Piano Maintenance

Piano Maintenance

The piano requires various forms of maintenance throughout its life for it to produce the best sound possible. 

Tuning

Tuning isn’t something where there is a standard for every piano. A new piano may need several tunings a year to keep it properly balanced. A piano that has been well cared for and in a stationary position in the home may need tuning once or twice per year. A concert piano that is played by professionals on a daily basis made need a regular tuning every few weeks. Some professionals prefer to have their piano tuned before every major event. Piano Maintenance

When a piano is only slightly out of tune, it loses the tonal quality characteristics of a recently tuned piano, especially in the middle and upper ranges of sound. Even a slight out of tune sound can be unpleasant to the listener. It can even deter a budding pianist from continuing with lessons because it doesn’t sound quite right. 

Voicing

The felt on the hammers of the piano tend to harden over time. The felt becomes depressed by repeated impact as keys are struck. They also form grooves and wear marks as they connect with the strings. While hammers are used to produce a bright tonal quality, these wear marks can change the sound being produced to something harsh and undesirable. 

Piano technicians use special tools to soften the hammers. They can also use hardening agents if the hammers soften up. Since the hammers are not used with equal frequency, they tend to wear in uneven increments. How much change is required to each hammer is dependent on both the piano’s settings and on the preferences of the player. 

Regulation

Over time, the performance of the piano action declines. The wood may warp. The tension may falter. The sound declines. The goal of regulation is to make the piano’s sound consistent across all notes. It makes the keys movements more subtle to the motions of the player. 

There are dozens of adjustments a piano will go through when being regulated. The most important include:

  •  Key weight – to regulate the action mechanism of the key springs
  • Repetition springs – which allows the hammer to repeatedly strike with minimal lifting of a key
  • Drop – how far the hammers fall back when let off
  • Let off – the point when the hammer disengages from the jack

 Restoration

After a lifetime of use, usually measured by decades, pianos may need complete restoration to keep its sound healthy and functioning. If well taken care of, the frame and some parts of the action may remain in good condition. Piano restoration experts try to maintain originality whenever possible, rebuilding or maintaining as much as they can as possible. Restoration is labor intensive, and therefore can be time intensive and quite expensive as well. 


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

Effective Piano Maintenance

Effective Piano Maintenance

Whether you are brand new to playing the piano, or have been playing for years, there is an advantage to understand the fundamentals of how your piano was constructed and the best way to maintain it for optimal results. The more you know, the more you will understand what is truly possible for the way your piano is constructed. It will help you understand when a problem occurs. And it will also help you make wise decisions about tunings, maintenance, repair and restoration.Effective Piano Maintenance

To start, it’s important to speak the same language as any technician who may have access to your piano down the road. For example, piano technicians use a simple numbering system when referring to the keys. The lowest key on a piano is the A in the bass. This key is labeled number 1. From there, each key is numbered in succession until you reach the highest key in the treble, number 88. These keys not only identify the keys themselves, but also the action and parts used to create sound. If you have a problem with a range, you can easily identify it by number when talking with a technician, and he will immediately understand.

Piano Tuning

Tuning is the very basic of maintenance required to keep a piano fully functioning. Regular tuning not only keeps a piano up to pitch, but also prevents damage to the instrument. All pianos today are designed to be tuned at A-440. This means the A just above the middle C (number 49) should vibrate at 440 cycles per second. Each of the other keys will then fall into order. Piano strings are under heavy tension, at about 160 pounds per string. If the piano is left untuned, the pitch will gradually drop as the strings loosen. As this happens, key number 49 will no longer play at 440, but will drop rapidly from there. Tuning will prevent this drop from occurring. It will bring not only key 49 back to proper cycle, but the rest of the keys as well.

Piano Cleaning

Just like every piece of furniture in your home, in order to stay in good condition, a piano should be cleaned on a regular basis. While there are some things you can do – keep dust from accumulating on the keyboard and the cabinet – there are other things a technician will do. When your piano is in tune, he will clean the soundboard with a soft cloth. The strings and tuning pins collect dust over time, and it’s important to remove this on a periodic basis. The felt under the keys should also be cleaned periodically. The keys on an upright can be removed without disturbing the action. On a grand, it is necessary to remove the entire playing mechanism for cleaning. This can help keep the keys perform more evenly, and can help with regulation.

Piano Regulation

The proper regulation of the piano action is essential to controlling the keys. It affects both the keyboard and the speed with which a note can be repeated. When the keys are regulated, they should be perfectly even. This is most easily seen with the white keys, where all are perfectly aligned. A well regulated keyboard is slanted slightly away from the performer when the keys are at rest. When they are depressed, the should slant slightly towards the performer. This action should occur with every movement made, while at no time allowing a pianists fingers to touch the white keys when the black keys are depressed.

Piano Voicing

For a piano to have good tone, it must have a well regulated action, perfect tuning, and hammers that are properly shaped and voiced. The hammers become grooved with use. As the groves deepen and continue to form, the tone of the piano is impacted. Hammers are voiced by softening or hardening the felt in order to bring back a particular tonal quality. Voicing should leave the felt of all hammers with a certain level of consistency. Tuning and voicing often go hand in hand in making a piano sound its best. The two processes are interdependent. Voicing cannot be done successfully unless the piano is in tune, but even a perfectly tuned piano won’t sound its best if it is not properly voiced. The key to great piano service is to have a technician well versed in both.

Have any additional questions about piano maintenance? Give us a call today.


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

Simple Rules To Keep Your Piano Healthy

Simple Rules To Keep Your Piano Healthy

Because your piano is a working instrument filled with moving parts, it needs a little more care than the average piece of furniture sitting in the same room. There are things only a trained technician should do to keep your piano in good working condition – tuning for instance. And there are some things you can do on a regular basis to help extend the life of your piano.

Regulate The Environment Around Your Piano

A piano performs at its best when the environment around it remains relatively stable. While that may seem difficult, especially with huge fluctuations in both temperature and moisture levels as we move from summer to winter, there are things you can do at home to regulate the temperature.Simple Rules To Keep Your Piano Healthy

The cold can weaken the wooden parts of a piano; add too much pressure and they can snap. The heat can negatively effect the strings, and can loosen the felt on the hammers. Ideally the temperature in your room should always remain in the 70 to 72° F range, with humidity best in the 40 to 50 percent range.

Regulate the room’s temperature with an air conditioner or heater, but keep vents for both at a distance from the piano itself. Its also best to keep a piano away from an exterior wall so its not affected by extreme cold periods. Keep away from windows that allow direct sunlight to shine on the piano, which can cause discoloration and could possibly crack the piano’s finish.

Keep Drinks And Food Away From Your Piano

While this advice sounds very basic, it still is something that should be emphasized, especially to kids. In today’s world, we always have a glass of water or a water bottle at close range. And depending on the type of piano and its location, it may seem like the perfect resting spot for your drink. But if liquid seeps into the piano keys and reaches the interior of the piano, major damage can occur quickly.

If liquid spills onto the keyboard, wipe excess liquid from the keys’ surface immediately. To avoid water movement, try not to press any keys while cleaning up. If liquid does seep between the keys, contact a piano technician as soon as possible for maintenance.

For spills on electronic keyboards, unplug at once. Do not attempt to shake off excess water, and only clean up surface liquid. By pressing too hard, you can actually drive liquids deeper into the piano. Wait a few days to thoroughly dry out before plugging in and testing it. If any problems occur, consult with a piano technician for more information.

Adjust The Keylid

When you aren’t playing your piano, the keylid is designed to cover the keys and keep them safe from dust, air particles and other debris from your home. While covering your keys is a good idea, too much of a good thing can be bad as well. If the lid remains closed for too long, it can allow mold and mildew to form inside the keys, especially if the piano is kept in a dark or humid location.

Keep the keylid open periodically to allow air circulation over the keys. You can also occasionally go over your keys with a vacuum cleaner attachment to remove small particles that reside on the tops of the keys. A lightly dampened cloth can also be used to remove build up from your fingertips.


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

Climate Control For Your Piano Room

Climate Control For Your Piano Room

When you buy a piano, you are making a big investment. A piano, when taken care of properly, can last for many years. It can bring joyful music to your life and even the lives of your heirs.

One of the key factors in taking care of your piano goes beyond maintaining the actual instrument. It involves controlling the climate of the room in which you store your piano. Here are some helpful tips for climate control in your piano room.Climate Control For Your Piano Room

  • You want to maintain a temperature of 70-72 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the ideal temperature for a piano. If your temperature goes lower or higher, you can damage the wood, the glue, and other components of your piano.
  • You need to store your piano away from drafty areas, windows, and even the vents of the climate-controlled room. This will ensure that the actual temperature of the piano stays within the right limits.
  • If necessary, add an area rug beneath your piano to shield it from the cold floors. This is especially important in rooms that lack the best level of insulation.
  • The humidity level of your piano room should be between 35-45 percent. However, it can be all the way up to 55 percent, and your piano will still be fine. The key to humidity is keeping it constant. It is the fluctuations in humidity that can be damaging to your piano.
  • One of the best things you can do for your piano is to limit its exposure to the elements. This includes direct sunlight, condensation, dust, and smoke. Treat your piano like you would a child and keep it away from elements that can be harmful to it.

Providing the perfect room for your piano will help ensure that your piano has a long and healthy life ahead of it.


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

The Basic Rules for Caring For Your Piano

The Basic Rules for Caring For Your Piano

A piano is a major investment, and it needs some tender loving care from time to time.

Without the proper maintenance and care, your piano will decrease in value. If you keep all of the parts working well and the piano itself maintained, you can enjoy your piano for many, many years, and perhaps pass it down as a family heirloom. However, this is only possible if you take care of your piano.

The Basic Rules for Caring For Your PianoHere are some basic rules for caring for your piano so that it will last will years:

Get your piano tuned. It is a worthwhile investment to keep your piano in tune. Tuning is not synonymous with use. Many people think the more it is used, the more tuning it will need. A piano is tuned to maintain its quality, whether its used every day or only once a year. Check with your dealer, but as a general guideline it is recommended that a piano technician tune the piano twice a year, three or four times a year if it is brand new. It will sound its absolute best when it is properly tuned.

The best times to have your piano tuned is in the fall and in the summer, when transitions are occurring in the weather and the environment.

Be mindful of where you put your piano. Generally, you don’t want to keep your piano in a place where the humidity and temperature constantly fluctuates. Outside walls, near large windows or sliding doors, or in drafty areas can compromise the quality of your piano. Also avoid sitting next to a heating/cooling duct, or in an area where it will get daily doses of sunlight.

Keep your piano clean. It’s a good idea to keep your piano covered when not in use to help keep it clean and free from dust accumulation. You can periodically clean the piano keys yourself by wiping them with a damp cloth and again with a dry cloth. You should never use chemicals of any kind on your piano keys.

Maintain the piano’s finish. You can maintain the finish of your piano by wiping it with a damp cotton cloth. You can also remove fingerprints with a reliable emulsion-type, water-based solution. You should avoid spray polishes that contain silicone.

Play your piano regularly. Idle pianos not only fail to get the proper maintenance they require, but they require tuning and much more after sitting with no activity. Plus, if you play regularly, you’ll get more practice!


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172