Jump to content

Tuning a really old piano


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 (feral)epg

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  mad.gif

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?  

Thanks

(I'm in Perth if anyone has any great recommendations for a tuner!)

#2 archygrouseferal

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.

#3 somila

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).

#4 meljbau

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.

#5 (feral)epg

Posted 22 February 2013 - 10:42 AM

Thanks all!

I've managed to get someone to come and have a look.  Fingers crossed she can do something.


#6 libbylu

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.


#7 Bluenomi

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.

#8 Wallymaduka

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 happy.gif

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 original.gif

#9 rainycat

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.

#10 Country (deci)Mel

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

 

Heartwarming prank gives single mum the house she was hired to clean

Cara Simmons arrived at work to clean a large and beautiful house in time for a party planned for that evening. It was soon hers.

Why we should stop telling new parents to 'enjoy every moment'

A few weeks ago, some dear friends of mine had their first baby. As the proud dad texted me a picture I had to fight the natural instinct to say “Enjoy every moment!”

Transgender dad breastfeeds his babies

A transgender man who breastfed his first baby - despite having his breasts removed as part of his transformation from female to male - has now had a second child.

Couple face $1 million medical bill and bankruptcy after babymoon birth

A Canadian couple were slammed with a million dollar medical bill after their daughter was prematurely during their babymoon.

Win one of 5 Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Sport

Australia?s No 1 selling car is now available in a Sports model and we have 5 to give away to some lucky Essential Baby families.

Cigarettes, junk food dominate supermarket sales growth

One in every five dollars spent at supermarkets goes on cigarettes or junk food, according to industry data.

Teacher under fire for breastfeeding in class

There is no doubt mums have a right to continue breastfeeding after they have returned to work, but one teacher in the US has taken it to the extreme.

Video: Baby sniffs beardless dad to make sure it's him

She looks him up and down and then touches his chin, but baby Lindsey still isn't sure this clean-shaven man is her dad.

The tragedy of losing a favourite teddy bear

We were green and uninitiated, perhaps a little naïve when it came to the favourite toy responsibility.

It's possible to workout while pregnant

Medical experts say intense fitness routines can be done safely during pregnancy - if the mums-to-be follow some guidelines.

Baby for Asher Keddie and Vincent Fantauzzo

Fans followed every step of her on-screen pregnancy in Offspring, now Asher Keddie is going to be a mum in real life too.

What parents really want for their kids

Are our hopes, dreams and expectations for our children what they really need?

'I had a feeling something was seriously wrong': the fight for Kaden's diagnosis

Before even giving birth, Katie Myers' maternal instincts warned her something was wrong with her baby.

When your pregnancy causes a relationship rift

Some dads-to-be don't miss a beat when their partner is pregnant; others struggle with a range of issues and can become withdrawn, right when their support is needed most.

Couple uses group photo trick to announce pregnancy to loved ones

Katharine and Kris Camilli devised a clever trick to immortalise their family and friends' reaction to their exciting pregnancy news.

Why Tracey Spicer has given up make-up

"After 30 years on television, I had become what I despised: a painted doll who spent an hour a day and close to $200 a week putting on a mask."

Empowering bikini photo of 46-year-old mum goes viral

When a group of teenagers made rude remarks about her body as she walked past them in a bikini at the local beach, Julie Cross refused to cover up.

Devastated widow discovers she's pregnant the day before husband's funeral

They had been trying to conceive a baby for seven years. Tragically Kristy Kirchner found out she was pregnant the day before her husband Royce's funeral.

Win a family pass to Disney Live!

We have 4 family passes to give away to see Disney Live! presents Three Classic Fairy Tales, touring Australia this December/January.

Gabriella Goat sues Peppa Pig

Every toddler's favourite television pig is being sued by an Italian woman who shares a name with a Peppa Pig character.

Meet the Mpregs, the male pregnancy enthusiasts

"Men can't have babies - that's something only women can do! But our community is full of like-minded people who wish otherwise."

Your new motherhood survival kit

Forget about the bright, pretty baby things - while you're in survival mode, all you'll need are the essentials.

More than 100,000 cars recalled globally after death of pregnant woman

The announcement of a mass recall comes as Malaysian police investigate the death of pregnant woman in July.

I had a 'good baby' but still suffered from postnatal depression

I had a much wanted precious baby girl, a 'good baby' who slept well, self settled and was mostly content. It just seemed implausible to think I could succumb to depression.

Download now: Essential Kids Activity Finder app

Got bored kids? Quickly find the best activities for kids wherever you are in Australia with the Essential Kids app.

 
Advertisement
 
Advertisement
 
 
 

What's hot on EB

Win one of 5 Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Sport

Australia?s No 1 selling car is now available in a Sports model and we have 5 to give away to some lucky Essential Baby families.

Join PADDINGTON on the red carpet!

To celebrate the release of PADDINGTON, we are giving five lucky winners the chance to win a family pass to the exclusive Australian Premiere in Sydney on December 7!

Knowing you are one of the lucky ones

I am secure, confident and strong, but the responsibility of protecting my children can almost bring me undone.

Why I am so emotional now I have kids?

There are so many ways in which parenthood changes us as women, but one of the most noticeable, for me, has been the changing state of my emotions.

Baby survives despite sharing womb with 'foreign body'

Baby Maia was conceived against the odds, only to find she was sharing a womb with an ominous "foreign body".

Video: Baby shows dog how to jump - or vice versa

They say dog is man's best friend, but this playful pooch seems to have chosen a jumping baby as her number one buddy.

10 ways to soothe a crying baby

New paernts can get frustrated when their newborn gets fussy and can't settle down. When you're feeling overwhelmed, try some of these simple tips to help soothe your baby.

20 baby names that are becoming more popular every year

The data-lovers at nameberry.com have been at it again – this time, they’ve discovered the names that are continually rising up the ranks, ready to take out some top spots in the next few years.

10 great meals to make for new parents

Ideally, you want to give food that isn’t expensive to make, isn't too difficult to create, and freezes well; stews, bakes, soups and pasta sauces are perfect.

'It's not you, it's me': Boston bombing survivor mum to have leg amputated

Rebekah DiMartino is going through a break-up. She even wrote a farewell love letter. But it's not to her husband.

What it's like to go through early menopause

In a cruel twist, Carla had been breastfeeding and perimenopausal at the same time. But she's far from the only one to go through menopause early.

Restaurant served alcohol to two-year-old

Busy restaurants can be forgiven for getting food and drink orders mixed up from time to time, but not when the confusion leads to a two-year-old being served an alcoholic cocktail instead of the child-friendly beverage they ordered.

Julia Morris tells of miscarriage on a flight

Julia Morris has spoken about the devastation of suffering a miscarriage while on an international flight.

Woman's survival after birth 'a story of two miracles'

A US mother is home and tending to her new baby less than a month after surviving without a pulse for 45 minutes.

Eating ice may give mental boost to the iron deficient: study

A new study proposes that, like a strong cup of coffee, ice may give those with insufficient iron a much-needed mental boost.

Tiny lives in caring hands: Thank U NICU Day

Each year in Australia, over 40,000 newborns need the help of a special care nursery or neonatal intensive care unit. One day a year, the staff are honoured by the parents they help through those dark days.

I paid $50,000 to have a girl

This time my husband and I hadn't taken any chances. We had paid $50,000 and travelled 13,000 kilometres to make sure the baby growing inside me was female.

Weird pregnancy products

Some pregnancy products come to market and are just awesome. Others just leave you scratching your head.

Dear firstborn, I'm sorry

Being a first-time mum is tough for so many reasons – particularly because you really have no idea what you're doing.

A trace of sesame could kill my son

Helen Richardson son's had two anaphylactic reactions in a month. It's traumatic for everyone.

When you know before the test says yes

It wasn't a pregnancy test or missed period that told me I was pregnant with my second baby; it was too early for those things. A doner kebab told me I was going to be a mum again.

What not to do when your partner is in labour

Robbie Williams stole the show during his wife Ayda's labour, pretty much demonstrating everything on the "what not to do when your partner is in labour" list.

Best maternity swimwear and beach cover-ups

Thinking about a tropical babymoon but have nothing to wear? Here are some great swimwear and beach cover-up options for mums-to-be.

Dad breastfeeds his babies

Trevor Macdonald has now been pregnant twice, and is successfully breastfeeding his newest family member.

 

How many weeks til Christmas?

On your To-Do list

Get the "Santa" shopping done without the kids in tow.

 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.