Improving tone

Improving tone

Is it possible to give my four year old piano a warmer, mellower tone? My previous piano was made in 1960 and had a beautifully rich tone which I would like on the newer piano.

The tone on new pianos can be a little bright at first until the hammer felts settle down and develop a more mature, mellow sound. However, after four years you are probably listening to the true tone of the instrument. Piano tone is very subjective – what may seem overly bright or even harsh to one person is delightfully clear to another whilst a subdued mellowness can be heard as woolly and soft. When choosing a piano it is important to hear as many different models as possible to be aware of what an attractive tone means to you. A mistake made at this stage can be hard to rectify. Bear in mind that cheap pianos usually come with a cheap, tinny sound which even the best piano technician will be hard pressed to change. Toning (voicing) a piano includes treating the hammers with needles to loosen the fibres of the woollen felt, softening and mellowing the tone. It may be possible to considerably improve your newer piano by toning but it is also possible that it never achieves the same warmth of your older piano. Sometimes there is no substitute for good quality materials and the ageing process.