Tuning involves tightening (or loosening) the strings. Strings are attached to a hitch pin, travel across a bridge (which transfers the energy from the string to the soundboard) and are wound around a threaded tuning pin. Each pin (and each string) are adjusted to make the instrument sound 'in tune' with itself and other instruments.
A number of factors can cause a piano to fall (or, in rare cases, rise) significantly in pitch: going unturned for several years; moving a piano; substantial changes in climate (for example, moving from Victoria, or a flooded basement). A pitch raise involves tuning the piano back up to concert pitch (A-440). This involves a substantial amount of time and effort (usually two tuning passes) and may involve a follow-up visit when the instrument starts to stabilize.
Temperament / Historical Temperaments
Temperament refers to the mathematical relationship between the relative tuning of each note. Most modern pianos are tuned using an 'equal temperament'. Historical temperaments (meantone, Werckmeister, etc.) are found more often on period instruments (clavichords, harpsichords, Renaissance and Baroque organs, etc). An historical temperament can be applied to any instrument at an additional cost.
This service is offered by Steinway's Concert and Artist department in London, England. In addition to tuning, the action is removed from the piano, the keybed cleaned, the friction points on the keybed treated with Teflon powder, the action stack is removed and each key is removed to clean the balance rail and guide pins. Basic adjustments to regulate the action are made as required. This service has the advantage of ensuring the instrument is, overall, working properly and addresses some of the fundamental issues related to how the piano keys feel under the player's hands without resorting to the more complex process of undergoing a complete regulation. (Generally performed only on grand pianos.)
Action regulation involves removing the action from the piano and taking it into the shop for a day. There, the action is disassembled and the mechanical elements cleaned, adjusted and / or repaired as necessary. The result is a more responsive touch and a greater control overall. The cost of action regulation depends upon the level of detail involved. Specific details of action regulation are discussed with the client in advance of the work, and are geared towards client requirements.
Voicing / Toning
Often (and best) performed in conjunction with an action regulation. Voicing (called toning in Europe) can involve re-shaping hammers (to remove string cutting), setting the hammers to the strings, and needling (for a softer tone) or 'juicing' (for a brighter tone) hammers. The goal is to help an instrument produce an even tone across its entire range. Repairs, etc.
Repairs are priced according to the work required and vary based upon the complexity of the work. A client may elect to attend to certain issues (pedal squeak, touch weight, etc.) in order of importance to him / her, and according to their own resources. Many common adjustments can be attended to in the course of a basic tuning.
Includes square grand pianos, pianos with non-Erard (Renner) actions (Viennese actions, patented Bl�thner actions, etc.), clavichords and harpsichords. Services are priced according to the complexity of the work.
I have often been asked to assess an instrument after it has been purchased. I prefer to do this before a purchase is made, and help a client find an instrument that suits both their playing requirements and their budget. Whether you are contemplating a private purchase or purchasing an instrument from a dealer, please consider hiring an independent technician who can help assess the instrument prior to making this long-term investment.
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