For your convenience, the most common customer questions are answered right here.

Q: What if my piano hasn’t been tuned in a long time?

A: It is possible, but not always the case, that the pitch will be below “concert pitch” (A-440) due to the relaxing of the strings. There are two possible procedures:

1. Leave the pitch where it is and tune all of the strings equally flat so that all of the unisons and chords are in tune with each other. While this is not detrimental to the piano, the downside is that other fixed pitch instruments, like a flute or trumpet, will be unable to tune with the piano.

2. Stretch the strings out by pulling them a little sharper than concert pitch, then immediately retune the piano at concert pitch. The danger is that strings are more easily broken due to metal fatigue and rust. My procedure in any tuning is to lower the tension on the string first, which breaks any corrosion on the strings, thereby minimizing the chance of them breaking. Then I will pull it up to the desired pitch.

Q: I’m looking to get a cheap piano to start my children in piano lessons.

A: I believe one should buy a piano that will invite the child to play. If the piano sounds tinny or doesn’t respond well to the touch, the child will not be enriched and drawn to practice. I strongly urge people to make a decent investment rather than to get something that may be inexpensive, but doesn’t play or sound good, thereby squelching the interest and minimizing the success of their child. You can always regain the investment if you decide to sell it later.

Girl playing piano

Keyboards are absolutely no substitution for a piano, no matter how much you pay for them.

There is a web site, www.pianoadoption.com which posts pianos for free. While you need to be selective, I have tuned some pretty nice pianos which were acquired through this site. I strongly suggest you hire a piano technician to check out the piano before you go through the expense of moving it.

Q: What is a good brand of piano to buy?

A: As with any product, there are some companies which consistently produce fine pianos, but the name alone will not guarantee a satisfactory musical instrument. The most important factors in a piano are tone quality and touch.

Tone quality includes resonance (richness of tone), evenness of tone from top to bottom (most often where the tenor strings meet the bass strings), and how long a tone will sustain (especially in the area one to two octaves above middle C, where most melodies are written). The longer the tone “sings” before it dies away, the better the piano.

The touch would include how hard or easy it is to play, the consistency of control one has, and the ability to play louds and softs.

Q: How can I find out the age of my piano?

A: There is a web site that will allow you to research this. Each piano has a serial number on it. Most of the time it is visible on the harp or plate of a grand and on the inside or the back of the vertical piano. It usually is 5-8 digits long and on newer pianos sometimes includes letters, but not to be confused with a model number, which only has a couple numbers or letters.

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Once you found the serial number , you can go to www.bluebookofpianos.com/pianoage.html and look up the age of the piano and other information about the company. The company name is usually embedded on the metal plate of the piano, but which may not be the same as the decal above the keys, because that can be added by a refinisher.

Larry Gerling
760.224.2178
LarryTheTuner@gmail.com