Piano Care Guide
Your piano is a finely crafted musical instrument with thousands of individual parts. These combine to create a blend of acoustic and mechanical properties which require care and regular servicing, called for by all manufacturers.
Top quality woods of many species, as well as copper, steel, iron, brass, plastics, wool and cotton all go into its making. The steel wire used in the strings represents the highest development in this product and only a few mills in the world manufacture it. When tuned, these strings altogether produce a stress on the piano equal to more than 14 tons, enough power to lift a two car garage off of it's foundation!
When choosing a location for your piano, consider the effects that humidity and temperature has on a fine instrument. Prevent exposure to extreme sunlight, direct heat or excessive dampness. Avoid south facing windows, fireplaces and heating vents. Your piano will perform best in a moderately ventilated environment, free of extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations. Chose a location where your piano will sound best. Hardwood floors will add resonance while carpeting will have the effect of dampening the sound. The back of an upright piano should be left at least three inches away from the wall to allow for air and sound circulation.
Controlling the environment
Changing humidity is the chief culprit of Canada's piano woes. Relative humidity levels of less than 30% can dry out wood and compromise glue joints. Excessive humidity will rust the metals and slow down the performing mechanism. A humidistat, a device that measures humidity can be purchased at most hardware stores. This will tell you if you should be concerned about your pianos' environment. If you do have concerns, you can have Piano Tune Canada install a dedicated humidity control device in your piano called a Dampp-ChaserTM. This can literally add years of life to your piano and help preserve the tuning.
Your piano is also a beautiful piece of furniture, and so will need periodic care. Avoid using silicone based polishes or paste waxes. If your piano is a highly polished instrument with a polyester finish, a soft, slightly damp cloth is all that is needed to keep it gleaming. For satin finish instruments, merely wipe with a soft, slightly damp cloth, and then dry immediately with a dry cloth. Always dry with the grain. If your piano has a lacquer or shellac finish, periodically moisturize with a slightly damp cloth mixed with a small amount of lemon oil. Ask your technician if you are unsure about which type of finish your piano has. Piano Tune Canada carries a large selection Piano Cleaners and Polishes.
Keep the keys clean from dust with a feather duster or soft cloth. The keys can be cleaned with a mild solution of soap and water, however, make sure you wring the cloth out well and don't let moisture between the keys. Rub gently and dry immediately with a soft dry cloth. Do not use alcohol, furniture polish and/or chemicals when cleaning the keys. Ivory can be delicate, so use care when cleaning.
Your piano should be mechanically re-adjusted every 4-6 years. This process is called regulation and involves the entire mechanical action and pedal movements. There are more than twenty adjustments on each note to compensate for wear and tear. A properly adjusted action will have increased power, touch and tone, and give the player a great deal of pleasure. Proper performance depends on how well the adjustments are set.
A qualified professional piano technician should perform tuning and service procedures. Unqualified service personnel can damage the instrument and its' components. Your piano should be tuned a minimum of once a year. (Annual visits are required to keep some warranties in good standing.) With Canada's huge humidity swings, many piano owners find it necessary to have their piano tuned twice a year or more.
Before the Tuner comes...
The technician will have to lift the lid, and remove certain case parts in order to service your piano, so please make sure that all personal items have been removed from on top!