6 Tips For Proper Piano Maintenance

6 Tips For Proper Piano Maintenance

Pianos are surprisingly delicate objects, considering their size and weight. They usually become the focal point of a room, no matter how often they are played.

If you expect them to make music indefinitely, a piano needs a little bit of TLC from time to time. They aren’t the same as other pieces of furniture in your home where an occasional dusting will do the trick. Pianos have to be maintained inside and out to remain viable instruments.

The first thing most people realize is that to stay playable, a piano needs regular tuning. Most manufacturers recommend about every six months. But if they are in a stable 6 Tips For Proper Piano Maintenanceenvironment and aren’t moved, it can last for up to a year. New pianos should also be tuned more often than well-stabilized instruments. Consider the fact that a violin or guitar will be tuned every time it is played, where as the piano will only receive one or two tunings per year. If you neglect piano tunings, the piano may fall significantly in pitch and require a much more elaborate pitch raising to bring it back into tune.

While regular tuning will handle most of the maintenance issues, you should also consider having your instrument voiced occasionally. Voicing adjusts the density of the hammers. Each time a note is played, the hammers strike the piano strings, separated by small felt pieces. With each strike, these felt pieces compress and wear down. The result is a piano that slowly becomes brighter. Your piano should be voiced to your taste by a technician who understands the final quality you are looking for. It’s usually voiced as a new piano, and then again every three to five years.

As your piano ages, it will probably need regulation. Regulation is the process that a technician uses to adjust the way the keys and action operate in order to cause the hammers to hit the strings. This action repeats again and again every time the piano is played. Over time, this motion can become sloppy and difficult to play. It’ll start to feel sluggish and worn down. This is especially difficult for young children or for beginners learning how to play.

As your piano continues to age, it may reach a point where you’ll eventually have to consider rebuilding. Rebuilding includes replacing the hammers, dampers, pinblock, strings, the action, and sometimes the soundboard. This is an extensive process and can be quite expensive, depending on the instrument in question. If you’ve had the piano for many years, it’s a part of the family, it may be worth the time and effort to breathe new life into your piano. The only way to determine the condition of your piano and the possibilities rebuilding would offer is to speak with a reputable dealer who can answer your questions.

Some consideration should be given to the outside of the piano. Never use spray polish on your natural wood piano. Never use furniture polish on the black polyester finishes on many of the modern pianos. Instead, use a slightly damp soft cloth and wipe it down. You can use a non-ammonia window cleaner sprayed onto the soft cloth to keep the sheen in place.

Finally, be careful where you place your piano. Avoid placing it along outside walls where it may be impacted by extreme conditions. Avoid sunlight, drafts, heat vents, and humidity that may affect the wood and the internal workings of your piano.

What other questions do you have about maintaining 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

Piano Maintenance

Piano Maintenance

The piano requires various forms of maintenance throughout its life for it to produce the best sound possible. 

Tuning

Tuning isn’t something where there is a standard for every piano. A new piano may need several tunings a year to keep it properly balanced. A piano that has been well cared for and in a stationary position in the home may need tuning once or twice per year. A concert piano that is played by professionals on a daily basis made need a regular tuning every few weeks. Some professionals prefer to have their piano tuned before every major event. Piano Maintenance

When a piano is only slightly out of tune, it loses the tonal quality characteristics of a recently tuned piano, especially in the middle and upper ranges of sound. Even a slight out of tune sound can be unpleasant to the listener. It can even deter a budding pianist from continuing with lessons because it doesn’t sound quite right. 

Voicing

The felt on the hammers of the piano tend to harden over time. The felt becomes depressed by repeated impact as keys are struck. They also form grooves and wear marks as they connect with the strings. While hammers are used to produce a bright tonal quality, these wear marks can change the sound being produced to something harsh and undesirable. 

Piano technicians use special tools to soften the hammers. They can also use hardening agents if the hammers soften up. Since the hammers are not used with equal frequency, they tend to wear in uneven increments. How much change is required to each hammer is dependent on both the piano’s settings and on the preferences of the player. 

Regulation

Over time, the performance of the piano action declines. The wood may warp. The tension may falter. The sound declines. The goal of regulation is to make the piano’s sound consistent across all notes. It makes the keys movements more subtle to the motions of the player. 

There are dozens of adjustments a piano will go through when being regulated. The most important include:

  •  Key weight – to regulate the action mechanism of the key springs
  • Repetition springs – which allows the hammer to repeatedly strike with minimal lifting of a key
  • Drop – how far the hammers fall back when let off
  • Let off – the point when the hammer disengages from the jack

 Restoration

After a lifetime of use, usually measured by decades, pianos may need complete restoration to keep its sound healthy and functioning. If well taken care of, the frame and some parts of the action may remain in good condition. Piano restoration experts try to maintain originality whenever possible, rebuilding or maintaining as much as they can as possible. Restoration is labor intensive, and therefore can be time intensive and quite expensive as well. 


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 Piano Playing Is Therapeutic

Why Piano Playing Is Therapeutic

“Where words fail, music speaks.” Hans Christian Anderson

Music has long since been a part of our lives. We incorporate songs into our culture and use them to hand down stories throughout the generations. 

New studies are now showing that music does more than bind us as a culture; it also shows dramatic lifelong improvements in everything we do: language, math, memory skills and more. What’s more, music is also being integrated into therapies, helping everyone from special needs kids to elderly suffering from debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Why Piano Playing Is Therapeutic

By definition, music therapy is an interpersonal process in which a therapist uses music to address health concerns. Music can impact all aspects of well-being: emotional, physical, mental, social, and spiritual. 

Private piano lessons or learning on one’s own via software is not considered music therapy. Yet it does show positive effects by engaging in a challenging activity; the benefits are therapeutic. It’s something that is known to be a stress reliever, and can be used for stress reduction throughout one’s life. 

When taken to the next level and integrated into a therapy program, the results can be astounding. 

Behavior – music can be mood-enhancing, helping to stimulate the senses and focus attention. It can slow inappropriate behavior and increase compliance. 

Calming – anxiety is one of the biggest challenges faced by children today. Classical music can reduce stress and ease frustration. It can also reduce muscle tension and slow down the heart rate. Studies continue to show that children with all types of special needs – autism, cerebral palsy, ADD, ADHD and more – can relax and calm down when music is integrated into their lives. 

Communication – music can help build social skills and encourage interaction and conversation with peers. Music helps people define pitch changes in speech and increase vocabulary. It can also make people more apt to pick up a second language. 

Memory – people of all ages have found that music helps them focus and puts them in a better mood for learning. We have an innate ability to memorize songs. and it stays with us for a lifetime. 

Music can be the gift that keeps on giving now and throughout our lives. Are you incorporating piano playing into your family’s life?


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

Piano Strings and Restringing

Piano Strings and Restringing

Pianos are not guitars. Yet there seems to be a perception that piano strings are similar in nature, needing re-stringing from time to time.

Guitar strings are much thinner. They are in contact with oils and acids on a player’s fingers. That cuts into the life of a guitar string, requiring that new strings are put into place from time to time.

The piano is different. Strings are struck by hammers and buffered by compressed wool felt in between. They are also much thicker than guitar strings, and strung at a much higher tension.Piano Strings and Restringing

When the tone of a piano begins faltering, it’s unlikely that it’s due to the quality of the strings. Piano strings should last for decades with normal usage. Other things might be wrong instead, including:

The hammers: Wear to the felt on the hammers substantially change over time. Reshaping and voicing worn felts can make a huge difference in tonal quality.

Soundboard: Pianos are made with a soundboard. The curvature, or crown, resists the downward push of the strings as they pass over the bridge. As a piano ages, the soundboard can flatten and lose the “springiness” that creates a rich sound. Replacement is the only answer when this wears out.

Action: Felt, leather, and cloth parts in the action can all wear out over time, creating mechanical sounds that dull the tone.

Bridges: Piano strings are secured at both ends as they pass over the soundboard and are connected at the bridges. Problems can occur at any point, with bearing bars, studs, holes, or other connection points.

When a piano reaches a point where the strings are in need of replacement, chances are a vast majority of the piano could use refurbishing too. While restringing may be the most labor intensive and complicated part of a restoration, it is a process that will breathe life back into a piano, and create and update something that will continue to give you enjoyment for decades to come.


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

Does Your Hand Size Impact Piano Playing

Does Your Hand Size Impact Piano Playing

When you watch a professional piano player in action, you’ll see their hands zip up and down the keyboard, flying over the keys. Between their thumbs and fingers, they touch note after note bringing music to life. 

Musicians come in all sizes, male and female. It doesn’t seem to matter how large their hands are or how large of a hand span they have to stretch two specified intervals on a keyboard. Or does it?Does Your Hand Size Impact Piano Playing

The average octave placement for hand span ranges around 6.7 inches. Adding in a 9th note increases the hand span to 7.6 inches, 10th note increases to 8.5 inches, and 11th note increases the hand span to 9.4 inches. 

When you compare that to the average hand span of a woman, you’ll find that 70 percent can not comfortable span an entire octave, with an even larger majority not being able to add a 9th note to their playing ability per hand. 

For males, the playability is better, with a significant majority of males able to play an octave very comfortably, stretching to a 10th note or more fairly easily. 

The female hand is, on average, 15 percent smaller than the male hand. And because children often start playing the piano at an early age, it is also important to realize that they will have an even smaller range than the average woman. 

Standardized keyboards are a relatively recent development and the size we commonly use today is large compared with historical context. The 6.5 inch octave keyboard does not suit the vast majority of women and children. It’s also often not the best choice for men, from an ergonomic perspective. 

Some of the greatest pianists of the past have used pianos with narrower keys. And with people who enjoy playing the piano and have a passion for improving the way they play, they often find using alternative sized piano keyboards to be a better fit. Downsized keyboards allow pianists to play more music without fear of injury. Hand position is immediately improved and power increases because the hand is compact. Redistribution of complex fingering is no longer necessary. 

As it becomes more apparent that the art of piano playing can change simply by rethinking the size of a keyboard, we’ll see more changes in the instruments we play. 

Do you have experience with a smaller keyboard?


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

Keeping Your Piano Healthy

Keeping Your Piano Healthy

A good piano is designed to be a part of your family for generations. But in order for it to stay high quality for that long, it needs a little maintenance. 

While bringing in a technician from time to time to tune and regulate your piano is a good idea, there are a few things you can do too to keep it in good health. 

1. Stop Closing Your KeylidKeeping Your Piano Healthy

Pianos have keylids for a good reason. They help keep dust and air particles off of your keyboard, allowing grime to form between the keys. Keeping the keylid closed is a good idea – 70 percent of the time. If the keylid is down all the time when not in use, mold growth can occur inside the piano. This is especially true if your piano is kept in a dark place, or if the surrounding area is humid. 

A good practice is to leave it up a couple of times each week. Indirect sunlight and proper air circulation will reduce the chance of mold growth and keep the innerworkings of the piano in good shape. Be sure to dust with a soft cloth or a soft vacuum attachment on a regular basis. 

2. No Drinks At The Piano

Liquid can be an enemy in more ways than one. Setting a drink on the finish of a piano can cause unsightly rings and stains. But if the liquid spills and seeps between the piano keys and reaches the interior, it can cause major damage. If you do spill, wipe up excess liquid from the keys immediately. Try not to press the keys while wiping to prevent liquid from seeping inside. If liquid does slip between the keys, have a technician evaluate the situation as soon as possible. 

3. Regulate The Environment

Before you decide on a final resting spot for your piano, evaluate the environment. Temperature can be an enemy of your piano’s condition. Cold can weaken delicate parts. Heat can negatively affect the strings. Somewhere around 70 to 72 degrees is best. While your room temperature may change due to the seasons, be sure you keep your piano away from exterior walls, where fluctuations occur the most. Avoid drafts, air ducts, or windows and doors that can allow fluctuations. Also avoid direct sunlight, which can heat your piano to very high temperatures, impacting not only the interior workings, but also the finish of the piano too.  

Humidity is equally as important as temperature. High humidity levels can warp the wood; low humidity levels can cause cracking. To ensure proper humidity levels in the room, consider a humidifier or dehumidifier depending on your needs. A 40 percent humidity level is ideal. Be sure to adjust, especially in volatile weather patterns. 


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

Watering Your Piano

Watering Your Piano

Your piano is ever-changing, constantly fluctuating depending on the weather and the climate. It’s only natural that your piano will act differently depending on its environment. 

If you have a piano that has been passed down for generations, you may have heard the term “watering your piano.” No, that doesn’t mean you should pull out your watering can and drip water over it. In fact, it’s the quickest way to ruin it. 

Instead, what “watering your piano” refers to is a phrase used to explain the presence of a piano humidifier. Watering Your Piano

A piano is made up of thousands of parts, the vast majority of them made up of wood. And wood is sensitive to the presence of water. Too much water and wood begins to swell. Not enough and the same wood begins to crack and warp. The right amount means a stable, happy piano that continues to make beautiful music. 

Ideally, the humidity level in the room where your piano is on display should be around 45 to 60 percent. When in doubt, err on more humidity, as dry air will cause more damage to a piano than humid air. That being said, too much humidity can cause mildew and mold to set in, especially if dampness exists in the corners and crevices. 

By picking up a hygrometer from your local hardware store, you can measure the humidity levels of your home. You may wish to store it in your basement or crawlspace where dampness can be a problem. But you should also occasionally check the room where your piano is housed. Also, keep in mind that it will be different in winter months than in the summer. 

Based on your findings, you may need to introduce a humidifier to regulate the humidity levels around your piano. There are many different options, from a room humidifier to a whole-house option. 

Now, back to the “watering your piano” concept. Decades ago, before modern technology offered our current HVAC systems that include proper heating, cooling, and ventilation systems, people would worry about the condition of their pianos. They knew low humidity was bad for a piano, so they would keep a jar of water inside the piano to maintain humidity. 

If you find an old piano in a back room at your grandmother’s house, passed down for generations, the jar may still be there. However, a jar of water inside the piano is never a good idea. Water is damaging no matter where it spills on a piano. And if it introduces too much water, which can be the case here in our humid environment, what you may introduce is mold and mildew instead. 


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

Piano Flooring: Does It Matter?

Piano Flooring: Does It Matter?

When you set out to invest in the perfect piano for you, you probably consider things like type, style, manufacturer, even color. But have you stopped to consider the surrounding area? 

Will your flooring choice be perfect for your piano investment?

Depending on where you’ve practiced and played, you’ve probably found the rooms to be decorated in many styles. You’ll find wood, laminate, even carpeting underneath. Piano Flooring: Does It Matter?

In general, wood flooring will increase volume, while carpeting will decrease volume. Thicker carpets will also further decrease the volume when compared to a thinner one. 

Look to some of the greatest concert halls in the world, and you’ll find pianos live and on stage, surrounded by hard surfaces. Wood is often the flooring of choice, adding both elegance and ease to move a piano around. 

And while that may provide you with direction for your own room, it isn’t the only factor that comes into play. 

Grand pianos produce sound differently than verticals. What type of piano you own will impact the perfect flooring for your room. 

But it does stretch beyond the flooring too. Projection is key – what sounds are produced when they collide with the surrounding area. 

Loudness comes from voicing the piano and voicing the room. 

Voicing the piano comes through the tuning process and ensuring the hammers create the right sounds for the music. Voicing the room comes from creating the best sound possible. That includes selecting the right flooring. And a lot more. Area rugs, wall hangings, cloth furniture, bookcases with books in them – all of it absorbs sound in different manners. 

By adjusting one thing at a time, you’ll find your piano creates a different sound. Some will sound richer and fuller; some will begin to lose their spark. 

If you’ve invested in a new piano and it simply doesn’t sound the way you’d desired, concentrate on your decor. Add and subtract things within your music room to give off a new wave of sound. You may be surprised at what combinations you can use to compliment the sound you desire.  


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

Tips For Boosting Summertime Piano Playing

Tips For Boosting Summertime Piano Playing

Summertime means stepping away from the daily rush we experience all year long. It means vacations. It means slowing down. It means having fun. 

But that doesn’t mean it’s time to forget everything you’ve spent the past year learning. If you’ve been adding piano lessons into your weekly routine, how do you ensure your child stays at his or her best during the lazy summer months? Tips For Boosting Summertime Piano Playing

Start A Reward Program

Kids often have things they want while they are away from school. Maybe it’s something from the store. Maybe it’s a trip to the amusement park. Work out a system where practice earns stars. If they earn enough stars, they can turn them in for prizes. It’s a great way to teach them about savings too. 

Download an App

Even when you’re traveling and on vacation, make piano playing fun. Check out one of the many piano apps you’ll find for your phone or tablet. Be sure to pack headphones for in the car or on the airplane to ensure everyone stays happy. 

Track Progress and Set Goals

Life is slower in the summer months. That might mean notching down piano learning goals too. But you can still set goals and help your child achieve them. Select songs they’ve wanted to learn and motivate them to practice a little each day. Be enthusiastic; how about a concert on family night? This is the time for them to have a little fun with it and learn things that will keep them happy on those long, boring days. 

Team Up

Chances are friends or cousins are having a hard time sticking to a schedule too. Why not team up for double duty practice and playing? Encourage your pianist to have a friend over to practice songs together. Duets are exciting when you have a friend to giggle with. 

Piano playing is supposed to be fun. And the more enjoyable you make it throughout the summer months, the more they’ll be ready to hop back into the normal routine come fall. 


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

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