14 Jul How to take care of a piano
A few simple rules and ideas that everyone can apply for care of a piano that will go a long way in maintaining the good condition of our piano, as well as increasing its value and useful life.
The basic care of a piano
Something that interests us all to a greater or lesser extent. But what we often fail to do either due to negligence or forgetfulness, is to take good care of a piano. I have seen excellent pianos in a sorry state of neglect, simply because their owners forgot them in a corner. But also hundred-year-old pianos in impeccable condition, almost like new, the difference? Well, provide a minimum of attention and care. Whether it’s for the satisfaction of playing the piano in top working order. Or to maintain (and sometimes add to) its value, it’s worth taking care of. This article is about precisely that, about the best way to take care of a piano, I hope it will be of information and help to you.
The inevitable vase on top of the piano
Of course, the vase of flowers is beautiful on top of the colín, no one disputes it. But please remove it from there, in its apparent innocence, it can be lethal for the piano. If it spills, (which sooner or later it will) we will ruin the machine. Since the liquid seeps inside and soaks and oxidizes hammers, hinges, felts, and axles. Other components of the piano, are going to be a real mess! I have seen many pianos ruined or seriously damaged, precisely because of that. Rule number one; vases, cups, glasses, or anything that contains liquids. It is much better to keep them at a safe distance from the piano.
The piano in general is a much harder instrument than it seems at first glance, as if not, it can withstand a useful life of more than 50 years and thousands and thousands of hours of use without breaking. However, it requires minimal care, many of these cares have a lot to do with common sense, for example, a good location, not using aggressive cleaning products, (especially those that contain ammonia) not allowing nephews when they visit us to jump on the keyboard as a trampoline or let them start the hammers to play with them, etcetera, etcetera.
The cleaning of the piano
The regular application of a few simple products that can be purchased at any store or supermarket is all that is needed to keep the exterior appearance of the piano as the jets of gold.
The exterior part of the piano can be treated like any other piece of furniture, it does not require specific care. A polishing and dust repellent cleaner such as “Pronto” (or any generic brand) work very well. The product is poured onto a micro-fiber cloth or suede, if possible (do not pour the cleaning liquid directly onto the wood), and then applied to the furniture. To finish polishing, use another dry cloth.
To clean the keyboard, the simplest and best thing is to use lukewarm water with a few drops of neutral soap, for example “Mistol” dishwashing liquid or any other similar one. Moisten a cloth and rub carefully. To dry and polish the best is a multifiber cloth.
That is hinges, wheels, pedals, and locks. These parts are usually made of bronze. In more modest pianos they are made of iron with a gold-colored bath. In any case, the best way to clean these parts is with a “Sidol” type metal cleaner or any other similar product.
Tips for the Summer Months
Much has been said about the frightening effect that cold, wet weather can have on pianos. But little or nothing about how it can affect the summer. I am referring in particular and above all to air conditioning. The combination, of heat, dryness, and sudden changes in temperature and relative humidity of the air can be very damaging to the piano, especially when it comes to tuning. Pianos that are placed in a room with strong air conditioning can be out of tune one day and totally out of tune the next. Please don’t accuse the tuner, it’s not his fault, although I’m sure he won’t mind re-tuning the piano (if he gets paid, of course).
The changes in temperature and especially in the relative humidity of the air can be brutal, and you can go from 20 degrees (when the air is working) to 40 degrees in the space of a few minutes. But the problem is not so much the sudden change in temperature as the notable difference in relative humidity. The air conditioning dries the environment very much and if the piano is located in an area where the relative humidity of the air is high, the differences can be very large and go from a very dry environment that could reach up to 30% (air conditioning working) to a very high degree of humidity in the space of minutes (air conditioning off), and that friends are lethal for the piano.
pianos go out of tune, absolutely all of them, their quality has nothing to do with this. It is generally accepted that in order to keep a piano in optimal tuning conditions, it must be tuned by a specialist twice a year, if possible during season changes, that is, in winter when the cold begins and in summer when the entered the first heats, this is so because changes in temperature detune all pianos, and logically it is better to tune once the change of season has occurred.
In my observation, there are very few pianos (whether professional or amateur) that are permanently in tune. Learning to tune our own piano, at least in an elementary way, is not so difficult or expensive. And it can be the ideal solution to solve the curse that afflicts most pianists. “Having to play with an instrument more or less out of tune most of the time.” of the year”.
Something that is not given enough importance. And yet is crucial for the proper functioning and durability of the piano is the regulation. A piano that is used moderately needs a general regulation at least every three or four years. Each one of the 88 notes of the piano is controlled by a delicate mechanism. That must be adjusted and balanced at its correct point every time. If we do it regularly, we will enjoy a piano with pulsation, balance, and sensitivity that are always optimal. The general regulation also includes the adjustment of the pedals and of course the keyboard, in addition to the intonation (prick hammers) of the notes that need it.
Que is what is commonly known as hammer picking. The piano over time loses its tonal balance. That is, some keys, in particular, can sound excessively shrill and others too dull. The way to correct this defect is through intonation. The work must be carried out by a competent technician since it is a quite subtle and specialized technique.
Schedule A regular maintenance schedule is essential for the piano’s durability and to keep it in good condition at all times. It depends a lot on the piano and the use we give it. But as a general rule, we should tune it twice a year (essential) or at least once. And regulate it every three or four.
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