All pianos need some TLC...
inside a Sauter upright
• Tuning: All pianos require regular tuning. Tuning your piano twice per year is considered the norm by most standards and the minimum by product & warranty guidelines. Many pianos actually require tunings more frequently based upon their demands (schools, churches, studios, concerts…). Pianos are typically tuned for concert rehearsals and again for the actual concert.
• Regulation: Pianos do not leave their factories in perfect mechanical condition, and this will only get worse with each passing year and use. To properly translate highly technical and precise passages into music, your piano’s 10,000 moving parts must be finely regulated. A piano that has been completely and precisely regulated previously, can expect 30 – 60 minutes of mechanical work per year, and another 60 minutes of voicing to keep tone clear and full of color (to maintain its current level).
• Voicing: A piano’s tone is rarely demonstrative of its true or complete potential. Piano hammers need exact string alignment, squaring to all 3 strings, and can be carefully altered to offer a large and pleasing dynamic palette. Voicing does change with use, as the hammers keep compressing upon impact with strings – and will require 30 – 60 minutes per year of skilled work to keep the tone pleasing.
→ At some point, the hammers become too grooved to offer good tone. They will need to be reshaped (filed) with sandpaper to remove outer layers of dead felt, and return them to a proper shape. This will “reset” the piano’s tone, dynamics and sustain. (old & worn hammers may need replaced)
• Complete overhaul: If your piano has never had extensive mechanical and tonal work performed upon it, or if it has been 5 – 10 years since such work: it is due. By comparison, simply adding fuel to your car does little for the precision and comfort of racing through mountain passes.
→ Relying only on tuning will not enable your piano to offer you the dynamics, sustain, speed and control pianists need to play deliberate and inspiring music.