Ok so I am visiting my grandparents and I am going to practice piano at their house for about a month. But, when I started playing it, I noticed that the piano was out of tune buy a full QUARTER tone. So, obviously, I need to tune it. But, because of COVID, no piano tuner is coming over.

So, I must take matters into my own hands. How do I tune a piano?

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    Is it basically in tune with itself and sounding OK? Or has it gone honkey-tonk?
    – topo morto
    Jul 28 '20 at 23:48
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    Hey, easier than trying to tunafish Jul 29 '20 at 17:15
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    "So I must take matters into my own hands." No, no, you definitely must NOT. Jul 29 '20 at 17:17
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    Sometimes tuners leave instruments flat deliberately because it's not clear that the instrument can withstand the increased tension needed to bring it to A=440 Hz. I would not try raising the pitch of a piano as my first piano tuning project.
    – phoog
    Jul 29 '20 at 22:59

It might be obvious to one who has absolute pitch. But if the whole piano is out by that quarter tone, the majority of people would not notice. Unless they played along to a recording that was at concert pitch. It may have been tuned thus on purpose. If it's only certain notes, or one string out or two/three, then it's a different matter. But if it's in tune with itself, let sleeping dogs lie.

You will need certain tools, the hammer being crucial - use the wrong size, and you could end up wrecking the pegs. You won't be able to use a tuner, like you would with a guitar. It's often a few hours for an experienced tuner to pull up a piano, so I believe it's a bad idea for you to attempt this.

If it was my piano, I wouldn't let you near the inside, and would question the mindset of grandparents who are happy for you to experiment on their pride and joy.

  • If it's their pride and joy, I assume they'd keep it in tune. Source: Have grandparents with badly-tuned piano that hasn't been used in decades. (Not that I'm disagreeing with anything else in your answer.)
    – user70370
    Jul 30 '20 at 19:49

A search for "how to tune a piano yourself" will turn up a variety of instructional videos. Here's one that seems especially promising to me.

You'll need the right tools for the job, also. Again, a search for "tools for piano tuning" will give you the results you need.

  • While there may be "instructional videos," there is a huge risk of a random untrained and unskilled person totally borking the piano. IMNSHO the correct answer is "Don't do it" Jul 29 '20 at 17:16
  • "God, I admire you.” – Irwin Fletcher. “Gee, that broke easy.” – Haversine.
    – wabisabied
    Jul 30 '20 at 1:45
  • @Haversine - in that case, why bother asking anything here?
    – Tim
    Jul 30 '20 at 21:06

I teach piano tuning and have a lot of free videos. This is not something you want to learn to do alone. You need guidance. I think in all the things I’ve learned in my life, getting piano tuning instruction, or guidance from another person, has helped me the most to save time and get good.


I’m a Registered Plano Technician, I have trained and worked as a Mechanical Engineer, high school teacher, and professional musician.

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