Some reasons why all pianos go out of tune and therefore need tuning regularly

Quite simply all pianos will naturally go out of tune whether the piano is brand new or old, played or not. Customers might often say, “Oh it hasn’t been used this year so doesn’t need tuning” or It sounds ok to Me, maybe one string perhaps…” I often find that it’s the “One string” that is in tune, the other 220 strings are out of tune !

The major reason why all pianos go out of tune is fluctuations in temperature and humidity which causes the timber soundboard to expand and contract. This movement stretches and slackens the piano strings, causing the pitch to rise or fall, which in turn creates the need for jolly good Piano Tuner such as Myself.

Because it’s a gradual process over many months and seasons the human ear subconsciously adapts to the pianos sound as normal. Its only when the piano has been properly tuned that its owner will suddenly say “Wow I didn’t realise….it sounds like new”

Older pianos usually go out of tune due to weak wrest pins in the pin block, (a glued laminated hardwood plank supporting the tuning pins) The pins can no longer sustain the average 160 lbs tension per string, an equivalent total of 18 tons in a medium upright piano & 30 tons in a concert grand piano. Piano tuners will invariably tune an old piano to its weakest pin at below concert pitch. The piano is therefore tuned to itself, it’s still a playable musical instrument but with limitations. There are however ways to remedy this problem, provided the pin block has not been structurally compromised.

It’s generally accepted that all pianos need to be tuned regularly at six monthly intervals, this helps to stabilise the strings at concert pitch A440 thus the piano stays in tune longer.

Professional musicians may even request monthly tunings. Fundamentally, piano tuning is all about stretching different lengths and thicknesses of steel wire, some singularly bound or double wrapped in copper, each string is then set to a specific pitch. 

When a customer acquires a piano I always recommend waiting 3 to 4 weeks to allow the piano strings to settle and acclimatise to its new environment before I give the piano its first tuning.


An Upright piano and Grand piano in the process of repair and restoration

To book a piano tuning appointment or make any other enquiry, please contact me on….

Landline   0208 803 5410

Mobile      07957 968 593

Email        enquiries@pianochap.com