Piano Tuning


The piano should be tuned to 440Hz, never below. A grand piano is often tuned to 442 to fit in a symphonic orchestra or a string/woodwind ensemble.

To create a tuning fork for 442Hz file the ends and compare to the original 440, the difference heard should beat 2 times/sec.

When tuning, try to follow the seasons in order to always keep  the pitch above or at 440. Never below.

If I am to tune a piano that is very low in pitch, say below 438 or more, I need to perform one or several rough tunings.
Because of the great change in string tension when pitch-raising up to 440, the piano will go out of tune as I go.
But the final pitch will be higher than before!
I always have to finish by doing a fine tuning with little change in string tension and making the tuning to “land” on 440.

A rough tuning is much faster than a fine tuning since it is pointless to be thorough with the pitch, the piano will go out of tune anyway because of what is mentioned above.

Roughly set the temperament in the reference octave. Then proceed with octaves up and down in order  to distribute the tension without staying too long on each string. A rough tuning should take max 20 minutes.


  • Tuning key on a1, key 49, 2nd string.
  • Press down the right pedal that will lift the dampers off the strings. If not doing this you will damage the damper felt by squeezing it with the strings and each damper will start to ring.
  • Insert the temperament felt from the right side of a1, muting string 1 and 3 of each key, then going down to the left side of f, key 33. I a piano,make sure the felt is above the striking point of each hammer. Move a cluster of hammers forward to check this. In a grand, just play each  key.

Check a1 with a device (iPhone) or a tuning fork.
Tune a to a1. Lower slightly f and compare the beat rate of the major third f-a to the duodecima f-a1. It is easier to be accurate with a faster beat rate. So lower f as much as you need to hear it clearly. Leave a beat rate to 0,5Hz (a beat every 2 secs), a1 slightly higher than a.(stretch technique)


The goal is to have progressive 3rds beating faster and faster from f-a up to c-e within the temperament. The beat rate should go from 7Hz – 10 Hz. This will finally produce octaves with slow beats called “stretching” technique. Enabling to play music in all keys.

*(Setting a temperament is a technique that requires a lot of aural practice and basic skills with the tuning key, otherwise you risk to end up with a damaged piano!)

4TH AND 5TH METHODE:  5ths are to narrow, and 4ths to wide. A slow beat is noticeable on 5ths, faster on 4ths.

start with a-d1
then d-g, g-c1, c1-f. check the interval major third f-a beating 6-7Hz, 6th f-d beating slightly faster
then f-a#, check the major third a#-d1
move on with a#-d#1 beating faster than a-d (check!)
d#1-g# check g#-c and compare to a-c#1 faster!
c#1-f# check f#-a# and compare to f-a slower!
f#-b check g-b and b-d#1 compared to a#-d slower!
Finally b-e check a-e and c-e faster than b-d#1!

Play f-a up to c-e in 3rds and hear the even and soft progression of beats, think of a line.
Check the 5ths and the 4ths also.
Now copy this to the other strings by going upwards octave wise, always check the 5ths which should not beat.
Downwards, tune octaves and check the 5ths and lower in the base, check the beat progression 2 octs + 3rd.

Leave the temperament felt, which you will remove in the end with the speed of 1 string at the time.
When going outside the felt, you tune string 1 to a string within the temperament 1 octave down while string 2 and 3 are muted. A rubber wedge will do the job. Remember to press and the key hold before inserting the rubber wedge!
Then tune string 1 to string 2 by moving the wedge outside string 3 and inside string 1 of the next note. Then move the wedge and insert it between string 2 and 3 on the next key. Tune string 3 to string 1 and 2. Repeat this procedure until all 88 notes are tuned.
Remove the felt by pulling out the felt 1 string at the time, enabling the tuning of string 1 to 2. Pull out again and tune string 3 to 1 and 2. Next key, etc…

Check your tuning by playing major chords C-E-G from the base up to key 88, next chord with a 5ths interval down, F-A-C, around the circle, every key, etc. Correct the false strings. The end!

VOILA! You did it!