Samuel Ben-Horin’s Piano Services, focusing on Steinway & Sons pianos and other valuable makes, include:
· Tuning (accurate concert hall and recording studio tuning)
· Voicing (tone regulation)
· Quality enhancement
· Piano rebuilding - full rebuilding to meticulous standards
· Piano sales
The adjustment of each string tension to the proper pitch and musical intervals, to produce authentic harmony.
This tension adjustment is performed by appropriately moving the tuning pins. There is a separate tuning pin for each of over 220 strings in a modern piano.
It is recommended by most manufacturers to have a new or a recently re-strung piano tuned three to four times during the first year to preserve the pitch, the harmony, the fine tone and the proper condition of the piano.
After the first year, the piano should be tuned twice a year as a minimum recommendation. For discriminating performances such as concert halls and recording studios, the pianos are usually tuned prior to each concert or recording session by a meticulous piano tuner.
Why does a piano go out of tune?
The strings are under heavy tension and their combined pressure is supported by the soundboard, frame, plate, pin-block, tuning pins and bridges. Any change in tension in one or more of these parts (but mainly expansion and shrinking of the soundboard due to changes in relative humidity caused by weather, air conditioning, heating, etc.) can affect the string tension and the piano would go, more or less, out of tune.
Harpsichord players may prefer a baroque-type tuning with a much lower pitch which, surprisingly, brings more authenticity and character to harpsichord music of that period.
Maintenance and Regulating:
The adjustment of the many parts in the action (meaning piano mechanism) of a piano to a technical performance level which will enable a skilled pianist play whatever subtle nuances his/her musical imagination may demand. For fine playing, a fast, uniform and accurate response is required of each key.
Regulating includes (but is not limited to): Re-shaping the hammers, spacing the hammers to match the strings, adjusting the striking point, hammer let-off, hammer travel distance, hammer drop position, key level and dip, repetition levers and repetition springs, adjustment of key weight, dampers and the list goes on and on. A regulation checklist contains many items and often the adjustment of one part affects other parts, making it necessary to correct previous adjustments in order to achieve perfect action response.
Voicing or Tone Regulation:
The process of adjusting the tone quality of the piano, where each note has the proper quantity and quality of sound: brilliant, warm and mellow, thundering and whispering, clean but with good definition throughout the piano but with the right balance. This may include anything from reshaping the hammers (made of pressed felt, glued under pressure to a wood molding), to fitting the hammers to the strings, to hardening or carefully needling the felt to soften it, in order to create the desired sound characteristics. Achieving top quality voicing is considered an art with a connotation of personal touch to it. This is the reason why concert pianos are often locked in order to preserve their pristine condition for important performances.
The complete restoration and refurbishing of a piano. Rebuilding can include replacement of action parts like hammers, hammer shanks and their flanges, repetitions (whippens), dampers and strings and their tuning pins. It also includes changing of the pin-block when needed, restoration of the soundboard or its replacement, complete stripping and refinishing of the cabinet, plating the hardware, and so on.
A complete rebuilding of a valued instrument like a Steinway grand, for example, will bring back to life its intrinsic potential. And what a joy it is to play an instrument with great performance qualities!
These are mostly refurbished or rebuilt Steinway grand pianos in superb condition, when available for sale through Samuel Ben-Horin. Having high intrinsic potential to begin with, they are then restored, upgraded and meticulously enhanced in quality.