As a technician I can provide a wide range of services to my customers.
My services include:
- Pitch Raise
- Hammer Reshaping
- Key top repair and replacement
- Estimates & Evaluations
Pianos need to be tuned twice a year, no less than once a year. Your piano was designed to keep a constant amount of pressure on the plate and soundboard. Having your piano tuned on a regular basis ensures that the instrument is maintained for optimal performance. Regular tunings by a qualified technician will ensure that any minor problems that occur will be recognized early and dealt with before they become major, costly repairs. While people will spend hundreds of dollars a year maintaining their family car, they neglect upkeep on their pianos. This seems silly considering that a vehicle will depreciate as soon as it leaves the lot by 25% or more, while a well maintained piano will retain it's value and sometimes will appreciate. A Steinway piano is said to appreciate by as much as 10% per year - as long as it is maintained regularly.
The Piano Technician’s Guild (PTG) states that a piano which is more than 10 cents low (for simplicity purposes think 10% of a semi-tone) should have a pitch-raise. Most pianos that have not been tuned for several years will need a pitch-raise. Some pianos can be 30, 40 or more cents low. The procedure requires at least two tunings and often more to return the piano to A440. A soundboard is, of course, wooden and designed to be convex. If a piano is allowed to remain at a low pitch the soundboard will flatten out and the sound will become colorless and non-resonating. The original pitch-raise can cost $250.00 plus the additional tunings as required to re-train the soundboard to return it to its intended convex shape. Your piano technician can assess the situation and make appropriate recommendations.
No matter how clean your house is pianos get dirty. After a period of time dust, grease, and other particulates settle inside the piano. Every few years you should have the piano taken apart and thoroughly cleaned. As dirt accumulates on the stings and hammers it acts as an abrasive and wears the hammer felt down prematurely making it necessary to have the hammers reshaped or replaced.. A cleaning involves removing the action (what the hammers are attached to) and blowing out all the dirt and debris with an air compressor. All the keys should be removed and any small pieces of paper, clips, staples, and dirt should be removed. The entire piano should be vacuumed and wiped down. Finally, a reconditioning lubricant should be applied to all moving parts in the piano. These regular maintenance cleanings will ensure a long life for the action of your piano. I strongly caution against trying to do this your self as major damage can be caused without proper training.
Hammers are made of felt. After years of use the hammers become worn and get grooves where they constantly strike the strings. A technician will reshape the hammers by sanding off the “high points” and reshape the hammers to their original shape. Reshaping the hammers will restore the original tone to your piano.
Regulation is the adjustment of the mechanical aspects of the pianos to compensate for the effects of wear, the compacting and settling of cloth, felt, and buckskin, as well as dimensional changes in wood and wool parts due to changes in humidity.
The three systems involved in regulation are the action, trapwork and damper system. The action is the mechanical part of the piano that transfers the motion of the fingers on the keys to the hammers that strike the strings. It is comprised of over 9,000 parts that require adjustment to critical tolerances to be able to respond to a pianist's every command. The trapwork is the assemblage of levers, dowels and springs that connects the pedals to the action affecting sustain and dynamics. The damper system is the mechanical part of the piano that stops the vibration of the string when you release the key and is controlled by the key and pedal systems.
Estimates and Evaluation
I offer in-home estimates and evaluations on used pianos. For a $25.00 fee I will give a full examination on the piano in question and give a full written report with my findings. If you are purchasing a piano a small fee for an evaluation can save you from buying a piano with costly issues. Conversely, if you are selling your piano, a written report from a qualified technician will ensure the buyer that the piano is sound and worth the purchase price.
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