Flood & water damaged pianos

Piano Exposure to Water/Moisture

Piano’s and water / humidity do not mix well and can be very harmful to your piano. A piano that has been exposed to high changes in temperature or humidity will require numerous piano tunings and complete regulation just to stabilize a piano that has been exposed to these conditions.Piano Tuner

It only gets worse from there. If the piano has been subjected to standing water above the case of the piano in all likelihood will be damaged beyond repair. At this point you will be in the market for a new piano.

Water that has gotten to the soundboard,  will also weaken the many glue joints that are in the piano resulting in all kind of damage. Wet strings will cause rust that will continue until the strings begin to break.

Then there is all of the hundreds if not thousands of bushings that will swell and cause keys to stick and just not play. There are many other problems that water and humidity can do to the case of the piano as well as the keys.

If this sounds like a serious problem, well it is. There is thousands of pounds of string pressure on the harp and case. Water can cause structural problems that just can’t be repaired.

Are you in a flood prone area? In the case of your piano and many other pieces of furniture in your home, your best solution is going to be Great Flood Insurance along with a value appraisal  of your piano prior to the damage.

One of the most important facts you should be aware of is the length of time it can take for a lot of these problems to show themselves. In the case of the strings breaking, you may not see the problem for a year or more. As for the many bushings, they also can take time to show the problems that will occur.

Now for a little good news. Pianos that have been subjected to high humidity or sat in a few inches of water for a short amount of time can usually be repaired. However these problems can still be serious.

Continued exposure to high humidity can foster rust to the strings, tuning pins and the many metal pieces of the internal parts of a piano. The wood can crack when it is drying out. Also there is the mold issue that is a subject for another post. Stay Tuned.

 

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pianos-new-and-used

Purchasing New and Used Pianos

Purchasing pianos new or used is not only an expensive project, it is also a lifetime commitment. Your time and money is valuable so you will want to make the most of it. Many people purchase there first piano when one of there children decide to begin taking piano lessons. Make sure you invest in a piano you’ll find easy and enjoyable to play.yamahapolyester

While the cabinet of the piano is usually a huge concern, it is not the most important concern facing you when looking for a new piano (new or used).

There are two people you should get in your corner before looking for your first piano. The first person is a qualified piano technician/tuner and second would be a good piano teacher. These folks can help you through your purchase.

If you are purchasing a piano for a young child (5 to 10 years of age) you might want to consider purchasing a pre-owned piano until you are sure your child will continue to take lessons and learn to play piano. One of the reasons for this is obviously the expense of a new piano that will just sit if your child decides not to continue with piano. While new pianos are quite pricey approx ($7000.00) and can be much more expensive, they do come with a manufacturer’s warranty. If you are going to buy new then you should require that all tuning and moving be picked up by the piano company you purchase from. You can also choose what type of furniture style it comes in.

Used pianos can be purchased for quite a bit less, almost always under $2000.00. While you can almost always find a great piano used, never shop for a used piano without a qualified piano technician to check all aspects of your possible purchase. When searching for a used piano, find a piano that plays well and looks the way you want, and then call your piano technician and have him or her come check it out.
As you can see you can save money buying used, if your piano holds up without a lot of extra maintenance.
Last, you should find out as much as you can about the piano, including how it was previously used and maintained. This includes checking where the piano was in its previous home. Things like fire places that are frequently used will dry a piano out and over time ruin an otherwise great looking piano. (One reason to have a Piano Technician check the piano.) you can’t see this damage.
Whether you decide to buy a new  piano, note that all new pianos need some adjustments after being shipped and prior to being sold. So make sure your piano company is willing to make those adjustments for you!

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piano-instability-because-of-humidity-and-dryness

Coming Soon

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Accoustic Piano VS the Digital type

Acoustic Piano VS the Digital type

We can start with some key facts about the piano. Modern accoustic pianos have been around for hundreds of years.Bartolomeo Cristofori invented the first pianoforte in Venice, Italy.

He Created a hammer mechanism that would produce sound by striking the string and causing a vibration of that string and passing the vibration through the bridge to the soundboard.

Baldwin-Grand-Piano

Baldwin 9′ 0 Grand Piano

Many musical instruments produce sound in this manner, the way you cause the strings to vibrate will differ. You might pluck or pick the strings of your guitar. A bow can be used to make the sounds that come from a violin or a cello.

With an acoustic piano, you push down on the keys to cause a hammer to hit and bounce off of the strings. This brings up a little trivia. Most people would say that a piano is a strung instrument however it is actually a percussion instrument. Hammer strikes the string 🙂

This allows the strings to vibrate and allows the pianist to give expression and soul to the music being played. By varying the force, speed, and release, when hitting the keys, the music being played can vary a great deal on an acoustic piano. Not so much on an Electric Piano.

An acoustic piano typically contains from 10,000  to 12,000 parts and come in two basic styles: a grand piano and an upright or vertical piano. Grand pianos range in size from 4 feet 7 inches to over 9 feet in length and are horizontal.

The strings on the grand piano are parallel to the ground. Gravity pulls the hammers back down to their resting points after hitting the string or strings. Upright pianos can also be categorized by size and include the spinet which is 36 inches in height. The console is 40 to 42 inches and the studio is 45 inches.

The console piano is the most common upright found in homes.

Digital pianos are electronic instruments that reproduce sounds that have been sampled or taken from the sound of different pianos and stored on computer chips inside the piano.

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This is a Yamaha Digital Piano

A digital piano has from 61 to 88 keys. They do not have the need for hammers or strings or any of the moving parts you will find in an acoustic piano.

The sound is produced when you tell the digital pianos computer to make a sound by pressing a key. This sound is different depending on the key pressed.

Good quality digital pianos may have a weighted key action feature that tries to imitate the feel of an acoustic piano keyboard. Manufacturers have been trying for years to create the feel of the keyboard so that it will emulate an acoustic piano.

While they have gotten better, I have played many of them and not found one yet that felt like an acoustic piano.  Electronic keyboards and organs I general don’t have weighted key actions.

You can hear the sounds the digital keyboard makes through built-in speakers, an external sound systems or headphones. When deciding what type of piano to buy, try out as many good quality instruments as you can. Play instruments in different price ranges, and try both acoustic and digital types.

Play notes in the bass, the middle and the treble. Does the tone sound even? Does it have a good bass section?  How do the high notes sound?  How hard do you have to push to make the sounds?

Some people prefer a light touch  than others that prefer a heavy touch. The touch you prefer also depends on the type of music you play. Do the notes stop when you release the keys or do some continue to play? Check the pedals and make sure they all work correctly. Some digital pianos do not even have pedals. When you have done these things then decide on a price range and what style you prefer and you will be ready to choose the right piano for you.

 

 

 

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Piano Finishes and piano care

In today’s piano market you will find a variety of different materials that are used for the finish of our pianos. They range from different types of lacquers, polyurethanes, and also polyester resins. For those of you that don’t know what a polyester resin is, it is simply a plastic finish.

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Yamaha Upright Polyester Piano

The very very high-gloss finishes that you see on many grand pianos. Piano finishes do a number of things, the first being they enhance the beauty of the wood, secondly and probably more important is to protect the wood of the piano. Any of the finishes do that very nicely. Thirdly it does protect the wood in the piano from humidity.

Humidity can be a major problem in pianos, as it causes the wood and the wooden pieces in the piano to swell in the summer time and shrink in the winter time. This is directly related to the humidity in the air around the piano. I humidity does cause swelling of the small wooden pieces and shrinking in the winter time when humidity is lower. If you’ve ever had sticky keys this can be directly attributed to humidity in most cases.
Over the years I have had one question asked more than any other. That question would be.

Where do I put my piano inside my house?
Can I put it in front of the window?
Should I put it in the same room as a fireplace?
Can I place my piano on an outside wall?
What about over a heating vent?

The answer to these questions can be different in every case. As for placing your piano in front of a window the answer is not in direct sunlight. Placing your piano in front of the direct sunlight can fade the piano finish badly and causing the piano to dry out.

Placing your piano in the same room as a fireplace, depends on whether or not you use your fireplace. If you use your fireplace, then it is not suggested. If if you don’t use your fireplace then it’s fine.

Last and can I place my piano on an outside wall? Years ago there was very little insulation in the outer walls of our homes. As a result the walls got cold or hot depending on the time of the year. In our newer homes we have up to 8 inches of insulation between the wall and the outside so if your walls are well insulated it’s not nearly the problem it was years ago.

Lastly you should never put your piano close to a heat vent.

There is a common thread to all of the things we just talked about, and that is the weather. Changing weather is probably the worst enemy of any piano. It affects everything from Rusty strings, to loose tuning pins. Additional problems can be broken piano action parts, and the soundboard cracking not to mention cracked pin blocks.
Constant expansion and contraction of the soundboard can also cause it to crack loosening the soundboard ribs and bridges. This can sometimes cause nasty buzzing noises and sympathetic vibrations. As you can see caring for your piano can be a rather daunting task. When you have questions about your pianos care, you should always consult your piano tuner/technician.

PIANODOCTOR
Ross Joyner
417-207-8234

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