PIANO TUNING AND
Piano Tuning and/or repair in the San Jose please
How often should I
have my piano tuned?
Tuning frequency depends on a number of factors but piano
manufacturers recommend tuning at least once a year. Many pianists
schedule tunings every 6 months. Things to consider
include how often it is played, local climate changes that affect the instrument
(e.g. temperature and humidity changes), and the critical ear of the musician.
it has been a long time since it was last tuned (e.g.
2 years) then it
probably requires a pitch
raise. This is a procedure
that uniformly raises the tension on the strings, plate, and soundboard to aid in reaching a stabilized tuning.
A tuned piano has over 30,000 lbs of pressure
on the cast iron plate and soundboard that is a result of the 230 strings
all pulling together at 100 to 180 lbs each.
When allowed to drop in pitch, the pressures become uneven
and a fine tuning is impossible unless the pressures are evened out
first. A pitch raise requires
about 30 minutes extra before
starting the fine tuning. Even
after pitch raising, the piano is somewhat unstable and needs another fine
tuning within 6 months to
develop smooth, clear tones.
Also be aware that if a piano is allowed to significantly
lower tension there is always a chance that strings will break when
increasing the tension, particulary on older pianos. So, a regular tuning
besides bringing the pleasure of beautiful tones is also a good preventative
New pianos should be tuned 2 or more times in the first
year to stabilize.
If it doesn’t
sound out of tune after 6 or 12
months, why must my piano be tuned?
Even if not
played, strings will stretch and
humidity and temperature changes will expand and contract the sound board,
changing the pitch.
It may be that the whole piano has slowly shifted down in pitch
altogether, but sounds ok relative to itself.
As the strings stretch, the lowered
tension will distort the
plate and soundboard . Retuning
will bring them back into the proper place.
If a piano is quite far out of tune you can usually tell
by the “rinky-tink” sound like
an old time piano (the reason the pianos in the western movies sound like that
is because they didn’t have many piano technicians so they all were out of
tune). Another way is to play notes
an octave apart and listen for either smooth tones or vibrating tones.
The beating or vibration means the octaves are out of tune with each
other. Another clue is if
notes have a slight echo or distant sound to them.
I frequently hear comments that the piano doesn’t sound
out of tune to the parent but the children complain that it sounds different
than the piano teacher’s. This
is a good indication that tuning is needed.
Children usually have excellent
hearing and can become discouraged
with lessons when the piano is out of tune.
My friend is
shopping for a piano, any suggestions?
First, I would
get a good source of information at the library or book store.
An excellent book is “The Piano Book” by Larry Fine
This is available from Amazon.com (use the links below if you like).
<=== click and search on "The Piano
Book" =====> click
here for other books,etc.
would have them call a professional piano technician to discuss their
plans and to inspect any proposed piano.
Other interesting books on pianos:
Pierce Piano Atlas (no picture)
should I do if there is a problem with my piano?
the piano is still under warrantee call a technician and he will get authorization for the
work. If not, don’t worry, most
things such as sticking keys, bobbling
keys, broken strings or broken
parts are easily and quickly fixed. Parts
are readily available for virtually any piano and are modestly priced.
can I make sure my piano doesn’t get too far out of tune?
– Plan a schedule of 6 month or yearly tunings after the piano becomes stabilized.
– If you would like to feel comfortable about ensuring proper care for your
investment, purchase an inexpensive tuning meter (have your technician calibrate
it against his tuning computer)and periodically sample the pitch. (check the “A” above
middle C, and the “A” above that. Schedule
a tuning when either one differs more than about 6-8 cents from normal). The
piano can be out of tune within this criteria but this can be a useful way to
track change of tension in the piano. The sheetmusic or keyboard links shown below has a large
selection of tuning meters in all price ranges.
piano is a lifetime investment that requires periodic servicing to ensure
quality performance year after year.
is much like a living plant. Frequent
attention and shaping will maintain character.
Left neglected, much time and effort is required to restore its natural
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