Jump to content
Tuning a really old piano
9 replies to this topic
Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:25 PM
Hi to all the musically inclined people!
We have an old (but I don't know how old, definitely 50 plus) wurlitzer upright piano. It hasn't been tuned in at least 10 years.
I'm trying to get it tuned, but I'm having trouble getting someone to even come and look at it - they are saying that the old pianos can be really difficult. One guy basically suggested we'd be better off getting a new piano
It doesn't even sound that bad at the moment! And it has significant sentimental value to me and my family.
Does anyone have any experience of nursing a dearly loved old instrument through this apparently traumatic process?
(I'm in Perth if anyone has any great recommendations for a tuner!)
Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:21 PM
No advice here, I'm afraid. We have an old restored half iron-frame piano that hasn't been tuned in many years. Tuning has been done int eh past by the firm who restored it, but I' don't even know if they are around any more. Hope we don't have trouble when we finally try to get it tuned.
Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:30 PM
Piano tuning is a dying art, so it can be hard to find a piano tuner. Older, poorly maintained pianos are often difficult to tune and usually need other work done (felts replaced etc). Even then they may go out of tune the same day.
I understand the sentimental attachment, so I hope you can find someone to help you, but I thought I'd explain why a busy piano tuner may not think it is worth his while (or yours).
Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:25 PM
It also depends on whether the piano has a wooden frame or iron frame. We had a very old wooden frame piano many years ago and the tuner explained that he may have been able to tune it but that the piano wouldn't hold its tune for very long at all. He told us to get rid of ours too.
We couldn't give it away and ended up hauling it to the tip. Sorry, probably not what you want to hear.
Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:42 AM
I've managed to get someone to come and have a look. Fingers crossed she can do something.
Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:49 AM
We have a beautiful old piano that was brought out from England about 100 years ago.
We have it tuned every few years, but our piano tuner can only tune it to itself - the whole thing is slightly off pitch. Apparently it would not be possible to fix this without making modifications to the frame that would cost $1000s - far more than we could pay or than the piano is worth.
In any case, it is good to have it tuned to itself, so it sounds fine when you play. It has the most beautiful tones - I just love it, and I can't tell that it is slightly flat!
ETA in our situation, we think our piano is great. DH mainly plays guitar but hops on the piano for fun occasionally. I had a year or two of lessons as a kid, but can't really play - sometimes hop on to show DS a tune or two. DS is 6 and taking lessons but is really a beginner. I suppose if he gets really good and serious about it a few years down the track we would consider upgrading.
Edited by libbylu, 22 February 2013 - 10:52 AM.
Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:17 AM
My parents have an old piano they bought over from the UK. They've been told once a paino is old and especially if it's been moved to different climate types it isn't worth retuning them. More often than not they require a lot more work than just a tune.
Posted 23 February 2013 - 08:12 AM
We have an old, iron-framed honky tonk American piano (nearly 100 years old approx).
Nine kids learnt to play on it, so it has enormous sentimental value in the family. We've spent literally thousands on it over the years having it tuned and restored, felts replaced, hammer repair from swelling caused by humidity ect... it's never just a matter of 'tuning'.
But the reality is - it'll never play as intended back in the early 1920's. They just don't last. You can restore and tune them all you like. That being said - I love how it sounds - warts n' all. It has character. I love the quirky off beat (tune?) sound it has - and have gotten used to that pesky D Flat sticking when it feels like it... I just play around it
I'd never throw out an old piano with family history. Never.
But yeh... I also have a digital now, lol, and love it for a whole different set of reasons
Posted 23 February 2013 - 08:28 AM
Hi, I think it depends on what condition an old piano is in. I have a Hoelling and Spangenburg (sp?) that was made is 1880.
I found a piano tuner that was happy to tune it and he said that it was in really good condition.
He was really enthusiastic and my piano sounded fantastic when he finished.
Posted 23 February 2013 - 09:01 AM
Glad to hear you have had someone keep to give it a go OP.
Our family piano was 'old but good', the tuner (we lived in a small very isolated town so my Mum hunted out every person in town who had a piano told the tuner man and then put up a notice in a shop window saying "Piano Tuner in town *date* plus his phone number, as a way to lure him down!) would apologise that he couldn't get it 'right'... but as a piano tuning expert he had far higher standards than our plunky singing round the piano sessions required.
When I was about 15 she loaned it to a promising young pianist who didn't have her own instrument - well she went on to become a professional musician, and while she acknowledged that our lovely old beast wasn't perfect she was forever grateful for Mum to allow her the chance to get so good.
As long as you let the tuner know you don't need perfection, that you are happy with 'good enough' you should be fine.
I love a home with a piano.
1 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users
Complete to online survey and let us know your views on health and fitness to win.
Everyone loves a personalised Christmas present - especially those which have been lovingly created by little hands. These Christmas gifts are so easy that even your toddler will be able to make them.
Our friends at The Sun-Herald are giving you the chance to win a family pass to Taronga Zoo Sydney or Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
I?m not ready for my son to stop believing in Santa yet. But should I treat him like the intelligent and sensible boy that he is and tell the truth, or should I lie, with the good intentions of keeping the magic alive for just a little longer?
More than half a million lights, countless hours of work, a world record - and it's all for a good cause.
Doctors made a shocking discovery when they found a dandelion growing inside 16-month-old?s ear canal.
Introducing the new campaign to help mums and babies around Australia.
Despite safety campaigns by organisations such as Kidsafe, the number of children dying and being injured in driveway accidents has remained steady. One mother shares her story of loss and warns others to pay attention.
Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.
Fitness blogger and football wife Caroline Berg Eriksen has come under fire for posting a photo of her amazing post-baby body on Instrgram just four days after giving birth. She has defended the picture saying she is "proud" of what her body has achieved.
A pregnant woman had her baby taken by British social workers after a forced caesarean section - and the child has still not been returned to her.
When kids want something, they'll ask ... and ask ... and ask ... until you cave in. You can teach them to unlearn this annoying tactic by saying just three words.
Babies love getting their little gums around keys - but these ones are cleaner and more fun than the set on your key ring.
Top 5 Articles
Join Essential Baby and Aldi in celebrating Chrismas, with gift guides, the truth about Santa and how to manage christmas while pregnant + lots more.
Breaking Bad, The Great Gatsby and Game of Thrones are all inspiring baby names in the UK this year ? but royal names are on the decline.
To celebrate the launch of this gorgeous new baby skincare range, Essential Baby is giving our readers the chance to win one of ten Little Bairn Essentials Gift Packs.
For a limited time you can save 50% off when you gift unlimited access to The Age or SMH. It's the gift for those you love, who love to know.
Weird poses, surprise photobombs, bizarre editing: these are the wedding photos that should have never seen the light of day.
Get Christmas sorted with this prize bundle of a Playstation3 and Puppeteer game + a PSVita and Little Big Planet game. Enter Now!
Kids love their PILLOW PETS by day and are comforted sleeping with them by night. Enter now for your chance to win!
Here's a selection of vintage boys and girls monikers which have traditionally been used as either nicknames or given names, from the 1880s through to the 1950s.
Free Printable Activities
Free printable acitivity pages like colouring in, cutting, word finders, mazes, maths activities and puzzles.