Piano Tuning & Regulation
How often should I have my piano tuned?
You should have your piano tuned every 6-12 months. Our integrated system allows you to setup your future appointments at the time of your service.
Will further work be required to make my piano stay in tune?
Most likely, yes. The Pitch Raise & Tuning performed during the initial visit will remove the majority of the “excess elasticity” of the strings, but not all of it.
What can I do to help keep my piano in tune?
Have your piano serviced regularly. Your tune ups will be shorter and faster with the recommended frequency of 6-12 months.
If I am not using my piano it should not go out of tune, right?
Wrong. The longer you let you piano go out of tune, the more it will cost you when you do decide you want to play it.
Will there be an additional charge to tune my piano if it has not been tuned for a long time?
Yes, if a Pitch Raise is required. The more frequently you tune your piano the faster and easier it is to keep your piano in tune.
What is the difference between Tuning and Regulating?
Tuning tunes your piano’s strings, where regulating adjusts the action.
What is piano regulation and why does my piano need it?
Are you having trouble playing your piano softly?
Is the range of volume limited?
Do notes not repeat when played quickly?
Is the touch inconsistent from note to note?
If you answered “Yes” to any of these then your piano may need to be Regulated.
Buying & Maintaining a Piano
Is it better to repair an old piano or buy a new one?
Unfortunately there is no easy answer on this one. It depends on the damage of the old piano along with your budget for a new piano.
We are here to help you answer this question, but will need additional details on your situation.
My child is just starting piano lessons can we get by with a cheap, un-tuned piano for now until he/she gets better?
We strongly discourage this.
A child taking piano lessons is learning more than how to read music. They are learning how to control the volume when playing (Response), how the intervals sound (Pitch), and developing strength and dexterity in the hands and fingers (Touch).
A student that is learning on a piano that is not tuned and regulated properly would be akin to learning the alphabet from a chart that is has the letters out of order, or learning to play a sport with different rules than will be used during the game. It is basically guaranteeing failure. If cost were no object, a top quality Concert Grand would be the choice for every child learning to play piano.
Obviously, price is an object for most, so a compromise should be found that satisfies both cost and quality to a reasonable degree.
Why is it important to control dryness & dampness in my piano?
Pianos are constructed primarily of wood, which is sensitive to extreme dryness, extreme dampness, and changes from dry to damp conditions (such as seasonal changes).
What can I do in my home to control humidity?
Running Air Conditioning instead of a Swamp Cooler helps keep the humidity lower in the summer. A Whole-House furnace humidifier can help bring the humidity levels up a bit in the winter. However, these two actions
are only part of the solution.
What can I do to avoid damage to my piano?
The Dampp-Chaser company has developed the Piano Life-Saver System, which installs in your piano to keep the moisture level at 42% all year long.
Greg Shaffer is both a Certified Installer of, and a Field Expert for the Piano Life-Saver System, ensuring proper installation and maintenance of the unit. Call us for more information!
What is the difference between a Piano Tuner and a Piano Technician?
Technicians are generally Tuners who are also skilled at repairs and restoration.
Why is my Piano Technician recommending a Pitch Raise and a Tuning today?
A Pitch Raise is essentially a quick tuning intended to bring the strings “up to pitch”, thus adding tension to the strings. It is a “rough tuning” only, since the strings will stretch quickly and drop in pitch within a few minutes.
What happens if I do not have my piano tuned as often as my Technician recommends?
The most common result is that the piano will sound “out of tune”, sometimes described as “Tinny”. It can also mean that the pitch will drop below standard A-440 pitch. This may result in additional fees for tuning the piano, including a Pitch Raise to bring the instrument back up to pitch.
If you, personally, do not play the piano, be sure to listen to the students who are practicing on it. They can be more attuned to the sound than you are. Practicing on a piano that is out of tune is very frustrating. It also prevents the student from developing their ear to hear pitches & intervals correctly. If they are commenting that the piano does not sound right, it is probably time to get it tuned.
Pitch & Sound
What is a Pitch Raise, and why might my piano need one?
A Pitch Raise is the process of raising (or in the case of a Pitch Drop, lowering) the overall pitch of the piano in order to bring it to A-440 (International Pitch).
Why is it important that my piano be at A-440?
Tuning to a lower or higher pitch will cause a piano to be unstable, and can be damaging to the instrument.
Why did my piano drop in pitch, or “go flat”?
The most common reason a piano’s pitch drops is because the piano has not been tuned for a long period of time.
Can’t my Tuner just tune the piano and skip the Pitch Raise?
Not recommended, since the piano would be out of tune before the tuner leaves due to the strings stretching.
What causes a piano to go out of tune?
There are several things that cause a piano to go out of tune. They are:
- Heavy use (more than 2 hours per day)
- Changes in temperature and humidity
- This causes the Soundboard to swell (when humidity rises) and shrink (when it’s dry), causing the piano to go sharp and flat as the strings are stretched or relieved of tension.
- Loose Tuning Pins (this is not as common, and requires rebuilding the piano to repair)
- The steel strings stretching
The strings in your piano are steel (or copper-wrapped steel cores), and steel stretches over time. Allowing your piano to go without tuning for years allows the strings to stretch, or “relax”, resulting in the pitch dropping. The longer it has been since the last tuning, the further the pitch will need to be raised. Having your piano serviced every 6-12 months is generally considered adequate maintenance to maintain International Pitch.
What is the cost for a Pitch Raise and Tuning compared to a standard tuning visit?
Generally the cost is one-and-a-half times the normal tuning fee. This saves you money when compared to the alternative of tuning the piano twice in a 1-2 week time period, with both visits billed at full price.