Piano Tuning FAQ


We have a team of highly trained, highly skilled piano technicians that are fully qualified to take on all manner of jobs with your piano.  Directed by one of the best Concert Piano Technicians in the country, we aim for a very stable tuning to maximise the length of time your piano stays in tune, giving you the best value for money possible!

Why should I buy my piano from Theme & Variations?

The team at Theme & Variations is an experienced group of people who love, play, teach, tune, repair and restore pianos.  They are a big family that has over 100 years of combined experience in the piano industry and enjoys helping customers find the right piano!  Looking for the right sound is like searching for the right flavour of wine – too many options to choose from!  The trusted experts on the floor can help guide you on what would be the best option to suit your needs.  With such an extensive range of pianos in the showroom, there is bound to be something for you!  All pianos from Theme & Variations come tuned and serviced by our expert technicians.

Why should Theme & Variations tune my piano?

As with any service industry, you are paying for quality, professionalismexpertise and customer service.  With technicians internationally trained in Germany, USA and Japan, we deliver the highest quality of expertise.  With a team of piano-loving people, you can rest assured that your piano is in the best possible hands!  Call now for a tuning on (02) 9958 9888!

What makes Theme & Variations different?

Theme & Variations has a team of expert technicians which allows for more support and more availability for you.  Starting in 1985, Theme & Variations is also heavily invested in the musical scene of Australia, supporting many major organisations such as:

  • The Sydney Symphony Orchestra
  • Musica Viva
  • The Australian Chamber Orchestra
  • The Australian Festival of Chamber Music
  • The Lev Vlassenko Piano Competition
  • The Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition
  • The Huntington Music Festival
  • The Canberra International Music Festival, etc.

As a company, Theme & Variations enjoys the respect from industry peers for their active support of the cultural and artistic life of Australia.

Why does my piano go out of tune?

Contrary to what many people think, pianos go out of tune due to changes in temperature and humidity, not through playing (unless you’re practising 8 hours a day everyday!).

Why does it cost $220?

You are not just paying for the time the technician is there, you are paying for the health of the piano after he has left!  In a steady climate, with our expert tuning, you are investing $200 in your piano for the whole year.

 How often should I have it tuned?

As the weather and humidity can fluctuate so wildly in Australia, we recommend having your piano tuned at a minimum of once a year. If your piano is getting constant and heavy use everyday (such as in a school or institution), it may be possible that your piano would need tuning four times a year, as well as extra maintenance to keep the piano in shape.

Why does the weather affect my piano?

As most pianos are comprised of natural materials that absorb moisture (such as timber, felt, cloth), they are very susceptible to changes in humidity.  As the relative humidity increases, the soundboard swells as it absorbs the moisture in the air.  This pushes against the strings, increasing the tension, which inevitably forces the piano to go ‘sharp’ in the middle register.  Sometimes the humidity will affect the bushing cloth, which can cause some keys to ‘stick’.  When the weather changes back to dryer conditions, the pitch will return to where it was, but not note-perfectly.  Some notes may lag in pitch, and some notes may continue to stick.

Besides tuning, what else might my piano need?

Occasionally, a piano might need extra servicing on top of tuning which includes regulation and voicing. Think of this as a major car service, rather than a minor oil change.

What is the standard concert pitch?

A440 is still the standard concert pitch internationally, although we are requested to tune to A441 or A442 in concert situations. Some orchestral instruments prefer to be tuned to A441, particularly violins – which is why the piano is then requested to be tuned to A441 when there are piano concertos or chamber ensembles.

What is ‘A440’?

440 refers to the “hertz” or the frequency at which a sound wave beats per second. The difference between A440 to 441 is barely perceptible to most people; however, if instruments tuned to a different hertz are played together at the same time it may become more obvious.

What methods do your technicians use for tuning?

Our technicians are all trained to tune by ear using a tuning fork at A440 as a guide. Pianos are usually tuned to a modified version of a system called equal temperament.

How much for tuning/service?

We charge $200 (in Brisbane) and $220 (in Sydney) for a standard tuning. If the piano is old and hasn’t been tuned in the past 10 years, it often needs a pitch raise as well (which is another $110). A pitch raise is a rough tuning to help a piano become more stable before a standard tuning and helps to prevent string breakages too.

What is a restoration?

A piano restoration involves replacing parts of the piano and restoring it to its former glory.  This can involve replacing strings, bushings, pins, felts, action parts, hammers, etc. and often takes many hours of work.  Many people wish to restore pianos that are historic instruments or have great sentimental value.

Why should Theme & Variations restore my piano?

Being a Steinway & Sons Service Center, we have one of the only facilities in Australia qualified for major restorations.  Our team of technicians are qualified to work on all parts of the piano, and we have a long history of success with our restorations (on both uprights and grands).

Check out our expert piano technicians in action below!

Theme & Variations Head Piano Technician Ara Vartoukian

Theme & Variations Piano Technician Ken Hatfield

Theme & Variations Piano Technician Julian Morgan-Smith

Book A Test Play

There's no other way to choose the right piano than by feeling it and hearing it.

Book now ›

Contact Us

Call NSW: (02) 9958 9888
Call QLD: (07) 3666 0650
Send us an email



451 Willoughby Road
Willoughby NSW 2068

QLD - Service Centre

28 Ross Street
Newstead QLD 4006