Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQ area is a format of questions and answers and is presented in just that way. Please feel free to browse this area. It could be extremely helpful in solving a problem or keeping you informed about your piano or something related to music in general.

Playing and owning a piano is a dream many people share and enjoy. Being able to maintain this new piece of art and keep it in tip top condition is something we can help educate you and your family about.

Many of you have questions about the instrument you may use daily and how to care and maintain it on a regular basis. What piano care and maintenance programs are available. You may simply be curious about how things work or how they are constructed. This section of our website will be devoted to answering any questions you may have about your piano. Please remember that each piano is different; and broad general terms will usually apply to all pianos. However, please also understand in some cases questions may refer to specific types and styles of pianos and do not reflect information about the piano you have.

If you have a question you would like answered, please click on the contact us page and fill out the text box area of the form. Be sure to provide us with your name and contact information in case we need to contact you directly. We will be happy to answer each and every question as soon as we can. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Will a piano tuning fix sticking keys?

Piano tuning is the process of pulling each string into the right pitch. In fact, piano tuning has nothing to do with the playing mechanism of a piano. Piano tuning is the last step (besides voicing) in piano repair, and should only be performed when the instrument is in good working order. If there are cracks in the bridge, tuning will worsen and spread the cracks, as the pressure from the strings to the bridge rises when the piano is being tuned. It is also impossible to tune a piano well if the action is misaligned, since the hammers must strike all the strings precisely in the center to be audible to the piano tuner. Sticking keys, misaligned hammers, quickly-fading notes and various knocking sounds are all signs that your piano needs more than a tuning.


What is the difference between tuning, pitch raising, and voicing?

Although piano tuning is a separate process from voicing, some customers assume that one includes or even stands for the other. Raising the pitch of a piano is a separate process as well, even though it is related to the tuning of a piano.

Pitch raising is the process of raising the pitch of the whole piano. The standard concert pitch today is A=440Hz. (In the times of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the standard concert pitch was A=432Hz. Today, some contemporary composers write for pitch A=445Hz and some even higher.) Depending on how far the pitch needs to be moved, this process may require tuning the piano several times until it's able to hold the pitch, as the strings stretch out to their new tension.

Voicing adjusting the hardness of the hammers to help even out the tone of the piano, dampening some imperfections in the quality of the hammers and compensating for some acoustical shortcomings of the instrument. This project, when performed correctly, will make a dramatic difference in the sound of a piano.


What if my piano can not be tuned?

That is extremely rare! Pianos are fine instruments whose value and sentimental memories can carry through several generations. No matter how old a piano is or what type of cabinet it's enclosed in, every part of the instrument is fixable and we are able to repair it. We can restore the original parts of the piano or redesign the piano from the inside out to your specifications. Upon inspection of your piano we will make sure to tell you exactly how much it will cost to repair, present you with all available repair options, and give you an honest appraisal of whether or not your piano is worth the investment.


Where should I put the piano in my home?

The best place for a piano inside a home is where the humidity and temperature environment is most stable. Place the piano as far as possible from all things that affect the change in humidity, such as air conditioning and heating vents, fireplaces, and laundry rooms. Our mild Texas winters do not require pianos to be away from outside walls or windows, but windows which place direct sunlight on the piano will adversely affect its finish. If you find tuning instability to be a problem, we recommend having a climate control system installed in your piano which maintains your piano at an average 45% humidity as recommended by major piano manufacturers. When your piano soundboard is kept at a constant moisture level, shrinking and swelling are minimized. Featherstone Music is recommends and installs systems by Dampp-Chaser Corp., the leading manufacturer of climate control systems.

What is the difference between tuning, pitch raising, and voicing? Last paragrah adjusts.

Although piano tuning is a separate process from voicing, some customers assume that one includes or even stands for the other. Raising the pitch of a piano is a separate process as well, even though it is related to the tuning of a piano.

"Pitch raising" is the term used for the process of raising the pitch of the whole piano the need for which occurs when a piano goes more than 20% flat because it has not been tuned in a long time or the strings are very new and have not stretched to their holding point. The standard concert pitch today is A=440Hz which means that the A above middle C must do 440 "jump the ropes" in one second. Depending on how far the pitch needs to be moved, this process may require tuning the piano several times until it's able to hold the pitch, as the strings stretch out to their new tension.

Voicing adjusting the hardness of the hammers to help even out the tone of the piano, dampening some imperfections in the quality of the hammers and compensating for some acoustical shortcomings of the instrument. This project, when performed correctly, will make a dramatic difference in the sound of a piano.


Why does a soundboard crack?

Whether or not the piano is being played, the instrument is under thousands of pounds of pressure from the strings on the bridges. When humidity changes, the wood expands with the rising humidity and shrinks when the air dries it out. Extremes of shrinking and swelling put pressure on the wood grain which finally break apart. Older pianos may have been in extreme conditions or the piano may not have been a good quality instrument with the best of materials. Today, most homes have central air and heat that eliminates the extreme fluctuations of humidity.


Should I have my soundboard replaced?

Simply put the soundboard is a diaphragm. Since it is a very expensive diaphragm its replacement will be justified by its ability to be repaired and, when it cannot be repaired, by the cost to replace it. For example, a Steinway model A, 6' 1" grand piano made in the early 1900's can have up to 30 cracks in its soundboard rendering it almost useless. The expense of totally rebuilding this kind of piano would make the added cost of a soundboard replacement necessary to the outcome of the sound. Inexpensive grand pianos and vertical pianos are rarely considered prospects and are usually repaired.


Can repairs be performed at my residence rather than at your workshop?

A piano has more parts than any car. Certain repairs should be performed in a workplace because of dust conditions, fire and safety code regulations, careful temperature and humidity selection, and complex parts organization.

In-home repair may include piano tuning, voicing, fine adjustments, minor keyboard regulation, some pedal repairs and adjustments, and damper regulation. String replacements and bridge repairs can also be done in-home. Certain intricate processes are better done in our workshop. Precise lighting, large equipment, and specially-equipped workbenches allow us to be more precise and work better and faster than in a home setting, not to mention the mess that would be made. Complete piano restoration is a large and dirty job. Every part of the action needs to be taken apart, organized and carefully inspected, and possibly re-glued. The metal plate has to be removed with a winch. Special tools are required to help level and check action parameters; drilling, refinishing, soundboard repair, and many kinds of part replacement including new hammers, dampers, and pin block replacement. Obviously, refinishing is a job for a controlled environment.


What is the value of my piano?

Similar to wear-and-tear on automobiles, there are certain factors that affect the value of your piano. These factors include the brand, age, location, service record, lighting, damage, use, etc. With just a phone call, we can help you determine a ballpark value of your instrument.

However, if you would like to purchase a piano or sell your piano, the only way to know the exact value of your instrument is to have David Featherstone perform a full inspection and written appraisal on the instrument. You will receive a written copy of the appraisal, as well as a full estimate for any repairs, restoration, or refinishing that are deemed necessary during inspection. The prices are extremely competitive and Featherstone Music will honor them for 6 months after the proposal.


Can you help me sell my piano?

As a growing piano service company, we have been building a customer network for over thirty years throughout North Texas. We are capable of helping customers all over the state and because of the Internet, the rest of the nation find the right piano at the right price. We can help you sell your piano through our website. Our consignment fees are 15% of the purchase price, plus delivery and maintenance fees while the piano is in the workshop. Keep in mind that you can get a lot more money for your piano if it's in good shape and is well-maintained. Simply contact us at 469-363-3283 and we will come to your location to give you an appraisal.