Friday, December 30, 2016

Should Senior Citizens Really Buy the Used Piano They Always Wanted?

The short answers is "YES!" It's never to late to fullfill your dream of owning your own piano. Whether it's a new or used piano, if getting started makes you happy, "go for it." A little right brain activity every day is good for your health and piece of mind. (Not to mention, it's the opposite of social media...which most of us love and even hate sometimes.)

If a piano brings you joy, get one and get started. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, January 4, 2016

The "Mom-Jump-Starts-the-Kids-on-Piano" Craze

It's happening now and it's been going on for years. Mom used to play piano so the family decides to get a used piano. The next thing you know, Mom is playing again, the older kid is taking lessons from the piano teacher and the toddler is getting lessons from their mother. It's a family project and it's been going on since the early 1700's.

Most piano teachers do not take on students until they are five years old so in the mean time, go for it Mom! Get a used piano, start playing again, help the older kids with their lessons and jump start your toddlers as soon as they can behave themselves at the piano.

It's a family project that really pays off and is often passed down through generations.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Rolling Your Piano Across the Floor

Most pianos have casters. Why not just roll it across the living room floor, right? Well, not exactly. These casters were really designed to roll the piano a couple of feet, not to the other side of the house. Rolling your piano across the floor can be a small disaster! This can mark up your bare wood floors with slight scuffing or deep trails in pine floors. Your carpet could become discolored or snagged.

In some cases, while the happy couple is in "Superman" mode pushing as hard as they possibly can, the piano even get caught in a rut and actually dump over on it's back; it's kind of rare, but it does happen. This is extremely dangerous. It could land on someone's foot, leg or even "Whiskers" the cat! Many people have thrown their backs out trying to "catch" the piano out of instinct. (Even a small spinet piano weighs around 300 lbs. and that hurts when you catch them.)

Grand pianos usually have hefty casters, also. If an old grand piano is rolled across the room, it could put grooves in the floor and, in some rare cases, collapse due to a weak or cracked leg. (Grand pianos can weigh over one thousand pounds. It's not worth the risk.)

Call a professional piano mover to move your piano across the room or to the other side of your home. Usually, piano movers will be available in a day or two to come over and get the job done right.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Getting Your Piano Ready BEFORE the Piano Tuner Arrives

Here are a few tips on how to be ready for your piano tuner when they come to work on your instrument:

Please clear the music books, candles, photographs, sculptures, toys, misc paraphernalia, live animals, etc. off the top of your piano.

Let the family know that it should be fairly quiet in the house when the piano tuner starts to go through the tuning procedure. (This is not necessary during repairs of the piano in many cases, just during the tuning session.) The quality of your tuning is determined by several factors. One if them is whether your piano tuner could hear what they were doing while tuning your piano.

So please turn down the:
  • X-Box air strikes in the boys room
  • Teenage diva screaming matches over clothing
  • The fully-loaded, state-of-the-art John Deere lawn mower right out side the window
  • The washing machine that makes "that weird noise."
  • The dishwasher that whispers right over all harmonics while we are tweaking the high treble on your piano
  • The hockey game on the giant screen
  • The Dyson
  • The toy drones
  • You Tube
  • And please let your Beagle out soon.
Let your piano tuner in the door, please. All tuners have a sixth-sense when it comes to hearing the "stuff" flying off the piano onto a nearby coffee table while we're staring at the "Welcome to Our Home" sign that's right next to the hornets' next at the front door (because you "never really use that door"). Let us in and we will gladly help you remove all the stuff from your piano. We do it everyday.

After your tuner greets the dogs, cats, chickens, snakes, parrots, guinea pigs or in my experience, wallaby's, bring them into another room and keep them there so the piano technician can move around the piano area without the boa constrictor slithering down the high treble into the toolbox. (Many tuners love animals, but need to get the job done quickly and efficiently so they can move on to the next service call so, "it's nothing personal, it's just business.")

Piano tuning sessions vary from about 45 minutes to 3 hours in some cases. On-site repairs can take seconds or hours in some cases. If your piano tech is coming for the first time, leave a little extra time for them to finish the work properly.

Yes, piano tuners can be "eccentric." 

Remember: We are a product of YOUR environment.

Help us be more normal, please.

Thank you.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring Cleaning and Your Piano

Ah yes, springtime. Warmer temperatures, longer days, yard work and spring cleaning.

So how does this affect your piano? Opening your windows for an extended period of time to air out the living room may increase the humidity in the room, but as long as you are having your piano tuned every six months, your piano will be fine. Yes, a change in humidity can knock your piano out of tune a little bit, but chances are it's almost time to have your instrument tuned again soon, so it's not a problem.

Renovating the house for a new look, but the piano is in the way? Here's were things can go terribly wrong.

DO NOT move your piano to the garage area. Mice, birds, insects and other critters love to make little nests inside pianos. I have pulled many, many rodent nests out of pianos that were put out in the garage, in the barn or even on the farmer's porch while the home was being renovated. It only takes a few hours for one mouse to make a huge mess or even ruin the inner workings of your piano. This can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars to fix or even total your piano for good.

THE BEST SOLUTION is to have professional piano movers or even your piano tuner move your piano into the corner of another room inside the house. If the renovation project is going to create dust all over the place, you can go to your local hardware store and pick up some cheap plastic drop cloths and some duct tape. This will usually cost under $10.

Move the piano to its new location, drape the plastic drop cloth over the instrument and wrap it fairly tightly with duct tape. Next, drape an old bed sheet over the piano and your piano will be protected for the most part.

After the project is completed, unwrap the plastic and move the piano back to its original location.

Flip the lid open and inspect the inside of the instrument with a flashlight. In most cases, the inside of the piano will look just like it did before the project.

In the event that you see a fine coating of dust on the tuning pins and one the hammers, call your piano technician and ask about an internal cleaning and tuning.

Following these simple steps will help to insure that your piano is O.K. and you'll be ready to enjoy practicing in your newly decorated room.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Piano Accessory Holiday Shopping Tips - Do's and Don'ts

Piano accessories can make great holiday gifts. Composer statuettes, piano lamps and metronomes can make awesome surprise presents for the serious piano owner or student. The younger music major loves the famous piano scarf and G clef earrings. In fact, if you look online for music themed gifts, you will find thousands of clothing accessories, jewelry items and miniatures that are lots of fun.

Awkward Alert: Do not buy custom items as surprise gifts because accurate measurements are needed for many of these accessories.

For example, piano covers really can be custom made so they fit tightly on the instrument. Before you can order piano caster cups to protect floors, you will need both the wheel measurements and piano weight details so the cups don't break. Climate control systems for the piano should really be ordered by the piano technician after the piano is measured correctly. Piano benches need to be the correct height and width. Many times, the owner will want the bench to match exact finish color of the existing piano. Piano finish shades vary. Contact your piano technician to get advice on color matching a new bench to the piano.

Stick to the "sure thing." Small framed posters or paintings of the piano lesson in progress are popular for their traditional value, but spending $300 for a needlepoint bench cover is risky business unless you can sneak in and get the exact measurements of the bench lid. Let the piano tuner help with shopping for a decorative piano bench cover. 

Piano pens, pencil holders, musical brooches, barrettes, ski caps, snow boards with piano keys and even music boxes are very popular. My favorite place to buy piano related gifts is eBay. You can even find sheet music that your great-great grandmother learned from. If you're looking for new musical items online, use one of the top 10 search engines to start the process and you will be amazed at what comes up on your screen.

Remember: If it requires custom measurements, plan ahead and ask your piano tuner to help or shop for something else.

Shop eBay for collectables. Amazon is great for both new and used items and many times you can get free shipping. If they are into clothing and accesssories, use the search engines to start your search and plan ahead because there are lots of great deals from overseas, but shipping time averages about three weeks.

Shop for musical gifts make someone smile when they open their gifts this holiday season!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Do You Really Have to Wait Two Weeks to Tune Your Piano After it is Moved?

Well, that's what the textbook says, but the reality of what goes on out there in the piano service world, you may be able to cut that corner.

When the piano tuner finishes tuning your piano, it starts to go out of tune on a micro-scale within a few hours. Slowly, the top end goes out along with any strings that may have loose tuning pins and after a while, it's completely "out" again.

In  another case, where a piano has had several strings replaced, the tuner will stretch these strings and then tune them. In a few weeks, these strings will tend to go out of tune first. The tuner is called by the customer and comes out to tune the piano again and charges the customer again for another tuning.

In a third situation, the piano is placed near the front door in sunny Montreal, Canada is tuned and goes out of tune quickly as it gets a sub-zero draft a couple times per day. In some cases, the piano can be moved to a better location in the room, maybe an inside wall, farther from the front door. But in this case, "Aunt Sally" likes the piano right next to the front door because she can look out the window at the snowflakes as she's playing, "Winter Wonderland."

You see, after four piano tunings in under two years, a decent piano in good shape will "stabilize." It is at this point, and only at this point, will you as a piano owner get to enjoy a well-tuned piano for six months at a time.

Don't expect your piano to stabilize after you tune it once, two weeks after the movers leave.

Where am I going with this?

Right here:
In my opinion, the sooner you tune your piano four times within a two-year period, the sooner it will stabilize for six months at a time.

So, don't bother waiting two weeks. Just call your piano tuner, schedule your first tuning and then make sure your piano gets tuned every six months, every year, all the time and the world will be a better place.

"Tune it forward?"