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 CountryFeral

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

 

How a pregnancy contract could work for you and your partner

The idea of making a 'pregnancy contract' with your partner may sound a bit silly at first, but it can help make the transition to parenthood a lot smoother.

Finding a mum-friendly personal trainer

Burping babies vs burpees – yes, new mums and personal trainers live in different worlds. But they can work together - once you find the right match for you and your lifestyle.

Ambulance service under fire: baby seats to go, response times 'worse than ever'

The NSW Ambulance Service is removing child-safety seats from ambulances, while the Victorian service is facing criticism over lengthy response times following the death of a three-year-old.

Alleged baby snatch incident a ?misunderstanding?, say police

Police say that an incident in which a man pulled on a woman?s pram while walking a popular Sydney route late last month was a misunderstanding.

Ebola killed my aunt and is shutting down my country

Three weeks ago, my auntie, a midwife, developed a fever. Sitting here in Sydney basked in Australian sunshine, that shouldn't be big news.

The night my ovary burst

One mum shares her frightening experience and vows to never take her health for granted again.

Is e-reading to your toddler story time or just screen time?

When reading increasingly means swiping pages on a device, and we're advised to read to their children early and often, should parents be turning to e-readers for storytime?

Community mourns inspiring young dad

A young dad who fought a five-year battle with cancer has been remembered for his inspiring legacy at a funeral service attended by hundreds of family and friends this week.

Meningococcal kills Queensland toddler

Public health authorities say the death of a toddler in north Queensland from meningococcal disease highlights the danger the illness poses.

Nicole Kidman: 'I hope every month that I'm pregnant'

Nicole Kidman is hoping to add to her family, but says she's doubtful it will happen.

Recall: Aldi Wooden London Bus play set

Aldi has announced a recall of their popular Wooden London Bus play set.

Great gift ideas for first birthdays

From soft toys to balance bikes, here are some great ideas for first birthday gifts.

Mum learnt she was pregnant hours before giving birth

Kim Walsh arrived at the doctor with abdominal cramps. Hours later, she was cradling the baby experts told her she could never have.

How cancer has made me a better, happier person

I'm a far better person post-cancer than I ever was before. The goal now is to stay around long enough to find out who I can become, and what I can achieve.

Pete Evans says a paleo diet can prevent autism. He's wrong

Pete Evans is not a paediatrician or even a nutritionist or dietitian. So why should we believe his extreme views and remove food groups from our children's diets over the advice from those more qualified?

Let's get back to commonsense parenting

Forget the new 'Lawnmower' parenting trend; try using plain old-fashioned commonsense instead.

Woman sues after having a mixed-race baby

A US woman is suing a sperm bank after it sent her vials from African-American man, instead of the white donor she had selected.

Bonding ideas dad will love

Dad may not say it, but he could be feeling lost, confused and seriously left out. However, there are lots of things new fathers can do to be more included in the excitement of pregnancy and new parenthood.

The house that hope built for childhood cancer

Baby Laelani Baker was diagnosed with cancer before she was even born. Her heartbreaking story is just one of the reasons the Build for a Cure project is raising money for vital research into childhood cancer.

Does stay-at-home parenting get better?

Parenting doesn’t ever get easier; the challenges just change. But the challenges of caring for young children definitely lessens as they get older.

Inquest into the short and tragic life of Chloe Valentine

As the first phase of an inquest into the death of Chloe Valentine drew to a close, there was no doubt Chloe's life was marred by appalling neglect.

When mothers kill

The act of killing one's child is unthinkable for most, and a mother who kills her offspring has a special power to inspire shock and revulsion.

6 beauty tips for tired mums

For those of us with young children, eight hours sleep is a distant memory. And while we can’t do much to secure more shut-eye, there are some ways to fake it.

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

16 parenting truths you won't find in the baby books

I am five years into this parenting gig and I’ve learnt that sleepless nights and changing dirty nappies are child’s play.

Win 1 of 5 Canon Powershot D30 cameras

Capture life more easily with the Canon Powershot D30. Shockproof, waterproof and dustproof, you can take it almost anywhere and shoot beautiful images, time after time. Enter now!

Best and worst potty party cakes

It's nice to celebrate a child making the shift from nappies to 'big kid' undies, but do we really need a semi-realistic used toilet cake to do it? Here are some of the best and worst cakes parents have used at 'potty parties' around the world.

7 tips for a financially festive Christmas

Plan ahead - and do it now - to ensure festive season expenses don't break the bank.

'Go the F*** to Sleep' author's new book for frustrated parents

A sequel is coming soon to the 2011 hit book 'Go the F*** to Sleep' - and this time, it's about mealtimes.

Great birthday party buys from Etsy

Handmade crafts to decorate and personalise your child's next birthday - from banners to cake decorations, we've got gorgeous party finds from Etsy.

Creative storage ideas for the kids' rooms

Creative and practical storage ideas for the kids' toys and books can also add some stylish decor to your home. Visit babyology.com.au for more stylish modern finds for hip kids & parents.

Awkward grandparents

When Grandma and Grandpa pose for a snap with the kids, things can get very weird, very quickly.

To the mum in the doctor's waiting room

Maybe the mum I saw in that waiting room, seemingly disconnected from her baby, doesn’t have the support she needs.

10 space-saving nursery ideas

Starting a family doesn't always mean moving into a bigger house - not yet, anyway.

 

What's in a name?

Baby Names

Looking for a classic name, or an unusual name? Our Baby Name Finder is for you, search or browse to refine your shortlist.

 
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.