Ashfield Piano Services

Questions and Answers

Piano action hammers and dampersInformation About Pianos.

My goal for this page is to answer any questions you may have about pianos, Listed below are some of the common questions we get asked on a regular basis at Ashfield Pianos. If you have a question not included here please contact me and I will be happy to reply and also add it to the list of answers.

Questions

1. How often should I get my piano tuned?
Ideally, your piano should be tuned every six months.  In certain circumstances, a piano may need to be tuned more often, for example if it is being used on a regular basis for concerts and public performances.  Larger concert halls will have their piano tuned before each concert to make sure it is in the best condition possible.
2.Why does a piano go out of tune?
Inside almost every piano, there are more than two hundred strings.  All of these strings are pulled up to pitch and held in place using Wrest-Pins.  It is by turning these pins clockwise or anti-clockwise that the pitch of individual strings is altered, and the piano tuned.  Once tuned, there are several reasons a piano can go out of tune.  Changes in humidity and temperature are one of the biggest causes.  Playing the piano will also eventually make the piano lose its tuning, however playing the piano extensively should not necessarily mean that the piano will go out of tune quicker.  If the piano is tuned regularly by a competent qualified technician, most good pianos can stay close to pitch regardless of the amount of time the piano is played for.  Mechanical faults such as downbearing issues and loose Wrest-Pins are examples of other situations which allow the piano to slip out of tune quicker than it should.
3.How much is my piano worth?
This is very subjective, as a lot depends on the interior of the piano itself.  A cheaper piano in an immaculate condition can often be worth as much as a top-class instrument which won’t play and in need of a full rebuild.  We can offer a full evaluation service of your instrument if you are interested for insurance purposes, or want to sell your piano in the near future.
4.How old is my piano
If your piano is a better known make, it is usually possible to find the year of manufacture using the serial number.  Unfortunately, there have been literally thousands of piano manufacturers over the years, particularly in the first part of the twentieth century, and on lesser known makes, sometimes it is harder to identify a specific year.  In this case, we will do our very best to help give an educated guess to the decade it was most likely produced, and any other information we can provide.
5.What is concert pitch, and can/should my instrument be tuned to it?

Concert pitch is simply a measurement which was set to allow more than one instrument to play together, and still be in tune with each other.  For example, a clarinet playing a C note might have a pitch of 525 Hertz, and a piano playing the same C might produce a pitch of 520 Hertz.  On their own, these two instruments would sound absolutely fine, but if they played at the same time, they would sound distinctly out of tune!
Concert pitch is usually measured from 440 Hertz, which is an A note.  If you hear an orchestra tuning up before a concert, you will hear them tune to this note to make sure they are all at the same pitch.
A piano does not have to be at concert pitch to sound in tune, as long as all the notes are in tune with each other.  In fact, a lot of older instruments may be incapable of reaching concert pitch due to the strings being too old.  As long as the piano is not being used to accompany another instrument, and the pianist isn’t playing along to a recording, this is perfectly fine.

If a piano is a long way from concert pitch, it is sometimes necessary to tune it twice to get the piano to stay in tune.