Published: June 2019
By: Naomi Stolze
Piano tuning is the art of making minute adjustments
The well-established and reputable WS Pianos should be your first port of call for any piano repairs, sales, tuning, restoration, transport, evaluations, and rebuilding.
The piano remains one of the most beautiful instruments ever to have been invented. With its rich sound and incredible versatility, it is a popular choice for aspiring musicians. However, the initial investment can be costly. A way to minimise costs is by purchasing a second-hand piano. One can make an excellent buy and get real value for money – but you can also get horribly cheated. Unfortunately, dishonesty and unscrupulous behaviour have become commonplace in the second-hand piano industry, according to leading piano expert, Werner Stolze of WS Pianos. Buying a piano is an investment, and requires a considerable amount of knowledge and savvy. Your best option is to call on Werner to assist you in your purchase. He is able to evaluate a piano and make recommendations which could ultimately save you an incredible amount of money and frustration. However, he has provided some key features and faults to look out for:
- Listen to the sound of the piano. Any rattling or distortion could be a sign that something has come loose.
- Inspect the hammers. They should not be hard, cut, broken, or dented in any place where they come into contact with the string.
- If any of the strings look like they’ve been tampered with or have rusted, be wary.
- Pay attention to the action of the piano. If the action is smooth, the hammer will immediately fall back.
- If the metal frame is damaged in any way, you should definitely think twice about purchasing the piano.
- Look for any swelling or bursts in the back of the piano. These will severely affect the tone.
- Have a look at the ribs. These can sometimes break or be pulled away from the sounding board
This is by no means a comprehensive list, and it is strongly advised that you consult a professional before making a purchase.
As for the tuning of a piano, Werner has the following to say:
“Piano tuning is the art of making minute adjustments to the tensions of the strings of an acoustic piano to properly align the intervals between their tones so that the instrument is in tune. This requires an understanding of the basic physics of sound generation, its dynamics and harmonic structures to tricords, beats and sound cancellation.”
“Pianos consist of white and black keys which can have up to three strings attached to them, piano tuning requires the tightening of each individual string and to repeat this process over 200 times per piano.”
Evidently, tuning is a complex process, and pianos are extremely sensitive to movement and weather conditions. Even a slight deviation can lead to an unpleasant playing experience. Having a highly skilled tuner is of the utmost importance for a pleasurable sound