Services :: Pitch Stabilization
Pitch Stabilization (also sometimes called a Pitch Raise) are a type of tuning that can prepare a piano to accept a fine tuning.
A technician will usually suggest a pitch stabilization if the tention on a piano's strings have fallen (or, less likely, risen) to a point at which it might be impossible or harmful to attempt to adjust the tension (i.e. raise or lower the pitch) to the desired level (a fine tuning of A-440). Some usual causes (but not all) for this situation might be,
- Piano was recently moved, or roughly handled;
- Piano does not receive regular tuning and servicing;
- A mismatch in piano usage and servicing schedule (i.e. the piano may need more than one tuning a year);
- The environment around a piano may need controlling (i.e. relative humidity, heat, etc.);
- Possibly some problems with the piano are manifesting themselves in unstable pitch (usually more likely in instruments that are commonly in need of pitch stabilization);
When piano is in need of stabilization, the tuner would likely perform at least one pitch stabilization to bring the tention on the strings of the instrument up (or again, less likely, down) to a more reasonable level. If the initial level required only a single pitch stabilization, the experienced tuner might then be able to provide a stable fine tuning. In some instances though, the piano may require two pitch stabilizations before the instrument's dynamics will be stable enough to hold a fine tuning. Usually in such a case the experienced tuner will provide both pitch stabilizations and then suggest the customer have us back for a fine tuning after a few weeks (but usually no more than six month, or else the effectiveness of pitch stabilization begins to be lost).
The wait between pitch stabilization and fine tuning is to allow the metal stings time to settle to the higher tension. After approximately three weeks the strings should be stable enough to receive a fine tuning. Generally, if the customer waits longer than six months to have the piano fine tuned the piano may require at least another pitch stabilization before the fine tuning.
Another situation in which pitch stabilization will be needed is after new strings have been installed. In such a case the tuner/technician should provide the customer with a detailed work schedule before any work has begun. This schedule will specify how many times the tuner/technician plans to perform pitch stabilizations on the piano before it is returned to the customer. A tuner/technician should always make it clear to the customer that a restrung piano will require more tunings for the first couple of years. This is because the strings will need to stretch and settle to the tensions required of them. A tuner/technician that has not discussed this need with a customer before restringing their piano has done a disservice to the instrument's owner.
So as can be seen, there are situations in which a tuner may have no safe options except to inform the customer of the need for pitch stabilization before a stable fine tuning. An honest and experienced tuner/technician will never use pitch stabilization to "pad" the billing. Even if you do not receive your piano services from Parks & Sons - get to know your tuner/technician. This can assure you that you are receiving your services from a reputable tuner/technician.