As your Piano Tuner Wilmington DE , I am frequently asked how a piano owner can tell whether their piano needs tuning. Some background information about pianos will make the answer more understandable.
Pianos have 220-240 strings at about 150 pounds of tension each. if you multiply 220 by 150, you will get over 30,000 pounds of total tension of a wooden structure. Even though pianos are reinforced with cast iron, they cannot maintain that amount of tension indefinitely. Pianos are constantly dropping in pitch. Concert instruments are usually tuned twice the day of a performance: once before rehearsal, and again just before the performance. That is what it takes for a piano to be in perfect tune.
It would be unreasonable for someone to tune their piano twice a day, and there is no need for it, as a home piano does not need to be in perfect tune for daily practice. Generally, if your piano is tuned twice a year, it can be returned to the proper pitch with a normal piano tuning. That frequency, of twice a year, is recommended by all piano manufacturers. If your piano is not tuned for more than a year, then it may require extra work to bring it back up to the proper pitch.
To get back to the original question, of how to tell if your piano needs tuning, the answer is, check your calendar. If the piano was tuned more than six months ago, then it needs tuning. It is rare that a lay person can tell by ear, whether the piano needs tuning. Piano technicians not only have extensive training, we also have specialized equipment. When pianos drop in pitch, it happens very slowly and almost imperceptibly to the untrained ear. Using electronic pitch sources or tuning forks, a piano tuner can check and correct the pitch of an instrument. Very few people have perfect pitch that is accurate enough to tell the pitch of a piano within the very narrow parameters that are necessary for proper tuning. If you wait until the piano sounds bad to your ear, it will be too late to get the piano back into tune with a normal tuning.
If you have other questions about pianos, please consult us. We are your Wilmington DE Piano tuning experts. We also provide piano services in Philadelphia, Southern New Jersey and the Eastern Shore Maryland areas.