This is the second in a series of blog articles by your Piano Technician Wilmington DE regarding the importance of choosing a quality instrument when you purchase a piano. This article is a continuation of the differences in materials chosen in the construction of pianos.
Pianos are primarily constructed of wood. Between brands of pianos, there is wide variation in the quality of wood and in the process of seasoning. Pianos have an enormous amount of stress placed on wooden structures by the tension of over two hundred strings that average 150 pounds of tension each. For a piano to last a number of years, the wood must be seasoned over time so that the moisture content of the wood is stable by the time the piano is constructed. It is an expensive process and it is tempting for manufacturers to use shortcuts. However, any shortcuts that are taken have a huge impact on the length of time the piano lasts.
The piano pin block, also known as the wrest plank, is a good example. It is a laminated block of hardwood about one and a half inches thick, into which the tuning pins are installed. If that wood looses moisture, it will shrink away from the tuning pins so that they get loose. It is an expensive proposition to tighten loose tuning pins, and it is an extremely expensive procedure to replace a bad pin block. As an example of the variation in quality, some one hundred and twenty year old pianos have tuning pins that are as tight as the day they were installed. In contrast, some thirty year old pianos require complete replacement of their pin blocks, a procedure that costs thousands of dollars.
Other crucial wood parts are the piano soundboard and piano bridges. If these dry out and crack, the entire function of the instrument can be compromised. Additionally, some inexpensive makers are using scrap metal for tuning pins and other structures that require strength. These can be quite expensive to replace when they break.
If you need advice in purchasing a piano, please call us, Kenneth Keith Piano Services, your piano tuner Wilmington DE, and we’ll be happy to help you out. If you live in the Philadelphia, Southern New Jersey Shore or Eastern Maryland areas, we provide piano tuning services in those areas as well.