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Swain & Kates, Incorporated, offers superior service to places of worship and private residences in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. Click here for an overview of our service coverage area. For users of Google Earth, an overlay of our service coverage area may be downloaded by clicking here.

Tuning and Maintenance:

Known for our exceptional tuning methods, we pride ourselves on our commitment to providing the most accurate tuning for your pipe organ. We focus on tuning with unparalleled precision noticeable by even the most discerning listener.

We offer a highly competitive tuning rate to ensure your instrument is given the proper attention it deserves in order to provide continuous service for an extended period of time. Our tuning staff thoroughly examines each instrument upon every visit. Several minor problems can be addressed on site during the service visit at no extra cost. Should we discover any necessary repairs upon our visit, we will provide you with a complete assessment of the fault and assist you in planning for the work required to keep your organ in top condition.

Please feel free to contact us if you are interested in adding your pipe organ to our next service tour. We will gladly survey your instrument and provide you with a competitive quotation for maintenance.

Ensuring an accurate tuning:

The pipe organ is a glorious wonder and can produce sounds unlike any other instrument. The beauty produced by this organ is captivating, but it is also very fragile. Pipe organs are extremely sensitive to changes in temperature and can quickly morph from soothing to painful with just a slight difference in the surrounding atmosphere.

There are several sets of pipes within an organ, all comprised of different materials, shapes and sizes. As wind passes across the mouth and through each pipe, the shape, size and material of the pipe all determine the tone and frequency - or pitch - of the note produced. The other key player in determining the pitch is room temperature. As the temperature rises, the air moving within the pipe will move faster and increase the pitch. This will affect the pipe by driving it sharp. As the air cools, it will be denser and move slower, thus flattening the pitch of the pipe.

It is imperative that the room be held at the same temperature as when the organ will be played. This is not for the comfort of our technicians. We can wear sweaters if we're cold. It is required for an accurate tuning. If the pipes are tuned without being given a chance to acclimate to the same temperature used for worship services or recitals, they will continue to change pitch during and after the tuning process as they approach the temperature of the surrounding atmosphere and will compromise the accuracy of an otherwise fine tuning. It is very important to have the room set to service temperature several hours ahead of our visit to allow the temperature of all pipes to stabilize, as it takes longer for some areas of the organ to acclimate to these changes.

Occasionally, we get requests to tune the pipe organ to be used with a piano. We strongly discourage this practice, since the strings of a piano are not affected by temperature in the same manner. If it is insisted that the organ and piano be tuned to one another, we recommend tuning the piano to the organ immediately after the organ tuning has taken place and while the room is still at service temperature.

Other Services We Provide:

• Restoration

• Renovation

• Additions

• Installation of New Instruments

• Estimates of Insurance Value