Why does your piano need regular tuning?

There has never been any acoustic piano made by any company, at any price, that does not require a schedule of regular tunings. It is also a fact that a piano will go out of tune whether it is played or not. By far, the main reason why pianos go out of tune is due to changes in humidity from season to season, affecting pianos, new and old, played and unplayed.

In Perth, Western Australia the pitch of pianos drops flat in the summer months when dry heat draws moisture out of the piano’s soundboard. In the spring, the air is usually moister. The soundboard absorbs this moisture, expands and causes the piano to go sharp by winter. These seasonal changes in tuning are often most noticed in the mid-range of the piano. Piano Magic prefers to tune your piano in the spring and autumn. The frequency of playing your piano will impact how often you should have it tuned.

Related blog: How often should you tune your piano?

Fluctuations in room temperature surrounding the piano cause less of a change in tuning than humidity changes. But, direct sunlight or heat can cause rapid changes in tuning. Sometimes you might play your piano and think this sounds awful. Then the next day it’s OK. This is because of humidity changes in the room.

Related blog: How the humidity effects your piano

When you move, it is not so much the transportation of the piano that throws the tuning out as is the piano acclimatising to its new room environment. If you think the environment is the same, then the piano can be tuned at the same time. However, we always suggest a retune six months after a shift. Often the piano has not been tuned for years in which case it will need a tune after it has been shifted.

New pianos have new strings that stretch and cause the pitch to go flat. New music wire is quite elastic and starts to stretch as soon as it is pulled up to pitch. This is why new pianos or pianos that have been restrung need to be tuned more frequently in the first 2 years. Each time the wire is pulled up the amount of stretching decreases and the tuning stabilizes.

Slipping tuning pins can cause a piano to go flat. Older pianos that have been exposed to regular seasonal humidity changes over the years can have loose tuning pins and as a result, have poor tuning stability.

The louder and more often you play a piano, the faster it goes out of tune by a small amount. The force of a hammer repeatedly hitting a string can affect the equalization of tension along the string’s length, and cause its pitch to be slightly altered.

To put the matter of tuning in perspective, remember that a concert piano is tuned before every performance, and a piano in a professional recording studio, where it is in constant use, is tuned 3 or 4 times every week as a matter of course.

Related blog: Inside look into a typical piano tuning.

How long has it been since you’ve had your piano tuned? It’s often the question that plays on our customers minds. At Piano Magic, our piano tuning services are second to none. Gary’s commitment to excellence and persistence in the latest tuning advancements will leave your piano sounding like a joy to behold. Get in touch with us now to book your next piano tuning.


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