Frequently Asked Questions: Piano Maintenance


How can I tell how old my piano is?

Each piano is given a serial number at “birth.” It’s usually located somewhere in the tuning pin area of the cast-iron plate, though sometimes it’s elsewhere, or difficult to find. See this illustration for typical locations. (If there appears to be more than one serial number on the piano, usually the longer one is the real serial number, the other being a number used by the factory during production.) If the manufacturer is still in business, it may be able to provide the year of manufacture from the serial number. Sometimes the information is on the manufacturer’s website. For those not still in business, the Pierce Piano Atlas provides dates of manufacture from serial numbers for thousands of piano brands, both current and past. You can find the book through a piano technician or dealer, in libraries, or from www.piercepianoatlas.com. Where dates are not available in Pierce, or the serial number cannot be found, an experienced technician or rebuilder may be able to estimate the age of the piano from technical features or furniture design.

How can I clean my piano?

Is there anything I need to do before my piano technician arrives to service my piano?

How can I locate a good piano technician?

If the piano I am getting needs repair and I invest the money into the piano, shouldn't I be able to recoup the money when I later sell the piano?

If the soundboard is cracked, does that mean the piano is junk?

What is the soundboard?

My piano has a broken string. Is that a major repair?

My piano has a broken key. Is that a major repair?

What do the initials RPT stand for?

Why do my piano's keys sometime stick?

How can I lower the volume of my piano?

What is "voicing"?

Can the touch or feel of my piano's action be adjusted?

What is "regulating"?

When arranging to have my piano moved, shouldn't I hire a piano mover that will also tune the piano at the same time?

Why does a piano need to be tuned after being moved?

Should I have a humidifier system installed in my piano?

What is the best temperature and humidity for my piano?

Where is the best place in my home to put my piano?

What is "aural tuning"?

What is pitch correction (pitch raising/pitch lowering)?

What is A440

If a piano technician says a piano is not tunable, does that mean the piano should be disposed of?