Sunday, November 15, 2015

A piano in a piano room in a basement of a dorm at BYU-I containing a vent to heat the basement experienced excessive wear and tear beyond the wear and tear of playing the instrument. The following are some problems that occurred because temperature and relative humidity fluctuate in this piano room. 

The above picture is of a loose flange pin. It was coming out the side and the hammer reacted as if the flange was broken. This resulted from the brass piano hammer butt plate being loose which allowed the flange pin to slide out of position. This brass butt plate came loose from the flange wood swelling and contracting. Eventually, the brass butt plate came loose and the hammer develops enough play to hit the two adjacent hammers. This problem is preventable if the relative humidity remains around 45%.

This is a picture of the hammer butt felt disintegrating and wearing down to the wood. This hammer clicks when the mechanism resets because of the wood on wood contact. Below is what the part looks like when it is brand new. You can see there is a soft felt square that should be there. This felt can be replaced and should be.

Here is another hammer with a loose flange pin. It is able to move enough to rub against both hammers on either side.

Here is another look at this loose flange pin. You can see how much play there is that allows the hammers to move side to side. 

The sustain pedal was not hooked up. It normally has felt and a plastic sleeve between the dowel and trap work (the metal part which is connected from the pedal to the dowel which is connected to the dampers). 

This is an up close picture of how someone tried to fix the sustain pedal. They jammed two (what appears to be circuit leads) in the top of the dowel where a screw or sturdy pin resides. I pulled these wires and replaced them with a screw and two front felt punchings. The piano's sustain pedal now works. However, it has an awful creaking sound when used. The creaking appears to be from the metal trap lever spring that is connected to the cabinet of the piano. It appears the entire cabinet creaks under the stress of this lever spring. Even lifting the piano with my knee causes too much movement in the cabinet. Another issue is the Bb above middle C is the resonant frequency of the cabinet rattling. It was very difficult to tune because of these sympathetic vibrations. This problem is what happens when glue holding the cabinet together begins to fail. Keeping the wood around the cabinet at a relatively constant temperature and 45% humidity will stop this type of failure from occurring.

The above picture shows the piano keys not being straight nor level. Another temperature and humidity problem which is preventable. These keys need to be straightened and leveled but will not keep their original tolerances. The damage is already done. These keys could also use a replacement of the key bushing cloth. 

These are pictures of the damper felt between the damper and wood dowel damper block that has disintegrated and needs to be replaced. I fixed the worst one seen here but there are several more where the felt is ripping in half. This felt is breaking down because relatively constant temperature and humidity are not maintained around this piano. 

I tried to take a picture from an angle that would capture this observation, the lower pins in the bass section are pulling out of the pinblock and need to be reset at their original height.

There are three common ways to prevent these problems from occurring:
  1. Full Building temperature and humidity control. This solution is expensive and not as effective as controlling the relative humidity directly around or in the piano.
  2. Room temperature and humidity control. This solution is less expensive than full building control but is noisy and not as effective as controlling relative humidity around or inside the piano.
  3. Controlling temperature and humidity directly around or inside the piano. This is the easiest, least expensive, and most effective way to control temperature and relative humidity  in or around a piano.
Wood and steel all expand and contract with changes in temperature and relative humidity. The problems outlined above with the cabinet, felt, hammers, key action, key levels and alike is what happens to a piano when temperature and relative humidity are not controlled. The reason I became a certified installer of Dampp-Chaser Piano Life Saver systems is to have a solution to the above problems. 

Keeping the temperature and relative humidity at the soundboard is needed for the life of a piano. Even if a new piano is purchased, the temperature and humidity control of the piano needs to be addressed or a new piano will show this type of stress, wear, and tear.

I have not yet found a piano that couldn't benefit from the installation of a Piano Life Saver system. All the above repairs need to happen, but if the relative humidity is not addressed, the same problems will reoccur in the future and could result in a very expensive piano restoration or replacement. If temperature and relative humidity issues are not addressed...the piano will have the same problems again.

Installation of a Piano Life Saver System moves forward as follows:

1. Payment for the Piano Life Saver and shipping needs to be paid up front. It will take about a week to get the Piano Life Saver.
2. After it arrives, we come and install it into your piano.
3. Then, we need to wait 3 to 4 weeks for the piano to acclimate.
4. Piano repairs are performed.
5. The piano is tuned.

Installing a Piano Life Saver System is less expensive than purchasing a new piano and having the same problems but don't take my word for it...Piano Life Saver is recommended by manufacturers including: Baldwin, Beckstein, Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Fazioli, Hailun, Kawai, Mason & Hamlin, Pearl River Piano, Petrof, Sauter, Schimmel, Seiler, Steingräber, and Yamaha.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Repair or buy a new piano after cross country moving fiasco?

Here is a picture of a piano moved from New Hampshire to Rexburg via a month stay in a hot humid storage warehouse until enough pallets accumulated before furniture and other possessions could be moved to Rexburg.

Yes...wood, plastic, steel, felt, paper, leather, glues, and alike, expand and contract at different rates. As seen in the above picture they don't automatically go back into place once removed from a harsh environment for pianos. Below is a pic of the piano repair after piano key squaring, spacing and leveling, and regulating lost motion, key dip, after touch, let off, back checks, and rubbing hammers.

To extend the enjoyment and life of your piano by keeping your piano at an ideal temperature and humidity, we recommend installing the Piano Life Saver System from Dampp-Chaser**. Click on the pic below for more information.

**Piano Tuning & Repair Idaho Falls, Rexburg, Blackfoot is a Piano Life Saver Certified Installer. 

Piano Tuning & Repair Idaho Falls, Rexburg, Blackfoot is a Piano Life Saver Certified Installer.

KEYWORDS: Piano Tuning Idaho Falls, Piano Tuning Rexburg, Piano Tuning Blackfoot, Piano Repair Idaho Falls, Piano Repair Rexburg, Piano Repair Blackfoot

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Why My Piano Won't Hold A Tune?

Piano Not Holding A Tune?

"Why won't my piano hold a tune?" is a very common question. Let's explore a few answers concerning workmanship, age, strings, tuning pins, pinblock, weather, and skill of piano technician.

Tuning Pins and Pinblock

Steinway Pinblock Piano Tuning & Repair Idaho Falls, Rexburg, Blackfoot.
Steinway Pinblock
As pianos age, the tuning pins can bend, they expand and contract at a different rate than the pinblock and therefore can begin to lift up out of the pinblock. Pinblocks can lose the friction which holds the tuning pin in place. If you have a grand piano, tuning pins and pinblocks can be treated to increase friction. Upright pianos need to be tipped over on their back to be treated. If this does not work tuning pins can be replaced with ones which have a larger diameter. One other solution is to control the temperature and humidity with a Piano Life Saver System. However, if the pinblock is cracked, an expensive restoration of the pinblock is needed before your piano will hold a tune.

Weather and Humidity

Temperature and humidity is a large factor affecting the health of a piano. Since woods, steel, screws, glues, plastics, sound boards, frames, pinblocks, felt, leather, piano action, hammers, and tuning pins all expand and contract at different rates, your piano literally is ripping itself apart with temperature and humidity changes.  High humidity causes steel to rust. If you are in a high humidity area, you will need a dehumidifier inside your piano so the steel parts do not rust. There are products on the market that will keep your temperature and humidity stable. One such product is Piano Life Saver. They have never found a location who couldn't benefit from their product. To protect your investment and enjoy consistent pitch and tone between tunings...consider installing one of their products into your piano.

Age and Quality of Strings

Another factor is the age and quality of your strings. Not all strings are created equal. We prefer to use custom Steinway quality string when repairing or restoring a piano. Even with this quality of string, we have seen this new string 100% (or a full note) out of tune after 30 days. Can you imagine having a new piano with 240 new strings? Some companies like Steinway, tune their pianos every month for a year before releasing it off their manufacturing floor for sale. However, some manufacturers do not do this to their pianos and will need at least 4 tunings over a year to two years before a piano will hold its tune. If you are purchasing an acoustic piano, allow a piano servicing budget to keep your piano in top shape. 

Piano Technician 

Piano Technicians are all different. Unfortunately, some are so pressed for time, they compromise on the quality of their work. For example, a piano will fall out of tune faster if it is tuned flat to sharp and not sharp to flat. Tuning a piano goes faster tuning flat to sharp...the "in tune" spot is easier to find flat to sharp. However, the tension between the bridge and tuning pin needs to be in balance with the rest of the string or the string will quickly go out of tune. Find a quality piano technician you like and keep them.

KEYWORDS: Piano Tuning Idaho Falls, Piano Tuning Rexburg, Piano Tuning Blackfoot, Piano Repair Idaho Falls, Piano Repair Rexburg, Piano Repair Blackfoot

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Why Does My Piano Need a Pitch Raise?

Pitch Raising (or Lowering)

It's a very high probability if your piano has suffered some neglect and hasn't been tuned in a while, your piano will need a pitch raise before fine tuning can begin. A piano that is 5-10% or greater out
of tune is a little like a water bed...when you push down on one corner, the corner on the other side pops up. With around 15 tons of pressure internally, all the piano strings need to be very close to in tune before final tuning can begin because the intense pressure will move around while tightening or loosening strings. Piano tuning can actually pull the other piano strings out of tune if a pitch raise is not performed, which leads to tuning the piano over and over and over again until the whole piano is close enough to being in tune start final tuning. A pitch raise will save time by bringing this pressure into balance so final tuning can begin. According to Inventronics, Inc:
"...Pulling up adjacent strings affects the pitch of the strings that have already tuned. The settling process on a string is not complete until another octave or so has been tuned. Aural unison tuners should be aware that pulling in two outside strings to the tuned center string will affect the pitch of the center string. The amount is roughly equal to one-fifth of the net pitch change. As a result, when there is more than a few cents pitch change involved, tuning unisons aurally can actually leave them out of tune in the end! To avoid getting into this situation, give the piano a quick pitch raising (or lowering) before trying to do a fine tuning. If the piano is more than five to ten cents flat, it will actually save time to do a quick pitch raise before attempting to fine-tune the piano."
This quote describes how we tune most of the piano. We tune one string to our electronic tuner then tune the other two strings or other string by ear. If the piano is too far out of tune, the resulting string pitch will be out of tune with respect to the rest of the piano.

New pianos also need a pitch raise. New pianos need 4 piano tunings over a one to

two year period of time once they leave the factory before they will hold a tune. One exception to this statement is Steinway pianos. Steinway will tune their pianos every month over a year period of time before selling their pianos because they understand what is needed for all of the parts of a new piano to settle. Pianos need time for the wood, harp, screws, tuning pins, pin block, strings, and bridge to settle before the piano will hold a tune. Recently, I changed out a broken string for a new string. Only 30 days later, it was 100% (or a full note value) out of tune. Imagine having a new piano with all new strings. A new piano will need pitch raises until it will hold a tune.

KEYWORDS: Piano Tuning Idaho Falls, Piano Tuning Rexburg, Piano Tuning Blackfoot, Piano Repair Idaho Falls, Piano Repair Rexburg, Piano Repair Blackfoot

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How To Store A Piano In Rexburg?

Piano Storage in Rexburg

A BYU-I student called asking about her baby grand piano and if it would be OK to put it in storage for the next year and a half. I reminded her that materials such as steel, woods, and plastic expand at different rates and the piano will literally rip itself apart from the extreme temperatures in Rexburg.

Keys fracture, sound boards split, pin blocks fracture, keys stick, flanges crack. The extra wear and tear is not worth it on your piano. Bottom line...find another option where it will be exposed to relatively constant room temperature and humidity. Let a friend or a dorm borrow it for a year or sell it but please, for the sake of your piano and the investment you have made in your piano, do not expose it to the extreme temperatures in a storage locker!

KEYWORDS: Piano Tuning Idaho Falls, Piano Tuning Rexburg, Piano Tuning Blackfoot, Piano Repair Idaho Falls, Piano Repair Rexburg, Piano Repair Blackfoot

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

How Often Should I Tune My Piano?

How often should I tune my piano is a common question at Piano Tuning & Repair | Idaho Falls, Rexburg, Blackfoot. Some concert halls have their piano tuned once a week. I understand from a reliable source Vladamir Horowitz had his piano tuned once a month (I like mine tuned once a month).
For the most part, it depends on how sensitive you are to your piano being almost in tune. As a minimum, you should tune your piano at least once a year. Tuning your piano twice a year is better. If you live where you experience 4 seasons, once each season would be more ideal since weather, humidity, temperature differences plays a part in a piano holding a tune. To keep your piano at an ideal temperature and humidity, we recommend installing the piano life saver from Dampp-Chaser. If your piano is brand new, it is recommended your piano be tuned 4 times the first year. Make sure to have a trained piano technician tune and maintain your piano to protect your investment and enjoyment of your piano.

KEYWORDS: Piano Tuning Idaho Falls, Piano Tuning Rexburg, Piano Tuning Blackfoot, Piano Repair Idaho Falls, Piano Repair Rexburg, Piano Repair Blackfoot

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Piano Tuning & Repair | Rexburg, Idaho Falls, Blackfoot

Piano Tuning & Repair — Idaho Falls, Rexburg, Blackfoot offers high quality piano tuning and repair services to Idaho Falls, Rexburg, Blackfoot, and the surrounding area including: Ammon, Iona, Ucon, Rigby, Rexburg, Shelley, Menan, Sugar City, Thornton, Lewisville, St. Anthony, and Jackson Hole Wyoming (because it is such a beautiful drive).

Call (208) 932-3541 to schedule an appointment with one of our piano experts. We strive to accommodate your schedule and/or emergency. We look forward to meeting you and serving your piano tuning, repair, and/or restoration needs.

KEYWORDS: Piano Tuning Idaho Falls, Piano Tuning Rexburg, Piano Tuning Blackfoot, Piano Repair Idaho Falls, Piano Repair Rexburg, Piano Repair Blackfoot