How often should my piano be tuned?

Changes in humidity from season to season will throw a piano out of tune. For this reason, your piano should be tuned every 6 months – once when the heat is on, and once when it’s off.  Some pianos are less affected by humidity changes than others, but every piano should be tuned at least annually.

New pianos require more frequent tunings in the first year because new strings stretch a lot. During this break in period, a new piano should be tuned every three months. The frequency of tuning in the first year can determine how well a piano holds its pitch throughout the rest of its life

Is there a way to minimize the effects of humidity changes on my piano?

 A piano needs to be kept at about 42% relative humidity year-round. Air conditioning helps in the summer monsoon, but usually doesn’t get the humidity level that low. Swamp coolers are bad for pianos, because they are pumping very moist air into the house. Humidifiers help in the dry season, but they are difficult to monitor and regulate, and they are noisy. The best way to maintain a proper humidity level in your piano is to install a Piano Lifesaver humidity control system.Click here for more information about the Piano Lifesaver system.

My piano isn’t being used. Do I still need to have it tuned?

Although it might seem unnecessary, it’s important to keep a piano at least close to pitch, even if it’s not being used. When your piano is in tune, a combined string tension of about 20 tons is exerted on the piano’s structure. As the piano goes out of tune, the tension of the strings changes to varying degrees in different parts of the piano. If the tension becomes too uneven from one section to another, undue stress is exerted on the piano’s frame. Also, a piano is much more difficult, and sometimes impossible, to tune well after a period of neglect. For these reasons, every piano should be tuned at least annually.

What should I use to clean my piano?

Any good quality furniture polish will work well on wood finishes. Avoid products that leave a waxy or oily residue. For black satin finishes, Corey Satin Sheen works well, and for black high-gloss finishes, Corey Super High-Gloss polish is best. These products are available from Helms Music Enterprises.

On the keys, it’s best to use a very mild soap & water solution on a rag. Be sure to wring the rag out well before cleaning the keys. If water drips down between the keys they can swell up and stick, or even warp. An alternative is Corey Key-Brite polish, which is available from Helms Music Enterprises.

Cleaning dust from grand piano soundboards under the strings is particularly tricky. Under no circumstances should you get any kind of chemical or moisture on the piano strings. The best way to get at the dust is with a set of “soundboard sweepers”. There are three different-sized cleaners in a set, and they are designed to be inserted between the strings to sweep the soundboard. These are also available from Helms Music Enterprises.