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To tune a currently unplayed piano or not

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#1 jch48


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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:55

An acquaintance has a G8 pianist daughter just post uni and not likely to be living at home or having room for her piano for a year or two.

Should the piano be tuned if it's not to be played or is there no point ? Will it 'come to any harm' if it is left until she's able to play it regularly again?



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#2 ejw21


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Posted 17 July 2017 - 14:45

I would say once a year - I think (though am not sure!) that large gaps in tuning can lead to some sort of destabilisation. Although your acquaintance could talk to the current piano tuner for advice on lenghening the tuning interval.

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#3 corenfa



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Posted 17 July 2017 - 15:12

Yes, large gaps between tuning can cause things to deteriorate to the point that multiple tunings are required to get back in time, or tuning cannot ever be restored.

However I don't know how long between tunings is needed to cause this behavior.
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#4 LoneM


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Posted 17 July 2017 - 21:02

Assuming it is a reasonable quality piano that up to now has been regularly maintained, and will being kept in a reasonable environment, it shouldn't come to any harm if it is not going to be played for a couple of years. Make sure the room is not too hot, and that the piano is not standing in a sunny window.


A piano may be untunable if:


1) the strings are so old and rusty that they keep breaking. Solution - restring piano. Not cheap

2) the wrest pins are too loose - restringing with new pins may help but if the wrest plank has dried out so much that it has cracked, nothing can be done with an upright piano. You can replace the plank on a grand but it is very expensive and may not be worth it.

3) the bridge is so badly cracked at the bridge pins that they can't withstand the string tension. May be repairable but very expensive. Note that many bridges have small surface cracks that are nothing to worry about.

4) the frame is cracked. Theoretically the frame can be replaced or even welded but usually cheaper to replace the piano....


A modicum of common sense should avoid all these problems!


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#5 JimD


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Posted 18 July 2017 - 06:23

Yes, all pianos drop in pitch if not tuned for a long time, which can result in multiple tunings being needed to stabilise them at the correct pitch when it is eventually tuned.


If it's a decent instrument it's definitely worth having it done each year (at least!) - after all it's not that expensive compared with the cost of  a good piano and if multiple tunings are needed later, you haven't really saved anything have you?

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