The average price for tuning a piano costs from $65 to $225 and the cost can increase by many hundred dollars if the piano needs multiple tuning sessions or repairs.
The piano tuner is a skill that only expert professionals should do. Many tuning technicians accept major credit cards or personal checks instead of cash.
Piano Tuning Basics
To tune a piano, the technician tunes the tension on each piano’s strings until they vibrate at the proper rate.
“A440” is the standard tuning for any piano, and this means that the A note above middle C vibrates at 440 cycles every second.
Tuning the rest of the notes is easy math, as each of the notes on the keyboard vibrates at a particular frequency. The A in the next octave vibrates at 880 cycles every second, and the A in the lower octave vibrates at 220 cycles every second.
Pianists use the standard tuning so that when they perform with other instruments, everyone plays in harmony.
Importance of Piano Tuning
Tuning is a vital part of regular piano maintenance. Regular adjustments keep the tension in the strings from relaxing too much. Moreover, it allows the technician to check the instrument for signs of damage to the soundboard or action.
Most piano manufacturers suggest tuning the instrument at least once every six months. However, sometimes pianos need additional tuning.
Pianos used for performance or recording are typically tuned before each use, and pianos, when moved from one location to another or are exposed to extreme humidity changes, require more tunings.
Piano Tuner Cost Factors
- Most piano tuners charge by the hour. When the piano is out of tune, the technician must first raise the pitch before fine-tuning it. This means the technician tunes the strings so that they can vibrate faster than A440. The overstretched strings eventually fix at A440 so the technician can retune them.
- Another problem commonly faced is an unevenly tuned piano. This happens when owners wait for an extended period to tune the instrument and when the piano gets exposed to humidity changes to cause the soundboard to expand and contract. The technician must tune the piano to itself for the notes to match at each octave. After rough-tuning the piano, the technician can go for the fine-tuning.
- Sometimes pianos need repairs before the technician tunes them. This may be replacing old or worn strings, correcting loose tuning pins, or repairing a damaged soundboard. The technician must fix these problems before tuner the piano, and the additional work increases the cost.