How often, and what time a year should my piano be tuned?

Generally, your piano should be tuned about once or twice a year.  That said, the real answer is …it depends.  For example, a once-a-year tuning would never do for a brand new piano, teacher’s piano, practice piano, or concert piano.


How often you decide to tune your piano depends on several things, such as: humidity fluctuation, how particular you are about how your piano sounds, how often it is used, how it is used (for practice, for performance only, teaching, etc), and of course finances play a role too.

All these factors really need to be considered and discussed with your piano technician for you to come to the proper conclusion regarding how often to service your piano.


As a starting point, I’d recommend tuning your piano no less than once a year.


If you wait any longer than a year, then the overall pitch and tension of the piano will begin to change, usually going pretty flat.  This is not only hard on the piano, but you’ll pay for it later in pitch raises (also known as pre-tensioning, pre-tuning, or pitch adjustments) trying to get it back to pitch and trying to get it to hold it’s pitch again.  If you have a piano that is being rarely used, the piano is not used for teaching or practicing, and you’re not really particular about how perfectly it sounds, then once a year is usually just fine.


If the piano is being used in a school or church type setting, you are playing your piano regularly practicing for lessons (or maybe you just love to play), then I would recommend twice to four times a year, again, that depends on things such as humidity, how hard you play, and personal preferences.


If the piano is used in say a recording studio, then the piano might likely need to be tuned weekly if not before each recording.  Again, this depends on the piano (how well it holds it’s tune) and how stable the humidity is where the piano is located.


Now, if the piano is used for concerts, then it will usually be tuned for rehearsal, and then fine tuned again just before the concert, and sometimes “touched up” during intermission.


So, you can see that there is really no one answer that I can give you, and even the recommendations above are just that…recommendations.  Each piano and situation varies, and that is something you will have to talk over with your piano technician.


Generally, the more a piano is used and the more public the piano becomes for entertainment, teaching, concerts, recordings and such, the more frequently the piano will need to be serviced.


Don’t forget that like anything, your house, car, etc. that pianos too will require more repairs and regulation also the more they are used.


What months are best to tune my piano?


What we’re really asking is: “what time of the year is the humidity stable enough to tune my piano so that I can keep my good tuning for the longest amount of time possible?”


You will hear it said over and over that HUMIDITY CHANGES are the primary reason pianos go out of tune.

The following excerpt is from my FAQs page on my website:

When choosing a time of year to have your piano tuned, some
believe that fall and spring are the best times, being
right after major seasonal changes. True, that is when the
Relative Humidity is most ideal for a piano, at 43% or so.
However, January and July are the best times if you want the
longest period of time without major fluctuations, even though
the humidity during those times are not always ideal. If your
home or establishment maintains it’s temperature and humidity
rather well, or if your piano has a Dampp Chaser or similar
humidity control system installed and functioning regularly, then
this is not as much of an issue. While there is never a “perfect”
time, it is always better to have it tuned than it is to wait and risk
forgetting. Pitch adjustments are costly and hard on the piano! I
would suggest that whatever time(s) you decide, that you stick
with it.


So, in the Spring and Fall (April and October) about 2 weeks after the heat or A/C is turned on, are typically recommended times if you decide to tune twice a year.  The humidity at these times of year are closest to 43% on average, which is what the piano needs.  Generally, these are good times of the year to have your piano tuned.


However, another good time is January and July.  While the humidity may be a little higher or lower than desired at these times, humidity levels hold pretty steady for a longer period of time during and immediately following those months.  So, with a January/July tuning, in some places, your piano should stay in tune a little longer than with an April and October, Spring/Fall tuning.


IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that I live in Missouri, and other parts of the country may have different recommendations.  Please always consult your local Piano Technician for his/her local recommendations.


While there may seem to be no absolute perfect time to get your piano tuned, (and if there were, everybody would be calling us all at once and we piano technicians would be swamped with hundreds or thousands of pianos in one week or month, and have no tunings the rest of the year), it helps us to at least aim for the “better” times of the year when we can maximize our tuning stability.


My final recommendation, though….whatever you decide, pick a time and stick with it.  Get your piano tuned, and then keep it tuned.  It will be the best for your instrument, the best for your ears, and the best for your neighbor’s ears too!


Until next time…make a joyful noise!

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