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Piano News and Frequently Asked Piano Questions
Saturday, 1 September 2012
Our website is back!

After a week of not being on the web because of a server error with our hosting service, we are back up.  You can once again view our website about our business, including information on piano repairs, piano care, and other resources.

Dean Diers

www.dierspiano.com

 

 


Posted by Dean Diers Piano Service at 10:21 AM CDT
Updated: Saturday, 1 September 2012 10:31 AM CDT
Sunday, 30 October 2011
How Often Should my Piano be Tuned?
Topic: Tuning

How often should my piano be tuned?  That question is a bit like asking how often do I need to wash my car.  It all depends on how much you use it, how sensitive you are, and how well your piano holds a tune.  The short answer is perhaps every 6 to 12 months.  The average family with a child or two taking piano lessons, once a year is probably sufficient.  If you are a piano teacher, or a serious musician; somewhere closer to the 6 month mark might be the right answer for you.  I have a yearly reminder postcard system that many of my customers like to use, and others just call me when they hear the piano starting to sound bad.

Dean

www.dierspiano.com


Posted by Dean Diers Piano Service at 10:33 PM CDT
Friday, 28 October 2011
"What's in a Name?" Part 4
Topic: Buying or Selling
Confused? Why shouldn't you be? Most people know what kind of car or computer they prefer, but pianos tend to be a once in a lifetime purchase. First, contact a qualified piano technician; preferably one who has experience with a piano retailer. If you are the average pianist, you have played perhaps a dozen different pianos in your lifetime, whereas this technician plays at least that many every week. He is also familiar with the latest crop of “Brand Z” pianos just in from “who knows where.” Determine your budget and what your quality expectations are. The best published resource is “The Piano Book” by Larry Fine. It is a “Consumer Reports” if you will, of the piano industry and is highly respected. Just make sure you are looking at the edition that covers the era of piano you are considering, as the industry is constantly changing. On-line chat rooms can also help as they are an unlimited supply of unsolicited advice. Now,. Go buy the piano of your dreams. It will last you a lifetime. Then, go fishing. Shakespeare did. I know this because his name is on my fishing rod. Smile

Dean

www.dierspiano.com


Posted by Dean Diers Piano Service at 10:42 PM CDT
Updated: Friday, 28 October 2011 10:52 PM CDT
Wednesday, 26 October 2011
"What's in a Name?" Part 3
Topic: Buying or Selling

Now, you are in a piano store shopping for a new or nearly new piano.  Your piano teacher suggests "Brand X" because thats what she has and "It's a good one."  You remember grandma  had a great old  "Brand Y."  You don't realize it, but your piano teacher's piano is from the 1960's and grandma's was built in 1922.  As you look around the piano store you see these names and others; some familiar, others not.  The styles, sizes, and prices vary widely as does the quality.  One may be made in Indonesia, another in Japan, and yet another name is owned by a Korean company, but produced in their Chinese factory.  The solution, you conclude, is to go home and Google the name of the piano you are interested in.  what you find is a long "romantic" history of a U.S. company that employed only the best craftsmen, used the best materials, and only operated  to the highest standards to produce an instrument of unparalleled quality. . . blah, blah, blah.  Guess what?  They all say that.  They tend to minimize or neglect altogether the fact that the name is now owned by a Chinese company that produces very low quality instruments, often prone to a host of problems.  Stay tuned for the solution in part 4.

Dean

www.dierspiano.com


Posted by Dean Diers Piano Service at 6:35 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2011 7:04 PM CDT
Monday, 24 October 2011
"What's in a Name?" Part 2
Topic: Buying or Selling

By the middle of the 1900s, American manufacturers were reduced to perhaps a few dozen larger companies, each owning the rights to several piano names of the past. Balwin, for example, produced pianos with names such as Hamilton, Howard, Monarch, and Ellington. Ampico, (American Piano Company) and Aedian were big conglomerates created through mergers and acquisitions. By the 1970s, Asian manufacturers were exporting pianos in a big way, resulting in more American companies closing. By the 1980s, only a handful of U.S. Piano manufacturers remained, yet the rights to these old names have been sold and are used by a variety of companies.

Dean

www.dierspiano.com


Posted by Dean Diers Piano Service at 8:57 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 25 October 2011 9:17 AM CDT
Saturday, 22 October 2011
Top Secret Performing at Sept 2010 TCPTG Meeting
Now Playing: It's a Wonderful World and Others
Topic: Barbershop

"Top Secret" is a registered quartet in the International Barbershop Harmony Society.  Based in Roseville, we are also part of the Greater St Paul Northstar Chorus.  We perform 4 part men's a cappella music in the barbershop style on the Twin Cities and surrounding areas.  Click on the link to hear Top Secret performing at Sept 2010 TCPTG (Twin Cities Piano Technicians Guild) Meeting

Dean

www.dierspiano.com 


Posted by Dean Diers Piano Service at 2:20 PM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 25 October 2011 9:19 AM CDT
Thursday, 20 October 2011
"What's in a Name" Part 1
Topic: Buying or Selling

SHAKESPEARE ONCE SAID, "What's in a name?"  When piano making was in it's hey day in the early 1900's in the U.S. there were hundreds of different name brands (manufacturers) of pianos.  Think about it, in 1910 there were no computers, no video games, no television, and radio was still a decade away.  A home entertainment center consisted of a big upright piano, some sheet music and parlor games.  Over the years, piano companies went the way of the railroads with smaller companies getting bought out by larger ones, many firms were merging into large conglomerates, and less profitable ones simply going out of business.  By the end of the 1930s, the lion's share of piano names existed only on paper.  The pianos of this era, however, tended to be made with very good materials by top-notch craftsmen, and it is amazing how many 80 - 100 year-old pianos are still in use today.

Dean

www.dierspiano.com


Posted by Dean Diers Piano Service at 8:48 AM CDT
Updated: Tuesday, 25 October 2011 10:08 AM CDT
Tuesday, 18 October 2011
Part 4: Prevention
Topic: Soundboards

Anything you can do to maintain a constant humidity in your home will reap huge benefits for your piano.  Central air for summer humidity and humidifiers in the winter all help in tuning stability and promote good soundboard "health".  Keeping your piano away from heat and A/C ducts, fireplaces, and out of direct sunlight are essential in preventing soundboard cracks.  Installing a humidity control system inside the piano is the best way of maintaining a proper environment for the piano and keeping it in top condition to last a lifetime.

Dean

www.dierspiano.com


Posted by Dean Diers Piano Service at 8:54 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2011 7:08 PM CDT
Sunday, 16 October 2011
Part 3:Causes of Cracked Soundboards
Topic: Soundboards

Because soundboards are large thin wooden panels, they are very susceptible to humidity changes.  In areas with large humidity swings (like Minnesota) the soundboard can swell and contract quite a bit with the seasons, taking the tuning up and down with it.  In extreme dry conditions, or if the piano is placed in front of a large heat source, it can shrink so much that it will crack.  In some cheaper Asian made pianos, the wood isn't always seasoned well enough before manufacture to withstand the North American climate, making it also more susceptible to cracking.

Dean

www.dierspiano.com


Posted by Dean Diers Piano Service at 12:53 PM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2011 7:09 PM CDT
Friday, 14 October 2011
Part 2: What is a Soundboard?
Topic: Soundboards

If you look at the back of an upright piano, you will see a large thin wooden panel that comprises most of the back of the piano.  This will have diagonal slats (ribs) glued to it.  If you tap on this with your finger, you will notice the amplification of sound that this creates.  On a grand piano, you can find the soundboard inside, under the strings, and often with a decal bearing the piano's maker.  Underneath, the grand will look much like the back of an upright.  Soundboards of some cheaper pianos are laminated (like plywood) and claim they will never crack.  The best soundboards are tight grained spruce panels from old growth trees that produce the highest quality tone amplification.

Dean

www.dierspiano.com


Posted by Dean Diers Piano Service at 9:41 AM CDT
Updated: Wednesday, 26 October 2011 7:11 PM CDT

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