Piano Tuning & Pitch Correction

Why do pianos go out of tune?

  • Pianos generally need tuning because of the changes in relative humidity in the air. Here in the southern region of the USA, our humidity swings wildly from 20%-90%. The more humid months are during the spring and fall rainy seasons and the sweltering summer heat. The drier months are during the winter. Running our homes heating or A/C can further dry the air.
  • The piano’s soundboard “breathes” with the humidity cycles which either adds or subtracts tension to the piano strings as the board swells up or shrinks downward.
  • The more the piano’s soundboard experiences these seasonal changes without a tuning, the further the strings get from their neighboring strings pitches. This is what causes pianos to sound unpleasant and out of tune.
  • Humidity control systems can be installed to keep a piano closer to it’s optimal relative humidity of 42%. Finely Tuned Pianos is an authorized Piano Life Saver installer. Ask for an installation quote or for further information.

What is a “pitch correction?”

  • When a piano’s tuning is allowed to drift too far from standard pitch (A=440hz), a pitch correction may be needed to “pre-tension” the soundboard so that the subsequent fine tuning is more stable.
  • A pitch correction tuning is performed as necessary before the fine tuning. The pitch correction is a quick-pass, rough tuning to bring the piano up and as close to proper pitch as possible.
  • Both the pitch correction and the fine tuning are done in the same appointment. Allow 30 extra minutes for each rough pass necessary to bring the piano up to pitch.
  • Usually, one pitch correction pass is all that is required. In rare cases where a piano has not been tuned in decades, it may take two or more rough pass pitch corrections to get the piano’s soundboard properly pre-tensioned.

How much is a piano tuning?

  • The base rate for fine tuning is $175. This service will typically take an hour and half.
  • The base rate for one quick-pass pitch correction before the fine tuning is $50 per pass needed.
  • Both of these service levels include 30 minutes of adjustments or repairs. Issues such as sticky keys or pedal problems can usually be resolved during the tuning appointment with no further cost.
  • If your piano needs more adjustments or repairs than can be addressed during the initial tuning appointment, a complimentary Condition Report will be offered. Think of the Condition Report as your piano’s health report card. It will detail any issues that need to be addressed to bring your piano up to it’s full musical potential and it will offer an estimate of cost for the repairs or adjustments.