How Often Do You Tune A Piano?

Playing a piano that sounds great and in tune is essential for practicing piano and enjoying playing. It's also an important part of piano maintenance. So how often do you tune a piano?

There are a few factors involved and we'll go into them below so that you know how often you should tune your piano and keep it sounding it's best. 

What Impacts the Stability of A Piano's Tuning

There are a number of factors that influence how often a piano should be tuned. These are:

  • climate
  • usage
  • the piano's age
  • the piano's condition

Changes in temperature and humidity can cause the wooden components of the piano to expand or contract, affecting the tension in the strings. This is what people tend to notice the most and it's often when a piano goes out of tune. 

If you have a particularly wet season, you may notice your piano sounding different and consider calling a piano tuner. One thing I recommend sometimes to my students is just to wait until the humid or rainy weather passes and see if it goes back to normal. Sometimes it does and sometimes it needs the help of a professional. 

Some piano owners I know tune their piano twice a year - once in the warmer or more humid time of year, and once in the cooler or drier part of the year. 

Another issue that can impact the tuning of a piano is a lot of usage. This can cause the strings to stretch which will lead to more frequent tuning. 

Older pianos or piano in poorer condition may also require more regular tuning to compensate for structural issues going on. 

Piano tuner working inside a piano

A General Guide for How Often To Tune A Piano

As a general rule, it is recommended to have your piano tuned at least once a year, regardless of its age or condition. Annual tuning helps maintain the piano's overall stability and ensures that it stays in tune with itself.

However, it's important to note that individual circumstances may vary. In some cases, more frequent tuning may be necessary. Here are a few scenarios where more frequent tuning is recommended:

  1. New Pianos: Newly purchased or recently moved pianos may require additional tunings within the first year to allow the strings to settle and adjust to their new environment.
  2. Climate Variations: If you live in an area with extreme seasonal climate changes or high humidity, it is advisable to tune your piano more frequently, such as twice a year or with the change of each season.
  3. Professional Use: Pianos used in professional settings, such as concert halls or recording studios, may require more frequent tuning due to intense playing schedules.

Working With A Professional Piano Tuner

General recommendations, like these, can provide a starting point for you in terms of understanding how to care for and tune your piano. However, your piano and situation is specific to you and it's best to consult a professional piano tuner or piano technician to give you personalized advice

A piano technician will assess your piano's condition, consider the environmental factors in your area, and recommend the ideal tuning frequency to keep your instrument in its best condition.

There's an article on what to expect in terms of piano tuning costs (country by country) here.

Playing piano using sheet music

Getting Your Piano Tuned

One of the harder things in this whole process may actually be finding a piano tuner. They have become less common and the ones out there find they need to travel more. So ask around and find one close to you. 

Find a piano tuner by:

  • asking a local piano teacher
  • asking at the local music store
  • asking a church or concert hall who they use as a piano tuner
  • looking up business listings online

The next thing to do is book in a piano tuning.

Regular tuning is essential for maintaining your piano and aim for at least once per year. This will help keep your piano sounding great and also maintain the instrument so it'll create beautiful music for years to come.

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