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Neil Panton's Workshop
Piano TuningFAQsMusic Page

How often should my piano be tuned?
In our area, for casual use, once or twice a year constitutes good maintenance. If you play a lot or very hard, you may decide to increase the frequency. Regularity is important, so try to choose the same time each year. Waiting until after a seasonal weather change can improve stability.

What is an RPT?

A "Registered Piano Technician" is one who has passed qualifying exams administered by the Piano Technician's Guild, a national organization. There are three exams, Written, Tuning and Technical, which must be passed with a score of 80% or better in order to become an RPT.

Should my piano be tuned after moving?

Yes, generally speaking. Pianos can go out of tune from the bumping and jostling of a move, but they are also affected by climate changes. Humidity and temperature changes cause the instrument's major components to shrink or swell. This pulls the piano in and out of tune. It's best to wait several weeks after moving to let the piano acclimate before tuning. Moving a piano across a room will likely have little effect on the tuning unless it is dropped or twisted in the process.

What is the Piano Technician's Guild?

The PTG is a national organization whose mission is "to promote the highest possible standards of piano service by providing members with the opportunities for professional development, by recognizing technical competence through examinations and by advancing the interests of its members".

PTG Mission Statement

Aural vs. Electronic tuning?

Your technician should know how to tune a piano by ear. Our ears hear things in a way which machines can't, and machines can't reason the way our minds can. However, machines can be programmed to do some useful tasks making them a valuable tool in a technicians toolbox. In the right hands, an Electronic Tuning Device can be a great asset. I utilize the Verituner 100 in my work, but am happy to perform strictly aural tunings on request.

Is it safe to place my piano against an outside wall?

In our area, the San Francisco Bay Area, it is usually safe to place a piano against an outside wall. Our seasons are mild enough that outside temperature changes will not damage a piano inside the home. Beware of direct sunlight on the piano, however. Direct sunlight will not only affect the piano's tuning stability, but can also severely damage the finish and major structural components such as the bridges and soundboard. Watch in particular during the winter months when the sun shines farther into the room. Place your hand on the side of the piano - if it feels hot then it is likely to become damaged over time.