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

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

How To Find Room For A Piano

How To Find Room For A Piano

The buzzword floating around many design sites these days is downsizing. Many people are no longer increasing the size of their homes; they are shrinking them and going smaller instead.

And that works well for a lot of the things we use every day. But a large piece of furniture you used to love can suddenly overwhelm the space you were going to put it in.

Yes, you may have to downsize the sofa and get rid of the sectional that used to grace your family room. But that’s not an option with your piano. Your piano isn’t just a piece of furniture. It’s not something you want to tuck into the corner and forget.How To Find Room For A Piano

Luckily there are a variety of ways you can build your room around the piano, leaving it as the focal point of your room. It takes a pair of fresh eyes to find the new opportunities that always exist within the four walls of your room.

Vertical or grand? Depending on the type of piano you desire will control the amount of space it takes to display it. Obviously, a grand takes up more space. But even with a vertical piano, you want it to be on display, a place where you can both play and have an audience whenever you desire.

The key is in looking beyond the obvious. It doesn’t have to go in the family room to get the most out of the instrument. We’ve seen pianos placed all throughout the home. Just look for usable space that provides an attractive background for the piano.

How about in the entryway landing by the stairs? This area often has usable space that may be sitting empty. You can slide a vertical piano into the corner and use it as a welcoming presentation when you first enter your home.

Or how about in an empty corner reserved for books and knickknacks? Reading corners often have usable space. Try moving smaller chairs and tables and reassessing the space. Can you slide a baby grand into the space?

Or how about hiring a woodworker to build customized cabinets? Many homes can benefit from customized shelving units. Place your vertical piano into the space and create an elaborate centerpiece that grabs the attention.

If you are a piano lover, there are many ways to incorporate the instrument back into your space. Think openly about where you can nestle the piano into your favorite room. With a little change, you may be surprised at how easy it is.


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

Proper Humidity For Your Piano

Proper Humidity For Your Piano

Regular maintenance is a part of owning a piano. And part of maintaining a well functioning piano is providing the right level of humidity in your home. Nothing keeps your piano healthier than the proper humidity level. This can be achieved in any room in your home by adding a piano humidifier to your instrument.Proper Humidity For Your Piano

Ideally, your piano’s humidity level should be at about 50 percent. Pushing it between 50 to 55 percent would be even better. And if a thunderstorm raises it to 65, 70 percent or more, no need to worry. Excess humidity may cause tuning problems, but it won’t damage the structure of your piano. Don’t let humidity fall much below the 50 percent level. Too little humidity is far more harmful than too much. Anything below 40 percent is cause to worry, since extremely dry air could cause the soundboard to crack.

To determine your humidity level, consider purchasing a hygrometer and leave it directly on the piano. This tiny device can be found online or in hardware stores and will tell you the details of the air around you.

In order to have proper humidity for your piano, you have two options: external or internal.

An external solution is the easiest and least expensive. Invest in an ordinary room humidifier, and in most cases will only need to turn it on in the winter when your home dries out with continual use of a heater. It’s important to keep your piano away from the humidifier and from vents that blow out warm air. It should never be directly in line with conditioned air; instead it should be a couple of feet or more from direct streams.

An internal solution includes a dedicated humidifier built directly into your piano. There are companies that manufacture piano humidifiers and can be installed by a piano technician. If a room humidifier hasn’t solved your air issues, this may be the best way to go to further regulate your piano’s condition.

If you haven’t regulated humidity levels before, start simple with a hygrometer and room humidifier and monitor your humidity levels for awhile. In most cases, this will be sufficient for your home. A piano cannot be brought back to life once it’s too far gone. The best way to maintain it is to start the process from the beginning.

Have more questions 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

Arranging Your Living Room Around A Grand Piano

Arranging Your Living Room Around A Grand Piano

A grand piano doesn’t just sit idly by in your room. It makes the room.

When people make an investment in a grand piano, it’s likely to be one of the most expensive pieces of furniture in the room. It isn’t something you want to squeeze into a corner; you want to put it on display. But arranging the rest of the living room furniture around the piano may seem like a daunting task. It’s not something you can easily move from place to place. There’s a better way instead.Arranging Your Living Room Around A Grand Piano

Create A Floor Plan
Before you ever touch a piece of furniture, draw it to scale first. With a piece of graph paper, draw your room to scale, including doorways and windows. Then start experimenting with various layouts without having to move a single piece. You can create scale outlines of all furniture you wish to remain in the room, cut them out and play with the layout. Ensure all doors can open without blocking them. Also be aware of vents to ensure you don’t place the piano too near a stream of air.

The Piano
If you don’t have your piano yet, experiment with different sizes and the best location. From the front to the back, a baby grand piano measures 5 feet or under, a boudoir grand piano measures 5 to 7 feet, and a concert grand is around 9 feet. Make sure whatever size you choose has plenty of room to move around it, as it will likely be the centerpiece of the room. A smaller grand with plenty of space will look more impressive than one that is crowded into the room.

Location
While a piano may look attractive against a window, never expose a piano to direct sunlight. This will cause fading and can affect the value. Also, avoid placing it too close to outside walls as this may expose the piano to varying temperature changes. Never place it too close to any heat source as the flow of air can dry out your piano.

The grand piano has a hinged lid that opens to one side to let the sound out. The open side of the lid should face the seating area, or at least into the center of the room. Never place seating on the other side as this will impact sound quality. If the room is large, consider creating a dedicated seating area exclusively for the piano.

What grand piano is the right size for your home?


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 Tuning and the Tempered Scale

Piano Tuning and the Tempered Scale

Tuning a piano is an art form that takes time. If you’ve ever watched a piano tuner in action, you may have wondered why they start in the middle of the keyboard.

The initial task of a piano tuner is to set the temperament. This involves tuning the middle section of the keyboard to an equal tuned temperament. Once this is done, the rest of the strings can be set by tuning octave intervals up and down the keyboard.Piano Tuning and the Tempered Scale

As the tuning progresses, tuning is adjusted between notes over a two octave range, starting with a single C tuning fork. You don’t have to have a perfect sense of pitch for this to occur. There are systematic methods of setting the temperament, which depend on setting intervals to natural harmonics. From there, you adjust them sharp or flat by listening to and adjusting for the specific beat rate.

Beat rates can be adjusted to the speed of a metronome and can be measured quite accurately. When a tuner is armed with a good sense of timing and an ear that knows what to listen for, he can very accurately set the temperament from a single pitch reference.

When a highly skilled tuner finishes adjusting the piano, something interesting happens. The middle of the piano will be close to perfect. But somewhere above the second octave, the notes will gradually become more sharp, while below the octave will be some flattening of the notes. The effect is known as the stretching of the upper and lower octaves. It is because a string won’t always vibrate at perfect natural harmonics. A vibrating string tends to be sharp of the natural harmonic series and becomes more pronounced as the string is made shorter or thicker.

When the tuner is tuning octave intervals up the keyboard, they tune for the best sound, compromising between the string fundamentals. A piano tuned with the upper and lower octaves stretched simply sounds better. The shape and degree of the stretching depends on the instrument in question. Pianos with longer bass strings require less stretch in the lower end.

There are algorithms and software available which will calculate a temperament for a given piano based on inharmonicity measurements. There are also tuners that can do this properly by ear.

The goal of musical instrument adjustment and tuning is to produce an instrument that sounds good. A great sounding instrument will be one that gets more play time. And that’s truly what matters most.


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 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

Feng Shui and Your Piano

Feng Shui and Your Piano

If you’ve been experimenting with creating good feng shui within your home, You’ve heard about the five feng shui elements.

Thousands of years ago, the feng shui masters were exploring the dimensions of Universal energy called Chi. Their goal was to map the influence of this energy as it applies to human well-being. Their findings determined that in order to have good Chi, or Universal energy, and to promote health and vitality, several specific elements must be present. They are:Feng Shui and Your Piano

  • Wood
  • Fire
  • Earth
  • Metal
  • Water

Each is expressed in specific colors, sounds, body organs, compass directions, planets, etc. And while feng shui can take a lifetime to master, some feng shui interior decorators spend years developing their skills, you can still achieve enormous improvement to any space with even the basic elements in mind.

Using feng shui in your home requires defining all five elements according to the bagua – your home’s energy map. The bagua tells you where things should be placed according to their proper location in your home. Each direction of your house – north, northeast, east, southeast, etc) offers a different energy, so placing different things in your home according to the grid will allow different energy fields into your home.

Most grand pianos are black – the color of mystery and sophistication – and should be placed in the most northern area of the house. The element for north is water and is symbolized by black and blue colors. North is also the area for career and life path, which provides the element of “vitality, growth and unlimited vision.”

By placing a grand piano in this area, you’re encouraging sophistication, creativity, power and success into your career and life path. You’re giving your life an added boost of energy in your growth and development.

While feng shui might not always work with the layout of your home, it is an interesting thing to keep in mind the next time you have the desire to remodel your home.

Have you used feng shui when placing a piano in your home?


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