What’s The Difference Between Piano Tuning and Piano Repair?

What’s The Difference Between Piano Tuning and Piano Repair?

We get a lot of questions from people looking to invest in a new piano. One of the most common is: What’s the difference between piano tuning and repair? 

Just the other day, we spoke with a woman in the market for a new piano. Through a friend of a friend, she’d found someone willing to sell her their old piano. They assured her it was in good condition, though it might need tuning. Should she consider it? 

It depends. 

There are a lot of pieces to this statement, and we carefully walked her through each item she should consider. 

What condition is this piano in?

If the owner is already stating the piano needs tuning, they’re admitting it hasn’t been tuned in a while. How long has it been since it was properly maintained? Months? Years? For a piano to remain in good working condition, it needs annual tuning to maintain its voice. The longer it goes without, the greater the chance it won’t be tunable. If that happens, it will be extensive repair work to bring it back to playable condition. 

How has the piano been stored? 

Where was it stored if it hasn’t been played in a while? Did it reside inside the home? Was it moved to the basement or the garage? Pianos are sensitive instruments that can’t handle fluctuations in temperature or humidity. 

How old is the piano?

Did this friend purchase a new piano just a few years ago? Is it a hand-me-down that’s several decades old? The older a piano is, the more age plays a part in how repairable it will be. You should also consider previous owners, and how well it was cared for along its journey. 

Is it worth repairing?

We often hear people say: “I got it for a great price.” Only after the fee is paid and it’s inside their homes do they realize how much money it will take to repair the piano back to working condition. That good deal is no longer a good deal. 

How to protect yourself

If you aren’t sure what to look for in a piano, we suggest you bring a qualified piano technician with you before you finalize your decision. They can help you determine the current condition of the piano and what it will take to get it into good working condition. 

It’s the best way to help you bring a high quality piano into your home. One you’ll love to play for years to come.