Piano Definitions

Piano Tuning Phoenix by Wes Flinn RPT

Mythological Greek Phoenix

Piano Definitions

— by Wes Flinn RPT

Piano Definitions:

— Concepts required to manage the physical
instrument we call an “acoustic piano”

The Schimmel 7-foot "Red Diamond" Tradition Grand

The
Schimmel
7-foot
“Red Diamond”
Tradition
Grand

— and —

The Schimmel 52-inch "Wilhelmina" Concert Upright

The
Schimmel
52-inch
“Wilhelmina”
Concert
Upright

‘Acoustic Piano’

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“Acoustic Piano” is the technical name or clarification of the name shortened to just “piano” in our every-day conversation.We say “acoustic piano” to mean the completely physical, historical type of piano that has been around for 300 years; and, when we want to be sure not to be confused with a “keyboard”, or an “electronic piano”, as they are called. Keyboards and electronic pianos are not actually pianos, even though that is often what they are called. This confusion is due to the fact that these electronic types of instruments look like a piano, in the sense that they have keys which look like those on an acoustic piano, but are actually organs or synthesizers that have an electronic program which makes them sound similar to an acoustic piano.

These electronic keyboards can do marvelous things, like imitate many other different instruments (called “midi” capability) as well as imitate a piano. However, these kinds of instruments are entirely electronic in every way, and have none of the physical apparatus that make up the physical acoustical piano — they usually do not “feel” like a piano when they are played, as well as do not usually sound really like the acoustical piano. There are very sophisticated instruments called “digital pianos” which do imitate the physical piano very closely, but not precisely.

Note:
This Wikipedia link gives an excellent short but thorough History of the Piano:

Wikipedia – History of the Piano

Note:
Anyone considering repairing or refurbishing an old piano should also read this excellent webpage in detail:

go to Antique Pianos.

Click here to go back to Tuning.

‘Inner Working Parts’

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  • What makes a piano produce its tones is all those parts inside the beautiful cabinets! Parts include:(1) Action, its Keys, Hammers, plus all its internal levers;(2) Strings — totaling 225 + strings in a small piano, and up to over 250 in large pianos, which vibrate when struck by Hammers;(3) Pins / Pinblock, hold strings to correct pitches;(4) Soundboard, Bridge, the “speaker” of the piano, projecting sound, same as electronic speaker in a stereo.
  • Tuning Hammer

    Tuning Hammer

    The way a piano works is this: A Piano looks like one big “thing” with 88 keys on the front of it. A Piano is actually a beautiful cabinet with 88 physical “motors” all hooked up next to each other, with each motor doing exactly the same thing: This is to thrust a Hammer to a String set when a key is is depressed. Its “Pitch” and “Tone” is developed by the length of the Strings that the Hammer hits. Once the Hammer causes the Strings to vibrate, this vibration is physically carried through the Bridge into the Soundboard, which is the physical “speaker” of the Piano that amplifies the String vibrations into the air, just like happens in a stereo speaker. The only difference between a Piano “Speaker” and a stereo speaker is, that a Piano Speaker operates physically, and a stereo speaker operates electronically.

    The Action

    The Action

    “Wah-lah” — there you have it, a piano is just as simple as that — although it takes, in terms of parts and pieces, from 10,000 to over 12,000 tiny, miscellaneous articles and gadgets to get the job done!

The Hammers

The Hammers

The Keys

The Keys

The Strings

The Strings

Soundboard / Bridge

Soundboard / Bridge

Pinblock / Pins

Pinblock / Pins

‘Repairs’

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* “Repairs” means:

Rehabilitation, replacement of worn out, malfunctioning parts.

→ Note: There is an excellent webpage anyone considering repairing or refurbishing an old piano should read to help understand these pianos —
go to this internet page:

www.bluebookofpianos.com/vintagepianos.html

‘Pinblock Failure’

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* The pinblock of a piano holds the tuning pins, and controls the tension of the strings, and therefore controls the ability of a piano to tune.

Without this control, a piano cannot tune !!

Scroll back to pictures above, showing cutaway of this pinblock — the entire pinblock is a laminated piece of wood about 2 inches thick, and about 8 inches tall, covering the width of any piano — and, it holds the tuning pins you see in any piano.

Time, or temperature conditions, or humidity conditions, or any combination of these conditions can cause a piano pinblock to gradually lose its strength and become “soft”. When this happens, the tuning pins are no longer held tightly enough to adjust them to control the “pitch”, or the highness or lowness of a sound, desired from a wire string.

When this situation occurs, if a piano is to be tuned, the pinblock has to be either repaired or “restored”, or replaced. Replacement is usually prohibitive in cost, as it requires replacing all the strings and tuning pins at the same time. Replacement is not usually done except in concert level grand pianos, and is almost never done in upright pianos, due to the cost, which are not extremely valuable museum quality pianos.

Repair procedures to “restore” the tightness of a pinblock are almost always successful, and can be performed at a low cost. An experienced “RPT” (Registered Piano Technician) is usually proficient in these procedures, and some RPTs have the equipment to perform this restoration service in the home.

An “RPT” certified Technician will also have the experience to advise you honestly if this procedure is actually appropriate to solve your piano’s problem, or if a better solution would be to acquire another piano, perhaps because of overall wear or deterioration of the entire piano, in addition to this condition called “pinblock failure.”

Next: See picture article explaining repair

Next: See Prelude: containing articles about pinblock repair

Next: Take a time capsule back 100 years or so:

(1) See examples of restored antique pianos

(2) See close-up of:

1918 Kurtzman 60-inch Cabinet Upright

Click here to go back to Tuning.

‘A – 440’

or “Standard Pitch”

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* “A – 440” is also “Standard Pitch” or “Concert Pitch”

Tuning to “A – 440” pitch is always needed when you play your piano with CDs, other electronic instruments like keyboards or digital devices, other instruments that cannot adjust their pitch — such as accordions, harmonicas etc, or even clarinets and french-horns which have very little pitch adjusting capability; also, Standard Pitch is always recommended for pianos used for
student practice.

“A – 440” = sound that vibrates at 440 cycles (Hertz) per second.

Musical sounds are often generated by instruments that have keys — a modern piano usually has 88 keys. “A – 440” on today’s pianos is the 6th “A” key counting from the left or bottom note on the piano — this 6th “A” key is set during tuning at 440 cycles or vibrations per second, then all the other notes on the piano are set in exact relation to this one note of A – 440.

The reason for all this procedure is so that all instruments world wide will be sounding in the same key, and any or all kinds of instruments can all play together successfully. Pianos or other instruments do not have to be tuned to this standard — but they are tuned to this standard for everyone’s convenience, for most all music performances, and by all types of musicians.

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‘Pitch Raise’

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* “Pitch Raise” refers to the recurring need to raise the pitch of a piano before tuning it: the pitch (highness or lowness of sound) is brought up to the standard of “A – 440” defined above.

The need for pitch raises on pianos is due to the fact that a piano is always going flat because of the very way pianos are made — a piano is a physical machine, and has no means, such as electronic motors or other automatic devices, to change its pitch. A physical procedure is necessary to do anything regarding an acoustic piano, including playing it!

The strings inside a piano all added together create a tension on its iron plate of about 20,000 lbs. on a tiny piano, to over 65,000 lbs. on a huge 10-foot concert grand piano. This extreme tension causes a piano to constantly go flat, very slowly, but it will always continue to occur from the date of manufacture to the end of its service life. The pitch raise procedure is always needed when a piano service has not been regularly maintained with tunings on a calendar basis — the longer the time between tunings, the lower the pitch descends, and, for example, with a decrease in pitch of over about 4% the piano cannot be simply tuned immediately back up to the standard of “A – 440” and stay in tune normally — it has to be “pitch raised” up to that “A – 440” standard, then re-tuned to that pitch.

The technical term for this procedure is “Tension Adjustment”, meaning adjusting the strings to the proper tensions, which in turn produces correct string sounds relative to “A – 440” Herz.

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‘Humidity Control’

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* “Humidity Control” in regard to pianos includes any of the various remedies or methods of controlling the surrounding humidity level (referred to as “RH”, or “Relative Humidity”) of the air where a piano is located.

Click here, or Scroll down to end of this entry for a list of available “evaporative” units — Note that small medicinal “mist” type units will not work

The reason for this extreme attention given to “humidity control” in dealing with pianos, is that an acoustic piano (see definition above) is constructed necessarily by design of wood or wood product derivatives, and is extremely vulnerable to severe humidity conditions. Very simply, it can break up, crack apart, deteriorate or become non-functional when the humidity levels in the air around it become too low or too high and outside of its design parameters. A piano is not alone is this predicament, as all wooden products suffer this limitation — it is well understood how solid wood furniture cracks and breaks apart in low humidity conditions, and how expensive musical instruments like violins or cellos or clarinets and even brass instruments need protection and humidification to prevent damage from adverse humidity conditions.

If you feel this attention to humidity control for pianos is exaggerated, even irresponsible, I humbly suggest that this attention is very well founded. The reality is that your piano, when located in adverse low humidity conditions, really will crack or break or self-destruct in some way. It is not a matter of “if”, but rather a matter of “when”. I have observed new pianos “explode”, and older pianos become useless, deteriorating into firewood because of storage or location in uncontrolled humidity situations, such as garages or storage units or vacation houses.

Almost every piano I visit in Arizona is suffering from some form of low humidity damage, in the form of pinblocks deteriorating to softness, soundboards showing stress cracks, tunings becoming very instable, pitch levels going crazy. Sometimes inner parts in the action are suddenly breaking, which requires immediate and expensive repair to avoid further damage. Often the damage is already fatally done, and the piano becomes useless without extensive repair — for examples, see Review #10 on this Website, describing a Kawai 7-foot home concert grand piano shipped to Arizona from Florida, which was both shipped and stored improperly before delivery: what should have been a simple tuning became a $3000 raising from the dead, because the pinblock was ruined, and most all glued parts of the action separated and had to be repaired, which in turn necessitated a Full Maintenance Service as well as totally re-tuning; and, also see Review #22 on this Website, describing the early and effective results of an area humidifier.

Low humidity conditions affect a piano most severely, suddenly

High humidity conditions affect a piano, not as severely or suddenly

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The simple and least expensive solution to control low humidity conditions is to install an area humidifier in the general location where a piano “lives”, and keep the RH level above 30% RH at all times. An automatic humidifier can be set at 35% RH, and the piano as well as all the people living with it become very “happy campers” !!

Also, adding an area humidifier to your home will greatly increase your personal comfort level, improve cooling and heating efficiency, reduce cooling and heating costs, PLUS bring all the benefits of steady humidity to a piano, etc. to a degree that you will really wonder why no one ever explained about all this before! Take this information seriously, and add one of the humidifiers described below.

The choice of area humidifiers for a piano protective purpose MUST be the “evaporative” type, and NOT the mist type used for medicinal purposes. The unit should also have a built-in and automatic device called a “humidistat” ( or a can be a “hygrometer” ), which is an “RH” or relative humidity meter that measures/regulates humidity in the air, and automatically turns the unit on and off to control an exact level of humidity. An evaporative humidifier unit without a built-in humidistat can also work just as well, but then you must also purchase a free-standing hygrometer to work with it in order to control an exact level of humidity — it is plainly much easier and less expensive to get a humidifier with the built-in automatic humidistat, and many such units are available on today’s market.

Pianos are known to be “safe” from low humidity atmospheric damage if the humidity level is kept above 30% RH in the air surrounding it. Pianos can usually tolerate high humidity conditions, even 70% RH or above, without structural damage, but pianos often begin failing progressively when located where humidity levels drop below 30% RH for any length of time. Setting an automatic humidifier at 35 to 40% RH virtually solves low humidity protection problems.

To control high humidity conditions, or conditions where the humidity or temperature conditions are variable all the time, the Dampp-Chaser system is the only solution – see below.

Please note: the Dampp-Chaser climate control system is the best, although the most expensive to purchase yet the least expensive to operate, long-term solution to control all types of weather temperature or humidity conditions that affect pianos — see information below. The total conditioning obtained by using a Dampp-Chaser system also protects and preserves tuning, thus tunings will last much longer using a total climate control system like the Dampp-Chaser.

To control low humidity conditions, an area humidifier does a completely acceptable job of protecting a piano. But it does not, and cannot, help preserve tuning duration and stability as does the Dampp-Chaser climate control system, because an area humidifier is only able to control the humidity factor of air surrounding the piano, and has no way to control the temperature factor involved in preserving both piano tuning and piano tonal qualities.

Another method of humidity control is to install a humidity control system into your household air-conditioning system. This method is the most expensive, but adds additional benefits at no extra cost of providing comfort and protection to all the people who live in the house with a piano, as well as to all the contents of the house, including furniture, cabinets, house structure, and to other valuable possessions you might own such as other musical instruments, antiques, historical books and libraries or similar treasures, etc. Please note, however, that household humidity systems are “protective” only, and only accomplish the same purpose as area humidifiers already mentioned above — they cannot accomplish the tuning and tonal benefits provided by a piano climate control system such as the Dampp-Chaser system described below and in the “Climate Control” section of this website (click tab at top of this page). If budget is no problem, the perfect solution is to install a household humidity control for all the reasons mentioned here, as well as the Dampp-Chaser system in the piano itself to develop both the ultimate care factor and ultimate performance capability for the piano.

Area Humidifier

Sources

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HUMIDIFIER sources: Retailers now seldom carry many options for area humidifiers, which forces you to order only online any specific models you might might prefer, or that were available in the past.

All of the information explained below about area humidifiers remains valid, including the models suggested — but, finding suitable products at stores other than Sears Roebuck is usually a waste of time.

The best unit for smaller areas has always been the Kenmore 15412 unit from Sears, and for larger areas the Kenmore 15420 unit from Sears — the larger the unit, the quieter and the less refilling needed.

For piano and general purposes, remember to use only “evaporative” type humidifiers, and not the medical “mist” type which do not actually humidify the air.

Whatever brand you choose that is “evaporative” might work well for you — but, this notice is to explain that it is not possible to recommend specific models other than Sears, as was possible in the past.

MUST BE “evaporative” design, not “mist”.

Note: Don’t rely on website information totally for purchase information or purchase decisions. This is why the list below is provided.

Regarding ALL evaporative humidifiers — understand that the larger the unit, the more quietly it can operate, and the less refilling of water is needed. All are “evaporative” design.

Sears Roebuckis also the only consistently good source for humidifiers with built-in humidistats, with stores which actually stock quality products, and the necessary filters. Best advice is still to call ahead to check their local stock before going to pick up.

Note: Other sources have proven over the years to never be consistent or reliable for humidifier products.

Kenmore 15412

Kenmore 15412

Kenmore 15420

Kenmore 15420

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Sears Roebuck Humidifier

 Sears Roebuck Humidifiers Table
Water Additive

‘Dampp-Chaser’

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‘Dampp-Chaser’

“Dampp-Chaser” is a Climate Control system for a physical, acoustic piano, either upright or grand style.

Pictures and details are located on this website at:

Climate Control system for piano

Cost starts at $475 installed for an upright piano, or for up to a 7-foot grand piano. For larger than 7-foot grand pianos, cost installed is $700.

“Dampp-Chaser” is the every day name of the biggest selling, best known product for the purpose of controlling humidity and temperature conditions inside an acoustic piano cabinet. A piano is constructed basically out of wood in the cabinet and soundboard, then steel (strings with copper wrapping) is used for the strings, and cast iron is used for the plate that holds anywhere from 20,000 pounds of tension in a small piano to 65,000 pounds of tension found in large grand pianos.

All of these materials used in constructing a piano are at odds with each other regarding expansion and contraction rates that occur when there temperature or humidity changes — which occur all the time every hour of every day of the year.

This phenomenon of stretching in contrary and opposite directions at different rates causes a piano to “go out of tune.” This can happen slowly or very quickly with a sudden or severe weather change. Using the Dampp-Chaser almost eliminates this kind of problem, and keeps the piano much more closely in tune, as well as protected from either the normal and slow or the fast and severe weather changes.

“Piano Life Saver System”

This is the actual trade name for this product, and it is manufactured by the Dampp-Chaser Corporation. The product has been in use since 1947, and has taken on the nick-name of “Dampp-Chaser” as it is commonly known to everyone today.

More information can be found both on this Website, by clicking the ‘Climate Control” tab above, then by clicking on the corporate links in that section. Click here for pictures.

Climate Control System” = systems like the Dampp-Chaser

Humidity Control” = information about pianos and humidity.

‘Tuning’ and

‘Types of Tuning’

Note to mobile viewers — use horizontal view !

Tuning Costs

Costs for Tuning a physical piano range from
$115 to $200, depending completely on the
condition of your piano, its location and the
kind of use you plan to give it —

Inspections or Basic Service Calls cost $79

Maintenance Tuning: costs from $115 to $135

Remedial Tuning: costs from $155 – $175

• Don’t get ripped off !!

All Tunings ARE NOT the same —

What kind of tuning do you need?

• Is a bad pinblock your piano’s real problem ?

• Will your piano tune without any repairs ?

Inspections are needed for these answers !

Did you know that:

>> Physical pianos have “memory” — They go
back out of tune if you don’t follow rules

Here are the rules — no exceptions:

• Acoustic Pianos use 3 Tuning Methods
each method serves a different purpose:

1) “Remedial Tuning” same as Concert Tuning

also called a “Pitch Raise” Tuning

procedure resets pitch to Standard A-440,
reinstalls a Temperament style, plus installs
a complete Fine Tuning (see #2 below)

Remedial Tuning must always be used whenever
Standard A-440 pitch level required, such as:

when piano to be used for concert performance

when piano is expected to play or record with
any kind of other instruments

when piano is expected to play with electronic
devices of any kind, such as keyboards,
CD players, synthesizers, theremins, etc.

— and, for any of these “remedial” conditions:

a piano did not get regular service in the past

a piano has been in storage or moved around
to different locations

a piano is so far out of tune that the
temperament must be restored

a poorly installed previous tuning
must be corrected

shop repair work has been done

Remedial Tuning = 3 different procedures:

(1) Restores pitch level to A-440 —

(2) Re-establishes a Temperament

(3) Installs a Fine Tuning —

All 3 procedures are done in one session
that requires 2 hours or more at the piano

Go back to Tuning.

Go back to Pinblock Failure

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2) “Fine Tuning”

— “sets” or “floats” a temperament at a piano’s existing pitch level— a “Fine Tuning” procedure can sometimes be used alone, without remedial work or pitch raises, depending entirely on a piano’s existing tuning conditionNote: when a piano is so far out of tune that its temperament must be restored, or a pitch change up or down is needed, a “Fine Tuning” installed alone will not work properly, and the “Remedial Tuning” procedures above must be used if worth-while results are expected.(See “More Explanations” below)Realize that an acoustic piano has physical memory, and will quickly go back to its previous state of tuning if it is not re-set with a temperament at a desired pitch level before it is tuned.Therefore, an acoustic piano MUST BE either tuned at its existing pitch level (provided it has retained a temperament from its last tuning), or given a “remedial tuning” (which is to re-set to another pitch level and temperament before re-tuning with a “fine tuning”) if the desired change is more than 4-% higher or lower than the existing pitch level.— The “Fine Tuning” procedure alone requires up to 1:30 time at the piano

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3) “Maintenance Tuning” only, or also called just a “Regular Tuning”

— This is the installation of a “Fine Tuning”, installed at existing pitch level of the piano.

— This method, however, can only be used when piano has been tuned previously within the last few months, using any of these 3 types of tunings, and when the piano has kept its temperament integrity from a previous tuning

— must be scheduled on a regular calendar basis, at 30 to 150 day intervals

— The “Maintenance Tuning” procedure requires about 1 hour at the piano

Go back to Tuning

Note:

Repairs may be needed before a piano will tune !

Click here to review a difficult problem for all pianos in Arizona, which is Dehydration,
caused by dry weather conditions, called “pinblock failure.”

— Also See:

Older Pianos and “Player Pianos” below.



Go back to Tuning

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• More Details on these tuning procedures:

1) “Concert” / “Remedial” / “Pitch Raise” method:

This is an overall corrective method which includes three separate parts, or procedures:(a) a special procedure, different from tuning, is used to re-tension both the piano’s strings and its iron plate into a balanced and stable condition that produces a desired pitch level, usually set to “Standard Pitch” or “Concert Pitch” of “A – 440”; and,(b) a second procedure, in preparation for the “Fine Tuning” which follows, is to develop a unique modification of a temperament adapted to that particular piano (see Fine Tuning below); then,

(c) installation of a Fine Tuning (see below)

This Concert Tuning method is variously called a “Concert Tuning” or a “Pitch Raise Tuning” or a “Remedial Tuning” or a “Double Tuning”.

The proper technical name for the “pitch raise” part of the procedure is a “Tension Adjustment” — which means the piano overall has been re-tensioned to a new pitch level before it was actually tuned.

This “Tension Adjustment” or “Pitch Raise” procedure is mandatory when a piano’s pitch level needs to be changed more than 4-% higher / lower than the piano is found to be at the time of a new tuning. This new adjustment level can be set to Standard pitch of A-440, or to any other practical tension above or below standard pitch. (Acoustical pianos have a very wide range of pitch adjustment, that almost all other instruments do not have)

If an acoustical piano is not re-tensioned prior to tuning, and is simply tuned arbitrarily at some new pitch level exceeding this 4-% parameter higher or lower than its existing pitch level, the new tuning will invariably become unstable, not durable, and will fade away earlier than necessary, in a degree depending on the amount of pitch change beyond this 4-% limit. The reason for this is that a physical piano has “memory” in its physical parts, and “wants” to return to its former state after a tuning, unless it is “taught” the new tensions desired before a new tuning is installed.

Click here for the definitions of Pitch Raise and A – 440 to see why or when you might want or need to have a “pitch raise” or “remedial” style of tuning.

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2) “Fine Tuning” method:

A new “Fine Tuning” is the final procedure used in any method of tuning. It is also the style tuning used the first time a Registered Piano Technician works on a piano, as well as the tuning procedure which follows the “Tension Adjustment” or “Pitch Raise” procedure above.

Note: A “fine tuning” is installed at whatever pitch level the piano has at the point of tuning, with or without a pitch change. It also will not install properly on any piano unless a temperament has been correctly installed first, or happens to be satisfactory without re-installation at the point of tuning.

Note: A “fine tuning” is installed at whatever pitch level the piano has at the point of tuning, with or without a pitch change. It also will not install properly on any piano unless a temperament has been correctly installed first, or happens to be satisfactory without re-installation at the point of tuning.

This Fine Tuning procedure takes about 25% longer than a periodic, or “maintenance” tuning.

A piano simply will not hold a new tuning well that is not set up right in the first place — and, you will wonder when a new tuning fades quickly why you paid a technician some bargain price to do a cheap, quick tuning for you — but, if that should happen to you, now you know what happened, and why!

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3) “Maintenance” style tuning:

A procedure which is a calendar-based tuning following a Fine tuning, a Pitch Raise tuning, or a Maintenance tuning performed within the previous few months. It is a faster procedure, requiring less time, because these types of previous tunings will still be basically in place inside of about 6 months. The Maintenance tuning gives attention mainly to re-setting the “unisons“, refining the existing temperament, and does not need to address as much re-setting of the pin positions as a “Fine Tuning”.Maintenance tunings are scheduled in calendar-based periods of 30 up to 150 days. Choice of time cycles depends on how perfectly you want or need your piano to sound daily.

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Older Pianos:

To make tuning possible on older pianos,—Beware! — repairs may be necessary !!

For details, go to: Repairs and pinblock failure..

For full information, go to: Full Maintenance Service;

Next, go to the five definitions above on this page
marked with a red star “*“;

Then, go to: Grades, types of older type pianos

and go to: Cabinet Grand Antique Piano

Go back to Tuning

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Player Pianos: (mechanical / pneumatic players)

Note that most antique player pianos require removal of at least part of the player mechanism in order to access the piano’s tuning pins, and therefore cost more to tune or to service. If the player system does not work, and the piano does work, you may want to remove the player entirely for future convenience. Modern electronic piano player systems take up almost no internal space and do not require removal for service.A “player piano” is normally a regular piano with a huge and complex player system literally “stuffed” inside to operate the piano mechanically. There is usually no room remaining to service or to repair the piano normally, and this system usually has to be removed partially in order to do any kind of work on the piano itself, including only tuning.

Also be aware that all the normal warnings for “older pianos” above apply to player pianos regarding any kind of services or repairs to the actual piano itself, in addition to the player mechanism issues — whether to disable it, try to improve it or to repair it, etc.

Further, realize that, although repair of mechanical piano player systems is actually possible, such repair is usually prohibitive in cost except for unusual situations with unlimited budgets, and where goals of nostalgic or historic restorations are ruling your decisions.

Repair service for mechanical player systems is almost unavailable in today’s world, takes forever to get done, and the costs are unbelievable. If you must do this, you are best advised to get an “RPT” – Registered Piano Technician to guide you down this road, as well as be prepared to both pay big time and wait big time for your goals to be met. You can visit the following links for a start on information:

Go to: Player Techs, Player Rolls, Antique Pianos.

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• Why tune a piano, in the first place?

Acoustical pianos are physical machines. They go flat naturally and normally, by design, due to the very high tension on their strings. An acoustic piano is always, all the time, going microscopically flat due to this tension — so time between tunings determines much of how flat a piano goes down before its next tuning. Playing a piano affects tuning only by a small amount. Temperature and humidity changes affect the tuning of a piano by a large amount. Acoustic pianos tuned regularly, however, usually stay acceptably in tune; and, when tuned on a regular calendar basis, they stay up to pitch acceptably, as well.

• How often should a piano be tuned?

5 essays on this Website cover all tuning requirements:

Tuning Your Piano — overview of Tuning Cycles

Tuning Your New Piano — needs of new pianos

Six-Month Piano Tuning Cycles — the history

Piano Maintenance Programs — for serious owners

— “How Often / When Should I Have My Piano Tuned

• Use and meaning of the word “tuning”:

— The non-technical, popular use of the term “tuning” is to describe making a piano sound “right” or “normal”, without reference to what procedure might be involved.— The technical meaning of the word “tuning” refers only to a procedure that tightens or loosens strings, which causes the sounds made by piano strings to go up or down in pitch.

“Tuning” is not, by technical definition, either
“Regulation” or “Voicing” or “Repairs.”

— About unisons:

“Tuning” also includes the meaning of drawing the strings on notes using more than one string (most of the piano) into equal tensions or sounds, and both the procedure and the resulting sounds are called “unisons“.

Click here to go: back up to “maintenance” tunings

— The overall maintenance condition of a piano directly and strongly affects its ability and potential to accept or benefit from any kind of tuning procedure.

Full Maintenance Service” = details on how this works.

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• Tuning Technology

Modern piano tuning technology is the result of 300 years of research and development, beginning with the invention of the piano in 1709. Today’s tuning techniques are just as reliable and predictable as flying techniques are in aeronautics. A basic problem in tuning technology has always been to cope with the physical design of acoustical pianos — their strings constantly go flat due to stretching from the very high tension needed to produce the 88 different piano pitches. The correct and effective methods developed to overcome this tendency are explained in the ‘Tuning’ section above; properly executed, these procedures provide very stable and durable tunings, even in locations not having the benefit of climate controlled conditions.Go back to Tuning end | top

‘Regulation’

“Regulation” refers to and includes all the keys and hammers and other internal working parts of a piano, which collectively are called the “action” mechanism of a piano. Then, to “regulate” this action means to adjust all of these various parts to work properly and efficiently.It is vital for a piano owner to understand that nearly all piano actions are made out of natural wood, and are susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity. A piano action must be regulated to the climate in which the piano will operate — moving from one climate to another usually requires the re-regulation of a piano — see my note on moving pianos in the section below “Piano Maintenance Levels“.

These parts number from about 10,000 parts in an Upright Piano up to as high as 12,000 parts in a huge 10-foot Grand Piano.

Regulation” refers to the adjustment of all these parts so that each note mechanism moves and performs its individual job correctly, as well as evenly and efficiently in relation to all other notes in the piano.

Regulation procedures can range from: 1) a ‘touch-up’ service to tweak or improve the existing settings when they are more or less correct; and, 2) to a full regulation service that can require two days or more to complete on a performance grade piano.

“Regulation” also includes the concept of properly Lubricating all these working parts.

The first signal that your piano needs Regulation is when the keys start feeling heavy and more sluggish than normal, and piano seems tiring to play. Part of this symptom is due to need for Lubrication, and part due to need for adjustments — both are done together.

Grand Piano Action “Motor” Picture:

Click here for a side view of a Grand Action “motor” —

A very useful way to think of the Action in a Piano is to consider that each one of the 88 keys on a piano represents an independent physical “motor” located directly behind it in the inside of a piano — then think of 88 of these individual motors as simply hooked up side by side, next to each other, and there you have it! That’s what any piano action is!

A very useful way to think of the Action in a Piano is to consider that each one of the 88 keys on a piano represents an independent physical “motor” located directly behind it in the inside of a piano — then think of 88 of these individual motors as simply hooked up side by side, next to each other, and there you have it! That’s what any piano action is!

Very important: Sometimes a piano cannot be regulated without some basic repairs!

‘Voicing’

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“Voicing” is the last step in Piano PreparationThis term “voicing” almost always applied to commercial performance grade pianos, and not to home pianos.

Specifically, voicing is the work of upgrading the efficiency of piano string behavior, as coordinated with its hammer behavior. Some of the procedures are the same for preparing either home or commercial pianos, but home pianos would profit very little from the advanced procedures used for commercial pianos, which involve needling and filing and shaping the hammers to meet specific tone quality goals — home piano hammers can even be ruined by applying such advanced techniques, because they were not designed for such modifications.

To pursue these voicing procedures requires that all the rest of the piano is working at a near perfect efficiency before a “voicing” routine can be useful — the regulation and tuning of a piano has to be as perfect as possible before voicing the piano can be accomplished.

The goal of voicing is first to cause the sounds of all piano notes to produce more equal tonal qualities in general, and then second to cause all these sounds to be more even in volume and intensity, while at the same time modifying the piano sounds to please the listening tastes of the listener or owner or user of the instrument. If this sound complicated, well, it is! But that is what voicing is all about.

Voicing is done in a general way by the manufacturers of all pianos. The term “Concert Voicing” is a better description of the custom voicing that is done to concert venue pianos and recording studio pianos — This kind of procedure is very tedious, time consuming, and extremely expensive, and it can take sometimes many days of work by a technician to satisfy these goals of perfection that are usually required to achieve those ‘perfect’ piano tones demanded professionally. The work involves countless procedures of needling, shaping, testing of hammer characteristics, as well as testing, measuring and adjusting of string positions and shapes, and repeating these procedures almost endlessly until the instrument
is as ‘perfect’ as it is possible to be.

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In addition, general humidity conditions, and temperature or humidity changes greatly affect the general “voice” of an acoustical piano. The information provided in the section above about “Humidity Control” should be seriously considered by all acoustic piano owners — to read now, click any top of page link to definitions list, then click ‘Humidity Control”, then click “Voicing” to return.

Very important: Sometimes a piano cannot be voiced without replacement of hammers!

The following excerpt is a very reasonable description of the acoustic piano voicing concept:

“Voicing work is…very misunderstood.

“Voicing a piano is the art of adjusting the volume, tone, sustain and clarity of the entire instrument or individual notes. Voicing cannot change the basic character of an instrument, it can only bring it to its maximum potential, and it is often a matter of personal taste. The entire piano may be voiced ‘up’ (brightened) or down. Individual notes or sections can be voiced to even out the keyboard.

“There are many ways to ‘tone build’ on a piano, but voicing the hammers is the most familiar one…. It involves either softening the hammers by piercing the felt with small needles at specific points to various depths, or hardening the hammers by filing, drying, or use of chemicals. Care must be taken not to overdo any voicing work on the hammers; they easily can be ruined. If the owner feels a piano is too bright, the hammers can be softened to a degree to produce a more mellow tone. However, too much needling causes a ‘mushy’ tone with poor sustain and projection. Hammers compact and harden over time, and a small amount of needling may be advisable to help restore the original tone quality.

“Hardening hammers can improve pianos with weak or indistinct tone. Don’t expect miracles on a cheaper or small piano. Too much hardening of hammers with a lacquer or other hardening agent will make the tone ‘tinny’ or brittle, and it will be difficult or impossible to voice down properly later.

“Since hammers are wool felt, they absorb moisture in high humidity and can mellow noticeably in tone. A hammer iron will dry them out, but it is usually used before a concert for a temporary tone adjustment. For the home, church, school, or club, a piano dehumidifier system rectifies the problem.

[Wes Flinn note: a Dampp-Chaser climate control system can often solve all these problems for all but specialty uses of the piano]

“Filing hammers removes the softer or ‘dead’ outer layer of hammer felt and brings out a brighter tone. If the hammers have been filed on a new piano in the factory, additional filing will do little to bring up the tone.

“To be properly voiced, the piano must be in good tune and the action well regulated.

“Other aspects of voicing and tone-building include setting the strings properly over their bearing points, tightening all screws from the plate to the pinblock and the back, and adjusting action placement and hammer strike points….”

Above quotation from:
“The Piano…Guide for the Piano Owner” by
Philip Gurlik, RPT, Potter Press, Bend, Oregon, ©2000.

‘Temperament’

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“Temperament”, in its very basic meaning, describes how a piano may “sound” to us.

We may say, “…this piano has ‘good temperament’ or ‘nice temperament” — and what we would probably mean is that the sound the piano makes seems ‘pleasant’, ‘normal’, or ‘correct’, or seems appropriate for the music we want to make on that piano.

“Temperament”, as a technical term in piano technology, refers to specific sound frequencies or mathematical values of the 88 piano notes used by a piano; and, the arrangement of those mathematical values and relationships are often given names corresponding to their inventors as well as to a historical time period when a particular system was used. The temperament used most often in today’s music is called “equal temperament”, meaning that the musical tones in this temperament system are arranged mathematically equidistant one to another.

Most other temperaments of the past are grouped together today under the name “historical temperaments” — and the list of such temperaments is vast, and is a complete subject of knowledge unto itself.

Click here to go back to Tuning

‘Piano Maintenance

Levels’

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• Quick reference links:

Click for quick reference, or continue:
Level 1: Normal Routine Maintenance
Level 2: Preventive Maintenance Service
Level 3: Full Maintenance Service
Level 4: Remedial Maintenance Service
Level 5: Performance-grade Preparation, or
Concert Level Maintenance Service
Level 6: Custom Level Maintenance Service
Level 7: Hybrid Level Maintenance Service

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• Special Note for

Moving physical acoustic piano:

There are over 500 screws plus other elements in a piano action that become loose over time in a physical piano due to expansion and contraction of wooden and metal parts caused by natural changes of temperature and humidity. In the old location, before any moving occurs, the piano may function OK and seem just fine — but, when moved to another location, loose parts can shift about and become out of adjustment from the normal vibrations involved in the moving of the piano. These changed adjustments can not only cause the piano not to play, or not to play well, but also can cause serious damage if the piano becomes used in this condition.

After arrival in a new location, a piano not only needs re-tuning, but also needs to be given attention to its action mechanism.

A Registered Piano Technician can handle all this type of service, and can always be located world-wide by calling: 913-432-9975

Back to “Regulation

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• Maintenance

is the overall term for caring for a piano.

The world we live in today is a “plug-and-play, then throw away” culture — most people today are innocently ignorant of how to manage or maintain a mechanical machine. And, a piano is a completely mechanical machine with 10,000 to 14,000 parts! — more parts than any other machine in our lives! All these parts must be lubricated and adjusted before the piano will work properly. Period. End of story. Correct advice about all this sounds like science fiction to most people in the world today, and sadly, is usually ignored.

“Maintenance” can mean all the procedures described on this Website, and others not mentioned. The most common use of the term is “good maintenance”, usually taken to mean regular calendar scheduled tunings, and attention to other factors whenever necessary, such as regulation, voicing, and repairs.

“Maintenance” can mean all the procedures described on this Website, and others not mentioned. The most common use of the term is “good maintenance”, usually taken to mean regular calendar scheduled tunings, and attention to other factors whenever necessary, such as regulation, voicing, and repairs.

There are several levels of Maintenance Service for acoustic pianos, depending on their purpose and type of use they are given — something like comparing the needs of a seldom used personal car versus the needs of a non-stop public taxi cab.

• Seven Levels of Maintenance exist for pianos.

These different degrees of care and service and maintenance correspond roughly to automobile types, their purposes and uses — similar to contrasting needs of autos — compare different auto types like these to different piano types:

your personal daily runner car or van,
a work truck,
a taxi cab,
a super luxury sedan,
a custom built street rod,
a super performance sports car,
or, a gorgeous classic restoration show car.

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• Level 1: Routine, repeating maintenance service

Level 1 Maintenance is required by all acoustic pianos their entire service life. This involves calendar-based tunings of the piano, plus incidental repairs as they are needed, and paying attention to behavior of the piano in terms of taking care of it for what it is: a mechanical, physical machine which needs on-going service!

— for details: go to Piano Maintenance Programs

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• Level 2: Preventive Maintenance Service

Level 2 Maintenance is needed by all acoustic pianos from time to time, especially by new pianos about one to three years after a new piano is put into service.

This level service usually includes:

• Cleaning of the piano inside and out
• ‘Touch-up’ of action regulation issues resulting from time, use, temperature and humidity changes
• Calibrating, lubricating the keyboard to correct any stiffness and friction that restricts playing the piano
Concert tuning the piano to Standard Pitch to make possible playing the piano with electronic instruments, or nearly all other kinds of musical instruments

The actual amount of work done in a Level 2 service depends completely on what the piano needs, and therefore cost cannot be quoted in advance.

Level 2 service is also done on any piano not having this work done previously, but is not yet needing the regulation or hammer work taken up in Level 3 Maintenance below.

Level 2 Maintenance is the practical, timely, “common sense” kind of service that every physical and mechanical machine needs, and which is almost always ignored. It is a preventive maintenance, the kind that that saves money and time later, and makes a machine work pleasantly at its best while you are using it on a daily basis, just like balancing tires on a car — a car runs so much better if it has regular tire balance and rotation, and the tires last far longer when this is done. Level 2 Maintenance takes care of unusual or “out-of-balance” behavior of the interior action piano mechanism, and can correct problems before they happen, so to speak.

It also applies lubrication to the action mechanism before harmful dry conditions set in and cause rapid and unnecessary wear to the piano. And since it includes tuning, it is usually done at the time of a regularly scheduled tuning. This level of service can also sometimes include keyboard calibration, like Level 3 service.

When done in a timely way, the Level 3 “Full Maintenance Service” below can usually be delayed for a time, can usually be modified or reduced in scope for less cost — again, just like car service, all becomes less expensive when done correctly by the book.

NOTE: Level 2 Service is appropriate and useful only when a piano has been set up and regulated correctly when new by a selling dealer before original delivery. Otherwise, Level 3 maintenance below can be needed immediately to correct resulting problems.

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• Level 3: Full Maintenance Service

Level 3 Maintenance can be needed by any acoustic piano at any time, depending on its condition. A new piano can need this thorough service if it was not set up, or regulated or serviced properly when delivered new from a dealer. A used piano that never got serviced or corrected or repaired during its life needs this desperately, if it is going to survive very long.

When Level 2 Service is ignored, Level 3 Full Maintenance Service becomes critically important in determining the service life of a piano. The most amazing thing of all about acoustic pianos is that if they are properly serviced, lubricated and cared for on a regular basis, they truly will almost never wear out — BUT, if they are not lubricated and cared for, they will fall apart like any other physical machine.

Level 3 Maintenance Service
, or “Full Maintenance Service” is so absolutely critical to the behavior and operation of an acoustic piano that an entire section in this chapter is devoted to explaining in detail what it is all about. These details follow just below this section, or click here:

For Full Details Go To: Full Maintenance Service

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• Level 4: Remedial Maintenance Service

Level 4 Maintenance is made necessary by and is usually the sad result of the common practice of ignoring Level 2 and Level 3 Maintenance Service, and, believe it or not, even Level 1 Maintenance– sometimes acoustic pianos don’t even get tuned!

And sometimes not even played!

But first and last, acoustic pianos are physical machines, and they act just like all physical machines, in that they go bonkers and wear out very fast when they are not lubricated and cared for. Without Levels 1, 2, and 3 Service at appropriate times, normal routine maintenance will necessarily become “Remedial Maintenance Service” when the piano gets into really poor shape, or if it gets just plain neglected over a long period of time.

This situation of neglect always brings about the need for Level 4 Maintenance, and causes the extra cost involved to cover the additional service and repairs that could be needed to return the piano to normal working order.

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• Level 5: Performance-grade Piano Preparation, or Concert Level Maintenance Service

Level 5 Maintenance includes Levels 3 and 4 service, plus a whole lot more!

This level of service “turns mice into minks”!

Level 5 Service adds another layer of detailed and intricate attention to the condition, the functioning and the performance of every single manufacturer’s original part in the piano, short of customizing or substituting parts, or modifying original design parameters of the piano, as might be involved in Levels 6 and 7 services below.

Two additional procedures distinguish Level 5 Service which are used to develop the extreme level efficiency expected of a truly performance grade piano: (1) Touch-weight and balance procedure of the piano action parts, which develops a note-to-note touch consistency of about 1-2 grams down-weight , any one note to another, using an optimal average weight best for that particular piano; (2) Concert voicing procedure of piano hammers and strings to extract the highest degree of sustain and tonal qualities available to that particular piano.

This extreme level of service is typically limited to performance-grade large concert stage pianos, due to the extra cost of executing these procedures; however, the same severe attention to detail can also be applied to upper level consumer grade pianos very profitably, and produces remarkable results. A primary goal for Level 5 maintenance service is to provide concert pianists and other advanced pianists with work/study pianos for their studios and homes that approximate the pianos they find waiting for them on the concert stages and recording studios where they perform.

Note: It is not unusual to require 2 weeks or more of expensive technical work to “prepare” a performance-grade concert piano and raise it to the precision level expected of this type of instrument.

Level 5 Maintenance Service can achieve this same degree of efficiency in piano action behavior on any size of a well built and well designed piano — it is normally not applied to any style except grand pianos, but the same approach can be applied to high level upright pianos, as well.

Click here for “Picture Gallery” for some examples.

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• Level 6: Custom Level Maintenance Service

Includes all Levels of Maintenance Service as described above that are needed to arrive at a
Level 5 condition of the overall piano, plus other procedures designed to maximize or enhance the performance of a piano action, or its tone quality.The most typical example of Level 6 procedures is the regulating of the piano action to its extremes; for example: settings that make it play at its fastest possible repetition rates — this kind of critical procedure has to be repeated before each performance in order to function properly, as even small changes in temperature and humidity from day-to-day or place-to-place can cause the action to block up and not work at such close settings, and therefore is a custom procedure needed for each performance of the piano. Even more specialized or refined procedures / changes in the piano design can also be pursued, such as the ways the strings or bridge are treated, as explained in Level 7 status item #2 below, or the way the hammers might be hardened to achieve more brilliance for a particular concert hall.Click here for “Picture Gallery” for some examples.

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• Level 7: Hybrid Level Maintenance Service

Includes through Levels 5 service concepts plus the substitution of manufacturer’s original equipment with after-market special purpose parts designed to upgrade or change a piano’s performance; also, an original design concept might be altered to achieve some similar purpose.

Examples of Level 7 applications are:

1 – Replacement of original hammers with advanced or higher quality hammers is the most common example of the “hybrid” type of maintenance service — most common source is Renner Hammers, go to:

http://rennerusa.com

2 – Enhancement of bridge / string / soundboard efficiency — one method is a conversion to the Wapin Bridge System, go to:

www.wapin.com

3 – Ultra refinement of piano action weight and balance performance characteristics — most sophisticated method is the “Stanwood Touch Design”, go to:

www.stanwoodpiano.com

— Another very effective touch-weight modification is the “Touch Rail” system, go to:

www.pitchlock.com

4 – Many other parts substitutions might be considered, as well, depending on the goals set for the piano, and kind of use it is expected to get.

Also, Levels 3 and / or 4, 5, or 6 or 7 might sometimes be combined at the same time also for specialty performance purposes.

Click here for “Picture Gallery” for some examples.

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• Application of Maintenance Service Levels:

Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 service above apply to all acoustic pianos, regardless of their use, because they are physical machines which demand this service.

Level 5 service could apply to pianos used by a very advanced or professional pianist, or to concert venues such as concert halls, a music school recital hall, or to pianos used in professional level church music programs.

Level 6 service indicates some of the methods a recording studio might pursue when trying to achieve the most subtle perfection possible in a piano’s sound production; or, a concert hall venue might include to make their piano more suitable to its particular venue.

Level 7 service often occurs when very high quality used or old pianos are rebuilt, to cause them sometimes to exceed their original performance ability.

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‘Full Maintenance Service’

• “Full Maintenance Service” = Level 3 Service

Click here for: Explanation

Click here for: What’s included

Note:

Be sure to examine “Piano Maintenance Levels” above to determine what kind of service your piano might need — Level 3 Service explained below may be too extensive for your needs!

• What is this service, why needed, and for what?

Level 3 Service means adjusting, lubricating and tuning all systems of a piano — these systems include as many as 12,000 parts, depending on type and model.

This term intends the meaning of maintaining all operating parts of your piano, for the purpose of enhancing their actions to perform physically as smoothly and efficiently as their design will allow, then tuning the piano’s sound as clearly as its design can achieve.The degree of accuracy and efficiency possible to achieve with a Full Maintenance Service goes well beyond what the factory can achieve with a new piano prior to its “breaking in period”. After a piano has been in use for a sufficient time, all its many thousands of parts of wood, leather, felt, metal and other materials become naturally compacted and polished and smoothly acclimated one to the other. This process is commonly known as the “break in period” for a new piano.

What happens is, that through normal use, all the piano action parts change their shape microscopically, and thus the action becomes naturally and normally out of adjustment. The action parts over time also become dry, thus sluggish. Like all machines, the piano now needs its normal maintenance and lubrication procedures. It is only after this “break in” development, followed by re-regulation / lubrication / hammer service, that the highest level of performance be accomplished by a piano.

A piano actually tells us when it needs this service. The keys usually become stiffer, harder to play; sometimes notes double strike or do other unusual things, even stick; usually the tuning quality becomes brighter or harsh due to increased strike-lines and resulting fuzz on the hammers; and, always we can hear the piano beg for lubrication by the internal squeaking sounds made by the action.

An analogy here would be to compare a piano to a fine set of binoculars which operate, but are so dry, tight, and hard to manage, that it’s almost impossible to focus and use them — maintenance service in this case would be to perform whatever lubrication and adjustment procedures were needed to make them operate in a normal manner. Perhaps little change, only lubrication and small adjustments, and not even parts might be needed to make this wonderful set of binoculars operate and focus perfectly. In the exact same manner, Full Maintenance Service for a piano services the dry, tight, out of focus condition of the piano, and applies skillful regulation, lubrication and tuning procedures to its working parts.

The results are invariably astonishing to an owner.

It is only after “break in”, and the re-setting and lubricating of all the action parts in their mature condition to their highest operational efficiency, that we actually discover what our piano is really like.

This scenario holds true in pianos that are very modest in their concept up through the most advanced performance style pianos — they are all astonishingly better and amazing after they have once been broken in and then had this developed maturity re-regulated and lubricated and thus refined and focused into more highly critical operational settings.

This Service translates immediately to solid enjoyment and pleasure using a piano. The piano becomes much faster and more efficient than is the player, allowing the player to become more involved in managing the music the piano makes, rather than struggling to force the piano to make music !! It is always a big shock to witness the “before and after” difference of the “Full Maintenance Service”, or Level 3 Service in the list above.

Back to: Full Maintenance Service

• What the procedure includes:

(1) cleaning the piano, inside and out, both for cosmetics, and for the technical requirement of keeping dust and soil from interfering with lubricating its action; DUST ACCUMULATION on the action mechanism inside a piano can be very destructive, and cause the action to literally chew itself up like sandpaper would do! Actions must be cleaned periodically to prevent this.

(2) ‘remedial’ regulation of the action mechanism, then lubricating this action with permanent lubricants to assist keeping these new regulation settings working correctly as long as possible. Please be advised that when regulation is too far out to make small, basic “remedial” improvements, then a full regulation of the piano action becomes mandatory, and a Level 3 Service has just become Level 4 Service.

Note: when this need for a Full Regulation has developed, then a separate “full blown” procedure to do so mandates a “ground up” type procedure, where established processes are followed in specific succession where one step builds on another — click here to see the explanation of “Regulation” above for more details about this. Full regulation is an extensive procedure, and when needed can require two days or more just to complete this one procedure, and therefore goes beyond and increases the cost of a Full Maintenance Service.

(3) hammer service, a procedure which maintains or restores the hammers (a) to a shape similar to their original “egg-like” look, (b) removes the fuzz and extra long strike lines (developed from normal use) from the crowns of the hammers, and (c) restores a basic default style voicing quality to the hammer consistency;

(4) recalibration of the keyboard, which includes easing and/or adjusting all key behavior to reduce key friction to a minimum, and adds correct lubrication for the entire keyboard system;

(5) leveling of the keys and adjusting key behaviors to their most accurate settings in relation to all the other many movements of the inner action parts; and, finally, includes

(6) installing a fine tuning, which in most cases resets the piano’s pitch level to Standard Pitch, or A440, which therefore enables you to play your piano with CDs, or play in concert with almost any other instrument that exists with ease and pleasure in listening.

Very important: Full Maintenance Service does not specifically include making repairs needed to allow maintaining or tuning the piano, although it does always reveal what repairs that are needed, since all working parts of the piano are examined during this procedure.

Costs for repairs are always in addition to a maintenance service, and costs depend on the replacement cost of any parts needed plus the labor needed to perform any particular repair.

Full Maintenance Service is needed based on both the use of, and the age of a piano.

High-use pianos (such as found in college music schools, or other concert venues) need this service done often and regularly to avoid excessive wear on their piano action parts.

New Home Pianos need this service once the piano has been used and played sufficiently to be fully “broken in”. A new piano owner will know his piano needs this service when his keys (and action) start to become stiff in use and progressively hard to play — this trait will appear from any time between 3 and 7 years of home use. Also, the action can begin squeaking and groaning, really telling you it’s time for service and lubrication!

Used piano owners nearly always need to consider having this service done, if they seriously like having a piano that plays and sounds well. In fact, NO piano either new or used ever truly plays its best until this procedure has been done, and it will truly amaze anyone the difference it makes in the playing and performance ability of the piano. You are invited to read the reviews of this service on this website for owner / user reaction to the results, benefits and blessings of the procedure.

Full Maintenance always brings a “jaw dropper” reaction every time!

For examples, go to reviews, and
look for this symbol:

§ — next, click review numbers with this symbol

Back to: Full Maintenance Service

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‘Piano Maintenance

‘Program’

“Piano Maintenance Program” is a scheduled and comprehensive plan of procedures for a piano which takes care of its every need on an “as needed” basis as well as a calendar basis. An entire page about this procedure is included in the “Piano Maintenance” section of this Website — its tab can be found on every page of the site — refer to this page for full details, by clicking this button anywhere on website:

Piano Maintenance Program

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‘The Piano Book’

by Larry Fine

The Piano Book” and its companion book the “PianoBuyer.com” are considered in today’s world to be the “Bible” for factual and unbiased information about Pianos.

The PianoBuyer.com is the bi-Annual Supplement, primarily used for buying new pianos. The Piano Book is the original book, still in print, a large 9×12″ – 300+ page book, first published in 1987.

The Original is an exhaustive reference on all aspects of a piano, its history, construction, quality issues, as well as maintenance and climate issues which affect pianos. It is quoted on this Website in the Section called “Piano Talk”, under its title “The Piano Book” as an authority on the subject of tuning frequency and Climate Control Systems.

Both original and bi-annual supplements are available from Bookstores or the publisher.
For more information, click:

www.pianobuyer.com

Piano Buyer

…bi-Annual Supplement,
subscription
about $30

www.pianobook.com

The Piano Book by Larry Fine

…the
Original book,
large 300+pgs,
about $25

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