Piano Care

How Often Should You Tune A Piano And Can You Do It Yourself

Unless you devote special time and effort into it, tuning a piano is a job for someone else. Unlike other string instruments like a guitar or a violin that call for frequent tuning at the hands of the player, pianos need a different kind of attention. Read on about how to keep your piano in tune, how often does it need tuning and whether this can be a do-it-yourself project.

A piano is really a string instrument, hence the need for tuning all those strings. And there are lots of them. But unlike other string instruments like a ukulele or violin, it doesn’t call for frequent tuning. These instruments can be tuned up before every time you play them. I know I do almost every time I pick up a guitar. 

Even if it was fully tuned the last time I put it down a couple of days back, I am still probably going to fine tune it. A tuning check is the first thing you do with these instruments. With violins and guitars loosing all the strings is even the preferred way of putting them away if you are not going to be playing it for more than a week.

A piano tuning is a complicated process and something that you should once and preferably twice a year, regardless of whether you can tell if it is out of tune. Of you can hear the notes out of tune, you have delayed the scheduled tuning much too long. 

Using professional for tuning a piano

Learning how to play a piano is one thing and knowing how to repair or maintain one is quite another. Acoustic pianos need more maintenance that requires the expertise of a qualified piano technician than digital keyboards.

Piano tuning is a relatively complicated process and only a qualified piano technician can do it properly. During the course of the tuning process there are other components that need looking at as well. Such as:

  1. What condition are the strings in. 
  2. Do any strings need replacement. 
  3. What is the condition of the hammers, are they properly aligned?
  4. Are the hammer ends in good condition to strike the strings?
  5. Is the soundboard all right?
  6. Are the pedals working as they should?

So tuning a piano is seldom about just the tuning. Think of it as the annual check and maintenance of your acoustic piano. 

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Piano technicians are professionals who probable have years of experience doing this work.  It can look like a simple enough process of tightening few screws but it is something that you will just not be able to manage yourself.

A Piano Has Lot Of Strings. 

Tuning the piano strings to the right pitch takes a great deal of experience and know-how. Specially if you stop to think about just how many strings that are inside the piano. All have to be tuned just right. Usually in an acoustic piano, specially the grand, there are three strings to every single key. Now perhaps you can imagine the magnanimity of the job of tuning a piano.

If It Sounds Out Of Tune You Have Waited Too Long

Another thing you should understand about your piano is that it is not going to suddenly go out of tune one-day. Loss of intonation is a gradual process that takes place over a long period of time. If you actually get to the point where you can noticeably make out that your piano is out of tune, you’re tuning has been probably much neglected and is long over due.

Piano tuning should be done at least once and preferably twice a year. Generally the visit will take 2 to 3 hours and cost you between $75 and $150. This expense is well worth the cost because ignoring regular tuning on a piano can permanently put it out of tune.

If you decide to use the same technician again, they will put you down in their records and will contact you the next time you’re tuning is due to schedule an appointment.

The Piano Pitch Can Change If You Don’t Tune Regularly

Frequent tuning also ensures that the pitch of your piano does not drop. This is a condition that may be repairable but is problematic.

Periodic checkup of your piano is advisable not just for the purpose of the tuning, but also to make sure that the other things under the hood are working just as well. When the piano technicians has a look at your piano, he can check the pins, the wires that are frayed or about to break, functioning of the pedals, condition of the keys, moisture buildup inside etc.

You can get recommendations for a good and qualified piano technician from friends, teachers, music stores, and music schools. You can check the recommendations against the member directories of the piano technicians Guild at www.PTG.ORG which includes a list of individuals who have donned the distinction of registered piano technician.

Choosing a qualified and experienced piano technician to maintain your piano is important because a bad technician can actually ruin a piano further than maintain and repair it.

Whenever the piano technician comes over to tune your keyboard, ask them to look at the other parts of the piano as well such as the pedals, soundboard etc. Ask them to make you aware of any current or future potential problems. Even if an issue is not critical right now you might want to deal with it sometime in the future. This will give you an opportunity to plan for the repair financially as well as avoid excessive expense by nipping the problem in the bud.