Piano maintenance - Who does it for your piano?

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Piano maintenance - Who does it for your piano?

Myself only
0
No votes
Someone qualified only
8
67%
A bit of both
4
33%
 
Total votes : 12

Postby Mins Music » Sun May 09, 2004 6:16 pm

Acoustic piano owners! Unlike digital pianos, acoustic pianos need regular attention to keep them in good condition. When it comes to a 'check up', do you seek a qualified person to do the work, or do you know enough about your instrument to do it yourself, or is it a bit of both - perhaps you leave the tuning to a professional, but can do small 'fix it' jobs yourself.
"I forget what I was taught, I only remember what I've learnt." - Patrick White, Australian novelist.
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Postby Ursie » Mon May 10, 2004 10:15 am

I have two pianos. Both get tuned by a professional person. The old one once a year, as I don't use it very often and my new one twice a year, my piano tuner contacts me when the tuning is about due.

As for paino maintenance, with my old piano (an upright Crane & Son) I'm quite happy to open it up (infact this is what I do with a student on the very first/second lesson they have - children love to see inside a piano and investigate the sounds :D) when there is a problem and look to see what the cause might be. I've used thread/string on occasion when the little tabs have gone, and pushed springs back in (a very fiddly job!) etc. but mention the problem to my tuner at the next tuning. As for the new one (a yamaha baby grand) I'm quite happy to fish pens/pencils out, it hasn't needed anything else. I don't think I would be quite so happy to fish around in that one though.......
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Postby Mins Music » Mon May 10, 2004 9:13 pm

Ursie wrote:I have two pianos. ...As for the new one (a yamaha baby grand)

:p I am SOOOO jealous!!!
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Postby Ursie » Tue May 11, 2004 4:04 pm

Yeah, I'm really lucky to have it. I didn't set out to buy it at all. In fact I don't think I would have got my hubbie into the shop if he'd thought we would have been buying one :laugh: The size of my sittingroom certainly wasn't designed with a baby grand in mind. But hey, who needs a settee, tv etc. when you've got a piano :D Only joking, everything fits - just.
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Tue May 11, 2004 6:41 pm

I like to consider myself a do-it-your-selfer for many tasks. I have done a lot of wood working, household wiring, plumbing etc., but I do very little when it comes to piano maintenance. The reasons are as follows.
a: I bought a new Yamaha upright five years ago, and it came with a ten year parts and labor warranty. (See Below)
b: The piano technician who tunes and checks the piano is very capable and his prices are quite reasonable.
c: The last reason is I haven't a clue on how to maintain a piano.

I should say that I maintain the finish as per the instructions in Dr. Leland's article

"Purchasing and Caring for a Piano or Keyboard"

I use the Old English Furniture polish, etc.
And I must say that I did adjust the sustaining pedal once which involved turning a wing nut half of a turn.

But seriously, I think I will leave all of the repairs etc. to the professionals.

Image :D




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Postby 84-1077939951 » Wed Jun 16, 2004 12:23 pm

I'm not the handiest person around; but necessity has often forced me to deal with some technical problems myself. Over the years I've lived in some remote places where tuners were hard to come by.

To make a single note--a unison--most of your piano hammers strike a group of three strings, all tuned to the same pitch. Now, pianos go out of tune many different ways; but the worst is when a unison goes sour.

If you've ever had a broken string rplaced , you know what happens soon after the tuner goes away. It goes flat. Any way, it's not that big of a deal to fix it. All you need is a tuning hammer.

Plucking the strings that share the same pitch will tell you how much to tweek up the pin that holds the offending string. If you go a little too far and you're sharp, tweek the pin down a little and bring it back up--plucking and listening to the other unisons as you tighten the string.

This has nothing to do with Piano tuning. And I don't think you should try this unless you've discussed it with your piano technician first. I think of it as piano first aid. And it's saved my ears many times over the years.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Tue Sep 21, 2004 10:57 am

NEW ARTICLE ON PIANO MAINTENANCE:

In response to the requests posted this summer, I have written an article for students and teachers listing some simple steps we can all take to diagnose the general condition of our pianos. There is a link to it right at the top of the home page. (Ed. note: here's the direct link to Dr. Leland's article, Diagnosing the General Condition of Your Piano

I apologize for taking so long to get this done; I was 1438 miles away from home for three months. Any comments or suggestions for clarification and/or additions will be welcomed.

Dr. Bill.




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Postby 69-1080625173 » Wed Sep 29, 2004 3:46 am

I am glad that piano is unlike guitar where you have to change the strings every month, but how long do piano strings actually last? Also, I have noticed that my strings have gone a darker colour except for where the dampeners cover. Does this effect the sound?
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Postby 75-1095335090 » Wed Sep 29, 2004 3:51 pm

This thread brought back memories of when I was young and starting out with piano lessons (I think I was 5 at the time).

The upright piano we had was one that had been in the family for a while and no one else was using it, so my dad and my uncles moved it into our basement using a lot of muscle and some pulleys (knowing what I know now about pianos, I think I might have had a heart attack watching them move it).

Tuning wasn't something I was ever concerned with. It wasn't until just recently that I asked my parents if we had ever had it tuned or otherwise maintained. Apparently my dad did everything... tuning, fixing, tweaking...

Here's the kicker: my dad is not a musician. He doesn't play any instrument, I've never heard him sing (closest is watching his lips move during the national anthem), and he doesn't listen to music that often (he even listens to talk radio on the drive to and from work).

We still have that piano in the family, it's at my uncle's house... I'd love to see dad work on it again, just to see what he did. He's a handy guy, and I don't remember hearing any sour notes, but I'm still doubtful. lol
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Fri Oct 01, 2004 11:26 am

Eternal Dragon:

All piano strings are bound to pick up residue in time; a lot depends on what kind of pollutants are around--cigarette smoke, smog, etc.--and how damp the climate is. Just be sure the piano is not in the direct flow of a heating or air conditioning duct or next to a drafty window or hot radiator. Most technicians recommend something like 72 degrees and 40% humidity, but what affects a piano much more than the actual conditions is drastic change--hot to cold and back, or damp to dry. Then the wood in the soundboard is constantly changing its size and shape--bad news!

Dr. Bill.
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Postby 67-1101455209 » Fri Nov 26, 2004 1:09 pm

Are humidifiers a good idea in a piano room? When I visited a music store in Tokyo there were humidifiers in the piano department.
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Postby 65-1074818729 » Sat Nov 27, 2004 6:34 am

Carol,

I notice this is your first posting at this site, so let me say "Welcome to the Forum"

There is an article at the main part of the Piano Education Page called How to Purchase and Maintain a Piano Part way down the article there is a section dealing with humidity.

Basically, you should do whatever is required to keep the moisture level of the room between 40 and 50 percent.

If the moisture level is too high, then a dehumidifier would help. If the moisture level is too low, then a humidifier may be required.

Dr. Leland who moderates this part of the forum, will probably respond to your question. He is very knowledgable indeed, and has written material on this subject.

All the best.

AFlat




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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Sat Nov 27, 2004 11:24 am

Hi, Carol, welcome aboard.

If you know a good piano technician, ask him about Dampp Chaser, a humidity control system that has been around for a long time. It consists of a water reservoir with a heat source that evaporates the moisture and raises the humidity in or under the piano; a long, tubular heating element which dries the air; and a sensor which switches back and forth between the two units to keep a constant humidity as the room conditions vary. There is also a warning light which tells you the water level is low.

The whole system installs under a grand or inside a vertical.
The only complaints I've heard about it are from people who forgot to fill the water reservoir and baked their soundboards when the heater tried to evaporate water that wasn't there.
By the way, I'm pretty sure they have a website.

Dr. Bill.
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Postby Dr. Bill Leland » Sat Nov 27, 2004 11:30 am

Technique is 90 per cent from the neck up.
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Postby 67-1101455209 » Sun Nov 28, 2004 1:59 am

Thanks for the welcome and for the information regarding humidity. I'll check out the Dampchaser website.
I have a Kawai Grand and I find that the tone and tuning are better if I use a humidifier in the room. My teacher suggested this after I told him that my piano seemed to go out of tune easily. (The piano is tuned regularly by a qualified tuner and it is in as new condition). I also remembered seeing humidifers in a piano shop in Japan. Dampchaser seems like it may be a more effective method of maintaining a constant humidity. Thanks again.
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