Diagnosing an Out-of-Tune Piano

out-of-tune piano, bay area, hayward, castro valleyThere are numerous benefits to playing the piano. Not only does it improve your mental health, but it also increases your social participation while relieving your body’s stress. Studies also show that the prospect of playing the piano is essential for children to develop dexterity, and strengthens the hands of adults.

However, if not properly maintained, your piano can easily develop problems. As an enthusiastic piano player, you will always want your instrument to produce its best possible sound. However, if you happen to be playing on an out-of-tune piano, it can be intimidating by detracting you from the enjoyment, happiness and satisfaction you normally get when playing a properly tuned machine. The question is, how can you tell that your device is out-of-tune? In this particular post, we will examine how to determine if your piano is not in its proper condition.

How to determine if your Yamaha piano is out-of-tune

Is your machine at the predetermined pitch?

By comparing the vibration rate of specific test notes to a standard rate of vibration, you can effectively identify whether your piano is at the correct pitch or not. In this instance, the most commonly used test note is perhaps the A-440 test. This is also known as Concert Pitch, or simply, an A4 test.

For this test, strike the fork against a solid object, before placing the fork’s handle against the wood located under the keyboard. In a bid to amplify the piano’s vibrations, you’ll have to touch it. Play the A slightly above middle C. Carefully, listen for the same pitch. If you realize that the unisons are not perfect, you’ll find it difficult to compare the tuning fork with the note. As such, this could be an indication that your device needs tuning.

What about the temperament?

Testing the octaves will prove useful. You may begin with the E’s on both sides of middle C before systematically navigating this octave down your keyboard. While doing this, note how consistent, clean and pure the octaves are. For instruments that have experienced a recent temperature or humidity change, usually their octaves go out of tune. Due to the bass strings’ transition on a single bridge, this section is often susceptible to the regular treble strings located on the other bridge. Thus, if the piano’s soundboard takes in moisture from the air, it will expand. As a result, one bridge is made slightly bigger than the other, a phenomenon that makes the bottom third of your instrument out of tune.

What about the unisons?

You can begin at middle C, playing every single note as you move up your keyboard. Pay attention to the sound produced by the notes, and again examine their condition (pure, consistent and clean). Should you realize that the notes are a bit complicated or rather shimmery, your unisons, which are typically the three strings which account for one note, are likely out of tune with one another. Again, if either one or two of your notes vary in sound or produce completely different sound from the rest, then your unisons are outdated and you will need to tune your device. Luckily, we are an authorized Yamaha piano store in the Bay Area and are always open to offer assistance, whether you are a Yamaha owner or play any other type of piano.

Is the time test useful?

As previously mentioned, a piano will require regular maintenance projects, and of course, this includes tuning. If you have not tuned your instrument for more than six months, tuning may be required.

Are you located in the Bay Area and are looking for a new piano?

We are one of the Bay Area’s best piano stores and are equipped with all the necessary technology to take the best care of your piano. What’s more is that we also provide unmatched Bay Area piano lessons, at a relatively affordable cost. Contact us at 510-581-1660 or use our online contact form.