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IF I HAD A NICKLE for every time I heard someone say, "It has a cracked soundboard so it can't be tuned," I would be wealthy indeed. Contrary to popular belief, a cracked soundboard has nothing to do with the tuning. Many pianos have cracked soundboards, but still are wonderful instruments. Sometimes, though, a crack can be severe enough to cause rib separation resulting in a buzzing sound while playing the piano. Fortunately, this situation can be remedied by repairing the soundboard/rib joint to eliminate buzzing. Stay tuned for Part Two: What is a Soundboard?
Your piano should be tuned every 6 to 12 months, depending on use. Neglecting regular tunings may cause the need for pitch raises, an extra expense that may also do damage to the piano. An out-of-tune piano is a hindrance to the learning process of a child learning to play, and often results in failure. Compared to what the modern family spends today on internet services, computer upgrades, cable TV, etc., the expense of regular piano tuning is clearly minimal.
Minnesota's wide swings in humidity create a very harsh climate for pianos, causing tuning instability, and premature part failure. Maintaining a constant humidity in your home is essential for the longevity of your piano. The ideal situation is to have a humidity control system installed inside your piano by your piano technician.
As you get ready to sell your piano, you probably have several thoughts going through your mind. What is it worth? How do I go about selling it? First, have it tuned. "What?" you're thinking, "I just want to sell it, not spend more money on it!" If your piano has just been tuned, it will sound better than the hundreds of out of tune pianos for sale out there, and show buyers that it has been cared for. When I do a presale tuning I can give you an idea of what it is worth, condition, tips on marketing and give an expert opinion to potential buyers.
Fall, my favorite time of year, is now in full swing. After a summer full of storms, the weather now has been just glorious, the leaves are turning, and the nights now have a bit of chill. Fall is also a great time if you are planning on selling your piano. School has started, piano lessons are beginning for the year, and the holidays are not far off. Many people at this time of year are looking for a good, used piano to get a child started in lessons, and churches looking to upgrade are now seeing that need.
Avoid placing a piano in front of a heat vent or where subjected to direct sunlight. These can be devastating by drying out the soundboard and pinblock causing the wood to shrink and crack causing permanent damage in short order. In years past it was not a good idea to place your piano on an outside wall because an outside wall is drafty and subject to temperature changes. This thought is no longer true because modern homes are generally not as drafty as they were 100 years ago.
Your piano is a significant investment that can be the center of your home, a lasting source of fun, entertainment and pleasure. Proper care can ensure a lifetime of trouble-free use and contentment.
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I will be in the Morris area from Sept 28-Oct 1, 2011. If you live in Morris or the surrounding area and have work that needs to be done on your piano, give me a call so that I can schedule you in on this trip.