A brand new piano is expected to last for 50 years, but any instrument needs regular maintenance to ensure it remains in a playable condition. Minor repairs are sometimes required, but generally it is tuning that presents the biggest problem over time.
Tuning pianos involves making slight adjustments to the tensions of each string, so that their tones align properly and tune and it’s a job which takes experience and talent to do well. Here at The Piano Shop Bath we recommend you have your piano tuned every six months, although some older instruments may need more regular tuning as the tuning pins gradually loosen. Environmental factors can also have a big impact on acoustic instruments, particularly temperature and humidity.
Pianos should ideally be kept in rooms with a constant temperature of between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius. As heat can cause wood to compress, this will loosen the strings and cause the piano to go flat in the process. Humidity also plays a big role; low humidity can cause wood compression, whereas in high humidity the soundboard swells, stretching the strings to produce a higher pitch.
Acoustic pianos are generally tuned to the A440 pitch standard, which was developed during the early 1900’s. Trained technicians like our piano tuners in Bristol and Bath will usually tune to this standard, unless an alternative is required to suit your playing style. A piano tuner will use a tuning hammer/lever with a tuning fork or an electronic tuner to service your piano. The tuning hammer is used to turn tuning pins which tighten or loosen the strings, adjusting the pitch in the process. Mutes are often used to isolate individual strings, while a felt strip is often inserted to mute the two outer strings of each note, and isolate the centre string.
The Piano Shop Bath’s technicians will often use a tuning fork to tune the first note, generally the A4. Our Bath and Bristol piano tuners will then use a series of checks and comparisons to tune the ‘temperament octave’, a middle octave on the piano which then acts as a reference point for tuning the rest of the piano. If an electronic tuning device is available, then each individual note can be tuned separately without the need for comparing or referencing other notes and octaves.
Our piano tuners tune pianos in Bristol, Bath and across the entire South West, visiting your home at a time that is most convenient for you. We will complete what would usually be a time-consuming and difficult task both quickly and efficiently, so we won’t disrupt your day to day activities and you can get back to playing as soon as possible. With decades of experience in the maintenance and rebuilding of pianos, we will complete the tuning to the best possible standard, so your piano will sound its best and stay in tune, even with regular playing. We can also advise you on the general maintenance and upkeep of your piano.
Our piano tuners in Bristol and Bath are free to make visits on a daily basis, so if your piano is due a tuning, get in touch today!