Caring for Your Piano
Getting the Most from Your Yamaha Piano
Your Yamaha Piano is an important investment that can provide you with many years of reliable service. As a new owner, we want to give you a few simple ideas that you can readily apply to ensure top performance and long life for your Yamaha Piano. Please read through this information carefully and follow its instructions. You will be rewarded with many years of personal, pleasurable satisfaction.
Where to locate your piano:
- Put your piano where it sounds best: The piano should be placed in a room where the sound will be evenly distributed. A room where all the sound gathers in one spot will produce sound lag and echoes. The best room for your piano is one in which its sound will reverberate to produce pleasant, full-bodied tones without harsh echoes.
- Provide sufficient ventilation: Pianos need ventilation, but the wrong kind of ventilation can damage them. The best location for your piano is in the center of the room or against a wall dividing two rooms. If possible, avoid placing it next to an exterior wall where outside weather conditions might cause tone quality and volume to suffer. If there is no other choice, however, at least make sure that the piano has adequate ventilation on all sides.
- Avoid windows: Try not to place the piano near a window. A piano cabinet is made of wood and must be protected against direct sunlight, humidity and sudden changes in temperature. Windows that open to the out-of-doors offer the least protection. If you must place the piano near a window use a heavy curtain over the window for protection.
- Avoid heat sources: Keep the piano away from sources of heat such as radiators or hot air registers. Such heat sources can damage the finish and internal parts, causing tone and balance to deteriorate. Make sure that no radiant heat or hot air draft strikes the piano directly.
Optimize your piano’s environment:
- Proper conditions mean better sound: Pianos work best and sound best when the temperature and humidity are right. Proper ventilation is also important. Generally speaking, a relative humidity of between 40 and 45 percent is ideal for pianos. The use of materials such as wood, felt and cloth in piano construction means that many parts are quite delicate. If not properly cared for, they can be damaged easily. Therefore we are unable to assume responsibility for damage resulting from abuse, harsh treatment, or extended exposure to adverse conditions.
- How humidity affects a piano: Felt, cloth, leather and the precision wood parts-some of them machined to tolerances as fine as 1/100mm-used in such critical parts of the piano as the action, are extremely sensitive to humidity. Too much humidity will result in dull hammer action and unclear tones, rusting of internal parts and sticking keys. Before this happens the humid condition should be addressed and the piano should be serviced.
- How to protect against excessive moisture: Your dealer can advise you how best to compensate for climatic conditions in your area. However, here are a few general tips for proper care. On cloudy or rainy days close all windows in the piano room. Also, be sure to close the top board each time after playing. Be especially careful about excessive moisture if you live in one of the following places:
- Along a seacoast or in a rainy or humid region.
- In a valley, in a house facing hills, or in an area with poor drainage.
- In a concrete building not more than one or two years old.
- In an area where air exhausts are directed into a room or in a dark room facing north.
- Beware of excessive dryness: Too much humidity is a problem, but excessive dryness is an even more serious one, especially where heating or cooling systems are used to create artificially dry rooms. Used in naturally dry climates, the piano has enough natural moisture to prevent excessive drying. However, if the air becomes too dry the wooden and felt components will shrink. In extreme cases, the soundboard, joints and other laminated sections may even come apart, even though they have been glued together carefully. Slight distortion of the parts may cause noise, and the tuning pins may work loose, making it difficult to keep the piano in tune. To avoid excessive dryness it is best to keep some kind of leafy plant or a humidifier in the piano room.
- Avoid sudden temperature changes: When a cold room is warmed suddenly, moisture will condense on the piano strings and other metal parts, causing them to rust. Felt parts will absorb moisture, dulling their action and resulting in unclear sound. Be especially careful about sudden temperature changes when moving your piano into a room in a cold northern climate or into an airtight room in a concrete building.
Easy-care practices and good habits:
- Dust your piano regularly: Dust can dull the hammer action and cause noise. Dust the piano frequently with a soft cloth or feather duster and wipe the finish with a soft cloth.
- Keep the keyboard clean: The keyboard should be wiped periodically with a soft, dry cloth. Never use cleaners containing alcohol, as the keys will become cracked. If the keyboard is very dirty, wipe it with a cloth dipped in a solution of soap and water and wrung out well. The same cloth should not be used for cleaning the surface of the piano, however. A good habit to cultivate is never to play the piano with dirty hands. That way the keyboard will stay clean for a long time.
- Do not place objects on top of the piano: A heavy object may cause poor tone or noisy vibrations if placed on the piano. A vase of flowers may look attractive on the piano, but if it should spill and waters enter the piano serious damage can result. Water will rust the metal parts of the piano and damage the hammer and action. Avoid costly accidents and never place anything except sheet music or a metronome on the piano.
- Avoid contact with certain materials, avoid spilling: Avoid the possibility of the piano coming into contact with the following materials:
- Plastic products.
- Vinyl products.
- Anything containing alcohol.
- Liquids such as cosmetics, insecticides, any kind of aerosol.
- Paint thinner or petroleum based products
Adopt a schedule of regular service:
- Why schedule regular service? Having your piano serviced regularly is a lot like taking vitamins. As you regularly take vitamins, you generally feel better and you are able to perform at your peak level. Also, taking vitamins helps you avoid serious illnesses and other health-related problems. The same is true regarding regular service for your piano. Regular service will keep your piano’s performance (and your enjoyment) at its peak level. It will also correct “progressive” problems early, before they turn into costly repairs. For these reasons Yamaha strongly recommends that you adopt a schedule of regular service for your piano.
- Tuning and adjustment: Pianos are delicate instruments that need professional attention periodically. Basically there are two types of professional piano care: tuning and adjustment.
- Tuning means correcting the pitch of every note by retightening the strings. Each piano string is normally stretched to a pressure of about 90 kilograms (198pounds). Eventually, though, it will stretch further with use and lose some of its tension, causing the piano to lose its correct pitch. The strings need to be tuned a minimum of twice a year to restore them to their proper tension.
- Adjustment involves the entire piano action, keyboard and pedal movements. Proper adjustment is especially important for grand pianos. Whether the piano will perform properly or not depends on how accurately the adjustment is made.