Need a piano tuned? I can help

Servicing Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee, I can tune most uprights (no spinet, or “drop” pianos), baby grands, and grand pianos. And I won’t break the bank. If I can’t tune it, I’ll let you know up front free of charge.

Read on to learn more and book a service appointment. You’ll be able to manage your appointments and view tuning history online once the appointment is created. Not ready to book? Need to learn more? See the F.A.Q. for more.


Got questions about how this works? Check out the F.A.Q.

If you’ve never had your piano tuned, or just want to know a little more about the service, check out the following bits of info.  Not here?  Contact us and I’ll be in touch.

Basic session expectations

I’m self-taught. I have tuned my Yamaha upright and Howard baby grand for the last 6 years.  That being said, my prices reflect that.  You are not getting a certified piano technician.  I can do minor repairs if you’ve got broken strings, sticky keys, etc.  Major issues like cracked or warped pin blocks, complete regulation, etc., are best left to a technician with the required training and experience.  

How will I tune the piano?

I use a combination of a digital tuner and old-fashioned ears.  I’ll use the digital tuner to pull up the middle octave to A440, then I’ll go to work pulling to resonance.  If you listen as I tune, you’ll hear a dissonance with the out of tune strings.  As the string comes “in-tune”, you’ll hear the dissonance disappear.  The goal for each unison is to have each string tuned to unison, with no vibrational resonance (i.e., all strings vibrate at the same frequency).

What payment types are accepted?

After booking, an account is automatically created for you. I can take payment on site (cash or check), or online payment. For online payments you will receive an invoice with a link to pay via Stripe. Online invoices are due 7 days after service.

How should I prepare for the session?

First off, I’m going to need a quiet environment.  Most of the tuning is done by ear.  I’ll tune the initial mid-range with an electric tuner.  The rest of the piano will be tuned mostly by ear.  If the surrounding environment is not quiet, I can’t guarantee a good tune.  Don’t run the vacuum cleaner.

Additionally, please make sure the piano is clear of all personal belongings, heirlooms, etc.  I am not responsible if something is broken because it falls off the piano.  You may also want to have a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment handy as well.  The bowels of upright pianos tend to be a good area to collect items if you have inquisitive little ones that open the cabinet.  Spiders also like to make their residence in the bottom of the piano.  I’ll clear out any living residents, and return any lost items.

What should I expect during tuning?

Tuning is done in three stages.

First up the mid-range.  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.

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.

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.

What if the piano is way out of tune?

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. I’ll generally only do this for pianos that I’m concerned about broken strings.

I may also do an overpull. In this scenario I’ll pull all strings above A440 by a certain percentage in a quick tune. It’s not perfect, but after the initial pull I go back through and do a more thorough tune. Because the block and strings were pulled up to tension after being “loose”, this method allows some settling before the actual, final tune happens. I’ll only do this if the piano is in good condition without any rusted strings.  Generally this is only required if the piano is more than 25 cents (or %) out of tune.  Essentially, as I pull up to tune, strings that were previously in-tune become out of tune as the piano comes to tension.  Overpulling allows for that “settling”, leaving the final tune to do fine adjustments.

What payment types are accepted?

After booking, an account is automatically created for you. I can take payment on site (cash or check), or online payment. For online payments you will receive an invoice with a link to pay via Stripe. Online invoices are due 7 days after service.

How often should a piano be tuned?

In general, expect to tune about every 6 months.  You’ll be able to tell with a good ear when the piano is going out of tune, as the upper octaves tend to start relaxing faster than the mid or lower octaves.  Newer pianos tend to have tighter blocks and will hold tune (depending on environment) better than older pianos.  Older pianos with drier blocks tend to lose tune quicker, as the pins will rotate and lose tension quicker.  If you schedule through the website, you’ll have a history of tuning appointments and can gauge when you’ll need to reschedule.  Due to my work schedule, I recommend scheduling well in advance of need to make sure I can get your piano tuned when you need it.


Everbody wants to know the price, so here it is

$ 80 .00

Full Tuning

  • Tune the entire piano
  • Clean out debris and any “residents”
  • Fix any minor issues
$ 10 .00

Treble String Replacement

  • Replace broken treble strings
  • Charged an additonal $20 per hour plus cost of string
  • If not in stock, will return for the string price and hourly rate
$ 28 .00

Bass String Replacement

  • Replace broken bass string
  • Ordered on demand
  • String(s) will be ordered and return visit will be arranged at $20/hour plus cost of string(s)

Other repairs are charged at $20/hr plus the part price. I use Howard Piano Industries to purchase most of my parts; if you wish to look up the price, feel free to do so. I will not overcharge, and if I cannot repair it, I will let you know up front.