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Tuning and servicing pianos in Austin and Central Texas since 1952.

Caring For Your Piano
Caring for your piano requires using a common-sense approach to these basic facts.
Play Your Piano
A piano should be played with some regularity--Playing the piano keeps the working parts from becoming sluggish and keeps the felts supple. Also, as a piano gets older, the tone quality will be even better if it has been played regularly.
Tuning A Piano

A piano should be tuned regularly. Every piano should be tuned at least once a year, and more often if the piano is

  1. New
  2. Used for performances
  3. Moved frequent
Humidity and the Climate

Excessive humidity and extreme temperature changes are the enemies of the piano. The piano is basically a wooden instrument. Too much moisture in the air will cause the keys and action parts to swell, resulting in sticking and sluggish notes. The felts will, over time, become hard, resulting in a noisy action. The tuning pin block–a laminated hardwood block into which the tuning pins are driven, will expand around those pins, and then, when the surrounding are becomes dry and the block loses some of its moisture, will contract, causing the tuning pins to become loose, resulting in a piano that will not "hold a tune." The steel strings will become rusty and destroy the tone of the instrument. The other metal parts will, likewise, rust and eventually need to be replaced.

The ideal level of humidity for a piano is around 40 per cent. While it is almost impossible to maintain a particular level of humidity in a home, certain precautions can be taken. Don’t place the piano near a window or door where it will be exposed to dramatic changes in outside humidity. Don’t place the piano near an air-conditioning/heating duct. Don’t place the piano near a fireplace or other source of heat, which will dry out the air.

This brings us to the second "enemy"–extreme temperature change. Many of the things mentioned above relate to temperature change as well as humidity. While humidity changes will alter the tuning of the piano, temperature changes will "knock" a piano out of tune even faster. Do not locate a piano where it will be exposed to direct sunlight. Not only will the sunlight fade the finish, but the piano will go "out of tune" in an incredibly short time. Placing a piano on an outside wall was, in years past, a "no-no." Insulation techniques and air circulation were poor, and methods of heating were such that a piano would "sweat" when placed against an outside wall. However, with today’s central air conditioning, this is not nearly so much a problem.

Protecting Against Humidity
One excellent way to deal with the humidity problem is to have your technician install a piano de-humidifier. This device consists of a long aluminum tube containing a heating element which heats to about the temperature of a hot-water pipe, and a hunidistat, which turns the heating element on when the humidity level gets above 40% and off when the level falls below 40%. The entire unit is installed inside the lower cabinet of a vertical piano, or suspended directly underneath a grand piano. Power consumption is negligible, and the unit will last for many years. A humidifier is also available, which plugs into the same humidistat. The humidifier is, in most cases, not really necessary in this climate.

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