Tuning is the most frequent and fundamental service a piano will receive. Pianos are designed to sound their best when they are tuned to the standard pitch of A440 (A above middle C beats at 440 beats per second). Humidity, temperature, movement, and time all effect a piano's pitch. A piano should be tuned at least twice a year to keep it at pitch and sounding beautiful. Routine tuning builds stability which reduces the amount of noticeable changes in pitch in between tunings. This means your piano will be more enjoyable and consistent throughout the year. If a piano is only tuned once a year or less, it is likely that it will need large pitch adjustments each time and not reach or maintain its optimal tone.
Pitch raising is required when the pitch of a piano has fallen so much that multiple tunings are required to bring it back up to pitch. Depending on how much the pitch has fallen, one or two passes are necessary to bring the pitch back up to A440. Then a final fine tuning pass is performed to build stability and improve the overall tuning. It is important to have your piano tuned often enough to avoid pitch raising. It is impossible to have a stable and consistent piano if it has to be pitch raised every time it is tuned.
A piano's action is comprised of numerous moving parts mostly made of felt and wood. These natural materials are subject to compression and wear throughout their life. These parts must be maintained and adjusted periodically to keep your piano performing its best. Most often, changes and wear in a piano's action go unnoticed because they happen gradually over time. If an action is out of regulation it will often feel sluggish or uncontrollable. Sometimes a player may feel as if they are lacking ability or skill when it is actually the action failing to respond to what they are trying to play. A fine regulation will allow your piano to play its best and give you consistency and control when you play.
Having a piano inspected before purchasing it can save you hundreds of dollars. It is not uncommon for pianos to be moved without first being inspected, only to find out that they need extensive repairs in order to make them serviceable or playable. In some cases the piano is not worth the cost to repair it and has to be disposed of. This means that not only was money wasted to move the piano, but now it must be disposed of and you are still without a piano. Issues like a severely cracked soundboard, a split bass bridge, or loose tuning pins can render a piano unplayable. Having a piano inspected is a small price to pay in order to know the piano you are interested in will be reliable and enjoyable to play.