To Tune or Not to Tune: This is the Answer
First of all - what is “tuning”? “Tuning” is merely an adjustment of the strings and pitch so that the piano becomes “in tune”; just like tuning any other instrument except for the fact that the tuner needs to check, correct and adjust over 250 strings and the tension from these strings measures over a ten tons!
There are many factors involved in the maintenance of pianos through tuning; some of which are:
1) Geographical Location
2) Room Location
5) Frequency of Tunings
6) The Person Playing it
7) The Tuner
1) In the Northeastern United States, temperature and humidity changes usually necessitate a minimum of twice per year.
2) A piano placed next to a heat source, air conditioner or open window can usually go out of tune quicker than one not so positioned.
3) Usually, the more you play, the more frequently the strings will need adjustment.
4) If a piano has loose tuning pins, has too much tension after rebuilding (not everyone knows what they are doing) or some other mechanical situation that needs attention, its ability to hold a tuning or even take to one will be lessened.
5) A piano that is tuned regularly will be prevented from going out of tune too far, need less adjustment and will therefore hold a tuning better. The more the pitch has to be raised, the faster it will drop again.
6) Each piano owner will have different ears, different needs and different opinions on what can be tolerated before they consider another tuning. Even slight out of tune-ness makes the piano loose its beautiful harmonics and singing tone.
7) Some tuners are better than others. Some have tuned tens of thousands of pianos and have learned through experience. I have found that a great tuner, tuning by ear, is better than any tuner using a machine.
Many times I am tuning a piano in someone’s home and I see a guitar or a violin, etc. If the customer asks “How often should I tune my piano?” I often ask them how often do they tune that I other instrument. The answer is usually “Every time I pick it up.” And although it’s not feasible or economical to have your piano tuned every time you sit down to play, most people don’t have it done often enough.
To Tune or Not to Tune?