE
Q: What is regulation, and do I need it?
A: Regulation is the adjustment of the mechanical parts of a piano. It compensates for the wear that occurs over time and for changes in wood and
felt components caused by changes in humidity. There are thousands of moving parts in a piano's action and many of them are subject to dimensional changes over time and with use. Each note has over twenty fine adjustments to be made that insure that it sounds the note properly. Typical signs that an action could use some regulation are difficulty in making notes sound when playing softly, keys depressing before hammers begin to move, poor damping of notes when keys are released, difficulty in playing a note repeatedly in rapid succession (called 'repetition'), keys not level, hammers 'blocking' against the strings and not rebounding properly, or anything else that is inconsistent or troubling to you in the way your piano feels when playing. For more info on regulation - CLICK HERE
Q: Where should I put my piano?
A: The most important thing is to provide you piano with a stable environment. Avoid placing it near heating/air conditioning vents, open windows and doors, or in locations where it may receive direct sunlight. A climate control system can help to stabilize a pianos environment but the above guidelines are still important to follow
Q: Does my piano need a climate control system?
A: While it is not an absolute necessity, it is a good idea to consider having a climate control system installed. It will help to maintain a consistent humidity level in your instrument's immediate vicinity which greatly improves tuning stability. It can also extent the life of the piano by reducing the damaging effects of having all of the wooden parts swell and shrink with the change of season. Over time this shrinking/swelling cycle can cause damage to soundboards, action parts, and the pinblock causing the tuning pins to become loose and in the worst case rendering the piano untuable. For more info about how climate and humidity affect pianos - CLICK HERE
Q: What are those grooves in the hammers?
A: Piano hammers will develop grooves with use at the points that the hammers are contacting the strings. This is completely normal, however deeply grooved hammers cause two problems. First, the tone of the piano will be affected by the strings being sounded by contact with this groove in the felt rather than by a smooth flat surface. The second problem relates to action regulation. As the groove increases in depth the distance that the hammer is traveling to strike the string is getting larger. This can cause problems with the feel of the action, notes not sounding when playing softly etc. The fix for this is to have the hammers filed and shaped to remove the grooves and a minor adjustment to the action to compensate for the change in hammer blow distance. This will improve both the tone of the piano and the feel of the action.
Q: What is voicing, do I need it?
A: Simply put, voicing is the process of treating the hammers to either harden and brighten them or to bring them down and mellow them out. This is a great oversimplification since consideration has to be given to the tonal response of the hammers over the entire dynamic range. One of the most important aspects of voicing is to give consistency from one note to the next so that no notes stand out as having a voice dissimilar to its neighbors. For more info on voicing - CLICK HERE