Q: How often should I have my piano tuned?
A: This ill depend upon what type of use the piano receives, but twice a year is the minimum frequency recommended by most manufacturers for the average home use piano. Other pianos receive much more frequent tunings. The performance pianos at Britt and the Craterian get tuned before every single concert, and sometimes even before every rehearsal ! Recording studio pianos receive a tuning before a recording session and often get touch up tunings during the breaks. Whatever application a piano is being used in, it is being neglected if it does not receive at least one tuning per year. Visit http://www.ptg.org/resources-pianoOwners-howOften.php for more information.
Q: What is a pitch raise, and how will I know if my piano needs one?
A: If it has been a long time since you have had your piano tuned, or if your piano is new or newly restrung, or is particularly sensitive to changes in humidity it may have drifted substantially far (usually lower) away from it's proper pitch level. This can be confusing, because often the piano will still sound fairly in tune with itself, but when measured against an outside source such as a tuning fork or other instrument it will be substantially different ! How far away your piano is from this external source or measuring stick will determine if it needs a pitch adjustment or not. The pitch level that is considered standard in modern times is called A440 because the A above middle C on your keyboard is tuned to exactly 440 cycles per second. Every other note is then tuned to this original anchor note. If the piano's pitch has drifted too far away from this standard it will need a pitch adjustment. This basically amounts to a rough tuning of the instrument to get it to the proper pitch level so that a fine tuning may be performed. Because this extra (rough tuning) is required there is an additional fee. Visit http://www.ptg.org/resources-pianoOwners-pitchRaise.php for more information.
Q: What can I do to make my piano play better?
A: Believe it or not, having your piano tuned will not make it play better! Tuning only has to do with setting all of the piano's roughly 220 strings into proper relationship with each other. Tuning will make your piano sound better, but to make it play better it must receive regulation. Regulation can make the touch of your piano's keyboard more responsive, more fluid, more even, and able to repeat much more quickly. The word expressive comes to mind here. Regulation involves setting many of the thousands of moving parts in your piano's action mechanism back into the optimum relationship to each other that they had before they became worn. Having a piano that responds well from pianissimo to fortissimo can make all the difference in the world! Visit http://www.ptg.org/resources-pianoOwners-regulation.php for more information.
Q: What can I do to improve the tone of my piano?
A: The tone of a piano is impacted my many different things. The most obvious of course is tuning. What if your piano has been tuned recently and still does not have a pleasant or even tone? It is likely that it needs regulation and/or voicing. Artistic Piano generally makes it a rule to include some minor complimentary voicing as part of its standard tuning service. When this is not enough, the piano becomes a candidate for further voicing procedures. Let it be mentioned here that in order for effective voicing procedures to be implemented, the piano hammers must not be overly worn and the piano action must be in a state of good regulation. Voicing can dramatically make a piano's tone brighter or more mellow, and can also make the piano even across it's entire keyboard so that no single note or group of notes sticks out compared to others. Visit http://www.ptg.org/resources-pianoOwners-voicing.php for more information.
Q: How should I care for the finish on my piano?
A: The piano is unique among musical instruments because it also serves as fine furniture for the home. Pianos are finished with a variety of materials from traditional lacquer to modern polyurethanes and polyester resins. In most cases, a piano finish is best maintained by simply keeping it clean and avoiding exposure to direct sunlight, extremes of temperature and humidity, and abrasion. Modern piano finishes are designed to do their job without the additional aid of polishes or waxes. We highly recommend that you visit http://www.ptg.org/resources-pianoOwners-finishCare.php for more information.
Q: Where can I get more important general information about caring for my piano?
A: Visit http://www.ptg.org/resources-pianoOwners-pianoCare.php#rules
Q: What should I look for when purchasing a used piano?
A: Would you purchase a well used automobile without first having it inspected by a qualified professional? Most of us would laugh "of course not" at this seemingly ridiculous question. Yet it is precisely this that occurs every day in the world of piano sales! It's important to state emphatically that the way the case of the piano looks has little or nothing to do with the piano's value, condition, or usefulness.
A used piano should always be inspected by a Registered Piano Technician before being purchased. One popular misconception is that musical instruments get better as they age. This can be true with certain fine stringed instruments such as the violin because as it's varnish ages it changes the tone. This is not so with pianos. Pianos are highly complex machines with thousands of moving parts and do not get better as they age.
The absolute best comprehensive source of information for anyone interested in becoming an educated piano shopper is Larry Fine's book The Piano Book. This publication is offered by Artistic Piano, as well as it's yearly supplement. The yearly supplement contains updated information about all currently produced pianos, their manufacturers, retail prices, and informed commentary on each brand's merits or lack thereof! Contact us to purchase this valuable resource.
Q: Are there really benefits to having my children study the piano beyond enjoyment and a musical education?
A: Absolutely. Aside from the much publicized "Mozart Effect" which linked intelligence with early and frequent exposure to the music of the great masters, there are many benefits to be obtained from the practice, study, and enjoyment of the piano and its music. Unlike any other instrument, the piano's repertoire has encompassed most of Western Music History and its great composers. What is truly astonishing is the growing body of evidence that shows study of the piano to be directly linked to an improved comprehension of scientific and mathematical concepts, as well as general overall academic achievement. Self confidence, discipline, and organizational skills can also be readily obtained from learning to play the piano.
Q: Where should I place my piano in my home?
A: The ideal place for your piano to be is against an inside wall, away from anything that could possibly affect the humidity levels. Some common dangers to avoid are windows, doors, cooling/heating system vents that direct air at or near your piano, and proximity to fireplaces. Exposure to direct sunlight over a period of time can absolutely ruin your piano's finish. Severe swings in humidity and temperature caused by the above listed hazards can be fatal. Overly dry environments cause cracks or glue joint failures to develop in your piano's wood parts, and exposure to too much moisture causes rust on the strings, tuning pins and other metal parts. If you find yourself restricted in your options for placement do not despair, just do your best to minimize the dangers.
Q: What can I do to protect my piano from the effects of severe dryness or moisture?A: Have a Dampp-Chaser piano climate control system installed by Artistic Piano ! Piano manufacturers recommend keeping your piano in a constant and stable environment of 68 degrees and 42% relative humidity. Your home's cooling/heating system cannot ensure this even if it is modern and well insulated. Dampp-Chaser systems are fairly affordable and pretty much hidden from view when installed in your piano. These systems are state of the art, and are used by museums such as the Smithsonian to protect their collection of historic and extremely valuable instruments. Your piano will stay in tune longer, regulation will remain more consistent over time, felts will last longer, rust will be eliminated, and wood and glue joints protected! Visiting http://pianolifesaver.com/english/home.php for more information..