According to the Piano Technicians Guild, piano tuning varies according to manufacturers:
“While pianos generally fall into vertical and grand model categories, each manufacturer selects its own materials and utilizes its own unique scale and furniture designs. Every piano requires a different level of maintenance, depending upon the quality of materials used and the design and level of craftsmanship. Manufacturers can provide general advice on tuning frequency but your technician can give specific recommendations based upon your usage and locale.”
Here’s what some of the major piano manufacturers recommend:
Baldwin Piano Company (also Chickering, Wurlitzer)
Professional service is the key. In the first year, the National Piano Manufacturers Association recommends that you have your piano tuned four times. This is a period of environmental adjustment for a new instrument, and proper attention is important.
After the first year, the piano should be tuned at least twice each year, depending upon the frequency of use and atmospheric conditions. Contact Artisan Piano Services to schedule an appointment with our professional technicians to perform this service.
Artisan Piano Services has recently have been given the rare opportunity to do some restoration work on a truly classic instrument: an 1840’s Boisselot et fils piano. This period instrument is very rare, and it is an uncommon thing to be able to see one of these pianos, let alone work on one. Restoring this piano is a great thrill!
We will be doing a partial rebuild of the ACTION, including: recondition the action parts to proper working condition, possible re-pinning, replacing key-bushings and key-bed felt as necessary, surfacing the hammers, lubricating the knuckles, and doing a touch-up regulation and voicing. Included is new damper felt and damper regulation.
Artisan has also been commissioned to provide a full restoration of the BELLY: replacing the strings, tuning pins, and pinblock. We will repair and recondition soundboard and bridges, as well as refinish plate and replace the plate felt and recondition plate hardware.
Importantly, our technicians will provide numerous in-shop tunings before the project is completed, and another one when the piano is delivered to our customer.
Finally, to preserve the original beauty and integrity of the cabinet finish, we will simply touch up the case and re-install some loose decorative brass trim pieces.
HISTORY of the Boisselot & Fils
“Boisselot & Fils [i.e. & sons] was a French piano manufacturing company established in 1831 in Marseille, France, by Jean-Louis Boisselot and sons, Louis-Constantin and Xavier Boisselot. The rapid increase in the production capacity of the factory with 70 workers to 300 pianos per year from 1834 shows that father and son had prepared their plan carefully. The constant expansion led in 1848 with 150 workers for the production of about 400 pianos a year. Highlighting this success, he was awarded with a gold medal at the French Industrial Exposition of 1844 (the 10th Paris Industrial Exhibition). Among other innovations Boisselot presented for the first time at the exhibition a mechanism by which individual notes and sounds were identified as Tonhalte or sostenuto pedal today.” (Wikipedia for Boisselot & Fils)
According to Pianos Romantiques, “Marseille turned out to be a good choice for setting up a piano factory: salaries were lower than those of the Parisian rivals, cheap exotic wood was [close] to hand thanks to the importance of the town as a port, and there was easy access to important export markets: Italy, Spain, and the colonies via the Mediterranean.”
The famous pianist and composer Franz Liszt was a patron to the Boisselots. He owned and performed on a Boisselot Fils. According to Alan Walker, Liszt traveled in October-November 1844 in Spain with his lifelong friend, Louis Boisselot, for a series of concerts. “Liszt played on a Boisselot piano, a powerful instrument especially brought in from Marseille by Louis Boisselot, which accompanied him on his journey across the Iberian Peninsula.” (Franz Liszt: The virtuoso years, 1811-1847)
[youtube width=”580″ height=”326″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhCwsrHT-zg[/youtube]
Finally – Enjoy a Chopin Nocturne performed on a 1842 Boisselot!
We just finished restoring a 100+ year old Hamburg Steinway & Sons model “O” piano. Fred Riley, of Classic Pianos, recorded this video of Ruby Hall playing Beethoven’s Sonata op.2 no.3 in our shop.
Artisan restored this piano for our partners,Classic Pianos, to showcase in their “Classic Collection.” The pianos that we restore for this collection are second to none in terms of quality of workmanship, materials and tone.
With a full piano restoration, we not only refinish the cabinet
…but also completely restore the belly, including new strings
…the keys and action are reconditioned
…and we even polish up and regulate the pedals!
Although we do all of our piano restoration work out of our Portland, Oregon location, we have had several come to us from the Seattle, Washington area, and from other parts of the United States and Britain.
We do shop tours daily, and would be delighted to show you around!
We were recently featured in a news segment on a local ABC news affiliate in Portland, Oregon. It highlighted our piano restoration and rebuilding efforts, and was entitled:
A labor of love: ‘Completely redoing a piano is kind of where my heart is’
We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to involve one of our customer’s family story in the feature, which really helped to illustrate how important it is to us to help our customers “Continue The Story” of music in their lives. “We’ve had this piano in our family for 91 years, and my mother is 91 years old coincidentally,” explained the owner of this beautiful piece of history. After all these year, the piano is being given to the original owner’s grandson as a wedding gift!
After weeks of refinishing, re-stringing, regulating the action, tuning and all manner of detailed attentions – we were privileged to have the whole family present for the unveiling. It was such a thrill to see how happy they are will their newly restored piano.
For more than 10 years we have serviced families, schools, students, teachers and professional musicians in telling their story of music in the world. In addition to our local piano tuning, repair, evaluation and appraisal work, we have a growing number of customers from all over the United States for piano rebuilding, refinishing and restoration. We just started work on a 115-year-old piano that was shipped to us from the United Kingdom!
A little over a year ago Artisan Piano Services unveiled its new “Restoration Center.”
We are now proud to show the world “The Piano Shop”
In the video you can see our hard working and talented technicians completely rebuilding pianos in our remodeled and refreshed Piano Shop. We provide full piano restoration services, as well as less involved piano reconditioning services, including action rebuilding, refinishing, cleaning and re-stringing.
Artisan Piano Services is pleased to provide support this year for Pianos In The Park. Our very own Josh Mayfield has gone to several of the locations to tune and repair some of the various pianos. Click here to see an video about the development of this exciting arts and culture project!
We are pleased to announce the release of our new promotional video.
Many thanks to Miwaza Jemimah of Miwaza Productions for her great work on it!
For a number of years Artisan Piano Services has provided full restoration services for our customers. Over the last several months our Restoration Center has been located in Sandy, Oregon.
We have now moved our Restoration Center to just a couple of blocks from our office.
Here are some before pictures of the space we will be using for our new piano stringing area.
We are grateful for this new space because it will make it more convenient for our technicians, and will enable us to better serve our customers.
Our customers often ask us why their piano seems to go out of tune when the weather changes. According to the Piano Technicians Guild:
“Because your piano contains materials such as wood and felt, it is subject to change with climatic conditions. Extreme swings from hot to cold or dry to wet cause its materials to swell and contract, affecting tone, pitch, and action response or touch.
You can reduce the severity of these effects by placing your piano near a wall away from windows or doors that are opened frequently. Avoid heating and air conditioning vents, fireplaces and areas which receive direct sunlight. Your piano will perform best under consistent conditions neither too wet nor dry, optimally at a temperature of 68 degrees F and 42 percent relative humidity.”
To read more information on how to keep your piano maintained and sounding beautiful, see the Piano Technicians Guild article: How Often Should My Piano Be Serviced?