Is your piano sounding a little out of tune? Are you finding it doesn’t quite sound the same when you sit down to play?

If your piano sounds like it’s a little off, that means you’re probably overdue for a tuning. When it comes to piano tuning, one option you have is to visit a piano tuner or a piano technician and have them come out and do it for you. Another option is doing it yourself. It’s a little bit of a detailed job, but if you’ve got a strong year, an eye for detail, patience and time, you can make it happen.

So if you decide to do a piano tuning yourself, here’s what you’re going to need for the job:

  • Mutes: these allow you to test out your piano’s range of sounds as well as the volume. It’s recommended that you get a variety of them.
  • Chromatic tuner: this can be a little pricey, but it’s well worth it. This helps give your piano the proper tone and ensures none of the keys are tuned either too flat or too sharp. You can also look for a piano tuning app on your phone since these tuners can run as high as $1,000.
  • Tuning lever: this will be one of the most important tools in your arsenal and might run you about $50. There are different kinds you can choose from, but stick with a standard No. 2 and make sure you get the right tip for it.

As you gather materials, take care to find some quality equipment. These are tools you’re not going to be able to find just anywhere and investing in quality tools now will make things a lot easier as you do future tunings. Look at piano repairs shops for tools.

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary materials, let’s get to the actual piano tuning:

  • Removal the panels: If you’re going to do a DIY piano tuning, the first thing you’re going to need to do is remove your piano’s external panels. You need to do this in order to get to the strings. Be prepared with some dust rags since chances are good your piano is going to be dusty. Keep a flashlight handy too so you can see what you’re doing.
  • Review the strings: Before you get to tinkering and piano tuning, take some time to familiarize yourself with the piano keys and the strings that are attached to them. If you’re going to do a DIY tuning, you’re going to need to have a base understanding of which strings go where so you don’t make any mistakes.
  • Start with C: When it comes to piano tuning, the most common tuning is A440. Keep in mind that mid-treble note has three strings. To tune each note, mute the first two strings so you can hear the third one. Use your tuner to tune that specific string and then tune the other two strings to match the first one. With the other two strings—called unisons—you can tune those by ear.
  • Turn the pin for the string: You’ll want to take your tuning lever, put it in the pin and make slight adjustments (and that means slight). The last thing you want is for strings to break. Keep in mind that clockwise turns raise the pitch on the strings and counter-clockwise turns lower it. Keep making slight turns until you find the right tone.
  • Set your pin: Once you’ve found made those slight adjustments and found the perfect tone, set your pin. How do you do this? You tighten the pin to the right just slightly and then turn it back to the left. This step takes a little bit of practice to perfect, but it helps give you the perfect pitch.
  • Tune in octaves: Once you’ve turned your middle A, you can tune lower A and follow along your keyboard until you’ve tuned your entire piano.

Once you’ve done all those steps, sit down and play your piano for a little bit. If things still seem a little off, don’t fret. Make sure you have some patience and your tools and go through the tuning process again. It will be well worth your time.

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