How Often Should A Piano Be Tuned?

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You play and play and play on piano, but over time, the notes start to sound sour and out of tune. 

It’s time to tune your piano again, but when the tuner comes over, they shake their head and explain you should have gotten it tuned ages ago. Now, it’s going to take longer and cost more. 

I’m guilty of this as well, so don’t feel bad. But the experience may leave wondering: 

How often should a piano be tuned? 

A piano needs to be tuned at least once per year or more depending on how often it’s played, the environment it’s stored in, and if it’s moved around. These will raise the frequency the piano needs to be tuned. 

Look ahead to find out why with more details. 

Learn how long it takes to tune a piano.

How Often Should You Tune A Piano?

This section will answer the question: How often does a piano need to be tuned? First, we’ll look at the general turning guidelines, and then we’ll dig into the details on factors affecting tuning frequency. 

General Answer For How Often To Tune A Piano

I talked above about how often you need to tune a piano, but here is a little more detail on the general guidelines. 

This chart may help you decide what tuning needs fit your situation.

SituationRecommended Tuning Frequency
Regular playing at home1-2 times per year
Not much playing at home1 time per year
Playing an hour every day at home3-4 times per year
Pianos at a school or college played all the timeOnce per month or more
Piano after it’s been movedAfter it’s been moved or once per month
Piano stored where humidity and temperature changes often3-4 times per year
New piano/ rebuilt piano/ restrung piano4 times the first year (or once per month if often played), 1-2 times per year after this

Factors Affecting How Often A Piano Should Be Tuned

It’s mentioned in the chart above, but there are different factors involved in answering the question, “How often do you tune a piano?”

This section will go over these factors and how it affects the tuning of the piano. 

How Often The Piano Is Played

First, you need to consider how often the piano is played. Pianos are actually pretty tough instruments when it comes to being played, but hours of practicing will slowly get the strings out of tune. 

This shouldn’t be any reason to avoid playing though. 

The average practice session of 30 minutes per day won’t be enough to affect the tuning (unless you pound on the keys which is a whole other issue). 

Even playing one hour every single day won’t hugely affect the instrument. 

Pianos kept at music studios, music rooms, and collegiate music buildings are affected by this. Often these pianos are played multiple hours every day. The standard for tuning is higher in these places as well. 

For these situations, the piano will need to be tuned more often. 

Humidity And Temperature Fluctuations

The humidity and temperature of the room is the number one factor in getting a piano out of tune easier. 

I always cringe when I see the piano stored in a place I know there will be a lot of fluctuation. 

The humidity especially puts pressure on the wood the piano is made from. This is the most dangerous as cracks can form and damage the piano almost beyond repair. 

Store the piano in a place the humidity is steady and use humidifiers/dehumidifiers if needed.

Temperature is less dangerous on the body of the piano, but it does expand and contract the metal strings. 

After this, the strings won’t settle back where they need to be, and the piano is out of tune. 

Sometimes you don’t have a choice with this kind of thing. One of my pianos is at school in my classroom, and I have no control over these factors. 

All of this adds up to more problems and more tunings. 

Is The Piano Moved?

Moving the piano at all will cause it to lose some of its pitch as well. With solid wheels meant for moving installed, the tuning won’t get as lost, but it’s not perfect.

If you move a piano from house to house or a long distance (especially in a vehicle), it needs to be tuned after its move. 

If it’s just moved down the hall or to the next room, you’re fine for now. Just get it tuned when you’re done moving it. 

Age Of The Piano

The age of the piano is also a factor. If the piano and strings are old (think decades), the piano may go out of tune a lot and require more tuning. 

On the flip side, if the piano is brand new, freshly rebuilt, or restrung, you’ll need to get it tuned four times in the first year (or more if it’s played a lot). 

The reason for this is the new strings. New strings haven’t finished stretching out yet. 

As you play, the strings will loosen and go flat quite quickly. It’s the same with guitar and uke, but this is a much more complicated scale (pun intended). 

Final Thoughts

Knowing how often a piano should be tuned is one of the key parts to owning a piano. It’s not just a matter of good sound.

It’s possible a piano will never recover from being way out of tune. Do your part and get it tuned at least once per year (twice would be better). 

Improve your piano skills online in an affordable, effective, and fun way with Flowkey. It’s a massive piano learning program and song database for all levels and types of piano players. 

Zach VanderGraaff

Zach VanderGraaff is a K-5 music teacher with Bay City Public Schools in Michigan. He's a Past-President of the Michigan Kodaly Educators and Executive Secretary of the Midwest Kodaly Music Educators Association.

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