How to Tune a Piano

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The piano is a very delicate instrument that requires tuning at least yearly and, if possible, even three times a year. It can be quite challenging to tune on your own so we recommend hiring someone to tune it instead which will set you back at least $100, but save you from headaches.

If however, you choose to tune it by yourself, it is essential to note that it requires extreme effort and time. Tuning a guitar or violin is quite a bit easier since they only have 4-5 strings, but a piano has as many as 200 strings that have to each be individually tuned.

For one to tune a piano, it takes two different parts, first purchasing the piano and finally tuning your piano.

Purchasing the Right Piano Tuning Tools

Piano tuning tools are rare and might not be available in the store near you. Hence, it is advisable to shop online. To get the right tools, you can search for the piano manufacturers and go through the reviews or find one on Amazon.

Buy a piano tuning hammer, also called a lever, key, or wrench. Select the right size for the hammer, which differs due to the different sizes of pins. #2 is the standard size that can be used in almost all pianos.

Purchase a quality chromatic electric tuner. A good quality tuner is relatively affordable and we have a list of our favorite ones here.

Finally, before starting, you will also need to buy at least six different mutes types and sizes which are fairly standard in most piano tuning kits.

Piano Tuning Kit - Professional Piano Tuning Hammer Lever + Mute Kit

See Piano Tuning Kits on Amazon

8 Steps to Tune Your Piano

1. Collect the essential tools used for removing the external parts of the keyboard.

In order to access the strings to tune on your piano, you will need to partially take it apart. It is advisable to examine your piano and identify the size of the screwdrivers along with other tools required to open it.

The inside of the piano is probably very dusty. Use a feather duster to wipe before you start. Besides, you may also need a flashlight, irrespective of the amount of light already present in the room.

2. Familiarize yourself with the inside of the piano and understand the strings

It is crucial to play the piano a little when the panels are off before you start tuning. Pay close attention to understand what keys are for what strings so that you don’t tune the wrong string later.

3. Start tuning with the Middle C

Tuning on the piano is generally done in A440, which means A4, when strings are tuned, they vibrate at 440 Hertz. For mid-treble noted, like middle A, they have three strings. To hear the third string, you will mute the first two. Then tune it to match the tone of the chromatic tuner. Unison string is tuned using the ear.

4. To tune strings, turn the pin

Place the tuner level on the pin as you make as a light movement. The more you turn your pin clockwise, the more you raise the pitch. Check the tone as you make slight turns using software or chromatic tuner. Avoid twisting the pin.

5. Set Your pin

After achieving the best tone, with the slightest turn clockwise tighten your pin. You can loosen it back at some point to get the desired pitch.

6. For the first note tune, you will tune in the octaves.

Provided you have the Middle A, it is used to tune the Lower A of the piano. After that, use Lower A in optimizing a one-fifth note. Keep doing it along with the keyboard until the whole piano is tuned.

7. Counter-check your progress

As you continue, it is essential to check whether every string produces the right tone. If others sound flat or sharp, this is the time you go back and correct.

8. Test your piano

After completing the tuning, play the piano before replacing the panels. Ensure sound produced are fine. In case of any problem, you can still repair it.

Piano tuning requires constant training to be perfect. However, it will take even the professional piano tuners days before they produce a quality job. Therefore, patience is very vital and follows all the steps for you to tune your piano correctly.


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