How to Know If Your Piano Is Out of Tune

How to Know If Your Piano Is Out of Tune

Jun 30, 2023

Is Your Piano Out of Tune? How to Know

In a recent new video, we explained a few indicators you might see that will help you know if it's time for your piano to be tuned. It can be difficult for many people to know when their piano is out of tune, especially if it's not badly out of tune. If that describes you, here are four things to look for that will indicate that it's time for a tune-up!

1. Large weather changes

Weather is one of the major indicators that your piano needs tuned. If there have been large humidity changes and/or large temperature changes, this cause the strings to tighten or loosen (tighten when heat and humidity rises and loosen when they lower). Even when you have a humidity control system, the piano can still be affected by the outdoor temperatures as the system is not completely fool proof.

2. Out of Tune Unisons

Each note in a piano is made up of two or three separate strings (depending on the note), each of which needs tuned separately. If any one of these strings becomes out of tune to the others, it will cause the note to sound "sour" or "warbley". When striking the note, you may be able to hear a waviness in the note instead of it sounding crisp and clear. This indicates that the unisons (the two or three strings to the note) are out of tune.

3. Out of tune octaves

When playing an octave, the two notes should sound clear and match each other. If the octaves is out of tune, you may hear some of the same sounds as described above for the unisons. If you hear a sour sound, the notes don't sound clear, or you hear warbling or waving in the note, this is an indicator that the piano needs tuned.

4. Sharp or flat notes

If you have an electronic tuning device or app, such as TuneLab, you can check to see whether a note on your piano is sharp or flat. As mentioned before, if you have had a large weather swing recently, you can expect the note to be either sharp or flat depending on the direction of the swing. If the note is off, this is a strong indicator it's time to tune your piano.


We hope this article has been a help to you! If you would like to try tuning your piano yourself, you can get a free course entitled "How To Tune a Piano" here. We also have tools that will help you get started in tuning, such as our Piano Tuning Kits.

This article is based on the following video from our YouTube channel. For more information, watch this video: