If you want your piano to continue to turn out beautiful music, you must tune it regularly. Piano tuning is necessary because pianos consist of fragile materials including wood and felt. Both materials are susceptible to swelling and contraction as the seasons change. When the changes are extreme, the piano’s pitch and tone change quite a bit.
You already know buying a piano is expensive, but what about the cost to get a piano tuned? Knowing the cost will help you budget accordingly before you invest in such a valuable (and costly) asset.
What is the Cost of Tuning a Piano?
Piano tuning costs an average of $100 – $175 per tuning. The price varies based on a variety of factors:
- Age – Older pianos may need more work, especially if they haven’t been tuned for a while. If the piano is old, but has been maintained, it may not need much more work, but if it sat for a while, other repairs may be necessary.
- Location – Certain areas have higher costs of living, and everything costs more, even piano tuning.
- Expertise of the tuner – Like car mechanics, the more experience a piano tuner has or the more ‘niche services’ he provides, the more he may charge.
How Often do you Need to Tune a Piano?
New pianos require tuning at least four times a year. After that first year, experts say you may cut down to piano tuning every six months, but only if you play infrequently. If you play daily or fairly often, you may want to stick to having it tuned every 3 months or so.
This means in a year, it will cost an average of $400 – $700 per year. If this is outside of your budget, consider starting a side gig to make ‘weekend money’ so you have enough to tune your piano.
How do Piano Tuners Charge?
Each piano tuner charges differently. Some charge a flat rate, such as $125 for the piano tuning. Others may charge an hourly fee. It typically takes 1.5 hours to tune a piano, but it can take more or less time depending on the complexity of the piano’s needs.
Can you Tune your Own Piano?
You may be able to tune your own piano if you know what you’re doing and you have the right tools including a tuning wedge, felt strip, and rubber wedge. But is it worth it?
First, you have to pay for the tools. Second, you put your hefty investment at risk. What if you do it wrong? Then you may have to pay for repairs on top of the piano tuning cost. Unless you absolutely know what you’re doing, it’s best to leave the tuning to the experts.
What Happens if you Don’t Tune a Piano?
Like a car that you don’t maintain, an untuned piano begins to sound sick. It still makes sound, but it won’t be the beautiful sounds you were hoping for out of your piano.
It can be tempting to skip the piano tuning to save the $100 or so every few months, but it’s not worth it. If you skip the tuning, the strings lose tension, which causes the piano to play at a lower pitch.
If you go too long without a tuning, your piano may experience more wear and tear, needing more repairs which obviously will cost more.
Other Piano Tuning Fees
If your piano needs other services, you may pay an average of the following:
- Repairs cost an average of $65 – $75 per hour
- Soundboard cleaning cost an average of $150
- Evaluation to see what’s wrong costs an average of $100 – $200
- String cover installation costs an average of $200 – $300
How to Save on Piano Tuning
Piano tuning is necessary if you own a piano, but the following will save you a little money:
- Wait until the piano is in its location for at least 3 months so the piano has time to adjust to the humidity and temperature
- Keep the piano away from windows and doors
- Use an air conditioner during the summer months to keep the humidity away
- Don’t skip tuning appointments
Piano tuning is the best way to keep your piano sounding beautiful and to save money on piano ownership. Skipping your tuning appointments doesn’t save you money – instead it may cost you more because the piano will likely need more work in the end.