Every piano owner wonders how often their piano needs tuning.
The answer may seem straightforward, but depending on the age of your instrument, your home environment, and how much wear and tear it gets, the number of tunings per year can vary wildly. When scheduling your routine piano tuning appointments, consider your piano's unique attributes to help plan ahead.
Brand new pianos need some time to settle down. It takes a couple years for the tension to even out and for the wood to stop expanding, so these instruments will need more tunings at first. I recommend about three or four times in the first year, then twice a year thereafter.
Very old pianos and antiques struggle to hold their tune. Their wood has settled and no longer expands and contracts smoothly while the tuning pins may grow loose. These pianos require more frequent tunings. Anywhere between three and six tunings per year will keep an antique piano sounding youthful.
Moderately-aged pianos -- that is, instruments that are neither new nor antique -- are well-settled into their environment but have not developed significant damage due to age. If these mature pianos are well-maintained, kept in a stable environment, and are not damaged, they can be tuned about once every six months.
Pianos, being made out of wood and metal, are very sensitive to their environments. Humidity and temperature swings, drafts, sunlight, and exposure to moisture all damage the wood. All of this means more tunings for your piano. If you'd like to see me no more than twice a year for regular tunings, protect your piano from unnecessary damage.
If you have a Dampp-Chaser system installed, your piano will remain more stable, will need fewer tunings, and will have a longer lifespan than instruments without climate control. It's a great way to invest in your piano!
After extreme weather like heat waves or long stretches of rain, your piano may need additional maintenance to sound its best.
Wear and tear
Most home pianos don't get so much use that they will fall out of tune simply by being played too much. Pianos that are in constant use in schools, churches, or other institutions, however, do. These instruments will require more tunings than average. Same for pianos used for lessons, those owned by professionals who practice a lot, or very enthusiastic pianists.
Unless your piano receives an extreme amount of use or is damaged, two tunings a year is recommended.
Can you tune a piano that hasn't been tuned in decades?
The short answer is... yes!
If your piano hasn't been maintained in years but isn't otherwise damaged, I will probably be able to make it sound great again. But it doesn't happen in just one session. Pianos that are severely out of tune can't handle extreme tension right away -- the sudden stress could damage the piano or even break and cause injury. To accommodate this time for stabilization, I usually tune it about halfway, then schedule a second tuning 2-4 weeks after the first one to help bring the instrument up to pitch. A third visit 4-6 weeks later perfects the sound. After this, schedule regular tunings every 6 months to enjoy pitch-perfect music for years to come.
Ready for your tuning? Contact me today!