“How Often Should I Tune My Piano?”

Your piano is an investment in your future. It can bring you and your family a lifetime of music, adding immeasurable joy and beauty to your home. Since it is also such a large investment, it should be maintained with the utmost care. Regular servicing by a qualified technician will preserve your instrument and help you avoid costly repairs in the future.

Because your piano contains materials such as wood and felt, it is subject to change with climatic conditions. Extreme swings from hot to cold or dry to wet cause its materials to swell and contract, affecting tone, pitch, and action response or touch. You can reduce the severity of these effects by placing your piano near a wall away from windows or doors that are opened frequently. Avoid heating and air conditioning vents, fireplaces and areas which receive direct sunlight. Your piano will perform best under consistent conditions neither too wet nor dry, optimally at a temperature of 68 degrees F and 42 percent relative humidity.

While pianos generally fall into vertical and grand model categories, each manufacturer selects its own materials and utilizes its own unique scale and furniture designs. Every piano requires a different level of maintenance, depending upon the quality of materials used and the design and level of craftsmanship. Manufacturers can provide general advice on tuning frequency but your technician can give specific recommendations based upon your usage and locale. Here’s what some of the major piano manufacturers recommend:

Baldwin Piano Company

(also Chickering, Wurlitzer) Professional service is the key. In the first year, the National Piano Manufacturers Association recommends that you have your piano tuned four times. This is a period of environmental adjustment for a new instrument, and proper attention is important.

After the first year, the piano should be tuned at least twice each year, depending upon the frequency of use and atmospheric conditions. Contact the Piano Technicians Guild for a list of qualified technicians to perform this service.

Yamaha Pianos

New pianos should be tuned a minimum of four times the first year to compensate for the normal settling that takes place. Subsequently, as a matter of standard maintenance, a piano should be tuned at least twice a year.

Kawai Piano Company

Quality pianos demand quality care. Fine pianos require regular maintenance in three areas: tuning, action regulation and voicing. Tuning is usually required more often than the other service areas, but all three should be a part of any fine piano’s maintenance.

Due to string stretching, settling, and the effects of climate, a new piano should receive at least four tunings in the first year. After that, the type of use and the location of the piano will dictate the number of tunings required, but Kawai recommends two tunings per year as a minimum.

(The preceding article is an excerpt of a brochure published by the Piano Technicians Guild, Inc. ©1993 Piano Technicians Guild)

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