Besides enchanting music, pianos and pianos have another side familiar to a narrow circle of specialists - repair. Let's consider the main features of the operation of the piano, their choice, debunking along the way some myths.
The previous piano tuner was better. It may sound a little paradoxical, but the quality of the tuner's work is largely assessed by how good an impression he will make on the customer, rather than by the professional capabilities of the master. This rule is generally general for the entire service sector. At the same time, the desire of the master to please the client is not so important, as his own subjective impression under the influence of life experience. Often the instrument will sound worse simply due to age properties, it is obvious that the previous tuner will seem to have done a better job. The instrument may sound different at different times of the year due to the condition of the soundboard. Some instruments are best tuned in the summer and some in the winter. It is often impossible to tune an instrument in principle due to false strings or twisted staves, and there is no point in explaining to the client about the tempered tuning. It should also be borne in mind that each instrument has its own limit of tuning accuracy; one cannot expect the sound of a concert grand piano from a small-sized piano. And the tuning of the instrument and the comfort of its sound are different things. For example, Bluetner's instruments sound pleasant even with a floating tuning, but the Red October piano sounds good only immediately after tuning.
The piano only requires tuning. If no one has played the instrument during the year, fluctuations in temperature and humidity lead to misalignment of the mechanism. Usually, the tuner is even less frequently used. By the way, tuning is usually not included in the warranty for a new piano or upright piano, but adjustments are warranted for no more than a year. We are not surprised by the fact that in winter furniture crumbles, and in summer doorframes swell? Before making an adjustment, you must always first put the mechanics in order. This includes gluing glued capsules, adjusting backlash, setting hammers exactly opposite the string choirs, securing screws, and so on. If the tool is in active use, then broken parts are possible. A pin can crawl out of the primers, common rubbish can become the cause of sinking. The onset and end of the heating season means that the professional pianist simply feels the need to adjust his instrument twice a year. If the instrument has not been serviced at all for several years, then it is impossible to tune the tuning fork at one time. You will have to make at least three settings instead of one. Even a guitar cannot be tuned half a tone at a time, because until the neck gets used to the new load, the tuning will "creep". Unlike a guitar, a piano can withstand the stress of string tension much more, up to 20 tons. Recently, tools have begun to be encountered in which, before setting, it is imperative to fix the supporting structures and the body.
The Red October piano is a good choice. First of all, it is worth mentioning where this brand came from. After the revolution, the Bolsheviks expropriated the Becker factory and renamed it in their own way. Even if you find an instrument today that contains Becker's details, it will be too old to be good in its original form. The next generation of "October" was already post-war, then the buyers could not even compare their piano with anything, simply rejoicing at the purchase. More than half a century has passed since the war, and again time has done its destructive work. Do not try to find a working instrument "Red October", a tempting offer to get such a piano free of charge with pick-up is almost doomed to failure.
Often it is enough just to paint your old but great tool. It is a mistake to think that painting will not require much effort. The fact is that it is the restoration of the appearance that is one of the most expensive types of work. Such "painting" can take up to 90% of the time of the entire repair and up to 90% of the funds invested in the restoration.
If you want to buy a used tool, you should pay attention only to "Petroff". In fact, the correct name of the Czech company is not "Petroff", but "Petrof" ("Petrof"). And the quality of this brand is somewhat exaggerated. It is interesting that the supporting structures of the devices of this company have a fundamentally different device than those of their brothers. Usually they try to make the foot and the cast-iron frame equal in importance in the piano, while the "Petrof" practically always lacks the foot, and all the details are attached to the cast-iron frame. This arrangement allows you to use fewer wooden parts, which are so susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity, that is, the stability of the system is formed, but repairs can entail complications. To date, almost all of Petrof's pianos are made in one piece. It is difficult to remove, for example, the shtulram in order to get to the inside of the instrument. You should not focus solely on the brand, the instruments also come across different, even among Petrof there are specimens with poor sounding and unpleasant mechanics for playing. Few people know that Petrof has several younger brothers - they are "Scholze" ("Scholz"), "Weinbach" ("Weinbach") and "Rosler" ("Rösler"). Experts believe that these manufacturers are more stable in terms of workmanship, and their supporting structures are made according to the classical scheme, with the presence of fluorine.
It is quite possible to find an old instrument in good condition. Many are even willing to spend time and energy to confirm this opinion. However, it must be borne in mind that all antique instruments need serious repairs. It is possible to find an old "Bluthner" or "Bechstein" in good condition from some grandmother only if it was well renovated in the 60s of the 20th century or later ... It should be noted that tuners from the times of the Soviet Union were distinguished by high-quality work, which is visible to a professional even after many years. But if the instrument has not been seriously repaired at all, then expect problems.
You should not buy a tool that was being repaired. Usually, such a myth is based on the fear of a person that they might sell him a bad piano, and the main purpose of the repair was to hide the defects of the device. There is common sense in this approach, but it should be borne in mind that the older tools were originally of higher quality than the current ones. They were designed so that it was possible to carry out repair work, unlike many modern models. Modern production focuses on reducing the cost of assembly, so if you want to get a piano with really good sound and mechanism, you should talk closely with the restorers. The market should be studied in detail and not make a purchase without first understanding the course of the matter. Restorers usually welcome interest in their work.
There is no point in repairing a black Soviet piano of the 60s of the last century. Experts say that there is a sense in such a repair, only now customers usually hardly agree to such a step. Few are willing to invest heavily in restoring an instrument, especially given the plethora of advertisements for free pianos and pianos. But among the old Soviet pianos of the 60s, there are examples with a great sound, with a strong and unplayed mechanism. The main problem in such devices is incontinence, 20-30 years ago this was solved by replacing the tuning pegs with a larger diameter. However, over time, the pin banks of such old instruments began to demand replacement themselves. Thus, in addition to polishing, the cost of the pegs, a new pinwheel bank should be added to the cost of repairs ...
You can buy a piano for life so that your grandchildren can play on it. If the factory assembly was initially of high quality, the microclimate was favorable, and the master tuner regularly maintained the piano, which was also moderately used, then such an instrument can serve without serious problems for about half a century. And the restoration can extend the service life by the same amount. But a pianist student in just 4 years of study at a music school can completely break the mechanism. If you need a tool for regular "strength" exercises. Maybe you should consider purchasing two pianos at once? Many musicians do just that, buying one instrument for training and another for music.
Cracks in a cast iron or bronze soundboard are a death sentence for an instrument. First, make sure it's the deck and not the frame - these are completely different parts. If the crack goes in the cast-iron frame, then this is really a sentence for the instrument, it will no longer be possible to adjust it. But a crack in the soundboard will not affect the sound so significantly, moreover, you should know that the whole soundboard will crack sooner or later, as it constantly experiences static pressure from the strings. The reason for the bad sound may not be a crack in the deck at all, but peeled off, for example, rips, or stakes torn on the pins, maybe a collapsed bridge under the stitch.
To look good, the piano should be rubbed with polish. But the craftsmen constantly clean the varnish in order to return the instrument to an attractive appearance. Furniture cosmetics give a quick effect with their greasy puddles, the shine of which well masks dirty spots, scuffs and scratches. But soon new layers of dust begin to stick to wet stains like to glue. And the polish does not always go well with the varnish. To make the piano finish look good, you need to use a vacuum cleaner and dry soft cloths. Before using abrasives, solvents or polishes, you should have a good understanding of what kind of coating was used to finish the piano and how to care for it.
The instrument is not in tune. The piano can become upset for two reasons. The first is the weakening of the pegs in the pinwheel bank; if the pegs are not held, then tuning is impossible in principle. The second is that tension changes between the parts of the piano responsible for the purity of the tuning. The fact is that if the strings begin to rust, then friction arises on their bends, which prevents sliding during tuning, this process is due to the construction of the piano. During the tuning process, this friction makes it difficult to immediately equalize the tension of different sections of the string. As in a spring, the difference is balanced along the entire length, which will soon lead to detuning. The only cure for servicing such inconvenient instruments is knocking out the sound. The onset and end of the heating season leads to deformation of the piano parts, which also affects the cleanliness of the tuning. The deck "dries up" in winter, and "swells" in summer, being saturated with moisture. Although rare, there are instruments that do not get upset for several seasons in a row, or rather get upset in the summer, in the winter they self-adjust, or, conversely, depending on when the last setting was carried out.
It's so easy to get confused when buying a tool for a child! There is no other way but to gain personal experience, so you have to go and watch everything, not paying attention to the manufacturer. Understanding will come soon. If you do not aim to purchase an antique instrument, then boldly exclude straight-stringed and over-damper pianos. Such structures are outdated and will require costly and time-consuming refurbishment. When choosing, you should pay attention to the appearance, if the mechanics are dusty and blackened, if there are traces of water on the piano, rusty chips or broken linings, traces from pots, pots, etc. is a sign that the piano has not been looked after. An attractive appearance, of course, makes good preconditions for choosing, but does not guarantee quality. It is also necessary to play all the keys in a row, including the black ones, even when the instrument is out of tune (which is not to be feared), each key should sound in one continuous tone. But if when a key is pressed, 2-3 different sounds sound simultaneously, then this is a bad signal, which says that the tuning pegs do not hold in tune. Don't be intimidated by the drop-down keys, it's easily adjustable. A piano is rather a complex device, akin to a car, not a wardrobe, you should not choose the first copy that comes across, thinking that it will be quite suitable for a child. This approach is fraught with loss of time and money, and we don't want to teach children to drive a car without brakes or steering wheel? And getting rid of the unusable tool will also require costs at least for movers.