Piano Selection & Care

  • Choosing a new piano?  Here are some of our favorite piano brands.  Visit a retailer near you, play the instruments on display and decide which looks, feels, and sounds best to you.  Our favorites: include Bosendorfer, Steinway, and others.
  • Many choose to purchase a used piano rather than a brand new one.  If that's the case and you've found an instrument that pleases you and would like a professional evaluation of the instrument, please contact us to schedule your appointment.
  • Once you've found the instrument that is right for you and your family, how do you care for it?  A piano is made of wood and felt and can therefore be sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity.  Your piano should be kept in an interior space away from direct sunlight, heating and cooling vents, and fireplaces.  Avoid high traffic areas, or proximity to doors to rooms (such as garage, bathroom) where the temperature or humidity is different which cause stress to the instrument.  Fluctuations can cause stress and damage to your instrument and shorten it's performance lifespan.  If you have concerns or questions about the placement of a piano in your home, don't hesitate to call us for a consultation to assess the needs of your instrument.
  • Needs work?  Have you found the piano that's perfect for you, only one little thing is bugging you?  Or perhaps it's not such a little thing.  Perhaps you need an instrument moved, or it needs rebuilding or adjustment.  Don't hesitate to call.
  • Help!  Lost your cell phone inside the case of your grand piano?  Wait, whatever you do, don't (with some herculean effort) tip that Steinway on to the harp and keyboard (ask me why it occurs to me to mention this) JUST CALL US.  The bill for retrieving the phone is much lower than the cost to repair an instrument that's been manhandled.  Call or email.
  • How often should my piano be tuned?  A piano should be tuned four times in the first year you own it as the instrument adjusts to the environmental changes it has experienced.  After this it is common to have your instrument tuned twice a year.  However, many performers choose to have their instrument tuned before every performance, and this is highly recommended, especially if an instrument will be moved from one location to another (even across the stage in some cases).  Contact us to schedule your next tuning.
  • Why it matters who cares for your instrument.  Someone new to tuning pianos, or who has a hearing deficiency, will move the tuning pin often in the process of finding the right pitch.  This action at the tuning pin will cause stress in the instrument over time.  Once a pin has loosened to the degree that it can no longer hold a tuning, the instrument needs to be rebuilt.  This is far more costly than simply hiring a piano tuner with 30 years of experience and excellent hearing to tune your instrument.  Some technicians have deficits in hearing that become a kind of "signature" that we detect each time we do a follow up tuning.  Xaver Wilhelmy's hearing has been tested by a professional and his score is perfect in all frequencies in the tuning range.   
  • What's the difference between a Piano Builder and a Piano Technician?  The answer to this one is similar to the difference between a Pipe Organ Builder and a Pipe Organ Repair Person.  You've made a significant investment in your piano, it should be cared for by the most highly trained professional available.  Xaver Wilhelmy is a qualified Piano Builder serving Harrisonburg, Virginia and surrounds.  We visit pipe organs and pianos in Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina and would be pleased to add your instruments to our bi-annual tuning trips.  
  • And finally, despite the cool factor and the interesting sounds... please, if you own a good piano, don't ever do this, or allow this to be done to your instrument.  Find a friend who plays cello, harp, or percussion and make some cool noise together, but please... fingers out of the case.
Call Xaver Wilhelmy at 540-290-4104.  If he is currently assisting another client and unable to answer the phone, please leave a message.  Thank you.