FAQ

1..  How often should I have my piano tuned? 

     Most piano manufacturers recommend twice per year.  Concert pianists and recording stuidios will require more.  Two tunings per year will help keep your piano from falling below pitch, and is the right amount to ensure tuning stability (see question 2).  

2.  What will help keep my piano in tune? 

     Aside from a well-controlled environment (constant temperature, away from windows, heating ducts), nothing contributes more to good tuning stability than frequent tunings. The idea behind tuning a piano two or more times a year is to catch it before it wanders too far off pitch. This way the tuner spends less time making large adjustments in pitch and more time fine-tuning the instrument and the playing mechanism.  Smaller adjustments in string tensions means better tuning stability. The piano stays in tune better between visits from your tuner. 

3. What makes a piano go out of tune?

     Seasonal changes produce periods of relative high humidity, during which the soundboard soaks up this moisture from the air, changing the soundboards's shape and altering the amount of pressure on the strings.  During the dry winter months, the soundboard loses moisture and shrinks, losing pitch.  This pulling and pushing on the strings over the course of a year causes the piano to go flat, as the tension on the strings never quite gets as great as the season before, making for a flat piano that needs a pitch raise. 

Other factors could be the piano was moved, or it's climate has changed.  Pianos stay in tune best with minimal temperature and humidity changes.  

3.  What is a pitch raise? 

     If a piano has been neglected or left untuned for a number of years, the pitch will dip below concert "A=440" pitch.  This is the internationally accepted standard of pitch, and is important to maintain both for the piano (the piano will sound best when up to the tension it was designed for) and for the player (pitch is a very important component of ear training, especially for the younger musicians).

A pitch raise is a large adjustment in the tension of the strings, which is a big event for the piano itself.  The process of a pitch raise involves turning each tuning pin in order to increse the tension on every string in the piano, raising the overall pitch, hence "pitch raise".  It takes from 25-45 minutes to complete.

4. How long does a tuning take? 

     About an hour, plus time for opening the piano beforehand, and performances after!  However, at the first appointment, plan for at least 2 hours (in case a pitch raise or other repairs are needed).

5.  What about sticky keys, stuck notes? 

     These are often quick fixes and will be included in your tuning appointment, free of charge.  Medium sized repairs are performed on site for an hourly rate, while larger repairs and rebuilding tasks are performed in the shop and are bidded on a case by case basis.  

 

 

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