Hoping that everyone is doing well with your health, prosperity and personal safety being where you need them to be!

I’ve been extremely busy with many new clients and had a blast meeting new people in the past 12 months. I’ve made several new friends in the business and look forward to helping more people make great music with their pianos.

In writing about pianos and the care it takes to maintain, I have to continue to mention the need to keep consistent levels of humidity in the location of the piano. So many pianos this past summer have required pitch adjustments as they were more than 5% sharp from the correct pitch. I’ve written about the virtues of the Dampp-Chaser Piano Life Saver Systems for many years, and can only re-iterate the need for these wonderful systems and how they help preserve the structural integrity of the piano. After all, it is common sense to know that if there is a lot of movement in the wood of the piano, stability is not at all possible. When a “micro-environment” is created by use of the Dampp-Chaser systems, stability is much more attainable. In speaking with my client base, as well as others, I found that not many people understand what make a piano go out of tune.  Well, I guess it’s time for a brief description of “WHY“.

When humidity changes occur in the environment of the piano, the wood is affected by absorption of moisture in the high humidity times as well as depletion of moisture in the dry times. When that happens, the soundboard, the large piece of wood under the plate, moves up and down with humidity changes. Attached to the soundboard are the “bridges”, which is what the strings rest on leading to the end of the string on the part known as the “hitch pin”. The bridges are glued to the soundboard, and as the humidity changes, the soundboard moves up or down. That movement changes the tension of the strings, which in turn changes the pitch. When the soundboard swells in the high humidity times, the strings get tighter, resulting in a higher pitch (going sharp). Conversely, when the soundboard shrinks in the dry times, the strings get looser, resulting in lowered pitch (going flat). So as the changes happen in the soundboard, the pitch of the piano changes, causing the tuning to change. Corrections are made periodically by turning the tuning pins with special tools, and should be done ONLY by a qualified tuner/technician.

Now that the seasons are about to change, the levels of humidity will become lower in your homes, causing any pianos to have structural changes, and not just the soundboard. All parts can be affected by the unstable humidity conditions.

Next article will be more about how the action and parts are affected by changes of moisture levels in the piano.

Now that you have a slightly better understanding of the way pianos “de-tune”, it’s time to have your Dampp-Chaser system installed, serviced or updated. You can ask me any questions about this subject, and I’ll be happy to help you make a decision that’s good for your circumstances.

Wishing you great harmony in your music and your lives.

Rich Goldberg

Owner, RGPT