How Long Does It Take To Tune A Piano [What to Expect]

Pianos require tuning, that’s the fact. People often ask: how long does it take to tune a piano? Well, I have to tell you that acoustic pianos need care and maintenance constantly, and tuning a piano is no small feat.

Even though the piano tuning is one of the reasons that I turned to digital pianos more than twenty years ago, I am still very fond of acoustic pianos. Growing up with a C. Bechstein baby grand, piano tuning was a fascinating process for a child. It seemed a sizeable annual event for the household. Nonetheless, I am still having the baby grand and tuning it regularly.

In this article, we’ll answer your question about how long it takes to tune a piano and explain when you need to tune it as well.

How Long Does it Take to Tune a Piano?

piano tuning

If a piano is tuned regularly and not too much out of tune, the piano tuner or technician may complete the tuning in one to two hours.

Tuning a piano is a complicated work. A standard-sized piano has 88 keys and each key connects to a felt-covered hammer that strikes multiple strings to produce sound. The tuning process is that the tuner uses special tools to adjust the tension of over 230 strings. Imagine tuning a violin, you adjust the tightness of the strings to achieve the specific pitch. It is the same concept for tuning a piano, but at a much grand scale, hence it is time-consuming. 

When a piano has not been tuned for a long time, it will take the tuner longer to fine-tune the piano, and sometimes he or she may need multiple sessions.

Moreover, the technician may uncover some unexpected issues that you are not aware. He or she will discuss with you the findings and explain the time and cost for the repairs.

How Much Does it Cost to Tuning a Piano?

The piano tuning costs anywhere from $110-$230. Many piano tuners charge hourly rates that will cover the unexpected time needed to tune or repairs required. Most customers pay around $150.

All violinists can tune their four strings on the spot, but not pianists. You do not send your car to anyone on the street for maintenance, you send your car to a dealer or a specialized technician. Likewise, in order to tune a piano, you’ll need to have a piano tuner to help you.

Find the Right Piano Tuner

Most piano tuners can do a good job to tune your piano. However, I would recommend looking for a piano tuner certified by the Piano Technicians Guild. These technicians are trained not only to tune the piano but also to fix other issues that the instrument may have. They are also able to notice issues on your piano that you may not have observed yourself. 

How to find a piano tuner?

There are several options to find a piano tuner. In this age of technology, I am sure you will do an online search. However, some traditional ways are also helpful:

  • Word of mouth: if you have friends and colleagues who use local piano tuners, ask for their recommendations.
  • Local piano or instrument stores: these stores will have contact information for local technicians and many may even have one on staff. 

How Often Do You Need to Tune a Piano?

playing piano

The short answer is you need to tune a piano at least annually. On the other hand, many conditions may require the piano tuned more frequently.

Humidity and temperature changes are probably having the biggest impact on your piano tunes since they directly affect the tension of the piano strings. When possible, try to put your piano in a space where the humidity and temperature do not fluctuate very much, such as avoiding direct sunlight. If a piano is in a room where humidity and temperature swing constantly, you may need to have the piano tuned twice a year.

Another high impact on the piano tunes is the change of location. Moving an acoustic piano from one location to another will cause the piano out of tune. This is because the action of moving could affect the string tension, in addition, the humidity and temperature conditions vary from room to room, building to building, or house to house.

Therefore, it is optimal to have the piano tuned after a move. The best practice is to wait 3-4 weeks after the move since this will allow the piano to acclimate to the new room condition prior to tuning. If you have just bought a piano, you need to consider the fact that the piano is moved from the store to the new place. 

Can an Old Piano be Tuned?

Even though a piano is out of tune for many years, you still can tune it. On the other hand, any seriously out-of-tune piano will require multiple long sessions to tune it.

The adjustment to the string tension only is done gradually. Because pianos have so many strings, for the initial round the tuner usually will adjust the strings close to the pitch, and let the strings settle. Then do a fine tuning to the accurate piano pitch. We call this process Pitch Correction.

When the technician performers multiple sessions to re-tune an old piano, it may cost a bit more initially. Once it is done and the piano may just follow the regular tuning schedule, either once or twice a year depending on the piano location’s humidity and temperature fluctuation.

Conclusion

This article has provided information about how long it takes to tune a piano, how often to do it, and where to find a piano tuner. Please keep in mind that tuning a piano is a complicated process. Although it takes 1-2 hours and costs, it is a worthy effort since it will enhance your music enjoyment with the perfect pitch for a quite long time. Having a well-tuned piano is especially important for beginners and their ear training.

The best way to protect your investment in an acoustic piano is to regularly tune your piano. A good acoustic piano can last for generations.

I hope the information about tuning a piano is useful for you. Should you have more questions, please do not hesitate to contact me by using the below comment feature.

Related Article:

Leave a Comment