Staying in Tune - The Basics of a Maine Piano Tuning

When was the last time your Maine piano was tuned? If you are not getting a correct pitch then it has been more than six months since your piano was last tuned. If it has been more than two years you might be very surprised to learn what "C" really sounds like. Having a Maine piano tuning is really a very important part of owning a piano.

Most Maine piano tuners recommend that you get your piano tuned at least once or twice a year depending on how much your piano is being played. In the scope of things it does not take much for a piano to get out of tune. In order to keep your Maine piano working for many years to come it is important that it is tuned regularly.

A piano consists of different strings of varying lengths. The strings are stretched between different pegs, like stretching a rubber band between two fingers. The tone that is produced depends on how long and how taut the strings. Again, if you stretch a rubber band between your fingers, you can see this principle in action. A higher sound is produced if you stretch the band taut. A lower sound is produced if you release the tension.

Various different notes are produced on a piano when you strike the various different piano keys. Each key causes a corresponding "hammer" or sound to strike the corresponding string or strings inside the piano.

Over a period of time these strings will eventually slip out of position. It is usually a long and slow process. However, these strings will eventually stretch and wear out. These factors will cause the piano to eventually go out of perfect tune. As the piano begins to go out of tune you will begin to notice it over time. You will notice this the most when you play the piano along with another instrument that is in tune.

Understanding this concept is where Maine piano tuning begins to come into play. Piano tuning involves making the adjustments in order to bring your piano back into tune. You can accomplish this several different ways. However, the most popular and most desired way is just to hire a Maine piano tuner.

The Maine piano tuner using his piano tuning device, would tweak the "A" strings until they vibrated at 440 Hz. This note would then become the reference or "fixed" pitch. All of the other piano notes or strings based off of this pitch would be determined by the Maine piano tuner himself, with just his ear to guide him.

Today most Maine piano tuners use some type of electronic piano tuner. "A" above middle "C" may still be used as a fixed pitch and is still tuned to 440 Hz. However, modern electronic tuners can be used to tune more strings than just the typical "A" string. Many Maine piano tunings just require that you tune a few of the notes. These can then be used as reference pitches to tune all of the other piano notes. More sophisticated electronic Maine piano tuners can tune all 12 notes on the piano.

Electronic Maine piano tuners work by comparing the sound of a note played on the Maine piano to its proper note frequency. The tuner analyzes how the note is being played. It then displays the difference between the frequency of the note that is being played and the proper frequency. It indicates whether the pitch should be adjusted higher or lower. The Maine piano tuning technician then adjusts the strings until the sound from the piano matches the sound from the electronic tuner.

Regular Maine piano tuning will keep your instrument in the best of shape. Pianos that are mainly used at home for practice may need tuning only once or twice per year. Any piano that is used for performance or teaching should be tuned two or three times per year. To make sure you are having your piano tuned by someone who really knows what they are doing, contact the Maine Piano Technicians Guild for recommendations.

Service Price
Hourly standard charge $100 first hour/ $80/hr for second hour + parts
Grand hammer shaping, complete regulation and tone building process for pianos that had not had the strings previously 'bedded' $2700
Restringing $1500 to $2000 depending on size
Standard Tuning (and minor work) $120 to $160
Move pianos in and out of state Contact For Price
Major Pitch Adjustment $40
Complete action regulation $240
Full disassembly and cleaning $80
Appraisals $80
Evaluations $80

  • Stephen C. Cates
  • Independent Steinway Factory-Trained Piano Technician
  • Trained by Scott Jones
  • By invitation of Michael Moore
  • iPh 207-944-3096
  • secates@fairpoint.net

We Strive   For High Quality Work!

Steve Cates has been tuning and moving piano's for the last 35 years in the state of Maine. He is a Steinway Factory-Trained Technician. He is well recommended by many past and present clients. He is covered with business insurance.