Piano removal (moving from one place to another) has been my specialization for many years now. Whenever I am delivering a piano, most of my customers usually ask me whether moving the piano will make it lose its tune. I also remember when I first bought a piano. I had no idea when and after how long I was to tune it.
I felt that moving it from the shop to my home, or from my current home to a new one will affect its pitch and that it might need tuning. I later learned that this is not actually the case. After sometimes, I realized that changes in the piano’s tune are due to changes in humidity especially if a piano loses its pitch after moving. After all, movers usually wrap and protect pianos very carefully in order to protect it against any changes in temperature and humidity.
Why pianos require tuning
I need to tune my piano occasionally because its metal strings usually stretch with time. The piano strings are always under high tension, and this causes them to stretch and lengthen over time. In fact, I have realized that this happens even if I don’t play my piano. I never knew that failure to tune the piano could make it go flat.
When to tune the piano
When I bought my first piano, I was very happy. I consulted professionals on when my piano should be tuned because I wanted nothing but a proper pitch. I found out that a new piano should be tuned after every three months in its first year. Therefore, a new piano should be tuned four times in its first year in order to break it in. Compared to an old piano, a new one needs to be tuned more regularly because no tension has ever been put on its steel strings. This means that strings of a new piano do stretch faster thereby losing its tune faster as compared to older one.
After one year, I recommend that a piano should be tuned after every six months. Tuning it less often than this will only make the piano to lose tune and pitch as well. Leaving piano too flat for a long time makes the tuner ineffective, and it might fail to bring back the piano pitch up to the standard pitch.
If a piano stays for too long without being tuned, it might lose the ability to bear the strain of raising its pitch back to the standard. This strain could cause the strings of the piano to break. It can also damage the piano frame, or cause the strings of the piano to break just like an acoustic guitar.
Sometimes, an old piano might lose its tune before the end of six months when it should be tuned. In this case, what often causes this situation is humidity. Because a piano is about 85 percent wood, any change in humidity definitely leads to expansion or contraction of the wood, and this has an effect on the piano tune. In case a piano loses its tune very fast, getting a dehumidifier or a humidifier would be a good idea.