The first point of note is that most modern pianos have 88 notes
and far more strings than most other stringed instruments; the
violin has 4, the guitar has 6. Because of this huge number of
strings (around 250) and the enormous tension they create your
piano needs to be regularly tuned and regulated by a skilled
does one start? Well the first task is to “set the
pitch”, by this I refer to “Standard or Concert pitch”.
To ditch the techno jargon this means that we tune middle C so
that its strings vibrate at 261.63 herts or beats per second.
often one comes across pianos which have not been regularly
tuned so they will take longer to set at the correct pitch. A
supplementary charge of £15 will be levied because of the extra
time needed to do this.
a) After setting C we then tune the “temperament” i.e.
all the notes above and below C to make a chromatic scale (every
black and white note) from G below to F# above
b) Then tune octaves, C to C, C# to C#, above and below, all
the time checking with different notes so that it all sounds
During b) above one must go back regularly to check that the
first notes tuned have not moved out of tune.
The final test is the tuner’s reward for all their hard
work, to play a piece which uses the full range of notes and
shows off the newly tuned instrument.
will not affect the sound but rather the way the piano responds
to the player. As a piano ages and parts wear, small
adjustments will need to be made to take up slack (lost motion),
to make sure no parts are rubbing together and keys are correctly
aligned and spaced from each other. As well as tightening up
there may be the need to loosen things which are rubbing or sticking.
This refers to the treating of the hammer felts so that, when
played, the piano produces the right sort of tone, the term usually
refers to a range from mellow to bright. This may involve stabbing
the felts with needles to soften the tone so that it resembles
a 1930s Bluthner or applying a hardening resinous solution (dope)
to give a brighter sound as with many Yamaha or Kawai pianos.