Caring for your piano
(and Mitch's philosophy about pianos)
How often should I have service?
For an average in home piano with casual players, once a year is enough. Churches, schools, and other institutional pianos should have their pianos tuned at least twice a year. Pianos in performance venues are tuned even more often perhaps as often as each performance. Tickled Ivories Piano Service is qualified and prepared to provide high quality tunings for pianos of all performance levels. All pianos will be serviced with the same attention to detail and quality, whether it be a spinet piano for a beginner student or the finest grand piano for a concert artist or recording studio
How can I clean my piano keys?
The best way to clean piano keys is with a damp cloth followed with a dry cloth immediately after. Do not use cleaners such as Windex or cleaners with ammonia. Always apply cleaners to the damp cloth rather than directly to the keys. Immediately follow with a dry cloth. Old ivories will yellow and stain with the years, Tickled Ivories Piano Service can replace yellowed, chipped ivories with more durable and better looking composite materials.
Is my piano worth fixing?
This is a tough question for me. I enjoy bringing old pianos back to a better playing condition, so I am biased in that direction (I also stand to make income from the repair so that influences me as well) But if your piano brings you joy, holds fond memories for you, or is an important part of your lifestyle, the answer is objectively yes.
I can do many repairs of instruments for less than the cost of replacing the instrument with a higher quality instrument. Getting rid of a functioning piano for a cheap replacement found on Craigslist is usually not the best course as that piano may have just as many problems as the instrument you are ridding yourself of.
Even if you got your piano free, the money spent on repairs and regular maintenance is well spent because if the free piano doesn't work, you have nothing but wasted time and space. In the vast majority of cases, spending a few hundred dollars on an old instrument will produce a piano that will do what it is designed to do. Play music and bring enjoyment.
Where should I put my piano?
For years the advice has been to keep your piano on an inside wall. This is still a good practice, however many modern homes are insulated enough that it isn't as much of a requirement. The important thing is to place your piano in a place where direct sunlight does not play across it during the day as this will heat the piano unevenly. Also try to place the piano away from exterior doors to protect them in the winter months from an icy blast every time the door is opened.
What is the best piano?
The one sitting in your home. Yes, I know it sounds silly but if you own a piano...and as long as that piano suits your musical ability and brings enjoyment to your life, it's the best piano for you. If I come to service your piano, that's what I'm there to do... service YOUR piano. I'm not there to convince you to buy the latest and most expensive instrument from my piano dealer friends.
Now if you are in the market to purchase a new piano, I can assist you in that. I'm willing to visit a piano that you are considering purchasing, give you details of good brands to buy used or suggest reputable dealers if you do wish to purchase a new piano. But I'm not a piano snob, I will not look down my nose at you if you don't own an 8 foot Steindorfer or Bosenway Concert Grand Piano*. If a Fluffernutter Spinet that you got from grandma is what you have and it suits you, I'm glad to work on it.
*If you happen to own a Steindorfer or Bosenway piano I won't look down my nose at you either... as a matter of fact, I'd really like to see those
What is my piano worth?
It's worth what someone will pay you for it. Really that is a tough question because pianos will sometimes go for far less than they are worth. It depends on the local market. Certainly some Grand Pianos hold quite a bit of value (Steinway, Chickering, and Bosendorfer come to mind) but those pianos are well maintained and in top condition. If you want to sell your piano, I would suggest that the money spent on a tuning and light repair will bring back more than you put in. Check local Craiglist Ads and E Bay to get an idea of the market for your piano.
Why should I even own a piano?
This web page isn't big enough to give all the reasons to own a piano. Don't get me wrong, I love the electronic instruments and they have their uses. But a real player will eventually want a real piano. There is nothing like the feel of a piano when those strings are vibrating and the keys are moving underneath your fingers.
If you have children, having them learn piano is one of the best ways to improve their learning ability, test scores, and social development. Study after study after study has said that children who study music and play piano specifically; do better in school, score higher on standardized testing, read better, do math better, and are armed with the skills needed to undertake any life direction they choose. I wish I had a nickle for each person I've heard say, "I wish my mother had made me keep taking lessons" but I have NEVER heard anyone say "My darn parents forced me through years of piano lessons and my life is ruined because of it."
BTW I am a semi-professional musician but I'm not a great piano player. Still my lack of ability in piano performance does not detract from my enjoyment of sitting down at a piano and producing what I like to call "pretty noise" :-)