How Long Does It Take a Tuner to Tune a Piano?

Kevin Busse Mar 16, 2024
182 People Read
Inside of a Piano tuning

Generally speaking, most pianos can be tuned in 1 hour to 1.5 hours. Depending on your instrument, the piano tuner, and a wide variety of variables, you can learn what may take your piano tuner more or less time to work on an out-of-tune piano.

(Oh yea, don't forget to remove decor to save time!)

Piano Tuning


Why does it take so long to tune a piano?

The amount of time it takes to tune an acoustic piano is affected by many factors including:

  • The experience level and skill set of the piano tuner. An experienced and skilled tuner will be able to complete a job much faster than someone who has just started out in this profession.

  • The age and condition of the piano - Older pianos tend to take longer to tune due to their delicate state in which it is easier to break strings. Technician's often repair pianos if it is an old piano because more components are at risk of breaking. This all adds up to taking more time get the piano tuned.

  • A new piano normally takes less time to tune. It also feels better to tune from a piano tuner perspective

  • The string tension of the piano strings must be close to standard pitch. Some pianos are not near standard concert pitch (A440) upon arrival of the technician, which can add additional time to do the job as more work is needed.

  • Environmental factors - Temperature fluctuations and especially humidity fluctuations can cause pianos to go out of tune more quickly, so if you live in an area with extreme temperature/humidity changes you may need your piano tuned more often than usual.

  • The Size of Piano - Upright pianos and Grand Pianos can overlap in the amount of time it takes to tune. However, tiny uprights vs. large grands will take a noticeably different amount of time to tune.

  • The Brand of Piano - Steinways, Bluthner, other pianos have differing design features which may take more or less time to tune because the way they are designed.

Steinway and Sons Piano

Read advanced information about Piano Tuning on Wikipedia: Piano Tuning Wikipedia


What if my Piano Tuner is from the The Piano Technicians Guild?

If you found your piano tuner through the Piano Technicians Guild, then chances are that they have a basic level of experience when it comes to tuning the piano.

Experience is a factor that affects how long a piano tuning takes—a novice tuner may take longer than an experienced professional.

They will likely be slow if they are new to the trade, however, if they have been active for a long time or have become a Registered Piano Technician, then it is more likely that they will finish the job sooner.

If the Piano Technician has been a Registered Piano Technician for many years, chances are that the Piano Technician will finish the job most quickly compared with their unvetted counterparts.

Keep in mind that being a part of the organization doesn’t always mean that they are highly skilled even if they are a Registered Piano Technician, it just means that there is some basic level of skill and familiarity when it comes to working on your piano, and they probably have someone in their network who can help you with other piano problems should it arise.

The Age and Condition of the Piano

piano player


If my piano hasn't been tuned in awhile, will it affect its tuning?

The most significant factor that affects how long a piano tuning takes is the tension of its strings and overall condition of the instrument.

This may mean if the piano is not in great shape it may require extra care to fix minor repairs along the way.

Additionally, if the strings are rusty or need replacing, this will also add time to the tuning process. Broken strings can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes to replace depending on the experience of the technician.

Having said that, ANY repair makes the process of tuning take longer and can potentially make it impossible to tune the piano until the repair is complete.

If it has been “who knows how many years,” then it is likely that there are additional fixes that may be required.


When's the best time to tune a piano?

A good rule of thumb is to have your piano tuned 2 weeks after you turn on your AC or heat.

It's also a good idea to have your piano tuned a few weeks before the holidays to ensure that the piano plays well, without need for repair!

I guarantee you that the holidays are the busiest time of year for piano tuners, so schedule your piano tuning immediately.


What is a pitch raise for a piano?

If the piano is off pitch, it is most likely severely flat and needs a pitch correction.

A pianos tuning essentially has a memory of the condition it was in before the piano tuner arrived, so if you can’t even remember the last tuner, then your piano can’t either, and likely will need a “pitch correction.”

An old or neglected piano may be out of tune so much that it requires additional time for the tuner to reset its pitch.

This is called a pitch correction which may not be necessary if you have your piano regularly tuned.

This means that if it is severely flat or sharp, it will revert to that condition much sooner because the overall tension of the strings takes time find equilibrium even a couple weeks after the piano tuner has completed the work during the appointment.


What's the best Temperature and Humidity Levels for Piano?

Hygrometer

Low Humidity

If humidity is too low, the tuning pins do not grip the pin block as easily, so small movements and changes in pressure can easily knock out the tuning.

High Humidity

When humidity is too high, generally the pins are held extra tight by the pin block which can make the pins even more sensitive to small environmental changes.

Perfect Humidity

The perfect humidity range is between 35-50%. Temperatures may range from 60-80.

Extra tip: Move it as far away from an outside wall as possible.


Size of Piano

Concert Grand Piano Concert Hall

Size has an impact on the length of time it takes to tune a piano but is not the only variable.

Judging by size only, the longer the strings, the longer it takes to tune a piano.

Keep in mind that a medium/large size upright can have the same string length as a medium/small grand piano.

This means that it will typically take about the same time to have these similar sized pianos tuned.


How long does it take to tune a grand piano?

Grand Pianos over 6 feet will take longer for piano tuners to tune because it takes longer for the strings to render into place because of the length and elasticity of the strings.


How long does it take to tune an upright piano?

Pianos below 120cm tall take the least amount of time to tune because the strings render fairly quickly.


How long does it take to tune small baby Grands and large uprights?

These two pianos typically take the same amount of time for the strings to render because the strings are roughly the same length.


Does the size of piano take longer to tune?

Yes, it is not the only factor, but if we are to ignore everything else, generally speaking, bigger pianos take longer to tune than smaller pianos if size is the only factor to be considered.

Types of Acoustic Pianos

  • Concert Grands

  • Grands

  • Baby Grands

  • Large Uprights

  • Uprights

  • Consoles

  • Spinets

  • Player Pianos

*More complicated pianos such as player pianos may require more time than other instruments because they may require a calibration which should be done regularly.


Which pianos take longest to tune?

Bluthner

Some Bluthners have 4 strings per not in the top octave, which will take extra time to tune.

Steinway Uprights

Especially in Steinway uprights, these pianos have design features that make it more difficult to get the string to fall into the correct place.


How long should it take to tune a piano?

Hour Glass

The answer depends on all factors above.

However, if your piano is severely out of tune or hasn’t been serviced recently, it could take up to two and a half hours to tune in rare cases with an additional follow up appointment, which are not as rare.

It is also worth noting that pianos need to be tuned between 2-4 times a year based on seasonal changes in order to keep them sounding their best—so make sure you factor in this additional cost when budgeting for piano maintenance.

Another important consideration is finding a qualified technician who knows what they are doing. Working with piano dealers or a member of The Piano Technicians Guild usually helps hold to account the quality of their work.

Make sure you do some research before choosing someone so that you can find a qualified technician who is experienced and knowledgeable about pianos and their tuning requirements.

Keep in mind that a variety of factors can affect how impactful a single tuning session is—but with the help of an experienced technician and proper maintenance throughout the year, you should only have to do a follow up appointment once if you've gone years without tuning maintenance, provided that you maintain a regular schedule of tunings thereafter.


What is the Process of Tuning a Piano?

Piano tuning pins

There are a few ways most tuners tune pianos.

Tuners tune by ear or by electronic tuning device.

Both methods are intricate processes that requires skill and precision.

The tuning process involves adjusting the tension of each of the roughly 216 strings, which is done using specialized tools such as a tuning hammer and mutes.

After all of the strings have been adjusted, the tuner will decide if the piano needs an additional pass which is most often the case. Subsequent fine tuning after two full passes is considered best practice.


Why is tuning a piano important?

Piano tunings are important for a piano because they help maintain proper tension of the strings so that movement overtime of the pinblock, bridge, and termination points influence the tuning pegs as little as possible.

It is not only important to regularly tune a piano so that it can maintain proper pitch, it is also important because it sounds much better when playing, which encourages practice.

It is important to have a good piano tuner to keep your piano in fine tune because it ensures that all the notes sound properly and function well.


Is it worth it to have your piano tuned?

I hope this article has helped you understand why regular tuning for your piano is essential and how long it typically takes for one session of tuning.

Regardless of how much time it takes, having your instrument tuned regularly can help ensure that you get beautiful music every time you play!

It depends on these many factors, but typically ranges from 1 - 1.5 hours, and for special situations can range from 30 minutes up to 2.5 hours depending on all variables listed above.

For those looking for professional assistance with their instrument’s maintenance needs, there are qualified technicians on the Piano Technicians Guild website available who can help make sure your instrument sounds its best!


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