Proudly serving MTSU with piano tuning for the recording study program!
Eric Michael Roberts, Master Piano Technician
Your piano may look clean on the outside but it carries years, even decades of dust and stuff inside!
I provide complete and affordable piano cleaning service in your home. Contact me for details.
This is what I found just under the keys of a normal looking upright piano….
Also, I polish and clean grand pianos including the soundboard! Get rid of that ugly dust!
Check out the new video series to help you learn about purchasing a great used piano. Be sure to watch these videos before you purchase that piano or take one for FREE out of your neighbors garage! This will save you time and money!
There is more to piano care than an occasional tuning. I am going to take you through a few of the important things that your piano need in order for it to play and sound wonderful.
I am going to describe some of the reasons that you are compelled to call a tuner and then explain what is going on inside your complex instrument…. all in simple terms.
First of all, a piano should be tuned at least 1 time per year and many manufactures suggest 2-4 times per year. You should have one technician that you trust and you should keep the tuning on a regular schedule. I offer a courtesty call at your request so that you don’t have to worry about keeping on track. I remind you when it is time to tune and keep detailed notes about your piano.
If it has been many years since your tuning or you can’t remember, you are most likely in need of a pitch raise to get the piano up to standard concert pitch and the more regular tunings your piano has, the better it will sound and more stable the piano will become!
This can be for many reasons. High humidity causes everything to swell and makes your keys stick. Then in the winter, the dry air dries it all out and they may stop sticking. So, I can “ease” your keys so that they are moving properly and keep them from sticking.
Often sticking keys are just a symptom of a larger problem. Your piano may need regulating (adjustment of the moving parts inside) If things are out of adjustment which happens over years of playing, I can make the proper adjustments to get your keys playing again.
Sometimes a piano needs lubricated! It plays slowly or feels sluggish. In this case, the many moving parts need to be lubricated to free up all the moving parts to work properly.
Regulation should be done every 4 years and will keep your piano playing correctly. Many people never take this step and the piano will continue to play worse as time goes on. The felt inside the piano mechanism will get hard and squished! It makes the piano play poorly. It just needs some attention from a Master Piano Technician.
Over time, the felt and leather pieces in the piano become brittle and compressed. I can help quiet your piano by working to lubricate and restore the felt and leather in your piano.
Heavy sluggish touch on a piano can be fixed by regulation and lubrication of the action. The action is the inner working mechanism of the piano keys.
The piano tone is highly affected by the hammers. The hammers are made from compressed felt. New pianos can sound dull and lifeless and older pianos can sound harsh! Voicing is the art of working on the hammers to optimize the tone of the piano. If you don’t like the tone of your piano, I can help you bring it up with more life or mellow it out if it is hurting your ears. The tone should be consistent from the top to the bottom. If it is not, you will not be in love with your piano. This is where the art of voicing comes to play.
Strings get old and can begin to sound tubby. When this happens, the only way to bring it back is to put on new bass strings! This can be expensive so I can talk you through the options. Many times it is better to purchase a newer piano.
An old piano comes with many challenges. It is hard to know if a sticking key is a simple adjustment or the signs of the need for a complete overhaul of the piano’s insides. Old pianos have some value to beginning students but often hinder musical growth and never play and sound like a good piano. If you have an older piano that possesses sentimental value, it can be played, repaired and fully restored but will only ever be as good as it once was! A poor old piano restored will be nothing more that a poor piano in restored condition.
Be cautious of picking up a FREE piano. A piano is never really free because you will have to move it, tune it and repair anything that is wrong. Often, a piano is offered for FREE because it has reached the end of its real musical life. It needs too many repairs to make it a good financial investment. Plus many old uprights have cracked bridges and old dead bass strings, old worn out hammers and more problems that I can list here.
I was sponsored into the MPT by my personal mentor, Jack Hamilton, in 2009 and finalized my induction into the Master Piano Technicians at the 2010 Convention at Myrtle Beach. 3 other techs were accepted this year.
I was also elected Web Master for the MPT to help them with their national sites and to help use modern web media to strengthen the orginization.
MPT is dedicated to piano technicians helping them network, train and grow to be the best in the industry.
Pictures and details about MPT can be found at our new facebook page
This Summer at the Master Piano Technicians of America yearly conventin in Myrtle Beach, SC I was elected web master for the organization. I will be working with them to create a great blog, facebook and updates to their web site. Our goal is to reach more technicians with modern media. Check out the sites here
Have your piano tuned as often as you feel necessary, but a minimum of twice a year is the rule of thumb.
Just remember: when you turn on the heat in the winter, and when you turn it off in spring, you’re about 2 weeks away from needing a tuning. These are the times of year when the humidity change starts to shrink or swell the wooden structure of the piano, and it starts to drift out of tune. So wait until the room your piano is in gets used to the climate change, then tune your piano!
WHAT THE MANUFACTURERS HAVE TO SAY:
Steinway & Sons
“…no matter how expertly a piano is tuned, atmospheric variations and the nature of the piano’s construction constantly conspire to bring it off pitch”
“…a piano should be tuned at least twice a year.”
” Complete piano service should include periodic regulation and voicing in addition to tuning.”
Baldwin Piano Company
” After the first year a piano should be tuned at least twice each year.”
Keep in mind that every piano is subject to one or more factors that will make it go out of tune, including:
– Humidity changes
– Temperature changes
– Stretching of strings
– Slipping tuning pins
– Hard use
How often you should tune your piano depends on its condition, the environment in which it is located, and the musical demands of the owner.
A piano used mainly as a furniture piece probably won’t “need” to be tuned more than once a year. A piano that is played regularly and is in good condition would be better off with 2 tunings per year, each time the seasonal humidity changes. A piano given a daily workout by a professional or serious student might need to be tuned more frequently, maybe 4 times a year or more. At this level of use, it’s really up to the individual and at what point the tuning starts to bother them.