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How Often Should I Tune My Piano?
If you play your piano regularly, I recommend that you have your piano tuned more often than the casual piano player. Since we live in an area where fluctuations of humidity and temperature are frequent and quite large, I recommend that you have your piano tuned at least twice per year--once during the humid summer climate, and once during the dry winter climate. A good rule of thumb is shortly after the heating season begins (Sep - Oct) and again when the heating season is ending (Apr - May).
See what manufactuers recommend:
What is a Pitch Raise
When a piano has not been tuned as often as it should be, it will fall flat from standard pitch. The longer it has been neglected, the farther away from pitch it will be. Smaller, lighter built pianos seem to fall more quickly than the larger, older, heavier pianos.
Special care must be given in these situations to bring it back up to proper pitch. In most cases, the piano can be brought back up to pitch. However, be aware that this does increase the risk of string breakage or other structural complications.
In these cases, the first pass tuning is known as a "pitch raise". This is intented to bring it close to its normal pitch. By the time this first pass is complete, the piano will again be out of tune due to all the new stress introduced. An immediate second pass tuning will usually leave the piano sounding considerably better that it sounded previously. Typically, a third tuning should be done within 3-6 months of the pitch raise (and sometimes considerably sooner) to get the piano back to a stable condition.
There are typically extra fees that the piano owner should expect to pay for the extra efforts and care expended to carefully restore their piano to proper pitch.
Cleaning the Keys
Today, ivory is no longer widely used as it was years ago. Instead, manufacturers use a special plastic for the keys. You can use water to dampen a clean cloth along with a gentle soap to clean the plastic keys.
If you do have ivory keys, never use rubbing alcohol, bleach or other commercial cleaning products to clean your piano keys. Most of these products have ingredients that dry out the natural oils in your piano's ivory keys. Instead you should use a special cleaning solution such as Key-Brite. Gently wipe the keys with a damp cloth and the cleaning solution. You should only wipe the key tops and avoid moisture from reaching the sides of the keys. Wipe it dry immediately. In some cases, the dye used on the black keys might come off, so it is advisable to use different cloths for the white and black keys.
Cleaning the Cabinet
The cabinet is the body of the piano. It is can be made from different types of wood, grains and finishes. The cabinet should be cared for as you would any other wood furniture. Usually, a soft cloth does well in removing dust and dirt.
(The following information is from Dampp-Chaser Corporation)
Benefits of the Piano Life Saver for Piano Tuning, Keys & Keyboards, Piano Care and Maintenance
The system provides a consistent climate, keeping the humidity level constant year round in any climate or environment. The Piano Life Saver is installed out of sight, inside the piano. Models are available for Grand Pianos, Baby Grands, and Upright pianos.
The Piano Life Saver System...
• Stabilizes piano tuning, maintaining pitch and markedly extending the life of piano tunings
• Minimizes the expansion and contraction of action parts which provides optimum touch and predictable keyboard control
• Prevents rust on the strings and metal parts
• Minimizes felt deterioration, reducing the harsh tones that come from flattened hammer felt in low humidity or the muffled tones from swollen hammer felt in high humidity
• Minimizes glue failure throughout the piano
• Protects your investment year after year
Piano Humidity Control Compared to Room Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers
The Piano Life Saver System not only saves you money, time and hassle, it performs better and achieves results superior to a room humidifier/dehumidifier:
• The initial cost of a portable dehumidifier and humidifier is about the same as a Piano Life Saver System installed in your piano. However, if you place value on your time, you will pay much more to keep a dehumidifier and humidifier operating continuously.
• With the use of a portable dehumidifier and humidifier, you will need to monitor the environment daily with a hygrometer to be sure the humidity remains in a safe range for the piano. The Piano Life Saver automatically keeps the humidity in a safe range for your piano year after year.
• To operate a portable dehumidifier or humidifier continuously requires that you empty (or fill) a large reservoir every day. In contrast, the Piano Life Saver's small humidifier requires only one can of water twice a month in most environments.
• Portable dehumidifiers and humidifiers are intrusive, noisy appliances while the Piano Life Saver System is hidden inside the piano and works silently.
• The electricity cost to operate a portable dehumidifier continuously is at least 11 times the cost to operate the Piano Life Saver System continuously.
• In cold northern climates, keeping the entire room in the safe humidity zone for pianos results in continuous condensation on windows which may rot the wood around the window. Condensation also forms inside the walls surrounding the room and prompts the growth of mold and can cause structural damage to both interior and exterior walls.