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Buying a Piano
1. How often should I tune my piano?
We recommend that you tune your piano at least twice a year. The more heavily your piano is used, the more frequently it should be tuned.
2. How old is my piano?
All of our pianos are marked with a serial number, which is made up of a group of numbers, and sometimes letters. The age of the piano will determine the length of this number: a very old piano could only be four numbers long – for example, the piano with the serial number 8350 was manufactured in 1935. New Kawai pianos today have seven-digit serial numbers, beginning with the number 2 (for pianos made in our Japanese factories) or the letter F (for pianos made in our Karawan factories). We do not publish the serial numbers of brand new pianos, or those that are new enough that they are likely to be on display in our retailers’ showrooms.
3. What does it mean to ‘voice’ a piano?
Voicing is the gentle manipulation of the felts surrounding the hammer heads to produce an even tone throughout the piano. Hammer felts may be softened, resulting in a darker tone, or hardened to produce a brighter sound. Discuss this with your piano technician for more detailed information specific to your piano.
4. What is done to prepare my new piano for delivery?
Your new Kawai piano will have the Preparation Checklist carried out prior to delivery. A grand piano contains some 10,000 parts, and will have had a long journey from our manufacturing facilities to your retailer. The Preparation Checklist is our assurance that the piano has has not been damaged before it was unboxed and that it arrives at your home or studio in top condition. It is also your assurance that the piano has been properly initialised before you sit down to play. The checklist is printed on the back of your Kawai Acoustic Piano Warranty Card, and will be signed and dated by both the retailer, and the technician who carried out the service. You’ll find the full text of the Preparation Checklist on the second page of the warranty card, here.
5. What is pitch raising?
If your piano has not been tuned for a long time, the pitch may have dropped below the standard Concert Pitch (called A440). If that has happened, it will need additional tuning or “pitch raising” before it can be tuned and remain stable. Depending on the condition and service history of the piano, more than one pitch raise may be required before the piano can hold its tune, and some old pianos are incapable of supporting the string tension required to maintain an A440 concert pitch.
6. What is the difference between tuning and regulation?
Tuning a piano means adjusting the pitch of the strings. Regulation refers to the adjustment of the touch – the way the keys feel and respond to your playing. There is an intricate mechanical apparatus called the action, which comprises many small, moving parts, hidden between the key and the hammer that ultimately strikes the string – regulation ensures that these parts are in good condition, are properly aligned, and are operating smoothly.
7. What is the Millennium III action?
Early piano actions were made of small timber components, but timber is susceptible to moisture, and to expansion and contraction with changes in environmental conditions – especially very fine timber parts that are subject to regular motion and impact.
The Millennium III action features components made of a new material created by the infusion of carbon fibre with Kawai’s ABS composites. This ABS carbon is incredibly sturdy and rigid, which allows us to make the mechanical parts of the action lighter and stronger. This makes the Millennium III Action approximately 16% faster than traditional actions in upright pianos, and 25% faster in grand pianos
8. Where should I place the piano in my home?
A piano is an intricately constructed instrument and it can be impacted by different environmental factors including fluctuations in temperature and humidity, wind and light. The location of the piano should have a stable temperature and avoid large changes in humidity and exposure to wind flowing in from outside. Thus, your piano should never be placed on a western wall, which will be heated daily by the afternoon sun. It should also not be left directly under an open window or in any breezeway. These areas can create movement in the piano, resulting in unstable tuning. For more detailed information, contact your piano technician here.