Do You Know What’s Inside That Piano?

Do You Know What’s Inside That Piano?

If you’ve decided to purchase a piano, you’ve probably started the process by doing a little homework. That’s probably what’s brought you to this site here. 

As a piano dealer with decades of experience, you’ll find a wealth of information for what to look for when you’re buying either a new or used piano. 

Expert Advice For Choosing A Piano

The Price You Should Expect To Pay For A Used Piano

Buying A Piano Online

Buying A Child’s First Piano

What Wood Is Best For Making A Piano

Do You Know What’s Inside That Piano?We know how confusing it all can be. What makes a one manufacturer different from another? How can you find a good used piano? What makes each piano different? And more importantly, whose advice should you trust? 

Some people will have you believe that a piano is a piano – they are all about the same no matter where they come from. Not so. Some will tell you there isn’t much difference in sound from one piano to another. Not true. 

In fact, it’s easy to compare how well a piano is built no matter where it’s assembled. It’s not just the sound; it’s the way they are made. Open up every piano you are considering and take a look at what’s inside. 

The soundboard – a great piano will be made of spruce (the most common wood used in piano production) with continuous parallel grain. Look for consistency in both the grain and the color. 

The plate gap – for the soundboard to work efficiently, it needs to move freely. A good piano will float the plate gap between the frame and the soundboard to allow that freedom of movement. 

The frame – on an upright, look for a solid wood frame construction with backposts that reinforce the plate. 

The bass bridge – the shape of the bridge will tell you the quality of construction. A curved bass bridge is designed to connect with the sweet spot of each string, whereas a straight bass bridge will muddy the lower notes. 

The action – each action should be consistent and made of similar wood. If you see grain differences and spots on the wood, it can change the voice and the sound. 

The differences matter in both the sound quality and longevity. Don’t rely on a salesperson telling you it’s a great piano. Do a little investigation to determine its quality on your own. 


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

2 Things To Look For When Buying A Good Digital Piano

2 Things To Look For When Buying A Good Digital Piano

In today’s world, sometimes it makes sense to invest in a digital piano rather than an acoustic. They take up less space than traditional pianos. They require less regular maintenance. And if you’re ready to combine your piano playing with online editing, mixing, and sharing, it’s the best choice around. 

Still, not all digital pianos are created equally. To ensure you don’t purchase a digital piano you’ll be sorry to own almost as quickly as you bring it home, look for two important things. 

2 Things To Look For When Buying A Good Digital PianoThe Piano Sample

Digital pianos don’t create sound by connecting the keys to strings via an action mechanism. Instead, digital pianos create sound by playing back recordings – called samples – of a real acoustic piano. The better quality of the recordings, the higher quality of the piano being recorded, the more the digital piano will create a realistic sound. 

With both acoustic and digital pianos, it’s important to play every note and hear the sound being produced. Start at the bottom and work your way up, paying special attention to the lower notes on the keyboard. Strike a note on an acoustic. Hear how it bursts with energy in the beginning and gradually fades? Now do the same with the digital. Is the sound similar? The lower notes are usually a dead giveaway with more quality of sound. 

The Action

It’s not just the sound that’s important. It’s also the quality of the hammer action. 

When you press down on a key, it’s the back of the key moving up that is making the sound. Each key is weighted for feeling because each of the 88 keys has a different hammer size. The hammer strikes the strings to create sound, with hammers varying from largest to smallest as the notes move from lowest to highest. 

This hammer action is what makes a piano feel like a piano. That’s also where digital pianos have lacked over time. Fortunately today, some manufacturers are getting very close with the feeling. And that’s where you should spend your time – make sure the “feeling” is there to ensure your skills in piano playing cross over between playing both acoustic and digital. 

How do you find a progressive hammer action? A reputable dealer will show you the way. If you’re doing your homework online, just look at what a manufacturer calls the process. A great one will list it as progressive hammer action. The rest will cover it up with phrases like “weighted keys” or “responsive action.” 

What questions do you have about purchasing a digital 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

How To Care For Your Digital Grand Piano  

Digital grand pianos aren’t much different from digital pianos when it comes to care and maintenance. They don’t need tuning, which is one of the most appealing factors when people are deciding between digital and acoustic.

But like any instrument, to keep it in great working condition, it takes a little maintenance along the way.

You can do that right from the moment you decide on its home. Where will you place it in your home to ensure it will remain in top working condition? Avoid placing it in a location where it will be impacted by direct sunlight. Also, avoid registers and vents as too much heat isn’t safe for your piano either.

You should also avoid using your piano as a piece of furniture. Never place drinks or food on the finish. Spills and crumbs can harm the finish, and if they get inside your piano, they can ruin the integrity of the tone and voice.

The keyboard should be cleaned on a regular basis – just not with cleaning solutions or water. Your digital grand piano is sensitive to a variety of things: dust, dirt, chemicals, to name just a few. Instead, take a dry clean cloth and wipe the keys clean. If you do have smudges or smears that need additional work, consider using a soft cloth sprayed with water, then rub gently ensuring no water trace remains.

Digital pianos also need to be plugged in. Make sure that the outlet you will be using is in proper condition. Your digital piano is a highly sensitive piece of electronics. Consider using surge protection to ensure it isn’t destroyed. When not in use, unplug the instrument for further protection. Don’t unplug it before you turn it off.

If you notice any part of your piano is damaged, don’t use it until it can be evaluated and updated. Using it in damaged condition can cause further damage.

Just like acoustic grand pianos, digital grand pianos are highly sensitive instruments. Don’t try and take on any kind of repair yourself. A highly trained piano technician with experience in digital technology will ensure your repair is handled properly, keeping your digital piano working safely and providing you with the highest quality 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

Creating The Perfect Piano Room

Creating The Perfect Piano Room

A piano isn’t like a chair you can tuck into the corner of a room. A piano commands attention. It often becomes the focal point of the room. 

But where do you put it in your home? How do you design a room around a piano? 

Room temperature matters – Place your piano in a spot in your home where consistent humidity and temperature are in place. The less extreme conditions the better. Extreme temperatures and humidity can damage your piano over time. Creating The Perfect Piano Room

Design around the piano – Especially in small rooms, your piano may be the largest piece of furniture in the room. And if it’s going to be a large part of your life, is accessibility is key. The look also becomes important if it will be on center stage. Select the right piano that blends in with your design theme. Personalize the wall around it to reflect a sense of who you are. Don’t select a sleek, black gloss piano if your home is light and airy. Keep with the colors and upholstery congruent throughout. 

Keep it in the living space – It’s easy to tuck a piano into a dark corner where little thought has gone into the room. But what are the chances are it will be played? A piano is always better when it’s on display in a room you use on a frequent basis. Be mindful that you’ll have the chance to play it and won’t be overwhelmed by activities of other family members. But if you can have it become a part of your lifestyle, all the better. 

Use it to add more life to a room – Pianos – especially uprights – can be used in many ways. You can place it at the end of a long room to make it look wider, or build it into a wall unit to conserve space. You can use it as an accent in a large hallway, or put it on display in a room dedicated to music. 

Create a scene – Music is a large part of our lives, which is why many choose to have a room dedicated to the experience. What helps inspire you to bring music to life? A stage in a symphony hall? Playing to a large audience? Serenity and peacefulness in abundance? Use your ideas to create a scene that will help you want to play more. 

Balance – Never throw a piano against a window because it’s the only place in the room. Or put it in the corner so it’s out of the way. The first rule of interior design is balance. Start with the architectural details and incorporate the piano into your decor. They can be used to balance rooms where window or fireplace placement isn’t centered. Or even to divide a large room into different functionalities. 

Modernize it – If you’ve inherited a piano or have a hand me down from past generations, it may not fit with your modern style. There are many ways to bring it up to modern times.  Try adding accents that make it feel like it fits in your space. It may be time for a little renovation – a new finish may do the trick. 

A piano can bring joy into your life if you create the right ambiance around it. 

Do you have a piano in your home? How do you make it a part of your space?


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’s The Easiest And Safest Way To Move Your Piano?

What’s The Easiest And Safest Way To Move Your Piano?

Sometimes the easiest way to spruce up your home is to rearrange the furniture. And while that’s easy with a chair or a coach, it becomes much more difficult with a piano. Inspiration is the easy part – moving the piano into place is considerably more work. 

Not only is it risky for your piano, but can be dangerous for you as well. You’ll want to hire a professional piano moving company if you are going between tight spaces or moving it to another floor in your home. But if your location is only a few feet away, we have some advice for your more.What’s The Easiest And Safest Way To Move Your Piano?

Prepare the path

The very first step is to determine the final resting spot for your piano. Make sure you have a clear path with nothing to block the path from beginning to end. If it has a lid, close it. This is especially important to ensure your fingertips aren’t injured in the move. 

Make sure there aren’t any rugs that can get in the way, pieces of furniture that can bump or block your path, or cords that can cause tripping hazards. Measure every crucial detail, including doorways and spaces you’ll have to travel through. 

In some cases, grand pianos can be easier to move as they often have wheels to get it to where you desire. While wood flooring can be easy, be especially careful on carpets, where the wheels can stick and be difficult to budge. It may be simpler to remove the legs rather than put them at risk for damage. Upright pianos may be easier to handle, but they can be top heavy and more prone to falling sideways. 

Gather your tools

Pianos are the bulkiest, heaviest pieces of furniture in your home. This is especially true with pianos that do not have wheels. A dolly can help make the move easier. You’ll need several people on all sides of the piano as it travels from place to place. 

Depending on how complicated your move is, you may also wish to invest in moving pads and straps. Be sure to strap down the lid to prevent it from being damaged, or from hurting you during the moving process. Blankets and pads will protect your walls from being scuffed and your piano from having exterior damage. 

It’s better to be over prepared and have too many tools on hand rather than putting your piano or your health at risk. 

And if it’s something you can’t handle, give us a call. 


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

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