Piano Tuning

Need a piano tuned? I can help with that. There’s nothing like the sound of a tuned piano, and finding those services seems to be getting harder. Local areas only.

Interested? Click below to schedule an appointment. Note that due to my work schedule, appointments are booked a minimum of two weeks out. Locations served include Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee. I will tune grand, baby grand, and upright pianos. Due to the amount of time required to make a repair and regulate, I do not tune spinet pianos. If you are unsure of the type of piano you own, see this page for a brief description of different pianos.

Session details

Pricing

What to expect during the session

For those that may know nothing about the inner workings of the piano, here’s a quick rundown of the process.

Couple of disclaimers to start with. First, I am self taught. I have tuned and made minor repairs on both my Howard baby grand and Yamaha upright for the last 4 years. Second, as I am self taught, I am not a certified piano technician. This means two things. To start, I cannot do major repairs; broken strings, sticky keys, minor issues, I’ve got you covered. Major issues like cracked or warped pin blocks, complete regulation, etc. are best left to a certified technician with years of experience and schooling. However, I won’t break the bank to tune your piano since I am not associated with any major company.

Environment requirements

First off, tuning is as much an art as a science. While the initial strings will be tuned to a electronic tuner, the remaining strings are tuned using mark 1 mod 0 ears. While occasional, low-level noise is not really an issue, to tune accurately I need a quiet environment to hear differences in the string frequencies. Noises should be minimized; i.e. don’t plan on running the vacuum cleaner at the same time I’m trying to tune 220-240 strings.

Session Preparation

Please ensure the piano is clear of all items; no plants, animals, heirlooms, etc. Additionally, depending on the condition of the piano interior, a vacuum with a hose attachment may be necessary; spiders in particular sometimes enjoy the lower parts of an upright piano. I’ll remove any of these residents, as well as any lost items that may have made their way into the cabinet.

Tuning the mid-range

The mid-range is tuned first. This consists of middle C to C5 (one octave). Each key consists of 3 strings. To tune, a single string will be isolated and tuned first. Once the octave is tuned, the remaining strings, one by one, will be tuned to the first string (or tuning the unisons). Once the mid-range unisons are tuned, the treble range will be tuned.

Tuning the treble

Next the higher octaves (or treble) will be tuned. Again, these consist of 3 strings for each key. These strings are tuned to the mid-range. This range is also the most likely range for a broken string. Especially in older or less maintained pianos. That being said, it is hard to predict when a string will break; I’ve seen perfectly conditioned strings break without a compelling reason. If you hear a loud twang, a string is gone. That being said, string replacement is usually an easy process in the treble.

Lastly, the bass

Last up is the bass range. Typically this range goes a little faster since most keys here only have 2, and sometimes 1 string. Like the treble, these strings are tuned to the mid-range. This range also has marginally higher likelihood of string break, since these strings consist of a core string wrapped with copper windings. This serves to lower the vibrational frequency, producing that deep bass sound. Unfortunately, it also means these strings are a little more time consuming to replace and have to be ordered.

Throughout the process I’ll be checking that notes sound well when played together and adjusting as I go. Typically, the best way to hear if everything sounds right is to play something. Checking chords as I go can give a good initial listen, but the best way to check is to play something naturally.

Other items

In some cases a piano may be too far out of tune to fully pull up in one session. In this case I’ll pull the strings up a certain amount closer to tune and allow them to stretch and the pins to settle before tuning again. In 6 months ideally I’ll return and pull slightly higher; the goal is to eventually reach A440 (standard frequency for a tuned piano). In some cases (my baby grand, for instance), it can take multiple tuning sessions to bring a piano back up to a normal tune. That being said, getting each string tuned to the same frequency will still result in a good, playable sound. Generally, you will only notice the difference if playing with a soundtrack or other instrument that is tuned to A440.

Pricing

Here’s the part everyone wants to know. How much is this going to cost. As I am not a certified piano technician, my pricing will reflect that.

ServicePrice
Full piano tuning (2-3 hours)$80
String replacement (treble)$10 + $20/hour
String replacement (bass)$28 + $20/hour

Note that I will typically have treble wire in stock for most common wire sizes. String replacement typically takes approximately 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the location of the broken string and the type of piano. If a specific size needs ordered, the remainder of the piano will be tuned and once in stock I will schedule a return visit at the above rate.

Bass strings are ordered as needed due to the higher cost and because they can only be used once. Each string must be sized and the copper winding removed for the specific string that was broken. As with the treble, the remaining strings will be tuned and I will notify you when a return visit can be scheduled.

Currently I cannot do major repairs; I’ll let you know prior to tuning if something will require the attention of a skilled piano technician or another tuner with more experience. In that case there will not be any charge for the visit.

Questions? Contact me and I’ll be in touch.