Are Pianos Expensive to Maintain?

Feb 27 · 6 min read

Has someone ever offered you a free piano? When I was a child, my parents were offered a free grand piano, but they were not sure what was entailed with owning a piano, so they refused the offer. I was left to my undersized toy casio keyboard… I don’t want this to happen to any of you out there! So are pianos expensive to maintain?

With proper climate control it can cost less than $200 a year to maintain a piano. Especially if you are not playing it constantly. If you are living in a house that has a steady temperature and humidity you only need to tune your piano once a year.


Why Does A Piano Need Maintenance?

If you're new to musical instruments you're probably wondering, why would a piano need maintenance? All musical instruments need maintenance, just like any tool. you can't use a chainsaw for years on end without ever tuning it up. Same thing goes with musical instruments, there's General wear and tear and they need to be taken care of too.

This is especially true for instruments made out of wood because they expand and contract. Temperature and humidity levels can cause wouldn't instruments to expand and contract even more than metal instruments. This can cause them to go out of tune.

It's very important to keep your piano in tune because as it goes out of tune the wood then settles and adjusts into the out-of-tune state. The last thing you want is your piano to feel “comfortable” when it is out of tune. So it is very important to tune your piano at least once a year so it's always in great shape. You want your piano to be in tune and feel relaxed and comfortable in tune. As well go into a greater link later in the article, if you don't clean your piano regularly it can cause a lot of problems!

The other thing about pianos is, they have a lot of moving parts. Just like with anything else, when something has moving parts the chances are that things get out of whack. Then they need maintenance to continue to work properly. This is especially true for pianos because they have so many moving parts. There are eighty-eight keys on the standard piano and that means they're 88 mechanisms that all need to be working perfectly.

This might sound really intimidating but don't worry, it's actually not that bad. So in the piano there are 88 keys which means they're 88 little hammers that hit three strings each. Then on top of that there are three pedals underneath the piano that also move different mechanisms to change the way the piano sounds. All of this can put some strain on the piano. But they were built to do this so you don't have to worry too much. just don't play the piano in an inappropriate way. There was a famous pianist in my hometown that was from Cuba and he would play the piano so hard that he would regularly break some of the strings on the piano. He was an incredible pianist but sometimes people were a little weary having him come play at their club because they knew they would have to service their piano after the show!


What is Involved in Maintaining A Piano?

So this might sound like a lot you have to keep track of, but it actually isn't. If you want to be a responsible piano owner it's important for you to find a high-quality piano service technician to come and service your piano. They can be your translator and let you know what your piano needs or does not need to stay in good shape.

I think the most important thing in piano maintenance is a yearly tune up for the piano. If your house has a stable humidity and temperature range, this shouldn't be too difficult for your piano technician to perform. But as I said before it's important to keep your piano in tune so it feels comfortable in-tune and wants to be in tune.

Just like you want a trustworthy mechanic who is knowledgeable to take a look at your car, you want a trustworthy piano technician to service your piano once a year and make sure everything is working okay. This is how you become an All-Star piano owner!

Some other things that are involved in piano maintenance is making sure all the keys work correctly. This is easy for you to tell because if you play all the keys and some of them don't make any sound, then you know you need to get your piano serviced. The good thing is, if you're playing your piano in an appropriate way you probably won't need this type of service. Professional musicians will sometimes have their pianos tune up and have the weight of each key set so it's smooth to play. But most beginner or amateur musicians don't need the service. This is for very high-end classical musicians.

Here's a little bit of good news, there's also some kind of maintenance you can take care of yourself. Another great thing to do is to keep your piano dusted and make sure the debris isn't going into the piano. I know this sounds crazy, but you wouldn't believe the things that I found in pianos. Especially if you have little kids it's really tempting to stick stuff into the piano. Okay and I have to admit something, maybe one time a DVD of The Wedding Singer fell in my spinet piano. This is because I have the top open because I wanted to play extra loud. So make sure to take good care of your piano, dusted and make sure nothing falls into the piano.


How Much Does Piano Maintenance Cost?

If you stay on top of piano maintenance it shouldn't be that expensive to maintain a piano. If your piano is in good shape and is reasonably in tune it can be less than $100 to tune up your piano. This is why it's so important to stay on top taking care of your piano. It's just like an oil change, if you change your oil regularly it's really not that expensive. But if you decide you're never going to change your oil, you're going to be hit with a really bad bill when you go to the mechanic when your car stops working.

All the piano technicians that I've ever used charge by the hour, so if your piano is in pretty good shape as just a little checkup and not a major operation. This is the way you want to keep your piano. It's really great if you have a nice technician and they come around once a year you're really never paying that much money to keep your piano in Tip-Top shape. Plus this is so much better than having to buy a new piano! If you want to learn about why pianos are so expensive check out this article:

At this point in the article you might be thinking, I keep my house at the same temperature and I don't play too hard, maybe I can get away with not having a piano technician come around once a year. Trust me, this isn't a good way to think. You can get yourself into some real sticky situations really quickly if you don't take piano maintenance at least a little seriously.


What Happens if I Don't Maintain My Piano?

I've taught a lot of piano lessons in my life, and I've seen a whole lot of pianos. Some of the pianos that haven't been maintained end up being a lost cause! It's really sad I've seen some beautiful ornate pianos that are family heirlooms end up being completely unusable. This is all because they weren't properly maintained.

When I was teaching private piano lessons in Bethany,I had one family with a piano that was so badly out of tune that it was impossible to get it back in tune. A typical technique technicians use when tuning an extremely out of tune piano, is they tune it halfway and then they have to wait months for the piano to ease into that tuning. It's really crazy, a piano can get so used to being out of tune that when you put it back in tune it puts a lot of strain on the instrument. So this one family had their piano tuned half way and it wouldn't even hold that tuning for more than a couple weeks at a time. So the piano technician was never able to get it back fully into tune. He also ended up breaking some of the strings when he was trying to tune it because the piano was being so stubborn.

This ended up costing the family in two ways, they had to pay for the piano technician to spend a lot of time working on the piano and then they ended up having to buy a new piano. So it's really important to stay on top of piano maintenance. Like I said before, you would never go years at a time without changing the oil in your car because you know that will cost you big in the long run. It's the exact same thing with a piano, just paying $50 to $100 a year to make sure your piano is nice and healthy will save you thousands in the long run!

Thank you so much for reading my article! It really means so much to me, I'm very passionate about pianos.

Nellie Hughes
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