September 21, 2021


Please, write here any particular comment and/or question you might have. Thanks


  1. Monica says:

    Hi Juan! My piano is some 20 y.o. and I’ve had two tuners work on it previously. Both of them told me that the piano is a half step lower than it should be, but this is how it was built and they cannot do anything about it. Is there anything to be done about it, just that it would take a lot more time to tune it properly? Maybe if I would assure the tuner that he will be paid by the hour, just so that he gets the job done, he would be willing to do it … Thank you!

    • Juan says:

      Hi Monica,
      Any piano 20 years old should be able to be tuned at standard pitch, that is 440. If your piano can not be tuned a standard pitch then must be older than you think. When a piano has not been tuned for many years then a pitch leafting is needed before proper tuning. Some piano tuners do this job in two sessions or different days and in general it works well. Some other tuners do this same job (pitch lifting and tuning) on the same day and the total cost is more or less like two standard piano tunings.


  2. Toñi says:

    Hi Juan,
    I wish to get more information about muy piano KAPS P. VAN LEEUWEN & Zn Amsterdam and this 2 Numbers 6330 and 263 and price.
    Many thanks!

    • Juan says:

      Hi Toñi,
      Sorry, I do not have any reference about your piano. I think it could be what they call a “stencil piano”, that is a piano built by large factory and labeled with a manufacturer’s name not related to the factory. Very often they use the name of a well known piano or music store.


  3. Kathleen says:

    I recently bought a home with a beautiful piano just abandoned there, so unloved. It is a Hardman &Peck baby grand with serial number 110010. It was very loved at one point because the condition is superb. However, I believe it is out of tune. Do you have any information on this piano? Unfortunately, the house was bought as a rental so I need to find out if it is worth moving to my primary home or if I should sell it and put the money into a new piano fund. Thanks so much in advance.

    • Juan says:

      Hi Katheleen,
      Your piano was made in 1956 in New York. If the piano is well looked after and is in a good condition it looks like a nice present, I wish I had your good luck! If it is out of tune, contact a technician to tune it, but if it has been too long without tuning it might need a secondary tuning and some regulation. Best thing is to call a pro piano tuner to give you an estimate.


  4. Christian says:

    Hi Juan,
    We rescued a Sterling Vintage upright SN# 36573 from a Garage sale…for $15…It has Ivory keys and is in extremely good aesthetic shape. What year do you think it is, and how can we get some of the Ivory keys replaced/cleaned from the yellowing?
    Thank you!

    • Juan says:

      Hi Christian,
      You don’t see many pianos these days for 15 bucks!! That piano was built in the year 1908. If you want to clean the ivories just try lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide (can buy in pharmacies) diluted in water, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t, depended of the ivory types. If cleaning is not possible you can buy a set of ivory keys from Good luck with the piano.


  5. Ed says:

    Greetings Friend,

    You mentioned piano wire is available on ebay and it is not expensive.

    Is the wire on eBay good quality wire?

    Is the piano wire sold by the suppliers to the trade of better quality?

    Thank you

  6. PaulSebalj says:

    I have a question about my upright piano. its quite old, i took it apart as by that i mean i took the Hammer rail system completely out and when i put it back in, suddenly some of the hammers seem to be stuck against the strings without the key even being pressed, this makes it impossible to press down the key and is annoying the crap out of me and i would really like to know how to fix it myself, somebody please help.

    • Juan says:

      Hi Paul,
      I guess what you mean is that you removed the action from the piano and could not place it back properly in place. It looks like you did not set the action properly into their bolts. Try again to remove it and then carefully put it back. If it does not work you can send us some pictures and will try to help you. Regards, Juan

  7. edwin Jimenez says:

    How do you set the pins during tuning so as to sustain the longevity of the tuning. In addition please recommend me a decent tuning hammer. I am learning to tune for my self not as a profession. I in researching the extendable hammers give you more feel for the pin.

    • Juan says:

      Hello Edwin,
      The best advice I can give you to set the pins is to strike the keys with firm blows. An extendable tuning lever is always better than a non extendable one, also makes tuning easier, specially for beginners. You can buy a decent tuning lever for around 90 USD. Google a little bit and you will find quite a few online stores you can buy from.


  8. john matta says:

    I have a Kent and Cooper, made in Nottingham, England. Serial #20911.
    Fret 1, B. Bichord, I broke one of the strings. Can I just tune the other and keep going for a while. I also broke fret 1 C, can I take the B string just below C and put it where C is and make it a C? I’m hardup for money to spend on piano.

    • Juan says:

      Hi John,
      Fiddling with strings like that it is much more difficult that replacing them for new ones. In ebay you can find cheap piano wire for the different sections of your piano.


  9. angie says:

    Hi there..sorry no picture. I just recently purchased an upright “Mendelssohn” piano. Visually its in really good shape, however in need of a tuning. The felt pads have minor dents in them where they meet the strings, but i have seen much worse. Question is, i can only find 1 number, stamped top dead center of the iron harp…its 8543…on the top inside of the cabinet itself, theres a # 3459. Im curious the age of this seems to have plastic keys, but i know the keys could have been replaced ( if it originally had ivory) any info is greatly appreciated. I am looking for a tuner that travels to our little town, 2 hrs from closest city…& what the best time of year/humidity levels to get it tuned..Thanks

    • Juan says:

      Hi Angie,
      According to the serial number, your Mendelssohn piano was built in NY in 1902. Problem with pianos that old is that they are very expensive to renovate them, in general it´s dearer than buying a new one. You should call a piano tuner to see the piano and give you some advice. I would love to service the piano for you, but it could be a bit dear by way of travelling expenses (just right now I live in Spain) so better to look for a piano technician near your area, there many good ones in Canada.


  10. Ravil Atlas says:

    I have a Kaps 6 foot grand piano serial number 7265. The patent is from 1878 Dresden. It has been repaired but not particularly well. Sound board and pin board are fine. It holds tune better and better with each tuning (3 so far in the past year). Can you tell me what year this piano was made and what the general opinion is of this make and model? I have a professional in to tune once a year but it does have some issues in between and I would like to start tuning it in between the professional tunings (do you think this is wise?). Thanks for you advice and opinions.


    • Juan says:

      Hi Ravil,
      No wonder you have some issues in between tunings, your Ernst Kaps piano was build in 1882!! It is not a well known piano, production was discontinued by 1930, so you do not see many of those Kaps around. Yes it is wise to tune the piano yourself in between pro tunings, that is what many people already does. You do not have to be a proficient tuner to better your piano, and it is amazing what a few “little touches” like adjusting unisons and octaves (within the reach of practically everybody) can do for your piano. These techniques surely you can learn, we’ll be happy to help.

      Best wishes for the new year,

  11. Ray says:

    Hi Juan,

    Thanks for all the great information. I have a question. I have a brand new (4 years old) Yamaha Grand and I am going to attempt to tune. I have tuned before a few notes on several pianos and being a musician for all my life, I know and can tell the beats and interval and unison tuning you talk about.

    My question id when I just checked the A above middle C, it is flat -20 cents on my Korg OT-120. It seems like all the notes are flat -20 cents. Do you recommend I bring the temperament up 20 cents to be dead center in tune? Is this to much of a raise in pitch to cause problems and break a string(s)?

    I greatly appreciate your reply.


    • Juan says:

      Hi Ray,
      20 cents down in pitch is not too flat, in fact it is quite ordinary. 20 cents is the equivalent to 5 beats (4 cents = 1 beat), that means your piano it is roughly at 435 bps.

      Yamaha grands are in general pianos easy to tuned, beats are easy to hear and recognize. To do a good job I recommend you tune the piano in two times. First time bring the piano to standard pitch 440 bps (at this stage do not need to be too precise) and let the piano settle down for one or two days, then fine tune again, this second time try to be as precise as possible with special attention to the unisons. I think by following this procedure, your piano will nicely tuned. Remember to strike the keys solidly (very important) in order to settle down the pins. Good luck!


      • Ray says:

        Thank you Juan.

        I will give that approach a try and tune two times. I appreciate the great information you provide on your blog.


  12. Cabbie Glass says:

    I have an old upright Sterling Co. piano with a metal plate Serial # 69652 A few years ago, it had beautiful, resonant tones, but it has been moved and is in need of tuning. I hope you won’t tell me it’s a lost cause; I cannot afford to invest in a new piano and would love to play this one again.

    PS. I couldn’t figure out how to send photos

    • Juan says:

      Hi Cabbie,
      Thank you for visiting our web. Your piano was built at Derby, Connecticut in 1917. By no means it has to be a lost caused, I have seen pianos much older than that and still in good condition. If it has not been tuned for a long time, it would probably needs to lift the pitch to standard A440 and also a good regulation. Those two things do not have to be necessarily expensive and will make wonders for the piano.

      Probably your best option is to call a good piano tuner to give you an estimate and his/her professional advice.


      • Cabbie Glass says:

        Thank you, Juan, for the information regarding my piano. I do hope to get several more good years out of it – I loved playing it when it was in tune. It has been well cared-for over the years, so I’m hoping I can find a qualified tuner in my area. The thought of learning to tune it myself seems a bit daunting, to say the least!

        Again, thanks for the advice.

        Best regards,
        Cabbie Glass

  13. Andre says:

    Hi Juan,

    I was wondering if you would be kind enough to help date my baby grand piano.

    It is in need of some cosmetic repair and wondering if this is worth completing vs. the actual value of the piano.

    It is a Collard and Collard and it has the following no.s on the piano:

    18145, 8479 & G27897

    Your help would be much appreciated.



    • Juan says:

      Hello Andre,
      Because you gave us three different numbers, I can not really guess which one is the good one. Any way, the number 18145 points out that the piano was made around 1836, the number 8479 that the piano was made around 1826 and the number G27897 that the piano was made around 1840. Not too much difference, really.

      Collard&Collard is one of the oldest and most prestigious piano companies in Great Britain. These pianos were made in London. In 1929 Chappell acquired the company but the production discontinued by 1960. I have seeing a few of these pianos and they can be considered “collectors items”, full of charm and character. The down point is that to restore a piano so old appropiately can be very costly, more than buying a new piano.


  14. Hamed Movassagh says:

    Dear Juan
    I’m one of your readers. I’vebought both of your Piano Tuning and Piano repairing books and those were very useful to me. I could get much information about piano tuning and repairing that I couldn’t get before. I also could tune about 15 pianos and I intend to do more and more. I know that I have to tune many many pianos to be a master so I’m very patient and every time I tune a new piano I become more experienced. The results that I get are not very disappointing but they are not satisfying also! The truth is that I couldn’t set the main section temperament using 3th and 6th. I found them very difficault! Alternatively I used Fischer method and with 5th intervals that are easier to understand and performe, but not exact.
    I want to be a master in aural piano tuning but it takes a long time so I also use an ET to get better results. I have a Korg OT-120. Recently I read your article about tuning with this device and become very interesting! But I couldn’t understand at all! How should I set a note to a specific frequency on my tuner?
    I have many other questions but I don’t wish to waste your time bynow.
    Thank you so much for yor reply
    Hamed Movassagh

    • Juan says:

      Hello Hamed,
      Thank you for reading my blog and sorry for the delay in answering your comment. Ok, about the ET (I guess you are talking about “electronic tuner” and not the famous old film…) there are two types, the ones who are specific for tuning pianos, they are expensive but they do work, and the chromatic ordinary ones. The explanation given in the article about tuning a piano with an ordinary tuner, I agree is not easy to implement as you have to do manually what the pro tuner do automatically itself, take the article more like a theoretical exercise to understand the principles of tuning a piano.

      If you want to tune a piano with an Electronic Tuner I recommend that you buy a pro one, or even better to carry on with your practice in aural piano tuning. As you know the more pianos that you tune the easier they will become. The system of piano tuning with 3th and 6th is the best, but of course can also be a bit “tricky”, some pianos are difficult to hear certain beats, also is a fact that we piano tuners also have good “inspired” days that we tune better than others.

      If you look careful in the book, in the chapter nº VI, “Standard tuning procedure” you will see that in the different steps for setting the temperament, normally you tune using 3ths and 6ths, but also you check your intervals with 5ths and 4ths, so in reality we are tuning 3ths and 6ths system but integrating the old way (wrongly named the Fisher system) that utilizes 5ths and 4ths. Example: step nº 2 where you tune D42 with reference to F33 (6th interval), but also you check D42 with A37 which makes a 5th interval and you will hear a low beat of about 1 beat per second.
      Best regards,

  15. Bob says:

    I have s.w. miller piano has been in family Quite some time . 5 generations have played on it since grandmother bought it. Would be curious of its age its in fairly good condition plays well and holds tune for agood peroid of time. we tune it annually key action is very good also interested in approximate value. serial #25852 thanks Bob

    • Juan says:

      Hello Bob,
      Your piano was built around 1905. This S.W. Miller company was based in Sheboygan (Wisconsin). Due to the fact that the piano is more than a hundred years old and taken into consideration that still can hold the tune and the condition is reasonably fair, I think the market value of the piano could be about two or three hundred dollars, at most. Problem is that most pianos over hundred years old have a high depreciation and only prestige pianos like Mason & Hamlin, Steinway & Sons and so on manage to hold its real value. Best regards, Juan

  16. Cary says:

    just bought an old piano. heave as heck. now i need to learn how to tune and of course how to play…

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