How Much Does It Cost to Tune a Piano?

Most instruments require maintenance. When it comes to the piano, tuning is an unavoidable part of this process. It is the way to adjust the tension of all 230 strings your instrument has. The point is to reach the proper rate of the string vibrating.

However, the interaction of vibrations among different notes is not the same for every instrument. Since it is a very delicate job, it is better to hire a professional to prevent any damage and provide retaining the proper sound for decades. So, let’s discover how much does it cost to tune a piano.

Piano Tuning Cost Factors

You can expect that specific tuning needs of your piano will affect the price. However, there are also general factors crucial for determining the final costs of this job. They include the piano type, age, the regularity of maintaining, necessary repairing, and location.

Age of your piano

Keep in mind that the new strings stretch over time, so the new or lately restored piano requires tuning more frequently than the older one. The best solution is to optimize your new instrument at least three times in the first year. Take care not to do that before the piano adjusts to the new environment for about three months.

If you have an old and neglected piano, you should count on additional refinements and repairs before tuning, which will increase initial tuning expenses. The most often interventions are:

  • Replacing worn strings
  • Repairing a damaged soundboard
  • Correcting loose tuning pins

An unevenly tuned piano is one more common problem. It occurs with the instrument not tuned on time and regularly or due to the humidity change in the environment. In such a case, the technician needs to tune your piano to get matching the notes at each octave.

Location

One of the tricky things is your location. It is excellent if a technician is near your home. Otherwise, he or she will add travel costs to the overall price. If a tuner offers a flat rate of $100, this price usually includes service within 25 miles. So, it will charge an additional $1 for every extra mile.

Also, be prepared that tuners will charge different rates depending on the state they live in, as well. For example, if you live in New York City, you can expect to pay about $125 for tuning your piano. On the other hand, the professional of the same quality and expertise will charge only $95 in Kansas.

Adaptation to the American standard

Adaptation to the American standard
Image: Noname Music

If your instrument is severely out of tune, the technician needs to raise the pitch by adjusting the strings to vibrate faster than A440 before final tuning.

Keep in mind that Europeans tune pianos at A442 or even A444, depending on the piano type. If you want to buy a European piano, you need a tuner to brought down the pitch to the A440, which is an American standard.

Piano tuning estimates

Some piano tuners will give you a rough estimation over the phone after asking the necessary questions. Others require to hear and see the piano before offering a quote.

Some of them will offer inspection services for a fee if your piano can’t be tuned before repairing, but it is not a rule.

Types of Piano Tuning

Types of Piano Tuning
Image: Noname Music

The final price will depend on the type of piano tunings:

  • Basic tuning service – It is necessary for regularly maintained pianos and typically takes one hour to an hour and a half.
  • Operative maintenance service – It is necessary for the moderately maintained and recently moved pianos. The process of tuning will take approximately two hours.
  • Sore arm tuning – This type of adjustment is necessary for the neglected and pianos older for more than 60 years. This procedure will last at least two and a half hours.
  • Dead on arrival pianos – This category includes defected and badly damaged pianos that can’t be tuned physically. Although the tuner can’t finish the job, it will probably charge the inspection service at least $40 to $80.

Tuning and Additional Expenses

In most cases, you can expect that the piano tuner charges by the hour. The national average hourly rate for piano tuners is approximately $100 per hour. However, some experts will charge as much as $200 per hour if you have an expensive grand piano that requires a high level of skill. Prices are even higher for concert pianos.

Tuning and additional expenses

Evaluations and inspection

$100 to $250
Tuning

$60 to $400

Pitch correction

$50 to $60
Tuning and pitch correction

$120 to $160

Voicing

$175 to $600
Soundboard cleaning

$100 to $150

Pedal regulation

$300 to $400
String cover installation

$250 to $350

Installation of under-covers

$200 to $350
Climate control installation

$450 to $800

Minor regulations

$400
Repairs

$60 to $100 per hour

Vertical action regulation and reconditioning

$800 to $2,500
Vertical action rebuilding

$4,000

Grand action regulation and reconditioning

$2,500 to $3,500
Rebuilding

$5,000 to $8,000

However, you can find a piano tuner who will charge a flat rate for his or her services. The price can vary significantly but often ranges from $65 to $225. That cost can include inspection, interior cleaning, and small repairs, but it depends on the tuner. One thing is for sure. Most piano repairs will cost you extra.

A rule of thumb is that the most expensive professionals have a higher flat rate, and it always includes small repairs, including installing new strings and unsticking sticky keys. On the other hand, less expensive piano tuners will usually charge extra for additional services.

Even though you can find tuners offering inexpensive services, be aware that the price for this job correlates with expertise level and quality. You can’t expect that the piano tuner with the Piano Technicians Guild and certified as RPTs (Registered Piano Technicians) is cheap.

On the other hand, highly experienced but unregistered piano tuners can be equally skilled. You should research their background carefully, especially if you are a professional with the top-notch and expensive instrument.

Summary

The tuning expenses depend on the piano technician, the piano condition, type of tuning, and possible repairs. Depending on the qualifications and location, you can expect a wide range of costs. Most technicians accept all methods of payment, including cash, major credit cards, and personal checks.

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