Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What types of pianos do you service?
A: Gary services most acoustic pianos including spinets, consoles, full-size uprights, and grands.
Q: When can I schedule a service?
A: Generally, Gary works Monday-Friday. Please call him directly at 806-252-8581 to schedule.
Q: Can I get a weekend or evening appointment?
A: Occasionally, Gary will schedule an evening or weekend appointment in order to accommodate your busy schedule.
Q: What forms of payment may be used?
A: Payment by cash, check, or credit/debit card. There is a 5% surcharge for card payment.
Q: How often should I tune my piano?
A: The information that comes with most pianos says you should tune it every six months. However, if you have a Yamaha or a Steinway, you should tune two to four times a year. If your piano is very rarely played, it can occasionally make it a whole year.
Q: If it has been several months (years) since my piano has been tuned but it “still sounds good,” should it be tuned?
A: Yes. Though it may not sound out of tune to you, your tuning will be more stable and pitch more accurate if your piano is tuned regularly. If you wait until it sure enough sounds out of tune, you have probably waited until major pitch adjustments will have to be made.
Q: Should my piano be tuned regularly even if it is not often played?
A: Again, yes. When the tension that your piano was designed to maintain becomes compromised, your piano will not sound the way it is intended and becomes structurally impaired. Pianos are designed for tension of sixteen to twenty tons pressure. (Amazing!)
Q: Why do pianos go out of tune?
A: There are a number of reasons, but the BIG one is humidity. The greater the humidity, the more moisture the soundboard absorbs, which causes it to expand. This causes expansive movement of the bridges over which the strings pass, tightening the strings. This raises the pitch more than one might expect, Here in West Texas, we know there is going to be a great drying out of everything, including the soundboard, which causes it to shrink. If this happened evenly across the piano’s soundboard, it wouldn’t be a problem, but unfortunately, some parts move more than others, and different sections of the piano are affected differently. This causes the instrument to go “out of tune.”
Q: Should a piano be tuned after moving it?
A: If the move was inside the house, possibly not. If the move was to a different home, probably so. Moving more than a few miles brings the answer to a definite yes. It is a good idea to wait a minimum of one week after you move to tune the piano in order to allow the instrument to acclimate to its new surroundings. Ideally, wait up to three weeks following a move before having your piano tuned.
Q: Is it a problem to locate a piano on the outside wall of a house?
A: Piano technicians used to tell their clients that it was best to choose an inside wall for their piano’s location, but this is less common nowadays. Modern homes are so much better insulated than they were in the “olden days” that outside walls rarely cause a problem. The greater danger is placing the piano close to an outside door that is frequently open or where the air conditioning vents blow air directly onto the piano. Direct sunlight can also be a real problem and should be avoided.
Q: What is “pitch raise,” and why would a piano need one?
A: When a piano’s pitch is raised significantly, it increases the tension of the strings and also the tension of the piano itself. When one string is tightened, it causes movement of the framework of the piano so that tightening one string causes neighboring strings to lose some of their tension, and the pitch goes down. As this happens across the entirety of the piano, it makes it impossible to provide an accurate tuning by simply tuning every string. A pitch raise is needed, so a preliminary tuning is done that raises the pitch of each string to a point where it is close to the final pitch needed. After this is done, a fine tuning can be accomplished, which will not disturb the pitch of strings close by. This provides reasonably accurate tuning.
Q: How many strings are on a piano?
A: It varies anywhere from 215 to around 230. Not 88!