Piano tuning is one of the main services Julian offers which, when performed manually by ear, provides the best and most harmonically rich result for your instrument. Pianos require regular tuning, as seasonal change and fluctuations in humidity and temperature can cause the instrument’s timber parts to swell and contract. For the best results pianos need to be tuned yearly if they are played casually, or twice a year if they see frequent use. A piano used for education or performance requires even more frequent tuning and maintenance.
Beyond keeping your piano well-tuned and maintained, it is also important to keep its immediate environment as stable as possible. Simple things such as keeping the piano away from damp walls, windows and heaters/fireplaces will have a big impact on the condition and stability of your instrument.
Regulation of a piano’s action involves making fine adjustments to the mechanical parts of the instrument. This is especially crucial in new pianos as their regulation has only been set roughly in the factory. A fully regulated action gives the player finer control over the dynamics of the piano, translating even the most subtle of hand movements into precise mechanical function. Pianos contain thousands of moving parts, all of which need to be accurately and consistently adjusted in order to give the player full control of the instrument. An unregulated piano action will typically feel heavy, sluggish and difficult to play in pianissimo. It is important to note that the regulation of a piano can degenerate as the instrument ages, due to the compression of felts and the warping of timber.
Voicing is the process of changing a piano’s tonal quality. Over time, hammer felts become compressed, hard and grooved from the strings causing a piano’s tone to brighten. Voicing remedies this problem, changing a piano’s tone in order to produce the most beautiful and musical sound possible. A piano needs to be tuned and regulated before voicing. This is to eliminate any other possible source of tonal irregularity. Once this is done, the hammers are then filed and shaped to match the strings perfectly, creating a flush connection with the string plane. The piano hammers are then needled and/or chemically treated to adjust the tone. It is recommended that pianos are voiced routinely to retain their beautiful sound.
Repairing broken parts of a piano is an inevitable and common procedure. While the life span of a piano may be decades long, certain parts of the instrument degrade faster than others. Hammer shanks, strings and action parts will often break during a piano’s lifetime. If your piano doesn’t feel or sound right, be sure to contact Julian before the problem gets any worse.
Restoration or refurbishment of a piano involves restoring the instrument to its peak condition. Whether it be a full restoration of a family’s beloved heirloom, the replacement of strings and hammers to restore a piano’s musicality, or the simple addition of new key-tops to refresh the look of your piano, restoration is the perfect way to extend the lifespan of your instrument.