HOW TO CARE FOR A PIANO
HERE ARE SOME ESSENTIAL TIPS THAT WILL HELP TO KEEP YOUR PIANO SOUNDING AND PLAYING ITS BEST FOR MANY YEARS TO COME
HAVE YOUR PIANO TUNED EVERY YEAR
Due to the tremendous amount of tension on the strings, pianos are constantly going out of tune. A piano will be out of tune after six months, but after a year it may be drifting significantly flat. Therefore, tuning once a year is considered the minimum. Pianos that are tuned twice a year stay in tune better and thus retain their value longer. Remember, pianos go out of tune even when they are not being played.
Note: brand-new pianos, because of the elasticity of their new strings, go out of tune much faster than older, more stable pianos. This is why the manufacturers usually recommend four tunings in the first year of a new piano’s life in its new home. From there you can begin the normal schedule of tuning once or twice a year.
Tune your piano after you move it. The simple act of lifting, setting down and rolling disrupts the careful placement of its ~236 tuning pins, and humidity and temperature variations in its new environment will cause it to go out of tune. Schedule your tuning for three or more days after you move to allow it to acclimate to its new home.
In fact, just moving the piano to different areas within your home can cause it to lose its tuning, especially if it is to or away from a window that gets direct sun, a sliding glass door to the outside, an air-conditioning vent or any other area that experiences hot and cold shifts throughout the day.
If you are a recording musician, it is absolutely essential to have the instrument tuned to A440 directly before a recording.
PLAY YOUR PIANO
The mechanical parts inside your piano need to be regularly manipulated in order to keep everything moving smoothly.
HAVE A HUMIDITY-CONTROL SYSTEM INSTALLED
South Florida is extremely humid year-round. Variations in humidity can have unpredictable effects on the piano so it’s best to get it under control. Many pianos are sold with humidity-control systems installed already. To see if you have one already you can look behind the knee-panel (in a vertical piano) or underneath (in a grand piano) or just look for a power cable hanging out. If you don't have one already, consider getting one soon!
LONG TERM STUFF
After a long time, the mechanical parts inside the action will have worn down unevenly and some things will have to be adjusted or replaced. Your technician can handle little things along the way but after a long time so many things will need attention you may need a more thorough process called 'regulation' to make the piano feel 'regular' again.
In that same amount of time, the hammers may be so compacted from heavy playing that the piano may begin to sound ‘pingy’ or ‘bright’. A process called voicing can soften the bright, harsh tone caused by worn-out hammers.