Over time the mechanical action in a piano will begin to decline through being played and through the effects that changes in humidity and temperature can have on the wood, felt, leather and cloth parts of a piano. The combined effects of this wear and tear result in a piano that feels uneven, is unresponsive to subtle changes in the dynamics of the player and generally lacks lustre in its tone and precision in its playing. Through the process known as “regulation”, a piano can be brought back to its original playability, tonal quality and factory specifications.
Depending on the condition of the piano, the regulation process can take anywhere from a few hours to several days. Many, and sometimes all, of the regulation adjustments can be performed on site, although in some cases it is more cost effective and convenient to remove parts of a piano action and perform regulation adjustments in the technician’s workshop.
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If your piano has been neglected for many years it is very likely that your piano will be considerably flat in pitch. A piano that has gone un-tuned for a long period of time may be a semitone or more below concert pitch. Concert pitch is the agreed upon worldwide standard of tuning instruments where the note “A” above middle “C” has the frequency of 440 Hz and the other notes are tuned relative to A440. Your piano may even have been previously “tuned” by a tuner to a lower pitch in order to avoid the extra work required to raise the pitch back to concert pitch. Sometimes structural instabilities in the piano can make it impossible to return the instrument back to concert pitch but often this is not the case. A piano tuned below concert pitch will lack clarity and brightness. A flat piano cannot accompany other properly tuned instruments and will hinder vocalists in their efforts to learn to sing at proper pitch.
During a tuning session, if your piano is structurally stable and the strings are not too rusty, your piano can be returned to concert pitch. This will require what is known as a “double tuning” or a “pitch correction” which can usually be achieved in one visit. The end result will be a much better sounding instrument and one that will enhance your musical experience on many levels.
Common Annoying Noises In Your Piano
From time to time your piano may develop squeaks, rattles or buzzing noises. Piano technicians can employ the use of a variety of lubricants to eliminate squeaking and sticking parts in your piano. Rattles or buzzing noises are sometimes caused by foreign objects that have fallen onto the strings or the soundboard. Other times these noises are caused by various pieces of hardware such as screws, nuts and bolts that need to be tightened, especially during the dry winter months. Occasionally buzzing noises are caused by more serious problems such as a cracked soundboard or a bass string whose brass windings have become broken. While many squeaks, buzzes and rattles can be easily fixed at no extra cost while the piano is being tuned, noises caused by more serious problems could require extensive repair.