This piano tuning blog is a companion to our How to Tune a Piano Yourself tutorial. In this blog we expand on the tutorial with new information and perspectives on do-it-yourself piano tuning. If it is your first time here, visit the tutorial first.
To Tune or Not to Tune: Why you should/should not tune your own piano
Should I tune my own piano? That is the question. Let's look at the answers.
First, here's why a piano should be tuned regularly:
- Regularly-tuned pianos sound better. Obvious, but procrastination is powerful.
- Regularly-tuned pianos stay in tune better between tunings.
- Regularly-tuned pianos last longer. A regularly-tuned piano will last generations. A piano neglected can require expensive service, or become practically un-tunable.
Second, here's why you should tune your own piano:
- To gain the benefits of regularly-tuned a piano listed above.
- To learn more about your piano. The piano is an amazing instrument. Learning to tune a piano will educate you about your instrument. You will know when it needs serviced, and have a general idea of what should happen when that service takes place. It's like learning to service your own car--even if you do not do it yourself all the time, you'll be better prepared to tell the mechanic what you need.
- Piano tuning is a disappearing profession. There are still plenty of pianos out there, but fewer people think about tuning and servicing as a career. As tuners retire, their skills are retiring with them. Learning to tune keeps that knowledge base alive, and perhaps may reveal a talent within you!
- A less-than-perfect tuning is better than no tuning, as long as you aren't causing damage! In some areas, a piano tuner can be hard to find, perhaps for the reason listed immediately above.
- To challenge yourself. Piano tuning is probably unlike anything you've done. That was my primary motivation.
- To save money. This is the last thing on the "should" list for a reason. Yes, you can save a few bucks tuning yourself--but keep reading.
Third, here's why you should NOT tune your own piano:
- To save money. Don't attempt to tune your piano just to save money. Why? Because it takes a couple hundred tunings to learn how to do it right, and for the next three reasons.
- You might break something. Broken strings happen to professionals, but the better they get, the fewer they break. A professional will not, however, bend a pin or damage the pin block due to lack of skill, unlike a novice tuner.
- Tuning is only part of piano servicing. Repairs, regulating the action and voicing the hammer felt are other aspects of piano maintenance that require additional training.
- A professional will do it better. A professional piano tuner will give your piano a better, more stable tuning than you.
It's obvious from the existence of this very website, How to Tune a Piano Yourself, that I didn't take my own advice about why you should not tune your own piano. However, I was understood the disadvantages, and was willing to proceed. I write this article so that you, too, will fully understand the pros and cons of tuning your own piano.
Thank you so much for your advice, insight, and sharing the expertise you've acquired. Should all things be so critically thought out and examined.
I've been trying to decide whether or not tune my piano, so I'm glad that I stumbled upon your article. You're absolutely right: A regularly tuned piano sounds much better than one that isn't. With that one suggestion in mind, I think it's important that I hire someone to do it for me. Thanks for sharing this article!
Thanks for your site. This is a thoughtful and balanced post. Keep up the great work.