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How to care for your piano keys

How to care for your piano keys

Guidelines for cleaning your keys and preventing damage

Yamaha acoustic and digital piano key tops are made of synthetic materials which may react adversely to various cleaning and disinfecting agents. We advise the following practices for cleaning and protecting your keys:

  • Avoid cleaners (both liquid and saturated wipe-type cleaners) that contain harsh
    ingredients including alcohol (isopropyl), chlorine, ethanol, benzene, peroxide and
    salts. These ingredients contribute to discoloration and cracking.
  • If a player uses hand sanitizer that contains any of the above ingredients, please
    make sure their hands are completely dry before touching the keyboard.
  • Using a microfiber cloth dampened with lukearm water, with a small amount of
    dish soap, and wrung out enough that water does not drip on the keys. Wipe down
    the keys in a ‘toward the player’ motion.
  • Finally, using a third, dried microfiber cloth wipe down the keys in a ‘toward the
    player’ motion until all the keys are dry.
  • Keep the key cover closed at all times when the piano is not in use.
  • Cleaning your hands before playing is recommended and will ensure a high level
    of playability through the life of your piano.

Disclaimer: These recommendations do not guarantee disinfection of the keys, and many currently popular disinfectants may damage keytops over time.

Have questions or want to learn more about pianos?

Call 262-202-8250, email us, or stop in our store.

We would love to have you visit soon!

Service Hours

Monday-Friday: 8am – 6pm

Showroom Hours

Monday: 11am – 8pm
Wednesday: 11am – 8pm
Saturday: 1pm – 5pm
Appointments available other days and times

Address

12555 W. Wirth Street
Brookfield, WI 53005

Call

262-202-8250

Contact Dave or Brigitte Hulbert

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My Piano is too loud!

My Piano is too loud!

How can I simply make it sound softer?

Have you noticed that it is hard to have a conversation near a piano that is being played? If so, it is a good sign that you have a healthy piano! Pianos are intentionally designed to amplify the sound they produce. Saying that, there are a few things you can do to lessen the amount of volume the piano produces.

3 ways to soften a piano

Voicing. This term can also be defined as tone regulation. Piano technicians have the skill-set modify your pianos tone or voice by manipulating the felt in the hammer that strikes the string. Methods can be by needling, sanding, chemical application or a combination of these procedures. This method is the most expensive and permanent of these choices.

Environmental. Choosing to place rugs, plants, fabric furniture and fabric window treatments can go along way to absorb a significant amount of a piano’s volume output. The more flat surfaces the are in the room, such as walls, hardwood floors and window exist near the piano, the more the sound will bounce off of these surfaces, causing your piano to seem louder. Depending what items and how many are chosen in your room will translate to the cost of this method.

Adding Absorption. Consider lessening your piano’s volume before it leaves the piano by absorbing its sound. Back in the 1990’s, there was a surge in player pianos. I remember piano dealers at the time displayed them in various retail locations to show them off. One common place was in car showrooms. As you may imagine, there is usually a tile or cement floor w/ glass all around. How do you think those player grand pianos sounded in that environment? Similar to a packed school gymnasium! Very, very loud. To make the car salespersons and customers happier, foam was tightly stuffed underneath the piano.

Hulbert Piano - softening your piano sound

Today, that same solution is used but is now perfected. Special acoustical foam can be cut and friction-fitted between the back posts of a vertical piano or between the beams of a grand piano. Doing so can drop the overall volume by roughly 30%. Notice the photo of the acoustical foam fitted between the back posts of this tall upright piano. Not all areas need to be treated.

Hulbert Piano - Tips for your piano sound
Hulbert Piano - Tips for your piano sound quality

So if your piano is too loud for your taste, there are solutions that can work. Need help deciding which method or two to try? If so, we’ll be happy to give you our professional opinion during your next tuning appointment as we evaluate your piano and room.

Have questions or want to learn more about pianos?

Call 262-202-8250, email us, or stop in our store.

We would love to have you visit soon!

Service Hours

Monday-Friday: 8am – 6pm

Showroom Hours

Monday: 11am – 8pm
Wednesday: 11am – 8pm
Saturday: 1pm – 5pm
Appointments available other days and times

Address

12555 W. Wirth Street
Brookfield, WI 53005

Call

262-202-8250

Contact Dave or Brigitte Hulbert

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What makes a good piano go out of tune?

What makes a good piano go out of tune?

There are 2 primary things that can cause a good piano to go out of tune.

  1. How it was played. If a piano is played hard where the keys or the hammers all strike the strings harder then normal play that will cause it to go out of tune.
    But more then just playing the piano –
  2. The environment is probably the primary cause of having a good piano go out of tune. A concert instrument illustrates this on a stage. It may need to be tuned twice a day or three times a day. When Dave Hulbert services a very expensive concert brand it will be more out of tune then the same quality, same model in someone’s home that he might only service once a year. That is because the environment changes hourly from stage lights to overhead doors being opened up when it’s hot or cold or the humidity is higher or lower or the piano being moved from one area of the stage to off stage where it might be in a different controlled climate.

Have questions or want to learn more about pianos?

Call 262-202-8250, email us, or stop in our store.

We would love to have you visit soon!

Service Hours

Monday-Friday: 8am – 6pm

Showroom Hours

Monday: 11am – 8pm
Wednesday: 11am – 8pm
Saturday: 1pm – 5pm
Appointments available other days and times

Address

12555 W. Wirth Street
Brookfield, WI 53005

Call

262-202-8250

Contact Dave or Brigitte Hulbert

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Introducing Unwanted House Guests

Introducing Unwanted House Guests

Introducing Unwanted House Guests.

It always pleases me when a new client selects us to service their piano. This was the case last month when a parent purchased a relatively inexpensive piano for their eight-year old boy to begin lessons this fall. Sounds like a common scenario, but as we opened the lid, we found evidence of moth larvae eating away felt, pictured here. So unknowingly, these clients brought into their home a used piano and unwanted pest-guests!

In Wisconsin, we have only two species of moths that damage clothes – the webbing and the casemaking clothes moth. The moths don’t eat or damage your clothes or piano at all, but their larvae do.

Unlike many other species of moths which are attracted to light, adult webbing and casemaking clothes moths like the dark. That’s the first reason they seek out a clothes closet or piano. The second reason is because their bouncing baby larvae require keratin to develop. Keratin is a protein found in your skin, hair and fingernails. It’s also found in natural fibers that we get from animals including silk, leather, feathers, furs and wool. And there is plenty of wool inside of a piano; hammerheads, damper felts, felt bushings and case felt.

Lesson Learned

It is always advisable to have a piano inspected by a qualified piano technician before purchasing and moving a piano into your home. This service call can save a lot of money and frustration. We offer this service for a nominal inspection fee. We also have a selection of used pianos that are fully cleaned, prepped and worry-free at our store for purchase. Contact us for more information.

We would love to have you visit soon!

Service Hours

Monday-Friday: 8am – 6pm

Showroom Hours

Monday: 11am – 8pm
Wednesday: 11am – 8pm
Saturday: 1pm – 5pm
Appointments available other days and times

Address

12555 W. Wirth Street
Brookfield, WI 53005

Call

262-202-8250

Contact Dave or Brigitte Hulbert

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Choose the best spot for your piano

Choose the best spot for your piano

Choose the best spot for your piano

Since your piano is a major investment, don’t hide it but place it prominently in your house where it belongs. Still, with varying layouts and space constraints, it can be difficult to find the ‘perfect spot’ for your piano. Hopefully these few tip may assist

1. Where will it be used the most?
Many unwisely place their piano where it doesn’t interfere w/ the furniture. How sad. On occasion we see a piano that is an ‘afterthought’, tucked away in a corner, in a downstairs rec room or in a sun room! Pick a location that does not have many distractions and noise or near a high traffic walkway. Lease ample space for the bench, and an easy pathway to get to it.

2. Keep a safe distance!
As a general rule, pianos should never be placed in direct sunlight, even if it’s just a short period each day. Sunlight ‘superheats’ the finish and causes the moisture content in the woods to sporadically fluctuate. This will damage your instrument and significantly shorten its serviceable life. Consider curtains and/or shades to medigate the adverse effects.

3. Vertical or Grand?
Placements will depend on the type of piano you own. A vertical piano (console, studio or upright styles) are intended to fit with the back a couple of inches from the wall. Are there empty wall spaces between windows? If not, placing the piano at a 45 degree angle in a corner can be pleasing.

A grand piano looks the best if the curved treble side is exposed toward the middle of the room and its spine or straight bass side toward a wall. This configuration will also enable the lid to open toward the room as a stage grand piano lid opens toward the audience.

4. Contact an expert.
Many homeowners leave the placement decision of their piano to their interior design consultant. It has been entertaining to us over the years as we see the inventive solutions some designers who have never seen or played a piano in their life imagine. For the best placement of your piano in your home, we will be happy to assist you. Just bring in a floor plan or pictures of your space for a free space analysis.

We would love to have you visit soon!

Service Hours

Monday-Friday: 8am – 6pm

Showroom Hours

Monday: 11am – 8pm
Wednesday: 11am – 8pm
Saturday: 1pm – 5pm
Appointments available other days and times

Address

12555 W. Wirth Street
Brookfield, WI 53005

Call

262-202-8250

Contact Dave or Brigitte Hulbert

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When does my home piano need to be serviced?

When does my home piano need to be serviced?

When does my home piano need to be serviced?

Dave’s Tech Tips
Proper care and maintenance of your piano prolongs the life of the instrument and enables it to perform its best. For a piano that is casually used, an annual tuning may be sufficient. While that’s a start there are times when the instrument will require more than a simple tuning.

Here are some signs that your piano could need additional service:

1. Something just doesn’t sound right

Since every piano is under a ton of stress*, the tone and sustain of the piano can change or worsen over time. Listen and compare your piano to others to help determine your pianos performance of touch and tone. You may notice the the lower notes sound ‘tubby’ or seem quieter than the rest of the piano. Perhaps the copper wound strings need to be twisted to invigorate them or replaced. Another common cause for a poor sounding bass section is a compromised or stressed bass bridge from supporting the long, heavy vibrating strings over the years. This could require the piano be moved into the shop for repair or replacement.

*Actually the amount is much greater than 2000 lbs. We’ll post another blog discussing string tension.

2. Mechanical Issues

Have you noticed keys that are slow to return to their resting position, or maybe don’t make a sound? Just as with people, pianos are also affected by repetitive motion and the aging process. Older materials used in piano construction must be replaced on occasion to ensure proper function and durability of the instrument.

To that end, it’s wise to visually inspect your piano from time to time. Open the lid and front board of a vertical piano or slide out the music stand of a grand piano and slowly play each key chromatically while watching the mechanism. If you notice one key performs differently than the rest, reaching out to a professional like us to have this addressed will help you avoid a scenario where existing issues can get worse.

3. Moisture Changes

Humidity affects more than personal comfort. Since most pianos feature a large amount of wood, they’re easily impacted by fluctuations in air flow and climate*. When the wood in a piano expands, the strings are pulled tighter causing the pitch to sharpen. The opposite happens during the winter heating months. If the overall pitch is significantly high or low, the piano’s major components and structure will be adversely affected.

You can determine this by playing octaves in the middle of the piano. If individual notes sound ok, but the octaves sound terrible, the pitch needs to be corrected. You can also tell if you have a fluctuating moisture issue that will damage your piano by measuring the pitch of the piano @ A-440 at different times of the year. If the pitch range is wide, your piano isn’t happy.

*We’ll have more on how to lessen and measure the affects of damaging humidity changes in another blog.

We would love to have you visit soon!

Service Hours

Monday-Friday: 8am – 6pm

Showroom Hours

Monday: 11am – 8pm
Wednesday: 11am – 8pm
Saturday: 1pm – 5pm
Appointments available other days and times

Address

12555 W. Wirth Street
Brookfield, WI 53005

Call

262-202-8250

Contact Dave or Brigitte Hulbert

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Summer Piano Care

Summer Piano Care

The lazy, hazy crazy days of summer are finally here!

We all love summer, but did you know that heat and humidity can wreak havoc on your piano? Here are some quick tips to protect your piano from summer’s foes…..

  • Avoid direct sunlight
  • Avoid placing drinks on the piano (this is always bad!)
  • On humid days, turn on A/C
  • Install a humidity control system
  • Always keep the forced air fan on for circulation

We would love to have you visit soon!

Service Hours

Monday-Friday: 8am – 6pm

Showroom Hours

Monday: 11am – 8pm
Wednesday: 11am – 8pm
Saturday: 1pm – 5pm
Appointments available other days and times

Address

12555 W. Wirth Street
Brookfield, WI 53005

Call

262-202-8250

Contact Dave or Brigitte Hulbert

7 + 6 =

You must fill out the addition to process this form.