Piano Tuning is the adjustment of string tension so that they vibrate at certain frequencies which are in harmony with one another according to musical and acoustical rules. In other words, tuning your piano involves adjusting the tension of every string (over 200 in total!) on every note to produce clear sounds and true note frequency, thereby making your piano “sing.”
Baby grand and grand pianos tend to collect a lot of dust on the soundboard underneath the strings. Piano technicians clean this area with specialized tools which fit between the strings. Moths love the wool cloths and felts in pianos, especially the hammers, dampers and under the keys. Periodic cleaning of your piano helps prevent moth damage. Pianos, especially upright pianos, are also a favorite haven for mice. If you’ve had mice in your home, it’s likely they’ve been in your piano.
Voicing, or tone regulating, is the adjustment of the tone of the piano. This is accomplished by changing the density or hardness of the hammer felt through various techniques. To put it simply, hardening the felt will make the tone “brighter,” whereby softening it will make the tone mellower, or “warmer.”
Action parts need periodic adjustment to compensate for wear, compacting and settling of cloth and felt, and changes to wooden parts due to temperature and humidity. Frequency of regulation depends on usage. Regulation problems can cause sticking keys, clicking sounds, bobbling or double-striking hammers, or complete loss of function.
Over time, keytops can yellow or chip. Plus, many old piano keys were made with ivory keytops which have badly chipped, yellowed or fallen off completely. A new set of keytops changes the entire look of a piano. Nothing brings a bigger smile to a piano owner’s face than a new set of keytops.
There are different levels of piano “restoration,” ranging from minor reconditioning to completely rebuilding a piano. Reconditioning a piano involves upgrading the performance of the piano and its parts with as little actual replacement of parts as possible. This may involve filing the hammers, regulating the action, twisting bass strings to improve tone or adjusting spring tension on existing parts. Rebuilding a piano is the most complete level of restoration involving replacing some or all of the “guts” or “belly” of the piano including the strings, pin-block, and bridges, as well as, reconditioning or replacing the soundboard. Rebuilding may also include replacing hammers, wippens and other action parts, as well as, damper and key felts and bushings.
Helzner Piano service offers the finest hand-rubbed piano finishes. Black or natural, high gloss or satin, Helzner Piano will restore your piano to its original appearance, complete with polished brass or nickel plating, as well as felted case parts and a new decal! We also offer on-site piano touch up and wood repair.
Climate Control and System Installation
Humidity fluctuation is one of the main causes of tuning instability and piano damage. The swelling and contracting of your piano's wood will not only put you piano out of tune, it can, over time, cause damage to the piano's pin-block and bridges. It's often the cause of sluggish parts, rusted strings and worst of all...cracked soundboards.
A climate control system is a good investment for any piano, but particularly for those pianos in environments which experience significant humidity change. If you live in a home which gets dry in the winter, damp in the summer, or both, you may want to consider installing a climate control system. David is a qualified installer of these systems and will help you address any concerns with regard to humidity control.
Beginning in his teenage years, owner David Helzner assisted his father with piano restoration and repair. After graduating from Temple University, David David became a full-time piano technician.
Today, nearly thirty years later, each and every on-site service is performed by David to ensure quality service and expert care.
“I appreciate how David seems to care more about my piano than me. I often credit him with keeping me interesting in playing so often."
“Our musicians rely on the expert work of Helzner Piano. We maintain very high standards and David always delivers."
“We love how Helzner Piano does the job right every time. David is always there for us - even when we interrupt his family vacation!"