Frequently Asked Questions:
1. How often should I have my piano tuned? Per manufacturers’
recommendations, most pianos should be tuned twice per year. The biggest factor
contributing to pianos going out of tune is the change of seasons, specifically the
change in relative humidity. This causes the wood in a piano to expand and contract.
This expansion and contraction causes the tension of the strings to change, which
makes the piano go out of tune. In the Midwest, with our hot, humid summers and
freezing winters, most homes and churches have a huge fluctuation of humidity
levels. The best thing you can do to make your tunings last as long as possible is to
keep the temperature and humidity in your home at a steady level. There are other
factors that may also cause your piano to go out of tune. Moving a piano, especially
an upright, may cause it to go out of tune. New pianos, or those that have had new
strings put on them usually need more frequent tunings for the first year or so as the
strings continue to stretch. Pianos that are extrememely out of tune will need to be
tuned again sooner than the standard six months, as there will have been a large
change in the string tension. Finally, mechanical problems such as loose tuning pins
can cause a piano to go out of tune. These mechanical problems are seen more in
older pianos, and doing a repair to correct the problem will help the stability of the tuning.
2. How can I keep my piano tuning stable? No matter what precautions
you take, your piano will go out of tune, and need to be tuned. However, there are
some things you can do to maximize the stability of your tuning. Because the main
components in a tuning’s stability are temperature and humidity changes, keep your
piano in a stable environment. Try to maintain a level temperature, by running your
furnace and air conditioner. Try to maintain a stable humidity level by running a de-
humidifier in the summer, and a humidifier in the winter. Keep the piano away from
windows where it is exposed to direct sunlight. Cover your piano when it is not in use.
Do not keep your piano in a location close to a bathroom or kitchen (both are very
humid rooms.) Have a Dampp-Chaser humidity control system installed on your piano.
Most importantly, have your paino serviced regularly by a professional piano technician.
3. What can you do to make my older piano play better? Minor
regulating is an affordable way to bring back some of the old life and feel to your
piano. The first step of this process is correcting “lost motion.” Lost motion is the
spongy, soft feel that is common in older pianos. It is caused by compression of the
felt and leather in your piano, which reduces your piano’s touch response. Correcting
lost motion is part of keeping a well-maintained piano. The second step is tightening
all action screws. Your piano contains over 300 screws. As mentioned earlier,
temperature and humidity changes cause the wood in your piano to expand and
contract. These changes cause the screws to loosen. Loose screws cause your
piano to have a slower response time, a loss of control over dynamics, and may cause
various clicks and noises when playing. Again, tightening all of these screws contributes
to keeping a well-maintained piano.
4. How long does it take to tune my piano? You should allow between
one and one and a half hours for your tuning. This of course depends on how far out of
tune your piano is. If it is regularly tuned, it will take less time to perfect it. If it is
very out of tune, it may require a pitch raise, which of course takes more time. If there
are repairs that need to be done, some of them may be performed right then, which of
course will take more time. Some repairs, however, will need to be done in my shop.
5. What is a “Pitch Raise”? See our Services page.
6. How much does a piano tuning cost? See our Rates page.
7.Will someone remind me when it’s time to have my piano tuned? Yes!
You will receive a postcard in the mail six months after your tuning, and remind you to call
or email to schedule your next tuning.
8.How far do you travel to tune pianos? I am all over the Indianapolis
area on a daily basis. Additionally, I maintain clients as far away as South Bend, Fort
Wayne, Richmond, Bloomington, and Terre Haute. I make these trips less frequently, so
oftentimes these clients are scheduled quite a bit in advance, and all calls in a common area
are grouped together.