It’s an exciting day; you just purchased your first piano! A beautiful piece of art that will bring beauty to your home and musical pleasure of bands in Melbourne to the ears of your friends and family for years to come. But a piano is also a complex machine with thousands of moving parts and over 200 tightly stretched strings. This means that it needs to be properly maintained to keep all those parts functioning and sounding exquisitely. In this article we will discuss caring for your piano properly. Your piano was an investment and we will talk about how to maintain that value and in the case of a new piano maintain the warranty. We will talk about the importance of tuning and keeping the sound of your piano consistent throughout the year. We will also cover how to safely clean and care for the exterior of your piano.
Let’s start with placement. Where you place a piano in a room can make an enormous difference in how your piano sounds and ages. You will want to keep it out of direct sunlight; rays from the sun can damage the finish. Sunlight will make the stain or varnish fade and can accelerate the drying of the wood which can ultimately lead to cracks. Keep the piano a safe distance from heating ducts, heat registers and radiators, these will also dry the wood and can lead to cracking. Be conscious of items near the piano. Carpets and heavy draperies and absorb sound in the room whereas hard objects tend to amplify the sound. Once you get your new instrument situated you may need to adjust those items around it until you get a sound you are happy with. Lastly, never place a plant on your piano. Water can damage the finish, ruin the wood and leave stains that can only be removed by a professional if at all.
Tuning, while not having your piano tuned regularly will most likely not lead to physical damage it will greatly affect the sound quality. A piano has over 200 strings stretched to an exact tension in order to produce the correct sound and pitch for each key. Pianos are very sensitive to atmospheric changes and over time you will notice a change in the sound being produced. A properly trained technician will make the adjustments necessary to get your instrument back to the quality sound you have come to expect and enjoy. Generally speaking you should have your piano tuned twice a year. Keep in mind a piano will go out of tune whether you play it or not. For those of you who have a brand new piano don’t be fooled into thinking it should need less maintenance it actually needs more.
Providing a stable atmosphere can help ensure better tune stability. Ideally you want to keep the humidity where your piano is located at 40% to 50% (check with the manufacture of your piano). Your local hardware store will sell dehumidifiers you can use if your humidity is running high and humidifiers if your humidity is running low. For the average home owner raising the humidity in the winter is usually more of an issue.
Cleaning a piano is something that should be done with great care. Typically you should only use a soft damp cloth. The keys can sometimes be a little tougher and may require the use of a very mild soap and water solution. Be sure and dry your piano thoroughly, do not let it air dry.
A properly cleaned and maintained piano will help insure the value and playing quality for years to come. As always before using the information in this guide or any other be sure and read all the documentation that came with your instrument. If you did not receive any documentation check the manufactures website for additional information. The manufacture may have their own list of specific details in order to maintain the quality and warranty of your piano.