What should you expect?

Our complete tunings include monitoring and making necessary corrections to the tempering, and adjusting the regulation of reeds for uniform volume and character.

1. Biannual Tuning

We generally recommend two tunings each year, scheduled with the seasonal heat and humidity changes: late fall when the heat is on and late spring when the air-conditioning is on.

2. Special Accomodations

Clients with special requirements are accommodated accordingly. Both complete and touch-up tunings are available.

3. Monitoring

Our complete tunings include monitoring and making necessary corrections to the tempering, and adjusting the regulation of reeds for uniform volume and character.

4. Inspect, Repair, Adjust

We also inspect the mechanical systems of the instrument and repair or adjust any minor problems. Your satisfaction is guaranteed.

5. Report

After each visit, our team will leave a service report listing services performed during our visit, and briefly mentioning any issues we discovered. We will then follow up with a detailed description, along with our recommendations. Please feel free to contact us at any time with questions about your pipe organ.

Comprehensive Services

Our staff regularly cares for over 250 instruments across seven states. Our clients include churches, universities, museums, and private residences. Please contact us if you are interested in an inspection of your pipe organ.

Frequently asked questions about our pipe organ tuning and maintenance

What types of instruments does Muller Pipe Organ service?

Muller Pipe Organ Company services all makes and vintages of pipe organs.

How often should a pipe organ be serviced?

Typically, pipe organs are tuned twice a year — once around the beginning of the heating season and then around the beginning of the cooling season. For some customers this is Christmas and Easter tunings. We can accommodate any scheduling needs.

How much should we plan to spend on service?

It is reasonable to spend between one quarter, and one half of a percent of the replacement value of an organ annually for service. For example, an organ with a replacement value of $300,000 would require between $750 – $1,500 per year for service. This does not include the cost of travel for the organ service technicians.

What does routine service involve?

Routine service involves checking and lubricating the blower, minor adjustments of console and other mechanical components, and touching up the tuning of the pipes. Typically, reeds, stopped flutes, and capped flutes require the most attention.

How important is temperature to tuning?

Temperature is the single most important factor to stable tuning. Modern American churches employ HVAC systems designed to quickly and efficiently heat and cool the sanctuary, minimizing energy usage. This increases the comfort level of the congregation but may have an adverse effect on the tuning stability of the organ. Pipe organs, especially those located in chambers as opposed to free standing cases, typically have very poor air circulation. Further exacerbating this issue is that an organ with multiple chambers may have one chamber with one or two outside walls, and another chamber with no outside walls, skewing the temperature difference between the two chambers. Even further still, these temperature differences tend to reverse from cooling season to heating season.

In the best case scenario, each division or chamber of the organ remains at the same temperature as the sanctuary, all the time. Since pipe chambers warm and cool slowly compared to the rest of the sanctuary, we request that the thermostat be set to “occupied” several hours in advance of our visit in hopes that the temperatures in the chambers will approach equilibrium. Even small differences in temperature between the various portions of the instrument will result in an instrument having the divisions in tune to themselves, but out of tune from one division to another.

Why do pipe organs go out of tune?

The pipe organ is a wind instrument. Wind instruments, whether trumpets, flutes or organ pipes, sound sharp when warm, flat when cool. Just as a church or concert hall needs to turn the heat on before a performance, instrumentalists warm their instruments by blowing into them. They also check their pitch after playing for a few minutes, and inevitably re-tune.

There are several other factors which contribute to organ pipes going out of tune. Pipes constructed of wood will change pitch with variations in humidity as well as temperature, whereas metal pipes do not. Open pipes (the majority of organ pipes) are susceptible to dust and debris falling into the pipes which effect tuning, timbre, and volume.

Age and overall condition of a pipe organ can contribute to an instrument’s ability to hold tune.

What can we do to help preserve our pipe organ?

A pipe organ is both a large mechanical device, and an investment in the worship life of a congregation.

Engaging the services of well qualified pipe organ technicians and builders for regular tuning, maintenance, and repair will ensure the long life of your instrument.

Minimize or eliminate access to pipe organ components by anyone other than the organist and the organ maintenance firm. Over the years we have seen a great deal of damage done by well-meaning parishioners and church maintenance personnel, as well as contractors who were unaware of how delicate pipe organ components are. If any mechanical work will be done in the sanctuary, or any rooms adjoining the sanctuary or the blower, it is imperative to consult with your organ maintenance firm in advance of the work to ensure the organ is properly protected. It costs much less to protect the organ than it does to repair after the fact.

Do not store anything in the organ chambers, in front of access doors to the organ chambers, on or near the organ blower(s), or any other component of the pipe organ.

Maintain proper heat and air conditioning systems for the sanctuary.