Most clients should have their piano tuned twice a year, roughly when the house heating system goes on, and when it goes off. These are ideal times to tune, because they coincide with weather changes that can bring your instrument out of tune. It may seem that not all the notes need a great deal of attention. Generally, only a few notes will have started to sound slightly out of tune. These out of tune notes may not be so bad as to keep you from playing. However, aside from being pleasing to the ear, regular tunings will help prevent the pitch from ever falling too low. This will insure that the tuning of your instrument is more stable, and easier to tune later.
For the seasonal changes, when spring humidity and fall dry air-( along with house heating) change the wood parts of the soundboard, it may take more time to go over the whole range of strings. The Spring/Fall session will generally take approximately 2 hours. Whereas, the monthly check-up need not take much more than an hour.
I can do a complete run of all strings in two hours. The spring/fall session will take more time, whereas the monthly check-up need not take more than an hour --- if the pins are tight and the room is kept fairly moderate in humidity.
Let me give a brief list of things which should be in order, before tuning is contemplated. Keep in mind, upon arrival, these things will be taken into consideration before your instrument is tuned.
- Sticking keys should be addressed before tuning. A tuning should not be done before the cause is assessed and properly fixed.
- The pins must be tight enough to hold the strings under tension. It seems hardly necessary to mention this, but the pin-block can change its hold on the pins so slowly over the years, that the gradual loosening may not be immediately apparent. The cause of loose pins is often due to extended exposure to humidity and temperature changes. If your instrument has been kept in the proper environment, this is likely not an issue.
- All of the action mechanisms should be properly regulated. This includes hammer to string travel distance, let-off, the after-touch, key height, key dip, and various other aspects. This will also help insure that your instrument is enjoyable to play.
- Any broken strings should be addressed. In order to maintain a stable tuning, it is necessary that all strings are intact in order to evenly hold the tension.