An untuned grand piano strains the sounding-board and steps unevenly. The result is an unbalanced sound. An instrument that has not been tuned in a long time often has to be tuned twice before the strings settle. It is best to keep the instrument tuned and play it daily.
Grand pianos and other pianos are expensive. Before you buy a piano from a private seller a piano technician should be consulted for evaluation of the instrument. Otherwise the purchase can result in expensive repairs if it turns out that the instrument has serious problems.
If you want to sell or insure an instrument it is suggested that you have an evaluation protocol established by a professionall piano technician.
All mechanical parts are cleaned. Key-leveling is performed. Grinding of hammers and hammer changes where needed. Polishing of ivory. Adjustment of feel, intonation and repetition. Adjustment of stroke according to the client’s wishes, complete with rebalancing and deleading.
Intonation is used to perfect the tonal quality of an instrument. The ideal situation is to be able to play both pianissimo and fortissimo without interference from overtones or discordant notes. The acoustics of the room has a big impact on how to perform the intonation.
During a complete renovation the original feel and tone of the instrument is recreated. The instrument is taken apart. Older instruments often have cracks in the sounding-board, mostly due to climate changes and the enormous tension from the strings (the string tension in a regular piano is over ten tons in total). The cracks in the sounding board can cause discordant notes. The sounding-board is repaired, re-varnished and the string tension is adjusted. The strings become “tired” with time and may need to be changed to acquire a clearer tone. Tuning pins are often loose in older instruments and therefore can not stay tuned. The solution is to change the tuning pins. In a worst case scenario the entire tuning board may need to be exchanged. A complete runthrough of the piano’s mechanic is performed. Felt details and other small parts are changed at need.
Instruments which are faded; where the varnish is cracked; that have incurred wood damage or been exposed to other harmful activity, need to be treated. Older instruments are French polished while newer instruments are treated with cellulose varnish or polyester. Clavier performs all kinds of surface treatments and repairs.
Done by hand. An old and tedious method which gives a glossy surface with great finish. Very few pianos can be French polished. To perform French polishing varnish, alcohol, pumice stone and benzoin rosin is used. When performing a black polish, Negrosin, a black coloring substance, is used. To acquire a gloss finish at least six polishes and several weeks of drying time is required.