Last week I got a phone call from a new customer just outside of Dublin looking to have their piano tuned. They had just bought it second hand and were told by the seller that it was in perfect condition except for needing a good tune. This is probably the most common description of a piano I see on adverts or donedeal.
In this particular case, the customer had spent 400 euro on the piano and then had paid and extra 100 for it to be moved before having it looked over. The piano looked beautiful on the surface but realistically it was a complete write-off. It had missing strings, broken hammers, woodworm, rotting felts and a cracked soundboard. The customer should have paid been paid to take it off the sellers hands. This is not an isolated incident and occurs quite a lot.
If you are buying a second hand piano online, make sure you have it looked over by a professional piano technician. It will save you a lot of heartache. Even when you think you are getting a bargain or maybe even getting it for free, it is always worth having it looked at. Pianos do not get scrapped like cars, they get passed on. Always be aware of that. Often times a seller puts a value on a piano based on an emotional attachment to it, when it can quite often be of little or no value to anyone else. There are thousands of moving parts in a piano that can break. It is not just a set of strings that go out of tune.
Be smart. Have it looked over before you buy.
Do you only tune pianos in Dublin?
I tune pianos in Dublin and the surrounding areas. I also tune in Meath, Kildare, Louth, Carlow, Wicklow, West Meath and occasionally Wexford and Kilkenny. If you are unsure whether your area is covered for a tuning please get in touch and I will genuinely do my best to accommodate you. I will have to charge a little bit extra for petrol money.
How often should you get your piano tuned?
Common practice would be between 6 months to a year. In warmer climates a piano can hold its stability for a bit longer. Unfortunately, the Dublin weather is a bit a nuisance for keeping a fine tuning stable. If a piano hasn’t been tuned in a few years, it will most likely need a pitch raise before a fine tuning is possible. The more often you tune your piano, the better it is going to sound and the more stable the tuning will be. Consistently tuned pianos result in better players. People want to play a piano when it sounds beautiful! Try getting a kid to practice every day on something that sounds like it’s out of a horror movie.
How much should I spend on a piano?
This is up to what you wish to get out of a piano. If you are just beginning or have a child who just beginning lesson and you aren’t sure if they are going to stick it out, there are plenty of options available in second-hand pianos that are of reasonable starter quality. You might want to be careful of free pianos or pianos that have been passed down multiple generations. They often can need quite a bit of work before they are fully operational and can hurt your pocket a lot more than you spending the money in the first place. If you or child are advancing through the grades in the Royal Irish Academy it might be worth spending the extra little bit on getting a higher end refurbished upright such as Yamaha U1, a Kawai or a Petrof.
How should I clean my piano?
Use a soft cloth to clean your piano. NEVER use coarse fabric. To get rid of tough marks, clean with a damp cloth and then quickly with a dry cloth. Do not do this to a Piano if it has been french polished! You can order specialist products to clean a french polished piano, but it might be best to have a professional do it for you. Don’t ever use aerosols. Try cleaning an area of the piano that isn’t always in view first to make sure you aren’t damaging the woodwork. Never clean the inside of the piano yourself.
Where should I keep my piano?
Never situate your piano beside a fireplace or radiator as it will damage it over time. The heat will make the wood swell and contract which will put the piano out tune, change its tone and damage its finish. A piano should ideally sit in a room with a general temperature of around 20 degrees celsius and away from direct sunlight.
What kind of Repairs do you do?
Many issues arise with pianos due to general wear and tear. Most of these can be fixed in the clients home. Keys may not sound or may stick, the pedals might not work or may squeak, bobbling hammers and damper problems can all be fixed during a visit. Sometimes a part will need to be ordered which can take some time.
How much is my piano worth?
There are many factors to consider when estimating the worth of a piano. If you are looking to have a piano evaluated, please get in touch. I also can provide a free evaluation with every tuning if requested.