Comparing The Organ to The Piano

Comparing The Organ to The Piano

If you’re thinking about purchasing a digital piano, you may wonder what the difference is between an organ and a piano.

First, it’s important to understand that even though both the piano and organ have keyboards, they belong to different instrument groups. The piano is classified as a percussion instrument, while the organ is considered a woodwind instrument.Comparing The Organ to The Piano

When you strike the key of a piano, it is attached to a hammer that strikes a string tuned to a specific frequency, which produces a sound. The vibrations and sounds are quick to fade.

When you strike an organ key, however, you are completing a circuit that creates a sound. This sound can be sustained indefinitely, as long as you continue to hold the key.

The piano will sound more acoustic as it is being played, while an organ will sound more electronic.

Organs were designed to produce a variety of sounds throughout the woodwind family, including reed and brass instruments. They can also produce a variety of other effects with the touch of a button. While the lines are blurring a bit with modern digital pianos, in most cases the piano makes a better lead instrument, while organs are better for supporting chords.

Typically an organ is easier to play. You must learn to play bass notes on a pedaled keyboard while controlling the dynamics with a volume pedal. Pianists must learn more complicated fingering and be able to play complex chords.

Because organs are often designed with easy play methods, they allow you to start playing songs within minutes. For a hobbyist who simply chooses to play a few familiar songs, it can be an easy process to hear your favorite songs within a few short practice sessions.

But if you want to hone in on a complex skill, creating richer tones and familiarizing yourself with a complex talent that can take a lifetime to learn, you can never go wrong with a piano.

Want to learn more about organs and pianos? Stop by today.


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

What You Might Not Know About Pianos

What You Might Not Know About Pianos

Are you in the market for a new piano? Buying one is different than other purchases you make for your home. 

Take a kitchen appliance, for instance. Let’s say your dishwasher breaks, and you need a new one. You do a little research, find out what separates the makes and the brands, and then start picking out features that mean the most to you. Want a quiet dishwasher? Want one with multiple cycles for different loads? You can find several that will do the job quite nicely. What You Might Not Know About Pianos

When you bring it home and install it, the dishwasher works as promised. And it will continue to do so week after week, month after month, year after year. As long as it is well maintained, it will continue to the job similarly over and over again. 

That’s where the error occurs when people start shopping for a piano. 

A piano is a piano, right? But that assumption isn’t accurate. 

Because a piano is a living, breathing entity. It has a personality. It presents itself differently on any given day. 

Maybe it’s because the piano has around 12,000 working parts in it. Maybe it’s because so many different things affect how a piano works and sounds. 

Change the temperature in a room, and a piano can go flat or sharp.

When the air becomes dry, the sound can become brittle. 

Add a little humidity, and the sound can become muffled. 

But for most people, they don’t realize this when they start the search for a piano. 

Some people buy a piano sight unseen. When they load it up and take it home, is it any wonder it doesn’t sound quite right?

And if the sound isn’t there, why would you want to play it every day?

If you are in the market for a piano, get in and play it. Tap the keys. Play a scale. Tinker out a melody. And listen. 

Does it sound right to you? Do you connect with it? Can you see yourself making music together for years to come?

Only if the answer is yes is it time to buy. 


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

Buying A Child’s First Piano

Buying A Child’s First Piano

How do you buy a child’s first piano if you aren’t a musician yourself?

For many parents, doing a little research only confuses the situation. 

The child’s piano teacher may offer advice: “Make sure the piano has full size, weighted keys.” What does that mean?Buying A Child’s First Piano

Searching the Internet makes a case for both acoustic and digital pianos. What’s the difference?

And in the back of your mind is a little voice that says: “How long will she even play?”

These questions are all valid questions that every parent faces when pushing their child into music. 

Let’s start with the basic setup of a piano. Pianos are either acoustic or digital. Think of acoustic as the more traditional piano, with keys attached to strings, and an action that moves to create the sounds. Digital technology has come a long ways over the past decade to where a high quality digital piano can closely mimic a traditional feel and sound. 

Whichever piano you choose – acoustic or digital – the most important aspect is the sound it makes and the way it feels underneath your fingers. If it sounds good, your child will naturally want to play more. And if they have the right touch, they’ll better understand how to play the instrument. Both will make the entire process a more enjoyable experience. 

Now let’s talk about the keys. A full size piano has a full set of keys with 88 notes. Smaller keyboards may have 61 notes or 76 notes, and in most cases, these smaller keyboards have unweighted keys. Beginners start off only needing a few notes. But that quickly progresses as they begin improving their musical skills. Having fewer notes means your child will quickly outgrow the smaller keyboard. And if you haven’t ever felt the difference between a weighted and unweighted key, try it the next time you stop by our shop. You will feel a significant difference between the two responses. If a child starts with unweighted keys, they will find moving to weighted keys more of a struggle and will have a harder time transitioning to the next level of playing. Which means they will be more inclined to give up. 

If you want your child to play, you have to give her the proper tools to put into action. That doesn’t mean you’ll have to break the bank; it simply means selecting the right tools for the right time. We can help you do that, no matter what your budget or at what level your child is currently playing. 


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

What Wood Is Best For Making A Piano

What Wood Is Best For Making A Piano

If you look around your home, you’ll find wood is used in many ways, and comes from a variety of sources. You may have oak flooring, maple cabinets, and cedar in your drawers. For many of the items in your home, woods are interchangeable; you can use everything from birch, fir, mahogany, cherry or spruce to add a personal touch to your rooms. What Wood Is Best For Making A Piano

But how about your piano? What type of wood is best for creating a piano? 

It’s not so much what wood is selected as the process that is used to ensure the wood is properly treated before it is used to build a piano. 

After logs are harvested, they are sawed into planks, soaked in hot water to soften, then peeled to produce the veneer for the exterior case. It is then put through a drying process which can last from 6 months to two years, depending on how the parts will be used. This drying process is a crucial step. If not dried properly, the wood can warp and crack over time. 

In many cases, would is put through a process of air drying, then kiln dried bringing it down to as low as a 7 percent factor. It is often seasoned again before bringing it indoors to acclimate to its indoor climate. 

It’s a specialized process selecting the right wood. That’s what separates the manufacturers and gives each piano its own unique look and sound. Selecting wood takes a trained eye. It has to be able to be molded, closed, selected for its ability to be heat resistant and accept mild humidity changes without impact. And while many different kinds of woods can be used for the outside, in general, spruce is used for the soundboard. 

Spruce has high elasticity and is the most reverberant. Spruce is harvested when the sap is at the lowest content, with the manufacturer carefully selecting boards that can withstand environmental changes. Poor quality soundboards will straighten over time and lose tonal quality. So it’s important that they have the right grain for viability. 

Maple is usually used for creating the bridges and the pinblock. The bridge transfers the strings energy to the soundboard. Strength is needed to ensure the strings’ vibration is transferred efficiently. Maple is a hardwood that ensures a high degree of tuning stability over long periods of time, making it the perfect choice for the pinblock. 

Maple is also one of the best choices for the action mechanism. The action parts are a key component to a piano; precision is key. Which is why the quality of the wood is important for it to withstand constant friction and be durable over time.  


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

What Makes Piano Brands Different?  

What Makes Piano Brands Different?  

What Makes Piano Brands Different?  Baldwin
Hamilton
Chickering
Bosendorfer
Haessler
Kawai
Sohmer & Co
Pramberger
Schimmel
Steinway
Wurlitzer
Yamaha

Start searching online to find a good, reputable piano manufacturing company and you’ll quickly be overwhelmed by the sheer number of piano builders to do business with. In fact, in the last 200 years or so, there have been well over 12,000 piano brands in the marketplace. That’s not models … brands.

How do you know which manufacturer to choose?

How do you know which one is best?

And what’s the difference anyway?

Every piano on the market is made in a different way, in its own factory environment, using parts selected by a particular manufacturer. Some are made to be inexpensive alternatives; others are built by hand and designed to be collector’s items; true works of art.

But in all cases, a piano is as unique as the person playing it.

Pianos come in two styles: grands or verticals. Grands can be small to large: a small parlor grand can be 4’5” to a concert grand as large as 10’2”, while a vertical spinet can be 35” in height to a professional vertical at 52”. Choice is usually based on the size of the space you have to place your piano.

When making your selection, you are looking at the touch, or function of the action, and the sound. Each piano creates its own sound; some may be bright with lots of treble, others have lots of bass. Some may sound muffled while others may be vibrant with lots of voice.

It’s a personal preference. What sounds good to you? Because the better your piano sounds, the more likely you are to enjoy making music with it. Testing multiple pianos is the only way you can do that.

Are you ready to see how different piano brands sound?


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

Digital Piano: Is There A Difference Between Beginner, Intermediate And Advanced Playing Needs?

Digital Piano: Is There A Difference Between Beginner, Intermediate And Advanced Playing Needs?

As a piano dealer, one of the most common questions we receive is “How do I buy a good piano for a beginner?” Do a quick search online, and you’ll find the same question holds true. 

Because when you’re new to an industry, starting up a new hobby, you want to learn what you can before investing in the right equipment. Buying something you’ll outgrow quickly is never a good tactic. Digital Piano: Is There A Difference Between Beginner, Intermediate And Advanced Playing Needs?

And in there lies the problem. If you purchase a good digital piano as a beginner, how long will it last? Will you outgrow the digital piano in just a few short months? 

That could impact your budget big time. Which is why it may be necessary to add more questions as you search for the right piano. Instead of just asking:

  • What’s the best digital piano to buy for a beginner?

Follow it up with:

  • What the best digital piano that will allow me to grow from a beginner to an intermediate or advanced piano player too?

The difference between pianos will provide you with more opportunity not only for playability, but also for sound and function. 

People transition to higher digital piano levels because they have progressed into further understanding of music. They’ve moved beyond basic note letters, chords and compositions and most likely have more general knowledge of music theory. More advanced pianos have a wider range of rhythms and tones, along with more functionality and connectivity options for other platforms. 

By asking the question early in your search process, you can quickly learn what items make the biggest difference. It can also help you choose when to upgrade your requirements to choose a digital piano that can accommodate many of your needs. Possibly for years to come. 

What digital piano is right for you?


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

Is A Spinet Piano Good Enough?  

Is A Spinet Piano Good Enough?  

Head out to Craigslist, and you’ll find dozens of ads practically giving their pianos away. As you search through the ads, you may see one type appear again and again:

Spinet Piano … as good as new

Do you trust it? Should you move forward and look at it? Should you take it home?

A spinet piano is a very small upright piano, and can be distinguished by their height. Pianos 40” and below are spinets. Compare that with 41 – 44” consoles, or 45” and above as studio uprights. The very tallest – 48” or above – are often thought of as professional or upright grands.

A spinet is different than other pianos because of the way the action is built. The spinet action uses a pull-type drop action rather than the push-type used by other pianos. This makes the action too light and imprecise for students as they learn.Is A Spinet Piano Good Enough?  

A spinet is also has a smaller stature which makes it more difficult to play. Piano players have almost zero dynamic control, which means the effort put into playing it doesn’t result in the right sound or quality.

A young beginner needs a piano with a great sound in order to learn in-tune sound quality and develop ear training. They need a piano that has a good, consistent feel in order to develop proper playing strength and to ensure dynamic control from the moment they touch the keys. Proper feel is needed to improve playing techniques as they learn and grow.

Because spinet pianos are no longer made, the ones you will find on Craigslist or given to you by a family member or a friend are old, worn down, poor quality and inadequate in sound.

When you purchase or are given a spinet as a hand me down, it often sends the wrong message to children. The piano is nothing special, and only there as a temporary item.

A higher quality piano with great sound is more enjoyable to play, more consistent in the feel, and provides dynamic control that can instill a lifetime of enjoyment.

How could your child benefit from playing a high quality instrument?


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

What Is A Piano Gray Market?

What Is A Piano Gray Market?

Have you ever heard the term gray market? In the piano industry, it can take on many different situations and circumstances.

Usually, to buy a “new” piano, you must purchase it from an “authorized” dealer. An authorized dealer is one authorized by the manufacturer to sell their brand in your area.

Technically, only an authorized dealer is allowed to sell their brand of piano, offering both warranty and factory support.What Is A Piano Gray Market?

A gray market piano can be new, almost new, or used. It’s a name brand instrument that is being sold in an authorized dealer’s area, but not by the authorized dealer. It may be the piano was not originally intended to be sold in your area, your market, or even in your country.

Piano manufacturers produce pianos in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons. They attempt to keep markets separate, wholeselling and retailing them in a variety of ways. For instance, the term gray market has been applied to a large number of used pianos (mostly Yamahas and Kawais) being bought up by wholesalers in Japan and shipped to the United States in freight. While there is little or no market for used Japanese pianos in Japan, there is a larger market for them her in the US. These pianos are often offered at substantial discounts over new pricing, yet there is a discussion over whether these pianos are built for US climate.

In addition, the Internet has caused a great deal of difficulty over territorial agreements. When you advertise online, you may reach into other territories and sell across boundaries. It’s easy to step across the boundaries and sell within another zone.

Gray market is not to be confused with black market. A black market is a piano that is illegally trafficked, and is against the law or government regulations. A black market piano may be one with ivory keys, which is against the law to sell in any state.

The best way to determine if you are fully covered for both warranty and factory parts is to talk with your dealer and ensure your piano meets all requirements. They will be able to provide you with guidance on the right selection for you.


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

Why Buy A Digital Piano?

Why Buy A Digital Piano?

There are many arguments both for and against buying a digital piano. Every music teacher has their own preferences. But with the number of technological advancements made over the last few years, it may be time to give digital pianos another look.

The digital piano was first introduced around 1984 by Yamaha. It was designed to improve the traditional acoustic piano, bringing it up to our modern way of life. Yet in many ways it missed the mark. People complained that it didn’t sound like a real piano, nor did it have the right touch and feel. But that didn’t stop people from buying them.Why Buy A Digital Piano?

People bought digital pianos, and continue to do so today, because:

  • They come with a volume button, as well as an option to use headphones to ensure the player can practice whenever they choose without disturbing others in the room.
  • The digital piano is less expensive than their acoustic counterparts.
  • They are not affected by room temperature and environmental conditions in the home.
  • They have many features that allow you to be creative with the way you play, learn and practice.
  • They can record what you do at the touch of a button. They can record to USB stick which can quickly be turned into an MP3 audio file. This brings the art of making music to a different level.
  • Most models are smaller and lighter, so they take up less space and are easier to move around.
  • Most models include a variety of sounds and rhythms beyond just the classic sound of a piano.

Digital pianos make the art of learning to play more fun and less intimidating. Because you can learn in a variety of ways – online or through apps – you can choose to learn how best suits you. It’s no longer a scary process of being intimidated by old-school teachers. If you want to play, simply play anywhere you choose.

If a digital piano is on your wish list, stop by today and learn about all of your options.


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172

The Most Common Piano Questions We Answer

The Most Common Piano Questions We Answer

I haven’t tuned my piano in years. Can it be tuned now?
In many cases, the answer is yes. But in some cases, pianos that have had years of neglect may need additional tuning – pitch raising – to achieve standard concert pitch. A standard concert pitch ensures that one instrument can play along with another and play in tune. In some cases, if a piano hasn’t been tuned in many years, it may take more than one tuning session to bring the piano back into tune. Adding too much tension at one time can cause the strings to snap. Structural problems may also be identified that can make tuning difficult at best.The Most Common Piano Questions We Answer

When and how often should I tune my piano?
Here in Tennessee, we have a wide variety of weather conditions throughout the year. From cold to hot, with high levels of humidity throughout the year, tuning at least twice a year is usually the best practice. If your piano is brand new, has recently been moved, or has tuning stability problems, more frequent tuning schedule might be needed. The truth is that a piano begins going out of tune from the moment the tuner leaves your home. With rigorous playing, a concert pianist can throw a piano out of tune in one sitting. While the time of year isn’t as important as developing a routine, the change of seasons is often a good time structure to stick with, especially at the end of a particularly brutal season.

I just inherited an old piano. Is it worth fixing up?
To begin, you have to define what it will take to fix up your piano. Was it well taken care of? Was it sitting in a cold, dark, damp basement for the last thirty years? Most pianos can be restored to working condition, and fully restored if it’s of the highest quality workmanship or a beloved family heirloom. Tuning is the best place to start. A reputable tuner will tell you where improvements should be made to bring your piano back into good working condition.

My keys don’t work the way they should. They seem sticky. Some are cracked and chipped, and they don’t seem to play right.
If a key makes a tone when played, the problem is usually minor. If it produces a sound, the parts are in place, they may just need modification to bring them into tune. If it doesn’t make a sound, the problem could be deeper. If you can pinpoint the problem by lifting the lid and peering inside, it can help the tuner understand the problem before he arrives. If keys are chipped, the tops can be replaced. Depending on the age of your piano, it may be made of ivory, in which case replacement of the entire keyboard may be necessary. Ivory can no longer be used, and key tops will be replaced with modern key top material.

What questions do you have about your piano?


Since 1960, Coltharp Piano World has represented the finest pianos in Memphis, Tennessee, the Midsouth and the world. In addition to quality sales and service we offer moving services, restoration services and master piano tuning. We offer the best new, used and vintage pianos anywhere. And our prices simply cannot be beat. Come and see our newly remodeled showroom and our beautiful new concert hall. We specialize in piano restoration for the southern United States. We welcome your call.

We are located at: 4447 Summer Ave, Memphis, Tennessee 38122 Call us at 901.682.1172