Q. How often should I have my piano tuned?
A. Pianos become more stable when they are tuned more often by smaller amounts. I recommend you tune your piano once or twice a year, depending on how much you play. Your piano’s tuning will be more stable if you keep the room’s relative humidity reasonably constant, between 30 and 60 percent.
Q. Can I tune my piano by myself?
A. It takes a significant investment in equipment and time to learn to tune your piano well. Even with an electronic tuning device (ETD), most of which cost several hundred dollars, a lot of practice (usually years) is required to develop the skill of manipulating the tuning pins in tiny movements that bring the piano to optimal pitch and leave the pins and strings in a stable state so that the piano stays in tune. You may damage your piano if you use improper tools or technique.
That said, if you really want to learn to tune your piano, contact the Piano Technician’s Guild (www.ptg.org) and find your local chapter. The pros there can point you in the right direction.
Q. I have been offered an old piano for free. Should I move it into my house, school or church?
A. Be sure to have a piano inspected by a technician before accepting it. Many old pianos can become money pits and require many repairs before they are reasonably playable. You might find a gem, but more often than not, the free or very cheap old piano will become expensive to repair and maintain. Schedule me for an hour to inspect a piano and you will likely learn a lot! Consider, also, reading “The Piano Book” by Larry Fine. It will give you an idea of what to look for and what to look out for in a used piano.
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