Piano Tuning

We often get asked a lot of questions about piano tuning and whether it will be needed after their piano is moved. Here is a list of the most frequent questions we get asked:

Do you offer to move and tune?

Piano moving and piano tuning are two totally separate professions. So, the quick answer is: “no”. It is extremely rare that you would find someone with both skill sets. When you do, you find out that they have no interest in doing both. On top of that, it is NOT recommended that you tune it immediately after it is moved, so tuning has to be scheduled at another time anyway with a proper piano tuner. You are supposed to let it sit for a period of time to settle into the new space before tuning it. If you do not, there is a good chance you will be tuning it again in the very near future. Moving companies that do offer “Move and Tune” options generally get some sort of kickback for referring them. We do not believe that is in your best interest, so Braymore does not offer that type of service. That said, if you do not already have a tuner if you read a little further down, we can point you in the direction of someone who has been around the business for a while and can tune your piano.

Will moving my piano throw it out of tune?

It is myth-busting time! There are a huge number of people out there who will tell you that moving a piano will throw your piano out of tune. While this statement has some truth, it is technically: FALSE. The odds of a piano move throwing your piano out of tune is less than 1%, and if it did, you would have much bigger issues than your piano being out of tune (we won’t go there). It is, however, when you notice that it goes out of tune, which is why this myth exists.

So what makes a piano go out of tune? Temperature and humidity changes. A piano is a string instrument that uses wood to hold the tension on the piano strings. When the temperature and/or humidity change, the wood shrinks or expands, increasing or decreasing the tension on the piano strings. A minor tension change can change the sound of the string, throwing it in or out of tune, just like a guitar. Ever wonder why people are constantly tuning guitars? When you move a piano, you are placing the piano in a new environment, which is why some people associate the two together. The greater the change in environment, the more out of tune your piano will be.

True story: Braymore once moved a pre-tuned grand piano on one of the coldest days in the winter (around -20C) from a piano store to a concert hall for a performance. The piano mover went directly from the store to the concert hall, and the piano was on the truck for less than an hour. After the delivery was completed, the concert hall tried the piano out and called the piano mover, asking what it had done to the piano as it was completely out of tune and the piano was just tuned in the last 24 hours at the piano store. It was a perfect delivery, so obviously, nothing could be said. A couple of hours later, the concert hall called back, apologizing for the accusation, as the piano was now back in tune after warming back up in the concert hall to a similar climate that it came from in the piano store. This is an extreme example, but shows really well what is happening with the piano during the piano move.

When should you tune your piano?

There are a lot of different answers to this question, depending on who you talk to. We are going to use the previous question’s answer to answer this question. It really depends on how long you think the piano will need to climatize to the new environment. The more obvious changes like temperature can be noticed fairly quickly, within 24 hours. The more subtle changes, like humidity, can take a couple of days to a couple of weeks to occur as the wood moisture content saturates or dries out in the piano over time. If you can wait a couple of weeks, that would be the safest bet, but technically, you can do it anytime. If you guess the wrong amount of time, it does not hurt the piano, it just means you will need to tune it another time which could be additional dollars out of your pocket. This is also why piano tuners recommend tuning your piano at least twice a year due to the huge change in our climate from winter to summer. In theory, ignoring the wear and tear factor, your piano could stay in tune indefinitely with a stable climate that never changes.

Can you recommend someone to tune my piano?

Most people already have a piano tuner. If he/she has done a good job in the past, you should stick with them. They are already familiar with your instrument and will probably be able to give you a better idea of maintenance that needs to be addressed as time goes by. When you already have a great relationship: Do not fix something that is not broken. A good relationship is hard to find and something that should be treasured.

That said, you just moved, and they may not service your new home area, the relationship has gone sour, or they have retired. We have to be careful here. As the largest piano mover in Ontario, we work for many people/companies and do not want to step on any toes. We would like to help connect you with people in your particular area. To be clear: We are not experts at tuning and have no way of gauging the quality of service for you. That is for you as the musician to determine. We know a number of good people/companies that have been around for a long time, have used our service, and might be able to help you.

We will list them alphabetically.

Concert Pitch Piano Services – works in Toronto, Mississauga, Oakville and Thornhill

D & S Pianos – works in the London area

Doctor Piano – works in Nova Scotia

Gerber Piano Works – works in Toronto but based out of the Orangeville area

Piano Shop Elmira – works in the Kitchener Waterloo area

Remmy’s Piano Service – works in Brampton, Mississauga, Toronto

There are other good tuners and technicians available out there, but piano moving being a separate profession from piano tuning that does not interact with the end user at the same time, we do not always see/hear from that work in conjunction with us.

Another option: You could also contact your local piano stores in the Toronto area. They may also have piano tuners working out of their locations or that they work with.

Merriam Pianos – Piano Distributor of Bechstein, Hoffman, Kawai, Pearl River, Roland, Schimmel, Seiler

Toronto Piano Group – Piano Distributor of Yamaha

Steinway Piano Gallery – Piano Distributor of Boston, Essex and Steinway

While this may not be the exact answer you were looking for, we hope this is a good starting point for properly maintaining your piano. We have heard many good things about those listed here over time and believe that they might be able to assist you the same way we plan to with your piano move.