W.A. composer, pianist,
teacher, article writer
to Maintain Tuning
PIano hydration beakers, placed inside
In almost all pianos (Beale pianos being the only exception
I know of), the wrest plank (pin block, tuning block) is made of wood.
The tuning pins are inserted into this plank, which runs across the top
of your piano. Often the wood is hidden by thick paint or even a metal
If the wood becomes dry the pins become loose, resulting in the piano
not holding pitch (i.e. it won't stay in tune or needs to be tuned
Some sound advice from another site (www.pianoshowroom.com.au/content/japanese_used.html):
"Most manufacturers agree that the ideal humidity for
a piano is between 50% and 70% and the ideal temperature for a piano is
between 15 to 25 degrees Celcius."
"LOOK AFTER YOUR PIANO AND IT WILL LAST FOR MANY DECADES.
"Watch out for excessive humidity. Shield your piano from moisture.
Avoid swings in humidity. Avoid excessive dryness.. Too little moisture
is as equally harmful as too much." - KAWAI
Place the beaker at the bottom by removing the lower covering. All the
removable parts of the case are designed to come away in seconds to
allow piano tuners to get to work instantly. Under the keyboard you
should see a small piece of wood, sometimes two of them, acting as a
spring lock or a holding device. Simply push or rotate it to allow the
big board to come away.
The 'Rolls Royce' solution to this problem is to install a
humidifier / dehumidifier, at considerable cost (see links at the end).
However, instead of
that you can simply place a beaker of water inside your piano.
Because I thought I might not be seeing my Thürmer piano for a few
months I put two beakers in it, one with a narrow opening so it will
keep hydrating for a longer time.
If there is any possibility that someone may move your piano, even just
a few centimetres, I suggest placing a warning sign on each end of the
instrument it so they don't spill the water. You can
access the text of this to print it here (opens in a new window).
To re-hydrate a particularly dry piano may take several weeks, so you
should wait before tuning it.
Please note this remedy is a little controversial. Some
believe you could cause serious damage to the piano but I have never
found this to be the case. In fact, quite the contrary.
You can see the opposite advice from the piano tuner's
association at www.aptta.org.au/faqs.aspx
Here's a quote from that site:
"Q: My Grandmother always kept a bowl of water
in her piano
because "Australia is too hot". Is this recommended?
Well, I beg to differ.
A: Definitely not! This is an old wives' tale and severe
result from the loosening of vital glue joints, not to mention rust and
oxidation on metal parts, such as strings and springs. If you need to
stabilize the climate for your piano, ask your ARPT tuner to recommend
a device specifically designed for piano climate control (called a
'Humidifier/Dehumidifier'). These devices are relatively inexpensive
(compared to the cost of your piano and the damage caused by excess
moisture). NEVER use a bowl of water!"
Some more links about pianos & humidity:
A Piano Life Saver System from Dampp-Chaser Corp.
Back to piano-paraphernalia.html
Or contact Dampp-Chaser Corp. www.dampp-chaser.com/