April 22, 2019

What Is the Difference Between Piano Tuning and Piano Repair?

Your piano needs regular, professional piano repair and tuning, and especially if you use your instrument regularly or if you play very rarely. Regular playing causes a piano to go out of tune quickly, as does neglecting to play at all! Performers and instructors also know the importance of proper tuning of a McLean piano, as this ensures that your instrument produces a rich and accurate sound with every note.

Piano tuning adjusts the wires or strings of a piano so that they produce the sound you expect during play. Piano repair addresses damage to the instrument’s pinblock, soundboard, and other major parts.

Pianos are often very expensive to purchase and many instruments have sentimental value for their owners, which is why it’s good to understand what’s needed to keep a piano in good repair and sounding its best! Even if you only perform for a hobby, having a piano properly tuned and ensuring all its parts are working as they should will mean a more enjoyable performance every time you play.

piano key sticking repair

To help you make the best decisions when it comes to needed piano repair and turning for a McLean instrument, note what is involved in a professional tuning and the difference between tuning and actual piano repair.

Piano Repair and Tuning Are Not a DIY Jobs!

Many piano owners make the mistake of attempting piano tuning on their own. This might result in a slight improvement in the sound of their instrument, but a professional piano tuner is a worthwhile investment! This is because piano owners often rely on what is called an electronic tuner to tune a piano, or a small device that measures the sound produced when you hit a piano key.

Electronic tuners and other such similar devices are helpful when learning how to tune a piano, but a professional piano tuner will have years if not even decades of experience in playing and tuning a piano properly. In turn, he or she can perform the most accurate adjustments to its strings. Professional piano tuners in McLean and surrounding areas are also accustomed to judging beats, pitch, and other such small but vital details when it comes to piano playing.

Making proper adjustments to the strings under a piano’s lid also reduces the risk of those strings breaking prematurely. A piano tuner will also know how to adjust the piano wires so that they stay in tune for as long as possible. This makes their services well worth your piano repair cost!

When You Need Professional Piano Repair

While a high-quality piano can perform for years if not even decades, a piano is also a bit more delicate than many owners realize. The parts under the piano lid will need repairs eventually, beyond standard piano tuning and cleaning. Note some issues you might experience with your piano and how these are addressed by a McLean piano repair technician:

  • Pins of the piano are screwed or otherwise attached to what is called the pinblock, or a long, thick piece of wood under the metal plate near the front of the piano. The pinblock is sensitive to aging, dryness, too much humidity surrounding the piano, and other factors that cause holes holding the pins to expand or contract. As they do, the pinblock itself will eventually need repair or replacement.
  • While the metal plate holding the pinblock is quite durable and long-wearing, it might eventually develop chips or cracks. If the metal plate under the piano lid is damaged, it will allow the pins holding the wires in place to shift so that your piano cannot keep a tune; the metal plate then needs replacing.
  • A piano’s soundboard acts as an amplifier, and this piece does eventually develop cracks and chips. When a piano starts to create a muffled sound, typically the soundboard needs replacing.
  • Wood bridges carry vibration created by piano wires to the soundboard. If a bridge should crack or lose adhesion, it needs replacing.
  • Remember that piano wires are made of metal! While piano wires or strings are durable, they might develop rust and suffer permanent wear eventually, or even snap, and need replacing.
  • All the wood parts of a piano including its body might develop chips, dents, and other damage, or warp and move out of place. When this happens, those parts need repair or replacement.

Note that all this piano repair work is very different than a standard piano tuning. A tuning will adjust the wires and hammers under a piano lid, but not repair any of these parts. If your piano has been tuned recently but still creates a dull, flat, or “off” sound, or no sound at all, call a professional who can check for needed piano repair.

grand piano tuning in McLean

How Much to Repair a Piano?

While a vital service for keeping your instrument sounds its best, you might still wonder how much does it cost to repair a piano in McLean as well as the cost of basic tuning. While national averages might range from $100 to $250 or more, remember that the work required for repairs or piano tuning is different for every piano. If you have your piano tuned on a regular basis, each tuning session might require far less work, so that you pay less for every visit.

You might also note your use of the instrument so that you can work with a piano repair technician to determine how much work he or she should perform. For example, a hobbyist might only need a few major strings adjusted or just a bit of minor tuning, whereas performers, instructors, and even students might prefer a more detailed piano tuning with every visit and should invest in needed repairs, to ensure every note is accurate and as crisp and rich as expected.

In some cases, an older and damaged piano might need certain repairs before tuning; for example, if a piano wire has snapped, it obviously needs replacing and not simple tuning! However, a piano should last for decades if cared for properly, as said, so never assume that an older piano is too delicate for piano repair. It’s also good to remember that McLean piano tuning keeps piano pins, hammers, and wires in good repair, so regular tuning is an investment in your instrument’s overall longevity and condition.

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