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Piano Tuning Series: Can I Tune My Own Piano?

At Restore And More we know that this question runs around the minds of many people with pianos. Why can't I just tune the piano myself? If we are honest we can think of a few reasons why people might not want to pay for a piano tuner:

There is a cost

You have to take time out of your schedule

It's another thing to remember to do

However, that doesn't mean that the right thing to do is to tune your own piano. We understand that it might be tempting but here are some of the reasons we feel it is important to have your piano tuned and cared for by a professional.

  1. Tuning a piano so it sounds nice is very difficult

A correctly tuned piano is a joy to play but is much harder to produce than you might expect. We will go in to the finer details in another post but trust us when we say that it's not as simple as you might think.

Piano tuners and technicians have spent years developing their skills to correctly tune your piano to the best of their, and the pianos, ability. The idea is appealing but you are much more likely to ruin your piano's tuning and pitch stability - how long it stays in tune for - than you are to produce a correct and pleasing tuning. Take our advice and stick with the professionals.

2. Tuning a piano incorrectly can cause damage

A piano sounding nice is just one benefit of having a professional do the job. But did you know tuning a piano without instruction might mean you break a string? Perhaps you will move the tuning lever incorrectly and destabilise a tuning pin. It is possible to accidentally tune to the wrong pitch and ruin the stability of your piano. Not 'setting the pin' correctly will mean your piano's pitch will move very quickly and dramatically. Creating the wrong tension on your piano might lead to structural damage in the worst cases.

These are all problems which can be easily avoided by calling your local piano tuner. Piano tuners have learnt the skills to by pass these issues and/or assess anything which seems concerning to them. They help maintain the health and structure of your instrument.

3. Piano tuning tools are expensive

It is all very well wanting to tune your own piano but as well as the associated skills mentioned above, there are specific tools which are needed. These tools are numerous and when buying good tools are expensive in themselves. A good technician can tell the difference between good tools and bad tools and will only use the tools which they can vouch for and know they can produce a good result with.

4. A bad piano tuning will be timely and expensive to fix

The consequences of tuning your own piano badly will mean that your local professional piano tuner will likely need at least two visits to re stabilise the pitch. Ironically in trying to save time and money you will have inadvertently increased the amount of both to return your piano to its original state.

A piano is a moving, breathing instrument made of natural materials which change in the environment. To re-stabilise it takes time for the instrument to settle back to its optimum conditions. During this time your piano will be move likely to fall out of tune reducing your enjoyment of playing your precious instrument.

5. Your local piano tuner has earned your trade

We all worry about the cost of living crisis and try to spend our pennies carefully. Having your piano tuned might seem like an unnecessary cost when you can 'just do it yourself'. However all professional piano tuners have spent the last few years learning and honing their skills.

It is likely that they have made little to no money during this process; have spent money on expensive tools and courses to supplement their learning; have spent a period of time charging a lower price as a 'student' learner; and are just as worried about money as you are.

We all have a little 'DIY' at heart but when it comes to getting a job done correctly, efficiently and cost effectively there are times when you have to draw a line. This is the same across all trade jobs where you might feel you can 'just do it yourself' checking that wiring or adding some additional plumbing.

Your piano tuner has worked hard and scraped pennies to be the best that they can be. They will price fairly and competitively and will have a skill set to match. They deserve the opportunity to provide a quality service and earn money with the skills they have honed over the years.

We hope that this entry in the 'Piano Tuning Series' has helped you understand the drawbacks and considerations of Can I Tune My Own Piano.

Book How To Tune A Piano Can I Tune My Own Piano
Book How To Tune A Piano

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