Q: Does Rieman Music offer a piano tuning service?

We schedule service calls for technician Jon Chapman. The service is primarily for the Des Moines Metro area but Jon is willing to travel for a fee. Current trip charge is $50 per hour of travel time. We are also happy to recommend technicians to those outside the Metro area.

Q: How much does it cost?

Most piano technicians charge by the hour. Jon Chapman is currently at $125 per hour. A piano tuning normally takes 60 to 90 minutes. Read the next answer for more information.

Q: How long does it take?

A piano should be tuned regularly, which for most people is once or twice every year. Pianos that are well maintained can generally be tuned in one hour. If a piano has gone without tuning for an extended period, its pitch may have dropped far below the normal A-440 standard. This means that all of the strings will need to be tightened considerably, adding tremendous additional tension to your piano. As each string is tightened, the additional load causes the pitch of the previously adjusted strings to change.

To get around this problem, your technician will need to first perform a process called pitch-raising, in which all strings are raised (or lowered) to their average tension levels. Only then can the piano be accurately tuned. A pitch raise typically adds another 30 minutes to the tuning but the condition of your piano will be the deciding factor. In general, the longer your piano has gone without regular service, the longer it will take to reestablish tuning stability.

Q: What causes my piano to go out of tune?

If your piano is new, the pitch drops quickly for the first couple of years as the new strings stretch and wood parts settle. It’s very important to maintain any new piano at the proper pitch during this period, so the string tension and piano structure can reach a stable equilibrium.

Climate change, however, is the main cause of pitch change. That’s because a piano’s soundboard is made out of wood. If humidity goes up, the soundboard swells and stretches a piano’s strings to a higher pitch. During dry times the soundboard flattens out, lowering tension on the strings causing pitch to drop. The drop during dry seasons tends to exceed the rise during humid times, so the net result is a drop in pitch each year. Humidity fluctuation can also lead to such damage as soundboard cracks, loose tuning pins, and glue joint failures.

Other factors include the age of the piano, the overall quality of the piano, how often the piano is played, and how forcefully the piano is played.

Q: How can I keep my piano in tune longer?

During the winter, use a humidifier to put moisture back in the air around the piano. During the summer a dehumidifier can help remove excess moisture. A humidity control system can be installed inside your piano that includes its own humidistat, humidifier, and dehumidifier. These systems are designed to maintain the relative humidity of the air within the piano at the ideal level of 42%. Our technician can install one of these systems for you.

Q: What other piano services are available?

Custom voicing, professional regulation, parts replacement, and repair. We currently do not do any major piano rebuilding or refinishing.

Please call 800-962-3658 or 515-278-4685 to schedule a tuning.