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Piano Tuning Series: Why Should I Tune My Piano?

Here at Restore And More we are asked a lot of questions about piano tuning; and understandably!

Tuning a piano is a process which takes time and dedication to learn. Any tuner who is worth their salt will tell you that although they might have been tuning pianos for years, you can still learn something new or gain that one little tip that helps you next time.

Why then, when piano tuning is so complex and skilled, would we expect the public to understand the full ins and outs and practicalities of the trade?

To that end, let me introduce our 'Piano Tuning Series'.

During these blog posts we will try to answer some of the most commonly asked piano tuning questions as honestly and unbiasedly as possible. Some of these posts will be short and sweet; and some will be more lengthy answers to help you get to the 'bass' of the questions.

Why Should I Tune My Piano?

We thought this would be a good place to start in our 'Piano Tuning Series' and is a question we get asked a lot. Our first reasons is a simple one:

1. Out of tune pianos sound horrible.

There is nothing worse than sitting down to play a piano and hearing a discordant squawk instead of a beautiful harmony. You work so hard at learning your latest piece of music and in the worse case scenario you actually can't play it because it sounds so wrong!

Sometimes a piano is more subtly out of tune, perhaps you don't really notice it when your piano tuner rings you up reminding you that it is time to get your piano tuned. But surely that is the joy of playing? This leads us to our second reason:

2. Pianos which are out of tune, are not played.

As soon as your piano sounds out of tune to your ears, you automatically enjoy playing it less, your ear being drawn to the notes that sound a bit funny. Ideally your piano should be tuned regularly enough that you as a customer and pianist do not notice that it is out of tune, thus continuing your enjoyment.

3. Small problems can become big problems.

Having your piano tuned regularly helps keep on top of any other problems which might be starting to develop. Most times a competent piano tuner can fix small issues like sticky keys or clicking sounds whilst they are at your piano tuning appointment. Please note this might incur an additional charge which will be discussed with you.

However, the longer you leave between piano tunings the more likely these little issues are to grow to an exponential size. This might mean that your piano tuner will have to make a second appointment, incurring a secondary charge. In worst cases this can quickly mean that the piano action, or perhaps the whole piano will need to be moved to a workshop for work to take place incurring a much more significant charge and the removal of your beautiful instrument.

Catch it early and small problems can be fixed quickly, easily and at minimal cost.

4. You might not know you need advice.

Like we discussed earlier: piano tuning is a skilled and complex trade where technicians consider a number of factors in tuning and maintaining your instrument. A good piano tuner technician will freely give advice which is in the best interests of you as a customer and of your piano. After all, if you don't have a piano anymore how would they make a living? This advice will undoubtedly save you from potentially expensive problems later.

'You should probably move your piano away from the radiator'

'It smells a little damp in here, have you noticed?'

'This looks like the first signs of moth damage'

We will be discussing 'How To Care For Your Piano' in another blog entry, but for now just remember; your piano tuner has a wealth of knowledge which is well worth your salt.

5. Your piano is at the wrong 'pitch'.

Talking about pitch can become very technical, so for this post we will make it as simple as possible. We will discuss this more thoroughly in a subsequent post.

'Pitch' is the standardised sound you expect to hear when you press a certain key.

So, 'Middle C' sounds like 'Middle C'

This is important when you want to play with other people or play along to a song you know. If your piano is not at the correct 'pitch' it will not sound the same as the other instruments or the song you are playing along to. This is distracting, sounds rubbish and makes it sometimes impossible to continue if it is very bad!

Common terms in this scenario are that your piano is either 'flat' - too low in pitch - or 'sharp' - too high in pitch.

If a piano is tuned regularly it will help it stay at the correct pitch avoiding the problems above. Again, when a piano is dramatically flat or sharp it can incur an extra charge or subsequent visit/s to fix to re-stabilise the piano and help it stay at the correct pitch.

We hope this blog post has helped to answer 'Why Should I Tune My Piano' and encouraged you to get your piano tuned regularly.

Tuning a Piano Why Should I Tune My Piano?
Tuning a Piano

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