How often should I tune my piano?
There are, however, other longer answers:
How often a piano gets tuned may depend on the degree of perfection you wish to maintain. How well a piano stays “in tune” may vary greatly from one instrument to the next, depending on quality of construction, quality of materials, quality of environment, and even the quality of the piano’s previous tuning! With so many variables, it may be difficult to nail down a precise schedule…
Even in the best of instruments, slight changes in tuning may begin to occur within days or even hours after being serviced. Most of the time, these will go unnoticed even to the most trained ears – but they do happen. This is why performance pianos need to be tended to before every concert (and sometimes at intermission!), even if concerts are lined up several days in a row.
Fortunately, the demands on in-home pianos are usually far less stringent. Twice yearly tuning is the general recommendation based on the seasonal changes that happen during the course of a year. The extremes of indoor climate from summer to winter may have the most dramatic effect on tuning stability. For example, during the winter months, with the heat running, the moisture content in the wood of the piano will cause it to dry out, and generally cause the instrument to go flat, whereas in the summer that same wood will take in moisture and swell, actually causing the pitch to sharpen. For further info on this, see the page: “Why does my piano go out of tune?”
This is why so many clients notice in mid-winter or mid-summer that their pianos “suddenly seemed to go out of tune.” I personally find that tuning at these two extremes seems to work best and last the longest, though I know some techs prefer to recommend tuning in Spring and Fall. It’s not a bad thing to tune 4 times a year, either… and yet I’ve seen some instruments that may hold their own fairly well over the course of a whole year.
My main advice to clients is not to let the piano go through more than one winter without tuning, otherwise the instrument will likely need a “pitch raise” to bring it back to the correct pitch, and this would be in addition to tuning (see “Pitch Raise” under “Definitions” on the Services page).
For those who aren’t “tone-deaf,” my best advice is to listen to and trust your own ears – the best time to tune is when you (or your teacher) can’t stand to hear or sit down at the instrument, or it doesn’t bring you the joy it should when you do. For those who are “tone-deaf,” follow the twice yearly advice, and your piano should be just fine.