Client List, Piano Links, FAQ’s

Client List

Our thanks to all of our individual and institutional piano tuning clients, including:

 

Acme Music, Cheshire

American Ballroom Dance Center, Springfield

Amity Music, New Haven

Arden Courts Assisted Living, Hamden

Arthur Murray Dance Center, Hamden

Atria Larson Place Assisted Living, Hamden

Bethwood Suzuki Music School, Seymour

Central Connecticut State University, New Britain

Cross of Christ Lutheran Church, Waterbury

Clinton Academy of Music

Clinton, CT, Town Hall

Dance Unlimited Academy, Hamden

Derby Public Library / Harcourt Wood Memorial Library, Derby

Durham Public Schools

Eugene’s Music & Learning Studio, Port Chester, NY

Fair Haven Junior High School

Family Music, Hamden

Faust Harrison Pianos, CT & NY

Forbes Music Company, CT & NY

Gaylord Hospital, Wallingford

Grace and St. Peter’s Church, Hamden

Greater Hartford Korean United Methodist Church

Hamden Academy of Dance & Music

Hamden Public Schools

Harbour Light Baptist Church, Orange

InnerSpaceSoundLabs Recording Studio, Durham

JC Music, Meriden

Jewish Foundation of Greater New Haven

Lyric Hall Antiques & Conservation, Westville

Madison Academy Of Music

Meriden Public Schools

Naugatuck Valley Community College

Neighborhood Music School

New Haven Chamber Orchestra

New Haven Public Schools

North Haven Public Schools

Orange Players Association, Orange

Piano Academy of Simsbury

Quinnipiac University, Hamden

Saint Bernadette’s Church, New Haven

Saint Mary Church of the Visitation

Sam Ash Music, New Haven

Sickle Cell Disease Association of America (SCDAA) of Southern Connecticut

Southern Connecticut State University

The First Congregational Church, Guilford

The GPSCY Bar (Graduate & Professional Student Center at Yale), New Haven

The Hamden Symphony Orchestra

The Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven

The Music Studio, Mystic

The New Haven Country Club

The Waterbury Symphony Orchestra

The Yale School of Drama, New Haven

University of Bridgeport

University of New Haven

Vertical Church, West Haven

Wesleyan University, Middletown

Whitney Center Assisted Living, Hamden

Yale University, New Haven

 

Piano Information Links:

Free or low-cost pianos:

OfferUp

Piano Adoption

Freecycle.org

PianoMart

Facebook Marketplace and Craig’s List are other options for used pianos.

 

Piano Lesson Information:  http://www.forbesmusic.com/

 

Piano Age Information:  http://www.bluebookofpianos.com/pianoage.html

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

The Stars & Catz Free Suite of Music Tools and Resources:

https://www.starsandcatz.com.au/free-music-tools-and-resources/

 

How To Remove Scuffs and Scratches from Pianos:

https://pianopricepoint.com/how-to-remove-scuffs-and-scratches-from-pianos/

 

Chips Happen:

https://pianopricepoint.com/chips-happen/

 

Glen Barkman’s free online piano guide:  www.pianopricepoint.com

 

Player Pianos:  http://www.mmdigest.com/Home

 

Why Upgrade from a Digital Piano?  https://pianopricepoint.com/why-upgrade-from-a-digital-piano/

 

Why Upgrade to a Professional Level Piano?  http://pianopricepoint.com/why-upgrade-to-a-professional-level-piano/

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

How often should I have my piano tuned?

A piano should be tuned once or twice a year.

Piano manufacturers recommend tuning every six months, because that’s how long most pianos can hold a tuning.  If a piano goes more than a year without tuning, the overall pitch may drop.

 

Regular tunings keep the pitch at the concert standard of A-440, and they maintain tuning stability. Otherwise, the overall pitch keeps dropping lower.

 

Pianos typically go out of tune the most when heaters are turned on in the fall and off in the spring, and when there are dramatic humidity changes.

All of the pianos strings are attached to the wooden soundboard, and humidity changes make the board shrink or expand. When the board expands, it stretches the strings and makes them go sharp. When the board shrinks, the strings relax and go flat. However, each string goes flat at a different rate, causing the piano to sound out of tune.

Average indoor winter humidity is around 30%, spring humidity is around 50%, and summer humidity is around 70%.  These seasonal changes are why some of our clients have their pianos tuned every three months.

New pianos may need to be tuned sooner than six months because the new strings are still stretching.  At a piano factory, new pianos are tuned up to 10 times before shipping to showrooms to account for stretching strings.

 

Piano Price Point has an interesting article on tuning frequency:

https://pianopricepoint.com/how-often-should-i-tune-my-piano/

 

Can you provide guidance on acquiring a used piano?

Yes, avoid these pianos:

1] A piano with action problems.

Don’t take on a piano that has repair issues with the keys you will be playing, such as sluggish and sticking keys! This means that the piano has not been maintained and played on a regular basis. The problem is probably not fixable, and action issues like this are always likely to get worse and will appear on other keys. Some repair parts for a particular piano may not be available at all. Also, the repair cost could be very high, more than the value of the piano. You want a piano that has been maintained, with all the keys working properly. The only exceptions are the bottom five notes and top five notes, which you may never use. They typically seize up from prolonged lack of use.

 

2] A piano that is old and may be near the end of its useful life.

You don’t want an old piano if you can help it, because piano actions wear out and can get very noisy. Strings wear out too: if the bass notes sound thumpy and don’t produce a clear tone, walk away. It’s expensive to replace the bass strings, typically $500. You want as recent a vintage as you can find.

 

3] A piano that hasn’t been tuned in many decades.

That means the pitch has probably dropped dramatically below A-440. Bringing it back up to the standard of A-440 may break a lot of strings, and so it will need to be tuned at its current pitch. If the placement of the pitch is of importance to you, it’s a very good idea to check the pitch with a portable electronic tuner.

Every piano is unique in its sound and action touch. Try out pianos until you find one you are really happy with. If you can’t decide between two pianos, go with the newer one.

 

How soon after moving a piano should I have it tuned?

If the piano is moved from a similar climate, you can tune it right away. It’s best to wait three to four weeks after moving a piano from a completely different climate.

 

What can I do to maintain my piano?

The lowest and highest five keys don’t get played very much, so try to play those notes on a regular basis. Lack of playing makes piano actions degrade over time and is the main cause of sticking keys. Have it tuned onceor twice a year, and play the entire keyboard on a regular basis to keep the action parts working smoothly.

How can I clean my piano exterior?

Most pianos just need light dusting.  The finish is soft and scratches easily, so use caution.

To remove stains, use a soft flannel cloth just slightly dampened with water, followed immediately with a dry flannel cloth to pick up any residual moisture.  Soft flannel cloth is the best material to use because the surface has been combed to raise soft fibers.  Other fabrics have exposed weaves, which are abrasive on the soft finishes of pianos and automobiles. Always wipe lightly, and always in straight lines following the wood grain. Never wipe with a circular motion, because circular swirl marks will appear.  This phenomenon is obvious on many cars.

A thin application of a high-quality carnauba wax is safe for most piano finishes.  Carnauba waxes need to be lightly buffed with soft flannel immediately, before the wax dries. Therefore, just do a small section at a time, in straight lines.  Never use cleaning products that contain water or other fluids, because they will penetrate to the wood and disrupt the finish over time.  Never use old t-shirts because the weave is abrasive and will leave swirl marks or scratches.

 

How can I clean my piano interior?

Piano soundboard sweepers are available online.  Be sure to wrap it with soft flannel cloth.

We offer the following services:

A) Clean dust from harp and off of soundboard –  $75
B) Clean harp, and if soundboard has old layers of dust/dirt and/or superficial spots  (heavy cleaning) –  $175
C) Clean/restore brightness to steel strings (wound copper strings freshened only if corroded)  – does not include area under music desk –  $100
D) Remove dirt/dust/spots on tuning pin area of plate – under music desk, and brighten wires in this section – $200
NOTE: If upon inspection, the piano is in poor condition, showing damage or permanent staining, etc. a discussion will take place prior to cleaning.*
*Consultation fee without commencing work is same as item A.  ($75)
Travel fee is usually included- please contact us to check.

 

How are pianos tuned?

Each piano string is attached to a steel pin mounted in the multiple-ply wooden pinblock. Some notes have two or three strings and each must be tuned. A piano typically has 220 to 240 strings. A tuning lever wrench is used to turn each steel pin, to adjust the pitch up or down.

Why do pianos go out of tune?

Humidity changes are the main cause of pianos going out of tune. The strings are mounted on a wooden soundboard that absorbs moisture and expands during humid weather, and shrinks during dry weather. This stretches and relaxes the strings at different rates, changing their pitches and making the piano sound out of tune. Also, the action of the hammers hitting the strings throws them out of tune.

Should I air-condition my piano room during the summer?

If possible, yes. Reducing humidity swings will help keep your piano in tune longer. It’s best to have your piano placed away from heating vents for the same reason.

How long does it take to properly tune a piano?

It can take 2-3 hours because most pianos have 220 to 240 strings and every string must be tuned individually. If a piano is extremely out of tune, more time will be required. A second tuning is sometimes required to achieve tuning stability due to ‘string memory’: piano strings slowly move back towards their original pitch.

What are False Beats?

Old piano strings degrade over time, becoming brittle with an altered tone. When you pluck a piano string, it makes sound by vibrating side-to-side. It also has waves or pulses of vibration that travel from one end of the string to the other end, and back again. These end-to-end vibrations are more noticeable in old strings, and they are called False Beats.

When two waves of false beats meet while traveling along the string, that phenomena is known as Wave Interference. It interferes with the sound of a string, and it interferes with piano tuning meters. It also makes unison strings sound different from each other within the same note.

If your piano has a poor tonal quality, that is probably the main reason. There are two types of Wave Interference: Constructive Interference, which increases the sound volume, and Destructive Interference, which causes a decrease in the sound volume or total silence.

We recently tuned a two-string note on a 1910 upright piano, and the false beats in the two strings interacted in a way that caused the perfectly tuned note to go in and out of total silence repeatedly when you played it. Amazingly, the sound waves were totally cancelling each other out.

What’s a Pitch Raise?

It’s a preliminary tuning of the entire keyboard to bring strings to their correct tension levels in a piano that is very out of tune or needs to be brought up to concert pitch. This ensures that the second, final tuning will be stable.

What is Inharmonicity, and How Does Stretch Tuning Compensate For It?

An ideal piano string would produce upper harmonics (or overtones) of the main note that are all in tune with that main note. However, real piano strings are very thick and stiff. This makes the upper harmonics sharper than theory would predict. This is called Inharmonicity.

We perceive the sharp upper harmonics as the actual pitch of the note. Therefore, a piano must be tuned to those sharp harmonics.

This would be fine, except that inharmonicity varies across the entire keyboard.

Since the shorter piano strings have a higher and higher inharmonicity as one goes up in pitch, we stretch the tuning sharp as we go up to compensate for this.

If one were to tune a piano without stretching the octaves, the harmonics of the low bass notes would clash noticeably with the harmonics of higher keys. To make the thick low bass strings sound in tune with the very high treble notes, the whole piano tuning must be stretched by making the octaves slightly wider than pure. This means that the notes above the starting pitch (F-3) will all be a slight but precise amount sharp, and the notes lower than the starting pitch will be slightly flatter. This is called a Stretched Tuning.

O.L. Railsback performed detailed experiments on stretch tuning in 1938, and published the Railsback Curve graph. See the graph at this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piano_acoustics#The_Railsback_curve

Top of the line electronic piano tuning devices, such as the Sanderson AccuTuner, can analyze the inharmonicity of individual piano strings to mathematically calculate an ideal stretch tuning.

The effect is to bring out a beautiful, unified voice from the instrument.

Why Are Pianos Tuned in Equal Temperament?

The term Temperament refers to the method used to tune pianos: we ‘temper’, or adjust, the interval between each note in a scale to make them sound evenly spaced.

Before Equal Temperament, pianos would be in tune in some chords or key signatures, but would be out of tune in other chords or key signatures.

Equal Temperament was developed by mathematicians in both China and Europe in the 1500′s.

The development of Equal Temperament enabled composers to vary the key within one piece of music, taking advantage of the fact that the new temperament made it possible for the piano to sound in tune in all key signatures.

Do you have a piano tuner near me?

Yes! We cover all of Connecticut, and parts of New York and Massachusetts.

Why do I feel so cranky?

It’s usually one of three things:

1]  You need to eat something.

2]  You haven’t played any piano today.

3]  Your piano is out of tune.

 

Repair Prices

Repair and piano string replacement prices are at the technician’s discretion. We always try to charge a reasonable price for repairs. The action in your piano may need to be removed and brought to the repair shop. Please include phone number, location, and the condition of the piano with your request for a quote.

 

Piano Moving

Distance and the number of stairs will determine the price of moving a piano. The mover we recommend specializes in pianos, and is bonded and insured. Please contact us with information about what you need.