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How to Tune an Upright Piano


1.Clear the area around the upright piano and put all of your tools within easy reach. Open the top or front of the piano to expose the action, which consists of the hammers and strings.


2.Find the strings that connect to middle C. Wedge the mutes under the two outside strings. Put the tuning wrench on the tuning pin for the center string.


3.Strike the key repeatedly while watching the electronic tuner to see if it shows that the string is playing a perfect C. If the string is flat, or lower than a perfect C, turn the tuning wrench a little bit to the left to loosen and then gradually to the right to tighten and raise the string. If the string is sharp, or higher than a perfect C, turn the tuning wrench to the left to loosen and lower the pitch of the string. Always lower or loosen a string a small amount before tightening a string. Turn the tuning wrench very slowly and carefully. When the sound of the key striking the string causes the electronic tuner to show that the string is playing a perfect C, "set the pitch" by turning the tuning wrench very slightly to the right. When you remove the wrench, the string will set downwards in pitch a tiny amount to the correct pitch.


4.Remove the wrench carefully and slowly. Remove the mutes and place one on the outside string to the right. Strike the C key and listen for the beats---the "wah-wah" sounds---that come from the center and leftmost string being out of tune with one another. Place the tuning wrench on the pin for the leftmost string and slowly and carefully lower and then adjust it as needed until the two strings sound in unison and you don't hear the wavering of the beats any more.


5.Repeat for the third string of the note (when there is one) so that it is in unison with the two strings you've already tuned.


6.Repeat this process for each note in the middle octave. When the middle octave is tuned, tune the adjacent octaves, alternating between tuning the octaves above and below the middle octave.


How to Care for a Baby Grand


1.Place the piano near an inside wall in a well ventilated room as part of normal care and maintenance. Reduce exposure to direct sunlight and the extreme temperature shifts associated with windows, fireplaces and heat registers.


2.Keep the keyboard covered on a newer baby grand to prevent dust buildup and key discoloration. Leave the keyboard uncovered occasionally on an older piano (with ivory keys) to prevent key discoloration.


3.Dust the keys and body with a feather duster. Take care to move the feather lightly so the dust particles do not scratch the surface.


4.Clean a baby grand with moist, flannel-like cloths. When you clean the keys, move back to front, not side to side, and use two separate cloths to avoid stain transfer from sharps to ivories. When you clean the body, go with the wood grain or finish pattern.


5.Polish the finish carefully and sparingly. Use a polish product that is designed for pianos on an instrument with a semi or high gloss finish, not satin.


6.Have a piano technician tune the baby grand twice a year if you play often. Otherwise, schedule a full regulation to adjust the action mechanism every 2 to 5 years for maintenance.


7.Call a professional who specializes in restoration to repair chips and cracks. Ask your tuner for a referral, or go to the website of the Piano Technicians Guild, a non-profit professional organization, to locate the nearest specialist (see Resources below).


8.Hire insured piano movers as opposed to regular household movers. It is worth the cost to hire people who know how to care for and move a baby grand, even if it is just from one room to another.