Humidity and Your Piano

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Does the level of humidity in your home affect your piano?
A large part of your piano is made up of wood and felt. Two natural materials that swell or contract depending on the amount of humidity in the air.
Every time the humidity levels change the materials in the piano will shift. The movements are often small, but it doesn’t take a lot to affect the piano. There are many small parts that make up the piano and work together so if one part is misplaced there are other parts that will feel the change as well.

How can you help your piano from being impacted by these changes?
The placement of your piano in your home is one way in which you can protect your instrument. Placing your piano on a wall not facing the outdoors will keep it at a stable temperature. If possible keep it at a distance from major heat sources such as a wood stove.

Humidifiers designed for the piano are a great way to maintain stability in your piano. Dampp Chaser systems are made specifically for pianos. These systems are installed by a qualified technician and include a humidifier, dehumidifier, and humidistat. Once installed it is maintained by adding water and water treatment to the system when the light indicator notifies you and having the pads replaced as needed. The pads are usually replaced every 6-12 months.

Is a dampp chaser humidifier system worth it?
It is an investment when you initially have it installed but it can help keep your piano in good repair and the tuning stable which at the end of the day can save you money.
You can learn more about Dampp Chaser here:
What about a regular room humidifier?
The downside of a room humidifier is that the humidity is not directed specifically to the piano. The water will be dispersed throughout the whole room leaving a small amount that impacts the piano. The larger the room, the less impact the humidifier will have on the piano.

The more stable the humidity levels, the more stable your piano will be.

How Often Should My Piano Be Tuned?

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How often do you need to have your piano tuned?

Having your piano tuned on a regular basis is one of the most effective things you can do to keep your piano in the best shape possible.

Your piano is made of natural materials such as wood and felt. Both wood and felt will be affected by humidity levels. With higher humidity levels the materials will absorb moisture and expand, creating slight shifts in the instrument. As humidity levels decrease these materials will then shrink and in turn creating shifts within the piano again.

Another major component of the piano is the piano strings. For a lot of the notes you have three strings, some lower notes have two and the low bass notes have one large string. When the strings are tuned they stretch. Having your piano tuned regularly will keep the strings stable and moving smoothly.

With a brand new piano manufacturers recommend having your piano tuned four times in the first year to help stretch and stabilize the strings. After that twice a year is great to keep your piano sounding great. Some people are happier having it tuned more often and some choose to have their piano tuned once a year. Once a year would be the minimum to keep your piano maintained. If left too long the piano will need to have a pitch raise and require a few tunings to stabilize and get it back in shape.

What Is Regulation And Why Does My Piano Need It?

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What is regulation, how is it different from a piano tuning and why is my piano technician recommending it?

Piano regulation is adjustments made to the action, keyboard, damper system, and pedals. The piano is made of many parts and to keep it moving smoothly as a whole, each part needs to be in the right spot, aligned and adjusted properly.

Will a regulation affect the sound of your piano? The regulation will make the feel and touch of the piano smoother and more enjoyable to play. It will eliminate any hindrances that may be in the way of your playing. So yes it does affect the way your piano sounds in that it makes touch and sound consistent.

Your piano is made up of a lot of natural materials including wood and wool. This means that with each season change and the fluctuation of humidity levels all the little parts making up the piano will shift and need adjustments over time to return it to its best self.

Regulation makes the piano play as dynamic as possible. To have the finest control of your piano regulation is important.

Tuning your piano is very important and should be done regularly but a tuning focuses on the piano’s pitch, not on the touch and uniform responsiveness of the keys.

Fun facts about Pianos

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  • The piano was invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori (1655 – 1731) of Padua, Italy.  The exact date of the first piano he made is uncertain.
  • The piano is one of the oldest instruments still commonly played today.
  • Until the 1950s piano key tops were often made with ivory. This is where the saying “tickle the ivories” comes from.
  • In the first year that you own a piano it is beneficial for the piano (and your ears!) to have it tuned four times. After that, it is recommended that you have your piano tuned twice a year.
  • The piano’s full name is pianoforte.
  • Even though the piano is a melodic instrument and has strings it actually belongs to the percussion family because it uses hammers to strike the strings.
  • The activity of playing music stimulates multiple parts of the brain.
  • Music effects people emotionally and physically.
  • Music engages visual and fine motor skills simultaneously.
  • Thomas Jefferson used music to inspire him to write the Declaration of Independence.