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Tuning & Repairs
Thursday
Aug222013

Why Does My Piano Go Out Of Tune?

Why does my piano go out of tune?

Your piano goes out of tune due to changes in humidity with  the seasons.  In winter when the heater comes on, the air generally dries out the spruce soundboard and as it contracts, the string's  pitch drops.  In spring when it is raining here in Southern California, the moisture makes the soundboard swell and the string's pitch will rise.  As these changes continue through storms and Santa Ana winds, the pinblock holding the tuning pins also reacts slightly, allowing the pins to move.  The result is that the piano goes slightly out of tune over a 6 month period.

How often should I have it tuned?

Because of the net effect of the humidity changes, the piano manufacturers ALL suggest that it should be tuned every 6 months!  The reasons are twofold: First, so that the piano is never so out of tune that the pianist stops playing it.  Second, that the pressure of the strings on the bridge and soundboard is always constant and the piano soundboard is less able to move in reaction to the changes in humidity.  With 6 month tunings, the piano becomes very stable and stays in tune longer.  The Manufacturers all suggest this because when the piano always sounds good, their customers enjoy playing more and the word of mouth spreads that their pianos sound so good.

Everyone wins in this situation.  Happy customers play more and improve their skill and enjoyment of the instrument.  The tuner/technician has less extra work to do like pitch-raising and (God forbid) replacing broken strings.

I give my 6 month customers a 12% price break because they are tuning twice a year AND it is easier for me to tune when I don't move the pins as much! Call me now at 213 458-2600 for an appointment to tune your piano.