The Care and Feeding of Your Piano
Skilled service is economy - neglect is costly.
Keep your piano in tune! It was structurally designed to be tuned to the international pitch standard of A-440. If you wait until your piano sounds bad to have it tuned, you have no doubt waited too long. That is akin to waiting until your car is “running bad” to have the oil changed! Regular maintenance is the key. Everything that holds the piano at pitch is made of wood, and seasonal changes in relative humidity and temperature are what cause a piano to go “out of tune” whether it is being played regularly or not. If a piano has a lapse in service a pitch raise[s] - at additional cost - will be necessary. Follow up tuning shortly thereafter will be important before the piano can be considered somewhat stable at pitch. Bringing a neglected piano back to life can be a project. Further, pianos allowed to dip below pitch run the risk of piano strings breaking during the process of restoring the instrument’s pitch – another reason to keep your piano maintained!
Try to maintain a fairly consistent temperature and humidity in the room where your piano is placed.
It's important to keep your piano away from heating, air conditioning or air return vents, fireplaces, frequently opened windows, outside doors, or direct sunlight. These factors can cause dramatic swings in relative humidity and temperature. Changes in your piano’s environment impact the instrument’s ability to be stable and hold its tune, so the best plan is to make sure the instrument’s environment is as consistent as possible – it is important to realize that piano tunings do not come with guarantees like a repair on a home appliance, for example, because your technician has no control over the piano’s environment after it has been brought to pitch. Where desert dryness or coastal humidity exist, a humidity control system, made especially for the piano called a Piano-life Saver is a wise investment. These systems help your piano resist these changes. Tailored string covers are strongly recommended for grand pianos in coastal regions where sea breezes can quickly have a corrosive effect on piano strings. These covers also keep dust from gathering inside the piano and keep the strings looking new.
Pianos are mechanical. In fact there are more moving parts in your piano than your car! The piano action needs occasional maintenance, called regulation, to ensure quick repetition and consistent touch. Hammers also need care, or voicing, to prevent your piano from growing harsh or glassy sounding. Do consult with your technician about things that can be done to ensure your piano’s touch and tone are the best they can be.
Oil and wax-based furniture polishes should not be used on the mass majority of piano finishes because they may deteriorate lacquers or resins used in making that “mirror like finish” or they may leave a cloudy film that is later difficult to remove. Products that could contain ammonia should also be avoided due to the damage they may cause over time. Allegro Piano Service recommends the Cory line of piano care products to keep that case shiny and keys clean.
Use only a professional piano mover to move your piano.
You will avoid injury to yourself and damage to your instrument and home. Never store your piano in a garage or other storage space where the instrument is exposed to extreme changes in temperature and humidity.
For the new piano more frequent tunings are a must as the piano is “broken in.”
More frequent tunings are a must for the new piano to overcome string stretching and settling. Piano manufacturers strongly recommend that the new piano be tuned three to four times its first year.
Play your piano regularly.
The axis of a piano’s action consists of felt bushings that can become sluggish if they remain still. Regular play can keep rodents and insects from taking up residence in your instrument too. They dislike the vibrations! Another disadvantage to idle pianos, assuming they also suffer a service lapse, is that a detrimental condition or environment can't be identified, and an escalating problem can result in damage that might not have occurred with regular service.
Keep your piano closed when it is not in use.
Keep the keys covered and grand piano tops down when the instrument is not being played to keep dust from accumulating.
Keep all drinks and standing liquid containers off the piano.
Should spilled water or drink reach the action, notify your piano technician immediately. In any case, once liquids are spilled, the damage is generally irreversible without costly rebuild work - which is why prevention is the safest rule to follow.
Do not perform repairs or adjustments yourself. Though a problem may appear easy to solve (such as replacing a loose ivory), your piano technician will have the proper tools and parts to make repairs quickly and correctly. It's important to remember that unsuccessful amateur repairs are usually much more expensive to fix than the initial problem. Resist dusting the inside of your piano or using any kind of oils on the moving parts. Your piano technician will take care of all internal problems.
Friends don’t let friends buy a piano without having it examined by a qualified Piano Technician first!
Purchasing a piano can be a haphazard experience, much like buying a used car. The cost of a “piano exam” or appraisal is quite modest and can save a future piano owner many a musical disappointment. Pianos that are “free” or super cheap are a major red flag too. Always get it looked at before you make plans and pay a piano mover!
New Piano Makers Recommendations
Baldwin™ Piano Company
Austin-Weight™ Piano Makers
Kawai(also Shigeru Kawai)
Mason & Hamlin
Pearl River(also Rittmuller)
Samick(also Wm. Knabe, Kohler & Campbell, Pramberger, Seiler)
Schimmel(also Vogel, May Berlin)
Young Chang (Weber, Albert Weber)
“New pianos should be tuned a minimum of four times the first year to compensate for the normal settling that takes place. Subsequently, as a matter of standard maintenance, a piano should be tuned at least twice a year.”
“New pianos should be tuned a minimum of four times the first year to compensate for the normal settling that take place. Subsequently, as a matter of standard maintenance, a piano should be tuned at least twice a year. Of course, some musicians will choose to have their own piano tuned more often to satisfy their own personal musical requirements … Unfortunately, no matter how expertly a piano is tuned, atmospheric variations and the nature of the piano's construction constantly conspire to bring it off pitch…"
Baldwin™ Piano Company
“Because it takes some time for any new piano to become thoroughly settled and adjusted to the atmospheric conditions in its home, proper tuning and servicing are especially important for the first year after purchase. Any new piano should be tuned several times during this first year. During these tunings, your technician should check the action and regulate to compensate for adjustment of new action parts to climate and use. After the first year, a piano should be tuned at least twice each year.”
Austin-Weight™ Piano Makers
“At , we recommend a minimum of three tunings the first year and two per year thereafter. These are minimum standards and changes in temperature, humidity, or heavy use will make it necessary for more frequent tunings. Stories of pianos staying in tune for years on end are just that—stories. Not giving a piano regular tuning will cause the instrument to be much more unstable from a tunability point of view in subsequent years, and may be cause for invalidation of the manufacturer's warranty.”
The piano is a complex instrument that will last- a lifetime if properly cared for. A qualified technician will maintain the factory sound and touch of your Hailun piano with regular service. Hailun recommends three to four tunings per year, which is especially important when the instrument is new. The environment in which the piano is placed is also important for tuning stability and long service life. Avoid humidity and temperature extremes, drafts and direct sunlight. Humidity control systems designed for pianos are recommended; ask your piano technician.
(also Shigeru Kawai)
Quality pianos demand quality care. Fine pianos require regular maintenance in three areas: tuning, action regulation and voicing. Tuning is usually required more often than the other service areas, but all three should be a part of any fine piano's maintenance. Due to string stretching, settling, and the effects of climate, a new piano should receive at least four tunings in the first year. After that, the type of use and the location of the piano will dictate the number of tunings required, but Kawai recommends two tunings per year as a minimum.
Mason & Hamlin
Your Mason & Hamlin piano is a world class instrument and should be regularly serviced. Tunings should be performed three to four times the first year and thereafter at least once every six months. The performance and sound of your piano can be affected by climate and atmospheric conditions. Regulation and voicing should be performed when needed. Excessive changes in temperature and humidity can be harmful to your piano.
Changes in temperature and humidity, the amount and type of use it gets, and the musical requirements of the owner will determine how often your Pearl River piano will need service. In general, Pearl River recommends that your new piano be serviced four times the first year and twice a year by a qualified piano technician.
(also Wm. Knabe, Kohler & Campbell, Pramberger, Seiler)
The careful selection and installation of the highest quality tuning pins, string, and pin block materials assures excellent stability. Regular service by a qualified technician will assure the continuing pleasure that comes only from a properly tuned and regulated piano. Samick recommends two to three tunings the first year and a minimum of two tunings per year thereafter. Avoid placing your piano where it will be exposed to extreme heat or cold, moisture, or direct sunlight, all of which can cause unstable tuning, warpage, and finish damage.
(also Vogel, May Berlin)
Your Schimmel piano should be tuned and serviced only by qualified professionals. Questions regarding tuning can best be answered by your local piano technician. As a rule, a brand new piano should, depending on its location and climatic conditions, be tuned two to three times in the first year or two. An instrument played often and intensively could require additional tunings.
(Weber, Albert Weber)
Piano owners will receive optimum performance from their piano if it is properly serviced during its lifetime to compensate for the effects of environmental conditions and use. Due to the natural elasticity in new piano strings, we recommend that your instrument be tuned two to four times the first year, twice the second year and a minimum of once per year thereafter. Extreme climate conditions may require tuning at least twice per year. Of course, you may choose to have your piano tuned more or less often to satisfy your own personal requirements. Ask your piano technician to also inspect the action and mechanical parts of your instrument along with regular tunings.
Our Success Stories
He did a wonderful job tuning our piano. Took his time until it sounded perfect. I will continue using him for our piano tuning. He travelled to us in French Valley so we were grateful for that!
Thank you again, we appreciate your meticulous work.
Wonderful service as always from Brian at Allegro Piano Service. On time, extremely thorough and takes his time ensuring the piano is tuned properly. Friendly and trustworthy. Highly recommend.
This company rocks! Why? Because it's veteran owned and operated by Brian! Brian is a real stand-up guy. He's very honest and stands out from any other piano repair company that I've come across. I would highly recommend that you do buisness with this man. You won't be disappointed!
I am a local piano mover in the area. I have been referring my piano moving customers to Brian Janey at Allegro piano services for years. I have never had a complaint and have complete trust in his abilities and customer service. Rest easy he is your guy!!
Brian Janey of Allegro Piano Services does an absolutely fantastic job of a range of piano services, including tuning, repair, and maintenance. After having the same piano tuner for almost 20 years in Los Angeles, it has been a blessing, now that we live in San Diego County, to find Brian who as a musician has a through understanding of the piano. Our baby grand has never sounded better!
Mr. Brian Janey was amazing and my piano (Kimball) sounds amazing! It had not been tuned in 30 years! Great Job. Thank you.
Brian Janey is a true professional. He really knows pianos, does a great job with tuning and can also diagnose and remedy many problems that you may not have even known you had with your instrument!
Brian at Allegro Piano Service has been tuning my piano for years with consistently great results. He spends the time needed to get the tuning dead on and will notice and take care of little things I wasn't aware of.
The action was getting stiff on my grand and it was hard to play quietly so Brian reconditioned my piano and now the subtleness is back. The difference was night and day. He is an expert who is always expanding his knowledge. You will be very pleased you had Brian take care of your piano.
On time, really knows what he is doing, does a great job of keeping my Yamaha Grand in top shape.