What to expect when you make an appointment with us

Here are a few things to keep in mind if you have made an appointment with us, and thank you for your business if you have chosen us!

What we ask of you:

  1. Allow about 30 minutes before and after your scheduled appointment for our arrival
  2. If you do not have a driveway, let us know what to expect for parking
  3. Please remove any items sitting on top of the piano, this helps save time
  4. Refrain from noisy activities if we're tuning that day (watching TV, vacuuming, etc)

What we promise:

  1. We will call or text if we're going to be more than 30 minutes late
  2. We will take our shoes off or wear protective covers if necessary 
  3. We will discuss anything we discover during the appointment
  4. We will let you know if the piano needs something more than originally planned
  5. We will never "surprise" you with a bill higher than we talked about

If you're not happy, we're not happy, and we mean that. If anything should happen right after we leave, or two weeks after the appointment, don't hesitate to call us so we can make it right. We want you to feel good about your investment!

 

-Caleb

 

Voicing

You've been diligent with the tuning of your piano, making sure it's done every 6 months. But even after it's tuned something doesn't sound right, there's something "off" about the tone. Maybe the piano sounds too bright, and if this is the case the felt hammers have hardened. Thankfully there's something that can be done about this problem, and it's called voicing. Hammers can be restored to their optimal state through "needling" and this is done as needed across the entire piano. It is a lengthy process and is done in multiple steps, but once completed your piano will sound rich and full again. Hammers don't always harden though, and sometimes pianos will actually start to sound weaker, often the result of the hammers softening. The felt hammers can be re-lacquered, restoring the tone and volume. If you think the tone of your piano isn't right, it's time to ask about voicing!

 

-Caleb

How often should I tune my piano?

This is a common question in the piano world, and the answer varies (depending on who is asking).

If you just bought a new or pre-owned piano, it should be tuned at least 4 times in the first year. The piano is adjusting to it’s new climate and will need the extra tunings to stay at A440. Once you’ve had your piano for over a year, we recommend tuning no less than twice per year. Some people will choose to do it more often such as piano teachers and concert performers, as there demands of the piano are higher than average. Many piano dealers offer free tunings in the first year of ownership, make sure you take advantage of this!

If it’s been awhile since your piano was tuned, it my require a pitch raise or lowering before the fine tuning can take place. In this case, the piano will need to be tuned again just 30 days after the pitch raise appointment. Usually, after the 30-day follow up tuning you can resume tuning every 6 months. In some extreme cases the piano may need to be tuned multiple times after a pitch raise. There is an earlier blog post dedicated to pitch raises which you can check out here.

If your piano is mostly used as a furniture piece, it is still important that it be tuned at a minimum of once per year to ensure that the piano doesn’t fall into a state of disrepair and lose it’s value. If a piano is allowed to sit for long periods of time, it will still go out of tune, even without anyone playing it! If you are planning on passing your piano down to your children or relatives, you don’t want to leave them with a piano that will require costly repairs that could’ve been avoided. Worse yet, if the piano has sentimental value, it’s even more important that it doesn’t fall into a state of disrepair. Choosing between costly repairs or junking a family heirloom is a difficult decision.

Lastly, some pianos are tuned once a week or even more often! Pianos in recording studios or university environments receive lots of attention and lots of care so that they play and sound as good as possible for the most discerning performers and listeners. There’s a reason why concert pianos sound so good when you hear them in person at a concert hall or on a television broadcast, they are meticulously maintained be the best technicians in the world.

 

Regulation

Have you noticed that your hands and fingers are a little more tired than usual after playing or practicing your piano? Maybe something is obviously wrong like a key will not repeat, or a hammer double hits the strings. These are all indicators that your piano needs to be regulated. Piano actions are made of wood, brass, felt, and leather. The wood changes as the seasons change, brass becomes tarnished, felt and leather eventually compress. All of these factors contribute to the feel of the piano changing over time, regardless of how much or how little the piano is played. If we notice that the piano isn't playing at it's best, we perform a multi-point inspection to help determine what the piano needs. Depending on the severity of the problems, the value of the piano, and your budget, we will work with you to decide what the best course of action is. We'll also discuss if it can be repaired on location or if it needs to come back to the shop. You don't have to live with a stiff action! 

 

-Caleb

Piano cleaning

A great way to breath new life into your piano is to have it professionally cleaned. Imagine the piano you bought 10 or 20 years ago looking like it is brand new again! You may think you can clean it yourself, and you'd be correct . . . but there are delicate areas that cannot be reached without advanced techniques and special tools. It's easier to damage a piano when attempting to clean it than people realize, that's why the job is left to professionals. The soundboard is a good example, it accumulates dust over the years and yet you can't reach it to clean it because the strings are in the way! The piano action must be removed and carefully cleaned too, but this should only be done by a qualified professional. There are some areas you can clean yourself until you're ready for the full cleaning:

  • Piano Keys 

Use a damp cloth with a small amount of soap (do not use solvents) and clean from the front to the back. It is very important that you do not move the key side to side when cleaning. Use a separate cloth for the black keys. 

  • The case

You may dust the outside of your piano with a feather duster and a light touch. Dust can scratch the finish if it is wiped off with a dry cloth, and NEVER use window cleaner to clean the case. 

 

For more information about piano cleaning check out the Piano Technicians Guild cleaning guide 

 

- Caleb

What is a pitch raise or double tuning?

Many of our customers are new and haven’t tuned their piano for a long time. If it's been more than a year since the last tuning, the piano almost always need a pitch raise (sometimes called a "double tuning"). You can think of a pitch raise as the piano being tuned twice (or more) in one appointment. The technician will go through the entire piano and tune it so that the strings will land as close as possible to the final pitch. Once the piano is close to pitch, the technician will perform a final pass and fine tune the piano.

One of the benefits of tuning your piano every 6 months (other than the piano sounding better of course), is that the likelihood of strings breaking is greatly reduced. When the tension of the strings aren't being changed as drastically, there's less of a chance they will break. If a string (or two) does happen to break during a pitch raise or at any other time, there's no need to worry. We carry a full set of premium treble wire and bass strings, and can special order exact duplicates of bass strings on any piano. This means we can replace strings (in most cases) the same day as the tuning, saving everyone time and headaches!

 

 

-Caleb