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Frequently Asked Questions

Why does a piano go out of tune?

Although a piano can go out of tune when played constantly with excessive force, a piano will also go out of tune with normal playing or no playing at all.  The culprit is humidity.  As the humidity drops, the soundboard sags, and the string tension also sags, causing a drop in pitch.  As the humidity rises, the slight dome of the soundboard rises again, causing the string tension to increase, which causes the piano to go sharp in pitch.  Unfortunately, as the soundboard's change in shape is not uniform, therefore the change to the strings pitch is not uniform, which requires a tuning of the instrument to bring things back into temperament and unison.

How often should I have my piano tuned?

It is universally agreed that pianos in the Chicago area should be tuned a minimum of twice a year.  This is because of the extreme humidity changes between summer and winter.  Performance and stage instruments, newer pianos, pianos which receive a lot of play, and pianos with loose tuning pins will require more frequent tunings.

How long does it take to tune a piano?

To tune a piano, the tension of each string must be set in exact relation to the tensions of the other roughly 225 strings. It normally takes 1.5 to 2 hours to tune a regularly maintained piano. 

If the piano is way off in pitch, I will normally perform a fast
"pre-tuning" to put all of the strings in their approximate new relationships.  By the time this is done, the soundboard should have reacted to the overall change in tension.  This is followed by a normal tuning.  This process can take up to 3 hours.

Can you fix a stuck key or replace a broken string?

Yes.  I am a piano technician, therefore, I am able to completely service your piano, be it tuning, repair, regulation, or reconditioning.

Is there other maintenance that I should be doing with my piano?

I believe that all pianos have the potential to play more beautifully.  As part of every tuning I will discuss the current state of the instrument with you, along with any maintenance that I think could or should be done to improve its sound.