Caring for a Used Grand Piano

The Steinway upright pianos need proper maintenance to produce the best sound, as well as to maintain, its good appearance. When we say grand piano, it denotes an instrument in which the strings are fitted horizontally in parallel with the ground. Its structure is characterized especially by a stronger sound, especially in larger models that are used for concert purposes. Grand piano’s feel of the action is slightly different, given by its horizontal placement.

The medium-sized model of the grand piano  is 60 inches x 71 inches. Grand pianos that are longer than 63 inches have longer strings and a larger surface of the resonance board. They provide stronger sound too. Even if the key half returns to its position only, the grand piano action allows faster repeating of the tone to its structure and using small springs.

With the proper adjustment, the action is much more sensitive and allows greater dynamics of playing. The upper board which is the piano cover, provides various sound levels pursuant to the degree of its opening without blocking the pianist’s view.

Most older Steinway upright pianos have 2 pedals. The pedal is used to prolong the tones of the whole range of the instrument, while the left pedal is used in upright pianos to bring the hammers nearer the strings in order to weaken the tone. When it is pressed in grand pianos, the entire keyboard shifts, together with the action to the side. The hammers thus hit 2 strings only,  instead of 3 in medium and high tones. However, it hits one instead of 2 strings in the bass section. This causes the quietening of the instrument.

The proper placement of the instrument affects the lifetime and its acoustic expression. Although these upright pianos are made of top quality materials, they  need to be protected against the drastic changes of temperature and humidity.

The absolute value of temperature or relative humidity are not decisive. What decides is the equilibrium moisture of the wood. Therefore, it is necessary to observe the humidity carefully and possibly use air humidifiers or dehumidifiers.

There are devices and systems today which can maintain the instrument in an optimum environment, especially before the beginning and after the hot season when such humidity changes drastically.

Before you decide where you intend to place the instrument, take into consideration its acoustic capacities. It will have a great impact on your satisfaction with the acoustic expression of the instrument. When you place the upright Steinway piano at the wall, give at least 10 cm away from the wall at the minimum, in order to allow better sound transmission from the resonance board.

The piano should be tuned at least once a year. Twice a year if it is played often. The piano regulation should be adjusted every ten years.

Also, avoid using the instrument as a flower table or storage place of various things, vessels and glasses with liquids. Liquids can cause serious damage not only on the surface treatment of the instrument but also inside. The repair for such damage needs too much work as well as costly.

When wiping the surface of the instrument, do it with slightly moistened piece of rag only. In the event of rather gross soiling, alcohol based, ammonia based cleaning preparations can be used in polished instruments. However, in satin surface treatments, a weak solution of fine dish washing soap can be used for cleaning. Make sure also, whether you have the sufficient information on the technicians whom you let make interventions in the instrument.

The piano is a complex instrument as well as a gem, so proper maintenance is essential to last it over the years of playing. A well-maintained Steinway piano can last over 100 hundred years.