FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONs
Where is the best place to put a piano?
The most suitable place to put a piano is an area free of radiators, windows and near fires. Pianos placed near or in front of the above will expand and contract all the time with the temperature and humidity changes.
After a period of time the piano will become untunable due to loose tuning pins. The heat will also cause cracks in the soundboard. Be careful of windows, like any piece of furniture a piano will fade in the sun.
For extreme temperatures we at Precision Pianos supply "DAMP-CHASER" piano climate control systems.
In summary, you should avoid pianos with rusty and broken strings, slipping tuning pins, wobbly hammers or deep groves in hammers. These are, in my opinion, the most common cancers in the lives of pianos. Everything can be fixed, but "restringing", "repining" and "rebuilding the action" are very time consuming (therefore expensive) jobs.
Even if the pianos are being given away for free (and they often are), it would be wise to just stay away from them. We personally find that people who don't want to spend a lot of money, buy pianos from their friends, the paper, auctions etc. They then ring us to move and tune the piano. 99% of the time when we see the piano it has these forementioned problems. Therefore it is money down the drain.
If these people had come to us we would have sold them a used piano for sometimes the same price with years of guarantee, free delivery and tuning. If buying a piano privately keep in mind, what appears to be a rare bargain can prove to be a real liability.
How often should a piano be tuned?
This is a hard question because some pianos are in environments where there is frequent change in temperature and humidity. On average a piano should be tuned once a year. Make sure your piano dealer is or has a registered qualified tuner and technician.
How do I pick out a good used piano?
Reject pianos that have serious problems. Here are some pointers for inspecting a used piano.
Open the piano. Take the front panel off so you can see what's inside.
Examine the strings. Are they rusty (maybe some broken) if so walk away. Rust weakens strings, making them more likely to break and almost impossible to tune to concert pitch.
Listen as you play each of the 85 or 88 keys. All pianos go out of tune. Its normal and unavoidable, but piano strings tend to go out of tune somewhat together. It's not normal to have a string that is wildly and disproportionately out of tune with respect to its neighboring strings. It suggests that the tuning pins might be too loose and may be slipping in the pinblock.
Watch as you play each of the 85 or 88 keys. The felt-covered piano hammers are thrown forward to hit the strings. They are supposed to move in a "back and forth" direction. They are not supposed to wobble from side to side. Wobbly piano hammers are a bad sign. It suggests that the piano is very worn. Also if there are deep groves in the hammers where they hit the strings, this will tell you the piano is very worn.
When buying a piano privately. We recommend that you bring along with you a qualified piano tuner/technician.
What is the best piano for a beginner?
Ideally a piano that functions properly and is in tune is perfect for a beginner. This is extremely important. Starting a beginner on a out of tune piano which does not function properly is a recipe for failure. Experienced players can cope with mechanicial and tuning problems more easily because they know how things are supposed to be. A beginner doesn't.
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