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
Two-year-old Quincy finished his potty training last week, and as part of his reward he was able to meet his idols.
I will never deny the fact that grief has a place when you give birth to a child who brings a set of circumstances very different to what you imagined. Because for nine months, I thought I knew my Georgie.
There was nothing Erica and Carlos wanted more than a baby.
The actor said there was "no other person" he was thinking about when he chose the name.
More than half of women who live with abusive partners experience violence during pregnancy.
A new mother was told she must flee Port Vila hospital with her baby as Cyclone Pam bore down.
There were a few signs I'm never going back to the land of maternity jeans, breast pumps and bassinets.
Australian actress Marta Dusseldorp has revealed she was forced to withdraw from a Sydney Theatre Company production because a director did not approve of her breast feeding.
Looking for a name that's a little bit different for a girl? Turn to names that have been traditionally used for males, as these celebs (or their parents) did.
Greg Hughes is "an absolute shell of a man" as he and his wife Catherine struggle to come to terms with the loss of their newborn son Riley to whooping cough.
Introverts are often misunderstood as shy, and sometimes even rude. A timid child can be difficult to build rapport with, but it's important we nurture their sensitive natures.
Sheryl Sandberg's advice
Forget foreplay. The new and improved route to intercourse is "choreplay" - it's good for your spouse, good for your house, and comes with the imprimatur of feminist du jour Sheryl Sandberg.
The first time your child learns a new skill at playtime is very exciting - for both you and your baby! Play is important to your child's development for a variety of reasons - here are some simple ideas for you to try at home.
For me, being the best mother I can be means being a mum alone, at least for now. Thinking of my friends with inadequate partners, I wonder why more people don’t choose single motherhood.
Weird poses, surprise photobombs, bizarre editing: these are the wedding photos that should have never seen the light of day.
The mother of a four-week-old Perth baby who died after contracting whooping cough says her family has been left devastated by the loss of her "gorgeous, sweet" son.
To celebrate the April 1 release of Holly's Magic Wand on DVD and Digital, we are giving away five DVD packs featuring the newest installment of Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom Holly's Magic Wand and many more hours of family entertainment! Enter Now!
Little Peyton Williams thought she was getting a baby sister named Charlee. But the two-year-old has had to settle for a doll dressed in pink after her baby "sister" turned out to be a boy.
We all know that having a strong immune system is the best way to stay healthy – but what can we do to help it along?
A Melbourne mum who died after the home birth of her baby pleaded with her husband to call an ambulance because she felt she was going to die, the Victorian Coroners Court has heard.
Q: My two-month-old baby doesn't like me. He's perfectly content with my wife, but when I try to hold him, he gets upset and cries. I've backed off a little, thinking that he just needs a little time to get used to me, but that doesn't seem to be working. I'm starting to think I'm just not a very good dad. Is it too late for me to build a relationship with my baby?
Wouldn’t it be great to get some nice feedback every now and then? After all, everyone likes to hear positive praise, particularly when it comes to parenting.
The Essential Baby & Toddler Show is back this April! Save $8 off the door price for a limited time only!
If you're looking to revive an older name, or don’t want anything near the top 1000 list, check out these rare monikers for your unique baby.
It’s great to see a generation of dads who are more actively involved with caring, nurturing and loving their kids.
When there’s no question that milk banks are important, why don’t we have more of them in Australia?
Television personality Carrie Bickmore has given birth to her second child.
Top 5 Articles
Sign up to receive 30 amazing tips and ideas for play with baby during the month of April and submit a picture or tip on our social wall for a chance to win an amazing Fisher-Price prize pack.
A Norwegian man is facing jail after putting abortion pills in his ex-girlfriend's smoothie, causing her to have a miscarriage.
Jordy Jackson was born without eyes. He has anophthalmia, which affects one in every 100,000 babies born.
With Easter fast approaching, Cadbury are giving away 5 Cadbury Easter Hampers. Enter Now!
Model Sarah Stage has defended her pregnancy body after critics claimed her slim figure at eight-and-a-half months pregnant wasn't "normal".
To celebrate the April 1 release of Holly's Magic Wand on DVD and Digital, Essential Baby and Entertainment One are giving away five bumper DVD packs featuring the newest installment of Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom Holly's Magic Wand and many more hours of family entertainment! Enter Now!
I love to take pictures of my children. In some of the pictures, my younger son is nursing.
There are things I wish I didn't know. I wish I didn't know that companies make tiny braces, small enough to hold necks no bigger than a wrist.
When a couple discovers they're expecting multiples, the dad can sometimes be almost forgotten in all the excitement and preparation. But one group offers a space just for dads of twins and higher-order multiples.
A brave mum of two has shared details of the harrowing attacks she suffered at the hands of her partner in a bid to help other victims of domestic violence.
Early last year I turned 35, and having just found out I was pregnant, I opted to have the new test for Down syndrome.
If your family is more into Star Wars, gaming and the periodic table than most, you might want to check out these geek-chic baby items.
According to the Chinese zodiac, babies born in the year of the sheep are creative and enjoy spending quiet time with their own thoughts.
Pregnant women will for the first time have access to locally analysed, accurate, non-invasive pre-natal genetic testing when the first Australian clinic to offer the services opens its doors next week.
Not a day under 65 and a lifetime of struggle! That's the look of these newborns, who look adorably older than their real age. Social networking site Reddit recently featured user submissions of adorable grandbabies, here are our favourites.
An entire family was kicked off a Cathay Pacific flight when a misbehaving toddler refused to put his seatbelt on.
A baby stolen from her mother's arms shortly after birth has been found through an astonishing coincidence.
Announcing that you're expecting can be a time to express your creativity, sense of humour and imagination. Check out how other parents and parents-to-be have broken the news to friends and family.
Are you one of those that know the whole IKEA catalogue by heart? Love their stuff but want to personalise it? Here's some inspiration to help you realise the potential of IKEA furniture and fittings.
A French court may have ruled out Nutella as a baby name, but that doesn't have to stop you from taking inspiration from the supermarket (or bottle shop). See what parents in the US have chosen for their delicious little ones.
Check out this range of products designed to help make your breastfeeding journey more enjoyable, manageable and convenient.
Sign up now!
Receive a daily email from Essential Baby during April with great play tips and ideas, then submit your baby at play photos to our Playwall, Instagram or Twitter for your chance to win.