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, a 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.
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.
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.
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 headquarters in North Carolina and was impressed by their thoroughness and constant scientific analysis of humidity and its effect on pianos.