How Frequently Should A Piano Be Tuned?

As a piano tuner, I am regularly asked; “How frequently should a piano be tuned in Malaysia?” My usual response is, “base on our weather, a new piano should be tuned two times a year and once a year for any piano to keep it from damage.”

Does Piano Tuning Neglect Harm Your Piano?

To my knowledge, all professional piano tuners agree that neglecting regular service doesharm pianos. When piano problems begin to develop, a professional piano tuner, whoregularly services your piano, can help with advice and solutions. Pianos do not lastforever, and those that receive regular tuning and service uphold their value better than neglected pianos.

Even if, no one is playing your piano, the weather is playing it 24 hours a day, and it needs regular tuning.

With over 20 tons of string pressure, manufacturers design pianos to be maintained atA440 standard pitch and when pianos drift off-pitch the curvature of the soundboard changes and the whole structure of the piano shifts. The strings in the piano produce about 18 to 22 tons of tension. The cast iron plate supports this tension, but the rest of the piano is mostly wood, which makes the piano extremely flexible.

Everything in a piano is either made of wood, or depends on wooden parts to function. In wet, humid conditions, the piano swells; and in dry conditions, it contracts. This bending and shifting is not productive for the health of your piano. In Physics, the piano as a whole is a ‘flexible’ structure.

Allowing the piano to cycle through periods of neglect, or ‘hit and miss’ service, combined with changes in humidity ~ the seasonal bending and changing of the soundboard and overall structure ~ can damage the piano. Allowing it to go through such cycles of neglect, in my mind, is like bending a green twig; at some point, it is going to break.

How Does The Environment Affect Piano Tuning?

While it is true that hard playing can knock string unison’s off pitch, it is the instability of the home environment tuners battle everyday servicing pianos. Over the years, I have advised customers to buy an ordinary hygrometer to monitor the humility swings in their home. Simply paying a little attention to the humidity in their home is the first step to being proactive in understanding the affects of humidity and extending piano life.

Humidity in Malaysia is all the time in house condition is between 65% to 99%. normal to control the humidity is to turn the piano heater bar which is installed inside the piano.

Piano Manufacturers Recommendations

~ Who would know better, when you should tune your piano than the people who make pianos?  (Manufacturer recommendations)

[ Steinway & Sons ]

Humidity Affects Piano Tuning
… Unfortunately, no matter how expertly a piano is tuned, atmospheric variations, particularly humidity, and the nature of the piano’s construction constantly conspire to bring it off pitch.

Steinway Recommendations For Piano Tuning
Your Steinway piano has been designed and built so that in normal use and under normal conditions it should need only periodic tuning. We recommend that your tuner be called at least 3 or 4 times a year. You, however, are the final judge and should have the piano tuned as often as you think necessary. To put the matter of tuning into perspective, remember that a concert piano is tuned before every performance and a piano in a professional recording studio,where it is in constant use, is tuned 3 or 4 times each week as a matter of course.

[ Baldwin ]

New Pianos Need More Frequent Tuning
In the first year, … have your piano tuned four times. This is a period of environmental adjustment for a new instrument and proper attention is important. After the first year, the piano should be tuned at least twice each year depending upon the frequency of use and atmospheric conditions. … arrange for a reputable technician to service your piano regularly.

[ Yamaha ]

The Importance Of Regular Piano Tuning
Why schedule regular service? … Regular service will keep your piano’s performance (and your enjoyment) at its peak level. It will also correct “progressive” problems early, before they turn into costly repairs. For these reasons Yamaha strongly recommends that you adopt a schedule of regular service for your piano.

Your Piano Tuner Should Be Scheduled At Least Twice A Year

… The strings need to be tuned a minimum of twice a year to restore them to their proper tension.

[ Bösendorfer ]

Bosendorder Recommends Calling Your Piano Tuner 2 or 3 Times A Year
Climatic factors such as temperature or humidity changes may cause the precise tuning of your piano to vary. Also naturally over time the tuning will alter due to the tensions the strings are constantly under.

If your piano receives normal use, we advise you to have your instrument tuned 2 or 3 times a year. Instruments which are being used more frequently, such as concert halls and recording studios, are being tuned before each concert or recording session.


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