Can A Piano Be Untunable?

Mar 17 · 5 min read

In the past, I have taught some piano lessons on horribly out of tune pianos. I usually talk to my student’s parents and tell them they should have their piano tuned. Some of those pianos were so old and out of tune I wondered, can a piano be untunable?

Yes, it is possible for pianos to be untunable. This can be due to anything from old age to not being maintained properly. Unfortunately your options in this situation are to have your piano rebuilt or buying a new piano.

What Makes a Piano Untunable?

A piano can end up untunable for many different reasons. The first reason that we will talk about is, if it hasn't been tuned for a very long time. If you do not turn your piano for a very long time it can end up extremely out of tune. If a piano is extremely out of tune for a long period of time it can become untenable.

It is very important not to let your piano stay out of tune for decades. This can make it very stressful for the piano to be put back in tune. Plus the strings will be old by then and it will be easier to break them. This is not a good thing. He can make it very difficult for the piano technician to get the piano back into. Another thing that can happen is if the tuning pegs become too old they might not hold their tune anymore. Or they can also get stuck and seize. This also makes it very difficult for the piano technician to tune your piano.

All of these issues will cost you more money if you're trying to get your piano in tune. I've heard about people who had an extremely out of tune Piano and when the piano technician came and spent hours trying to tune it. They ended up saying that the piano was untenable, but of course the family still had to pay the piano technician. They need to be paid for the hours of work they put in. This is a very unfortunate situation. This family had to get a new piano.

They were very excited once they did get a new piano, because their old piano was so out of tune. But not everyone has the money to buy another piano. So please keep your piano in tune. You have to tune your piano at least once a year. It is much better to tune in service your piano once a year and fix any little issues then let all the issues pile up. This can make it not worth tuning your piano.


How To Tune a Piano?

The first thing to know about tuning a piano is you should not tune the piano yourself. Unless of course you are a piano technician. If you are not a piano technician you should not be tuning your piano. You can hurt your piano and it will cost you more money to then have a piano technician fix it. You should always hire a professional highly recommended piano technician to come and service your piano. There are lots of different things you should worry about with your piano and a piano technician knows everything to look into. They are like a piano doctor, they will make sure your piano is healthy.

When a piano technician comes to your house to tune your piano they will be playing the piano a lot. So make sure to not hire a piano technician on a day that you need silence. They will be playing the same note over and over again as they tune each and every note on the piano.

The piano technician will thread a piece of felt through the strings on the piano. This is to isolate each string. When you play a note on a piano it is striking three different strings. They will need to tune each of these strings to each other, as well as the other notes on the piano. So when they thread the felt in between the strings it silences two out of the three strings.

They will then go up and down the entire piano tuning every single string. This makes a lot of noise and can take a little bit of time. If your piano is in relatively good tune they should be able to have your piano in good shape within an hour or two. If your piano is really out of tune it can take them longer.


Should I Tune My Own Piano?

As I've already said in this article you should never tune your own piano. You can get it more and more out of tune and you will create a mess. This can also put strain on your piano. They are delicate instruments that only a piano technician should service. You don't want to be messing around with your piano. If you are wonder about piano strings, check out this article:

The piano is not a toy, it is a beautiful instrument. You should have only a highly qualified piano technician service your piano. I know it might be tempting because you have a good year, but trust me you do not want to tune your own piano. You also would not know what other issues to look for when you are under the hood working on the piano.


How To Find a Piano Technician

When I move to a new area there are a few techniques I like to use to find a new piano technician. The first place I typically go is when I ask a local recording studio who Tunes their pianos. High-end recording studios need their pianos in great shape.They are sure to use only really high quality piano technicians. That is why you should ask them for recommendations.

Another place you can go to get recommendations or referrals for piano technicians are local schools. The local music teacher probably knows a good piano technician. The larger schools have multiple pianos that need to be tuned yearly. There is a chance that the person they use has been tuning pianos for decades. So make sure to ask around among these schools. When I'm teaching my students piano lessons in Bethany, I sometimes tell the parents that they need to tune their piano.

If neither of those work out for you you can always ask local Symphonies. They would also use the best local piano technicians. Most high-end Symphonies have to tune their piano before every show. They want to make sure their piano is in Tip-Top shape. So you can always call up the symphony and ask for the number of their piano technician.

And if all else fails you can ask local churches as well. Churches have a lot of pianos and pianos are key to their services. So they probably have a decent piano technician that they use regularly. Those are all the techniques I use to find piano technicians. Keep in mind you want to use only the best piano technician so make sure to get a trustworthy referral for a piano technician.


Thank you so much for reading this article all the way to the end. It really means a lot to me. I truly enjoy writing about piano and different music related topics. If you're interested in learning more about any of these topics I have written several other articles on this website.

Cloe Haynes
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