More Pedals

Here is a standard Steinway Grand piano pedal lyre I found this rather unique pedal lyre on an older Steinway. This is completely functional and rather a modern style.

A Unique Piano

There is something unique about this piano. This is the first one like this that I have seen in 40 years of piano service. Can you figure out what is different?


What do the pedals on a piano do?

Right pedal

The right pedal is the sustain pedal and holds notes that are played even after you let go of the key. This lets you connect notes and lets you play more notes than you could hold with your fingers.

Left pedal

The left pedal is the soft pedal. On a vertical piano, it moves the hammers closer to the string so the blow distance is less which lets you play more softly. On a grand piano, the left pedal shifts the whole keyboard and action to the hammers miss one of the strings. This makes the sound softer and changes the attack of the sound.

Middle pedal

The middle pedal on a large grand piano is the sustenuto pedal which holds any notes that are being played when the pedal is pressed and not others that are played afterwards. This can be used for organ music where a bass note is played and held with the sustenuto while other notes are played above it. On many vertical pianos, the middle pedal holds the notes in the bass section but not in the treble. This is a cheaper version of sustenuto. On the piano in the picture below the middle pedal activates a muffler rail which puts a strip of felt between the hammers and the strings. This makes the sound very soft so the piano can be played without bothering others. In this picture you can also see the dampers that sit against the strings to stop their sound. The damper lifts off the string when the key is played or the sustain pedal is pressed.


Adjusting pedals

On a vertical piano there is a bolt and nut that adjust the linkage between the pedal and the rod that activates the dampers. The pedal should have a small amount of  “lost motion” so the dampers don’t start to move immediately. This lets you rest you foot gently on the pedal without raising the dampers.


Humidity over time

Here is a humidity graph for 3 months. This was on the piano in the choir room at my church. Notice the red line that shows a nice even temperature. This is where people say “We keep the room very constant.” But look at what happens to humidity over time. No wonder pianos go out of tune.


Angie’s List lists piano tuners as business with the fewest complaints.

Inside Indiana Business presented this information from Angie’s List:

Indianapolis-based Angie’s List Inc. (Nasdaq: ANGI) says for the seventh consecutive year, home warranty companies topped its list of the “Most Complained-About Companies.” Other “repeat offenders” include Internet service providers, property management companies and phone service providers. Consumers selected piano tuning for the least complained-about category.

Angie’s List Super Service Award

Ron received the Angie’s List Super Service Award again this year. Only approximately 5% of service companies receive this award. Ron is proud to have received it and thanks those of you who contacted Angie’s List with reports. He said, “I am grateful to be in such a wonderful business with such a great group of customers. I hope I can continue to service pianos for many years to come.”

Piano Buyer Web site

Are you looking to buy a new piano? I just finished doing some programming work for a new web site which has a wealth of information about buying new pianos. There is a magazine that can be read online. Larry Fine has now taken the pricing data from his Piano Book Supplements and made it available online. My job was to create the searchable database. You can find prices for acoustic pianos in any price range and style. There are almost 3000 piano models listed in this database.

Humid weather affects tuning

Now that the weather is hot and humid, many pianos have gone sharp. The humidity makes the soundboard swell and push up on the strings. Keeping your air conditioning on and the windows closed during this hot weather will help keep the humidity constant.


This is the beginning of this redesigned web site. This site includes a blog where I can put posts about current news or other information. I hope you find this site useful.