I don’t discourage DIY piano work. In fact, I think it’s a great thing for piano owners to learn more about their instrument and even do repairs when they feel comfortable doing it. However, there are some potential pitfalls and it pays to be aware of them in advance. One of the most common accidents when working on a grand piano: pulling the action out without keeping a close eye on the hammers, and snapping off a hammer that was sticking up too high. The previous owner of this piano had done all the work on it himself, and while most of it was decent work, there were three different hammers that had been broken off in this way. They were all repaired, but unfortunately the repairs were causing other problems since they, as well, were each somewhat experimental. So, by all means, learn more about your piano and try… Read More
Cleaning the soundboard and plate of a grand piano can make a huge cosmetic difference! It won’t make the piano look new again (at least, don’t count on it), but if you have a grand piano and like to leave the lid open, make sure you stay on top of cleaning. General purpose, non-abrasive cleaners are fine for the metal plate. The soundboard is a little trickier to clean if you don’t have special equipment to get under the strings, so you may want to talk to your technician about that at your annual appointment. This piano was nearly a century old, and it might have been that long since it was cleaned. There was about an eighth of an inch of dust on the soundboard!
They’re probably better known for cars than pianos (and rightly so), but my car and this piano have the same roots! Hyundai was a huge conglomerate in South Korea that broke apart in 2003. Hyundai Motor continues to make and ship cars all over the world, but Hyundai Music, a division of Hyundai Development Company, continues to manufacturer and distribute pianos all over the world! Like many large companies, Hyundai’s pianos are manufactured under a variety of brand names. On this particular piano, the “Aeolian” name was used and this Hyundai logo was visible only on the plate. On some other models, the Hyundai name may not appear at all.
This is what your piano keys are resting on (viewed from the side). Sometimes you may not want to see it… But a deep cleaning is part of every good regulation job. This piano felt, looked, and sounded like a different instrument after a thorough cleaning and regulation!
One last fascinating piece of history from the new Steinway showroom in Manhattan: this was Henry Steinway’s work desk from the 1800’s when he started making his first pianos. Like a lot of tools piano technicians use, it was completely handmade. And it has held up pretty well!
For every single key in a piano, there are dozens of parts working behind the scenes to produce the sound. Translate that to several thousand parts in a piano action, and you have a good reminder that tuning is not the only maintenance pianos need! The adjustment of the mechanical workings of the action is referred to as regulation. Regulation, not tuning, is what determines the “feel” of the piano – heavy, light, bouncy, stiff, fast, slow, etc. Often, your piano playing experience may be improved dramatically by some quality action regulation. If there are a number of issues, this can be a more involved job and may be scheduled as a separate appointment from your tuning. However, good piano technicians often will perform some limited regulation as part of a regular tuning appointment, if time allows, or may recommend some additional work that can be performed on the spot.… Read More
1969 Steinway & Sons model M (5’7″) Henry Steinway, a German immigrant, founded the Steinway company in 1853. It quickly became one of the leading piano manufacturers, and for the past century Steinway pianos have been the instrument of choice for a majority of performing artists. All Steinway instruments are still manufactured by hand in one of two factories: New York City (supplying North and South America) and Hamburg, Germany (supplying the rest of the world).
A baby grand piano, gutted and waiting for a thorough cleaning and re-stringing. What you see is the soundboard, with the long bridge and bass bridge still attached. The dampers are removed and lying in the keybed. The action and key frame is in the background, and the plate with attached pinblock is leaning against the wall to the left. Don’t try this at home! Like all the pictures we post, this is a South Jersey Piano Service job. Feel free to contact us if you’d like more information or an estimate.
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