Frequently Asked Questions

What makes a piano go out of tune?

Changes in humidity are the main cause of tuning instability. The humidity levels in our homes change most dramatically with the seasonal heating cycles. Changes in temperature, heavy playing, and time can also affect tuning, although usually not as significantly as changes in humidity. For more on this topic, please read the in-depth discussion here.

How often should I have my piano tuned?

If you would like your piano to be in tune throughout the year, you will need to have it tuned twice a year.  Please read the full discussion of this topic here.

How long does it take to tune a piano?

A piano tuning usually takes from 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Do you tune by ear or with an electronic tuning device?

My initial training was in aural (by ear) tuning and I tuned only aurally for more than a decade. As the electronic tuning technology improved, I began experimenting with an electronic tuning device in the early 2000s. I now get the best results using a mixed approach that leverages the benefits of an electronic tuning device balanced by aural tests. The strength of electronic tuning devices is their precision and that they allow for accurate tuning even in relatively noisy environments. Their weakness is that they are based on objective algorithms that can’t make a subjective choice about a particular note’s relationship to the whole of a tuning. Although the electronic tuning algorithms have become quite advanced, they still are not able to account for the complexity of achieving a balanced even-tempered tuning on the endless varieties in scaling (i.e. the mix of string lengths, diameters, and tensions). A mixed approach exploits the advantages of technology and avoids its weaknesses, marrying the best of both the technical and the artistic.

Are you certified by a professional organization?

Yes, I am a Registered Piano Technician as certified by the Piano Technicians Guild.

Do you repair Clavinovas or other electronic keyboards?

I’m sorry, I do not. I only work on acoustic pianos.

What is your cancellation policy?

If a cancellation is necessary, please call or email at least 36 hours in advance. Failure to cancel an appointment with more than 36 hours notice or to be present within 15 minutes of the scheduled appointment time will result in a $100 missed-appointment fee.

Notification of Delay

If I am going to be delayed by more than 15 minutes for my scheduled arrival time, I will call you as far in advance as possible to let you know of the delay.

What forms of payment do you accept?

Forms of Payment Accepted

You can pay for your piano service with cash, check, credit card, or PayPal. Payment with credit card or by PayPal can be made via the payment page.

Late Payment

Payment is expected within 30 days of your invoice date or from the date of service, if there is no invoice. Payment made after 30 days should include a $35 late fee. Payment made after 60 days should include a $75 late fee.

Returned Checks

Checks returned for insufficient funds will result in a $35 fee. (A returned check fee will be in addition to a late payment fee if relevant.)

Are you insured?

Yes.

My piano goes out of tune right away after a tuning. Why does this happen?

There are three possible reasons for tuning instability:

  1. Environmental changes can cause your piano to go out of tune.  If you are not taking steps to control humidity, the tuning of your piano will change dramatically when you begin and end heating your home each year.  This is the most common cause of tuning instability. Please read the page on ‘What makes a piano go out of tune’ to learn more about why this happens and read about ‘tuning stability and climate control’ to learn more about what can be done.
  2. There is a structural problem with your piano.  Your piano technician should be able to diagnose a problem like this.
  3. Your piano technician may be inexperienced.  Tuning stability is one of the hallmarks of an experienced tuner.  However, it is important to be sure it isn’t one of the reasons listed above before blaming your piano technician.