How Long do Pianos Last and How to Increase Their Lifespan

In this article we'll explain how long do pianos last - from overview of main factors that might influence their lifespan to tips on improving their condition
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Last updatedLast updated: October 14, 2022
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Pianos are a huge investment, and whenever you put in a large sum on any item like a piano, you want to ensure it serves you for a long time with minimal wear and tear. But how long do pianos last? Do they last for years, or are they like smartphones and laptops that need upgrading or replacing every few years when a new version comes into the market?

A digital piano’s longevity is heavily dependent on how well you take care of it. If you don’t dust it frequently, put it near a radiator or spill water over it, you will get the most use out of it. When you take care of your piano, it takes care of you. That said, here is a guide to help you understand the ins and outs of ensuring your digital piano gives you full service.

Piano’s Life Expectancy Considerations

A piano’s life expectancy depends on how well it is maintained, tuned, or stored. The correct maintenance can see a piano give up to 50 years of service. The following are a piano’s life expectancy considerations to have in mind when purchasing a piano.

Type

Digital pianos come in three variations: standard digital pianos, stage digital pianos, and upright digital pianos. Standard digital pianos are not as fully featured or large as traditional pianos but are portable and offer an outstanding sound balance. These pianos are meant for home practice and play.

Stage pianos, as the name suggests, are used on stage. They are very portable and sturdier compared to standard digital pianos. Upright digital pianos have a large cabinet. Most people prefer upright digital pianos as they are designed to be replicas of acoustic pianos. They are also more favored since they produce an excellent unique sound. People who intend to play professionally choose to start with upright digital pianos before moving on to acoustic pianos.

Standard pianos Trusted Source The Piano: The Pianofortes of Bartolomeo Cristofori The pianoforte, more commonly called the piano, became, by the last quarter of the eighteenth century, a leading instrument of Western art music, for both professionals and amateurs. www.metmuseum.org typically last longer since they aren’t being moved around a lot. They also do not get played a lot compared to upright digital pianos. You’re likely to get more service from standard pianos than stage or upright digital pianos. You can also get the best keyboard stands if these three types of digital pianos don’t work for you.

Frequency of Use

Pianos are really just huge machines made of metal, wood, and felt. Pianos that get played a lot experience seasonal change due to the stress placed on the wooden parts and glue joint strains. Frequent usage also means the felt hammers will get pounded flat after several collisions with the piano strings, and the metals will eventually corrode, resulting in years of service shaved down.

Materials Used

A piano’s material plays a huge factor in how long it lasts. Materials used to make a piano are chosen to ensure the piano is strong and offers longevity. Therefore, many piano makers use hardwood materials such as maple wood and spruce to ensure users get at least 50 years of service from their pianos. Cast iron and carbon strings also provide a sturdy piano frame and excellent strings.

Home Vs. Concert Piano

How Long do Pianos Last and How to Increase Their Lifespan

Concert pianos, such as stage pianos, get carried around a lot. Their frequent use may cause metal corrosion and the destruction of hammers. As such, concert pianos usually don’t last long, unlike their home counterparts.

With home pianos, the usage is limited to family gatherings and practice plays. Home pianos don’t get played a lot, thus reducing their likelihood of wearing down early. However, concert pianos get tuned and are well taken care of than home pianos which might make a case for these types of pianos when it comes to life expectancy.

Cost

Your acoustic piano’s cost correlates to how long it will last. Digital pianos are made as affordable alternatives to acoustic pianos meaning some don’t have the best quality. Although they may be excellent for training and home use, they ultimately don’t offer more than 20 years of use.

The good news is that you can find the best digital piano under $2000 that will provide you with great service for about 20 to 50 years. On the other side of the spectrum, the best digital pianos under $1000 can last you a solid 15 years.

How To Make A Piano Live Longer?

Pianos are usually in excellent shape when they are brand new. Although you can get your piano rebuilt to restore its playability, you may never get the same quality as before. So how do you make your digital piano last longer? Let’s find out.

Regular Tuning

How Long do Pianos Last and How to Increase Their Lifespan

Regular tuning helps ensure your piano lives longer. However, people sometimes make the mistake of tuning it too soon, only for it to lose its tune immediately. When a piano is new, it might be under pitch, but tuning will help it get to where it needs to be.

Piano makers usually suggest tuning your piano at least four times within the first year of purchase. Tuning your piano early helps you avoid needing to raise its pitch in the future.

Tuning isn’t necessary for digital pianos, and as such, you end up saving nearly $200. This is because digital pianos aren’t made from the same wood parts as acoustic pianos. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about your piano losing its pitch or humidity levels in the instrument.

Pitch issues in a digital piano are an indication of software issues. In such a case, getting the instrument looked over by a skilled technician might do the trick.

Thorough Cleaning

How Long do Pianos Last and How to Increase Their Lifespan

Pianos usually start to age within their eighth and tenth years. Soundboards will become vulnerable to crack, especially with significant humidity level changes, and the piano’s finish will also start to show signs of aging.

You should clean your piano every month when it’s new, depending on your frequency of use. Once you’ve established a steady cleaning frequency, you can follow it up every six months. Thoroughly cleaning the instrument every few months ensures it remains as good as new even as time goes by.

It also helps you minimize service costs and prevents structural damage. When cleaning your piano, it’s imperative not to forget the keys. Ensure the keys are in peak condition always. Also, ensure you properly disinfect the keys and avoid touching the insides with your hands. The oils from your finger can damage the strings and soundboard over time.

Use Proper Cleaning Materials

The best way to ensure your instrument is clean at all times is by using suitable cleaning materials. There are several cleaning agents that you can use to lengthen your instrument’s life. Experts recommend doing a patch test on an unexposed area before using a cleaning agent to see how well your instrument will hold up to the material.

The right cleaning agent shouldn’t make a patch on your piano or create a color contrast. Also, ensure you don’t use scouring pads when cleaning to avoid scratch marks. Hard water also leaves marks on the instrument’s finish. If your instrument’s exterior is losing its shine, you can use the Piano Cleaning and Polishing Kit to get it to look like new.

Humidifier Systems

How Long do Pianos Last and How to Increase Their Lifespan

Home heating systems are a piano’s greatest foe as they cause dryness which can cause extreme damage to a piano. When the environment is dry, the wood in the piano loses moisture quickly and shrinks. This dryness results in sticky keys, extra clicking during plays, frozen action parts, and tuning instability.

Extended periods of dryness also cause permanent structural damage to the piano. Damage that results from lack of humidity includes cracked pin blocks, soundboards, and bridges. This damage affects your instrument’s performance and results in costly repairs which can be prevented.

In the same sense, too much moisture can cause the wood to swell and cause the glued parts to detach and shift out of place. To prevent this, ensure your humidity levels are above 42% in cooler months and 50% in hotter months. You can check for humidity levels using a hygrometer.

When it comes to humidifier systems in pianos, most people find the System from Dampp Chaser to be a great way of adding humidity to your piano Trusted Source How Climatic Changes Affect the Piano The piano is extremely sensitive to climatic changes. In a sense the piano is a living thing. This because much of the construction of a fine piano is of wood. chicagopianoservice.com from the inside. The Damp Chaser Piano Humidifier System monitors your instrument’s moisture and adds or removes unnecessary moisture while running silently.

According to most reviews, the Dampp Chaser Piano Humidifier Pad Treatment increases the life of humidifier pads and ensures the Dampp Chaser Piano Humidifier System functions appropriately. If you find that the humidity levels have increased, the LOCKDOWN GoldenRod Dehumidifier Rod comes highly recommended for removing moisture in the piano to prevent rust buildup.

Humidifier systems are great for ensuring your instrument’s wood stays in excellent shape, you have excellent tuning stability, and you can put your precious investment in more locations and not just on an inside wall.

Placement Matters

How Long do Pianos Last and How to Increase Their Lifespan

Pianos typically add to a room’s aesthetic value. However, knowing where to place them can help lengthen your instrument’s life significantly. Putting the piano behind a doorway not only chips it when someone slams into it but might also lead to damaged parts if the piano falls over.

Additionally, dust from outside can get into the parts and clog the keys, and in the case of a digital piano, it could interfere with the circuits. Purchase a dust cover to prevent dust from accumulating on your instrument, especially if you aren’t using it for a long time. Also, avoid areas near heat sources such as radiators as they could damage the materials.

Final Thoughts

How long do pianos last? Before settling on an electronic piano, it’s important to understand that your piano will give you decades of service happily if well taken care of. However, at some point, you will have to reevaluate if you should repair it, recondition it or replace it entirely. Sometimes repair costs for some older piano brands can be hefty, and you may find yourself better placed to purchase a new one instead of footing the repair cost.

References

1.
The Piano: The Pianofortes of Bartolomeo Cristofori
The pianoforte, more commonly called the piano, became, by the last quarter of the eighteenth century, a leading instrument of Western art music, for both professionals and amateurs.
2.
How Climatic Changes Affect the Piano
The piano is extremely sensitive to climatic changes. In a sense the piano is a living thing. This because much of the construction of a fine piano is of wood.
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