Frequently Asked Questions
Why do pianos go out of tune?
The piano strings are several tons of pressure which is supported by the pianos rim, plate, pinblock, tuning pins, bridges, and soundboard. Anything that affects the position of any of these parts will cause a change in tension and make the piano go out of tune.
When the humidity changes, air seeps into and out of the wood components of the piano, causing the piano to go out of tune. This is the most prevalent factor for pianos in good condition to go out of tune. A piano typically falls flat in the winter when the low humidity draws out the moisture, and then goes sharp in the spring and summer months when the air conditioning comes on.
Temperature changes also cause a piano to go out of tune. Intense changes in temperature such as from direct sunlight, stage lighting, or opening a door or window during the winter or summer months all can cause rapid changes in the tuning.
In new pianos, the strings have to stretch significantly during their first few years in a piano. It is not uncommon for a piano to sink a quarter step flat in just a few months due to the elasticity of the strings. The louder and more frequently you play a newly-strung piano, the faster the strings will stretch, and the sooner the piano strings will stabilize.
In older pianos, the tuning pins can slip which cause the piano to fall out of tune. If the piano has been regularly exposed to changing temperatures and humidity the pin block will lose its tight grip on the tuning pins causing them to slip out of tune.
How often should my piano be tuned?
Pianos should be tuned at least every six months. As the seasons turn the pianos experiences changes in temperature and humidity which cause it to fall out of tune. Additionally, the piano technician is able to service and make minor repairs to your instrument. Think of it as your regular check-up with your doctor, but for your piano.
How much do you charge for a sticky key?
My service for minor repairs on your piano is $95/hour plus parts. If I tune your piano, I do not charge for minor repairs unless I have to remove the action to repair it or if it takes me more than 20 minutes to repair.
I have been told that I need new strings on my piano, how much does that cost?
When restringing a piano there are two things to consider. First is if the piano is worth it. If the piano is a high-quality piano, it would be worth the expense. If the piano has sentimental value then you have to consider whether it is worth the expense. For instance, if the piano is an heirloom and is likely to be passed to other members of the family. Second to consider is, does it need both treble and bass strings to be replaced or does it just need the bass strings to be replaced. Bass strings become dead from temperature and humidity changes. They also collect dust in the windings. If your bass sections sounds like a dull thud, more than likely the bass section needs to be replaced. I recommend that the piano be completely restrung, both treble and bass strings as this will give a more beautiful sound to the piano. The tuning pins are typically replaced at the time of restringing.
What if I have broken hammers. How can they be replaced?
If a hammer breaks on your piano, save it. It is best to place it somewhere inside the piano, as it will easily become lost, or you will forget where you put it. I can usually repair the broken hammer in your home. Before I take the action I will inform you as to the estimated expense of repairing the action.
If all the hammers need to be replaced, the cost is usually around $600 dollars, although some hammer types such as Abel hammers for Steinway pianos can be much more expensive. It usually takes several weeks to replace hammers as each hammer is taken out of the action and is handled separately.
Is it possible to replace all the keytops on my piano?
Yes, it is possible to replace the keytops on your piano. The new keytops will be of plastic, however, new keytops will greatly improve the looks of your old piano.
The last time my piano was tuned I was told that the tuning pins are loose. Is there anything that can be done for my piano?
There are two ways to tighten the tuning pins on your piano. The process of "doping" the pins. This process is to lay the piano on its back and put a solution of Cyanoacrylate around the tuning pins. The piano lays on its back for about 30 minutes, then the piano is set up and tuned. Cyanoacrylate causes the wood to swell around the pins thus tightening them. Secondly, if the piano is restrung and new pins are installed the technician will replace the pins with a larger diameter pin.
Where is the best place to put my piano in my home?
It was commonly thought that a piano should be placed on an inside wall. With modern houses that are insulated properly this should not be a problem. The piano should not be placed near any heat and A/C vents, or anywhere near moving air.
How long does it take to tune my piano?
It usually takes about 2 hours. There are some considerations involving the amount of time to tune a piano. If the piano needs minor repairs, the amount of time will increase.
What is your Service Area?
I service the Philadelphia Metro Area, Central Jersey, and New York City. If you are not sure if you are located within my service area, Contact Me and I'll let you know!