Dunkley Music Blog

22nd January, 2015

Caring for a Band Instrument

When you own or rent a band instrument, it is important to know how to properly care for it. Whether you are the player or your child, there are things that have to be done for the instrument to be in working shape. 

Think of the instrument as if it where a car.A car has to have the oil changed, a tune up, the body washed, and the tires rotated. It is the same thing with an instrument. They have to be tuned up, new oil applied, pads changed, screws tightened or replaced, and cleaned. Instruments have to have a little bit of time put into them along with some love.

Instruments that are properly taken care of are going to sound the best. Players are more likely to stick with playing if the instrument is cared for and working the right way. When a problem arises, don’t wait to get it fixed. Just like a car, the longer you wait to fix the problem the worse it is going to be and more expensive it will become.

So to help keep instruments working properly, we asked our repair department for some general tips. Here is what they had to say.

  • Don’t leave your instrument in a hot.  The intense temperature alters the instrument.
  • Make sure the case is closed and latched before moving the case.
  • It is not recommended to store music in the instruments case because it can cause the keys to bend.
  • Don’t chew gum or drink soda while playing. Sugar builds up on the inside and makes keys and parts stick.
  • Wipe the spit out and clean the instrument after playing.
  • Don’t use metal polish to shine the instrument because it ruins the lacquer.
  • Lots of problems can be avoided if instruments are brought in for a cleaning and tune up. 
Owning an instrument can be a process but if loved and properly cared for, they will bring fun and entertainment into life.

If you notice a problem with your or your child’s instrument, come in and see our repair department. They are knowledgeable and will take care of any problem. And watch for more posts to come about caring of specific instruments.   

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17th November, 2014

Did You Know?

Fun and Random Music Facts:
  1. A grand piano can be played faster than an upright piano
  2. A piano covers the full spectrum of instrument tones, from below the lowest note of a double bassoon to the above the highest note of a piccolo.
  3. On a standard 88 key piano, the bottom key is an A and the highest key is a C.
  4. Beethoven was deaf when he composed his 9th Symphony.
  5. None of the Beatles could read music.
  6. Leo Fender, the inventor of the Stratocaster and Telecaster, couldn’t play the guitar. He was a saxophone player.  
  7. According to worldwide sales data, the harmonica is the world’s best-selling instrument.
  8. American composer, John Cage composed in 1952 a work called 4’3” which contains 4 minutes and 33 seconds of silence.
  9. In 2000, Frank Sinatra was named entertainer of the century.
  10. In a concert grand the string tension is almost 30 tons.
  11. A boxed Steinway Model D weighs 1400 lbs.
  12. The piano is known as “The King of Instruments”.
  13. The world’s largest piano is 11 feet long, weighs more than a ton and has a total string tension of over 30 tons.
  14. Although a piano has strings, it is considered a percussion instrument.
  15. There are 12,116 individual parts that make up a Steinway Grand Piano.
  16. Jimi Hendrix’s tombstone has a Fender Stratocaster carved into it.
  17. The Fender Factory produces nearly 90,000 strings a day.
  18. The world’s smallest guitar is 10 micrometers long with strings 50 nanometers wide.
  19. When you get chills from listening to music it’s caused by dopamine being released in your body. 
  20. Your heartbeat really does beat to whatever music you are listening to.
  21. Our music choices can predict our personality.
  22. Music training can significantly improve our motor and reasoning skills.
  23. Classical music can improve visual attention.
  24. Music heals.
  25. Make music not war: Monaco’s national orchestra is bigger than its army.
  26. Mozart was five years old when he wrote his first piece.
  27. There are over 12,000 parts in a piano, 10,000 of which are moving.
  28. The piano was invented in 1698 by Bartolomeo Cristofori.
  29. On a standard piano keyboard there are 88 keys, 36 are black and 52 are white. 

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04th November, 2014

The Basic Parts of a Vertical or Upright Piano

Ever wondered how your piano produces a sound or what the parts of an upright or vertical piano are? Each piano produces a unique sound, but are all made up of basic parts. Together these parts become an instrument to be showed off and admired by all. Whether your piano is an older or a brand new model, each piano requires these basic parts to be a functioning instrument.

The case is the outside of the piano that is made of a beautiful wood and encases all the vital parts of a piano. While the case must balance the acoustics of what is happening inside a piano, it is mostly decorative. One major component of it that is not decorative is the pinblock, which is what the tuning pins are screwed into. 

The frame supports all that happens inside of the piano. Usually made of cast iron and painted gold, the frame sits on the piano bed and supports the tension created by the strings that are attached to it.

The action is the part of a piano that a player uses and cares about the most. It is the parts of a piano that we play which causes and produces the sound we want to be heard. It includes the keys, hammers, strings, dampers and the soundboard. 

A standard keyboard is made up of 88 keys, 52 white and 36 black. 

The hammers are small and felt covered. They come up and strike the strings causing the sound to ring.

Strings are what produce each notes sound. Each string or set of strings, depending on whether or not the note is a treble, middle, or bass string, vibrates at a specific frequency causing a specific sound to be heard. Tuning pins are adjusted so each sting produces a specific tone.

Dampers are attached to the keys and stop the vibrations caused by the hammers hitting the strings. If there were no dampers the vibrations would go on forever.

The soundboard is a large and thin piece of wood in the back of a piano that magnifies the sound, just like the speaker on your stereo. The vibrations from the strings travel through this piece of wood causing the loud tone. With upright pianos, if a louder tone is what you desire, pull the piano away from the wall and expose the back. This will cause the sound to be clearer and fuller.  

Each pedal on a piano has a different function. Most pianos have a standard 3 pedals but there are some that only have 2.  The sustain pedal or the right pedal raises all of the dampers on the strings to force the tone last longer. The soft pedal, also known as the left pedal, takes the hammers and moves them closer to the strings making the volume of the note quieter. The middle pedal, or the practice pedal, moves a sheet of felt that in front of the hammers to quiet the sound. This pedal can be locked which is why it slides side to side.

Every part found in and on the piano is important and together they become a gorgeous instrument to be played and enjoyed. The beautiful and sometimes not so beautiful sounds played are only heard when the different parts are all properly placed and functioning. To learn more about your piano or if you are interested in owning a piano, contact us today.

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21st October, 2014

Dunkley Music's Social Media Pages

Dunkley Music is now Facebook and Twitter! Check out our social media pages for information on what is going on at the store, our weekly d-deals, new clearance items, new sale items, and new products, and other new deals in store and online, musical events happening in the Boise area, and other posts. 

Along with daily posts to Facebook and Twitter, we are posting instrument and accessory deals on Craigslist. Our Craigslist postings can be found under the musical instruments and electronics categories along with featured deals on Facebook and Twitter. We have band and orchestra instruments, guitars, pro audio equipment, used pianos and keyboards up and ready for a new home. 

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