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How to Fix Loose Tuning Pins

If your piano isn’t quite holding a tune the way that it used to, loose tuning pins could be to blame. This is a common problem with old pianos, though new pianos can have pinblock issues as well. In this post we’ll tell you a bit about tuning pins, why they become loose and how they can be repaired.

What is a tuning pin?

The tuning pin is a metal pin that holds the strings. The pins are mounted in a hardwood pinblock which holds the tension of all of the piano’s strings.

Diagram of Pin Block and Tuning Pins

How do tuning pins get loose?

There are a couple of reasons why tuning pins become loose or fail:

  • Age of the piano: The normal swelling and shrinking of the pinblock due to humidity has a long-term impact on the pinblock. Eventually, as moisture leaves the wood, it contracts and the pins become loose.
  • Defect: If you have a new piano and are experiencing loose tuning pins, this could be a problem with the piano that needs to be fixed by the manufacturer under the instrument’s warranty.

Can you Prevent Pinblock Problems?

No matter what, aging and exposure to a normal household environment will put wear on the pinblock. However, by keeping the humidity of your home at a comfortable level during dry times, you can slow down this process. This will help all of the piano’s other wooden parts as well. This is the reason why we recommend climate-controlled storage during Oklahoma’s dry months, not storage in a garage.

How Do You Fix Loose Tuning Pins?

Piano technicians fix loose tuning pins by doing what we call a pin treatment. This involves using a liquid solution that is absorbed by the wood around the pin. The pin treatment swells and stiffens the wood fibers around the pins, allowing them to be tuned and to hold a tune longer.

It makes sense to have all of your tuning pins treated at once. When you suspect one or two loose pins, the technician is going to have to check each of the piano’s pins with a torque wrench looking for the pin that’s loose. Plus, when the next tuning pin loosens, you’re going to have to schedule another service call, and so on.

Ultimately, the most effective remedy is replacing the tuning block, pins and strings. This is a fix that we frequently make when restoring old and worn pianos. It is an extensive repair but it is the most definitive repair, and one that will leave the piano sounding much more like it did when brand new.

Schedule a Pin Treatment with Bruce Piano.

If you think that loose tuning pins might have something to do with your piano’s poor performance, we invite you to schedule an appointment with Bruce Piano. We will find the cause of your instrument’s problems and repair it in a timely and affordable manner.

Amazing service. Gary Reynolds
Yukon, OK
Pastor, First Church of the Nazarene