Piano tuning

 
 
 
 

Piano tuning

 
 
 

Piano tuning

Piano tuning
If your piano is out of tune and you want to have it sound great again, I will gladly do this for you.

I am an experienced, professional and passionate piano tuner from Utrecht. I work carefully and accurately and will only be satisfied when you are too.
Curious what customers say about me? You can read it here.

Small repairs and regulation
You can also contact me for minor repairs (like sticking keys or repairing a broken string), an assessment report for purchase purposes and for piano action regulation.
The piano tuning takes at about 1.5 hours.

Fee
I charge € 80,- for tuning a piano, VAT included for customers. Within a radius of 15 kilometers from the centre of Utrecht-city there are no travel expenses.
Click here for a complete summary of the price list.

More information about piano tuning

If you want to know more about piano tuning, please click the ‘tuning a piano’ box. Below this page there is also a frequently asked questions section about (the tuning of) piano’s.

Do you have any questions or do you want to make an appointment? Please click on the button below, I am at your service.

Tuning a piano

What to look for when buying a piano

Purchase guidance

Customer reviews

His knowledge and skills are clearly visible in everything he does while performing his work.
In addition, Peter explains clearly what he does, so that a layman like me learned a lot in those few hours that Peter, with a lot of patience, tuned our aged piano perfectly.
With his warm personality, he also immediately created a pleasant atmosphere, which made it a pleasure to have him around.
I can recommend everyone to work with this professional.

Renée Arntz

What a lovely piano tuner you are, Peter! We received you with great pleasure at our place. My son and daughter were very enthusiastic, thank you for the detailed explanation and the enthusiasm you showed us, very nice!

Wenda Sondorp

With skill and lots of enthusiasm Peter tuned our piano. Our 9 year old son was very interested and he even was allowed to tune some of the strings himself! What a commitment and also a lot of knowledge about the piano in general. Fascinating to hear. It's lovely to play the piano again. Thanks!

Susanne Timmerman-Rosendahl

Skilled and passionate piano tuner. Takes the time to explain things and also knows a lot. His enthusiasm, drive and great love for the instrument are also apparent in conversations. Also vacuumed the inside of the grand piano after tuning! That's just dedication. An excellent value for money.

Peter-Jan Kleevens

Peter managed to bring our piano back to concert pitch while it hadn't been tuned for at least 20 years! Now it's back in tune. It sounds great again, especially when he plays it himself! In short: when Peter shows up, you are in expert and musical hands.

Cécile Ravesloot

Peter has done an amazing job with our piano! A piano which is about 90 years old and not tuned in many many years, you can imagine what that sounded like! I actually thought our piano was broken. I contacted Peter and he was out the next day to do the job! He is super friendly, positive, patient and extremely knowledgeable.
His enthusiasm and love for pianos inspires me and I felt so comfortable knowing that our piano was in good hands! He provided guidance/suggestions to help keep our piano in good condition in years to come. I will definitely be using his service again!

Shaakirah Chettiar

Peter has both tuned and regulated my Hoffmann piano. I was very surprised at the result! It sounds great and I didn't expect the piano could improve that much. You also notice that he is very knowledgeable and has a lot of love for his profession. My piano is now in optimal condition for recording sessions.

Yarck (Jerke van den Braak)

Peter has a nice personality and that works by aligning with his customer about the technical possibilities of the to be tuned piano. He works very professionally, whereby bringing the piano strings into phase to get the right tone is a combination of high tech equipment, precision work and craftsmanship. Because Peter himself is a pianist and musician, he understands very well that it is very important for pianists and composers to trust the technique of the piano and he works very carefully to provide this.

Gerardo Luis FloresComponist

Our piano sounds beautiful again! He even managed to repair an already broken part. With patience, passion and explanation Peter has made my son happy again! See you in half a year!

Inge Mauritz

Frequently asked questions

How often should a piano be tuned?

At least once a year, but twice a year is advisable. For obvious reasons a well tuned piano is much more fun to play compared to a piano which is severe out of tune. In addition, regular tuning is better for your piano as well: a piano that gets tuned twice a year will hold a longer lasting stable tuning because the difference in string tension before and after tuning is smaller.

What is a pitch raise?

A pitch raise is a preliminary tuning performed prior to a regular tuning. It is also known as a pitch correction.
A pitch raise has to be performed when a piano has dropped in pitch significantly (437.5 Hz or lower), while it is desirable that is tuned to 440 Hz or higher. A pitch raise changes the overall tension on a piano’s structure as a whole: you’ll be adding potentially thousands of pounds more pressure onto the plate and the delicate wood parts of the piano (like the bridges and soundboard).
Without a pitch raise you can’t expect the piano to hold its tuning. A pitch raise should be considered being a rough tuning while pulling up pitch, after which a fine tuning can take place.
To avoid a pitch raise, you have to make sure you keep the piano tuned up to pitch. The only way to manage this is by having it regularly tuned. In this way you will enhance the tone and prolong the life of your piano.

How do I measure the pitch of my piano?

You can measure your piano’s pitch by downloading the free Pano Tuner app for Android or IOS.
Open the app and play middle A on the piano. That’s A4 and it should measure at about 440Hz, the so-called concert pitch. 442Hz is also possible.
Pianos that have not been tuned for many years drop in pitch. Depending on how much the pitch has dropped, you can do two things: keep the pitch low, or gradually raise the piano to 440Hz in two to three tuning sessions. If you choose to keep a lower concert pitch, you’ll not be able to play together with other instruments: it will sound bad because the pitch of the instruments don’t match. But if you play solo, choosing a lower pitch is of course fine and a single tuning will be sufficient and do the job.

Do you tune pianos with an overdamper action?

I do, but I charge a fee for that since tuning an piano with an overdamper action is way more time consuming. Overdamper actions (also called ‘birdcage pianos‘ because you see lots of vertical rods when you open the front cover) have their dampers mounted above the hammers instead of below them. You can see an example of a birdcage piano below. The damper is placed high on the string and at that point the deflection of a vibrating string is much smaller than in the middle part of the string. The damper is therefore not very effective and that is why you always hear a reverberation. Overdamper actions have not been made since about 1910 and for good reason: they are very difficult to tune, hard to keep at pitch and, as mentioned, you always hear a reverberation. The tuning block (in which the tuning pins rotate) is also made of solid wood; at that time it wasn’t technically possible to make plywood hardwood. If a crack occurs in an overdamper tuning block, it will affect all tuning pins. There is also a great risk of breaking strings and besides that, tuning an overdamper action is way more time consuming compared to a piano with a modern underdamper action. Because of all the rods it’s also difficult to see what you are doing. Repairs are difficult to establish and if something breaks, it is very difficult to get spare parts. Overdamper pianos often look beautiful and fit well in classic interiors. But the beauty on the outside does not compensate for the technical aspects on the inside.

Bovendemper piano-bovenaanzicht Bovendemper piano-vooraanzicht

Is picking up a piano from Marketplace a bad idea?

No, not necessarily. I have tuned beautiful pianos that people bought through Marketplace. But also pianos that people enjoyed for only two days: the day it entered the house, and the day the piano left it.
Also ‘free to collect pianos’ doesn’t always mean they are bad pianos . Sometimes the owner of the piano simply does not want to pay for transport costs and therefore offers the piano free of charge.
The real question is whether it’s worth picking up. In general, this depends on the technical condition of the piano. You may find it usefull to read this blog which deals about important parts of the piano to look at when considering buying it. It will help to determine in which condition the piano is into. Still not sure? Give me a call, I’ll be happy to help.

What is the optimal humidity for a piano?

A humidity between 45-65% is optimal. You can measure the humidity with a hygrometer.
If the humidity is too low, you can buy a hydrocele. This protects the piano from drying out. I can also purchase and install it for you during a tuning session. Please let me know beforehand since I don’t have them in stock.

How long after moving a piano should it be tuned?

If the piano is moved into an environment with a varying temperature and humidity, I recommend tuning the piano within 2-3 weeks after the moving date. This allows the strings to settle.
If there is very little temperature and humidity fluctuation between the piano’s’ old and new place, and the transport took little time or was carried out in a climate-controlled van, it only takes several hours for the piano to acclimate after which it can be tuned without problem.

Why do the bass strings have a copper winding?

The copper winding increases the mass of the string, without noticeably changing its stiffness. This allows the string to vibrate at a lower pitch without having to dramatically increase its length. In the extreme bass the strings may even have a double winding of copper.
Without this copper winding you would need a very long high-tensile plain steel wire to get a bass level pitch. And because of this the upper side of your piano would be as high as the lamps on your ceiling.

Can you repair a broken piano wire?

But of course. I can replace a broken piano wire immediately. It takes me approximately 20 minutes and I charge 35 euros repair costs for it. If it is a bass string that has broken, depending on where it broke I can extend it with a new piece of wire. If this isn’t possible, I’ll have to get this bass string custom made by the great company Quality Strings and come back later to install it. This will set you back at about 60 euro’s (depending on the lenght of the string and the actual cupper price).

What's the difference between an upright piano and a grand piano?

A piano is upright, a grand piano is horizontal. A piano has a rotation mechanism: the hammer strikes the string from back to front. A grand piano has a gravity mechanism: the hammer hits the string from below. Gravity creates the possibility to play faster. Compared to the upright piano you can play with more dynamics on a grand piano: you can add way more gradations between pianissimo and forte..
A grand piano also has much longer strings than a piano. As a result, a grand piano has on average a more pleasant and rich sound compared to an upright piano.

Why does a piano has way more strings than it has keys?

A piano has an average of 88 keys and about 230 strings. The middle and high notes have three strings per key, some of the bass notes have two strings, and the lowest bass notes have a single string.
The three strings for the middle and high notes have two functions: they amplify the volume and they enrich the quality of the sound. The strings of a note are vibrated by the hammer head. After the hammer hits the strings, the strings then also affect each other, also known as oscillation. The reverberations of the mutual strings add a lot of quality to the sound: it makes the sound much richer.
In addition, bass strings are much longer and thicker than the other strings. A bass string moves more air and creates more sound and volume than the treble. By adding more strings to the higher tones, the sound becomes more balanced.

What function do the three pedals on a piano have?

The right pedal of a piano is called the “sustain” pedal, more commonly known as the reverb pedal. Pressing this pedal releases all dampers from the strings. If you now press a key, it will keep sounding, even when you release the key. Only when you release the pedal again, the dampers will come down and dampen the strings again.
The left pedal is called the “una corda” pedal. This means ‘one string’ in Italian. On grand pianos, the keyboard (and thus the hammers attached to it) shifts to the right when you press the una corda pedal. Now no longer three but two strings are played, making the sound sounding a bit softer. On upright pianos, the distance between the hammers and the strings is shortened when pressing the una corda pedal. The effect is the same: a softer tone.
The middle pedal is called the sostenuto pedal. It’s similar to the sustain pedal, but with one difference: this pedal sustains only the keys you’ve pressed while you’re also pressing the pedal. For example, you can play a chord with your left hand, leaving two hands free to play the piano. The chord will continue to sound until you release the pedal or until the sound has died out.
The sustain pedal is the mostly used pedal by pianists, followed by the una corda pedal. The sostenuto pedal is the least used of the three.

What gave the piano its name?

The piano was invented by Bartolomeo Cristofori and he named it ‘gravicembalo col piano e forte’, which in short means: ‘harpsichord that plays softly and loudly’. After this, the instrument was called pianoforte and fortepiano for a while. In Italy the piano is still called pianoforte, but in the rest of the world the name has been shortened to the usual ‘piano’.

Price list

Basic tuning service
€ 80,00
(VAT included for customers, VAT excluded for companies)

Last minute (within 48 hrs), evening or weekend tuning service
€ 130,00

Travel costs (> 15 km from the centre of Utrecht-city)
€ 0,49 ct/km

Pitch raise and tuning
€ 125,00

Replacing single piano string during tuning
€ 40,00

Replacing copper wound bass string
€ 55,00 – € 80,00
(depending on wire length and copper price)

Tuning service piano’s with overdamper action
€ 140,00

Piano Assessment Report including detailed photos
€ 75,00

Hourly rate for regulation and repairs
€ 60,00

The definitions from the General Terms apply to all work.