Piano Lanco


 

My name is Marc Lanthier, PIANO TUNER - TECHNICIAN

I tune, service, repair and and restore acoustic pianos.

Montreal area including West Island, Laval, North and South Shores.etc...

Appointments can be made by email, phone - text (514-770-7438).

Thank you !

This is the time of year when humidity levels rise significantly. This is caused by turning off the heating of your home and opening the windows. Most pianos will go out of tune unless you can control the humidity change. To prevent this, a Dampp-Chaser humidity control system is placed in your piano and adjusts the humidity using either a humidifier (heater bars in the summer time). Note that a well humidity-controlled home is almost as efficient. Ideal Relative Humidity inside a piano should be 45% ...

Recommended Tuning Frequency....

- Private Home: 1- 2 times per year

- Larger Rooms, Concert Halls, Churches: 1-2 times per year (or before a performance)

Piano Sizes....

Grand pianos:

Measured from the very front of the keyboard to the farthest end of the piano along the spine, with the lid closed.

- 4' 5" to 5' 0" (Small Grand Piano)
- 5' 0" to 5' 5" (Baby Grand)
- 5' 6" to 5' 9" (Medium Grand)
- 5' 10" (Living Room Grand)
- 6' 0" (Professional Grand)
- 6' 4" (Drawing Room Grand)
- 6' 8" (Parlor Grand)
- 7' 4" (Semi Concert Grand)
- 8' 11" and longer (Concert Grand)

Upright Pianos:

Measured from the floor to the top of the piano.

- 36" to 40" (Spinet)
- 40" to 43" (Console)
- 44" to 48" (Studio)
- 49" and higher (Full Size)

Info about piano tuning and maintenance....

Pianos that are tuned regularly experience less stress during the tuning process. This results in a more stable and longer lasting tuning.

The key to a stable tuning is to (1) equalize the tension between the 4+ segments of a piano string and (2) properly set the tuning pin. That can usually be achieved during a normal tuning when the piano is already close to pitch (+/- 10 cents). However pianos that are not tuned regularly often require more work, ie. additional tuning(s) in order to reach acceptable stability - this is commonly known as a pitch raise.

If a piano has not been tuned it many years, expect that it will take 2+ tunings / pitch raises and possibly 2+ visits in order to stabilize the instrument.

Pianos that are not humidity controlled will usually go out of tune during the spring and fall. Especially true in southern Quebec with our high humidity summers and very cold and dry winters. Humidity control can be achieved by installing a Dampp Chaser system or by making sure that the piano room is maintained at a stable temperature and humidity (ideally around 20°C and 45% humidity).

Pianos require periodic mechanical adjustments to ensure proper operation (regulation). They will also require occasional part replacement due to wear or age.

Once the piano is at pitch (A440), one tuning per year with humidity control, two tunings per year without, are required for optimal tuning stability.

Ideally....

- Do not place pianos in direct sunlight, stabilty and sun bleaching may occur.
- Do not place in front of or next to a heating/cooling source.
- Place an upright piano at approx. 10 cm from the wall.
- No live plants on the piano.
- Place cups underneath all metal casters.
- Adjust bench height so the pianist's forearms are slightly higher than the keys.
- Do not store a piano in a non-controlled environment.

Myths....

It is OK to place the piano on an outside wall (modern home).
It is OK to put a piano in a basement (modern home).
Do not use milk to clean ivories (use a slightly damp cloth - no chemicals).
Waxing / painting the piano will not make it sound better.
Pianos that are not played still require periodic maintenance.

New pianos are not always better musical instruments. Many new pianos are built in Asia. Some of these are great instruments, however many are inferior, cheap instruments - also known as PSO (piano shaped objects). Many older local pianos are still great choices such as (Heintzman, Willis, Lindsay, Pratte, Mason & Risch, Archambault, Baldwin, Layton Bros., Steinway, Ivers & Pond, Chickering, Vose & Sons, etc...) and are available at a much lower cost.

Before the tuning....

Remove all objects placed on the piano.
Make some room around the piano as some case parts will have to be removed.
Identify any problematic notes.
Avoid loud background noises during the tuning.

New pianos....

New pianos require a different tuning schedule. The settling of the wood structures such as the soundboard, bridges, pinblock etc... will cause the pitch to drop considerably between tunings. Most manufacturers recommend 1-2 tunings during the first year in order to reach a stable equilibrium state between all components (mainly between the strings and the soundboard). Two tunings per year afterwards.

Why upgrade from a digital keyboard to an acoustic piano....

The teacher has said “It’s time you start looking for a real piano and move up from a keyboard. You’ve outgrown this one”. Really? How does that happen? Just 2 years ago you bought this brand new 88 key weighted digital piano and now you’re being told that it will not suffice. They both have the same amount of keys and it has the same touch as a piano. Why do we need to upgrade? In order to answer that question, we need to look at the differences between acoustic piano (traditional piano with strings and hammers) and digital piano (electronic keyboard that you plug into the wall). The two main areas that substantially divide these two types of pianos are dynamic touch and dynamic tone.

Longer keys of acoustic pianos mean better balance from front to back. Also, most pianos are weight balanced using lead in each key stick. The rotational inertia introduces dynamic touch changing the feel as you play soft to loud. Tthe spring assisted mecanism aids note and hammer reset. All of these work collectively to define the touch of a piano. When you compare that to a digital piano where the touch weight is simply raising or lowering a weight on a see-saw, the difference is significant. In addition to these touch elements, traditional pianos also have adjustable actions to refine the touch components as well and are often adjusted to the pianist's requirements.

Final considerations regarding touch: dexterity. I could tell as soon as I hear a student who had been practicing on a digital piano. They have not developed anywhere near the right amount of finger dexterity. You can “hear” that their technique is weak. Dynamic touch brings about correct dexterity. You can especially hear it on quick staccato passages. A usual giveaway for someone using a digital piano is they play either too hard or two soft when they use an acoustic piano.

Tone: You simply cannot beat the tone of a good acoustic piano. Yes, the new digital pianos have sampled sounds obtained from top of the line acoustic pianos, but their tonal qualities are missing that little someting which I call "soul".


Facts about pianos....

Pianos are delicate instruments that require periodic professional attention...

Although there are only 88 keys, a piano has over 200 strings--one per note in the low bass, two per note in the upper bass, and three per note in the tenor / treble.

Tension averages approximately 160 lbs. per string.

All together, the strings are stretched to a tension of 18 to 20 tons (close to 30 tons in a concert grand).

The strings gradually increase in thickness and length from treble to bass, and bass strings are wrapped with copper (older pianos may have steel wrapped bass strings) to produce a lower frequency by increasing the mass of the string.

Pianos range in weight from about 300 lbs for a small spinet to more than 1000 lbs. for a concert grand.

There are 3000 or more parts in a piano.

 

Marc Lanthier, acoustic piano specialist

514.770.7438
www.pianolanco.com

 

 

Montréal, Laval, Rive Sud, Rive Nord, Est-Ontarien / Montreal, Laval, South Shore, North Shore, Eastern Ontario

 

St-Lazare, Hudson, Vaudreuil - Dorion, Rigaud, Ste-Marthe, Pointe-Fortune, Les Cèdres, Valleyfield, Coteau-du-Lac, Les Coteaux, St-Zotique, Rivière Beaudette, Saint-Polycarpe, Sainte-Justine-De-Newton,

Montreal, West Island, Senneville, Sainte-Anne-De-Bellevue, Bair D'Urfe, Beaconsfield, Kirkland, Ile Bizard, Pointe-Claire, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Pierrefonds, Roxboro, Dorval

Notre-Dame-de-l'Ile Perrot, Pincourt, Ile Perrot, Terasse-Vaudreuil

Montreal, Lachine, Lasalle, Verdun, Ile-Des-Soeurs, Saint-Laurent, Verdun, Cote-St-Luc, Hampstead, Cote-Des-Neiges, Westmount, Outremont, Mont Royal (TMR), Ahuntsic, Rosemont, Villeray, Hochelaga-Mainsonneuve, St-Leonard, Anjou, Montreal-Est, Riviere-Des-Praries, Pointe-Aux-Trembles, Repentigny

Laval, Laval-Sur-Le-Lac, Ste-Dorothee, Fabreville, Chomedey, Sainte-Rose, Vimont, Duvernay, St-Francois-De-Laval

Hawkesbury, Grenville, Montebello, Lachute, Vankleek Hill, Lancaster, Alexandria, Maxville, St-Isidore, Casselman, Alfred, Cornwall

Rive Nord / North Shore, Oka, Ste-Marthe-sur-le-Lac, Deux-Montagnes, Saint-Eustache, Boisbriand, Blainville, Mirabel, Rosemère, Lorraine, Terrebonne, Mascouche, Lachenaie

Rive Sud / South Shore, Huntingdon, Ormstown, Beauharnois, Sainte-Martine, St-Rémi, Mercier, Chateauguay, Sainte-Catherine, Candiac, Saint-Constant, La Prairie, Brossard, St-Hubert, Longueuil, Boucherville, Sainte-Julie, St-Bruno, Saint-Basile-le-Grand, Carignan, Chambly, St-Luc, Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Beloeil, Otterburn Park

 

 

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