Restore Your Square Grand Piano

Restore Your Square Grand Piano

Nostalgia. Just one look at the antique sitting in your room can bring back long-ago, simpler times.

But this isn’t just an antique; it’s so much more.Restore Your Square Grand Piano

For nearly 150 years, square grand pianos were the piano of choice in both Europe and America. Yet today, very few people have even seen them.

Also referred to as a box grand, the square grand piano is an earlier form of piano that is built in a rectangular shaped cabinet. It sits squarely on four legs with its strings running left to right rather than front to back that had been common up until this point. They became very popular because of their smaller size and more stylish appearance.

By the late 1800s, the upright piano became more favorable, taking up even less floor space than the square grand. And by 1900, the last was produced here in the US, all but becoming obsolete.

Yet today, there’s a growing interest in the square grand piano. Collectors and musicians alike are beginning to appreciate and preserve these instruments, making them quite valuable.

If you find one in your grandmother’s back room, it may be time to bring it back to life and restore it to all of its glory.

Some piano tuners may tell you that a square piano in its original, unrestored condition can’t be tuned. In fact, they are correct. Square pianos built long ago used tuning pins shaped differently than modern tuning pins. And if the piano hasn’t been tuned in years, decades, the old strings, felt and leather tend to have deteriorated over time. There is an estimated pressure of 12 to 14 tons of tension on a piano when it is in tune. And when this tension is put back on these deteriorated parts, it simply can’t hold the tune properly.

A proper restoration will fix all of these components – tuning pins, felt, strings, leather – thus bringing the square grand piano back to life.

With a square grand piano, the pins are located in the back of the piano. Which means the piano tuner will have to lean over more during the tuning process to reach the parts and service them correctly. It’s a little more effort, but just as effective as tuning any other modern day piano. And it’s required to keep your square grand piano in good working condition.

Have a family heirloom you’d love to restore back to its original condition? Give us a call 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

Piano Key Repair and Restoration

Piano Key Repair and Restoration

What’s one of the first parts of a piano that show their wear and tell you it’s time for a little R&R (repair and restoration)?

Your piano keys.

Maybe they are missing, broken, chipped or damaged. Maybe they are unlevel and hard to play. Maybe they wiggle from side to side. Or maybe some go down and some don’t as your fingers attempt to carry out a tune.Piano Key Repair and Restoration

When it’s time to repair or restore your piano keys, one or more things may be in order.

Key top replacement – In some cases by simply replacing the veneer on the keys will bring new life to your piano. Keep in mind that there are special considerations for vintage pianos that still maintain ivory keys.

 

  • Key bed – In some cases, piano key restoration must include the entire piano key structure down to the key bed. It will include repairing and replacing many of the parts, including key bushings and balance pins.
  • Balance rail pins – The balance rail pins are what each key lever balances on when the key is pressed to activate the hammer. These rail pins can rust and corrode over time.
  • Front rail pins – The front rail pins are located at the front of the key bed and hold the key in position at the front. These rail pins can also rust and corrode over time.
  • Key bushings – Each of the key levers has a hole that fits over the balance and front rail pins. Around these holes is a piano felt which can compress and wear down over time.
  • Capstans – The capstan is the cap that is screwed into the key lever in the back to connect the lever with the action. It can oxidize over time and cause friction between the lever and the action.
  • Key buttons – Each of the key levers has a small button glued into place that help balance the rail pin. These can easily become damaged over time.

If your piano isn’t playing the way it used to and you know your keys are at least part of the problem, the best place to start is by talking with a quality piano restoration company. In many cases we see people attempting to fix problems with piano keys themselves, or trusting the work to someone that is anything but professional, and it shows in the finished results.

Your piano keys bring life to your music. Without properly functioning keys, your music will never be up to par. If you have questions about your piano keys, give us a call 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

A Guide To Keeping Church Pianos In Top Shape

A Guide To Keeping Church Pianos In Top Shape

Music is an essential part of any church program. From practicing for performances, to teaching music in the classroom, to performing for Sunday events, most functions center around the piano.

With the piano being the highlight at many activities, it’s important to maintain each piano in the church, and keep them in good working condition throughout the year. It’s difficult to enjoy a program if you can hear an off, tinny sound somewhere in the background.A Guide To Keeping Church Pianos In Top Shape

Most churches have a number of pianos throughout the building. Where a piano is located determines how much maintenance it will need.

The sanctuary piano typically is front and center for weekly services, and either sits alone or is used in conjunction with an organ. A sanctuary piano needs first class maintenance. At a minimum, schedule at least two tunings a year, and a regularly scheduled maintenance routine of regulation, voicing, cleaning, etc.

The balcony piano is often used in conjunction with the sanctuary piano, depending on the set up of the choir and the congregation. Yet because this piano is typically out of sight, it’s easy to forget about it during regularly scheduled maintenance. A thorough check up is also needed to keep it in good working condition, providing a quality sound for the various events throughout the church.

Classroom pianos are often designed to help run Sunday school and special events. While these pianos are not typically heard by a high number of people, it is important for them to have good tonal quality because they are usually linked to practice sessions and helping develop an interest in music. If the piano is out of tune or isn’t voiced properly, it can impact the way a child learns to appreciate music.

Fellowship hall or basement pianos might not be front and center of every event that occurs in these rooms, yet when they are in use, full attention is given to the music being produced. To encourage an appreciation for music and for more people to play, quality sound is mandatory.

With all pianos, temperature and humidity control can be a problem. To save on energy costs, many churches keep a careful eye on temperature, keeping it comfortable only when the church is in use. That means heat and cold can impact the various pianos throughout the church in different ways. Be sure all pianos set away from windows and doors where drafts and direct sunlight can impact them most. Also be aware that this temperature variance can play havoc on the tonal quality of the piano, requiring more tune ups throughout the year.

To coordinate a regularly scheduled maintenance routine for the pianos in your facility, start by having a qualified technician evaluate your current set up, and determine a schedule that is right for you.


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

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

Is Piano Repair Really Necessary?

Is Piano Repair Really Necessary?

When was the last time you repaired your car?

It probably started with a small noise. If you ignored it, the noise escalated. And if you continued ignoring it, eventually the car stopped working, and the repair became a major event. What started out as a simple fix – replacing a belt for instance – became a major repair – replacing the engine.Is Piano Repair Really Necessary?

The same holds true with your piano.

A piano first shows signs of a problem in simple ways. A note goes out of tune, or a piano pedal sticks. If you ignore the problem, it escalates to the point of severe damage.

In many cases this happens when people are living on a tight budget, or if they stop playing the piano and it becomes a piece of furniture they ignore. Pianos need tuning and repair to keep them in top playing condition, whether they are played regularly or not.

Hire A Piano Technician As Soon As Possible

The right time to hire a piano technician for tuning is at the first indication something is not right. A qualified technician can repair it quickly and bring it back to proper condition. A large number of piano owners realize the potential savings regular tunings have on the quality of their piano, and choose to have their pianos tuned twice per year. This will ensure a quality sound all the year through, and provide you with a quality instrument that can be passed down from generation to generation.

Hire a Highly Experienced Piano Technician

Unlike today’s cars that can be plugged into a computer to show the technician what is wrong, a piano requires a personal touch. Although a piano player may pick up a few things about tuning as they play over the years, there is a difference between doing it yourself and hiring a professional with many hours of experience. A professional learns the fine tuning skill by practicing and learning and working on a variety of pianos. He understands what indicators to look for and what sounds may need further repair. Never judge a piano technician by price alone. Instead, find out how many years they have performed piano tuning, and how many hours they have spent in the process.

Why Tuning Is The First Step Towards Repair

In general, the first indication of a problem begins with piano tuning. A piano technician will spend time working with each note to ensure it is properly in tune. As he works through the process, he may indicated other problems – felt that is loose, or a potential problem with a hammer. As he notices things, he will make you aware of the situation and decide the best course of action to ensure your piano remains at optimal level.

Typically a quality piano tuning process will take anywhere from one to three hours. Anything less may be an indicator that a piano tuner doesn’t understand his job.

If you have any questions about the piano tuning process, give us a call 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

5 Signs Your Piano Needs Refurbishing

5 Signs Your Piano Needs Refurbishing

Some projects are perfect for the do it yourselfer. Some projects aren’t.

Changing the color of the walls of your family room is a perfect do it yourself project; grab a bucket of paint and go. But when it comes to refurbishing the piano that takes center stage in your family room, it’s best left to the hands of a true professional.5 Signs Your Piano Needs Refurbishing

Start with the keys

The easiest place to start when checking the condition of a piano is with the keys. The keys should be played one at a time listening to them closely. The tuning may be off, meaning you might not hear a quality pitch as we walk from note to note. Listen beyond for buzzing sounds or harsh multi-tones even when you’re pressing just one key. Also pay attention if a key creates no sound at all, which could be a sign of further internal damage.

Test the pedals

When you press down on a pedal and find it non-responsive, it can be an indication of a bigger problem. Many people ignore the pedals, with little intention of using them in the first place. Check them anyway as it can be an indication of larger problems inside.

Inspect the hammers for wear

Each hammer within the piano is covered in felt. Timbre is achieved when the hammerhead felt strikes the strings and produces the desired note. Worn felt reduces both timbre and tone. Make sure felt is intact and wood does not show through. Also keep in mind that felt is attached to the hammers through pressure, not through glue. In many cases it can be easy to spot a do it yourself attempt to improve the quality, which can actually work against you.

Examine the bridge and pinblock

The bridge is the wooden piece between the soundboard and the hammers. It helps keep the piano in tune. This wooden piece should not be out of position, warped or cracked. The pinblock holds each string ensemble in place with tuning pins. Likewise, the pinblock must not be cracked or warped, and the tuning pins should be tight. Piano strings are attached in groups of two or three, and if the pinblock is damaged, the piano will remain out of tune. If you see signs of rust anywhere, it probably is a result of water damage and may be beyond repair.

Inspect the soundboard

The soundboard is the foundation of the piano. If the soundboard is cracked, warped or damaged, the rods will not move correctly, and the hammers and felts will work improperly, producing the wrong sound or no sound at all.

One of the worse sounds for people to hear is an incorrect note on a piano. But that is not a true indication of a problem with a piano. If damage is at a minimal, and the note is merely out of tune, piano refurbishing can be an easy process. It may be as simple as tuning and replacing a few worn parts. The only way to determine for sure the true potential of the piano in question is to start by having a professional evaluate the piano.

Have questions? Give us a call 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

Troubleshooting A Digital Piano

Troubleshooting A Digital Piano

To keep an acoustic piano operational and producing optimal sound, maintenance and regular tunings are required. For digital pianos, the same level of maintenance is not required. Think of your digital piano in a similar manner to your computer; because its electronic, it doesn’t need a lot of basic care to run properly.Troubleshooting A Digital Piano

That said, a digital piano still has moving parts. And on occasion, troubleshooting may be needed to fix small problems that may arise through normal course of wear and tear. Here are a few tips to try when you run into issues while playing your digital piano.

Sticking, Jammed or Broken Keys

The biggest potential problem with a digital piano comes from its largest moving pieces: the keys. Sticky keys can be a problem for both digital and acoustic pianos because over time, dirt, dust, and other debris can get trapped between the gaps. Since a digital keyboard runs on circuitry, moisture can also be a problem. While humidity from the surrounding area can and will cause a key to jam, spilled liquids will present an even bigger problem. Which is why its important to keep all forms of liquid – drinks, plants, etc – away from the piano itself.

When keys become jammed or broken, they are fairly easy to replace. If you have jammed or unresponsive keys, notes that do not play, volume control issues, or other non-working parts, it is more than likely a circuit issue and a new contact board will be needed. If your piano is still under warranty, its best to let the manufacturer work with the piano as any tinkering can null and void the warranty.

Power Problems

Digital pianos run in one of two manners: batteries or an electrical source. If your digital piano runs on batteries, check your battery pack first. Battery packs should be fully charged regularly to keep the piano working throughout your playing session. If your digital piano runs on electricity, start by verifying the electrical cord is firmly in place. If power is generating through the circuit, a short circuit could have occurred to the power system, and the only way to have it fixed is to assess the damage through a reputable repair shop.

Software Issues

A digital piano runs in a similar manner to your computer. If you notice the system freezing, or the piano seems to lock up from time to time, it is likely that the software is to blame. Factory reset buttons on the piano will help restore a piano to working condition. Locate this feature by checking with the user manual. Please note that the reset button will bring your digital piano back to its original operating state. Any data you have stored within your piano has the potential of being lost, so regular backups should be made to decrease the likelihood of losing your work.


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 It Worth Repairing My Piano?

Is It Worth Repairing My Piano?

“I have an old piano handed down to me from my parents. I haven’t played since I was a kid, but now that I’m nearing retirement I’m thinking of picking it up again. It’s been in storage for years, so I know it will need a little work before I can bring it into my home and play it. I know after a little research that the piano market isn’t what it used to be. Should I spend the money to repair my piano? Should I just buy a used one?”

Great question; it’s actually one of our most popular.Is It Worth Repairing My Piano?

A lot of people have old pianos handed down from parents, grandparents, or other relatives and at some point decide they would love to pick up piano playing again. The only thing is if you’ve ever played a piano that’s sat for years with no repair and no maintenance, you’ll quickly discover it doesn’t play quite the way you would like it to. The notes sound a little tinny. The scales seem to be a little off.

A piano is a living, breathing instrument made up of wood, wire, and other materials that gradually break down even in the best of conditions. And as those changes occur, a trained technician knows what to look for, how to correct the problem, and how to bring it back to proper working condition.

But when something breaks down and it isn’t repaired, the deterioration continues to occur. Over time, small problems can become big problems, requiring more work to bring it up to par.

One of the things you mentioned is buying a used instead of repairing your own. That’s an option, but only if you know where the used piano has been. If you purchase a used piano from a friend or from an ad on the Internet, your chances of purchasing a piano in worse condition than the one you own is likely. After all, you know where your piano has been for years; you have no idea where the one you are buying has sat. If you buy from a reputable dealer, you will know its in the best playing condition possible. Anything else may give you more headache than enjoyment.

The second question you asked was whether it was worth repairing your piano. Without knowing the brand or seeing the piano, its difficult to say. But in most cases, repairing a piano to playing condition is a doable option. Does it have sentimental value? If it sat in your grandmothers and parents home for years, it may be an antique you will treasure for years to come. And if it’s a well-known brand, it may actually increase in value and hold its investment by making the repairs necessary to bring it back to playing condition.

If you would like to find out more, the best way to move forward is to have one of our technicians see the piano and help you make the final decision.


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

Easy Ways To Change Your Piano’s Tone

Easy Ways To Change Your Piano’s Tone

Have you ever listened to a piano in a grand concert hall, impressed with its overall sound? Then you return to your home, play the same song, and wonder what happened to the quality of the music?

Your piano’s tone depends on a variety of things. A piano will have a bright tone if it has many upper partials; a subdued tone if it lacks. If it is placed on a hard surface, it will reflect the sound; a soft surface will absorb it.Easy Ways To Change Your Piano’s Tone

Just by changing the position and location of your piano, you can adjust the sound your piano produces. Hardwood floors, tile floors, carpeting, high ceilings, hard walls, glass windows, upholstered furniture, drapery, even people will all change the acoustical conditions of the room, and thus impact the sound being produced.

If you prefer a bright sound, a room with hard surfaces will help you create an incisive sound. If you prefer a more subdued tone, add softer elements to help absorb the sound.

For a bright tone:

  • Open the lid of your grand piano. The strings will reflect the sound outward, and amplify it into the room. The lid should open into the room, not into a wall.
  • Draperies should be kept at a minimum. If you choose to cover your windows, choose freeflowing, unlined drapery that will help produce a richer sound. One caveat: if your room has lots of windows, make sure sunlight doesn’t stream onto the piano, which can cause it to go out of tune in a much faster timeframe.
  • Use light fabrics for your decorating. Avoid velvets and brocades and choose cottons and satins instead.
  • Replace carpeting with wood or tile.
  • Remove acoustical or textured ceilings.

For a subdued tone:

  • Close the lid on the grand piano, or use the half stick.
  • Use acrylic caster cups on the piano legs to isolate the piano from the flooring, to prevent the floor from acting as a soundboard.
  • Use soft wall treatments, such as cork, and make sure all doors and windows are properly sealed.
  • Use heavier drapery.
  • Select heavier upholstered furniture.
  • Install wall to wall carpeting.

When you work to change the tone being produced by your piano, don’t forget to have a technician voice your piano when your redesign is completed. A revoicing will help further create the tone you are looking for.


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

My Piano’s Soundboard Is Cracked … Now What?

My Piano’s Soundboard Is Cracked … Now What?

A piano’s soundboard is one of the most important pieces on a piano.

If you open up the lid of either your upright or grand piano and look down, you will see a shiny piece of wood that runs the down the back or the bottom of the instrument. This is the soundboard.My Piano’s Soundboard Is Cracked … Now What?

The soundboard is what allows the piano to project its sound. It’s the part of the piano that turns the vibration of the strings into sound. When the strings are struck by the hammers, the soundboard takes the vibrations from the strings and amplifies them in order to project the sound outward.

Soundboards are constructed with four or five pieces of thick wood glued together and attached to the back or bottom of the piano. The pin block and iron plate are then mounted on top of the soundboard, and the piano is strung. In order to achieve perfect balance, and thus perfect sound, is to ensure the quality of the soundboard  is void of any imperfections that may have a negative effect on the quality of the sound.

So what happens when the soundboard cracks?

Nearly all soundboards will crack at some point over the life of the piano. Small cracks, especially cracks that form along the seams where the wood pieces are joined together, occur in most cases due to age. A piano will go through many changes as weather and seasonal changes bring in cold and warmth, dryness and humidity. It will be impacted by consistent playing, and the vibration that occurs from creating music.

However, a crack becomes a problem when the crack deepens, and you begin to notice a rattle or buzz whenever the piano is played. If caught early, it can sometimes be repaired using wood wedges and screws to prevent the extraneous noise. A piano restoration expert can usually make the repair quickly with effective results.

Yet when the crack deepens and the soundboard has more extensive damage, the only way the sound can be preserved is to remove the soundboard from the piano and replace it with one that closely mimics the original construction.

Have additional questions about the quality of your piano? Ready to have it restored to improve the quality of the music it creates? One of our professional restoration experts can help you choose the right path for you.


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

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

What Is A Pitch Raise?

What Is A Pitch Raise?

How long has it been since you hired a technician to tune your piano?

Something happens to a piano when it is left untouched, untuned for a long period of time. With every year that passes, the pitch of your piano drops further and further from where it should be.What Is A Pitch Raise?

Overall, as a piano sits and absorbs the elements from the surrounding area, it will in general go flat in the colder winter months, than rise up in the summer, though in most cases the movement isn’t proportional. If this process continues time after time, it will be the job of the technician to bring it back into tune. And if and when you decide to tune it, it becomes more difficult for a piano tuner to pull it back up to its proper tension levels.

The piano contains over 200 strings, all that need to be adjusted during tuning. As a technician raises the tension of each string, it puts a lot of strain on the piano’s structure. It’s impossible to make a large jump and have a stable tuning in one pass. So the technician must spend the time raising each of the strings up to their average tension levels, then move forward once again to accurately bring it into tune. This is called a pitch raise.

The process continues until the piano is deemed to be in tune.

Also keep in mind that when a piano goes through this much adjustment at one setting, the likelihood of it moving back out of tune increases as well. It is recommended to have the piano tuned again within a six month period of time to help keep the tension level of the strings more stable.

Once a piano is back in tune, a regular tuning schedule (every six months to one year) will prevent the need for a pitch raise in the future. Like many things, regular maintenance will keep your piano in the best possible performance level.


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