Introduction to Piano Tuning
Are you a beginner piano learner or an avid pianist? Have you observed while playing the piano that the notes sound detuned and out of pitch? Well, its time to tune your piano to get back the richness and sweet acoustic timbre of your favorite musical instrument. Piano tuning has been performed since ages. It has a long standing history since the 17th century when the greatest composers of all time were born. It has been a regular regime for pianists, composers and music conductors who own acoustic and grand pianos. It is highly essential to maintain the pitch and the resonance quality of the strings.
As a general practice, musicians should tune their piano minimum 2 times a calendar year. This frequency is a standard norm followed usually by accomplished and seasoned pianists as they have high usage and practice timings of piano close to 4-6 hours a day. Sometimes some pianos have higher degree of tuning issues and need to be tuned 3-4 times a year depending on various factors such as age, piano types, strings and body quality and most importantly climate.
Below in this article we shall cover in detail about various factors responsible for piano tuning.
Factors that contribute to Piano Tuning
Piano being an acoustic instrument is made up of strings, bridges, tuning pins and soundboard. Various factors are therefore responsible for determining the tuning condition of an acoustic grand piano. Here is a list of the key factors that will determine the tuning condition of your piano.
If you store your piano in a humid and highly moist environment, the tune gets off gradually and the pressure on the piano strings from the soundboard gets slowly altered causing tune variations in many of the strings.
Age and Type of Piano
Old model and vintage grand or acoustic pianos need frequent tuning episodes to keep them functioning. On account of wear and tear and exposure to climate fluctuations, such pianos are more prone to tuning issues. Hence their tuning frequency may shoot upto 200-300% more than new pianos.
On the contrary, modern age acoustic and digital pianos are less susceptible to tuning changes and hence need only need to be tuned 1-2 times a year.
Practice Timings and Usage
Pro and highly skilled senior pianists devote more time for their sessions, recordings and practice with their pianos. An average day for a seasoned pianist ranges between 4-8 hours of play time. For such pianos, tuning frequency increases as the strings get detuned more often.
Below is a representation of the frequency of your piano tuning routine based on various factors such as climate, age of your piano as well as usage hours.
(Data presented here are approximate numbers which may vary based on the build quality of pianos)
How do you know that your Piano is out of Tune?
If you are an avid pianist or a professional piano instructor, your ears will feel the difference with time. As the time passes by, the piano notes will sound detuned and the melody quality will be compromised. When the strings sound unusually detuned or out of tune, that should be the right time to tune your piano.
If you are a beginner or just started learning piano, then you can conduct a tune check-up routine using a Tuner software or a hardware Tuner as per your convenience. Some of the best hardware tuners are available online at very affordable pricing. You must get one of these to keep track of your piano tuning every 3 months.
Check out our article on the best piano tuners available online
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How to Choose a Piano Which Does not Need Piano Tuning?
Well in case you do not want to spend your time and effort tuning pianos, there are some great alternatives available to choose. Instead of choosing acoustic or grand pianos you can opt for purchasing digital pianos or Virtual Software Synths (VST Instruments).
Digital pianos such as Yamaha Clavinova CLP-775 or Kawai KDP series are the top performers and would outshine acoustic pianos in terms of maintenance and tuning as a whole. They are less bulky and do not require tuning at all, hence being hassle free replacement for acoustic pianos.
Please check out our article on the Top 10 Digital Pianos you can choose to start with your piano playing journey
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Virtual Software Synths (VST Instruments)
With the advent and growth of technology and advancements in the music software space, musicians have developed Software synths which emulate the exact nuances, sound and timbre quality of acoustic and grand pianos. With the use of Piano soft synths in your computer, you can record almost every piano piece or perform live without the hassle of carrying a hardware piano or digital piano to the concert halls.
Hence if you use Piano soft synths in your Mac or PCs with any digital MIDI / USB keyboards, you are completely liberated from the hassles of tuning pianos. The sound quality is never compromised with time as you get the sound produced digitally with software technology.
Many musicians have therefore converted themselves into being full time software music producers in studios and also perform live with software piano synths without any glitches or issues in sound quality.
Please check out our article on the Top 10 Piano VSTs of 2022 to get deeper insights about the best world class Piano software synths so far.
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Piano Tuning Services in US and UK
If you need to tune your piano with help of professionals who are experts in this field, please reach out to Piano Tuning service experts in your region who will provide site visits and tune your piano with care and perfection. Here are some of the notable Piano tuning service providers in United States and United Kingdom who will assist you to get your job done without any hassles.
Top Mentions For US Region
Piano maintenance and tuning is an important routine in a pianist’s life to get the best tone and timbres from your piano. If you are highly passionate about acoustic and grand pianos, then you must ensure to get them tuned regularly as per need basis. However, if you are a digital musician, record producer or songwriter and you want to use pianos in your music without the hassles of tuning them, opt for digital pianos from reputed music stores in your area. You can also opt for Virtual Piano Software Synths as a full-time replacement of your hardware gear to prevent piano tuning exercise for your hardware pianos.