Pianos that are prized by their owners need to be tuned regularly. Domestic pianos need to be tuned at least once a year but more often if played regularly. In concert venues and for recitals the tuning is done just before the performance and occasionally even again during intermission! The longer the interval between tunings, the more time and effort it will take for a technician to pull it back to concert pitch. When a piano is only slightly out of tune, it loses its glowing tonal quality and it is only once it has been freshly tuned that one realizes how out of tune it was! Regular tuning promotes tuning stability. Pianos that are more than slightly out of tune tend to be unpleasant to play and listen to, to an extent that varies with the ear of the listener.
Tuning is also an opportunity for the tuner to dust the inside of the piano, and assess and report on the “wear and tear”.
Piano’s, like all mechanical things have a limited lifetime. The piano is a complex, high tensile, wood and steel creation, affected by most external factors. Factors like change in, or harshness of climate and extended periods of dryness or humidity will have an effect on the lifespan of your piano. Different parts within the piano have different lifetimes: for example, parts of the action and keys, will wear out where as the steel frame, soundboard and strings on a good quality instrument may never need attention. A good quality 80 year old instrument that has been well looked after is often worth reconditioning. Regular replacement of worn parts can therefore extend a piano’s lifetime — even indefinitely, provided that the piano’s structural support (i.e. the frame) remains sound.
Colloquially, “restoration” or “reconditioning implies more replacement work than mere “repair” or “maintenance”, and “rebuilding” implies yet more intensive work than restoration. However, there is no precise definition of these terms.
When considering the purchase of a piano it’s good to keep in mind that pianos need to be seen and touched to determine its quality and to get a good feel for it. Feel free to come around to our workshop to browse through our collection, alternatively fill in the form below and we’ll be sure to get back to you.