Piano Tunings

Does my piano need tuning?

Play the media file above, then play the "A" above middle "C". Is there a huge sound difference? Do you hear multiple beats between the two? The more beats per second, the further out of tune your piano is. This is not an exact science using this website interface, but will give a good idea of how a tuner listens to the beats.


Why do pianos need tuning?

Your piano needs to be tuned because it is pulled out of tune by changes in temperature and humidity. As the humidity and temperature change it alters the sound of the strings. Pianos are more sensitive to humidity changes than most people realize. As little as a 1% change in humidity can cause your piano to go out of tune.

piano tuning strings

How often should my piano be tuned?

You should have your piano tuned often enough to keep the pitch from falling more than 5%. In English, this translates to about ever 6-12 months, after every move and before every major performance.  The correct frequency of tunings depends upon the piano and climactic conditions around the piano. Private homes are typically every 6-12 months. If the piano is in a commercial building, recording studio, or church, tuning will need to be more frequent at 3-4 times per year and before major performances.

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How do you tune a piano?

Your piano is tuned by adjusting the tension on each of your piano's 230+ strings. This whole process takes 1-2 hours depending on whether or not extra repairs are needed. The piano is made up of over 1500 very small and delicate moving parts. Occasionally one of these parts will either break or get jammed by the pencil your child accidentally dropped inside the piano. When this happens there is no need to worry. Of the repairs we do, 95% have simple and quick solutions. 


Does my piano need a pitch raise?

Unfortunately, it is hard to tell if a piano needs a pitch raise without being there to examine it. If the piano hasn't been tuned for several years, then there is a good chance it will need a pitch raise. Once the pitch of a piano falls below 10%, the strings will require moderate to extreme streching. This makes the string unstable and requires more work to stabalize and fine tune the piano. 

It is not uncommon to add 2,000-3,000 pounds of tension on a piano during a pitch adjustment. This is enough force to lift a small car off the ground. The greater distance from pitch, the greater the stretch of the strings. Depending on how far out the piano is, it is common to have a few more frequent tunings in the first year to get the piano more stabalized. 

Think of the string as a rubber band. If you put the rubber band around 2 fingers and pull them away from each other, you are creating more force. Just like the strings, the rubber band will want to go back to it's resting position.

© Joel Klar 2013