Properly caring for a vertical or grand piano will help extend its life for many years. Basic piano care only requires a few practical things to consider.
Climate and Placement
The most ideal environment for a piano is a dry one. The wood, metal, cloth and felt inside a piano operates most effectively and for longer duration if it has very little exposure to humidity. If humidity cannot be avoided, the next best environment for a piano would be one that is stable and consistent. The worst environment for a piano is one that changes dramatically one season to another. The expansion and contraction of the components in a piano caused by swings in humidity are a major cause of many piano problems.
Considering the above, here are some steps to take to protect your piano from environmental changes:
- Never place a piano over or under a hot air register or next to a radiator
- Avoid placing piano in front of a window that results in direct sunlight
- Avoid placing piano on a damp concrete floor
- If possible, locate the piano against an inside wall
- Ideally, control the humidity surrounding the piano
Tuning and Servicing
Regular tuning and servicing helps to maintain the musical quality and longevity of any piano. The frequency of play and the environment surrounding the instrument plays a role in determining just how often a piano should be serviced.
A technician should tune the piano at least once a year, however, twice a year is a more advisable recommendation. If you consider the cost of a Standard Tuning spread over 12 or even only 6 months, it is quite minimal considering what we pay to maintain other important assets and interests.
After a decade or so of moderate use, a piano will likely need some Regulation work. This is a service where a piano technician re-calibrates various aspects of the piano action to their most optimal standards.
Over time and with consistent use, the hammers of a piano will need some attention. More frequently, a simple reshaping of the hammer heads by a piano technician will serve to improve their function. But after several decades of use, simply reshaping the hammers will not produce satisfactory results. For mid-level to high-quality pianos in this situation, it would be best to have their hammers replaced. Over time, Voicing of the piano hammers is another service which could be appropriate on mid-level to high-quality pianos. Changes in the hammer felt caused by use or environmental factors will eventually affect tone quality. Voicing the piano hammers attempts to create a consistent and pleasing tone throughout the range of the instrument.