On Friday Humphry got his knobs tweaked. It’s only his 3rd time. His first was a couple of months after we bought him. You are meant to get them tuned after every move, although you should give them a little time to settle in, acclimatize and generally get comfortable. The first tuner I got in was the same that did my piano teacher’s. He was very complimentary about Humphry, which was nice to hear, as I had only just bought him and thought he looked and sounded great to me, you want an expert to confirm that you made the right choice. He was able to get him up to concert pitch, after he finished tuning him he spent at least 15 minutes playing an amazing medley of loads of tunes. He said that the point was to check all the actions and weighting, but he was doing that anyway whilst tuning. No he was playing just for the sheer joy of it, and doing so because he can. A year later we got him back for a second tune. Some people advise you tune your piano every 6 months, but Humphry didn’t sound like he needed it. And sure enough the verdict was that after a year he was only slightly out. He had gone sharp, but only a little bit, which is unusual apparently they normally go flat. Again we got treated to an impromptu concert of show tunes, pop tunes and a few classical pieces.
Anyway that was 2 1/2 years ago. Because I know that Humphry keeps his tune its only recently that I’ve started thinking that I should get him seen to. My old tuner has moved away now so would be prohibitively expensive to get him over. I’ve managed to find another local one who does the piano of a fellow student of my teacher. It’s interesting to watch them work. They start with the A above middle C, and work their way out from there. They use a strange plastic fork thing to dampen two of the strings (each note is made up of 3 strings) and then tighten/loosen the pegs at the top. Most of it is done by ear, although this tuner also backs it up with an electric device that lights up when the note is right. This tuner doesn’t play piano, so I wasn’t treated to a free concert, but what did have was a 1953 copy of Michels Piano Atlas.
From this he was able to look up the serial number of my piano and was able to tell me that it was definitely built in 1913. It is great to know that Humphry is 100 years old this year! I will slightly miss the free concerts, but I guess I have my own repertoire nowadays….