man tuning the pianoA stable piano can withstand being moved from one spot to another, even one home to another, without needing to be tuned immediately. If a piano becomes noticeably out of tune being moved a short distance, it is a good idea to have it inspected by a qualified piano technician.

There are three reasons a stable piano will go out of tune:

Strings stretch. Throughout the life of the piano its strings actually stretch out, like a rubber band. The older the strings, the more uniform but less flexible they become.  This is why new pianos require more tunings early on and why you should never buy a piano “new out of the box.”

Experts recommend a minimum of four tunings the first year and twice a year thereafter. Most of a new pianos initial tunings should be done by the dealer before the piano is in your home. Tuning a piano less often will not damage it; it will only delay the time until the piano settles in.

– Soundboards move. All spruce soundboards have cellular matter between the grains. These areas act like a sponge, swelling when they take on humidity in the summer, shrinking in our dry homes in the winter and changing the piano’s overall string tension. These changes may cause the tuning pins to slip or the string to move along the bridge pins.

These changes will make the entire piano sound more sharp or flat. Because they happen gradually, a beginning player may not notice the changes until they play an in-tune piano or someone else tells them theirs is out of tune.

The tighter the grain of the soundboard, the less susceptible it will be to changes in humidity. Air conditioning and furnace humidifiers can minimize these effects, but will not completely eliminate seasonal changes in humidity. Higher elevations and desert or tropical areas have less dramatic seasonal changes in humidity, creating a more stable environment for pianos.

– Tuning pins slip. Tuning pins are anchored in the piano by the ‘pinblock’ (also called the ‘wrestplank’) that are made out of various laminations of hardwood. Over time a pinblock can dry out and constrict, loosening the tuning pins. When this happens, the piano is no longer able to hold the proper string tension and the pitch will go flat shortly after tuning or may even be impossible to tune to proper pitch.

The only long term solution is to rebuild the piano by replacing its pinblock. Moving a piano with loose pins may cause it to go out of tune, but the problem was not really caused by moving. It was caused by the worn out pinblock.

Any piano that can’t hold its tuning through a normal move should be avoided.

My overall experiences with Steinway & Sons, Madison have been of the highest quality. My most recent experience has been having my piano tuned by a very competent piano tuner whose work reflected a high level of knowledge and skill. I know I can consistently trust Steinway & Sons, Madison and Ben Garber for competent, high quality, and professional service throughout the spectrum of services offered. From outstanding, encouraging piano instruction to excellent guidance in choosing the right acoustic and digital pianos to competent piano tuning, Madison Steinway & Sons is the place to go. In addition to the excellent professional services, I am always treated in a highly respectful manner. When I think of Madison & Sons, Steinway I think of integrity and a totally pleasant and courteous experience.

— Kathleen Rasmussen

Patrick, from Steinway and Sons, did a wonderful job tuning our piano. He has tuned our piano every fall for a few years now and he always does an excellent job. He is on-time, professional, pleasant, and leaves our piano sounding beautiful.

Diane DeRosa

Very relaxed sales process with knowledgeable staff. We just had Barry in to tune and it sounds great!

Janell Rutz

I have been having my piano tuned for many years now by Steinway & Sons. Ben and Barry are excellent and courteous. I love the reminder and follow up service they provide. Debra Galla is on top of things! All around excellent service.

Roanna Brazier

The piano technicians at Steinway & Sons are all really professional and if the customer wants, they’re willing to teach you a few tricks on how to determine if a key is off-pitch of not. Tuning usually takes about a hour to an hour and 30min.

Sophia S

We acquired a piano from a family member that hadn’t been used or tuned for several decades. Not only did Barry do an amazing job with the piano, but he was very patient with my kids who were curious about the tuning process.

Lane Sunwall

Barry was great. He was very careful with my piano and was able to get it tuned after it hadn’t been tuned in over 10 years.

Amberose Kramer

Excellent service and great follow up. Highly skilled technicians available to perform regular tunings.

Elizabeth Odders-White

Recently had an in home tuning done. Patrick was very professional and took his time with the tuning.

Chris Courtney

I love the piano that I got and their tuning service is great.

Sadette Harmon

Exceptional piano tuning!

Jill Jensen