Kentaro's Piano Kare
Piano Tuning Service
Rates for tuning service
The overall tuning services range from $100 to $150, except when more than one pass of major pitch correction is necessary and/or repair of string break is performed. The service includes 1) vacuum cleaning of the inside of a piano (including the sound board), 2) minor repair and adjustment of the action, and 3) fine tuning of a piano. The cleient will be informed the total cost before I start servicing. In the greater Ann Arbor or the metro Detroit area, no travel surcharge is applied.
Fine tuning is applied when the starting pitch is less than 2 cents* off the target pitch (A4, A just above middle C, is 440Hz). A hybrid approach that utilizes aural techniques principally and an electronic tuning device as an aid is employed to create the most precise and harmonious tuning. When the starting pitch is more than 2 cents and less than 8 cents off the target pitch, minor pitch correction is applied without any additional charge.
First time clients, and established clients with more than 18 months since the previous tuning: $125 This service typically takes 3-4 hours.
Established clients (within 18 months of the previous service): $100
*Cent(s): The unit to measure musical intervals. An interval between two neighboring equal tempered semitones is 100 cents. An interval of an octave which consists of 12 semitone intervals is 1200 cents. When A4 is within 2 cents off the target pitch, 440Hz, it is between 439.5 and 440.5Hz. When A4 is 8 cents flat, it is 438.0Hz.
Major Pitch Correction is applied when the starting pitch is more than 8 cents and less than 50 cents off the standard pitch (A4=440Hz). One pass of major pitch correction is performed at a rate of additional $25. This pitch correction is followed by one pass of minor pitch correction and one pass of fine tuning. The total cost will be $150 for the first time client: $25 plus $125. In minor cases, the current pitch could be more than 50 cents off the standard pitch (A4=440Hz). In such a case, more than one servicing could be necessary to bring the pitch back to the standard pitch. The client will be informed the total cost before servicing starts.
String repair is performed when a string breaks during my tuning service at a rate of $15 per break. The repair includes a follow up service to correct the pitch drift due to rapid stress relaxation of a new string. Similar to other musical instuments that have strings, the strings in pianos are consumables and it is impossible to completely avoid string break.
Details of the tuning procedure
Before tuning, I first diagnose the piano’s current pitch by measuring the pitch of five sample notes (A1, A2, A3, A4 and A5) with an electronic device. Based on this assessment, I use one of the following three options to bring the piano to its target pitch and precisely adjust its tuning:
If the current pitch is within 2 cents of the target pitch, each string is directly tuned to the target pitch. In this tuning, a hybrid approach that utilizes aural techniques principally and an electronic tuning device as an aid is employed. First, I set equal temperament in a double octave (between A2 and A4). Then, I spread the temperament to remaining octaves using octave stretch that is appropriate to an individual piano. In the final step, I apply aural refinement to ensure that the piano as a whole is precisely tuned.
If the current pitch is more than 2 cents but less than 8 cents flat from the target pitch, a minor pitch raise is applied. In this procedure, each note is tuned to a higher pitch than the target pitch (overpull). When a string is pulled further to raise its pitch, it exerts more pressure on the bridge and the sound board. This increased pressure pushes down these component further, which reduces the string tension in turn. When other strings are also pulled to raise their pitches, their tensions get further smaller because these strings affect each other through the bridge and the sound board. Thus, after pitch raise completes, the string tension becomes smaller than the initial pitch that is set by pitch raise. Therefore, the overpull technique is necessary to compensate for this pitch drop. For a minor pitch raise, the degree of overpull is relatively small, which enables me to use an electronic tuning aid to make a fairly accurate prediction of pitch drop. This makes fine pitch adjustment possible within the same pass. After the completion of the pitch raise, I perform one pass of fine tuning. This procedure typically produces excellent tuning.
If the current pitch is more than 8 cents flat from the target pitch, I first perform one pass of major pitch adjustment. During a major pitch raise, I apply a relatively large amount of overpull. Errors in the pitch drop prediction are usually significant, making a second pass of minor pitch correciton is often necessary. After minor pitch correciton, fine tuning is applied.