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Maintenance and care

Importance of maintenance and care

C. Bechstein pianos are made primarily of high-quality natural materials, which of course react to climatic conditions, whereby both the sound and touch of the instrument may be negatively affected. Fluctuations in humidity, for example, affect the crown of the soundboard, which in turns alters the tension on the strings. The normal mechanical wear can also affect your piano’s sound and touch.

Lasting playing pleasure

Qualified maintenance preserves your piano’s sound and touch. A well-tuned, well-regulated, well-voiced piano will ensure lasting pleasure for both you and those who listen to you playing.

Regular maintenance: a warranty condition

Thanks to the Six Sigma quality management system, warranty claims come to just 0.1% of our annual revenues, so that we’re proud to offer you a five-year warranty on every piano. This warranty entails certain conditions, however, including regular care and maintenance. Please read the warranty booklet supplied with your instrument for further information.

Value-preserving maintenance

Regular maintenance of your upright or grand piano (tuningvoicing and regulation of the action) is essential for preserving the value of your instrument. The maintenance work not only optimizes various factors (touch, pitch, volume and tone color), but also includes care of both the case and the acoustic assembly. Treat your piano to regular servicing by an authorized C. Bechstein technician. This will preserve both the value of your instrument and your own playing pleasure.

Temperature and humidity: two key factors

If the humidity in a room is too low or too high, this produces an unhealthy atmosphere. Your piano, too, will suffer under such conditions. Uprights and grands are made of high-quality natural materials, which are sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity.

Relative humidity

Use a hygrometer to check the humidity in the room where you have placed or wish to place your piano. A humidity level of 40 to 60 percent is good; fluctuations should be kept to a minimum. A high level of humidity will impair the tuning of your piano and cause swelling in the felt, leather and wooden parts of the action assembly, which will also impair the touch. On the other hand, you should use a humidifier or an air washer to prevent damage due to drying if the ambient humidity drops below 40 percent.

Piano Life Saver: for perfect climatic conditions

The Piano Life Saver is a practical device for regulating the climatic conditions in the room where your piano stands. Experience has shown that instruments used in rooms with problematic conditions stay tuned longer when they are equipped with the Piano Life Saver device. Contact your C. Bechstein dealer for more details.

Piano tuning

Your upright or grand piano should always be kept in tune for three reasons: regular tuning is essential for preserving its value, contributes to your playing pleasure and is a sine qua non for training a beginner’s ear.

Why is regular piano tuning important?

The slightest changes in temperature or humidity will affect the crown of your piano’s soundboard, and thus the tension on the strings as well. This puts the instrument out of tune, which must be corrected by a qualified piano tuner.

How often should I call a piano tuner?

You should call in the piano tuner at least once – better twice – per year, ideally at the beginning and end of the heating period. This is the only way to maintain optimum tonal quality, and your instrument’s tunability over the long term. If your piano has not been tuned for a longer period of time, it may be necessary to adjust the pitch in a series of steps to ensure the best possible tuning stability.

How do I recognize a good piano tuner?

A good piano tuner achieves harmonious and lasting tuning. He or she should also inform you on the overall condition of the action assembly and give you advice on proper care of the various parts of your instrument. A concert technician is a highly qualified piano tuner who is able to meet the high demands of professional pianists before a concert or a studio recording.

Action assembly regulation

The action assembly of your piano is made up of several thousand parts that are heavily stressed every time you play. Therefore, the overall condition of the action changes more or less over time, depending on the stress level. Regulation of the action is necessary from time to time to maintain a precise and pleasant touch. However, you should only entrust an experienced technician or piano-maker with the work, as your piano’s action is a highly complex and subtle assembly.

The advantages of the C. Bechstein action assembly

The C. Bechstein action assembly is famous for its wonderfully pleasant and precise touch. Its perfection enables you to effortlessly achieve all of the tonal nuances and tints. The C. Bechstein action is made exclusively of high-quality natural materials and precision metal parts. Of course, the action assemblies in the various brands made by the C. Bechstein group boast different levels of excellence, and the action of a piano within the Masterpiece class can produce more subtle nuances that that of a beginner’s instrument.

Optimum regulation

Ask your authorized C. Bechstein dealer for recommendations on the care and maintenance needs of your piano’s action assembly. A well-regulated action enables you to play your instrument with precision, provides you with greater playing pleasure, and helps you to continuously improve your technique.

Voicing

Voicing is the art of shaping a piano’s voice by regenerating the felt that covers the hammerheads. Within certain limits, this maintenance operation can adapt the dynamic range, the tone color and various other voice parameters to your personal taste and the room where you have placed your piano.

Why is voicing necessary?

Over time, the repeated striking of the hammerheads on the strings compresses the felt, so that the sound produced by the instrument becomes harder and less nuanced. On the contrary, excessive humidity swells the felt, so that the sound becomes limp and less dynamic. As such changes do not affect all hammerheads identically, the final result is also an unbalanced sound.

Make sure you commission a qualified piano technician

Using the proper tools, an experienced and qualified technician can reverse the effects of these changes by regenerating the felt of the hammerheads. As voicing is an important maintenance operation, we recommend a yearly voicing, whereby the interval may vary depending on your needs and the way you use your piano. The fine art of voicing requires not only excellent technical skills, but also a wealth of experience. The hammerheads are crucial action parts, and the voicing technician uses special needles that he or she inserts with a special technique into the felt to recover its original elasticity and thus provide your piano with the optimal voice.

C. Bechstein has many years of experience in voicing

The authorized C. Bechstein technicians have extensive practical experience in voicing. After all, anyone who regularly tunes large concert grands for professional pianists certainly has the required expertise to practice the fine art of voicing on any upright or grand piano.

Cleaning the piano case

Cleaning the case is important for preserving the value of your piano. The following tips make it easy to keep your precious instrument clean without inadvertently causing damage.

The choice of cleaning product depends on the finish and on the type of cleaning required. A general rule is: remove dust gently, without pressure. To remove fingerprints and the like after dusting, use a soft cloth and a cleaning product suited to the finish. You can obtain a suitable care product from your C. Bechstein dealer.

Upright and grand pianos with satin finish

Never apply undue pressure when rubbing a satin finish. The more you rub a satin finish, the shinier it becomes. Use as little moisture as possible. Liquids can corrode or stain a satin finish.

Upright and grand pianos with brilliant finish

Brilliant polyester finishes on late-model C. Bechstein instruments are highly resistant, yet the removal of dust or other particles can leave fine scratches if you fail to proceed with care. As a first step, you should remove dust using a feather-duster or a clean, dry microfiber cloth without applying pressure. Afterward, you can remove fingerprints using a slightly damp cloth or chamois. You can obtain a suitable care product from your C. Bechstein dealer.

Cleaning the keys

On today’s pianos, the keys are provided with a high-quality plastic coating and should be cleaned only with a soft, lint-free cloth. Do not use aggressive or abrasive cleaning products. Keys with a coating made of natural materials may need to be cleaned by an expert technician.

Cleaning metal parts

Pedals, hinges and other metal parts can be wiped down and polished with a soft cloth. You can obtain a suitable metal care product from your C. Bechstein dealer.

No cleaning inside the piano!

Any cleaning needed inside your piano must be left to a specialist to avoid damage which may entail costly repairs.

 

Delicate parts inside

You should never place anything that contains liquid such as vases, glasses or bottles upon your piano. It can happen all too quickly that the liquid is spilled and gets inside the instrument. To avoid such accidents, always place liquids at some distance away from your piano.

What do I do if liquid flows into the instrument?

You must act quickly. First, use a dry cloth to soak up as much of the liquid as possible. Never apply heat (for example, using a hair dryer) to dry the affected areas. Call a technician right away. Do not attempt to clean the inside of the instrument yourself.

What if strange noises are audible when playing the piano?

First, try to locate the source of the noise. It usually helps to ask another person for assistance.

Vibrating noise: This may be caused by lamps or glasses in the room resonating with the music from the piano.

Foreign object: An object that has fallen inside the piano can also cause strange noises when you play the instrument. Use utmost caution and call a technician for help in such cases, as the foreign object can easily damage the action assembly.