Expert piano tuning and repair.
Serving Chicago & the suburbs
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appointment and prices.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. “Should pianos only be next to inside walls?” Only if your home was built before about 1960. Remember, pianos have been around for over 300 years. There was a time when leaning against an outside wall in your home would have given you a pretty accurate weather report. Those days are long gone.Today, with insulation being what it is, there is practically no difference between an outside and an inside wall.
2. “Someone told me I should keep the lid of my grand piano down to keep out the dust, but I like it up. What should I do?” If you like the lid up, keep the lid up. The lid of a piano is anything but air-tight. Any dust in the air will find its way inside the piano regardless. The lid is basically a giant volume knob – up for loud, down for quiet. The time to close the lid and cover the piano is when part of the house is being rehabbed and there is construction dust in the air. Also, if you keep your piano in a saw mill, close the lid. The inside of any grand should be thoroughly cleaned by a tuner/technician, but only once every few years.
3. “Do I need special products to clean the outside of the piano?” No. Clean it like you do any of the fine furniture in your home.
4. “What about cleaning the keys?” A damp, warm cloth will do it (not dripping). Add a couple drops of dish soap for stubborn dirt, and use Goo-Gone for sticker residue.
5. “Do you think it will rain tomorrow?” It might.
6. “Should I buy a piano without having a tuner look it over first?” Are you a gambler? Buying a piano is just like buying a car – if you’re putting down some good money for it, it makes sense to have someone look it over for you so you know what you’re getting. It’s well worth the appraisal fee. Better safe than sorry!
7. “How often should I have my piano tuned?” Technically, every day, but I haven’t been able to convince any of my customers to adopt that routine (my “drive-through service” idea hasn’t caught on, either). Anyway, most pianos are ready for a tuning every six months, but some can go for a year before they are due. It depends on the piano and its environment. A brand new piano needs two or three tunings in the first year as a minimum.
8. “If I live in the Chicagoland area and I need a piano tuner, should I only call you?” Of course! :)
9. “How much is my piano worth?” Ultimately, whatever someone will pay for it. Used pianos can range from tens of thousands of dollars to “We’ll give it to you if you pay for the mover.” (Some pianos shouldn’t even be given away – they should be set on fire, but only in an open field. Consult your local fire department.) This country is saturated with pianos, so this generally drives the prices for used pianos way down – they’re everywhere! If you have a tuner/technician come to appraise yours, don’t get your feelings hurt when he or she says it’s worth only a few hundred dollars on the market – that’s pretty typical. But some brands keep their value better than others.
10. “What affects a piano’s tuning more than anything?” Changes in humidity. Your piano, because it is made mostly of wood, is a really fancy sponge. It soaks up humidity when it is high and expands, which stretches the strings and changes their pitch. When the air dries, the water molecules in the piano are sucked out; the piano shrinks and the strings relax, changing their pitch again. As spongy as your piano is, never try to use it to wipe off the kitchen table – the table will likely collapse. Playing the piano has virtually no affect on the tuning unless the piano is being used to rehearse a Broadway show – the playing has to be hard and almost constant. Normal playing is not an issue.
11. “Should I use one of those systems you attach to the piano to control humidity?” I wouldn’t. Unless the attachment and the piano are sealed together in a plastic bubble, the piano is basically at the mercy of the room. Control the humidity in the whole room if you want to benefit your piano.
12. “My husband seems to be spending a lot more time at the office lately. Should I be suspicious?” Wrong website, lady.
13. “Should I be wary of tuners who use a machine?” Not necessarily. I tune regularly for concerts and recording sessions – that’s as high-pressure as it gets for tuners. I use a machine, and if I didn’t do a good job they wouldn’t call me back, but they do. A tuning machine is like any other tool that helps you get the job done – you have to know how to use it.
14. “Can you tuna fish?” Everyone’s a comedian. (Why, I oughtta…)
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