If you’re an amateur or professional musician, music teacher, or musical enthusiast, no matter what you play, you probably understand the importance of taking care of your instrument and keeping it in tune. Most wind and string instruments can be maintained and tuned relatively easily: by turning a string peg, pulling a brass slide, adjusting a knob or even using a simple electronic device, you can ensure that your instrument is in proper shape for practice or performance. Many people think of this when they think of tuning, and only consider the possibility of needing extended maintenance for their instrument when they find themselves needing a new part, or facing an accident that has damaged the instrument’s body.
However, when it comes to pianos, we have to rethink the way we understand the concepts of tuning and instrument maintenance. Any piano, whether it’s brand-new or a family heirloom, whether a priceless state-of-the-art specimen or a charming, character-filled older model, requires a much higher degree of care and regular maintenance than any other kind of instrument in order to keep its tune and its quality over the years. Neglecting to give your piano the attention it deserves can eventually cause it to lose its sound, playability and usefulness.
Part of the reason many of us don’t think to tune our pianos regularly may have to do with the way we understand other instruments work – but there is also, of course, the fact that the piano is an unfathomable beast to many of us. Due to the size, precision, complexity, and expense of pianos, especially grands and concert grands, these are instruments that should only be tuned, moved, and repaired by professionals who have extensive experience in the field. Many of us have taken a look inside a piano and found ourselves perplexed by the complicated, intricate system of wires and hammers therein; it’s only natural that we would elect not to deal with the repair of these instruments until the situation becomes critical. But what’s natural isn’t always what’s best, and it’s still the case that having your piano tuned and maintained by professionals on a regular basis is the best way to ensure your piano avoids damage or even ruin as time goes on.
Piano tuning is a process that can take a long time and which has to be done with the proper tools. If you find that your piano is starting to sound a little strange in its tones, or if one or more of its keys is sounding off-pitch, that usually means it’s time to call a professional for a tuning. You should never attempt to adjust the key strings inside by yourself. More often than not, you will not have the proper reading instruments or precise pitch recognition needed to return the key to its normal sound, not to mention the fact that neglecting to turn the string to its proper tension level could cause it to wear out and break quicker. Many people mistakenly attempt to use household wrenches or ratchets to turn the string, when in reality special equipment and tools are required to perform this task. Only an experienced piano repair professional who has the correct tools and pitch recognition should be trusted handle this process.
Needless to say, if you’re planning a move or relocation, you will need a professional to hlp you with this task as well. Piano moving requires a carefully planned process in order to minimize the bumps and vibrations that can damage your piano’s delicate interior, as well as reducing the strain that can be placed on you or your moving crew due to its size. It’s important that pianos be placed in padded and protected casings and vehicles designed just for their transport for the moving process; professionals will have specialized moving and transportation methods. Hiring a professional team to move your piano may cost you a little extra money in the short term, but it pays for itself in the long run.
If you end up needing repairs or replacements of strings, hammers, pedals, and other mechanisms, piano repair professionals can get the job done for you. Piano repair professionals will usually have the parts on hand so you don’t have to go out and order expensive replacement parts yourself. Never try to replace a string, hammer, or pedal yourself, even if the problem appears to be minor – your attempts could end up doing the piano more harm than good. If you’re wondering if your piano might need some extra attention, stop by The Urban Piano in Toronto or a local piano repair place in your area to see what they can do for you. Trust an experienced professional to repair, tune and maintain your piano – you’ll be doing yourself and your instrument a favour.