Keeping Your Piano Tuned

Pianos are made of wood and metal, which can be affected by changes in temperature and humidity. When the climate changes, the wood and metal parts can expand and contract, which will cause the instrument to feel wonky. To prevent this, tune your piano regularly, especially if you live in an area with extreme weather changes. A rule of thumb is to tune your piano at least twice a year to prevent drastic changes in string tension.  the piano action is the mechanism that connects the keys to the hammers. Over time, the piano action can wear down, which can affect the quality of the sound and make it difficult to play the piano. To keep the piano action in good working order, it’s important to have a piano technician regulate it on a regular basis. This involves making adjustments to the action to ensure that it is properly aligned, lubricated and working smoothly.

Aside from this initial settling, seasonal change is the primary reason pianos go out of tune. To understand why, you must realize that the piano’s main acoustical structure, the soundboard, is made of wood (typically 3/8-inch thick Sitka spruce). And while the wooden soundboards produce a wonderful sound, they also react constantly to weather. As humidity goes up, a soundboard swells, increasing its crowned shape and stretching the piano’s strings to a higher pitch. During dry times, the soundboard flattens out, lowering tension on the strings and causing the pitch to drop.

Unfortunately, the strings don’t change pitch equally. Those near the soundboard’s edge move the least, and those near the center move the most. So, unless it’s in a hermetically sealed chamber, every piano is constantly going out of tune!

The good news is there are some simple things you can do to keep your piano sounding sweet and harmonious between regular service appointments. Although it’s impossible to prevent every minor variation in indoor climate, you can often improve conditions for your piano.

  • Start by locating the piano away from direct sunlight, drafts, and heat sources. Excess heating causes extreme dryness, so try to keep the temperature moderate (below 70 degrees) during the winter heating season.

  • Get a portable room humidifier, or install a central humidification system to combat winter dryness in climates with very cold, dry winters. A portable dehumidifier or a dehumidifier added to your air-conditioning system can remove excess moisture during hot, muggy summers.

  • If controlling your home’s environment is impractical, or if you want the best protection possible, have a humidity control system installed inside your piano. These are very effective in controlling the climate within the instrument itself. Besides improving tuning stability, they help minimize the constant swelling and shrinking of your piano’s wooden parts. The critical part of such a system is the humidistat, a device that monitors the relative humidity within the piano and adds or removes moisture as needed. Jars of water, light bulbs, or other “home remedies” have no such control and can actually do more harm than good.

Used with permission of the Piano Technicians Guild

Here are a few links you can research in order to compose your own content. Take from them, grab entire paragraphs if you like, and combine their thoughts with your own, include your experiences and anecdotes, and recompose the text to include as your own. 

Adding videos that you find relevant and/or particularly well produced is also wise, as it not only enriches content for your viewers, but it drives traffic both directions. You could begin capturing your own tuning sessions for examples/instruction/reflection that would also build credibility and trust with your future and existing clients. Videos, like “testimony” (comments from clients), demonstrate why someone could reliably ask you to work on their instrument, with the efficacy of about 100 comments/reviews each. 


An example of an article from which you can begin to build this section (and where the vid below came from)

Why your piano should be tuned on a regular basis?

All pianos are made from 80% wood. Fluctuations of humidity are the primary reason that pianos go out of tune. So to some extent, depending on your piano, location and home environment, your piano is always going in and out of tune.

The underlying need for tuning your piano regularly goes beyond whether or not your instrument is in or out of tune. When have  a professional tuner work on your piano, he/she will automatically evaluate the health of your instrument and if necessary, prescribe remedial measures that you can take to safeguard the “health” of your instrument. I.e. Moving your piano away from direct sunlight, heating vents and other basic care considerations.

Pianos bear 20 tons of stress on an ongoing basis, from the accumulated tension of the strings. By having your piano serviced once or twice a year, you avoid mistakes that can compromise the value and function of your piano. Most importantly, you ensure that your piano remains music worthy as a musical instrument so that when you want to make music, you can do so with enjoyment.

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