Piano Tuning – All Your Questions Answered
Despite its size, your piano is a very delicate and finely crafted instrument that consists of fragile parts. In this article, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about piano tuning.
The climate and the use by the performers result in shifting and swelling of the piano’s components. Regular tuning ensures longevity and musical efficiency.
Piano tuning is commonly seen as a skill requiring years of experience and practice. However, if you’re on a tight budget and feeling adventerous, there are also DIY options. If you want to learn how to do it yourself, we have included some links to piano tuning kits and piano tuning apps.
1. What is Piano Tuning?
It is the act of adjusting the tension of the strings of an acoustic piano so that the musical intervals between strings are in tune. It takes about 1 to 1.5 hours if your piano gets tuned annually.
2. How Much Does It Cost to Get A Piano Tuned?
There are expert piano tuning technicians available who can help you maintain your piano for optimal performance. The average cost of piano tuning varies between $65 to $225, although the cost can increase or decrease depending on your piano’s state. Also, if it requires more than one tuning session, the price can grow to several hundred.
Most technicians ask for an amount that has been totaled at a rate of per hour. If your piano is severely out of tune, the service person will increase the pitch before fine-tuning the instrument.
Another aspect to consider is uneven piano tuning. This usually occurs when the owner delays the task and decide to get it done after a long period of time. Pianos are made of wood and felt, as a result, it is affected by changes in temperature. The parts swell, or contract and extreme changes can disturb the tone, pitch and action response of the keyboard.
Some additional services include pitch correction, repair, voicing, reconditioning, regulation, evaluation, and some others.
3. Can You Tune Your Own Piano?
It is not that easy. Years of practice and a skillful hand are the requirements to touch up the instrument properly. But if you’re adamant on doing it yourself, you might achieve it after some time. Although, it requires a lot of hard work, patience and consistent practice before you can be sure of tuning your player in a reliable way. Also, the right tools and appropriate software will be more than helpful.
Professionals nowadays often use piano-tuners, so a beginner can gain many more benefits from the piano tuning apps. But learning from a professional will be great. Once you get the hold of it (after many sessions) your skill would be a lifesaver for times when you would need to replace a broken string immediately. However, you must remain careful and willing.
4. What Key Is the Piano In?
In music, the key is a set of notes that correlate to a certain scale. An instrument’s keys and scales provide a strong base of compatible notes that create the harmonies and melodies you play.
Pianos are usually notated at the concert pitch. It is “in the key of C” because you don’t need to play the black keys (flats and sharps) in order to play the major scale. But that is not enough. Keys are fixed for diatonic instruments. A piano is a chromatic instrument so it is fair to say that it is in all keys.
5. Can Very Old Pianos Still Be Tuned?
Let’s say a piano hasn’t been tuned for years (20 or more), can it still be tuned? Yes, a large group of pianos are still capable of being tuned although they would require additional services.
To get an untouched piano playing again, you would need an expert pianist technician to decide after attempting to tune first.
If you need the keyboard to sync along other musical instruments, its concert pitch (also called A440 or standard pitch) must be achieved.
This can only occur by pitch raising which costs more than normal price.
6. How Long Do Piano Strings Last?
The durability of a piano string solely depends on the climate it has suffered. The strings of a keyboard (unlike a guitar) do not age on their own.
They are largely affected by the outside forces and the environmental elements surrounding them.
A fifty-year-old piano kept open in an ideal climate, not too dry or too humid, can play perfectly for a very long time.
The keys won’t need much maintenance. If these strings start rusting, that’s a red flag.
7. What Happens When a Piano String Breaks?
Piano strings seldom break but if they do, it happens especially if the piano is very old, or during tuning or rarely while playing the keyboard. So, you would have to get them replaced.
8. Which is the best piano tuning kit?
This MiriamSong Professional Piano Tuning Kit is a good one. It is not time-consuming to use and gives great value for money. If you want to tune your piano, this kit is all you will need along with a little bit of patience and hard work!
The set includes; good-quality hammer that fits most of the pianos perfectly, mute tools such as 1 temperament strip, 3 rubber wedge mutes, 1 quilted wool felt, 1 rubber mute, 1 mute clamp, and a storage case to keep your tools fresh and undamaged. You can ask for the User Manual from the vendor and this kit would be even easier to handle. There are many advantages of this kit which you will realize once you buy it.
For instance, the tuning hammer has a universal tip size (#2). It also has a long wooden handle which provides maximum leverage for turning the keys. Secondly there are plenty of mutes provided in the kit. These are all very handy and saves your time. Also, it is reasonably priced and extremely easy to use especially if you can take help of the pdf version of the step-by-step tutorial or a YouTube video that is readily available.
Piano Tuning Apps (iOS and Android)
Technology has come a long way. Spending a lot of bucks on tuning pianos by a professional is a thing of past. We are providing you with a couple of application softwares that enable the users to tune their keyboards by themselves.
TuneLab Piano Tuner
This one is the best thing that has happened to a professional tuner. It offers a new tuning curve generation called “3 part-tuning”. Especially useful for pitch raising and tuning loud and riotous atmosphere.
Smart Piano Tuner
All you are required to do is a few simple steps. Select a tone, then play it and tune your instrument. The color theme of the panel of the app will automatically turn green once your keyboard pitch matches the note.
Pano Tuner (Chromatic Tuner)
It is very efficient and has been in use by customers for a long time. It has got several sophisticated features. One of which is a universal practical value. Whatever your instrument pitch be, it shows and identifies it accordingly. So, any kind of piano or keyboard can be tuned through this app in a short time.
If you want to get the best sound out your piano, it should be tuned frequently. Try to get it done at least annually.
It is understandable that tuning is not easy and costs a fortune, but if it’s done consistently and regularly it will prove extremely beneficial such as:
- It can prevent serious damage
- Professional technicians can guide you better
- Saves your money and time
- Tuning frequently requires less care
Purchasing right tools, a chromatic tuner or a software lets you tune your own piano. However, nothing beats the skills of a pro piano tuner.