Tuning & Pitch Adjustment

Tuning is the adjustment of the pitch of the strings in a piano, and the result is the correct relationship between all the notes of the instrument. Equally important in the art of tuning is to make the piano sound as nice for as long as possible – ie, stability. Tuning a piano can take up to two hours to complete.

Pianos are made from a combination of wood, metal, and modern composite materials, that respond daily and seasonally to various factors. Wood responds to moisture changes; steel and metals respond to temperature changes; and composite materials can change with both of these, but to a lesser extent. The problem is that all these changes are often separate to each other, which results in the tuning – or the balance of string tension – changing daily, even if the piano is unused. Most manufacturers recommend at least one tuning per year – more if the piano is used intensely or frequently. 

A pitch adjustment may be required if the piano has undergone a large climatic shift, relocation, or simply not been tuned for a long time. As a result, it may take longer to achieve a stable tuning. The further the strings have to be moved in order to tune them, the more the tension on the strings is compromised. In these circumstances the tuning takes several passes, or tunings, in short succession. Occasionally a follow-up tuning sooner than usual is required, to consolidate the stability.


At Touchstone Pianos, this service is carried out by Mark Bolsius, a highly qualified tuner of over 30 years’ experience. Mark trained originally at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and has also completed additional training at the Steinway Concert Technician’s Academy in Hamburg in Germany, as well as technical accreditation with Kawai and Yamaha. He was the primary concert technician at the ANU School of Music in Canberra for many years.

Mark uses aural tuning techniques as well as a highly sophisticated electronic means to achieve the highest levels of accuracy and stability in his tuning – the best of both worlds.

(03) 5721 3555

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