Affects of Soundboard Cracks on sound and Piano Tuning.
Affects of Soundboard Cracks on sound and Piano Tuning.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should My Piano Be Tuned?

For proper care and maintenance of your piano, it should be tuned at least once a year.  This should be done whether it is being used or not.  In fact . . .

“All manufacturers agree that the piano should be tuned at least twice each year after it has become thoroughly settled in the home.  During the first year, four times is not too often.”

What Causes a Piano to go Out of Tune?

Changes in temperature, humidity, as well as time.

“Your piano will stay in tune better if atmospheric conditions are uniform.  Changes from moist to dry air cause wood to swell and shrink, thus changing the tension on the strings.  Keep humidity as uniform as possible.  Do not place your piano over a heat register, radiator, or near an open window.”

An inside wall is best, but in a modern home insulation is so good that it is not mandatory.

Why are the piano strings stretching?

“The strings, over 200 in number, are stretched to an average tension of 150 to 200 pounds each, so that the metal plate and its support carry a stress totaling from 18 to 20 TONS! These strings bear upon the sound board by means of wooden bridges and pins which practically lock the strings and board together.”

Tuning annually maintains tension.

What is concert pitch…A-440?

Your piano was designed and built to be tuned to concert pitch (A-440). As time goes on, an un-tuned piano’s strings continue to stretch so that the pitch of the piano is lower than it should be.  For the health of your piano it should be kept at A-440 so that the sound board tension is correct.

What is a fine tuning or a pitch raise?

To fine tune a piano only small adjustments can be made, so it makes sense that the more often a piano is tuned, the more stable the tuning will be.  If the pitch must be raised a great deal to bring the piano up in pitch, then it should be followed by a fine tuning.  This is a pitch raise and tuning. In some cases it may not be possible to raise the pitch right up to A-440.

What if my soundboard is cracked?

Many people believe that if the soundboard of the piano is cracked, it means that the piano is finished.  The truth is that in Calgary, most of the older pianos have at least one soundboard crack.  As long as the soundboard is glued solid to the ribs, and there are no strange buzzes or vibrations, then the piano is fine.

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"We have an antique Bell piano that has a beautiful sound ...

...we continue to have it tuned by Todd as he tunes it to a fine degree."
Dana Barr

Todd White Complete Piano Services
Calgary, Alberta, Canada