ACCENT 

PIANO TUNING


(Serving the Davis County Utah Area and beyond)

7 Frequently Asked Questions about piano tuning and servicing

1.  What causes a piano to go out of tune?

There are several factors: most dramatic is humidity and temperature changes that affect the soundboard, causing it to expand and contract, altering the strings. Over time a piano's strings will continue to stretch.  Moving the piano can “bump” strings slightly out of tune. Finally, frequent playing, especially aggressive playing can “settle” the string’s tension between bridge points if they haven’t been properly set.

 

2.  How often should I have my piano tuned?

The strings of a new piano will continue to stretch and settle during the piano’s first year or so, requiring several tunings the first two years (4 – 6 are recommended) to keep it in tune and up to pitch. Thereafter, a piano should be tuned at least yearly here in Utah where the humidity is fairly constant, or every 6 months in an environment with more extreme humidity or temperature fluctuation. Heavily used pianos will also increase the need for tunings. Strings will continue to stretch and alter even if the piano is not used, so regular piano tunings are still a must to keep a piano in optimum shape.


3.  What does it cost?

Cost for a regular piano tuning is $95 plus tax. Regular tuning applies to a piano that has seen fairly regular maintenance. If a piano hasn't been tuned for a few years it will usually have dropped in pitch. In this case it will need a pitch raise before it can be effectively tuned. A pitch raise is an additional $30 plus tax and can be done in the same visit. Minor repairs (broken strings, keys, pedals, etc.) are billed at $45 per hour. Major repairs, regulation, etc. will require a bid after seeing the piano. Travel outside of Davis county may require an additional mileage charge.

Other services:

* Piano cleaning; a thorough and professional interior and exterior cleaning--  Grand pianos $105, Upright pianos $80
* Inspection and informal appraisal (usually done when evaluating a piano for purchase)-- $40
* Formal appraisal (for inheritance, insurance, etc.)-- $120 (includes formal written evaluation & cost comparisons. Please note that piano values are         more arbitrary than a used car. Call for more information)


4.  Why do I need to tune my piano?

Seems like a no-brainer since strings out of tune can sound real sour. But in addition, a piano that is not tuned regularly and kept up to pitch will never give you the full tone and richness of sound for which it was designed. A piano is almost always slowly dropping in pitch which, over time, can require even more maintenance and pitch raising.

 

5. Does a piano require other maintenance besides tuning?

Yes. Many people are unaware of this fact. With eighty-eight different keys the feel and sound of each note may become unbalanced. The action of a piano is comprised of hundreds of intricate moving parts which need to be adjusted or “regulated” as the need arises. A regulation is probably one of the most overlooked services for a piano that will dramatically affect its playing action and feel. A competent technician will be able to recognize and adjust/correct/maintain the piano’s action for maximum performance.  Over time pianos also require “voicing” (adjustments and corrections made to the hammer felts and their density). Finally, a thorough cleaning of the action and all inner parts should be done by a competent technician every 5 – 10 years or more often if the environment requires.

  

6.  How should I clean my piano?

The exterior of any piano, the keys, and inside the cabinets of grands require regular cleaning that you can do. Clean your piano’s finishes and keys with a soft damp cloth (preferably a microfiber cloth). You can use a solution of 2 tablespoons white vinegar to 1 gallon of warm water, or a mild dish soap on particularly soiled areas. The inside area of a grand piano (above the strings) should be frequently vacuumed. As a qualified technician I will clean inside and around the action, under and behind the strings, and many other areas that are not as easily accessed. After a good piano cleaning you will notice that your piano will look and feel and play and sound more like it did when it was brand new! Very old pianos may still have ivory keys (no longer used on newer pianos) which can stain or discolor and may require special treatment by a technician. Modern keys are made of a hard plastic that can be cleaned with a non-abrasive window or kitchen cleaner (such as Windex or Formula 409). For high gloss piano finishes I like to recommend a high gloss piano polish available at www.corycare.com.

 

7.  Where can I locate my piano?

Homes today are well insulated so the old taboo of pianos against an outside wall is no longer a concern. However, pianos should not be exposed to extreme temperature changes such as heat or air conditioning vents and long periods of direct sunlight.  In areas with high or extreme changes in humidity a specially designed climate control system can be installed in your piano. Feel free to visit with me about this. An ideal range of temperature is between 65 to 72 degrees, and a constant humidity level of close to 42% percent is optimum. Pianos in homes with swamp coolers will often require special attention to humidity concerns. 

        Feel free to contact me with your other piano tuning and piano servicing questions! 


"Derek tuned my beautiful Samick piano and it sounds as good as it did the day I bought it! He also adjusted one of the pedals and fixed a squeak in the bench."
Carri K., Farmington

"It sounds great. The pitch raise made a big difference--my daughter is actually excited to do her practicing again."
Kora S., Mt. Green


            You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish...  
(sorry, had to get that one in here somewhere)