Q: How Often Should I Tune my Piano?

My standard answer for most of my customers is once a year. Why?

There are a number of factors that cause your piano to go “out of tune”. Most are variable, but this one is universal and quite amazing:

All piano strings are pulled to a very high tension. The strings of your piano are pulled so tight, that when your piano is in tune, the strings are stretched to around 80% of their breaking strain. The strings are made of very strong material called spring steel. That’s a lot of tension!

Collectively across the piano, this can add up to close to 20 Tonne of string tension. It takes a cast iron frame to hold this pressure, which is why your piano is so heavy.

The tuning pins used to adjust the string’s tension must be held very firm, but still be movable. They are driven into the wood of the tuning plank very tightly. This is the reason special tools are required to tune the piano. It’s not possible to tune it with your fingers as you would with a violin or a guitar, which are much lower tensioned instruments.

Over time, the piano will lose some of this tension, because it just cannot hold it indefinitely. With less tension on the string, the pitch drops, so the piano will not be “in tune”  or “on concert pitch”.

This can be corrected by tuning the piano and adding just the right amount of tension back to each string.

When the piano is not tuned for a number of years, the amount of tension that needs to be added across the piano can cause movement in the structure itself. This means I’ll have to go through and do another adjustment to the strings to get it to sit at the right tension. (A second tuning)

 

Other factors that effect your piano are variable.

2 Amount of use:

3Atmospheric variables

4Age and Condition & Design of the piano

As a piano tuner, this is my most commonly asked question. Most people want a quick, definitive answer.  For them, the standard reply is once a year, and there’s a reason for that, which I’ll explain shortly. If you’d like to know more, here are some answers that will give you a better insight into your piano.

If you can stay with me for this post, you’ll find than the full answer is much more interesting. You’ll

The truth is, each pianothere are a number of variables which will effect how often you need a piano tuning.

First, let’s look at why a piano goes out of tune

 

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