Tuning Your Piano

In the San Francisco Bay Area

  • Most in-home pianos that receive light to medium use can hold a tuning adequately for about a year, once the piano is stable.

  • If the piano is exposed to frequent changes in climate, such as along the coast, or is exposed to direct heat or sunlight, such as an outside wall or a sunny window, the piano might need to be tuned more frequently.

  • New or restrung pianos need more frequent tunings before the piano’s pitch is stable enough to tune only once a year.

  • Pianos that receive heavy use, such as teaching pianos and school pianos require more frequent tuning on a regular basis.

For more information, including some piano manufacturers’ recommendations, see the Piano Technician’s Guild article about how frequently to tune a piano.

Pianos Not Serviced in Over a Year

Many pianos that have not been tuned for a year or more have lost some of their 18 tons of structural tension and require what is known as a pitch raise. When a pitch raise is performed, the piano strings are retensioned and then tuned. I do this in one sitting and take slightly longer than a standard tuning. The cost for a pitch raise is moderately higher than for a standard tuning.

It is important for a piano to be tuned to standard pitch. When a piano is below pitch, its value as an ear-training tool in piano instruction is compromised. In addition, a piano that is below pitch or out of tune is undesirable when playing with other instruments or singers.