Piano Maintenance: Caring for your Piano
One of the most common questions I am asked is about how to look after a piano so here are a few tips. The first thing to think about is where in the room the piano will go. If it’s an upright, try and site against an inside wall, make sure that it’s at least 2 feet away from any radiators and hot pipes. Radiators, hot pipes, hot air ducts can spell disaster very quickly. Keep in tune! Ideally get the piano tuned twice a year, more if you play a lot or if it’s a really old piano. Certainly don’t leave it more than a year before tuning. An ‘in tune’ piano is a joy to play and even if it sounds in tune after a year or so, the pitch will have dropped slightly and will continue to drop so keeping it on pitch is vital for your music to sound good. I’m often asked about dust, especially in grand pianos. Trouble is that pianos tend to make their own dust as there is so much felt inside. Dust is not really a huge problem but every few years it should be blown out using a hand blower or similar device. Your tuner can do this easily. Keep the keys clean! Use only a slightly dampened cloth. Never use spirits as this can soak into the wood and cause the keys to warp. Clean the keys regularly. Pianos tend to make good shelves and are usually stacked with books and the like. All well and good but never ever put a plant or flowers on your piano. No matter how careful you are eventually water will get spilled. Water and pianos do not mix and could prove very expensive indeed. I’m often asked about putting a jar of water in the bottom of the piano. There is a common misconception that it will do the piano good! Not so! The humidity in this country is high enough without adding to it. So don’t put any water in your piano…please! A part of the piano that is often forgotten is the back! It gathers all sorts of stuff from dust to books falling down there not to mention all the other bits and bobs that get put on top of the pianos and eventually find themselves falling down the back. It’s a good idea to pull the piano away from the wall and give it a clean now and again - but preferably just before it’s tuned!