Piano Tuning and Maintenance

Piano Tuning and Maintenance Guidelines

Pianos, both upright and grand, require periodic visits by a trusted piano technician. By placing the care of your cherished instrument into our technicians’ hands, you can rest assured it will remain in top condition for a long time.

Why do you need to tune your piano?

Piano strings are made from a special type of steel wire, commonly referred to as piano wire, which has a high tensile strength. Technicians tune each string to a certain frequency, which when struck by the hammers that are connected to piano keys produce musical tones. As we neither play all tones with the same intensity nor frequency, strings expand at different rates. This disrupts the balance between tones. Moreover, most keys are connected to multiple strings, usually 3 per key. While this gives pianos a richer tone, it also makes it more obvious when they are out of tune.

How are pianos tuned?

Periodic tunings fix this issue. Skilled technicians start the tuning process by setting the temperament—a sort of template on which all remaining notes are based. They then proceed to tune all remaining notes, beginning with one set of strings, working in sections. Once finished with one section, they tune the remaining two sets of strings to match the pitch of the first. This is what we refer to as “unison tuning”. The process can take anywhere between 1 and 4 hours, depending on the condition of the piano, how much time had passed since the last tuning, and the desired level of perfection.

How often should I tune my piano?

Performing regular piano tuning and maintenance is essential to keeping it sounding as it should. How quickly a piano will go out of tune depends on a number of factors. Mostly it depends on how much we use it. If we play 4 hours each day, we should expect to tune it once every 4 to 6 months. For light practicing less than 1 hour daily, an annual tuning should be enough.

Some pianos are prone to going out of tune rather quickly, and there is not much we can do about it. Our instruments are generally sturdy, but the majority of their parts are made from materials that expand and contract with humidity, temperature fluctuations, and stress.

Currently, we serve the DC metropolitan area. Our tuning services are carried out by Chevy Chase Music LLC (Washington, DC and Maryland) and Music School 21 LLC (Northern Virginia).


Pianos are made to last for decades. However, unlike some other instruments, they will deteriorate in time, and some parts will need to be tended to or even replaced. Wear and tear, frequent humidity or temperature changes, and an irregular tuning schedule can affect how the keyboard action behaves. This can result in sticking keys, hammers, or dampers, or even broken parts. A skilled technician will be able to assess and address most common issues.

Expect to have some more substantial work done every 10 to 15 years. This can range from regulating the action to sanding hammers or replacing them altogether (although this is rather rare). In case you are unsure what needs to be done, our technicians will be happy to provide their recommendation free of charge during their regular tuning.

Is it time to buy a new piano?

Parting with our cherished piano, which has been in our family for generations is never easy. However, sometimes pianos are not suitable for serious work and should either be refurbished or replaced. Ask our technicians about their opinion during their regular visit and we will happily help you find a replacement in case you decide that the time has come for an upgrade!

If you believe that a piano keyboard would be best for your needs, consider renting one.

Piano Tuning and Maintenance Request Form

Do you need to hire a skilled technician in your area? Please fill out the following form and a member of our staff will be in touch as soon as possible!