Can I Tune My Own Piano?

Posted by Steve Howard on 18th Jun 2015

Have you ever wondered if could tune your own piano?  This thought crosses the minds of some piano owners.  It could be that you have a piano that hasn't been tuned for a long time and don't have the resources to get it tuned.  This could be because there isn't a piano technician near you, or you don't have the funds to hire a piano technician to come and tune your piano.  Or it could be that you are just interested in trying to do the job yourself.  I will caution you that tuning a piano isn't an easy task for someone that doesn't have any experience, but with the right tools and some guidance the tuning on a very out of tune piano can be improved upon.

It is important to be aware that it will take an investment of time in order to learn what you need to know as well as some time invested in developing some basic skills in using the tools to accomplish the task.  In general, you should expect that once you have learned some of the basics, the actual time it takes to tune a piano for the first time will be about 4 hours on average.

The first thing you'll need are the right tools.  The basic tools needed are a tuning hammer and some mutes.  You don't have to spend a lot of money to get some basic tools, but obviously having a higher level tuning hammer will help give you more control on manipulating the tuning pins than a more basic hammer, though a basic tuning hammer will do the job as long as it has a tip that fits well.  You'll also need at least a couple of mutes.  Having a temperament strip is helpful as well.  Here are links to a couple of videos we offer showing the different types of tuning hammers and mutes that are available to help you in choosing the right tools: Piano Tuning Hammers, Piano Tuning Mutes.

Once you have your tools you'll need some instruction on the proper procedures for tuning a piano.  There certainly are many things that you need to know to be able to tune a piano.  There are a number of good resources available.  You could purchase a book with detailed instructions on how to tune a piano.  There are two books we offer that not only provide very detailed instruction on how to tune a piano, but also a wealth of information on how to repairs as well as regulation adjustments to the action of the piano.  One is a book written by Arthur Reblitz, which has been a standard reference resource for several decades.  Here is this book in our store: Piano Tuning, Servicing and Rebuilding.  Another book that has recently come out in the last couple of years s a book by Mario Igrec, which is by far the most extensive manual ever written on piano maintenance and servicing.  This book can also be purchased through our store: Pianos Inside Out.

There are at least a few different websites that offer basic instructions on how to tune a piano.  Here is a link to one popular site that has good information: How to Tune A Piano.  Here on our website we offer a series of instructional videos which teach the basics of how to tune a piano: How to Tune A Piano.  There are many other resources available to take you beyond a basic knowledge of tuning a piano as most professional piano technicians can tell you.  If you're in the process of learning how to tune and have some specific questions we offer a forum here on our website where we welcome questions from those that are in the learning process: Howard Piano Industries Forum.  Even though in most cases you won't be able to create a professional level tuning in a short period of time, the average person with the right tools and know-how will be able to make a significant improvement on an out-of-tune piano.