Loosed or overstretched strings due to tension is one of the effects of not tunning your piano. That is not all. The sound of the piano becomes distorted and may cause you to spend heavily on repairs. It is therefore highly critical to tune your piano regularly.
But how much does it cost to tune a piano? The average cost to tune a piano is between US$65 to US$225, depending on the number of tuning sessions required, the number of strings, piano design, and more. Let us find out more about piano tuning cost, the importance of tuning, and more.
What is tuning?
Piano tuning involves adjusting the piano strings’ tension to alter the vibration frequency and pitch of the piano strings’. The primary aim of tuning a piano is to ensure that your piano has a pitch-perfect sound.
When tuning a piano, pins attaching the strings are slightly turned to harmonize the sound from all the strings. Specific aesthetic rules and acoustic laws have to be followed to achieve a harmonized sound projection.
Most piano makers prescribe tuning your piano twice yearly. For brand new pianos, it is advised that you tune the piano at least three or four times yearly to stretch out the strings and allow them to settle.
Regularly used pianos, like those used in churches, practice rooms, and studios, may need extra tunings due to their frequent usage, temperature, and humidity changes.
Additional tuning is recommended for pianos used for performance or pianos that are regularly moved to different locations.
Types of tuning
There are four basic types of piano tuning, and each type of tuning differs in the time and effort that may be spent in the tuning process.
The tuning for a particular piano depends on the current state and how well it is maintained over time. It may also affect the piano tuning price.
The four basic tuning types include:
- Basic piano tuning service
The basic piano tuning service is carried out on pianos that are regularly maintained and make take between one hour to one hour thirty minutes to complete the tuning process.
- Operative piano maintenance service.
The operative piano maintenance service is carried out on pianos that are maintained moderately. It is also carried out on pianos that have been recently moved. The tuning process may take approximately two hours to complete.
- Sore arm piano tuning
The sore arm piano tuning is a piano tuning service carried out on pianos that have been neglected for a long time. It is also carried out on older pianos above 60 years. It may take about two hours, thirty minutes to complete this tuning process.
- Dead on arrival pianos
Dead on arrival pianos are badly damaged pianos that may be impossible to tune. It is advisable to buy a new piano if your old piano falls under this category.
The piano tuning process
There are several tools needed to tune a piano, and it is great to have these tools handy when tuning a piano. However, the three most important tools include the tuning hammer/lever, the tuning fork, and the wedges/mutes.
The tuning lever helps in tuning the pins, while the wedges or mutes do not allow the other strings to ring during the tuning process. The tuning fork or electric tuning device (ETD) effectively finds the right note for the strings.
Pianos are tuned to a440 as a standard. The piano tuning process begins with an evaluation of the current condition of the piano to identify any issue. The next step is to remove the key cover and the front panel to access the tuning pins.
The electronic tuning device then measures C1 to C5 harmonic content, and the resulting tuning curve is examined. The tuning process continues with single thick back strings, beginning from the lowest note followed by the bichords.
The trichords are tuned last, and during the process, the fourths, fifths, and octaves are checked continuously while the breaks are monitored at the points where the piano changes to plain strings from wound strings.
The tuning process is repeated until the sound from all the strings is harmonized and delivers a perfect pitch.
How Much Does It Cost To Tune A Piano?
Although piano tuner costs may differ due to several factors, an upright piano tuning cost may range between US$65 to US$225.However, we shall divide the average cost of tuning a piano according to the different tuning types.
A basic piano tuning service may cost between US$110 – US$150 for a single tuning service when you contract a high-quality piano technician. However, some local piano technicians may charge between $65-$90 for basic tuning service.
You have to find reliable and experienced technicians that meet your budget. When carrying out an operative piano maintenance service, you may have to spend between $160 -220 to pay the piano technician.
The sore arm tuning may cost between US$220 toUS$400 since it involves more work. However, this price may differ depending on the model type. Some piano technicians charge higher when tuning older spinet piano models.
Since dead-on-arrival pianos cannot be tuned, buying a new one may be appropriate. However, a piano technician may charge between US$40 to US$80 to inspect the state of the piano.
Tuning and Additional Expenses
Below is a table showing the price range of additional tuning services
|Additional tuning services and their price range|
|Tuning and Additional services||Price range (US$)|
|Voicing||$175 – $600|
|Pitch Correction||$50 -$60|
|Repairs per hour||$60 – $100|
|Inspection and Evaluations||$100 – $250|
|Pedal regulation||$300 – $400|
|Cleaning of soundboard||$100 – $150|
|Installation of string cover||$250 – $350|
|Reconditioning and regulation of grand action||$2500 – $3500|
|Rebuilding of vertical action||$4,000|
|Installation of climate control||$450 – $800|
|Undercover installation||$200 – $350|
What is Piano Voicing, and how much does it cost?
Piano voicing involves using steam, voicing needles, or other techniques to adjust the density of the felts that cover the hammer. Piano voicing is aimed at ensuring that the hammers striking the string deliver a brighter or warmer tone.
Over time, grooves may start to form as the felt covering the hammer compresses. The sound may become harsher as the hammer strikes the keys. A piano voicing cost depends on the voicing technique used in adjusting the felts’ density.
Aside from using breakage-resistant needles, needles, or steam for piano voicing, other techniques include lacquering, hammerhead filing, hammer felt ironing, action regulation adjustments, etc. It also depends on the current state of the felts. The average cost of piano voicing is between US$175 to US$600.
What is the cost of Piano Regulation?
The estimated cost of piano regulation is about US$500. Piano regulation is typically carried out when you find using a single key to play quick repetitions.
Regulation can also be done when some notes are difficult to play, hearing of squeak sound while playing, etc. These issues may be due to the difference in the action on your piano keys.
The importance of piano tuning
Survey shows that many pianos are being neglected, dumped, smashed, and burnt, which may be attributed to the lack of maintenance or irregular tuning of pianos.
This trend has seen a 50% drop in keyboard pianos in the US over the last ten years, with most people opting for digital pianos. There are several outstanding benefits of tuning a piano, and they include the following:
- Piano tuning helps in correcting your piano’s overall tone.
Tuning your piano enhances the sound and makes it more pleasant. Your piano’s pitch reduces over time and may cause a flat wobbly sound when playing a key.
- It prevents irreversible damage to your piano.
Piano tuning is a form of preventive maintenance that helps to keep your piano in good shape. Piano tuners carry out a quick assessment of your piano and check the status of functioning parts such as dampers, hammers, and pedals. They also test the pins’ tightness and the strings’ tension.
- Preserves the life of your piano
Regular piano tuning increases the durability of your piano because it helps you identify issues early before they damage your piano beyond repair.
Piano Tuning Cost Factors
The following factors may influence piano tuning price:
- The piano type
Some piano models may be more expensive to tune than others
- The age of the piano
Older pianos may incur higher piano tuning costs due to the wearing of the parts over time.
- Broken strings
A piano with broken strings costs higher to tune than one without broken strings.
- Additional repairs
A piano tuner cost may increase if you require additional repairs.
- The frequency of maintenance
It may cost more to tune a piano if it hasn’t been tuned for a long time.
How long does it take for someone to tune a piano?
The amount of time it takes to tune a piano depends on the tuning carried out on the piano. A basic piano tuning service may take approximately one hour, 30 minutes, while operative maintenance may require two hours.
Sore arm piano tuning may take up to two hours, thirty minutes to tune. The piano tuning duration also depends on the expertise of the piano tuner.
What is the required tuning level for my piano?
The level of tuning your piano depends on the current state of your piano and how often you have tuned your piano in the past.
Regularly tuned piano may only require basic tuning service, while moderately tuned piano may require operative maintenance services.
How Often Should I Tune my Piano?
At least two times a year, about once every six months. However, piano manufacturers suggest that new pianos should be tuned four times in the first year of purchasing, after which you may continue with the twice a year tuning schedule.
Regular tuning of your piano ensures they produce the perfect sound and lasts longer.
Are there pianos that cannot be tuned?
It may be difficult, if not impossible, to tune pianos that are badly damaged. If you have such a piano, you should buy a new piano.
However, if you doubt whether your piano can be tuned, you may request an experienced piano tuner to inspect it and let you know if it can be tuned.
Will I need to tune my piano if I haven’t played it much?
Aside from how often you play your piano, other factors like humidity and temperature changes may cause your piano to go out of tune.
Experts believe that except you play your piano very hard, the amount of time you play your piano may have minimal effect on its tune. Moving your piano to different locations may also affect the tune.
We have extensively answered the question, “how much does it cost to tune a piano?”We have also seen that a piano tuning cost depends on several factors, such as the age of the piano, the piano type, maintenance frequency, status of the piano, and more.
Aside from tuning the piano, there are other additional services, such as voicing, regulation, soundboard cleaning, rebuilding, etc., that can be carried out on your piano to function effectively.
Ensure that you tune your piano at least once every six months to keep it in perfect sound shape. You can tune your piano yourself or contact a piano tuner to do the job.
Hi, I am Alana Young. As a lifestyle expert, I have studied and researched the ways of life of people far and wide. I can say that I have extensive knowledge in the field to teach and educate people on the proper lifestyles to lead, as well as how to effectively manage costs and maximize output in all aspects of their lives.