Understanding the accoustic piano, Corona Virus and more ...
A well cared for piano is a treasure for life.
Here are some tips to assist you in getting not only the best results from your piano, but also minimising the need for servicing.
- The piano is an investment that will bring enjoyment and a wonderful challenge to you and your family for many years. Pianos like most things have a life span. This can vary from only a few years through to approximately 100 years, largely due to the care of the instrument. For this reason it is important to understand the nature of an acoustic piano.
The piano is basically a harp strung with steel and copper wound strings, over a sounding board. An intricate system of hammers, springs and levers activated through a keyboard, this is called an “ACTION”. This mechanism needs to be responsive to every nuance of the pianist’s touch - from very loud to very soft. The piano action is adjusted to a tolerance of a few thousandths of an inch. Your piano is one of the most mechanically complex items you will ever own.
The beautiful tone of the piano is due to the blending of approximately 11,000 parts, made up from timber, metal, wool, felt and leather. While electronic pianos sound somewhat realistic they cannot recreate the natural sound of an acoustic piano. Properly maintained, your piano will outlast your car and possibly your home.
Simple tips to protect your piano.
- Have your piano tuned AT LEAST once per year.
- Keep your piano clean.
- Leave the maintenance/service to an ARPT qualified tradesperson.
- Try to maintain a consistent temperature for your piano.
- Use only professional piano carriers to move your piano.
- Keep all liquids away from the piano.
- Your piano is a mechanical instrument and needs regular use.
- Select your piano tuner/technician carefully, they should be a member of your local piano tuners and technicians guild or association, and competent in repairs and tuning. Someone you feel comfortable asking questions to. Make sure they are able to carry out warranty repairs on your piano if needed.
Corona Virus and your piano ...
The Corona Virus (COVID-19) is having a major impact throughout the world and that includes the world of music teachers and piano owners.
The Australasian Piano Tuners and Technicians Association makes the following recommendations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has specific tips for preparation, protection and care. You can view this information at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/protect/index.html
General Recommendations - Special care should be taken when using disinfectant products on a piano.
• Generally speaking, a soft disposable towel, using warm water and hand/dish soap is safe to use on virtually every finish, key, and case parts.
Always follow up with a dry soft disposable towel to dry any standing liquid.
• Cleaning pianos is a gentle process not a scrubbing process. Pressing hard or vigorous scrubbing may lead to scratching or removing the finish.
Always proceed with caution and use common sense. Remember to wash your hands after you have thrown away the towels.
If using disinfectant products
• Use alcohol-based disinfectants, do not use bleach-based disinfectants or any product containing citrus.
• If using a spray or liquid bottle, use a disposable towel like WYPALL L30. Put the disinfectant on the towel and not the piano.
• After use, immediately put the towel or disinfectant hand wipe in the trash and wash your hands as the CDC recommends. Do not use reusable towels or cloths.
• Always follow up with a dry towel and never leave any liquids on the piano or keys.
The keys are the most important part. Generally speaking, most disinfecting wipes or sprays (see General Recommendations) should be safe to use on the keys.
Case parts finishes vary greatly and can be easily damaged by disinfectant wipes and sprays. A soft disposable towel, using warm water and hand/dish soap is safe to use on virtually every finish, key, and case parts. Always follow up with a dry soft disposable towel to dry any standing liquid.
Again, cleaning pianos is a gentle process not a scrubbing process. Pressing hard or vigorous scrubbing may lead to scratching or removing the finish. Always proceed with caution and use common sense. Remember to wash your hands after you have thrown away the towels or wipes.