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How Often Should My Piano Be Tuned?

By June 30, 2017Piano Tuning
Piano Tuner versus Piano Technician

Some typical tools used by piano tuner/technicians during a piano tuning.

A piano is a fine musical instrument that can easily last a lifetime and beyond with the proper care. Regular servicing and tuning by a qualified technician is required to fully enjoy your piano, and extend its life to the fullest.

Pianos are constructed of great amounts of wood, felt, and leather, all of which tend to change along with the climactic conditions. Swelling and contracting of these materials during swings from hot to cold weather can affect the piano’s tuning, touch, and response.

Some piano owners are quite savvy – they call us when the weather changes in a major way or when they have put in a lot of practice time. While other piano owners tend to wait until we gently remind them that a tuning and service is due, or until their piano is so obviously out of tune that waiting any longer is not an option.

Setting Your Piano Up For Success

Your Piano Will Perform Best Under Consistent Conditions Neither Too Wet Nor Dry, Optimally At A Temperature Of 68 Degrees Fahrenheit And 42 Percent Relative Humidity.

There are some obvious things that can be done to reduce the severity of environmental effects. Place your piano away from windows or doors that are opened frequently. Stay away from heating and air vents, as well as fireplaces and areas that receive direct light from the sun.

Dampp Chaser systems are also excellent choices to maintain the humidity in your piano at a consistent level.

What Determines Tuning Frequency?

Ask Ten Technicians and Ten Piano Makers, And You Will Hear At Least Ten Different Answers.

When it comes to the piano makers, each one uses its own materials, scale designs, action designs, and so on. Some maker use higher quality components than others, while other makers maintain unique overall designs.

From the perspective of a piano tuner – or rather a “technician” – most of the piano technicians out there have rolled comfortably into the one-year interval for piano tuning.

Here and Reed Piano Services, we strongly recommend a twice per year tuning and service schedule.

What Exactly Do the Piano Makers Say About This?

Much Like Our Cars, Trucks, Vans, And Other Vehicles Have Maintenance Schedules, the Maker of Your Piano Has a Published Standard Time At Which Your Piano Should Be Tuned And Serviced.

While not every piano maker is listed below, the major and prominent ones are. Even if your piano is not listed below, please take a moment to glance over the list to get an idea of what the common recommendations are in the piano-making world.

Hailun

Haulin recommends 2 – 3 tunings per year especially when the instrument is new. Haulin also recommends Humidity Control Systems.

Kawai

(also Shigeru Kawai)

Kawai recommends at least four tunings in the first year, followed by at least two tunings each subsequent year.

Mason & Hamlin

Mason & Hamlin recommends tuning your piano three to four times in the first year, and in subsequent years tuning your piano every six months.

Pearl River

(also Rittmuller)

Pearl River recommends that your piano be tuned four times during the first years, followed by two times a year in subsequent years.

Samick

Samick recommends two to three tunings the first year and a minimum of two tunings  per year thereafter.

Schimmel

(also Vogel, May Berlin)

Schimmel recommends tuning your piano two to three times in the first year or two.

Steinway & Sons

Steinway pianos (as are other makes) tuned many times at the factory prior to delivery. Steinway recommends that your piano be tuned three to four times a year to A440 pitch.

Yamaha

New pianos should be tuned a minimum of four times the first year. In following years, as a part of standard maintenance, the piano should be tuned twice per year.

Young Chang

Young Chang recommends tuning your piano two to four times for each of the first two years, then at least once per year after that.

Cable-Nelson

New pianos should be tuned a minimum of four times the first year. In following years, as a part of standard maintenance, the piano should be tuned twice per year.

Boston

Boston pianos are made by Steinway. And. Steinway pianos (as are other makes) tuned many times at the factory prior to delivery. Steinway recommends that your Boston piano be tuned three to four times a year to A440 pitch.

Bosendorfer

New pianos should be tuned a minimum of four times the first year. In following years, as a part of standard maintenance, the piano should be tuned twice per year.

Essex

Essex pianos are made by Steinway. And, Steinway pianos (as are other makes) tuned many times at the factory prior to delivery. Steinway recommends that your Essex piano be tuned three to four times a year to A440 pitch.

WM. Knabe

Knabe recommends two to three tunings the first year and a minimum of two tunings  per year thereafter.

Kohler & Campbell

Kohler & Campbell recommends two to three tunings the first year and a minimum of two tunings  per year thereafter.

Pramberger

Pramberger recommends two to three tunings the first year and a minimum of two tunings  per year thereafter.

Weber

Weber recommends tuning your piano two to four times for each of the first two years, then at least once per year after that.

Albert Weber

Albert Weber recommends tuning your piano two to four times for each of the first two years, then at least once per year after that.

Seiler

Seiler recommends two to three tunings the first year and a minimum of two tunings  per year thereafter.

What Does It Mean?

The Take Away From Piano Makers And Their Recommendations Is That Pianos Must Be Tuned And Serviced At Frequent Intervals to Perform Their Best.

New Strings Being Installed

New Strings Being Installed. Steel wire will stretch due to its elasticity.

When a piano is brand new from the factory, the elasticity of the wires that make up the strings is high. Because of this, multiple tunings are required in that piano’s first year. One way to look at this is as follows: the brand new wire has a high coefficient of elasticity. When the piano is tuned, the technician is “setting” the wires in the proper spots to achieve the correct pitch. After tuning, elasticity kicks in, and the wires stretch, and will need to be “set” again during a tuning. After 3 – 4 tunings in that first year, the wires settle in (become less prone to stretching), and the frequency of tunings can be reduced.

After the first year, the vast majority of piano makers recommend piano tuning and service twice per year. Some even recommend 3+ tunings per year.

Here at Reed Piano Services, we strongly recommend a twice per year tuning and service schedule. We do this for a couple reasons. First, we believe in the piano maker’s recommendations. We also believe that a piano should always perform at its best! And, in our part of the country (North Central Texas), we tend to see distinct season changes. We have hot, sticky summers, and cold, dry winters. Flip flopping back and forth between these two extremes without service and tuning to compensate can, over time, damage your piano.

We also go a step beyond tuning with our Complete Piano Service. Please contact us to schedule a tuning/service. You can also book your own appointment online.