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The piano is a beautiful and very complex musical instrument, and needs sensitive and constant care in order to perform at its best. To ensure this, a piano should be tuned at least once per year, but it is recommended that a bi-annual tuning should be carried out. If the piano is played frequently, and especially by more than one pianist, it is preferable to have the piano tuned on a more regular basis. It is recommended that brand new pianos be tuned up to four times in the first year. Whether it is a grand, baby-grand or upright piano, the same skills are required to maintain its perfect tone. As a piano is such a delicate and fine instrument, it should be delivered and installed by a professional installation specialist, who will ensure that it is performing perfectly once it is in place.
A piano tuner is a total professional, and his training or apprenticeship may take approximately five years to complete. Reputable and professional piano tuners are part of the South African Association of Professional Piano Tuners (SAAPPT). Piano tuners do not have to be musicians themselves, as their job involves adjustments to the tuning pins and string tension on the piano to ensure that the intervals are musically correct and in tune.
Piano tuning alone does not involve the mechanical servicing and lubrication of the steel wire and bass string mechanism of a piano, which depends on the skills of an experienced service technician to maintain perfect mechanical performance. A piano does not need to be serviced annually, but it is to be expected that wear and tear will affect the tone and smoothness of the key mechanism over the years, and this is why servicing is required. As with all wooden articles, extreme weather changes will ultimately affect the wooden, felt and metal parts of the instrument, especially if the piano is exposed to very humid,
damp or dry conditions on a long-term basis, which will affect the pitch stability and longevity of the piano.The outer casing of the piano will also succumb to age and wear, and will deteriorate over the years, particularly if the instrument is relocated often or placed in an environment where it may be exposed to repeated knocks which will damage the casing. It may be necessary to undertake only minor repairs to the instrument’s mechanism or to have the piano completely restored, depending on the problems and condition of the piano. A professional piano tuner may undertake tuning and repairs to, or replacement of, the components of the actual mechanism itself, whilst repairs to the outer cabinet may be undertaken by specialist restorers. In some instances, the piano tuner will not involve himself in the repairs to or replacement of any of the piano mechanisms, and this is where an appropriate professional repair service will be required.
Pianos are a luxury and grand pianos, in particular, require a lot of space due to their unique design and size and in order to achieve the best sound acoustics. Living spaces are getting smaller all the time, so pianos are not often seen in homes these days and getting hold of word of mouth referrals is not an easy task. Piano tuner, installation and repair specialists may be found through enquiries at music shops, schools, music academies and universities. They may advertise in specialist magazines and catalogues and may also be found through the Yellow Pages. More and more often, they are making their presence known through online websites and search engines. Uptasker is an ideal online medium for finding the right specialist for your needs, as on this site you will find their geographical listings, online ratings and customer reviews, as well as contact information and links to their websites, if available. You may be able to request and compare quotes, free of charge, from different specialists in your area, together with their client testimonials.
One tends to forget that a piano which is able to produce so much beauty and majesty of sound is a mechanical construction, and must be carefully and regularly tuned and serviced. A piano is so much more than its playing keys, being composed of wood, steel, metal, felt, cloth and leather, all of which wear naturally over time. As a piano is a large investment and brings much joy, it must be maintained in top condition to achieve best performance and tone. Only employ experienced and highly reputable professional service specialists to keep it in beautiful condition - inside and out - for many years. For more tips, see our piano tuning, installation and repair specialists’ articles.