June 24, 2019

What Is the Average Cost of Piano Tuning?

No matter the cost of piano tuning, it’s vital that a piano owner have this work done on a regular basis. Regular piano tuning keeps a piano sounding its best and also reduces excessive wear and tear on the instrument’s strings, hammers, pins, and other moving parts under the lid.

The average cost of piano tuning typically runs from $65 to over $200 or more, depending on how out-of-tune the piano is and if it needs repairs in addition to tuning. Some piano models might also require added care, increasing your piano tuning cost.

Having a piano at home is an excellent opportunity to express yourself musically and entertain friends during parties. Keeping a piano at home also allows children to practice when they’re taking lessons and is an especially vital part of having that child learn about the instrument and music in general, if they have an interest in becoming a musician later in life.

However, it is vital that you plan for regular piano tuning and maintenance over the years. To ensure you keep your piano sounding its best and to help you better understand your piano tuning costs, note some commonly asked questions about pianos and their various parts, and how to keep yours sounding its best through the years.

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How Does Someone Figure the Cost of Piano Tuning?

To understand why you might face various costs for piano tuning, it’s good to understand the common steps involves in tuning. Typically a piano tuning expert will go through the following steps:

  • Rubber stoppers are put under various wires, to keep them from vibrating while he or she works.
  • Dampers are opened to keep them in position as well.
  • Staring with middle C, a piano tuner will adjust the tension of the wire according to an electronic meter, adjusting the wire until it creates a certain frequency.
  • Even after adjusting the wires according to the meter, a piano tuner will usually make added adjustments to the strings, ensuring the sound produces is crisp, clear, and accurate.
  • Wires are often over-tightened and then loosened just slightly, so the piano will stay in tune as long as possible.
  • The more out of tune a piano, the longer this adjustment takes for each wire. This added work is why costs for piano tuner are steeper the longer you go without tuning services!
  • Once middle C is tuned properly, the piano tuner moves on to the next string and repeats this process.
  • A piano tuner might charge more for pianos that are difficult to access, such as those in storage or which are tucked away in an awkward area of the home.
  • While piano repairs are not typically included in your piano tuning cost, a tuning expert might need to replace broken wires, bent hammers, and bent or missing pins in order to perform the tuning. These parts and the labor to replace them add to your piano tuning cost.

Can You Use “How to Tune a Piano” Videos?

There are many DIY videos online today, instructing someone on how to do everything from change a flat tire to install their own kitchen flooring. While it might be good to use those videos and manage certain projects around the house on your own, consider some reasons to avoid using “how to tune a piano” videos and assuming you can bypass professional piano tuning costs:

  • Piano wires are more delicate than you might realize and over-tightening them often causes damage or increases the risk of a wire snapping.
  • Failing to tighten wires enough allows the piano to go out of tune sooner than it should, resulting in more work and piano tuning costs over the years!
  • Discerning proper notes and sounds from a piano takes a practiced ear; a tuning fork or electric meter only helps so much in getting a piano in proper tune!
  • A piano owner might not spot areas of damage under a piano’s lid. Standard piano tuning costs typically don’t include the cost of piano repairs, but a professional piano tuner might alert you to broken or damaged pieces, warped wood pieces, and the like.
  • Professional piano tuners will often invest in high-quality tools that work to tune a piano efficiently without damaging pins, hammers, and the like. Cheap piano tuning tools or household tools might strip piano pins or fail to grip them properly, resulting in a poor-quality tuning or damage to your piano.
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What Is a Piano Tuning Hammer?

A piano tuning hammer or wrench is a specialty tool designed to fit the pins of a piano’s soundboard. Tightening those pins is what tightens those wires, making them as taut as needed to create a particular sound.

Using a piano tuning hammer might seem simple enough but tuning a piano often requires more work and skill than just tightening pins and making wires taut. A piano tuning expert will use tuning forks and other materials but also has an experienced ear, knowing what to expect from a properly tuned piano. They also know how to tighten pins without causing damage to the soundboard, dampers, wires, and other such parts under the lid.

Why Choose Local Piano Tuners?

The cost of piano tuning is a worthwhile investment, as it means a high-quality tuning that provides the truest sound quality possible from your instrument. However, it’s also good to choose local piano tuners near you for this work as they can note if your piano needs better climate control or other such care, to protect the instrument from long-term damage.

A local piano tuner understands the climate in your area and how excessive humidity and other such conditions affect the wood pieces of a piano over time. Local piano tuners often have a shop out of which they work, and they can bring your piano back to their workspace if it needs repairs beyond standard tuning.

A local piano tuner near you also knows the average wear and tear expected for a piano in your area and can note if you’re putting too much pressure on the foot pedals and dampers or the keys themselves, if you need piano cleaning, and so on. Their advice ensures your piano is always in good repair!

How Much Does a Piano Cost?

Average upright piano costs range from $900 to $1800 and console piano costs might start at $2000 and run upwards of $8000. Grand pianos often start in cost at $4000 and range over $24,000 or more. Specialty and rare models, antique pianos, and those once owned by celebrities or performers often cost even more!

Before you decide you need a new piano, however, you might note if your current instrument simple needs piano repairs or piano voicing. Piano voicing adjusts the overall tone of an instrument; softening or hardening of the felt on hammers creates a deeper or lighter tone. If you play jazz music, as an example, you might prefer a lighter tone. Many classical pieces respond better to a deeper tone.

In some cases, the wood pieces under a piano lid might have expanded and contracted over time, as that wood absorbs humidity and then dries out. Adjusting those pieces, sanding down hammers, or even replacing pins and other parts might restore the sound you expect from your instrument. While only you can determine if you need a new piano, consider piano repair costs or the cost of piano voicing and compare that to the price of a new piano when making your decision.

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How to Reduce the Cost of Piano Tuning Service

While the cost of piano tuning service is a worthwhile investment in your instrument, a piano owner might consider ways of reducing that cost or going longer between tuning services. Note a few tips on how to keep your piano in good condition and sounding its best for as long as possible between tuning services:

  • As with any other musical instrument and especially stringed instruments, it’s vital that you don’t abuse your piano or allow children to treat it like a toy. Pounding the keys, stomping on the foot pedals, and slamming its cover all results in early and excessive wear and tear on the strings, dampers, hammers, and all other parts under the piano lid.
  • Dust, dirt, and other debris tend to settle on the inner parts of a piano and can then interfere with its sound and performance. Many piano tuning technicians offer piano cleaning services; if you want to dust the piano yourself, however, be very gentle with the strings and avoid touching the hammers, pins, and other parts. An air purifier reduces the levels of dust and debris inside your instrument.
  • Climate control is vitally important for a piano, as wood tends to absorb moisture and then expand and contract, taking all the parts inside the body with it. Invest in a humidifier or dehumidifier

Related Questions

How is piano tuning different than piano voicing?

Piano voicing is similar to adjusting the bass and treble on your stereo. The notes are the same but the overall tone is adjusted slightly.

Can you still tune older pianos?

The cost of piano tuning for older models might be higher simply due to the amount of work but unless a piano is damaged in some way, it is still typically a candidate for tuning.

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