PIANO TUNING - MAJOR AND MINOR REPAIRS


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FABPT (Tech), AEWVH
National Diploma with Credit
City & Guilds in Keyboard Technology
2 Longbridge, Ponthir, Newport, South Wales NP18 1GT
Telephone 01633 431574

Email: steve.pianotuner@googlemail.com




In 1985 as a mature partially sighted student, after 3 years training in the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford, I qualified with my National Diploma and City & Guilds in Piano Tuning, Repairs and piano refurbishing.

External people from both the Piano Tuning Associations and Piano Manufacturing Industries examined my qualifications. The course was very thorough and covered all aspects of both tuning and the repairing and general servicing of both upright and grand pianos.

The profession recognizes the quality of tuning from RNCB, to be of the highest standard, this enables me to tune for any individual or for the Concert platform.

While at Hereford I was privileged to be able to tune and repair on over 100 different makes and ages of pianos. The oldest instrument dated around 1850, to the very latest modern upright and grand made in the last 2 years.

On completion of my course I won the Kemble prize for tuning.

Since my training I have worked in West Wales, tuning in customerís homes, schools, colleges, theatres and concert venues. In adition I worked for a very up-market piano showrooms in Swansea called Coach House Pianos, and also Cranes Musical Instruments alsoin Swansea.

I am now living on the outskirts of Newport SouthEast Wales, and I am in the process ofbuilding up a business so I am always looking for new customers.

When I take over the tuning of a piano I will always try to bring the pitch of the instrument to A440hz, which is the correct level, commonly known as Concert Pitch.

Having tuned the piano I will keep in contact with my new customer and remind them when the next tuning is due. In addition I will value the piano for insurance purposes, also give free quotes on any repairs.

If required I can give references from long-standing customers, Coach House Pianos, Schools & Colleges and local music shops. There of course is also the Association of Blind Piano Tuners, of which I am a member and have been for the past 25 years, and have served on the Management Committee, where I have been honored as a Fellow of the Association.

I tune and repair pianos for schools, colleges and private homes, in the Langstone area. Most of my clients have their pianos tuned to concert pitch A440.

Some pianos, due to their age, cannot be tuned to A440. However, Ialways try to bring the piano up to pitch when possible. Pitch isvery important when learning the piano. Particularly for young children, the wrong pitch can put them off if the note they areplaying on their piano is a semitone flat compared to the one on their music teacher's piano. However, bringing the piano up to pitch takes more time and therefore costs more it can mean more than one visit to stabilise the piano .

Why maintain a piano?

The piano is a highly developed, complicated piece of equipment. It contains about 240 different lengths of highly tensioned wire. (Approx. 160lbs per note and a 15% increase in the bass giving you an overall strain on the frame of 21 tons approx.) These lengths of wire go to make up 85 to 88 notes spread across the musical range. Plus, for each note, there exists a mechanism, which in the case of an upright piano contains up to 14 different moving parts. In the case of a grand up to 22 per note.

Since the piano must be maintained at a specific tension to achieve a good musical sound, the matter of maintenance becomes an on-going process. Since a piano consists mainly of wood and iron, all of this is subject to movement. The movement of the wooden sound board, framework, cause the wires to change tension without prompting by the user. Thus, it becomes necessary to set up a minimal schedule of tuning of the instrument to ensure reliable and pleasant results. Of course, this schedule can't be, nor is it a hard and fast one. But, we can make recommendations and set out guidelines. You should evaluate your piano usage in terms of your own experience.

How often should I have my piano tuned?

For example, if you play the piano in Langstone several hours a day, and work to a performance standard, it is quite likely, that for your own piece of mind, and that of your listeners, you may need to have your instrument tuned frequently. This could be as often as once a week. But, experience can be a good guide. If you are a parent with a child in school who is learning to play the piano, routine maintenance becomes important. For, a student feels frustrated if clashing notes or poorly functioning and badly regulated action parts foils his or her attempts. We recommend for a family with a piano in general uses that the tuner visit no less than every 6 months. Often more frequent visits may be necessary this isn't out of the ordinary.

The piano is a highly developed, complicated piece of equipment. It contains approximately 240 different lengths of highly tensioned wire, with approximately 160 lbs. of pressure per string and a 15% increase in the bass. This produces an overall strain on the frame of about 21 tones. These lengths of wire go to make up 85 to 88 notes spread across the musical range. Each note has its own individual mechanism, the combined total of which in the case of an upright piano adds up to 14,000 moving parts. In the case of a grand the total reaches as high as 22,000 parts.

Since the piano must be maintained at a specific tension to achieve a good musical sound, the matter of maintenance becomes an on-going process. A piano consists mainly of wood and iron, and both materials are subject to movement. The movement of the wooden soundboard and the frame causes the wires to change tension without prompting by the user. Thus, it becomes necessary to set up a minimal schedule of tuning of the instrument to ensure reliable and pleasing results. This schedule isn't a hard and fast one, but we can make recommendations and set out guidelines. Once a year is the minimum for most pianos. Most piano makers recommend twice a year and some three times a year.

Humidity and Temperature have a big effect on pianos staying in tune more so than playing. Quite a lot of homes in the Lancashire area in the months of November to April tend to have a humidity range from 38% 40% and form April to November 40% to 65% and some as low as 20%. This swing makes the soundboard swell and shrink this up and down movement pull and loosens the piano strings putting the piano out of tune. Pianos that are in rooms with the humidity below 38% for several months are causing the piano long-term damage.

What do the Manufacturers say:

Kembles

Tuning and Regulation:

Pianos are delicate instrument: which need professional attention periodically. Basically there are two types of professional piano care: tuning and regulation. Tuning means correcting the pitch of every note by re- tightening the strings. Each piano string is normally stretched to a tension of about 90 kilograms (198.5 pounds), but eventually it will stretch further with use and lose some of its tension, causing the piano to lose its correct pitch. The strings need to be tuned generally twice a year to restore them to their proper tension.

Regulation involves the entire piano action, keyboard and pedal movements. Whether the piano will perform properly or not depends on how accurately the adjustment is made.

Tuning and regulation should be done by an expert. When your piano requires either one, ask your Kemble dealer or just call a specialist in the Langstone area. Your dealer can also advise you about the interval between adjustments for your piano under the circumstances in which it is used.

Your Kemble Piano must be regularly tuned by a qualified tuner or technician We recommend this is done at least twice a year.

Kemble & Co Ltd.

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