How to Take Care of your Piano

4 Caring for Your Piano

1. Dust. Every couple of weeks, you should clean the piano’s keys with mild soap and a damp cloth. Dry them immediately. You can clean your piano’s outer surfaces like any other finished surface, but avoid aerosol cleaners that contain chemicals, silicon, or solvents.[5] You should also avoid dusting the inside of your piano. Leave that to a pro.

2. Find a piano technician. The care of your piano’s inner workings should be left to a registered piano technician (RPT).[6] You can find one through the Piano Technician Guild’s webpage or through a referral. Ask friends, colleagues, or your piano dealer for recommendations. Keep in mind that this will be a long-term relationship.

3. Tune the piano regularly. To tune a piano, a technician adjusts the tension of your piano’s 200+ strings so that notes play in the proper pitch. How often your piano needs tuning will depend on how often you play. But whether you play a lot or a little, you need to budget for tuning – about twice per year.[7] Playing an out-of-tune piano will increase the wear on the instrument.

You may need to have your piano tuned more frequently during the first year of ownership since new wire slowly stretches (or “creeps”) during the initial months of playing.

Your piano may also slip out of tune as it adjusts to the temperature and humidity of your home.

4. Ask about voicing. Voicing is the adjustment of your piano’s overall quality of sound or tone. For example, a piano’s tone can be soft, brittle, or robust.[8] Your piano’s tone is a personal preference, and a lot depends on how you want your piano to sound. However, you should ask about voicing if your piano’s tone varies radically from note to note, if your piano can no longer play softly, or if you notice any changes in your piano’s tone.

As parts start to wear, the tone of your piano will naturally change. This is not a sign of damage.

5. Ask about regulation. The more you play your piano, and the more climatic changes your piano undergoes, the more your piano’s parts settle, compact, stretch, and change dimension. Regulation involves adjusting and replacing these worn or warped parts to optimize your piano’s overall performance.[9] You should ask your technician about regulation if you’ve had your piano tuned recently, yet your piano still sounds off.

If your piano’s keys are uneven or stick when you are playing, ask about regulation right away.