A good rule is following piano manufacturers’ recommendation of every six (6) months if there is a student or active pianist, or at least every twelve (12) months otherwise. The reasons go well beyond keeping your piano sounding great; in fact pianos that are not tuned and serviced semi-annually don’t last nearly as long and take more time to tune. Avoid waiting until notes sound like a scary movie and save some money.
The vast majority of pianos are fine-tuned between $95 and $175 depending on current pitch and condition. Pianos in need of repair or extra time are quoted on an hourly basis after inspection. Please call me at 251-990-4994 for more information regarding your specific piano.
Your piano is a sophisticated instrument made mostly of delicate wood and felt parts that are extremely sensitive to humidity. This is the main reason manufacturers’ warranties are limited to only a few years and a piano’s mechanical condition can rapidly deteriorate. My clients benefit from the added value of a unique three (3) part service process that provides the rare advantage of learning everything they need to know about their piano included in my visit.
Sure. Pianos that have not been tuned and maintained at least annually can quickly develop action problems resulting in non-playing keys and poor pitch stability due largely to significant changes in relative humidity over time. Typically, a piano evaluation is performed to determine needed repairs, then a pitch raise followed by a fine tuning and your piano will sound great.
Bless you, and thanks for asking. I can’t tell you how many times I arrived to find the piano covered with dozens of beautifully arranged family heirlooms and framed photos. Please relocate these priceless items to a safe place and remove anything from the top of your piano well in advance of the tuning appointment. Good light and a quiet environment are also appreciated.
Manufacturers usually recommend 68-72 degrees F, and 42-45 percent relative humidity, however what’s more important is the consistency of the temperature and relative humidity. Generally, any comfortable combination of temperature and relative humidity that avoids extremes and remains constant will usually be fine.
Care should be taken to locate your piano away from any heating/cooling vents and registers. If at all possible, avoid direct sunlight and outside walls. Select a room or area that has the most stable and constant relative humidity and temperature. Finally, if a grand piano, position the seated pianist facing and looking into the room at guests. If an upright piano, against an inside wall is preferred.
The piano needs to acclimate to its new environment. This means all the wood parts need to stabilize to the new temperature and relative humidity of the room it is newly located. I usually recommend 30 days, however this period can vary significantly depending on the piano’s previous location and its current physical condition. Be sure to place your piano according to suggestions for “Where is the best place to position a piano in my home?” first.
The sale and purchase of a quality piano should be fair to all parties involved. The buyer should expect good value for their money and the seller should ensure that the buyer has reasonable access to have the piano professionally evaluated and appraised. This protects the buyer and the seller from misstatements, misunderstandings and poor judgment. I have performed numerous Pre-Purchase Inspection Consultations and Appraisals for both buyers and sellers. Sometimes the buyer is getting a great deal, and sometime the piano needs more work than it is worth. Getting a professional evaluation and appraisal of any piano considered a candidate for purchase is cheap insurance against a very expensive and avoidable transaction.
Eight out of ten pianos sold in America between 1915 and 1925 were player pianos, and yours was probably among them. The fact it still plays, although poorly, is a good sign. The proverbial “leak” is an understatement, since the entire pneumatic player system is made up of rubber, leather, and fabric parts that age and leak over time. The good news is many player pianos can be fitted with an electric vacuum pump that will produce more than enough vacuum to overcome the leaks and still play many of the notes. I have completely restored player pianos to their original condition and installed vacuum pumps in many others. Your player piano will need to be evaluated to determine if it is a good candidate for repair or installation of a vacuum pump.
Pianos with humidity control systems require fewer tunings, less repairs, perform better, and last longer. First, understand that your church and music teacher’s pianos are consistently played for extended periods. This means they are very familiar with how a fine tuned piano sounds and when notes are going out of tune. Piano humidity control systems are installed inside the piano to stabilize the Relative Humidity (RH) at 45% to extend the life of the piano and help increase tuning stability. In other words, pianos without humidity control systems are subject to the adverse effects of Relative Humidity (RH) changes and rapid loss of tuning stability. As the (RH) % rises the pitch pulls sharp. As the (RH) % decreases, the pitch falls flat. (RH) stabilized at 45% significantly reduces pitch fluctuations increasing tuning stability and extending the life of the tuning and piano considerably. Your church and piano teacher know that the modest cost of a piano humidity control system is a wise investment and money well spent.
Sure. I personally own a (acoustic) piano and an electronic keyboard. However, piano teachers usually have very strong opinions on this, so don’t purchase one until you have the teacher’s blessing. If considering a keyboard, understand the main differences that can significantly affect playing and performing on an acoustic piano at some point in the future. Acoustic pianos and electronic keyboards have a very different sound, touch and feel, so training your fingers and tonal recognition on a keyboard when you will be performing on an acoustic piano can be counterproductive and an outright disaster for a serious piano student. Imagine your daughter performing at a recital on a professional grand piano. It does not feel or sound like any of the countless hours of her keyboard practice. Then after a few minutes she stops playing in the middle of her performance because her fingers hurt and do not have the strength and agility an acoustic piano demands. If you do start on a keyboard, move to an acoustic piano as soon as possible, preferably one with a moderate to heavy touch. This way, her hands will be conditioned to playing a difficult action and she will sound great on just about any piano she plays in the future.
Use the same reason you won’t let him cut your hair. At some point you are going to leave the house, and someone will sit down at your piano. Either way, it’s not going to be pretty.
Unless the actual piano pedal, metal/wood lifting rod, or trap work is broken or missing, most piano pedal issues are a simple adjustment. If parts or repair is necessary, time and materials will determine the actual cost.
Some pianos look much newer than they actually are and can be dated with the manufacturer’s serial number. My first concern is very high piano humidity causing piano strings to rust and break, piano keys to swell, and piano action parts failure. Your piano sounds like an excellent candidate for a piano humidity control system.