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Piano Tuning

November 15th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Piano Tuning

It is rare for a person to buy a piano simply for decoration sake. Even though the furniture aspect may play a large role in your final decision, most people purchase a piano because they want to play, not just look at it. As pianos are an old world technology, they require aspects of care that are not readily apparent or understood by the layperson. Consequently, it behooves you to take the time to learn what you need to know up front, in order to take care of it properly.

Why would there be any confusion about tuning your piano? After all, if you try to play an out of tune guitar, violin, or oboe, it will not sound any good, so why do so many owners think that it acceptable to play their piano in an out of tuned state?

There is no simple answer. Here is a short list of reasons, to name a few.

1. Many owners never get it right from the beginning. Whether your piano is new or used, it is important to know the entire reason and purpose for piano tuning outside of making "the piano sound better."

2. Folks will often fix their leaky roof or their car before they will spend "optional" $$ on maintaining their instrument. In a cash starved economy, it is hard to argue with that way of thinking

3. "Piano tuning" in and of itself is a catchall term, used and misunderstood by many lay people. It oversimplifies piano maintenance and the need for regular follow-up in general.

4. Many pianos that have fallen into disuse have a way of sitting around and after some time appear to be motionless, non-dynamic objects that blend into the furniture of your house.

5. When a piano is tuned less, many lay people, intermediate and even some advanced musicians get used to hearing and playing them in an out of tune and under maintained state.

If you buy your piano from an established and respectable dealer, they will usually tell you how many times your piano needs servicing the first year. They will also provide you with written information about the whole gamut and types of routine maintenance that it will need and set you up with (in some cases) a piano technician who will tune your piano one or more times with "free" tunings. Unfortunately, the same is not the case if you buy your piano through a private owner or even worse, on Craigs List.

Other types of routine maintenance include "action regulation" which is the adjustment of the playing mechanism (action), so that the keys will respond smoothly, evenly and responsively. There is also "tone regulation and voicing", "humidity control" as other aspects of piano maintenance that your piano tuner - technician will recommend to you when needed.

If you don't have a professional piano tuner in your service, what do you do? You must find one. You might have to try a number of people to find you who you are most comfortable but that beats the alternative. You need someone who can give you answers to basic questions and solve problems as they occur. And believe me, even the most expensive "best" piano will have its share of issues and problems.

One big area of confusion is the answer to the question; how often and when does your piano need to be tuned? Some think of tuning their piano only when it sounds "bad" or when the seasons change. Others think that if they don't play their piano on a regular basis, it should be tuned less often or not at all.

Neither of these assumptions is correct. Regular tuning is essential for those who want to get the most out of their purchase. It helps to extend the life of your instrument, and provide for your children or yourself a means for fulfillment and a better life through music.

Piano tuning - fine tuning

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