I hope all of my clients are well aware that pianos ought to be tuned at least twice a year. This is the basic service, like getting your car’s oil changed. If that’s all you did, your vehicle would keep running, but over time you’ll notice the performance begins to suffer.
The same is true with your piano. Over time you find yourself not making music so easily- sure you can press all the notes and get to the end of your piece but you had to force the keys to make the proper dynamic and articulation. So you’re working harder just to get the desired sound and you aren’t able to focus on making it sound musical. Maybe there’s more than a little struggle with gently flowing passages or you notice some missing notes in a piece that offers a technical challenge.
Those are issues a mature musician can relate to, what about beginners and students?
Imagine teaching a young driver how to operate their vehicle but the car constantly pulls to the left because the alignment is off or there’s no power steering? There’s already so much to think about; new concepts, technique, tempo, rhythm, dynamics, even reading basic notes- to the beginner they’re all difficult without having to work against the piano.
Then we can consider the very young children and older adult musicians. If the keys are too difficult to press, tiny fingers can’t play and arthritic hands that once played beautifully become easily frustrated.
Recently, C.J.’s Pianos regulated and voiced a grand piano for a professional musician – he loved it so much that we received a call from his wife at 2am because he wouldn’t stop playing, it was as though he got a new instrument again, maybe better. Not too long before that a customer came to us wanting to sell their piano because they couldn’t play anymore, making music became too difficult, we regulated the piano and now him and his grand-daughter play duets, the little girl will be inheriting the instrument.
If all we ever do for you is tune we’ll be happy to provide that service, but we really want to enable you to be better musicians. Sometimes sounding better at the piano means making the piano play better so the pianist can become a better player.
Most often, when we talk about a piano being properly tuned we are referring to equal temperament. This is an arrangement for the 12 notes of an octave being equally spaced.
Mathematically speaking, an octave is a 1:2 ratio, so in order to divide the octave into 12 equal parts we need a number which when multiplied by itself 12 times is 2.
Through using this ratio, one can find all the frequencies based on a set pitch.
For instance: A440
A880 is the octave above A440
C523.2511… Is approximately the C above A440
These are the numbers I’m setting your piano to while tuning. Those numbers are easy to me. For this article they are absolute. When I’m tuning, the challenge is balancing tension. Unisons are an apparent way to reveal this challenge.
When tuned, the average tension on a piano string is around 165lbs. There are about 220 strings on a piano. That’s over 18 tons of tension on the entire instrument! To make a string sound an octave higher would require doubling the tension and we can use the same formula for dividing the temperament. If the piano is consistently a semitone flat (A sounds as Ab) the technician is adding 9.26lbs of tension to reach string. Multiply that by the number of strings = over a ton. This isn’t uncommon enough, 3% of my appointments are this much of an adjustment.
Last week I raised the pitch of a piano 3 semitones, a minor third. That’s 26.25 lbs per string, over 5,775lbs on the entire instrument!
So those illustrate the extreme tuning situations a piano technician is confronted with, most well maintained pianos fall within 10¢ deviation of the right pitch. The distance between two semitones being divided into 100¢, so an octave would be divided into 1200 equal parts:
Therefore, 10¢ flat would be an equation like this to represent tension:
The tension is only about 0.85lbs low. The total tension change on the entirety of the piano might be a maximum of 187. I say maximum because properly maintained pianos often hold their tuning in the bass and upper treble relatively well.
Taking this a step further to the minimum threshold we perceive a deviation in the tuning, 0.5¢. Within a unison, even an untrained ear can perceive this with active listening. Now we’re dividing the octave into 12,000 parts to measure tenths.
As a piano tuner I am constantly listening to create a unison within less than 0.05lbs.
Yes, I can hear that within the course of playing, especially in an otherwise perfectly tuned chord.
Since I started marketing my specialized service in cleaning pianos, several of you have asked about cleaning the case yourself. I understand this, I love doing things myself, it’s part of what has led my way down this road into piano service. I do have cleaning products which are specific to individual finishes on pianos.
If you use the wrong cleaner on a finish you will damage the visual aesthetic of your instrument. A lacquered finish will have a chemical reaction with many standard household cleaners, completely buggering the finish or even removing it! Polyester and other hard finishes will show micro-scratches and over time create a cloudy finish to a piano which once had a beautiful luster.
Currently, I’m not carrying stocked items, if I receive enough interest I will certainly be your supplier. C.J.’s Pianos is, above all, a full service piano company!
Thank you for making us the best piano service in the region!
$4,000 Come in for a deal!
Yamaha has been an industry leader for several decades for both home and performance pianos. This instrument retails new for nearly $11,000. As this is not a new piano and I acquired it as a piece to restore to like new condition, I can offer it at this greatly reduced price.
$10,000 Come in for a Deal!
This gorgeous example of American craftsmanship has been fully restored. Hand crafted in 1889-90 when it probably sold for around $400. In this piano’s perfect condition I’ve seen values of nearly $18,000 accounting for inflation and the brand’s annual appreciation of 4%
Today a new 52″ Steinway upright sells for $35,800 in this satin ebony finish.
Spread the word and save!
Savings for You:
This program offers music studios and educational institutions like yours the opportunity to receive $25 referral credits toward future tunings in exchange for recommending CJ’s Pianos to your clients. For each client you refer who contacts CJ’s Pianos to schedule a tuning, you receive a $25 referral credit toward your next tuning. There is no limit to the number of $25 referral credits you may receive, which means the more clients you refer, the more you save!
Savings for Your Clients:
Each client you refer will also receive a $25 referral credit toward their first tuning with CJ’s Pianos, simply for being referred by you.
Email us today to learn more about this exciting program: