FAQ

Humidity Control

Repair

Buying Used Pianos

Tuning/temperaments

  1. How often should I have my piano tuned?

    Well, the quick answer is whenever it's out of tune! Pianos go out of tune due to a number of different factors, the most critical being fluctuations in relative humidity. For solutions to humidity control, see our tab on the subject above or click here: http://www.pianolifesaver.com/

    We recommend a minimum service level of once/year. Many of our clients have us in twice or more often per year to counteract the 2 major swings in relative humidity.

  2. Do you offer historical temperaments?

    Yes!  It's one of our specialties, and we are very pleased to offer to the Region's music history enthusiasts a large array of historical temperaments, right on your own piano!  If you're ready to embrace the warmth, texture and colour of pre-enlightenment temperaments, one of the following might be for you:

    I-IV syntonic meantone

    Bremmer EBVT 1,2, and 3

    Broadwood Best

    Coleman 11 & 16

    FiskII

    Harald Vogel I-V comma meantone

    Kellner

    KirnbergerIII

    Lehmann-Bach

    Mersenne-Chaumont

    Rouseau French Standard

    Stanhope I-III comma

    Stanhope equal beating

    Thomas Young#1

    Vallotti Well (1750)

    Valotti-Young Well

    WerkmeisterIII

  3. What's a pitch correction?

    A pitch correction is necessary if the pitch of the piano has fallen below a certain threshold.  The wire of a fully strung piano at standard pitch exerts many tonnes of compressive pressure on the cast iron plate and some of this pressure is deflected as tensile pressure onto the bridges and crowned soundboard.  All of these components compress when additional pressure is added as we increase tension: in essence, if we moderately increase the tension in one string or a group of strings, then the neighbouring strings drop in pitch.  Therefore, a pitch correction must precede a fine, concert pitch tuning.  A pitch correction does exactly what it says: it corrects the pitch, allowing for a concert tuning.

  4. Do you guarantee your tunings?

    I sometimes hear this on the phone: "my last tuner's tuning didn't hold.  It went out of tune after 3 months!"   I'm always quick to point out that a busy concert piano will receive more tunings in the course of a week than most home pianos get in 5 years.  The only fair time to judge a tuning is immediately after the tuning.  The sun beating on a grand's soundboard can put a piano out of tune after only minutes.  Outdoor stage pianos are nearly impossible to keep in tune.  And certainly 2 months of play, and weather- and relative humidity-changes can put some pianos drastically out of tune.  Did your piano not stay in tune for very long after your technician tuned it?  It's time to consider humidity control!  

    Do I guarantee my tuning?  Absolutely.  I stand behind my tunings 100%. They're the reason I'm as busy as I am!  I also guarantee that after I leave your piano at some point will go out of tune.  The GREAT news is that, despite the 15+ metric tonnes of pressure exerting unbelievable force on the soundboard, the cast-iron plate actually does a pretty great job of keeping the piano at pitch!  Some pianos are just irretrievably unstable.  Controlling the humidity is always the smartest thing to do.

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Humidity Control

  1. Do you install Dampp Chaser humidity control systems?

    Yes! That is the most effective way to protect your piano from the ravages of extreme humidity fluctuations, and keep your piano very nicely in tune through much of the year. We install in all makes and models, and are listed on Dampp Chaser corp.'s website as an Expert Field Technician in Waterloo Region.

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Regulation

  1. My piano used to feel so great. Why is it now so unresponsive?

    Great question!  There are many moving parts in a piano's mechanical action (The Action), and each moving part rotates in an arc movement around its fulcrum.  At each fulcrum and point of contact, a pin or wooden action part is cushioned by felt or leather.  Through repeated use, felt and leather compress, and - incrementally - change the engineered geometric relation between the moving parts.  Soon, you can't control your trills, or you feel a bounce from the damper levers, or you can't control the piano during the pianissimo portions of the music.  

    Your piano is actually telling you that it's out of regulation!  Call me!  Despite action wear, I can return the mechanical action back to its original factory specifications, in some cases even better.

    Result?  Improved response.  Less wasted finger motion.  More power.  More pianissimo control.  I can make your piano feel like it was when brand new.

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Voicing

  1. My piano has gotten so bright and sassy! Can you make the piano more mellow again?

    Yes, I can!  This is called voicing.  The harder the hammer, the more overtones are excited.  How does the hammer get harder?  Why, by playing it, of course.  The more you play a piano, the harder the hammers get and the brighter the tone.  But this doesn't happen overnight.  Once again, the changes are incremental and unnoticeable from day to day.  The answer is NOT to play the piano less.  Have us voice the hammers.  By carefully piercing the hammers with a voicing tool, I can regulate the tone of the instrument.  You'll fall in love with your piano's tone all over again!

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Repair

  1. Do you do more than tune? I have a stuck key!

    Oh yes! We pride ourselves on our ability to quickly and accurately diagnose problems and recommend appropriate repairs. We repair all makes and models or can recommend specialists in the industry.

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Buying Used Pianos

  1. I'd like to buy a used piano.

    Please email or call us! We keep a list of clients selling their high-quality used pianos. For many, a good used piano is an affordable way to own a good, high quality piano. But beware! I've seen numerous clients in the last 13 years lose 100s and even 1000s of dollars buying someone else's piano. The peace of mind of having a highly qualified technician from Apollo Piano inspect and appraise a piano's value is well worth the price of an inspection. But don't be afraid to buy used: be a well-informed buyer and call us to give a professional and honest opinion of the instrument and its value. To get you started, we highly recommend the industry standard by Larry Fine: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/piano-book-larry-fine/1103855084?ean=9781929145010&itm=3&usri=piano+book+larry+fine

    Available used ;-) from around $4.

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