You ask -
we answer.

Below we have compiled answers to some of the questions we are frequently asked. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.

piano tuning
Most frequent questions
Should I have it tuned before or after the heating period?

The rumour of the heating period persists, but it does not matter at which time of year the instrument is tuned. One of the crucial factors for good tuning is stable humidity. This can be regulated with the help of a humidifier.

How much does a tuning cost?

The tuning of a piano costs CHF 230.- and for a grand piano CHF 240.- . Depending on where you live, there is a small additional charge for the distance.

How long is the warranty on repairs carried out?

We give a 2-year guarantee on mechanical functions. The prerequisite is correct handling and the right location of the instrument.

How long do strings last on a piano?

Approx. 20 years, then the strings should be replaced. Exceptions are made in very humid locations or accidents with liquids, etc.

When do the hammer heads on my piano need to be replaced?

There are two reasons why hammer heads have to be replaced. Either they are so heavily played that the felt has hardened and the sound suffers (if necessary, this can also be corrected with voicing). Another possibility is that the strings have played heavily into the felt (deep grooves are created). On the one hand, this has an effect on the sound, but also on the axles that guide the hammer shaft. To avoid severe damage, the hammer heads must be replaced.

Can I have a silent system installed in my piano?

In principle, yes. However, on some models the space is too small and we cannot install the system afterwards. In any case, compromises have to be made for an instrument with a muting system installed later. So it is not to be compared with the brand-new instruments.

How often does my piano need a service?

In addition to the annual tuning, the instrument should also be checked and reworked in regulation. This is usually done by the tuner during the tuning job.
However, after a few years, more extensive work may be required. The felts on the hammer heads become very worn over time and have to be sanded down or even replaced. The keys are also exposed to a lot of friction and, depending on use, need an overhaul every few years. As the strings are made of steel (and partly of copper), they start to oxidise over time and this has a bad effect on the sound. We therefore recommend replacing the strings after 20 years at the latest.

Can my piano be repaired at my home?

For small jobs, the technician can also repair the instrument at home. Simple regulation work, for example. For all major work, however, the instrument must be brought to the workshop – there we have enough space and all the tools at hand. This way, nothing can surprise us when we take a closer look at the instrument.

Does my instrument have to go to the workshop for repair?

It is highly recommended to take the instrument to the workshop. Only a few jobs can be done at home. For many jobs, there is not enough space or equipment at home, or it would simply be too expensive to bring all the tools.
Because many repairs take several weeks, the travel costs for the technician would also be too expensive.

How long will a repair take?

The duration of the repair depends on the work. For a major overhaul (new strings, complete overhaul of the action, treatment of the keys,…) at least one month must be expected.
With most repairs there are some idle times, because wood has to be dried or glue spots have to harden. Especially with new strings, the instrument needs some time until it can hold its tuning.

Does a piano tuner have an absolute ear?

Very few tuners have absolute pitch. This is not necessary, because we do not tune the piano “purely”. The individual intervals must be tuned with a slight beat, otherwise the last notes of the tuning would not fit properly.

How can I become a piano maker?

To become a piano maker, you have to complete a 4-year apprenticeship. The most difficult thing is to find an apprenticing company, as unfortunately only a few still train in Switzerland. With currently 3 apprentices, we are already the second largest apprenticing company in Switzerland.

How long does it take to educate a piano maker

In Switzerland, the training is a 4-year apprenticeship, which is completed with an EFZ (Eidgenössiches Fachzeugnis, Federal Certificate of Competence)

Is floor heating bad for my instrument?

Yes, but only if the instrument is placed directly on the heat tubes. Damage can be prevented with an internal humidification system (Dampp Chaser – Piano Life Saver).

What humidity and temperature does my piano need?

The ideal humidity is between 45% – 55% all year round. The temperature plays only a secondary role – it simply has a direct influence on the humidity.

It is particularly important to avoid large fluctuations.

How long does it take to build a piano?

Depending on the manufacturer and quality, it takes 1-2 years from the time the first piece is created in the factory.

What is the right location for my piano?

Your piano should be placed against a wall, but, if possible, not against an outside wall. It should have a shady place without direct sunlight. Positioning it directly above the floor heating is not recommended. The piano is very sensitive to humidity (setpoint 45%-55%) and does not tolerate draughts.

What is the difference between a piano and a grand piano?

The piano (also often called upright) is upright. The strings run from top to bottom and the action is also vertical.

A grand piano is a horizontal instrument and stands on 3 legs. The strings go from front to back – for this reason, the grand piano needs much more space than the upright piano.

What is the difference between piano and upright piano?

Piano and upright piano are the same thing. The word piano has also crept into our language. The correct English term would be upright piano.

How can I sell my piano?

We will be happy to look at a high-quality instrument (e.g.: Steinway&Sons, Steingraeber, Bösendorfer, August Förster brand) in person and then make you an offer, depending on its age and condition.

The possibilities are a direct purchase of the instrument or a commission contract. In the case of the latter, the instrument remains in your possession and we only receive the right to repair and sell it. If the instrument is sold, you will receive an agreed amount.

With older or simpler instruments we can unfortunately no longer give a guarantee to a new buyer, which is why we rather advise a private sale or disposal.

How much value does my upright piano/grand piano still have?

The value of an instrument is made up of its age and condition. An instrument loses value over the years. As a rule, this takes place over a period of about 25 years for a normal piano. A high-quality instrument (brands such as Steinway&Sons, Steingraeber, Bösendorfer, August Förster,…) depreciates over a period twice as long.

However, if the instrument is damaged or in poor condition, the cost of repair must be deducted from the current value.

Regular maintenance by a specialist can prevent this deduction.

How long do I have a guarantee on a tuning?

At Piano Sigrist, you accept the tuning directly after the tuner has finished. You sign the tuning on the invoice and only in exceptional cases do you have the option of having it retuned free of charge.

We can guarantee the quality of our tuning, unless the external conditions (draught, humidity, strong change of the tuning pitch) are not ideal. In these cases, the costs of re-tuning lie with the owner.

How is a piano tuned?

A piano usually has 88 notes, and almost every note has 3 strings. Each string must be tuned individually. To do this, a special tuning hammer is used to turn the nails on which the strings are stretched, thus changing the tension of the strings. Minimal movements can make a big difference. The tighter the string, the higher the tone.

At the beginning of a tuning by ear, a temperament must be set. This means that each note of an octave is determined with the help of intervals. The tuner listens very carefully for small beats so that the temperament is exactly right. When the octave (from a’ to a”) has been set, the remaining notes can be taken over with the help of octaves. At the beginning, only the middle string is tuned and the others are damped.

When the right and left strings are then tuned to the middle string, this is called chorus tuning. This part needs the most practice and any mistake here will also be noticed by loaners.

Is my piano out of tune?

When playing a single note, there should be no “singing” sound. The note should sound clear and single. Of course, the overall tuning of the instrument can also go down or up – this can be checked with a tuning fork.

If your piano has not been tuned for more than a year, it is certainly out of tune.

Can I tune my piano myself?

Tuning an instrument needs a lot of practice. Since a note consists of 3 strings, they have to be tuned exactly to each other. Achieving this is the most difficult part of tuning and the use of the tuning hammer must be practised.

If you would like to have an insight into how tuning works exactly: we offer taster courses.

How long does a tuning last?

The pure tuning time is 1.5h – if the instrument needs to be tuned twice, it may take longer.

Do I have to tune the instrument if no one is playing it?

Yes, because the instrument still goes out of tune and the tension of the strings loosens so much over the years that it is then difficult to tune again. Depending on the situation, the instrument has to be tuned several times before the tuning holds again.
Furthermore, during a tuning appointment, the instrument is not only tuned, but also cleaned and checked for other defects and malfunctions – this can, for example, prevent a moth infestation and better preserve the value of the instrument.

How often do I have to tune my instrument?

An upright or grand piano should be tuned once a year, even if it is not being played.

What guarantees do I have when I buy an instrument?

When buying a new instrument, the manufacturer’s guarantees are given (usually 5 years on acoustic instruments and 2 years on all electronic parts/functions).
For a second-hand instrument, we give a 2-year guarantee on all mechanical functions.

Can I also buy a digital piano from Piano Sigrist?

No, digital pianos can only be rented. However, parts of the rental fee are credited towards the purchase of an acoustic piano or grand piano.

What do I have to pay attention to when I buy a piano from a private person?

Ask the following questions during the first contact:

  • When was the piano last tuned?
  • How often was it tuned?
  • How old is the instrument?

A piano should be tuned regularly (preferably annually). Otherwise damage can occur. If the instrument is badly out of tune, a tuner may have to tune it several times before the tuning holds – these costs must be taken into account.

If an instrument is more than 10 years old, its value will have been reduced by half in most cases.

It is best to take a professional with you for an expert opinion, this way you can avoid surprises.

How do I best prepare for the purchase?

It is best to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is particularly important to me about an instrument? (e.g.: a sonorous bass, a crystal clear treble, fast repetition, easy to play,…).
  • How much money do I want to/can I spend on the instrument?
  • Where is the best place to put the instrument – how much space do I have? (Attention: The instrument should not be placed on an outside wall or in full sunlight and not directly on the underfloor heating).
  • What is the transport route? Floor? External stairs? Will the instrument fit into a lift?

With these answers, you are already well prepared for a purchase from us.

Do I have to pay separately for transport?

A flat rate is covered by Piano Sigrist, but the difference has to be paid by yourself. In most cases, the flat rate covers the entire transport – only in special situations or higher floors without a lift will the costs be higher.

What is included in the purchase?

When purchasing an instrument, the 1st tuning, a standard piano bench as well as a flat rate fee for the transport is included in the price.

What should I look for when buying a piano?
  1. With a piano, you are not only buying the instrument, but also the service of the company. You should therefore also consider whether the philosophy of the company appeals to you or whether you like the people involved.
  2. A piano is a long-term companion and must be cared for and maintained accordingly – so think carefully about who you see as a professional partner.
    Especially in the case of refurbished instruments or Asian products, many people neglect to play in the piano before selling it. This only becomes apparent after a few months in your home. So ask when you buy if the instrument will be “played in” before it is delivered.
  3. You are buying the instrument for yourself – don’t let a third party talk you into something that doesn’t suit you. Buy with your heart and not with your wallet, because the instrument will accompany you for many years to come.
  4. Clothes make the man and the case makes the piano – especially with children, the visual plays a big role in whether you sit down to practise or not. If they like the piano, most children will play more often.
How much does it cost to rent an electric piano?

From CHF 40.-/month you can rent a digital piano through us.

Is there a minimum rental period?

Yes, the minimum rental period depends on the rental contract and the agreements.
We will be happy to advise you individually and personally for your suitable solution.

Is transport included in the rent?

No, the tenant must pay for the transport himself/herself. Even if the instrument is returned, the transport costs are to be borne by the tenant.

Will the rent be credited to me in the event of a later purchase?

Yes, the rent rates already paid will be credited 100% in the event of a purchase.

Can I rent any model?

We rent out instruments up to a retail value of CHF 22,000, regardless of whether it is an upright or a grand piano.

How much does it cost to rent a piano?

The rental price is calculated depending on the sales price of the instrument. We always assume the standard rental period of 72 months (6 years).

When is it worth renting an instrument?

It is worthwhile if you are not sure whether you really want to play in the long term. For example, if the child is just starting and you want to see if it’s really the right instrument.

Are the costs of piano tuning tax-deductible?

No. Unfortunately, the cost of a piano tuning is not tax deductible.

Playing the piano in the rented flat - what is allowed?

The Tenants’ Association comments on the issue of ‘making music in the flat’ as follows:

Yes, it is a personal right. A ban on playing music in a tenancy agreement or house rules is invalid. However, you must show consideration for fellow tenants to the usual extent. In general, it is assumed that you are allowed to play music in a rented flat for 2 – 3 hours per day outside the quiet hours. However, very loud instruments such as drums or trumpets are not allowed.

The legal basis can be found in Art. 257f OR (Code of Obligations)