C3 Piano Services Ltd the Experts in Keeping your Piano Healthy
YOUR PIANO QUESTIONS ANSWERED
This is the first in a series of fact sheets produced by C3 Piano Services, introducing you to different aspects of caring for your piano.
Your Piano is made up of some 5,000 moving parts. The quality of the materials used, the design and construction, and the conditions to which the piano is subjected, will determine its life-span. On average a new piano is considered to last 50 years. This can vary for several reasons:
1. The regularity of maintenance.
2. How much the piano is played.
3. The climatic conditions in which it is kept.
4. The quality of the piano.
HOW SHOULD I CARE FOR MY PIANO?
Treat your piano like a piece of valuable furniture, keep it clean and avoid standing drinks, vases of flowers, or pot plants on it. Spilled liquids can cause serious damage, the repair of which may amount to a major overhaul. New Pianos are generally finished in polyester or satin lacquer, which requires only to be wiped with a damp cloth and carefully dried. No polish is needed. Older pianos are usually French polished and need greater care, using a polish reviver applied with a clean soft cloth and polished with a soft duster. On NO account use spray polish.
WHAT IS THE PIANO ACTION AND WHY DOES IT NEED MAINTENANCE?
The action and keys are the playing mechanism of your piano. Like other instruments that are subject to wear and tear, it is vital that these important parts of the piano are serviced from time to time by a qualified technician. After all this is what connects you to the music! Each note needs to be regulated individually to give optimum performance. The pedals too, need occasional adjustment.
THE BEST PLACE TO STAND MY PIANO?
Consider how climate and environment affect the piano.
TEMPERATURE – A piano does not like to be too hot or too cold. A constant 18 to 21 ° C (65 - 70 ° F) is ideal.
HUMIDITY – Central heating systems dry the air, and draw moisture from the wooden components of the piano. When the heating is switched off at night the humidity rises and conversely, as it is switched on in the morning, the humidity drops. These changes in relative humidity cause the wood and metal alternately to shrink and expand, causing tuning instability and corrosion. Ideally, you should try to keep your piano within 45 - 60 % relative humidity.
Do’s & Don’ts:
Don’t place your piano near a radiator or other heat source, or on an inside wall where there is a radiator in the next room backing onto the piano, resulting in heat being transmitted through the wall.
Don’t permit the sun to shine directly on the piano.
Don’t place your piano near an outside door or window this causes changes in relative humidity and temperature.
The above don’ts are often responsible for tuning instability and other serious problems such as loose tuning pins, split sound-board and disruption of regulation.
Do consider a separate room for your piano as this will make it easier to maintain a suitable environment. If this is not possible consider buying either a humidifier, to counteract excess dryness or a dehumidifier, for excess dampness. House plants especially ferns may be helpful.
Do Have your piano regularly tuned and maintained, it is more cost effective as minor problems can be set right before they become major faults or may even mean that the piano has to be scrapped.
One of our Piano Tuners/Technicians will be able to advise you.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD MY PIANO BE TUNED AND SERVICED?
Three main factors affecting a piano’s performance need attention periodically:
PITCH – The pitch will drop if the piano is not tuned on a regular basis. The stability of its environment will very much determine how often it needs to be tuned. Twice a year is a good rule of the thumb for an average piano in a domestic situation. Some older instruments may require more regular tuning.
TOUCH – The quality of the instrument, amount of use, and changes in its environment, will determine how often the piano action should be regulated. On average this is required about every five years.
VOICING (Toning) – Here again this is subject to the quality of the piano, and particularly of the hammer felt. Unevenness of tone can be remedied by skilful voicing of the hammers to give a good overall balance. On concert and musicians pianos this is done on a regular basis.
For more information see our leaflet or contacted: C3 Piano Services