Piano and Organ Tuning & Repairs

INTRODUCTION
Hello, my name is Lucien Lowe, Australasian Registered Piano Tuner/Technician, Licensed Electronics Technician.
 

For the last 30 years our business has been the repair, maintenance and tuning of pianos, repair and maintenance of electronic organs, keyboards and digital pianos and the supply of only quality instruments at affordable prices.

Lu Lowe

 

 


----
PIANO TUNING SERVICING AND MAINTENANCE 
It is important to have only experienced and qualified technicians service and tune your valued instrument. Good instruments can be severely devalued and have performance compromised from poor servicing. Australian Piano Tuners and Technicians Guild members are a good start to selecting a good reliable piano tuner. These people have had the training and experience necessary to do the job right and have passed the necessary exams and criteria for acceptance into the Guild and are bound by the Guild code of ethics. Your piano will sound and perform at its very best.

Acoustic pianos are constructed of mostly timber. The biggest component of timber in the piano being the all-important soundboard which is supported behind the steel plate or frame. The soundboard supports the downward pressure of the strings and oscillates in sympathy with them. This action transduces the sound of the vibrating strings so that they can be clearly heard. The soundboard being such a big piece of timber moves with changes of humidity along with the bridges and tuning plank. These tiny movements caused by humidity, temperature, vibration and the natural tendency of stored energy (tension) in the string to gradually relax causes the piano pitch to change and the piano to go out of tune. The complex array of levers from the key to the wippen to the jack to the hammer that strikes the string, can over time and use, need to be adjusted (regulation). Poor regulation effects the response and tone of the piano. For these reasons pianos need to be tuned at least every twelve months. Periodic regulation and regular tuning keeps your valued piano to itís optimum sound and performance, keeps the instrument at itís designed pitch A440 and helps maintain its value. The cost for this service each year is minimal compared to the cost of major repairs and overhauls, which can result from neglecting your piano. Many, many years of pleasure can be derived from a well- maintained piano.

CHOOSING YOUR NEW PIANO
When choosing a piano there are many things to consider, such as upright or grand, what height or what length piano, what finish and colour, what brand and whether digital or acoustic to name a few. The Australian Piano Buyers Guide is an excellent read to gain some insight into deciding which instrument is right for you. Click Here or the icon on this site to receive your FREE copy.

Buying your new piano from a qualified piano tuner can be a rewarding experience. Buying from a salesman may be fine, but a piano tuner/technician has knowledge and experience in the construction and maintenance of the inside of the piano and has an interest in your instrument long after your initial purchase. A piano tuner/supplier knows how to select the best quality instrument for performance, longevity and value. Your piano tuner is the one most likely to care for your instrument for years to come. Selling  the best value instrument available makes perfect sense for the tuner/supplier and most importantly, you the customer.

Piano tuners are generally passionate about their work and love to work with good pianos.
Beware of cheaper instruments. It may turn out that performance and longevity are compromised. There is generally always a good reason for the cheap price tag. Old pianos can be thought of like old cars. Ongoing maintenance can be expensive and good performance may not be possible without major rebuilding. Most old pianos that are offered for sale generally havenít been serviced or tuned in years and may have suffered major damage from neglect and the ravages of excess humidity throughout their lives. Excess humidity changes can cause soundboard, tuning plank and bridge problems that may not be immediately obvious to the untrained eye. If buying an old piano it is imperative that you seek the advice of a qualified piano tuner. Most tuners offer an appraisal service for a small fee. A written report from your piano tuner can take much of the guesswork out of purchasing an old clunker. 

HUMIDITY CONTROL FOR THE ACOUSTIC PIANO
As discussed previously humidity can have a profound effect on the performance of your piano. Short term, immediately obvious effects are stuck keys, notes that wonít sound, sluggish action, dull sound and tight fallboards. Long term effects can be warped and cracked timber components, swollen lead key weights, loss of tuning plank grip on tuning pins, hardening of felting, compromised glued joints to name a few. Pianos need a certain moisture content retained in the timber, usually around 8-10%. This would be maintained if the relative humidity in the air around the piano was at an ideal constant 42%. On the South East Queensland coastal areas we have found humidity levels to change from as high as over 90% to lower than 30% . The piano timber soaks in and gives up this moisture from the surrounding atmosphere slowly but follows these changing patterns throughout the year, sometimes causing these long and short term faults in the piano. It is best to position your piano in the central part of the home, on an inside wall. Away from heaters, fireplaces, and air conditioners and draughty movements of air through doorways and windows. If being stored for a period, off bare concrete floors and not stored in sheds and garages if possible. 

A PIANO LIFE SAVER SYSTEM by Dampp Chaser is a piece of equipment that can be fitted in to your piano to help alleviate humidity problems. It does this by creating a regulated, close to constant 42% relative humidity inside the piano. Under these conditions your piano performs and sounds its very best year in, year out and will last at least twice as long. Some pianos will react to changes in humidity worse than others. Even in the best of positions in a home, humidity can still sometimes be a problem. If in doubt, get your tuner to assess whether your piano needs this equipment. Personally I have found that pianos in good condition, fitted with these systems perform very well and are very stable with little or no problems after fitting. 

 ELECTRONIC ORGAN/KEYBOARD SERVICING. Since the 1930ís electronic music keyboard systems have evolved in to awesome achievements in sound reproduction.

The latest generation of microprocessor controlled memory based instruments have unsurpassed capabilities, functions, features and reliability. We have gone through around 80 years of research and development worldwide, to having available now instruments that allow musicians to be creative at all levels. Everybody can enjoy the thrill of playing music.

Electronic organ and keyboard product servicing profession has never been totally easy. Although I admit some jobs are a breeze. But mostly the difficulty in fault finding is having to be familiar with the different systems of electronics used in different models even within the same manufacturer. The systems used in electronic keyboard instruments over the last 80 years have varied greatly. From magnetic tone wheel systems with valve amplification and filtering invented by Laurens Hammond in 1934 to discreet transistor, oscillation,  filtering, and amplification, found later in Japanese instruments. Top octave synthesizer systems then became popular to keyer divider systems with digital control matrixes.  Microprocessor controlled systems with pulse code modulation emerged giving us a taste of truer voicing with the advent of MIDI. Then came digital organs with the memory based systems we enjoy now. All these complicated systems had also many variances in between.

Trained technicians conversant with all these types of electronic keyboard instruments are getting a little hard to find as the years roll on and technology changes. Our business takes pride in being able to offer this service to organ/keyboard owners.

Not all piano tuners repair and service electronic organs. This is a highly specialized field, which requires dedicated training in electronics and electrical servicing. It takes years to acquire the expertise to service all makes and models of electronic contemporary and classic organs.  

It is now also a requirement by law, to be an electrical license holder to carry out repairs to organs, pianos and keyboards that are plugged into 240volt household power sockets. For your safety, if you are concerned, ask to see a license.

The areas we cover with tuning and servicing are the Wide Bay/Burnett, Cooloola Coast, and top end of Sunshine Coast region . We also service these and outlying areas with new and used pianos, organs and keyboards.

Lucien Lowe (Australasian Registered Piano Tuner/Technician)