How Often Should I Tune

Frequently people ask me how often they should tune a piano. Time and time again I’ve revisited pianos in three months and the piano needs a tuning. Pianos are wooden instruments and the climate change will affect the soundboard and bridges and change the speaking length of the strings, which in turn will change the tuning. It’s not the temperature that changes the tuning, it’s the humidity. Usually most people don’t notice this because the piano tends to fall in pitch and change uniformly. There are drastic humidity changes in a home on a daily basis as you open and close the doors and windows, or put the air conditioning on, or the heat as needed. It’s best to keep the piano on an inside wall, away from doors, windows and heating or air conditioning vents, and keep the room climate controlled as much as possible. Also keep drapes on the windows to keep the sun off the piano. Check the humidity and keep it as consistent as you possibly can. I highly recommend a climate control unit, or damp chaser, which can be installed directly into the piano by a qualified technician. If you purchase a piano and have it moved to your location it takes about two weeks for the piano to adapt to the room. Therefore, I would wait to tune the piano until it stops drifting in pitch.

It’s absolutely imperative that the piano be kept at the concert pitch, which is A 440 C.P.S. The piano was designed to be at pitch and sounds much better when it is. You will be able to play along with other instruments or a CD player as well. The piano should be tuned every six months, or preferably every three months in order to do this. If a piano is tuned once a year it falls much to flat and is more difficult to get the piano back to pitch. When a piano falls 25cents flat, which is about a quarter of a step flat, the piano needs a pitch raise, or a double tuning. Bringing a piano back to pitch that has fallen that far adds a lot of tension to the piano, and by the time the first tuning is finished it drifts out of tune and it needs to be tuned again!

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