How To Tune The Piano


We Are Not Trying To Replace Professionals

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As much as we are trying to provide help, the content on this page should in no way replace the work of a professional. This tuning method should only be used to touch up your piano before its due a professional visit.

Or if youre a professional player who needs to get on stage soon and just needs a little touch-up. Do not try to always tune yourself without going to a professional once in a while. Its not advisable.

Establish A Tuning Curve

Open Easy Piano Tuner and use the menu in the upper left to create a New Tuning File, which will clear out any information from previous usage. Then play several notes across the range of the piano so EPT can listen to the piano and calculate a tuning curve. I typically play 2 notes per octave, but you can do as many as you like.

Is It Possible To Tune A Piano By Yourself

There are all kinds of do-it-yourself projects you can tackle. On the difficulty spectrum, tuning your piano is pretty high. Its not quite as simple as using a tuning app on your phone or twisting a few knobs. There are several specific processes you have to follow to tune a piano effectively. With that said, yes, its possible to do it yourself. If you work hard and learn the steps, you may not need to hire a piano tuner again.

DIY Piano Tuning

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Matching The Remaining Two Strings Step 2

Remember we said there are three strings for each key in the middle octave. Now that youve tuned the first key, youll need to match the other two strings to the one youve already tuned. This process is referred to as tuning the unisons.

Remove one of the two mutes you place on the first and third strings. This means that your tuned string and another string of your choice are unmuted, but the third is still muted.

Dont use the chromatic tuner.

When tuning unisons, it is advised that you tune it by ear, as opposed to using a chromatic tuner. To do this, strike the key again and turning your lever which is now on the untuned free string, strike the key hard.

Turn the lever slightly in either direction until both of these strings sound like one note, as opposed to two notes in disharmony.

Once youve tuned this string, move on to the last string and do the same without muting any of the strings. Once youve done this, hit the key hard and you would find that all three strings would sound as one note, tuned to your chromatic tuner.

Repeat the whole of step one and two for every note between C4 and C5. Once youve completed this octave, it means youve set the temperament. In the next step, were going to show you how to use the octave youve tuned as a reference for tuning the rest of the piano.

The Basics Of Tuning A Piano Tuning:

How To Tune Your Piano by West

Tuning your own piano is challenging, but its easy once you have the know-how. The first thing you need to do is find the right tools. You need a tuning hammer, a small hand-held piano tuning software or piano tuning tools that looks like a mini sledgehammer, and a tuning fork. You can find these at any music store.

Next, you need to locate the tuning pins. These are the long metal rods that stick out of the side of the piano. Each string on the piano is attached to a tuning pin, and each pin corresponds to a specific note. Now that you have your piano tuning tools, its time to start tuning!

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Practice Tuning Single Notes

First, use rubber wedges to silence the strings youre not working on. Place your tuning lever on the top of the pin and gently turn.

If you need to raise the pitch, turn the pin clockwise. If you need to lower the pitch, turn the pin counterclockwise.

Your electronic tuner will ensure that you avoid tuning the note too sharp or too flat.

Remember to always tune in octaves relative to the first note tuned. For example, once youve tuned middle A, use middle A to tune lower A. Plus, pianos are designed to sound their best when tuned to A-440, which means that the A4 is tuned so that sound waves vibrate at 440Hz.

Learning The Right Way To Tune A Piano

Here at The Piano Technician Academy we pride ourselves on teaching our students the right way to tune a piano. Our 10 lesson piano tuning course teaches how to tune a piano , how to repair a piano and how to start your own piano tuning business. With most of our students graduating within a few months, our course allows you to build a profitable business as quickly as you want.

To learn how to tune a piano, you must have a piano readily available. You must also have the tools necessarily to tune a piano. These tools include a tuning hammer, a temperament strip, a tuning fork and a few rubber mutes. All of these items come with our online piano tuning course at The Piano Technician Academy. You may also buy these items on Amazon of ebay in a piano tuning starting kit.

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What Is Piano Tuning

A Piano tuner makes minute adjustments to the tensions of the strings of a piano to properly align the intervals between their tones so that the instrument is in tune.

A finely tuned piano is a precision instrument, with the majority of modern pianos having 88 strings made up from 52 white keys and 36 black keys to deliver 7 octaves, plus a minor third. Some older pianos only have 85 strings delivering 7 octaves.

  • Notes = intentionally controlled and carefully crafted vibrations which produce sounds
  • Pitch = the fundamental frequency of a sound
  • Hertz = the number of frequency cycles per second
  • Humans can hear audible sounds that fall between 20 Hz16,000 Hz. The middle A note on a piano should register at 440 Hz, which is where most tunings will start. This was established as a standard practice in the early 1900s and is still widely adhered to today.

    With either a tuning fork, a handheld electronic tuner, or phone app, most tuners will set that middle A to 440 Hz. Most tuners use a combination of tuning tools to find the best tone. Then the tuner will begin to tune the notes around it, first tuning the rest of the notes in that octave.

    Piano tuning involves adjusting the strings in your piano by tightening or loosening them, and all the strings for each key must be tuned to the same frequency to prevent any interference .

    Circumstances Where Hiring A Piano Tuner Might Be Better

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    Its tempting to learn to tune your piano, and embarking on this journey is an excellent choice for many people. However, there are a few circumstances in which hiring a tuner might be more beneficial. The first one is your frequency of tuning. If you dont play the piano very often or dont plan to tune much, you might be better off hiring a piano tuner.

    They have all the equipment and can get the job done very quickly. If you spend a lot on piano tuning equipment, you wont make that money back if you dont tune at least twice a year. Another reason you might hire a piano tuner is time constraints. Learning to tune a piano takes a decent amount of effort, and it might not work out if you dont have some extra time to dedicate.

    Rather than diving straight into it, its best to spend several weeks reading articles, watching videos, and consulting other learning resources. Doing this will make the actual challenge much less overwhelming. Youll have time to make a game plan and find the right equipment. It might take lots of effort on your part, but if you invest time learning how to tune a piano, youll save money and can even start making some.

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    Preparing The Grand Piano:

    The first step in tuning a grand piano is to get all of the pedals and other sliding devices completely out of the way. You will want to take measurements of each string, and this is done by tuning it over a few different pitches, which helps the tuner determine its true length.

    Since strings are generally laid out in two directions across the Piano, you will need to adjust these according to pitch.

    You may also need to make some minor adjustments in order to tune each string accurately. You will then want to take the pitch for each key and go back and make any adjustments needed.

    Remember that overtightening the strings can result in stiff keys and can actually affect the mechanics of the Piano, so be sure not to overdo it!

    Understanding the tuning hammers: Tuning hammers are generally used on upright pianos, and they have a variety of uses during tuning.

    First, they determine the amount of pressure that is needed to make a key sound.

    This is important because some keys are harder to play than others, and it is often preferable to use more force on a harder-to-reach key in order to give it a more pronounced sound.

    Also, the hammers can be used as a means of regulating the amount of pressure that is needed from the player during tuning.

    The Right Type Of Tuning Wrench

    1. The head should be removable since the best wrenches are built that way.

    2. 2. Make sure the tuning wrench has a star head. A square head will go over the pin, but you will not be able to place the wrench in an ergonomic position in order to finesse the string. You absolutely need a star hex head to properly tune your piano

    3. You can buy a cheap tuning hammer that will fit your basic requirements, but you are much better off getting high quality tools if you plan on tuning your piano or even doing touch-up.

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    How Piano Tuning Works

    Piano tuning is fairly complicated, and people devote their whole careers to caring for pianos of all shapes and sizes. Understanding how piano tuning works is important knowledge for any pianist.

    Piano tuners use a tuning fork or an app on their phone or computer to produce a reference pitch.

    From there, they use a special tuning lever to carefully adjust the pegs holding the pianos strings in place. Often by ear alone, they twist each string to the perfect position.

    However, even if you understand the basics, trying to tune a piano without professional training is a disaster waiting to happen.

    Whether you damage the strings, the pegs, the keys, or the soundboard, something is bound to go wrong eventually so dont try it at home!

    How Do You Tune A Piano

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    Piano tuning is all about making a piano sound in tune, even when it’s not scientifically perfect.

    As piano technician Ara Vartoukian explains in the second episode of How a Piano Works, it takes an incredible sense of hearing, serious technical know-how, and careful judgement to make a piano sound just right.

    People hear low sounds slightly higher than they really are. High sounds are also heard lower than if you measured them with an electronic tuner. According to Vartoukian, this is because our brains try to bring the sounds we hear within the range of human speech.

    Because of our tricky ears, piano tuners expand the range of the high and low notes of a piano so that, when adjusted in our minds, they sound perfectly in tune.

    But is a piano ever perfectly in tune? It turns out that piano tuning is an art of compromise.

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    How To Tune Your Piano: A Step By Step Guide

    Now that we have a list of the tools we need to tune a piano, plus some examples to choose, lets get down to the step-by-step process of actually turning the device.

    Heres a DIY video tutorial if you need a quick visual guide:

    Otherwise, keep reading below for a more detailed step after step instructions.

    Get An Electronic Chromatic Tuner

    An electronic chromatic tuner is a must-have, and for a good reason. Instead of guessing whether youve tuned the note to the right scale, this tool takes the guesswork out of the way and helps you tune the piano just right.

    In other words, the tool provides a reference tone on your behalf so that you dont tune the piano notes too flat or too sharp.

    While there are many electronic chromatic tuners on sale, only a few work well with piano. For precision, look for a chromatic tuner built specifically for piano. Guitar tuners are okay, but they wont give you all the notes that you need.

    Examples of Chromatic Tuners for Piano

    1. Korg OT-120 Orchestral Tuner

    Korg OT-120 is a beginner-friendly chromatic tuner built to give you all the reference notes in the middle octave.

    It listens to the tone and adjusts the physical needle enclosed in a glass display to match the tone of the note played.

    The devices physical needle is more accurate than an LCD one, so making even the smallest distinction in tone should be easy.

    Perhaps the best feature of the Korg OT-120 is the adjustable sensitivity, which you can set to slow or fast via the dial. Also, it lets you choose a pitch, so you dont have to rely on the device to auto detect it for you.

    2. Donner DMT-01 Digital Metronome Tuner

    The Donner DMT-01 is a multi-purpose digital tuner that works well with pianos.

    Its a well-designed instrument with a large display and function key layout that allows for one-hand operation.

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    How To Tune A Piano: Step By Step Guide

    Pianos are usually tuned to Concert Pitch, which is an A note vibrating at 440 hertz. The first thing you need to do when tuning a piano is found this starting point. You will need a tuning hammer and a reference note to do this. Once you have your tuning hammer and reference note, you can begin turning your piano.

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    Tune Your Piano What To Do When Your Piano Tuner Comes Over

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    Keeping your piano tuned is a part of regular maintenance for your piano. Pianos should be tuned twice a year to keep it sounding its best and working properly for the student who is using the piano.When you schedule your piano tuning please keep in mind that the piano technician will need the area that the piano is located to be quite and free of distracting noises, ie. music playing in the house, a television or radio playing, or vacuuming.Have the piano cleared of any materials such as books, pictures, or lamps. When the piano is being tuned the technician will need to remove certain parts of the piano to reach the strings. Make sure that there will be space for the technician to place parts of the piano on the floor so as not to scratch or damage any parts of the piano. Your technician will need to remove the lid, fall board, music desk, and possibly knee board to your piano to access the inner workings of the piano.Keep track of any broken keys or funny sounds coming from your piano and tell your technician about these before they start working on the piano. The more your technician knows about your piano the better they can work on fixing it.The length of time to tune a piano is between one to two hours depending on what condition your piano is in.

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    Other Resources For Diy Piano Tuners

    This is meant to be a bare-bones guide to get you started. There are many other resources online, including YouTube video tutorials. Here are a few of the better resources I have found:

    How to Tune a Piano: Step-by-step procedure & proper tools A detailed tutorial with a slightly more aural perspective.

    Pianos Fall Out Of Tune Over Time

    Piano strings are strung under tremendous tension, averaging 90 kilograms each. Hence, even if the piano is not played, the strings will gradually stretch with the passage of time and the piano will fall out of tune.Pianos need regular tuning at least once a year to keep them up to pitch and playing the correct notes. In particular, piano strings stretch a great deal during the first year after purchase, and the piano should be tuned twice during this one-year period.In addition, tuning is a way to check the piano’s condition, which is important.

    Tuning diagnoses potential piano “health” problems

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    How Often Should You Tune A Piano

    Pianos, like most stringed instruments, go out of tune over time. However, unlike other instruments, its not easy to tune a piano on your own. You have to have special training and tools to tune pianos, and it can be quite expensive to hire someone to do it for you.

    Since its a bit of a hassle, you might wonder how often should you tune a piano? Too often, and you might pay way too much. Too little, and your piano may start to sound pretty awful.

    In this article, well cover everything to do with tuning a piano. Keep reading to learn how often you should tune your piano, why pianos go out of tune, how piano tuning works, and more.

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