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Everything You Need to Know About Piano Tuning

If you own an acoustic piano, it’s crucial to get it tuned by a professional to ensure it lives a long, happy, musical life. In this article, we will cover things such as how often you should tune your piano, tuning costs, finding a qualified tuner, what to expect during a tuning session, and tips on maintaining your piano between tunings. Let’s get piano savvy.

How Often Should You Tune Your Piano?


Upright pianos should typically be tuned about once a year. Uprights are normally used in a home setting, where perfect tuning isn’t critical. Still, it’s good practice to tune an upright a couple times a year to ensure longevity.


Grand pianos should be tuned a minimum of twice a year. Grand pianos used in a concert setting may need more frequent tuning, especially if played on often. In a home setting, grand pianos can be tuned twice a year. But, the more you tune, the longer the piano will last.

Concert Grands

Typically, concert grand pianos that are used for performance should be tuned before every concert. If the concert grand is in a private setting, twice a year may be suitable, but it is good practice to tune a concert grand multiple times a year to keep it healthy and improve its longevity.

Other Factors to Consider

  • Climate – If your piano is in a harsher-than-average climate and experiences extreme changes in temperature and/or humidity, it will require more frequent tunings.
  • Usage – If your piano is used very frequently (several hours daily) for practice or performance, it may require more frequent tunings.
  • Age & Condition – Older pianos (30 years or more) may not hold a tune as well as newer pianos, but it ultimately depends on how often it was tuned over its lifetime. Same applies for pianos in a less-than-good condition.
  • Personal Preference – Some people, mostly advanced players or professionals, will notice the slightest imperfections in the tuning of a piano and may want more frequent tunings. In fact, the more often a piano is tuned, the better it will ultimately hold a tune. There’s no such thing as over tuning. Though, unless you’re a piano tuner, it can be quite expensive to tune as often as you may want.

How Much Does Piano Tuning Cost?

On average, you can expect to pay between $100 and $200 for a standard piano tuning. However, prices can vary widely depending on the factors outlined below. In some cases, you may be able to find a tuner who charges less than this, while in other cases you may need to pay more. It’s always a good idea to get a quote from a few different piano tuners in your area to get an idea of what the going rate is and to find a tuner who fits your budget and needs. When it comes to the cost of piano tuning, there are several factors to consider. Some of the main factors that can influence the cost of tuning a piano include:


The cost of piano tuning can vary depending on where you live. In general, larger cities and more densely populated areas tend to have higher prices for piano tuning than smaller towns and rural areas.

Condition of the piano

If your piano is in poor condition or hasn’t been tuned in a long time, it may require more work to bring it back to its optimal tuning. This can result in a higher cost for the tuning service.

Tuner’s experience

Experienced piano tuners typically charge more for their services than those who are just starting out. However, it’s important to keep in mind that a more experienced tuner may be able to do a better job and get your piano sounding just right.

Frequency of tuning

Pianos should ideally be tuned at least once a year, but some people prefer to have their pianos tuned more frequently. If you opt for more frequent tunings, you can expect to pay more overall for piano tuning services.

Type of piano

The type of piano you have can also affect the cost of tuning. Grand pianos are typically more expensive to tune than upright pianos, for example.

How to Find a Qualified Piano Tuner?

When it comes to finding a qualified piano tuner, there are several things you can do to ensure you find a reputable professional who can get your piano sounding its best. Here are some tips:

  1. Ask for recommendations: One of the best ways to find a good piano tuner is to ask for recommendations from friends, family members, or music teachers. If someone you know has had a positive experience with a particular piano tuner, they may be able to provide you with the contact information for that person.
  2. Check online reviews: If you don’t have any personal recommendations, you can also check online reviews of piano tuners in your area. Websites like Yelp and Google Reviews can provide you with insights into the experiences other customers have had with particular piano tuners.
  3. Look for certification: In some countries, there are certification programs for piano tuners. If you’re in the US, for example, you can look for a member of the Piano Technicians Guild, which is a professional organization that offers certification programs for piano technicians. In the UK, you can look for a member of the Association of Blind Piano Tuners, which is a similar organization.
  4. Ask about experience: When you contact a piano tuner, ask about their experience and training. A good piano tuner should be able to provide you with information about their qualifications, training, and experience.
  5. Request references: If you’re still unsure about a particular piano tuner, you can always ask for references. A reputable piano tuner should be able to provide you with the contact information for past clients who can speak to their skills and professionalism.
  6. Get multiple quotes: Finally, it’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different piano tuners before making a decision. This can give you a sense of the going rate for piano tuning in your area, and it can help you find a tuner who fits your budget and needs.

Below are links to two great websites to find piano tuners/technicians in your area.

What to Expect During a Piano Tuning Session

During a piano tuning, you can expect the piano tuner to do the following:

  1. Inspect the piano: The piano tuner will begin by inspecting the piano to make sure it’s in good condition and identify any potential issues that may need to be addressed during the tuning process.
  2. Remove the piano’s case: In order to access the piano’s tuning pins and strings, the piano tuner will need to remove the case or upper lid of the piano.
  3. Tune the piano: Using a specialized tool called a tuning hammer, the piano tuner will adjust the tension of each string to ensure that the notes are in tune with each other. This process may take some time, as the tuner will need to carefully adjust each string until the piano is properly tuned.
  4. Make any necessary adjustments: If the piano tuner identifies any issues during the tuning process, such as broken strings or other problems with the piano’s internal components, they may make minor adjustments or recommend additional repairs.
  5. Reassemble the piano: Once the tuning is complete, the piano tuner will reassemble the piano’s case or upper lid and make sure that everything is in proper working order.

Overall, a piano tuning typically takes between one and two hours, depending on the condition of the piano and the level of tuning required. After the tuning is complete, the piano should sound noticeably better, with each note in proper tune and the overall sound of the piano more clear and balanced. When your tuner is working, it’s crucial to make as little noise as possible to ensure a good job.

Piano Tuners vs Piano Technicians

Are piano tuners and technicians the same?

No! While some people use these terms tuner and technician interchangeably, they actually refer to different professions within the field of piano maintenance and repair.

Piano Tuners

Piano tuners are professionals who specialize in adjusting the tension of the piano’s strings to ensure that the notes are in tune with each other. They use a specialized tool called a tuning hammer to adjust the tension of each string, and they may also make minor adjustments to other components of the piano, such as the bridge and soundboard, to help ensure optimal tuning.

Piano Techs

Piano technicians, on the other hand, are professionals who are trained to perform a wider range of maintenance and repair tasks on pianos. In addition to tuning, they may also be able to repair or replace broken strings, repair or replace worn or damaged hammers, regulate the action (the mechanism that connects the keys to the hammers), and perform other tasks to keep the piano in good working condition.

While some piano tuners may also be trained in piano technology and can perform a wider range of maintenance and repair tasks, not all piano tuners have the same level of training and experience as piano technicians. If you have a piano that requires more than just a basic tuning, you may want to consider hiring a piano technician who has the necessary expertise to address any issues that may arise during the tuning process.

Tips for Maintaining Your Piano Between Tunings

  1. Keep your piano clean: Dust and dirt can build up inside your piano and affect its sound and performance. To keep your piano in good condition, it’s important to dust it regularly and wipe down the keys with a soft, damp cloth.
  2. Control humidity: Changes in humidity can affect the sound and performance of your piano, so it’s important to keep the humidity levels in your home stable. Use a humidifier in the winter to keep the air moist, and a dehumidifier in the summer to keep the air dry.
  3. Avoid placing your piano near windows or doors: Exposure to direct sunlight, drafts, and temperature fluctuations can damage your piano over time. To keep your piano in good condition, avoid placing it near windows, doors, or other areas where it may be exposed to these factors.
  4. Keep your piano tuned regularly: Regular tuning is essential to keep your piano sounding its best. As a general rule, pianos should be tuned at least once a year, but more frequent tuning may be necessary depending on how often the piano is played and other factors.
  5. Protect your piano from pests: Pests like mice, moths, and cockroaches can damage your piano by chewing on the felt hammers or nesting inside the instrument. To keep your piano safe, avoid storing food or other items near it, and consider placing mothballs or other pest repellents inside the piano.
  6. Play your piano regularly: Playing your piano regularly can help keep it in good condition by keeping the strings and other components properly stretched and conditioned. Even if you’re not an experienced pianist, playing a few simple songs or exercises every day can help keep your piano in good working order.

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your piano stays in good condition between tunings, and that it continues to provide beautiful music for years to come.

To Sum Up

To sum things up, having your piano tuned frequently is crucial to maintaining its health and longevity. Pianos are made to last generations, but their life can be short if not taken care of properly.

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