Every piano which is offered for sale at Sykes & Sons has been expertly prepared in our own workshop by our team of esteemed piano technicians, who deal with each instrument individually in order to achieve the best possible results.
The combination of our experience, traditional methods and the use of modern, state of the art equipment gives us the ability to maintain the high level of quality and finish that Sykes & Sons Pianos is known for.
Our decision to retail on a small scale allows us to invest extra time and materials into enhancing every detail of the piano's performance in an unhurried way.
As a result, our pianos enjoy long lives in the homes of musicians, music teachers, recording studios and academic institutions across the UK.
Before any piano comes into our workshop, it must first pass our initial inspection to ensure that it meets with our strict and rigorous quality standards.
Detailed inspection and clean
We use a combination of specialist vacuums and compressed air to remove the dust and debris which has accumulated within the piano over its lifetime and thoroughly inspect the piano from the inside out.
Dust harbors moisture which can promote deterioration of the instrument.
Any worn, missing or defective parts are repaired or replaced at this point with new parts of equal or higher quality to the originals. Our experience in dealing with a wide variety of different brands ensures that our technicians use the materials appropriate for each particular piano.
Any groves present on the 'nose' of the hammers are removed, restoring their original ovoid shape and smooth surface. Heavily worn hammers are replaced.
Full action check and regulation
The action is the mechanical part of the piano which transfers the motion of the fingers, from the keys, to the hammers that strike the strings. It is comprised of many moving parts which require fine adjustment to critical tolerances in order to respond to a pianist's every command, giving them the best dynamic range and ultimately inspiring them to play. This adjustment is called 'regulation'.
Professionals and beginners alike require an action which is sensitive to the touch.
Beginners, especially children, may have great difficulty achieving success if the action has not been properly prepared, and may even be discouraged from playing the piano altogether.
Music teachers observe that the main reason children drop out of piano lessons is the condition of their own instrument. The regulation our technicians carry out ensures that the player will not be disappointed by the performance of the piano.
Our technicians set the hammers at the appropriate distance from the strings when the hammer is in 'rest position', before 'casting' and 'travelling' to ensure their journey toward the strings, when the relative key is played, is straight and true. We go through the entire action setting the same level of accuracy of alignment and ensuring all springs are functioning at the appropriate strengths, centres are of proper tightness and moving parts are operating smoothly over all friction points.
Careful attention is paid to the keyboard ensuring that each key is squared, evenly spaced and level across every note. We check and regulate each key bushing individually to maintain the correct movement and evenness. Additionally we ensure each key is offering the 'correct depth of touch' and 'after-touch', giving the pianist optimum control in order to foster a refined touch.
After polishing the pedals to a high shine and replacing any worn bushings, springs and properly lubricating the bearing points to give the pedals a silent working mechanism.
We carefully regulate the dampers to the pedal, ensuring their operation is even, that all 60+ dampers lift from the strings as one, and properly 'damp' the relative strings effectively when the pedal is released. The una corda is regulated appropriately, as well as the celeste and/or the sostenuto pedal.
As the felt is subject to wear and compression from many years of use, the pedal box felt is always replaced as a standard measure on every piano.
Our experienced tuners/technicians skilfully tune each piano by setting every string at the correct pitch. All of our pianos are tuned to the essential A440htz; which is concert pitch.
Toning is one of the more rare and skilful elements of our work.
The tone which the piano produces is largely determined by the density and condition of the felt found on the hammerhead. Hammerheads undergo changes as a result of normal wear and climatic variations, which results in an audible unevenness of sound.
Our specialist technicians meticulously work through each individual hammer to ensure the quality of tone and volume each key produces is correct and even throughout the entire keyboard.
The tone of the piano can be altered (within limits variable with each piano) to conform with the potential buyer's preference.