Archive for the ‘Tips For The New Piano Owner’ Category

Piano Cleaning

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Accutone Piano Service Professional Piano ServicesCleaning: Cleaning the inside of a piano, especially a grand piano, is not as mysterious as it may seem.  Most parts of a piano are rugged, and you need not worry about hurting anything EXCEPT DAMPERS in a grand piano.  The dampers are those black things that rest on top of the strings, and that move when you press the damper pedal.  Be careful not to snag them with a cleaning rag. 

Vacuum: To remove excess dust under the strings, use a hair dryer (Heat OFF!) to blow dust into the left corner where you can vacuum it up or pick it up with a dusting cloth.  Dust sticking to the board under the strings can be removed with special equipment, and this is best done by your technician.  People ask, “Is it better to close up the piano to prevent dust from entering?”  My answer is, dust is like air.  You can’t avoid it.  Up or down doesn’t really matter, it’s up to you.

Keys: Cleaning the keys is best done with some mild cleaner applied with a soft cloth (NEVER SPRAY ANYTHING ON THE KEYS).  If your piano has ivory keys, and they are badly soiled, use “Softscrub” or other mild abrasive cleaner.  Be sure to dry the keys thoroughly afterwards.

Brass: If the brass hardware on the piano is tarnished, I recommend “Brite Boy” brass cleaner.  Note that many brass parts are coated with a plastic or lacquer coating to prevent premature tarnishing.  After some time, the brass may become tarnished in tiny spots which grow larger in time.  The coating must be first removed before the brass can be cleaned and polished.  “Flitz”, a polishing cream, is a good choice for stubborn tarnish, as well as Brasso.  If you have a high polish finish, Brasso may leave a dull finish and residue, so avoid Brasso if you have this type of finish  .

Spills: Be sure not to allow anything to fall inside of your piano, especially anything wet.  If anything spills inside, try to mop it up as soon as possible.  Call a technician immediately to have the piano inspected for damage.  Time is critical here, and long term damage may be avoided by immediate servicing of the piano.  Don’t touch the strings, especially the bass strings, since finger oils will tarnish the strings, .leaving discolored spots on them.

Tuning And Stability

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Accutone Piano Service Professional Piano ServicesPeriodic Service: Simply having your piano serviced regularly by a qualified technician can address most problems before they become serious and expensive.  Regular tuning will insure your piano will stay in tune longer between tunings. 

Tuning Intervals: A piano that isn’t tuned at least once a year will be more likely to fall out of tune, and require a “pitch raise” before a final tuning can be done, thus raising the price of the service call. 

Stability Problems: If your instrument won’t hold a tuning, due to circumstances of placement, changes in the weather, proximity to ocean breezes, and accidents such as leaky pipes, a climate control system may be needed to stabilize the tuning. 

Dehumidifiers: A “DamppChaser” system can be installed for a nominal cost (roughly the price of a tuning).  This system is designed to be installed in a piano, and works by adding a source of heat inside the piano if the humidity exceeds 42%.  This heater bar, about the diameter of a bicycle pump and as long as the piano is wide, warms the air inside the piano and keeps excess moisture in the air.  Without the system installed, the moisture is absorbed by the wood in the piano, which affects the tuning.  With the system, the wood is protected from excess moisture in the air, and the piano becomes very stable.  I highly recommend a “Damppchaser” for pianos in most areas of San Diego.

Placement Of Your New Piano

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Accutone Piano Service Professional Piano ServicesPianos are Sensitive!: Pianos are sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity.  Where you place the piano is critical to the stability and longevity of the instrument. 

Pianos Don't Like Change: As far as possible, the piano should be in a place with the least amount of change in the atmosphere, out of direct sunlight.  That means as far from a heat source, vent, or open window or door. 

Sunlight: West facing windows allow a lot of heat in, which is not good for a piano.  Some brief sunlight from a southern sky or eastern window is okay.  Wood colored finishes are especially prone to bleaching in sunlight, even if it is indirect.  I strongly advise getting UV film on your windows to protect the finish of your piano and furniture.