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Are all new USA bound pianos tuned to 440hz concert pitch?
#3001139 07/10/20 02:34 PM
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Are all new USA bound pianos tuned to 440hz concert pitch from the factory?, based on the Wiki entry below perhaps some European concert instruments are shipping with A4 at 444 hz.

Wiki advises "A440 is widely used as concert pitch in the United Kingdom and the United States. In continental Europe the frequency of A4 commonly varies between 440 Hz and 444 Hz.


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Re: Are all new USA bound pianos tuned to 440hz concert pitch?
blueviewlaguna. #3001156 07/10/20 02:54 PM
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And the reason you are asking ?

Re: Are all new USA bound pianos tuned to 440hz concert pitch?
blueviewlaguna. #3001246 07/10/20 05:34 PM
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Interesting, here is what I've found so far:

http://forum.pianoworld.com//ubbthr...immel-tune-their-pianos.html#Post2701793

Schimmel: 442hz
Bosendorfer: 443hz
Petrof: 442hz

Last edited by blueviewlaguna.; 07/10/20 05:38 PM.

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Re: Are all new USA bound pianos tuned to 440hz concert pitch?
blueviewlaguna. #3001261 07/10/20 06:15 PM
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The pitch at which they are tuned at the factory does not mean that that is the best pitch for that piano. It just means that is the local preference, whether because of the company preferences or regional preferences.

So any of those pianos will sound great at any of the common pitches, usually from 440 to 445.

Kawai tunes their pianos to 442 in Japan usually.


Don Mannino, MPA
Kawai America
Re: Are all new USA bound pianos tuned to 440hz concert pitch?
KawaiDon #3001262 07/10/20 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by KawaiDon
The pitch at which they are tuned at the factory does not mean that that is the best pitch for that piano. It just means that is the local preference, whether because of the company preferences or regional preferences.

So any of those pianos will sound great at any of the common pitches, usually from 440 to 445.

Kawai tunes their pianos to 442 in Japan usually.

Thanks Don, my August Forster 215 is coming in at 443hz and I'm inclined to tell my technician to leave it at that pitch for my first tuning since new.

Last edited by blueviewlaguna.; 07/10/20 06:22 PM.

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Re: Are all new USA bound pianos tuned to 440hz concert pitch?
blueviewlaguna. #3001274 07/10/20 07:03 PM
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Many pianos arrive from the factory on the sharp side of 440. I suspect one of the reasons why may include accounting for the pitch going lower as the piano gets played in and the strings stretch.

Do you play it with another piano or in chamber music settings? That would probably affect my choice. Is it particularly humid or dry in your home this time of year? That can also factor in. I tune my piano 3-4 times a year and keep it at 440. It changes +/- 1 between tunings, depending on the weather.


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Re: Are all new USA bound pianos tuned to 440hz concert pitch?
terminaldegree #3001335 07/10/20 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
Many pianos arrive from the factory on the sharp side of 440. I suspect one of the reasons why may include accounting for the pitch going lower as the piano gets played in and the strings stretch.

Do you play it with another piano or in chamber music settings? That would probably affect my choice. Is it particularly humid or dry in your home this time of year? That can also factor in. I tune my piano 3-4 times a year and keep it at 440. It changes +/- 1 between tunings, depending on the weather.

Its interesting that you mention that most pianos are shipped sharp to allow for relaxation of the strings, etc. - that does make a lot of sense, perhaps carried a step farther since mine was shipped as soon as it was manufactured it has not had much time to relax closer to 440 hz at all, whereas I know my Schimmel 213 had been on the sales floor for about a year.

I don't accompany other instruments so matching pitch is not much of a concern. I ended up installing a whole house dehumidifier and steam humidifier system before the 215's arrival and it's maintaining an RH of 45% +/- 2.5%.

Did you buy your K230 new and bring it down to 440 hz?, I'm wondering if someone could tell the difference between 3 hz at A4 even if they had perfect pitch.

Last edited by blueviewlaguna.; 07/10/20 11:14 PM.

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Re: Are all new USA bound pianos tuned to 440hz concert pitch?
blueviewlaguna. #3001350 07/11/20 12:25 AM
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Hi blueview,

It's really impressive that your HVAC system can control such a tight window of humidity. Once that piano is broken in, I imagine it will be quite stable!

The K230 I bought was the demo piano at the NAMM show, 2 winters ago. It had been tuned for the show, then it was in transport for a while, then it was routed through Atlanta and shipped to me via a local piano moving crew. By the time I got it, the state of tuning was usable for practicing, but not ideal (unsurprising, after a lengthy coast to coast journey in a truck)-- my tuning notes indicate it was at 440, but the bass section was about 10 cents sharp. I tuned it 7 times the first year, so it's pretty darned stable even in my less than ideal (but not horrible) humidity environment at home.

I have perfect pitch (it's something whose worth is far overestimated in real life), and I can usually tell if a piano is at 443 or 440. Or, if it's going to need a pitch raise before I tune it. I remember playing a chamber concert at my last job where the technician decided to float the pitch in an overly humid concert hall at A444, and one of my collaborators just about had a heart attack!


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Re: Are all new USA bound pianos tuned to 440hz concert pitch?
blueviewlaguna. #3001429 07/11/20 10:14 AM
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Hi all,

Generally, pianos that are well prepped before they leave their respective factories are tuned a little sharp for the USA. I had always thought that this meant they were anticipating a drop in pitch during shipping and were compensating for it. I further assumed that preparation tuning was done with the final destination in mind, particularly the premium models.

I know I am correct with Bösendorfer, Estonia, and the premium Yamaha pianos, but for more consumer grade offerings they may be simply tuning at a pitch that is kind of acceptable everywhere, which is why they come to me a little sharp.

BTW, we have had lower quality consumer grade pianos come in and we never had any idea of where they would be in tuning/adjustment when they were unboxed. The only thing that was consistent was their inconsistency. smile


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Philadelphia, King of Prussia, and Cherry Hill, NJ
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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