Advice

Advice
On this page we thought it would be a nice idea to give some general advice related to purchasing, caring for and using keyboards and pianos. We have distilled this information from our wealth of resources and experience and hope that you find it beneficial.

 

BUYING AN ACOUSTIC PIANO

The piano you choose will depend on who it is for, how often it will be played, the space available in your home, its appearance and the amount of money you wish to spend, which will determine the quality of the instrument, but a good piano is seldom, if ever, a bad investment. Every piano has an individual character of touch and tone, so choose one which feels and sounds right for you.

 

BUYING NEW

Find a reputable retailer, offering a guarantee, delivery and tuning.

 

BUYING SECONDHAND

Don’t be tempted to buy a “cheap old piano” for a beginner, which could be worthless or even dangerous (NB a stretched piano string exerts 18 tons of pressure on an upright…close to 30 on a grand).
The guidelines below are to help to evaluate a piano before buying. Even if it appears to be mechanically sound, as there are over five thousand parts, it is always advisable to consult a qualified piano technician who can tell you what repairs may be necessary, at what cost and if the selling price needs negotiation.
Buying privately through the internet should only be done with the advice of a qualified tuner in the area of the sale and the use of a reputable insured remover.
CASE – Look for scratches, dents, missing pieces of veneer and evidence of woodworm outside and inside the piano.
KEYS – Look for unevenness and chipped or missing key covers. Play all the notes to find any excessive side movement or keys which stick down. Listen for clicks, buzzes, squeaks, rattles or notes continuing to sound, which suggests faults and if it sounds badly out of tune.
PEDALS – Push them down to see if they work properly without squeaking.
IRON FRAME – Avoid pianos without a metal frame inside.
STRINGS – Look for missing or rusted strings (total string replacement is very costly).
TUNING PINS (hold top end of strings) – Look for corrosion around them and cracks in the wood into which they are fitted.
ACTION (mechanism) – Look for broken or missing parts; uneven spacing, badly worn or moth-eaten felts.
SOUNDBOARD (wooden panel behind strings) – Look for cracks and splits, or listen for sustained buzzing or rattling.
CARING FOR YOUR PIANO
Your piano is an investment which needs to be cared for properly so that it lasts for years. The guidelines below will help to do this, or a qualified piano technician will be happy to advise.

 

TUNING AND MAINTENANCE

Pianos are designed to sound best when regularly tuned to A440 pitch, matching other instruments.
To maintain this, pianos need tuning twice a year, even if not played much. A piano may require a larger pitch adjustment to restore tuning stability which involves more time and expense, if it has not been tuned regularly or has been in excessively dry or humid surroundings. As working parts are affected by wear, they will need servicing occasionally.

 

CLEANING THE CASE AND KEYS

Pianos are finished with a variety of materials to protect the wood and enhance the natural beauty and only need to be dusted with a dry clean soft cotton cloth to avoid scratching. Keys may be cleaned with a slightly damp cloth, then wiped with a dry cloth.
Use polish sparingly, but avoid using spray polishes and polishes containing silicone. Do not attempt to clean the inside or oil any squeaking parts, as these need the attention of a qualified piano technician. Do not put anything containing liquids (vases, plants, drinks) on top, as spillage could cause serious, costly damage and objects on top may cause noises when you play.

 

PIANO LOCATION

Ideally, pianos should be in a “lived-in” room, where relatively even temperature and humidity help to prevent the components swelling, drying or shrinking and so maintain tuning stability. Excessive heat, cold or moisture are likely near heat sources, in direct sunlight, on outside walls and under windows. With under floor heating, stand the piano on foil backed polystyrene. A piano technician can install a low wattage heater to control damp conditions and a simple humidifier can help counteract central heating dryness.
(reproduced with the kind permission of The Association Of Blind Piano Tuners)

 

 

 

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TEACHER’S TIPS

 

1. SITTING AT THE PIANO

A suitable seat or piano stool is so important to maintain a good back posture and hand position on the piano keys. Imagine you were sitting ready at the dinner table. For that, you would ideally want to be at a good height so that you are comfortable and able to get to your meal without reaching up or down for your knife and fork. Works just as well for your digestion AND your playing!

2. PLENTY OF LIGHT

Throwing enough light on your piano, your hands and your music book is so helpful towards making your piano playing time comfortable. Have your lamp poised nearby or placed in the centre of your piano top to save you from getting tired eyes reading the notes on the page.

3. CLEAN HANDS, CLEAN KEYS

Dust your keys and wash your hands before playing. It’ll make things so much better for you (and the next person too!!).

4. PATIENCE

Practically everything we do nowadays is made easier or quicker with the aid of technology. Playing an instrument is something we can all attempt but it will certainly take time to do it well. Be patient, stay calm, slow down if necessary and you’ll get there!

5. PRACTICE…..THEN HAVE FUN!

Exploring and having fun at the piano is one of the best things you can do, but if you are having lessons, make sure you practice what you NEED to do as well. In fact, if you do your practice FIRST then you can have fun while knowing your teacher will be happy too when they see you next lesson!
THE SUPER SUMMER SALE IS NOW ON
THE SUPER SUMMER SALE IS NOW ON