Taking Care of Your Piano
How Should I Take Care of My Piano? A piano brings a lifetime of enjoyment to you and your family. As you might expect with any investment of this size, a piano requires periodic servicing to provide outstanding performance year after year. But to understand what maintenance is required, it's important to understand the nature of the piano. The beautiful, natural sound of a piano is due to the remarkable blending of such materials as wood, metal, buckskin, and wool. Together they create a uniquely timeless sound that no other instrument in the world can duplicate. While electronic synthesizers may approximate the sound of an acoustic piano, they cannot approach the true beauty of the real thing. How should I care for my piano's wood finish? As with any piece of fine furniture, keeping drinks off finished wood surfaces is a simple rule always to follow. New piano finishes generally require only occasional cleaning with either a dry or damp cotton cloth. Older piano finishes may benefit from an occasional polishing with a good quality polish, but frequent polishing is not recommended. The PTG technical bulletin on finish care discusses this subject in detail. What is the piano's action and why does it need maintenance? When you look inside your piano, you'll find a cast iron plate or "harp" strung with steel and copper-wound strings over a large expanse of wood which is the soundboard. If you look closer, you'll discover an intricate system of levers, springs, and hammers connected to the keyboard. The complex system which causes a hammer to strike a string when you press a key is called the piano's action. It is a marvel of engineering composed largely of wood and wool felt. This mechanism needs to be responsive to every nuance of the pianist's touch -- from loud, thunderous chords to soft, delicate passages. We have technical drawings available for both vertical and grand piano actions. When a piano leaves the factory, each of its parts is adjusted to a tolerance of a few thousandths of an inch. This process is called action regulation. Because the wood and felt parts of the action may change dimension due to humidity and wear, the action must be serviced occasionally to maintain its responsive qualities. How does humidity affect my piano? Extreme swings from hot to cold or dry to wet are harmful to your piano. Dryness causes the piano's pitch to go flat; moisture makes it go sharp. Repeated swings in relative humidity can cause soundboards to crack or distort. Extreme dryness also can weaken the glue joints that hold the soundboard and other wood portions of the piano together. Moisture may lead to string rust. A piano functions best under fairly consistent conditions which are neither too wet nor dry, optimally at a temperature of 68 degrees F and 42 percent relative humidity. Using an air conditioner in humid summer months and adding a humidifier to your central heating system will reduce the extremes of high and low humidity. Room humidifiers and dehumidifiers, as well as systems designed to be installed inside of pianos will control humidity-related disorders still further. The PTG technical bulletin on humidity control discusses this topic in further detail. What is voicing? A piano also periodically requires a service called voicing. Because the tone changes as the felt hammers wear, periodic voicing of the hammers is necessary so that your piano will have an even, full tone throughout the entire scale, and produce the widest possible dynamic range. The PTG technical bulletin on voicing discusses this subject in further detail. How often should I have my piano fully serviced? The three components of musical performance that need to be adjusted periodically are pitch, tone, and touch. Tone is maintained by voicing, and touch by servicing the piano action, called regulation. Piano tuning is the adjustment of the tuning pins so that all the strings are of the proper tension (pitch), to have the correct sounding, musical intervals. An out-of-tune piano or an unresponsive touch can discourage even novice musicians. Regular maintenance also can prevent expensive repair in the future. Most manufacturers recommend servicing at least two to four times a year to keep the piano sounding good and working properly each time you sit down to play. This is especially important the first year of your piano's life. Some tuning instability should be anticipated during the first year because of the elasticity of the piano wire, combined with the piano's normal adjustment to the humidity changes in your home. A piano which has gone a long time without tuning may require extra work in pitch raising. But most importantly, be sure the regular servicing of your piano is performed by a qualified piano technician. How   do   I   find   a   qualified   person   to service my piano? The Piano Technicians Guild, Inc. (PTG) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding the knowledge and skill of professionals in the piano industry. The largest organization of its kind in the world, its membership includes tuner- technicians, rebuilders, piano designers, and manufacturers, retailers, and enthusiasts (We also have a list of other technician organizations). PTG certifies Registered Piano Technicians (RPT) through a series of rigorous examination designed to test their skill in tuning, regulation and repair. Those capable of performing these tasks up to a recognized worldwide standard receive RPT certification. Visit our online directory of Registered Piano Technicians. The preceding article is a reprint of a brochure published by the Piano Technicians Guild, Inc. It is provided on the Internet as a service to piano owners. The Piano Technicians Guild is an international organization of piano technicians. Registered Piano Technicians (RPTs) are those members of PTG who have passed a series of examinations on the maintenance, repair, and tuning of pianos. For a list of Registered Technicians in your area visit our online: Directory of Registered PianoTechnicians.  ©1993 Piano Technicians Guild For   a   copy   of   this   or   other   PTG   bulletins and brochures, contact: Piano Technicians Guild, Inc 4444 Forest Avenue Kansas City, KS 66106-3750 Phone: 913-432-9975 Fax: 913-432-9986 www.ptg.org • ptg@ptg.org  
4335 E. Broadway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85711
 How Should I Take Care of My Piano? A   piano   brings   a   lifetime   of   enjoyment   to   you   and   your   family.   As   you   might expect   with   any   investment   of   this   size,   a   piano   requires   periodic   servicing   to provide    outstanding    performance    year    after    year.    But    to    understand    what maintenance is required, it's important to understand the nature of the piano. The   beautiful,   natural   sound   of   a   piano   is   due   to   the   remarkable   blending   of   such materials   as   wood,   metal,   buckskin,   and   wool.   Together   they   create   a   uniquely timeless    sound    that    no    other    instrument    in    the    world    can    duplicate.    While electronic   synthesizers   may   approximate   the   sound   of   an   acoustic   piano,   they cannot approach the true beauty of the real thing. How should I care for my piano's wood finish? As   with   any   piece   of   fine   furniture,   keeping   drinks   off   finished   wood   surfaces   is   a simple   rule   always   to   follow.   New   piano   finishes   generally   require   only   occasional cleaning   with   either   a   dry   or   damp   cotton   cloth.   Older   piano   finishes   may   benefit from   an   occasional   polishing   with   a   good   quality   polish,   but   frequent   polishing   is not    recommended.    The    PTG    technical    bulletin    on    finish    care    discusses    this subject in detail. What is the piano's action and why does it need maintenance? When   you   look   inside   your   piano,   you'll   find   a   cast   iron   plate   or   "harp"   strung with   steel   and   copper-wound   strings   over   a   large   expanse   of   wood   which   is   the soundboard.    If    you    look    closer,    you'll    discover    an    intricate    system    of    levers, springs, and hammers connected to the keyboard. The   complex   system   which   causes   a   hammer   to   strike   a   string   when   you   press   a key   is   called   the   piano's   action.   It   is   a   marvel   of   engineering   composed   largely   of wood   and   wool   felt.   This   mechanism   needs   to   be   responsive   to   every   nuance   of the   pianist's   touch   --   from   loud,   thunderous   chords   to   soft,   delicate   passages.   We have technical drawings available for both vertical and grand piano actions. When   a   piano   leaves   the   factory,   each   of   its   parts   is   adjusted   to   a   tolerance   of   a few   thousandths   of   an   inch.   This   process   is   called   action   regulation.   Because   the wood   and   felt   parts   of   the   action   may   change   dimension   due   to   humidity   and wear,    the    action    must    be    serviced    occasionally    to    maintain    its    responsive qualities. How does humidity affect my piano? Extreme   swings   from   hot   to   cold   or   dry   to   wet   are   harmful   to   your   piano.   Dryness causes   the   piano's   pitch   to   go   flat;   moisture   makes   it   go   sharp.   Repeated   swings in   relative   humidity   can   cause   soundboards   to   crack   or   distort.   Extreme   dryness also    can    weaken    the    glue    joints    that    hold    the    soundboard    and    other    wood portions    of    the    piano    together.    Moisture    may    lead    to    string    rust.    A    piano functions   best   under   fairly   consistent   conditions   which   are   neither   too   wet   nor dry, optimally at a temperature of 68 degrees F and 42 percent relative humidity. Using   an   air   conditioner   in   humid   summer   months   and   adding   a   humidifier   to your   central   heating   system   will   reduce   the   extremes   of   high   and   low   humidity. Room   humidifiers   and   dehumidifiers,   as   well   as   systems   designed   to   be   installed inside   of   pianos   will   control   humidity-related   disorders   still   further.   The   PTG technical bulletin on humidity control discusses this topic in further detail. What is voicing? A    piano    also    periodically    requires    a    service    called    voicing.    Because    the    tone changes   as   the   felt   hammers   wear,   periodic   voicing   of   the   hammers   is   necessary so   that   your   piano   will   have   an   even,   full   tone   throughout   the   entire   scale,   and produce    the    widest    possible    dynamic    range.    The    PTG    technical    bulletin    on voicing discusses this subject in further detail. How often should I have my piano fully serviced? The    three    components    of    musical    performance    that    need    to    be    adjusted periodically   are   pitch,   tone,   and   touch.   Tone   is   maintained   by   voicing,   and   touch by   servicing   the   piano   action,   called   regulation.   Piano   tuning   is   the   adjustment   of the   tuning   pins   so   that   all   the   strings   are   of   the   proper   tension   (pitch),   to   have   the correct sounding, musical intervals. An    out-of-tune    piano    or    an    unresponsive    touch    can    discourage    even    novice musicians. Regular maintenance also can prevent expensive repair in the future. Most   manufacturers   recommend   servicing   at   least   two   to   four   times   a   year   to keep   the   piano   sounding   good   and   working   properly   each   time   you   sit   down   to play.   This   is   especially   important   the   first   year   of   your   piano's   life.   Some   tuning instability   should   be   anticipated   during   the   first   year   because   of   the   elasticity   of the   piano   wire,   combined   with   the   piano's   normal   adjustment   to   the   humidity changes   in   your   home.   A   piano   which   has   gone   a   long   time   without   tuning   may require   extra   work   in   pitch   raising.   But   most   importantly,   be   sure   the   regular servicing of your piano is performed by a qualified piano technician. How do I find a qualified person to service my piano? The   Piano   Technicians   Guild,   Inc.   (PTG)   is   a   nonprofit   organization   dedicated   to expanding   the   knowledge   and   skill   of   professionals   in   the   piano   industry.   The largest   organization   of   its   kind   in   the   world,   its   membership   includes   tuner- technicians,    rebuilders,    piano    designers,    and    manufacturers,    retailers,    and enthusiasts   (We   also   have   a   list   of   other   technician   organizations).   PTG   certifies Registered   Piano   Technicians   (RPT)   through   a   series   of   rigorous   examination designed   to   test   their   skill   in   tuning,   regulation   and   repair.   Those   capable   of performing    these    tasks    up    to    a    recognized    worldwide    standard    receive    RPT certification. Visit our online directory of Registered Piano Technicians. The    preceding    article    is    a    reprint    of    a    brochure    published    by    the    Piano Technicians    Guild,    Inc.    It    is    provided    on    the    Internet    as    a    service    to    piano owners.   The   Piano   Technicians   Guild   is   an   international   organization   of   piano technicians.   Registered   Piano   Technicians   (RPTs)   are   those   members   of   PTG who   have   passed   a   series   of   examinations   on   the   maintenance,   repair,   and   tuning of    pianos.    For    a    list    of    Registered    Technicians    in    your    area    visit    our    online Directory of Registered Piano Technicians.   ©1993 Piano Technicians Guild For a copy of this or other PTG bulletins and brochures, contact: Piano Technicians Guild, Inc 4444 Forest Avenue Kansas City, KS 66106-3750 Phone: 913-432-9975 Fax: 913-432-9986 www.ptg.org • ptg@ptg.org  
Taking Care of Your Piano
4335 E. Broadway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85711