How much does piano tuning cost?

By Larry Mazza •  Updated: 07/01/19 •  10 min read

When it comes to tuning your piano, there is a lot of confusion about how much it’s going to cost.

This article will help you set realistic expectations when it comes to pricing, and I’ll share some tips on finding the best price on your piano tuning.

Do you need it?

This is really the only reason you will need a piano tuned. If you have recently moved it, then it will need to be tuned.

This also applies to pianos that are moved on a regular basis such as those used in touring bands or in school music classrooms.

So if this is your situation, you will definitely need to have your piano tuned.

Which piano do you have?

The piano you have will also impact the cost of your piano tuning. There are three main types of pianos: upright, grand, and baby grand.

All need to be tuned regularly and may need to be tuned more than once a year if they are not used as often or if they are played by beginners.

Each type has different tuning needs: upright pianos should be tuned twice a year; grand pianos should be tuned twice a year; and baby grand pianos should be tuned once a year.

When you have an old or rarely-played piano, the cost of tuning a piano may go up due to the extra labor required to get the pitch back in range on older strings that haven’t been played much over time — but this is rarely necessary for most standard upright or baby grand pianos.

A common example would be tuning an old OLD upright piano that hasn’t been tuned for 20 years. This might involve some extra work from your tuner, so it could cost up to $200 (though this is definitely rare).

What kind of piano tuner do you have tuning the piano?

It is easy to determine if you have a good piano tuner. First thing you need to do is make sure the piano tuner has the right tools for doing the job.

A piano tuner should have a tuning hammer with removable tips, which allows the use of different types of hammers when tuning pianos. The tuning hammer (sometimes called a pitch pipe) can also be used to tune electronic pianos and organs.

You should also check that your tuner has an adjustable rotary table, which will allow him or her to adjust the height of the tuning table while he or she is tuning your piano. It is best if your tuner has a metronome so that he or she can measure the speed of the notes being tuned.

Once you’ve established that your tuner has all these tools, ask for references and check their reputation online by looking for reviews on Google Maps, Yelp, Angie’s List, etc.

How often do you need the piano tuned?

The more you play your piano, the more often it will need tuning. As your piano ages, the strings expand and contract according to the temperature and humidity of your room which causes the pitch to change.

If you are a professional pianist that plays in an orchestra or concert hall then it may be necessary to have your piano retuned after each performance. Some concert artists require their pianos to be tuned daily! For most players though, a yearly tune-up is sufficient enough.

When deciding how often to tune your piano keep in mind that there are many different types of pianos available today.

The type of piano you choose will determine how often you should have it tuned. A grand piano with a taut string tension requires less attention than an upright model with a looser string tension.

Piano tuning costs differ depending on your location and the type of piano you own.

The cost of a piano tuning can vary based on your location and the type of piano you own.

If your piano tuner has to travel a significant distance, there may be an additional fee for mileage or transportation costs, which can raise the price in more rural areas.

The same is true for different types of pianos: it takes longer for a tuner to work on certain models, and this extra work may result in higher fees.

Is it worth getting an old piano tuned?

If you’re still wondering if it’s worth getting your piano tuned, here are some things to consider. A piano is a complicated thing—it has hundreds of moving parts and more than 8,000 individual elements.

Even with proper care and maintenance, there will come a time when the instrument’s mechanisms start to decay from wear and tear.

You can always have a professional assess your piano for issues like cracks or loose tuning pins before making the investment into tuning it.

If your piano is an antique, then this assessment may be worth it in order to preserve the historical value of the instrument.

However, if you’re hoping to get rid of an old upright that’s been sitting in your basement for 20 years, well… Then maybe not so much.

How long does it take to tune a piano?

Another question we often get asked is how long it takes to tune a piano. The average piano tuning takes about 2 hours, though the first tuning might take longer.

The reason for this is that after the first tuning, any subsequent tunings will be much faster because the piano will stay in tune longer each time.

How long a piano stays in tune depends on many factors such as its age, usage, and type of strings used at manufacturing.

In general, newer pianos stay in tune longer than older ones. Pianos that are played more often will also tend to stay in tune longer than those seldom played or not played at all.

In general it takes less time to tune an upright piano (console or spinet) than a grand of similar age and condition. It is also generally easier to access a grand’s tuning pins from above rather than below as with upright pianos.

Though some very small upright pianos can be tuned from above exactly like grands, most upright pianos need to be tuned from below via the door which requires moving any objects placed on top of the piano and turning the music desk up out of the way.

Piano Tuning cost factors

How much does it cost to get a piano tuned? It’s probably not the first question you asked yourself after deciding that you wanted a piano in your home.

Depending on where you live, the actual cost of piano tuning can vary significantly from one location to another.

As a rule of thumb, the higher the cost of living, the higher the price for piano tuning. In some ways, it’s like asking how much it costs to get your oil changed or even a cup of coffee at Starbucks. There are more factors that impact pricing than just what type oil or coffee beans are used.

While one place may offer an “all inclusive” price (where all taxes and costs are included in the final bill), other places may have service charges, tax, and trip fee added on top of their quoted price (that final figure which is usually listed as “parts & labor”).

When you ask someone how often they recommend having their piano tuned, there is no correct answer as every situation is different.

The frequency for getting your piano tuned will depend on how often the piano is played; however, 2-4 times per year is typical.

Eventually though everyone knows when their own personal schedule requires them to call up and make an appointment with their local tuner/technician because they notice that something doesn’t sound quite right anymore!

How to find a good piano tuning technician

As with most service industries, there are some great piano tuners out there and some not-so-great ones.

To find a piano technician you can trust, start by asking for recommendations from local piano stores or your private piano teacher.

Next, look for online reviews on Facebook, Yelp or Google. To get the most accurate information about a professional’s work history and reputation, stick to those sites that have user ratings and comments.

Is it worth trying to tune a piano yourself?

As you might have guessed, piano tuning is a highly technical skill. It doesn’t mean you can’t handle it yourself—but if you do decide to tune the piano yourself, make sure you know what you’re getting into.

Since pianos are so expensive and require such specialized skills to keep in shape, it’s usually best to call in a professional unless your instrument is quite old and no longer valuable.

What exactly are you paying for?

If you’re wondering what the cost of piano tuning is, it depends somewhat on where you live. In general, piano tuners will have to factor in their time, skill and experience; the price of their equipment; and the cost of travel.

The average rate for a piano tuner is about $100-150 per hour. As part of this fee, they will often clean your piano as well as tune it. The total time a professional tunes a piano usually takes between one and three hours.

This can make the cost anywhere from $100-$450 for a single appointment. If you need more than one session in order to perfect the tone or to clean up damage caused by neglect or environmental factors like humidity or temperature changes, then those additional costs should be taken into account as well.

The equipment that professional piano tuners use can be fairly costly as well. The most essential tool in any instrument repair shop is an electronic tuning device that allows them to hear each note clearly while they adjust its pitch until it’s exactly right.

These devices are typically around $300-500 each and last anywhere from 10-15 years with proper care — but at that price point, three or four replacements could easily add up over a career!

Another major expense involved in maintaining pianos involves software used during tuning sessions which helps ensure accurate results every time by identifying off-notes before they even happen – especially if there are any outlying factors present like age on its own causing special circumstances (an older instrument may require special attention due to wear).

Final Thoughts

There are many factors that determine a piano tuning price quote. The most important factor is where you live.

Labor costs greatly affect piano tuning cost, as well as the length of time required for tuning the instrument.

Staggered tuning appointments are often available for residents with several pianos in the same household, and this can help to save money over having all tunings completed at once.

Other factors such as humidity or even outside noise level can also affect how long it takes a professional piano tuner to complete tuning your piano.


Larry Mazza

Hi I'm Larry Mazza, and I'm the guy who started it all at Backstreet Music!