Client Frequently Asked Questions
"How often do I need my piano tuned?"
Short Answer: Twice a year
Long Answer: It depends on how much the piano gets played. How often you change the oil in your vehicle depends on how much you drive. A piano teacher's piano that gets played about 6 hours a day all month needs a tuning usually every month. A resturant piano that gets played every night for four hours and deals with constant changes in temperature is probably being tuned every two or three months. The average piano student that practices an hour a day needs their piano tuned every six months. A piano that has a Dampp-Chaser system in it, stays in a room with no tempurature and humidity fluctuations, and recieves almost no playing can be tuned once a year, but probably less than 1% of pianos in the world match that criteria. Therefore, for the average piano owner, you probably need to tune your piano twice a year, especially since most piano manufacturers require this as a condition to keep the instrument's warranty active. A piano technician can help you decide if your amount of playing requires more frequent tunings.
"What should I use to clean my piano?"
Short Answer: For a high gloss (shiny) finish, Brillianize.
Long Answer: Since a high gloss piano's finish is made of polyester (a plastic), what better thing to clean it with than a plastic cleaner. After trying many products, Brillianize has proved to be the best product for removing dirt, smudges and fingerprints. This product works best when used with a clean micro fiber cloth. It can be as generic as a car cleaning micro fiber cloth, or a micro fiber cloth that comes with a Brillianize cleaning kit.
You are free to clean your piano with any product you choose, but I advise a strong warning against any product with abrasive chemicals or ammonium. These products can cause streaks and cloudiness in the finish over time.
"What should I use to dust my piano?"
Short Answer: The California Car Duster.
Long Answer: Since pianos seem to attract dust more than fingerprints, you don't always need to be rubbing on the piano with a rag and causing unnecessary scratches. The California duster looks like a miniature mop that fits in your hand, and works great at removing the thin layer of dust that can build on the case of your piano. You can use it daily or weekly, the point being that you don't always need to use Brillianize. You can use it to dust the iron frame inside the piano, though care should be taken not to touch the strings with anything, ever. To get the best use of The California Duster, make sure to read the instructions.
You can dust your piano with any product you choose, but I advise a strong warning agains feather dusters that can actually scratch the finish of the piano.
"What is a pitch raise, and does my piano need one?"
Short Answer: It is an extra tuning to give your piano stability, and your piano needs one if it is incredibly out of tune.
Long Answer: It is usually called a pitch raise because most pianos that are irregularly tuned are flat, or below pitch. In reality the term should be pitch adjustment, because sometimes pianos are excessively sharp or above pitch.
Imagine you have a glass that is half full of water; this will represent your piano when it is at pitch (A440Hz). If a piano has not been tuned for more than a year it can become very sharp or very flat. So now imagine that your glass of water is almost empty or a quarter full. This would be a flat piano.
If a piano tuner were to tune your piano back to standard pitch, you might think that would be like filling the glass back to exactly half way, but because the piano is made of metal and wood under enormous amounts of tension, it doesn’t exactly work that way. If the tuner tuned the piano back to pitch, it would actually drop the tuning by 25% by the time they finished tuning, even before they get out the door. That’s like filling the glass back to half way, and then magically the water level drops by 25% of whatever you put in. This is because the metal and wood actually absorb some of the tension that you used to bring it back up to pitch.
So how do piano tuners overcome this? They do a pitch raise (pitch adjustment). They actually tune the piano past where they want it so by the time they are done it settles down to the actual pitch they want. Then in the same visit they have to tune the piano again with a final tuning. Anytime the tension in a piano changes this much, you have to do the second tuning because otherwise the first tuning is not stable or clean at all.
So back to our glass of water, if it is almost empty, we need to fill it up past the half way point so that when the water magically disappears (tension is absorbed by the piano itself) it ends up very close to the halfway mark. At that point we can do the “final tuning” by adding or taking away a few drops of water to make it perfect.
How do I know if my piano needs a pitch adjustment? In general situations, anytime a grand piano is 4% too sharp or too flat, and anytime an upright is 10% too sharp or too flat, these instruments need a pitch adjustment prior to the final tuning. Otherwise the client cannot expect a clean and stable tuning up to pitch in just one pass.
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