Week 17: Tuning Your Piano
Question: How often should I tune my piano?
Once a year, minimum. More often under some conditions.
And you should know the reason why. Pianos, like automobiles, need periodic maintenance. What happens if you drive your car for 100,000 miles without giving it an oil change? Chances are youre in for big engine problems.
The same goes for your piano. Even if your piano sounds perfectly in tune, it will generally drop in pitch over the years. If all the strings drop the same amount, your piano still sounds like its in tune, but its gradually slipping away. So whats the problem?
The problem comes up several years down the road when you want to have the piano tuned, and the technician tells you it cant be done. This is a common problem with the tens of thousands of beautiful old uprights that have been slowly deteriorating in peoples homes over the years.
Theyre junk. Might as well throw away the parts and turn them into entertainment centers, or planters. Theyre history.
Pianos must be maintained regularly to keep their pitch and to keep the string tension constant. There are also many other little things a technician does when he tunes your piano to keep it new.
With regular care, theres no reason a quality piano shouldnt last several lifetimes. Plus, when your piano is freshly tuned it gives you more incentive to play the darn thing. And you know what happens when you practice.
Should you have it tuned more often than once a year? Possibly. Consider more frequent tunings if, 1) the instrument is brand new, 2) you live in a very humid climate, 3) you live in an unusually dry climate, 4) you live in a teepee, 5) you move the instrument frequently.
However, if a piano is moved correctly (please dont roll it on its casters) it shouldnt lose too much of its tuning. Unless youre moving it from the Mohave Desert to the Peruvian Rain Forest or vice versa.
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