Q. How often should my piano be tuned?
A. Manufacturer recommendations will suggest no less than 4 tunings in the first year for a new piano and twice a year after the first year. However, it is common practice for a residential piano with moderate use to receive one tuning per year. Factors that will contribute to more frequent tunings will be heavy use, fluctuating yearly temperature/humidity of the piano's environment and the ear of the client. If you think your piano needs a tuning, it probably does so go ahead and schedule a tuning! 

For more information see the Piano Technicians Guild online bulletin, "How often should my piano be serviced?" at: http://www.ptg.org/"How often should my piano be serviced?"

Q. What is the difference between electronic an aural tuning?
A. Pianos can be tuned with an Electronic Tuning Device (ETD) using specific industry approved software or strictly be ear using a series of test ratios. Note: ETDs cannot be used without prior training and extensive experience. Tuning a piano requires fine motor skills, an ability to 'set' a string to restrict immediate movement and a knowledge of adjusting tuning for pitch stability by means of pitch correction. At Attune Piano Services, a hybrid method of using both an ETD and aural tools for tuning services.  

Q. What is current standard concert pitch?
A. The international standard concert pitch is A-440. However, performance groups mainly in Europe are starting to use A-442 and A-443. 

Q. Does moving a piano cause it to go out of tune?
A. Unless dropped a significant distance, moving a piano does not cause it to go out of tune. Changing a piano's environment from one location to another will cause it go out of tune. A consistent temperature around 68º and relative humidity level close to 42% will be one of the best things you can do for your piano.  This can be achieved through an external humidifier and/or dehumidifier. Or by installing a climate system made specifically for pianos by Piano Life Saver (www.pianolifesaver.com). A hygrometer purchased at your local hardware store can help with taking proper temperature/humidity readings.

Care & Maintenance
Q. How should I clean my piano?
A. First you need to determine the kind of finish of your piano. Then throw away any aerosol and/or oil-based polish you have set aside for the job. For regular upkeep, a microfiber cloth and a lightly damp rag should be enough. Use a little dab of dawn dish soap on a lightly damp rage for stubborn dirt on keys. For deeper cleaning, use Guardsman Furniture Polish or Cory's Piano Products. For additional information, see these websites: 
http://www.ptg.org/Finish Care Technical Bulletin

Q. Should I install a climate system?
A. Climate systems can be costly on the front end but if you find your piano going out of tune frequently from one season to another, your piano (and your pocketbook) will greatly benefit from one of these system. They reduce the need for frequent tunings, help prevent cracks in the  soundboards and glue joints from drying out. Vada is a certified installer with Piano Life Saver. Please call for pricing and installation details, if you are interested in purchasing this product. (www.pianolifesaver.com)

Q. Where should I place my piano in my house?
A. Try to place your piano where it will have a consistent temperature and humidity throughout the year. Ideally around 68º and 42% relative humidity. Factors that will threaten this consistency will be fireplaces, baseboard heating, direct sunlight, exterior doors, air vents and exterior walls in older, poorly insulated homes. 

Q. How should I care for the maintenance of my piano?
A. Cleaning, tuning and servicing the mechanics on regular schedule is key to a healthy piano. If the exterior of the piano is dusty or the keys are dirty, use a microfiber cloth or a lightly damp rag followed by the microfiber cloth should do the trick. Please leave the interior cleaning to your piano technician. They are trained to work around of the delicate parts of the piano mechanics. Tuning should be done no less than once a year. Pianos are designed for a certain string to be intact. However, if the piano looses this tension, if can start to impact glue joints, soundboard and bridge integrity. The mechanics are adjusted by service that is referred to as regulation which is discussed further in the next question. For more information, click here: 

Q. What is regulation? 
A. Regulation is the adjustment of the mechanical parts comprised of cloth, wood, felt and buckskin. Compacting and settling changes the fine adjustment affecting proper dynamic range, repetition and ease of play.  Need for regulation depends on 'amount of use, exposure to climatic changes, and the instrument's quality, age and condition. New pianos may require regulation in their first year because settling and compacting of parts sometimes necessitates adjustment.' 
http://www.ptg.org/technical bulletin/regulation

Q. What is voicing? 
A. Tuning is about proper pitch whereas voicing is about tonality. Depending on the felt of a piano hammer, a piano can sound warm and mellow or bright and loud. Through techniques to harden or soften the felt, a piano obtain a pleasurable tone for the player's ear. More information can be found at: http://www.ptg.org/technical bulletin/voicing

Q. Where can I find a qualified piano mover?
A. For Skagit County & the San Juan Islands, call Pedigo Piano @ (360) 757-7887

     For Whatcom County, call K&E Moving & Storage @ (360) 733-7800 or (855) 220-2122

Piano Lessons
Q. Where can I find a qualified piano teacher?
A. Click here for Skagit County: http://www.skagitmusicteachers.org/teacher directory
     For Whatcom County, contact:
       Bellingham Chapter - Washington State Music Teachers Association  (http://wa.mtna.org/)
       Dorie Guldon 
       (360) 671-1337

Q. Where can I buy a piano? 
A.  Mt. Vernon 
      Pedigo Piano, http://www.pedigopiano.com/


      Fandrich & Sons, http://www.fandrich.com/

      Seattle Area
      Classic Piano (Bellevue),  http://seattle.classicpianos.net/
      Northwest Piano (Bellevue), http://www.northwestpianos.com/
      Steinway Piano (Downtown Seattle), http://www.steinwayseattle.com/

      Paul Burleigh SODO Piano, http://www.sodopianos.com/

Q. What should I look for when buying a piano?
A. When evaluating a piano, look for structural damage to the case, chipped keys, if the piano founds fairly in tune, whether it is easy to play or not. Be sure to pull off the bottom panel and examine the soundboard and bridges or cracking. Bridges are the strip of wood that the strings run across. A piano where the pitch is very inconsistent could be a sign of a cracked pin block and not worth purchasing. Whenever available, be sure to contact your local piano technician to evaluate a piano for you. 

Q. Are there any online resources for buying a piano? 
A. Yes. A couple of the best online websites for buying a piano is http://www.pianobuyer.com/ and http://pianopricepoint.com/. Both sites are free and user friendly. Highly recommended by the piano industry. 

Q. What is the PTG?
A. The Piano Technicians Guild (PTG) is an organization for piano tuners/technicians. The PTG sets standards for the industry, provides educational opportunities and  offers credentialing for technicians worldwide. To become an Registered Piano Technician (RPT), a technician must go through a series of testing examinations including: written, technical and aural tuning (piano tuning strictly by ear). It can take several years for a technician to pass all of these exams. At Attune Piano Service, Vada has attended several conventions and many classes over several years. She has passed her written and technical exams and is currently studying for her aural tuning exams.  http://www.ptg.org

Q. How often do you work in Alaska and when?
A. Twice a year during Spring in Fall. Usually during the months of April and October.