Know your humidity levels!

Know your humidity levels!

Did you know that pianos are very sensitive to humidity changes? The most vulnerable parts of a piano are the soundboard, bridges, and pinblock. Excessive dryness can cause wood to shrink or become brittle, which can cause cracks and major tuning stability problems. Excessive moisture can cause swelling and warping, creating tuning problems as well. Moisture, particularly in the summer months, is often also the culprit for stuck keys and action sluggishness.Relative humidity is measured with a hygrometer, or with a simple humidity monitor like this one. The optimal range for pianos (as well as other musical instruments made of wood) is 40-60%. It’s a little damp in the room right now for this piano!You can pick up a simple humidity monitor for $10-15 that should typically be accurate within +/- 5%. If you find that the area around your piano tends to have humidity levels well above 60% or… Read More

Piano strings – how many are there?

Piano strings – how many are there?

A standard piano has 88 keys, but well over 200 strings. Typically the lowest octave or so consists of single-string notes, or monochords. The next section, usually ending somewhere in the octave below middle C, consists of two-string notes: bichords. All monochords and bichords are wound strings, meaning they have a steel core but have one or two layers of copper winding on top which increase the size of the string and yield a lower pitch. The rest of the piano consists of three plain-wire strings for each note.And that is part of why it takes a while to tune a piano. Not to mention re-stringing one!

Know your piano warranty

Know your piano warranty

This is a broken connector elbow for the pedal mechanism in an upright piano that was less than 5 years old. Many people do not realize that repairs such as this are almost always covered by warranty, and for at least 10 years (sometimes longer). Most manufacturers will even cover the cost of the service call for a technician to come out and replace the part. If you own a piano that is less than 25 years old, even if you’re not the original owner, look up warranty information and know what’s covered! You might be pleasantly surprised, particularly when something breaks or goes wrong that you don’t have the cash on hand to fix. If you have any questions about repairs on your piano, warranty or not, feel free to contact me.

Soundboard Cracks Demystified

Soundboard Cracks Demystified

This is an example of a significant crack in the soundboard of a small baby grand piano. I am asked often about soundboard cracks, and often by people that have heard it’s a “death sentence” for the piano, or that it means the piano “can’t be tuned.” Neither is necessarily true at all. While soundboard cracks are obviously undesirable, and in some cases can cause serious problems, they are quite common in old pianos and they are usually repairable. Depending on the nature of the crack, it may not even need any immediate intervention, but simply analysis and monitoring. Soundboard cracks are generally most harmful when they cause the soundboard to separate from the ribs which stabilize the soundboard and give it the appropriate crown. (The ribs are approximately 1-inch wide tapered wood beams that can be seen running diagonally on the back of an upright, or underneath a grand.)… Read More

South Jersey Piano Service

South Jersey Piano Service

It is my pleasure to service pianos in homes, churches, and schools throughout South Jersey. I live near Woodstown, and work regularly in Salem, Gloucester and Cumberland counties. Visit the Services & Rates page to see current pricing for tuning and other standard work.  Please also feel free to call or email if you have questions or would like to set up an appointment. Contact information can be found at the bottom of our site, or if you prefer, you can submit your inquiry through the Contact page and I will get back to you promptly. I am a Registered Piano Technician (RPT) with the Piano Technicians Guild, and I am also a certified installer of Dampp-Chaser® humidity control systems.  For more information or to request a quote, visit the Humidity Control page. Thank you, and I look forward to working on your piano!