The piano is one of the most popular instruments, and owning a piano can also be something of a status symbol. If you already own a piano, or you’re looking to buy one, you might be wondering: how much does it cost to tune a piano?
One thing that piano owners sometimes overlook is the need to tune a piano regularly, so that the keys produce the intended sounds and your piano playing skills are represented properly!
A number of different factors can contribute to a piano going out of tune, from how hard you hit the keys and the frequency of your piano playing, through to factors that may be completely out of your control, such as the local temperature or levels of humidity.
These various issues may cause strings to stretch, tuning pins to loosen, and a variety of other issues that all ultimately result in the notes your piano produces sounding less than ideal.
Once you establish the need to regularly tune your piano, you also need to give some consideration to the typical piano tuning cost.
However, calculating the average cost to tune a piano and setting that money aside can be complicated, because prices vary. In this article, we explain what you can expect to pay for a good service.
Average Cost to Tune a Piano
Re-tuning your piano is essential maintenance if you want the instrument to sound right. So how much does it cost to have a piano tuned, and what should you look out for when seeking these kinds of services?
Fortunately, piano tuning services are relatively common and you are likely to find a range of different options in your local area. Of course, this also throws up the possibility that you will encounter drastically different prices and it can be difficult to know what you should be looking to pay for a reliable service.
First, it is worth noting that different companies and technicians may price their services differently. Some will charge a flat fee for tuning any piano, while others may alter their price depending on the type of piano. Some service providers will also charge based on the amount of time they spend tuning your piano, or based on the extent of work needed.
To provide an example, some companies will offer a lower price if your piano is regularly maintained, because it is likely to need less time spent on it. By contrast, these companies will charge more to tune a piano that has not been re-tuned very often, if at all, because more work will be required to get it sounding right.
As a general rule, all things considered, you can expect to pay between $50 and $150 for basic piano tuning. If the tuning efforts are going to be more extensive, such as replacing multiple parts, you may need to spend as much as $300.
How Often Should I Tune My Piano?
When considering your piano tuning costs, you need to think not only about the price per re-tuning but also about how frequently you are going to need to pay for tuning services. After all, you are going to need to make the investment frequently if you want to keep your piano in full working order.
It is difficult to provide an exact rule of thumb for how frequently your piano will need to be re-tuned, as there are so many different things to consider, including the quality of your piano, the environment you live in, how regularly you play your piano, how hard you press on the keys when playing, and the quality of technicians you use.
Some piano manufacturers recommend that you tune your piano as much as three or four times in its first year. After that, assuming the piano is of a decent standard, you should be able to tune it approximately every six months, meaning your overall annual piano tuning cost each year will likely be in the region of $100 to $300.
With that being said, this is far from an exact science and you will need to be reasonably flexible with your expectations. If you notice your piano sounds out of tune, or if you experience other issues with it, you are going to need the assistance of a technician. Similarly, some people manage to go more than a year without re-tuning.
How Much Will Pitch Raising Cost?
In some cases, your piano may need to undergo a preliminary process known as pitch raising. Occasionally referred to as pre-tuning, this involves correcting your piano’s tension levels prior to the basic tuning service.
This then alters the pitch and helps to ensure that the different keys on your piano sound more in sync with one another.
Pitch raising is more likely to be needed if you have gone a long time without tuning your piano. If, on the other hand, you tune your piano regularly and take good care of it more generally, you may be able to go a long time without requiring pitch raising services.
One of the biggest factors that contribute to pitch issues developing can be changes in temperature and, unfortunately, this is an issue that is largely going to be out of your own control.
When calculating how much to tune a piano, the potential need for pitch raising should be considered. Some service providers will include pitch raising within their standard piano tuner costs, but it is much more common for companies and freelance technicians to charge extra for this, and that could result in you paying around $100 more.
The Last Word
The piano is an excellent instrument to own and play. However, regular upkeep is important and one of the single most essential elements of this will be making sure your piano stays in tune. For most people, this is going to mean using services provided by professional technicians.
When trying to calculate piano tuner costs, you are going to need to factor in the cost of tuning services in your local area, whether pitch raising is going to be needed, and also the fact that re-tuning should ideally occur multiple times per year.
Generally, the cost of professional piano tuning will cost between $50 to $200, and it may be best to avoid cheaper options.