When should I have my piano tuned?

Playing piano
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It’s ideal to have your piano tuned four times per year: once each season (assuming you experience all of them). Two tunings per year has become the acceptable standard, but depending on your climate there’s a chance that won’t be enough.

Four Times vs. Two Times Per Year

Four times may seem like a lot, but the piano is a stringed instrument, and stringed instruments by nature will always stray off-pitch. A tuning every 3 months will allow the piano to return to its original state after being altered by both climate changes and play, and this consistency will ultimately prolong its life.

Twice-yearly tunings require good timing and luck. This is especially true in areas that experience all four seasons. For example, if you tune in September after the hot weather and humidity have subsided, you might be out of tune when the dry, indoor heat goes on in October or November. Tuning every six months is only ideal if you are an occasional player living in a stable climate.

Learn What’s Right for You

Consider the following when sorting out your ideal tuning schedule:

Local Weather
Climate extremes are bad for pianos, but fluctuations are often worse. The piano’s soundboard is particularly sensitive to this; it expands and contracts according to moisture and temperature, causing the dependent strings to slip out of tune.
If you can keep your environment at a constant ideal, you may be able to get away with two tunings per year.

Consider the Piano’s Level of Use
Frequently-played pianos require frequent tunings. Pianos used at least three times per week need a tuning once every three months. Those used for public performances should be tuned at least once a week.
For moderately-used pianos, six months is enough time for a problem to develop, but generally not long enough for irreparable damage to occur. Two tunings per year is acceptable if you play once a week or less.

The Bottom Line:

No piano, used or unused, should go more than one year without being tuned. If you must settle for the minimum, make sure it’s done at equal intervals.

Damage Caused By Infrequent Tune-Ups