How Digital Pianos Have Changed

How Digital Pianos Have Changed

It’s the event of a lifetime. It’s just the singer and piano player up on stage in front of thousands of people. Then something happens. The microphone inside the piano fall and begin vibrating on the strings.

For many performers, nothing compares to an acoustic piano. They love the sound. But when you’re performing in front of thousands, clarity and amplification are necessary.How Digital Pianos Have Changed

When digital pianos were first introduced in the 1980s, they offered solutions to all of the things that could potentially go wrong in a performance. With digital, there is no tuning before a show, no mics to connect and hook up, no risk of mics falling on the strings. But until recently, digital also meant sounding … electronic.

Acoustic pianos have a large soundboard that measures several feet in diameter. Their keys are weighted and provide a proper feel.

Digital pianos, however, had nothing more than a couple of speakers no more than six inches in diameter. The keys didn’t have the bounce or feel we’ve come to accept through years of practice.

And if it doesn’t feel or sound right, we can’t use it in the best of circumstances. Like performances in front of thousands of listeners.

But digital pianos have gotten better. They’ve taken a hybrid approach to offer the best of both worlds – the rich smell of wood and the feel of traditional spring steel piano strings – with the power of technology.

Today’s digital pianos come in simplest form – a digital version of an acoustic piano – up to one of the most sophisticated instruments that offer everything you could want from technology. You can get all the sound a traditional acoustic piano can produce, but with digital components that can give it an even better sound.

Is a digital piano in your future?


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 5 Most Popular Piano Styles

The 5 Most Popular Piano Styles

Let’s face it, we don’t all like the same kinds of music in the world today. And with so many different varieties available, why limit yourself to one or two genres?

Unfortunately, many piano teachers approach learning in this manner. They start with the basics and push for the classics. If you’ve been bored in the past, there are different ways to learn. Learning to play the piano should provide you with music you enjoy playing right from the beginning. Overall, there are five different piano styles that top the list.The 5 Most Popular Piano Styles

And when you know the composers, the performers, the style and the sounds, it assists you in your ability to play.

Classics
Throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries, classical piano was performed for royalty and the upper class throughout Europe. Bach, Beethoven and Mozart led the way. Over time, this music was transformed by other great composers, including Chopin, Handel, Wagner and Tchaikovsky.

Classical piano is where most people start because it forces them to gain a strong technique and knowledge of music theory. And with this in hand, it’s easy to pick up other piano styles.

Jazz
In the early 20th century, pianists such as Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton and Fats Waller influenced the music scene throughout the United States. Jazz was a rebellious type of music, as it deviated from the classical rules of play. It incorporated swing, improvisation, ragtime, boogie woogie and bee bop to create new and interesting patterns.

Musical Theater
Broadway composers and lyricists are the foundation for many of the songs we know and love today. Where would we be without greats like Rodgers and Hammerstein, or Gershwin? Today we can also add popular composers like Andrew Lloyd Webber to the list. In all cases, piano is the foundation of what makes live theater as exciting and memorable as it is. And with this type of musical training, it makes very good sight readers and versatility in playing.

Pop Rock
Of course, pop rock is probably the most well loved music of our generation. It’s where most of us migrate to early in our playing process. And with famous piano players like Elton John and Billy Joel, that can be a very good thing. Pop rock allows you to explore new sounds and be able to hum the tune as you play. It’s often easier to pick up because you already know the tunes.

Religious
Religious music is found in all religious practices, bringing their own unique sounding music to the culture. In many cases, it has been passed on from generation to generation, with songs still being an important part of ceremonies today.

Which popular piano style is right for you? Explore your options and find a piano teacher that can help you achieve your music goals.


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 Do Piano Tuners Do?

What Do Piano Tuners Do?

Piano tuning may seem to be a fairly straightforward process; a tuner simply brings the piano back into tune. And if you watch any do it yourself instruction videos online, it can seem like anyone can do it. If you’re mechanically inclined, have the right tools, it should be a simple process, right? While the process may be simple, mastering it is actually quite difficult. Professional tuners spend their entire careers perfecting their skills. If you get it wrong, the outcome will be noticeable in the way your piano sounds.

Most people don’t understand the reason you tune a piano.What Do Piano Tuners Do?

Tuning a piano is a specific process of setting the tension of the strings using a special tool. They are stretched to a specific point so they will vibrate in harmony. However, tuning is never performed one key at a time. Instead, all keys are used in the process, keeping harmonious sound from all keys. If you were only to tune the pure intervals, the notes would not be the same pitch. Because you must be allowed to play in all keys and octaves, tempering is also required. Equal temperament is used to produce out of tune intervals to make sure the piano sounds right when all notes are played.

A piano tuner’s most important tool is the lever, or hammer, that acts as a key or wrench. It is a specially designed tool that fits piano pins, which are tapered and square. Using a standard socket wrench is not recommended because of the tapering, it will likely slip the tool off the pin and damage the corners. It will also be too short to control tuning and will risk loosening or damaging the pins along the way.

Most piano tuners today use tuning hardware and software to help them through the process. There are many applications available; it’s important to be able to move around as the tuning process takes place. These programs actually hear the tone being played and will automatically display how close you are to the appropriate tune. You can then tighten or loosen the string until you get the appropriate sound from the string.

With the proper tools in place, the tuner begins working on the piano one string at a time. He ensures the string is in place, and provides the proper tune for the note being played. He then continues working on the other strings in the set, which is call tuning unisons. This will set the temperament and allow tuning by octive comparison. This is a process of continuously checking the tuning of each key and using them as a reference to ensure the sound is correct.

Using an electronic tuner for all keys is not a good idea. Each string is a different length, made differently, and has altering resonant characteristics that make it unique. Pitch can be wildly off, something that might not be noticed with electronic tools, but can easily be heard by the human ear. This is where experience comes into play. This is what gives a tuner their unique approach to the process.

When was the last time your piano was tuned?


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

How To Hunt For A Good Used Piano

How To Hunt For A Good Used Piano

You can’t tell how good a piano is just by looking at it. You have to look inside. You have to listen to it.

Because many pianos may give the appearance they are in decent condition from the outside. The wood may be polished and sparkling. The keys may be shiny and ready to play. The outside is kept in good condition because that’s what the world sees.How To Hunt For A Good Used Piano

But when people stop playing the piano and begin ignoring them, they often don’t pay attention to the inside. They don’t dust the insides of the piano. They don’t tune it. They don’t repair it. And that’s what really matters when creating music.

What should you check for?

Play each note. Start at the left and strike each key – white and black – and listen to the tone. Listen for any buzzing or clicking sounds. Pay attention to any keys that stick or won’t create a sound.

Check all tuning pins to see if they have been set into the pinblock. If the pin is set into the pinblock, the string coil may be all the way against the plate, and no longer be able to hold a tune. If you notice any damage around the pins – water marks, moisture stains – it can indicate rust and corrosion, meaning the only way to continue to tune the piano is after a restoration process is completed.

Check both the bass and treble bridges for cracks along the pin line. If cracks exist, it needs restoring before it will produce quality sound. If the piano is a major manufacturer and has high value in the marketplace, it may be worth the process.

If you are looking at a grand piano, get underneath the piano and look across the soundboard for visible cracks. A small amount of pressure against each rib will ensure they are properly adhered to the soundboard and in working condition.

If you are looking at an upright piano, carefully remove the bottom cover to look inside at the soundboard. Inspect the bridge for cracks.

Lift the lid and play each note, one at a time. Watch the hammers in action to determine if the process is smooth and to determine if everything is functioning as it should. Make a note of any problems that will prohibit the piano from creating beautiful sound.

With so many pianos on the market today, it may seem easy to find one to learn on. Don’t be fooled and bring one into your home that is anything less than high quality. A high quality piano creates beautiful music. Anything less will be difficult to play, difficult to learn on, and not provide an experience that encourages growth and longevity.

What experiences have you had when looking for a good used 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

Finding The Right Piano For Your Church

Finding The Right Piano For Your Church

Selecting a piano for your church is very different from selecting one for your home. Whether you are affiliated with the church and in charge of making the final selection, or are a congregation member who wishes to make a donation, there are a few steps you can take upfront that will ensure the best long-lasting investment for your congregation.Finding The Right Piano For Your Church

Step 1: Choose the right piano dealer
Purchasing a piano from a Craigslist ad is difficult in almost all situations, especially when buying a piano for a congregation. A church piano requires a regular regiment of care and maintenance to ensure its playability factor throughout the week. By selecting a piano through a reputable piano dealer, you’ll have the assurance the piano is in top format from the beginning, have warranty backing for the foreseeable future, and work with true professionals who can guide you to reputable technicians for regular maintenance work.

Step 2: Consider your needs
Where will your new piano reside? In a classroom? In the sanctuary? For most worship centers or sanctuaries, a grand piano is the best choice. Grand pianos have larger, more controllable sound and are easier to blend in with other instruments or singers. Grand pianos come in a variety of sizes, so it’s important to know the final resting space before you finalize your selection. If at all possible, select a piano large enough to be played without further amplification.

In most cases, a black or ebony grand is your best choice. Ebony is the most durable, the easiest to maintain, and the easiest to repair in case of damage. If your sanctuary uses bright stage lighting, you may want to choose a satin finish to reduce the glare that can cause distractions or discomfort to members of the congregation. If your stage lighting is subdued, a polish finish can look beautiful as a part of the background.

Step 3: Buy the best piano possible
Any piano you purchase will be played on a continual basis. To ensure top quality sound for many years in the future, be sure to get the top dollar piano for your money. The purpose of music is to be warm and pleasing. While sound changes from piano to piano, it can also determine how much action it can take before repair and renovations are needed. By asking questions to a knowledgeable dealer as you weigh your options, you will ensure you get the most value for your money.

Step 4: After the sale
Under ideal circumstances, your piano will work flawlessly from the beginning. A typical maintenance program includes tuning four times per year, voicing and regulation once per year, and regular maintenance on a continual basis. An experienced piano dealer will be able to guide you into the right choices to ensure your piano maintains sound quality for many years to come.

What does your church require in a new 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

Is Piano A String Or Percussion Instrument?

Is Piano A String Or Percussion Instrument?

Our modern day music classification system divides instruments into wind, strings, and percussion. And while this division has Greek origins dating back a couple thousand years, it has changed slightly from time to time as it moved forward. Plucked string instrument, such as guitars, were often separated from bowed string instruments, such as the violin. Wind instruments that use a reed, woodwinds, are separated from those where the air is set in motion directly by the lips, brass instruments.

Is Piano A String Or Percussion Instrument?Yet some instruments do not fit neatly into this classification system.

The piano, for instance.

Keyboard instruments are often played in a variety of ways. The piano has strings, but they are struck by hammers. The harpsichord is plucked. A digital piano uses electronics.

So where is a piano placed? In many cases, it isn’t clear if it should be classified as a string instrument or a percussion instrument. In some cases, it is placed in a class of its own.

If you start a debate in the depths of a symphony, many consider the piano to be strictly a percussion instrument.

A piano achieves its sound by hammers striking the strings. This fulfills the primary definition of a percussion instrument, which is defined as a musical instrument played by striking by the hand or a handheld or pedal operated stick.

But tone from a piano is created from the vibration of the strings, fulfilling the definition of a stringed instrument, which is defined as a musical instrument that produces sound by vibrating strings. The strings are under appropriate tension, and are set into vibration by being plucked, strummed, struck or bowed.

So which is it, string or percussion?

Do we have to choose?


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 To Look For In A Piano Warranty

What To Look For In A Piano Warranty

You’re ready to buy. You’ve found the perfect piano for what you need. It all comes down to signing on the dotted line.

Are there still things to consider?

What To Look For In A Piano Warranty

Like all big purchases, before you commit to buying, take a look at the warranty first. Think of a warranty as your insurance policy. You hope you’ll never need it, but you’ll be thankful you have it in the event you do.

Piano warranties aren’t just for new pianos; if you buy from a reputable piano dealer, used pianos will also come with its own guarantees.

What should you look for?

Optimal performance of your piano should be ensured. Warranties should include protection against possible defect in workmanship and materials. It should also ensure a minimum full warranty on all parts and labor. If any defect is found after delivery, within a reasonable amount of time, repair and replacement of parts will be made.

In most cases, a few conditions must be met:

  • The owner must present both the warranty and the original bill of sale
  • The owner must allow a representative to inspect and verify the defect

This does not include things like:

  • Normal regulation, tuning and voicing
  • Any damages caused by abuse, neglect, modification or accident
  • Warping of cabinet parts and sticky keys caused from excessive moisture
  • Normal wear and tear
  • Any piano which the serial number or model number has been altered or removed

The owner must keep both the warranty and bill of sale to validate warranty coverage. And throughout a piano’s life, it should be:

  • Properly maintained. Regulation check ups should occur with a trained tuner/technician. Be sure to keep receipts to validate.
  • Properly cared for and properly placed

What questions do you have about a piano warranty?


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 Ergonomics Of Piano Playing

The Ergonomics Of Piano Playing

When most people think of the term ergonomics, they think of their computer placement on their desks.

In reality, ergonomics refers to the efficiency of a work environment, which is why many people automatically assume the working position of hands on a keyboard, typing away long hours every day. But compare your hands on a keyboard to hands on a piano.The Ergonomics Of Piano Playing

Not much different, right?

Ergonomics brings good posture while maintaining a well balanced spine.

Ergonomics refers to the normal position of joints being maintained throughout the movement process.

Ergonomics means the elimination of cramped or twisted positions, which can damage nerves and muscles.

Ergonomics means avoiding staying in one position for too long.

All of that comes into play when you’re sitting in front of a computer. All of that comes into play when you’re sitting at a keyboard.

To effectively play the piano, a pianist must operate as a machine, connecting with the keyboard in such a way that it bring no tension to the body. The fingers. The arms. The shoulders. The body.

Proper training isn’t just about creating music, it also comes from how you play. A good teacher understands it’s not just the music that is generated, it’s the process along the way.


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 Used, Cheap Piano … Really

Buying A Used, Cheap Piano … Really

We Google just about everything. How many times have you pulled up Google and typed something in today?

We use Google maps for directions. We search for product reviews. We look up concepts we may not know.Buying A Used, Cheap Piano … ReallyBuying A Used, Cheap Piano … Really

Yep, Google is like having an all-knowing best friend in our back pockets.

Pull up “Buying A Used Piano” or even “Buying A Cheap Piano” and you’ll receive millions of responses. (As of this morning, over 10 million.) Many of the ranked titles you’d expect.

  • What to look for in a cheap used piano
  • 8 things you must know before buying a used piano
  • How to buy a used piano on Craigslist

Then I added new search terms – “high quality” and “good.” My results went down. And so did my choices. My returned results looked something like this:

  • Tips for buying a new piano
  • Choosing the piano that’s right for you
  • How to buy a good piano

Yep, very few related to finding a high quality used piano.

Buying a used piano isn’t hard. In fact, it may be a very easy thing to do. You can probably find a lot of used pianos right here in our community. Ask around. Or do a quick search.

Look on eBay. Or head to Craigslist. You’ll find them there.

But used pianos are not all the same. Sure, you’ll find a few great pianos out there. Pianos that have been well maintained, well cared for, and will still give you years of useful life. And you may find it on your first try.

Or not.

Are you willing to take the chance?


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

Learning The Lingo Of Buying A Piano

Learning The Lingo Of Buying A Piano

New to piano? Just like any industry, there are a lot of terms you have to learn. When you head into a piano dealer for the very first time, you’re likely to hear words like soundboard and action. What do they mean? And how important are they when making your final selection?Learning The Lingo Of Buying A Piano

The Back
The back of a vertical piano has five or six vertical posts that serve as stays against the frame. These posts provide added strength to resist the pull of the strings inside. These posts should be sturdy enough to provide adequate support in proportion to the piano.

Soundboard
Across the back of the piano is a soundboard, which translates the vibrations of the strings into the tone of the piano. The soundboard is one of the most vital parts of the piano. The soundboard is what conducts the sound. So it’s important it’s sturdy and straight and made of top quality materials.

Plate
The plate is a piece of cast iron bolted to the back of the frame. It holds one end of the string and provides the support for almost 20 tons of pressure from the pull of the strings.

Bridges
The treble and bass bridges are made of long, hard maple wood and are attached to the soundboard, transferring the vibrations of the string connecting the two.

Action
The working section of the piano is the action. The action contains around 7,500 parts, all taking a role in the act of creating music. Grand pianos have horizontal action, while upright pianos have vertical action. This is the process of sending the hammers against the strings when the keys are struck.

Hammers
Piano hammers are formed by felt being molded into a wooden hammer under tremendous pressure. Hammers are often referred to by weight, such as a 12 pound hammer. This refers to the weight of the sheets of felt that were used in the process.

Keys
Each key is balanced by a center pin and bushed with fine wool to silence it and provide proper clearance in the key bed. The keys are not made of ivory, instead, are molded plastic and designed not to crack or yellow. The black keys are made from similar material.

Pedals
Most pianos have three pedals. The sustaining or damper pedal on the right dampers the strings so that the tone is sustained after the keys are released. The una corda pedal mutes the tone by shortening the distance the hammers travel by shifting the action. The sostenuto is optional, not on every piano. It is used to sustain select tones at the pianist’s discretion.


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