No out-of-tune piano can really be enjoyed! No piano that is out of tune can realize its true potential! A piano that is in tune is a pleasure to hear and a joy to play. Without proper tuning, the finest regulation, repair, or rebuilding work cannot be truly appreciated. Tuning a piano is not something that should be approached haphazardly or carelessly but instead should be undertaken with the utmost care and attention to detail. Anyone can turn a knob and read an indicator on a screen, however, not anyone can utilize innate talent and training to properly discern the correct pitch of a note based on the relationships of the intervals of the piano in question
All tuning is done by ear and when possible, the piano is tuned at A440 which is concert pitch. Aside from the use of an electronic tuning fork, which has the advantage of never deviating from pitch, all of the intervals of the piano are aurally tuned. When A above middle C is tuned to A440, which is 440 hertz, or cycles per second and the intervals are tuned respective of that, the piano is said to be at pitch.
Voicing is a process whereby the felt on the hammer is altered in order to achieve a desired and a uniform tone from the piano. This can be done through needling as well as the application of chemical hardeners or softeners to the hammer of the piano. This process can do much to restore the quality of sound and is an essential step in hammer replacement.
It has been my experience that some of the most frustrating problems that pianists have encountered with their instruments are often the easiest to remedy. This is especially true with voicing. A few minutes of skillful needling can soften a hammer, transforming a tinny annoying piano into a pleasant and enjoyable listening experience. On the other hand, a muted piano with the same careful attention to firming the felt either through needling or the careful application of hardening agents can accentuate the tone of the piano delivering a fuller, more vibrant sound.
Whenever possible, repairs are done in the home and are made with the best possible material available.
Some repairs that can be done right in your home are:
Your piano is at least 50 years old, has been sitting in the corner of your den forever, and is covered with all sorts of junk. You sit down to play it and it sounds terrible. You look inside and all you see is dirt and cobwebs. Your piano may be a candidate for reconditioning! When a piano is reconditioned, it undergoes a thorough inspection of its working parts, all defective parts are replaced, everything is aligned, tightened, lubricated, cleaned, and if necessary, the action is regulated — it can work wonders!
The above image is a typical example of before and after
completed reconditioning for a spinet piano.
Here is what was done:
No restoration of a piano is complete without refinishing. All of our finishes are close-grained hand polished and are available in high gloss or satin. Whether it is a natural finish or a painted finish, the results can be truly breathtaking.
Tom Van Ness