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 HRH Countrymel

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

 

Special Ticket Offer, Save $8!

The Essential Baby & Toddler Show is back this April! Save $8 off the door price for a limited time only!

Finding baby name inspiration in unusual places

Sometimes the greatest baby name ideas come from the most unexpected places, as these EB members show.

The case for inducing at 37 weeks

While we often think of pregnancy as a 40 week affair, experts agree that 37 weeks is actually “full term". So is there an argument for inducing all births at 37 weeks?

Does controlled crying really work?

Controlled-crying techniques may help some babies sleep through the night, but for many exhausted new parents, it's just a recipe for more tears all round.

How I taught my infant to use a toilet

As people become more aware of these benefits, I hope more parents will practice this method, so we can cut down on nappies and improve baby bonding.

'I thought it was impossible': Emily Symons pregnant at 45

Aussie actress Emily Symons has announced she is pregnant with her first baby.

Shallow water blackout kills fit, healthy dad

A little girl will grow up without her father after the fit and healthy 34-year-old passed away while doing something he had practised his whole life.

Afternoon naps may be bad for toddlers' sleep

You could be doing yourself a disservice by encouraging your toddler to have an afternoon nap, according to new research.

Best gifts for newborns, new mums and christenings

We've compiled a guide to some of the most popular presents for newborns and new mums, and for christenings and naming days.

Jaime King to be a mum again

Actress Jaime King is pregnant with her second child, giving 16-month-old James a sibling.

Nannies should receive government funding

The Abbott government should extend funding to nannies, and direct childcare payments to low and middle income families, a landmark study on childcare has found. 

Common skin irritations in newborns (and how to treat them)

As many as one in two newborn babies suffer from skin irritations in their first few weeks. So what are the most common rashes and irritations to look out for?

10 wall decals for the nursery or playroom

Wall decals are the answer to creating a beautiful nursery or children's space without lifting a paint brush, a spirit level or even a hammer.

Preschooler walks 2.4km home alone

Three-year-old Cain Trainor headed off home after his first day at a new preschool without telling anyone.

Video: Why mums get nothing done

In spite of being in an almost constant state of motion while looking after the kids and trying to keep things together at home, it can seem as though parents have managed to get nothing on the to-do list done by the end of the day.

The middle name game

The middle name is no longer an afterthought, and parents' inspiration comes from many places.

Have a baby or your money back - but there's a catch

A new IVF scheme offers couples the chance to fall pregnant and give birth - or get their money back. But there's more to it than you might think.

A rare glimpse inside the womb

A baby born still inside the amniotic sac gave US doctors a rare glimpse at life inside the womb.

Battered mum forced to write to her attacker ex in jail

Three years ago Jason Hughes viciously attacked his ex-partner. Now she has to write to him three times a year.

Woman pleads not guilty to ultrasound scam

A West Australian woman will fight allegations that she scammed expectant mums by selling them fake ultrasound pictures of babies.

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

Brain damaged mum receives compensation

A Sydney mother who suffered brain damage when she was hit by a car while pushing her newborn baby in a pram has reached a confidential out-of-court settlement with the driver's insurance company.

Indigenous midwives break down the barriers

A culturally sensitive midwifery service has gained the trust and respect of Aboriginal women.

The Katering Show's next big delivery

Most mums-to-be plan to take things easy and perhaps have a little break from work as the birth of their baby draws near. Not Kate McCartney.

53 creative pregnancy announcements

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.

Why I have mixed feelings about Cindy Crawford's leaked photo

Last week an un-retouched photo of model Cindy Crawford surfaced, showing the 48-year-old mother-of -two posing in underwear.

How to create a Peppa Pig pancake

Thought your toddler could not love pancakes any more than they already do? How about if the breakfast treat came in the shape of every two-year-old's favourite cartoon character?

'It's a little life, not a little loss': pregnancy after miscarriage

I thought I was never going to be able to have a successful pregnancy. I decided that I wasn't going to form an emotional attachment with this baby.

Bonds Baby Search 2015: what you need to know

February 18 marks the start of one of the most prolific annual baby competitions in Australia: the Bonds Baby Search. And this year is going to be more special than ever.

Who will manage your Facebook account when you're gone?

This is not something that people like to talk about, but Facebook has announced that it will grant users more control over what happens to their pages after they die.

Struggling mum of four wins $188 million

Mother of four Marie Holmes was financially struggling after quitting her jobs at Walmart and McDonald's in order to care for her children.

Pregnant obese women a 'relatively new problem', coroner hears

A first-time mother whose daughter died hours after her frightening birth insists she was never told of the risks of being obese and pregnant.

'I'm angry as hell': the story behind mum's passionate vaccination plea

She has labelled parents who do not vaccinate their children "misinformed imbeciles" - and for that, she makes no apologies.

IKEA hacks for the nursery and kids' rooms

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.

8 different kinds of tantrums

I never thought I’d say this, but for a brief moment last week, Kim Kardashian and I had something in common: both our kids had public tantrums.

Polycystic ovary syndrome: symptoms, treatment and your fertility

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the most common female hormonal condition, affecting roughly one in 12 Australian women.

What's the best position for giving birth?

If doing it on your back is out, what's the best position for labour and birth?

Wife forgives snake catcher husband for car surprise

With Valentine's Day coming up, Nat Gilbert could be forgiven for thinking her husband might be planning a surprise for her.

Kids who meet milestones at their own pace

We usually only hear the success stories: tales of the two-year-old who’s talking, running and completely toilet trained. But other stories need to be told too.

Ruby shines as Bonds Baby

Sarah Kiss has a word of advice for proud mums and dads who are keen to enter their babies in this year's Bonds Baby Search Competition - just have fun.

Why dads should go to sleep school

If your family needs to go to sleep school, go with them. You are part of that family and you are part of the solution.

36 baby names inspired by food and drinks

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.

Clever breastfeeding products

Check out this range of products designed to help make your breastfeeding journey more enjoyable, manageable and convenient.

 

Win a KitchenAid Mixer

Let's celebrate 300,000 fans on Facebook

To celebrate, and to thank our amazing fans, we?re giving away a KitchenAid Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer.

 
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.