Those thoughts has been tossed about in the minds of millions of piano owners for 200+
The whole concept of piano tuning is Maintenance.... not recovery.
A properly maintained piano should never really sound
like it needs tuning. (that means
no emergencies because Uncle ‘so & so’ is coming to visit)
The more out of tune a piano is... the more work
it takes to bring it back, and the more
stress it goes through and the quicker it will ‘go out’.... Everybody loses.
If you follow the manufacturers’ terms for tuning you
can’t go wrong. I mentioned
manufacturer because everyone expects the Piano Tuner-Techs to push their vocation.
But like a new vehicle..there is a manual in the glove box which tells the owner how to keep
the car running well. The car manufacturers make their money selling, but they are
considerate enough to tell you how to make their products last and the responsibility of
the owner to maintain it. A piano company that produces fine instruments depends on
customer satisfaction to sell their products because most 'high end' pianos are good for a life time
and there is not much repeat business.
Steinway recommends that their products be serviced
every 90 days or sooner...for life!
Most every other company.. 2-4 times the first year then once or twice a year. I
personally recommend (at least for Florida) once a year. If the piano is in retirement,
service it at least once every 5 years maximum. (even if it just sits!!)
(I am more lenient than the factory).
Why.....? Well, 10...15...20 years or more makes it real tough on a piano when it is time to
‘wake it up’ with a tuning. (And there are many pianos that don’t ever wake up!!)
The average piano has around 200 strings with a collective
tension of 20 tons of
string tension and about 1/2 ton bridge/sound board presser. Pianos need to be tuned ‘up
to the pitch’, they were designed to be tuned to A-440. That means that the ‘A’ above
middle ‘C’ should match a tuning fork, or a tone bar or some kind of calibrated
electronic device. The reason for this is so that the piano will match other instruments
and will sound it’s best. A-440 means, that ‘note’ oscillates at 440 time a second.
Anything that moves at that speed and is loud enough to be heard will produce the note
The over all pitch of a piano will fluctuate up or down depending mainly on humidity
levels in the piano’s environment.
But a piano that is neglected will begin to lose it’s pitch and get lower and lower
depending on the amount of time and it’s past service history. That is the part that is bad
for the piano!!!
The older the instrument and the longer it has been neglected the harder it is to pull the
piano back up to proper pitch. This is where the stress comes into play as it shows up in
breaking strings, collapsed bass bridges, increased stress on the bridge pins causing
splitting of the bridge. If your piano gets through that phase, the other penalty is
guaranteed... piano will not hold well and will need frequent tunings to train and
There is a point of no return when a piano cannot be brought back to proper pitch
because of a combination of age and neglect. They can be tuned, but low and the tone is substandard and
the piano will no longer match other instruments.
I hope you can now see the importance in piano tuning as maintenance not recovery.
© In-Tune Productions 2012