• Temperature and humidity are the main causes of pitch change. A piano's main acoustical structure, the soundboard, is made of wood. Wooden soundboards produce a wonderful sound, but they also react constantly to climate changes.

    As the humidity goes up, soundboards swell, stretching the piano's strings to a higher pitch. When it is dry, especially in the winter, the soundboard flattens out, lowering tension on the strings and causing the pitch to drop.

    The drop in the summer or when the heating is high in the winter tends to exceed the rise during cold humid times. As a result pianos tend to fall more out of pitch each year that they are not serviced.

  • Regular tunings, ideally every 6 months or each season will guarantee a consistent sound and will help avoid costlier repairs in string replacement or repairs to the various wooden parts of the piano.

  • 1. Remove external piano panels.

    2. Visual examination of parts to make sure everything in proper working order.

    3. Bring a mid-treble note to the pitch of a standard tuning fork (commonly top C or middle A).

    4. Put adjacent notes in tune relative to the first note tuned.

    5. After the mid-treble section (known as the temperament) has been tuned, the rest of the piano can be tuned relative to the mid-treble using ascending and descending intervals of an octave.

    6. Check the piano afterwards, especially around the bass-treble break-point, and make sure that none of the unisons have moved (i.e. make sure that the notes that have multiple strings are in tune to each other).

    7. After the tuning is complete the piano's external panels are put back on.

    A regular tuning typically takes 90-120 minutes.

  • The best place for a piano is in a place with stable humidity (30%-60%) and good sound projection. Typically an interior wall is the best. Near radiators and other sources of heat, or in direct sunlight are not good ideas. Outer walls of houses that change temperature frequently (south walls for many homes) is also not recommended. Finally, spaces with high humidity like enclosed porches or basements are not recommended. Harsh conditions are also the main reason that pianos fall out of tune or come to the end of their life prematurely. If an overly dry or humid environment cannot be avoided, we can install climate control systems to mitigate the effects and help extend the life of your piano.
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