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Piano humidity control

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Originally posted on 24/05/2013 12:00

In our last post we briefly looked at the dangers of overly dry or humid conditions around one’s piano. Dry conditions are considerably more common, and can lead to problems such as loose tuning pins,rattling keys, and cracks in the pinblock and soundboard. Overly moist conditions cause wood to swell, crushing sensitive parts under undue pressure, and will cause the thousands of moving parts in the piano’s action to lose proper regulation, leading to sluggish response times/performance. Excess moisture also causes convex bulging in the bridge, putting excess tension on the strings and causing the pitch to go sharp. In dry conditions, the bridge goes flat, and creates the opposite problem.

The solution is quite simple. Keep your instrument away from heat and a/c sources, and maintain proper humidity levels, which can be checked with the qauges mentioned in our last post. There are several ways to go about this. Any standard humidifier/dehumidifier placed under or near the instrument will do the job, but there is a downside to this: cost. While it may seem like the simpler, more affordable fix when compared to buying a dedicated piano humidifying system, the annual cost of operation can be nearly ten times that of the on-board piano system. These dedicated systems, such as the Piano Life Saver from Dampp-Chaser, consist of a humidistat, humidifier, dehumidifier, a water-fill tube and an indicator panel to tell you when to top up the water supply. Not only are they cheaper to operate, they require less work, requiring attention only a couple times a month, as opposed to nearly every single day.

If you’d like to have such a system installed in your upright or grand piano, give IVORIES.CA a call today at 416-871-2550!

Buyer beware…What to look out for when buying a used piano.

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Originally posted on 08/05/2013 01:35

In our daily travels in the piano tuning business, we often come upon a variety of unfortunate, but entirely avoidable situations. One such occurrance is finding customers who’ve recently acquired used pianos, usually through on-line or print classified ads, that end up being not only not as advertised, but often completely unplayable and tunable without a considerable additional investment in structural and mechanical repairs.

Once must be cautious of purchasing pianos bearing brand names. Not all are what they first appear to be. While less common than in say the guitar industry, there is no shortage of scam artists trying to fool buyers into purchasing a well known brand name piano, when infact, the instrument is far lower on the quality scale. It is imperative to look for the brand name non only on the fallboard, which can be easily replaced, but also on the plate/harp and soundboard. A quick bit of on-line investigating comparing these features to other similar makes and models can go a long way in confirming a piano’s authenticity. This goes for serial numbers as well, which can be stamped or painted/printed on. There are many useful sites on-line that can be used to research these serial numbers and see not only if the piano is from the said manufacturer, but when and where it was made. A quick bit of Google research can ensure you buy a Lexus, and not a lemon.

As the old saying goes: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. This most definitley applies to buying used pianos as well.