Pianos are surprisingly hearty objects, considering the thousands of precise moving parts that they contain. Pianos can provide you and your family with enjoyment and beautiful music for many years with only a moderate amount of attention. Unfortunately, they often receive virtually no consideration when it comes to care and maintenance. Given the cost to repair or replace one of these beauties, I found it important to review some high points of proper piano care. Read more
Here are some quotes and anecdotes that I’ve found. I will start with one of my own. Our Gospel singing group was scheduled to play at a fair put on by a local monastery in the San Gabriel mountains of California. This was back before everyone had digital pianos to schlep around. One of the organizers arranged to have his personal piano brought in but he wasn’t sure when it had last been tuned. Although I am not a piano tuner I brought my electric tuner and tuning hammer along just in case it needed a little “fluffing”. We had several other instrument that had to play in tune with the piano. I also got there a bit early. You can imagine that when the piano finally arrived on stage it was not just out of tune, it was a total horrific disaster. It probably had not been tuned since it had been purchased decades before. I went to work the best I could but I only had time to tune the middle three or four octaves. Another pianist and I split duties and I had to show her the extent of where we could play. We got through the concert somehow without straying too many times into “No man’s land”.
That may seem like a silly question but you would be surprised at how many people, even skilled piano players, have absolutely no idea what goes on inside the big wooden box or even where the design originally came from. I’d like to give you a quick thumbnail sketch of what a piano is, a smidge of its history and how it works. I will try to keep exotic nomenclature to a minimum (backcheck, key bushing, agraffe, sostenudo, etc.).
Safeguard the investment you’ve made in a fine piano by taking the following steps:
- When you’re not playing your piano, it is best to close the fallboard and protect it with a slipcover.
- When cleaning your piano, take care to only use a dampened, soft cotton cloth or soft brush to wipe the surface.
- Before playing the piano, wash your hands. Hand oils may contain acids that are harmful to piano surfaces. Clean the keyboard regularly, wipe along the direction of the keys.
- If stains occur, use mild soap and water with a soft cloth. Be sure to wring out excess water before cleaning.
- It will be necessary from time to time to clean the inside of your piano. This should only be done by a qualified tuner technician. If you need help finding a technician, please contact Portland Piano Company’s technical service department and they will be happy to help you find a local tuner technician.
- If you’re not planning to play your piano for long periods of time, cover it. Even if you’re not playing your piano, to protect your investment, you will still need to tune it once or twice a year depending on location and climatic conditions.
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