Fine Piano Tuning
The three components of musical performance that need to be adjusted
periodically are pitch, tone and touch. Tone is maintained by voicing, and
touch by servicing the piano action. Piano tuning is the manipulation of
tuning pins so that all the strings are of the proper tension (pitch), to have
the correct sounding musical intervals. We recommend servicing your
piano every 6 months and no less than once a year for normal use.
PITCH RAISE - What it is and why it is necessary ?
A pitch–raise is often necessary when the piano has not been tuned (or not tuned
to pitch) for a long time or not often enough. This is especially so when the piano
is new, as for the first few years of its life the strings are stretching – adjusting to
the tension and contour needed to stay at pitch (A440 meaning the string at the A
above middle C, vibrates 440 times per second). When the pitch is changed
significantly, the piano wire itself which has “settled” or elongated itself around
several bearing points will need to slide past these points and a new portion will
have to “settle in”, and the previously “bent” portions will straighten out changing
the string’s pitch as well. When tuning a piano that is regularly serviced, the tuner
can spend his time making very fine adjustments knowing they will be stable.
This piano will be able to be fine-tuned and sound its best much longer than one
that is infrequently serviced.Thus, all pianos should be tuned no less than once a
year and newer ones at least twice or more per year. Instead of having a piano that
never sounds its finest or only sounds good for a short time after tuning, regular
tuning will ensure that your piano always sounds its best.
Every piano has its own unique sound. Voicing is the art of adjusting the volume, tone, sustain and
clarity of the entire piano or individual notes. A piano may be “warm”, while another is described as
“glassy” or “thin” as opposed to “full singing”. Although the original design establishes the basic
character of your piano’s tone, the technicians at Michael Lipnicki Fine Piano Tuning will be happy
to work with you to modify it to better suit your taste or restore its original tone if it has deteriorated
with age. The process of modifying a piano’s tone is called voicing. By adjusting the shape & density
of the felt on your piano hammers, we alter the tone created when the hammers strike the strings.
The entire piano may be voiced “up” (brightened) or down. Individual notes or sections can be
voiced to even out the keyboard.
Regulation is a term used to refer to the touch or
feel of a piano. Do all notes repeat as quickly as
the rest? Do all notes take as much force to play?
Do the keys feel too heavy or light? When we
regulate a piano we are making adjustments to
each mechanical part of the piano action,
compensating for the effects of wear and settling,
making all notes feel the same or even, when played.
An appraisal involves careful inspection of your piano with a focus on 4 main areas: the design
and construction of the piano, the condition of its finish or cabinet, the age of the piano and the
wear and tear of the parts. If you need to have your piano appraised for insurance purposes or
because you want me to assist you with the purchase of a pre-owned piano, I will provide you
with a report instead of just a verbal valuation.
In my report, I will state the condition of each, major component of the piano.This is essentially a
warranty since I stand behind all evaluations. For example, if I state that the pin block is in good
condition and the piano does not stay in tune because of a fault with the pin block,
I would replace the pin block for free.
Why Hire Me/Us
I am recognized as an authority on appraisals by piano dealers, insurance
companies and have been invited to teach my “Professional Appraisals”
class at the Piano Technicians Guild - Technical Institute.
Registered Piano Technician (RPT)
As an RPT, I have passed a series of rigorous examinations that test skill in piano
tuning, regulation and repair. Registered Piano Technicians are professionals who have committed
themselves to the continual pursuit of excellence, both in technical service and ethical conduct.
Piano Life Saver Humidity Control Systems
Your piano is primarily made of wood, a versatile and beautiful material ideal for piano construction.
Being made of wood, however, your piano is greatly affected by humidity. In very dry climates, such
as ours, the hundreds of glue joints are stressed – either compressing or shrinking with dryness or
expanding with increased humidity. This will eventually lead to cracks.
Installation of a humidity control device designed
specifically for pianos, such as the Piano Life Saver
System, will reduce this effect by up to 70%.
All major piano manufacturers recommend properly
installed humidity control systems. These systems are
installed virtually out of sight. While the system is
designed to maintain the piano’s humidity level at
approx. 42% relative humidity, the inability of dry air to hold moisture,
this level would actually be detrimental to the structure of your home.
A 42% relative humidity level in your home in Calgary in the winter
months would have water running down the inside of your windows,
ruining your sills/frames.
According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers,
the maximum, safe, recommended indoor relative humidity level for your home when the outside
temperature is between -18C (0 F) and -23C (-10 F) should be between 20% and 25%. This is far
too low, in fact, about half of what is recommended for your piano. So despite having the most
advanced home humidifier there is still a need to humidify the piano. The colder it gets, the worse
the situation becomes.
I am considered a Field Expert by Piano Life Savers Systems and am a recommended installer.
A few years ago I visited the factory and head quarters in North Carolina and was impressed
by their thoroughness and constant scientific analysis of humidity and its effect on pianos.