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Sunday, 15 December 2013

Straight Talk to Piano Owners

Piano owners are often left confused if their tuner or technician tells them their piano - a loved and valued heirloom - is worthless. Explaining all the unhappy truths of the piano world is not going to happen today, but let's make a start! The piano industry has made its fair share of mistakes. These blunders make it difficult for the piano-owning public to know what is good or bad advice.

Many piano owners hope that an old piano can be made good for as little as £50. This, very definitely, is a false hope. A piano that has been neglected for 10 years or so and brought into the house from the garage with the expectation that after a tune, all will be well, is a piano that will provide only frustration.

Frequently asked questions about the potential of a given piano, will quite understandably, raise the issue of cost. One piano was described as having been attacked by moth! How much to fix this? Another has a number of notes that stick - making the piano virtually unplayable! How much to fix this? An old piano has a number of broken strings! How much to fix these?

The grim reality with all these problems is that none of them are properly sorted without spending what can easily stack up to a considerable amount of money. It is not easy, without the risk of upsetting someone, to communicate that their piano is beyond viable hope.

Then, there are pianos that look fine but are not! The development of the piano was largely complete by 1900. Since then, focus of further development has been more on materials and methods of construction. The use of plastic in the action and keys became quite widespread in the UK during the 1970s, though, thankfully, most of the better quality pianos stuck to more traditional materials.

As a result, here in the UK, even pianos that date from 1970s - and so cannot be described as being old - have serious problems that puts them in need of serious and expensive work, while some others are simply beyond sensible repair.

This makes it very difficult for the piano owner to understand why their beautiful little 'modern' piano should be written off so glibly, or given a value so low that they have to give it away.

The piano world is a confusing and unforgiving place. Buyer, beware! Before being persuaded to part with lots of money for a purchase or a repair, try to get quality, informed and impartial help. 

Pianos are to be cherished and enjoyed, they are not supposed to be a source of regret and dissatisfaction.  

The Piano World 


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