Keep Your Piano Healthy

Keep Your Piano Healthy

A lot of things can impact your piano. The air supply. The weather. The way you play. The condition of the room. 

If you’re bringing a piano into your home, and you want it to remain in good condition for years to come, there are multiple things you should do to keep your piano healthy. Here’s where to start. 

Think about placement

Do you have a spot picked out inside your home where you anticipate placing your piano? Take another look at that spot. The wrong spot can have a detrimental impact on keeping your piano in good playing condition. The inner workings can’t take extreme temperatures or variances in air quality. Therefore you should avoid:

  • Placing a piano against an outside wall
  • Placing a piano underneath a window
  • Placing it next to a door on an outside wall
  • Placing it near vents and registers
  • Placing it near a fireplace
  • Placing it near a window or door that is opened frequently
  • Placing it in direct sunlight

And all of these can cause the wood in the inner workings of the piano to expand and contract quickly, risking cracks in the overall structure of the piano. 

Think about daily habits

Depending on the size of your piano, it may take center stage within your room. Grand pianos often have a commanding presence, and change everyday living space into full-fledged music rooms. 

Yet don’t turn your piano into a clutter station. The only thing that belongs on a piano is sheet music. Don’t be tempted to put a flower vase on your piano; pianos and water don’t mix. 

Skip placing books, picture frames, or even nicknacks on top; it can take away the sound quality of the instrument. 

If you do smoke, avoid smoking near your piano. The soot and smell can impact the tonal quality and looks of your piano. 

If you don’t play regularly, you may even wish to consider closing the lid to protect the piano keys, and consider a piano cover to ensure the finish stays protected. 

Every piano is unique. With every piano, it’s playability is determined by the instrument itself as well as how well it is treated inside your home. Take care of your piano, keep your piano healthy throughout the years, and it will last you for generations. 

How To Clean Your Piano Key Tops

How To Clean Your Piano Key Tops

Take a good look at your piano. Where’s the biggest potential for dirt and grime? If you said the tops of the 88 keys, you’re correct. 

Every day you sit down and play, touching them with your finger tips. Some will get more of a workout as you touch it again and again and again … hello, middle C. 

How do you keep them looking their best? How do you keep them playing their best? 

Read on to learn how to clean your piano key tops the right way. 

First, take a moment to determine what the key tops are made of. If your piano was built before the mid 1950s, there is a potential for the key tops to be made of ivory. After 1956, the US officially banned the use of ivory, meaning pianos built or imported after this time are made of plastic. 

Ivory doesn’t add value to your piano. However, it does change the way you keep the key tops clean. 

Start by using a damp cloth that is wrung out well. Excessive moisture can penetrate through the porous ivory surface and loosen the adhesive that is holding it in place. Once this occurs, it can start to damage the wooden piano surface underneath. 

Use a natural or light colored cloth as it can transfer pigment to the ivory keys. Use two different cloths, one for the light keys, and one to clean the black keys. 

When cleaning plastic or synthetic key tops, follow the same course of action. Use a light, natural cloth for cleaning. Use a mild detergent or cleaning solution to remove dirt and grime. 

Always wipe the keys down from back to front instead of side to side. This ensures any moisture rolls off the pianos rather than falling between the keys themselves. Work a few keys at a time, ensuring they are properly dried before moving on to the next set of keys. 

Killing germs is equally important, especially during cold and flu season. You can take a small drop of antibacterial soap on a small damp cloth and wipe down the individual keys. Don’t use too much soap or you’ll be left with a sticky residue. Be sure to follow with a damp cloth to ensure the tops are clean. 

Avoid using things like rubbing alcohol or other harsh chemicals as they can penetrate through the key tops and destroy the keys themselves. 

When was the last time you cleaned your piano key tops properly?

The Must-Have Accessories Every Piano Player Wants

The Must-Have Accessories Every Piano Player Wants

Whether you’re trying to find the perfect gift for the piano player in your life, or are trying to outfit your own music room at home, it takes more than a piano to be a great player. Like every hobby, playing better means purchasing several piano accessories that will help playing and practice to be even better. 

Piano Stool

Yes, you can sit down to play the piano on anything. But if you want better practice, and ultimately want to become a better player, the piano stool is an important part of the process. Without the right piano stool, you’ll have poor posture and hand positioning at the keyboard, which can lead to back and arm strain, and eventually carpal tunnel. The right stool allows you to play more comfortably for a longer period of time. 

A Stand

Depending on the piano you select, you’ll need a place to put your music rather than leaving it strewn all over a table. Be sure it’s wide enough to handle the music you wish to play. If you’re investing in a digital keyboard, you’ll also have to select a keyboard stand. Is portability important? Or do you prefer something more permanent within your home? 

Headphones

It’s not just digital pianos that allow you to use headphones while you’re playing. Some acoustic pianos now offer you the option of being able to use them too. Headphones are a great way to allow you to practice night or day, without interrupting other activities within the household. It’s also a great way of practicing through rough spots without the embarrassment of having those around you hear your mistakes. 

A Metronome

When you have a metronome nearby, it allows you to develop tempo with every song you play. It can be difficult working through more difficult pieces. A metronome helps you build up to the tempo you choose, and allows you to stay consistent throughout the song. 

Do you have the right piano for all of your needs? We can help. Stop by today and see our full line of pianos. There’s something for everyone, at every skill level, and for every taste. We can help you choose based on your needs and desires. 

If You Don’t Live In Memphis, Is It Worth Buying and Shipping A Piano To Your Home?

If You Don’t Live In Memphis, Is It Worth Buying and Shipping A Piano To Your Home?

For some people, playing the piano is more than just a hobby. It’s a central part of their lives. 

Does that describe your relationship with your piano? 

Does it sit center stage in your family room? Have your kids all learned to play? Do you sit down at the keyboard to lose a little stress? Does your entire family gather around for sing-a-longs on a regular basis? 

Piano isn’t just a hobby. It’s a way of life for some people. 

But maybe you’ve upgraded your home, and you’ve decided it’s time to upgrade your piano as well. 

As much as you’ve loved your starter piano, it’s time for something grander. Possibly a baby grand. You’ve always pictured a sleek baby grand becoming the center of your new music library. 

Who do you trust? 

Thanks to the internet, you can do as much research as you want. You can find individuals trying to sell off their own pianos. You can find dealers in your local area, promising they can make you a deal and get you the piano of your dreams. Who do you trust?

If you don’t live in Memphis, why would you even look at a piano dealer who resides in Memphis? Shouldn’t you look a little closer to home? 

Maybe not. We’ve been in the business for decades. We don’t just know a thing or two about pianos; we live it, breathe it. We can help you find the right new piano, or hunt for the perfect used or vintage piano to suit your needs. Moving – we offer moving services. In need of piano tuning or restoration services? We can help there too. And if you have the perfect piano in mind – you know exactly what make or model you’re looking for – we can help locate it and ship it to you, no matter where you are. 

Our business is pianos. You don’t have to be in Memphis to take advantage of our superior customer service. Just call; we’re ready to help you today. 

Do Pianos Really Increase In Value?

Do Pianos Really Increase In Value?

When you buy a piano, a lot of things go through your mind. You probably think things like:

Am I getting the best piano for my money?

Will this piano be good enough for my child to learn on?

How do I know if I’m getting the best deal?

Yep, for a lot of new piano players, the thoughts center around the financial aspect of buying a piano. But most new piano players don’t think about the investment opportunities for purchasing a piano. 

When you purchase an acoustic piano, it can be an investment, and it’s possible it will appreciate in value over time. 

How? 

Acoustic pianos – especially grand pianos – are built to stand the test of time. Many grand piano brands – Steinway, Bosendorfer, Chickering, Kimball – are well known in the industry, and build such high quality instruments that you can often sell them for the same or more then you paid for them. Of course, you have to understand the piano you’re buying in the first place. And that’s where a reputable dealer can help. 

When it comes to selling on the open market, it can be every piano player for themselves. Because a lot of newbies don’t understand the marketplace, they often try to bargain their way into a good deal. Because there are so many “free” pianos listed in ads and online, it’s hard to compete. Teaching a newbie is difficult at best. 

But if you have questions about making the best purchase for today, one that will offer years of playability plus give you an investment opportunity for the future, it could be the best purchase you’ve made in a long time. 

Whether you’re looking for a new piano, want to invest in a great used piano, or just have questions about caring for the piano you already have, we’re here to help. Give us a call today. 

How Often Should I Tune My Piano?

How Often Should I Tune My Piano?

How often should I tune my piano? 

After all, you want it to sound its best every time you play. You also want to keep your piano in the best shape possible. All of that relies on having your piano tuned on a regular basis.

But how often should you hire it done? What are the secrets to tuning your piano? Here are a few things to keep in mind. 

Pianos have 231 strings attached to the keys and hammers inside your piano. Together they create about 170 pounds of pressure. Every time you press down on a key, it triggers a reaction to create noise. The key triggers the string to move and complete its action. 

But under that much pressure, the tension slowly fades. It might not be noticeable right away, but over time it changes. 

That’s why tuning your piano is so important. 

That tension changes every day, whether you play it or not, whether you move it or not. It depends on age, whether it’s brand new, or is a family heirloom. 

Think of your piano as a living, breathing object. It changes depending on everything that makes your house a home. The air around it. The humidity levels. Changes in weather. Even the way you use it. 

If your piano is brand new, follow your dealers and manufacturers guidelines. In most cases, it’s important to have your piano tuned once every three months during the first year. This is called the breaking in period. These steel strings are adjusting to the pressure they’re under inside the piano. It’s easy for them to move and fall out of tune. 

As pianos age, tuning should take place once or twice per year. If you work with a tuner on a regular basis, they can help you set up a plan that works best for you. 

If you have an old piano that hasn’t been tuned in years, they might not be able to take the strain of tuning. The wires may be brittle, breaking if they are turned. 

Moving a piano doesn’t necessarily make your piano go out of tune. Instead, it’s the impact of the new surrounding area that can affect it. Don’t have it tuned the moment it arrives in a new home. Instead, wait and let it adjust to its new area – new floors, new heating and cooling systems, new humidity levels. Only then should you bring in a tuner and let him adjust your piano. 

When was the last time you had your piano tuned? 

Can I Tune My Piano Myself?

Can I Tune My Piano Myself?

As a homeowner, there are a lot of DIY projects you can take on. Want a new color in the bedroom? Grab a can of paint and liven things up. 

If you know what you’re doing, you might head out to the garage from time to time and change your car’s oil. It’s a messy process, but some homeowners are mechanically inclined, and have the necessary tools for the job. 

So it’s natural to go into “DIY” mode all the time as you face challenges around the home. You have a piano for your kids to learn on. You were told it needs to be tuned from time to time. 

How hard can it be? Can’t you learn it from a video online? It would save money. 

So you type “can I tune my piano myself” into the search engines and you’re off to your latest DIY project. 

Tuning a piano isn’t an easy process, no matter how many videos you watch. The people that tune pianos for a living take years – hundreds of hours of practice – before they are skilled enough to handle any situation. 

Most pianos have 88 keys. The number of stings depends on the model, but in most cases, it’s around 230. To create sound from treble and tenor notes, it takes three strings. Bass notes decrease from three strings to two, with the lowest using one string. 

That means to control sound from every note isn’t about adjusting one string. It takes adjustment of multiple strings; touching just one can quickly leave the sound wildly out of tune if you don’t do it right. 

You can buy a tuning wrench. You can even invest in tuning software to assist in the tuning process. Technology has come a long way, and most tuners rely on a program extensively. 

But proper tuning is something only an experienced tuner can do. There are many techniques to get it right, and a good tuner will tell you over and over again: I just know.

If you’ve asked yourself “can I tune my piano myself” – anything is possible. But if you want it done the right way, so that your piano has a rich tonal quality, it’s best to hire the job done. 

A Guide To The Different Types Of Pianos

A Guide To The Different Types Of Pianos

Pianos come in many different styles, designs, shapes, and sizes. How do you know which one is best for you?

Start right here with our guide to the different types of pianos. It depends on many things, like:

  • Size of your home
  • How often you play
  • Your decor taste
  • How much you choose to invest

Overall, acoustic pianos fall into one of two categories: vertical or horizontal. Verticals are uprights. Horizontals are grands.  

You’ll find verticals or uprights are the most popular category as they fit into many different spaces. It’s also one of the most affordable instruments you can purchase. 

The soundboard is vertical, so the strings and dampers run downward across the board. As a note is played, the hammers strike outward, and take a bit longer to return to resting position. That causes a slight delay. 

But don’t think every grand is superior in performance to an upright; it isn’t true. Both verticals and horizontals can be high quality investments that will provide you with years of enjoyment. 

In each category, you might run across different names. 

Vertical:

Spinet – 33 to 35 inches high, the smallest of the pianos. It’s a popular choice for small spaces, but will have less power and accuracy than other models. 

Console – 40 to 43 inches high, it produces a more enhanced tonal quality, and comes in a variety of styles and finishes. 

Studio – 45 to 48 inches high, you’ll find this in schools and training center. It’s durable and has a high quality sound. 

Full – 48 to 60 inches high, this is the tallest of the uprights. You’ll probably find this in your grandparents’ home, and maintains its sound over time. 

Grand:

Petite – 4’ 5” to 4’11” is the smallest of the grands. 

Baby – 4’11” to 5’6” is one of the most popular because of its aesthetics, sound, and affordability.

Parlor – 5’7” to 6’4”

Ballroom – 6’5” to 7’5”

Concert – 7’6” and above

The largest of pianos you’ll find in the best music halls around the world. Why? Because they create the best music. 

There are many different types of pianos – how do you know which is best for you? Stop by today and let’s consider your options. We’ll help you find the right piano for your needs. 

How Did The Piano Get Its Shape?

How Did The Piano Get Its Shape?

Have you ever wondered why pianos are shaped the way they are?

What’s more, there are two very distinct piano shapes – vertical (upright) and horizontal (grand). How did they both become so popular and widely accepted when they look nothing alike? 

If you look back at just the last 100 years or so, very little has changed in piano shape. People used either an upright or grand in their home, depending on how much room they had. In concert halls and music school, grands were preferred because of their tonal quality and ability to project out to an audience. 

Even when you head back 300 years, very little has changed in look and feel. Once today’s modern look was achieved, it worked. Though piano manufacturers have tweaked the process nonstop ever since, what you see today with acoustic pianos was very similar to what’s been produced over the past several generations. 

Of course, if you continue your journey back, you’ll find changes become more stark. 

The harpsichord is considered to be the start of modern day pianos. It was invented around 1700, and was a way to control the sound and make it easier to play. It came with two keyboards stacked on top of one another. No matter how hard you pressed down on a key, the sound produced was the same.

Move back hundreds of years before the harpsichord and you’ll find a clavichord, where keys were installed on more traditional harps and organs, making it easier to play notes and ensuring proper tone. 

Before that, string instruments were used to create sounds much like our modern day piano. Monochords used strings and movable bridges to change intonation as a person played. This video shows a monochord in action

Yet eventually, our modern day pianos were created to provide the best experience and make it easy to bring music into your home. Whether you select an upright or grand, it’s the perfect way to enjoy music everyday. 

What’s the best piano choice for your home?

5 Piano Care Tips

5 Piano Care Tips

A piano isn’t a quick purchase. It’s something you take time to weigh your options, and select the right one for your needs. Select carefully, and it can bring a lifetime of enjoyment. 

Of course, once you bring it into your home, there are a few piano care tips that will ensure it stays in the best shape possible. Do these few things regularly, and you’ll increase the playability, giving you enjoyment year after year. 

Piano Care Tip #1 Location

Before you ever bring your piano home from the dealer, it’s crucial to select the right place. There are a few things to keep in mind. 

Try to position it on an internal wall, away from windows, vents, and direct sunlight. Each of these can impact your piano in a big way. Sunlight can bleach wood, moisture can creep in and damage the internal structure, and too much heat or cold from registers can warp and further the damage. Pick the right location, and it can bring years of enjoyment. 

Piano Care Tip #2 Cleaning

Like everything in your home, your piano needs cleaning from time to time. However, it’s not like the other furniture items sitting in your home. Avoid chemical cleaners at all costs. They can damage the finish and the internal parts of your piano. Dust it with a feather duster weekly, and use mild soap and water using a well wrung out cloth for difficult spots. 

Piano Care Tip #3 Decorations

Because your piano can take up a lot of space in a home, some people turn it into a collection site. They stack books, place picture frames, or even put plants and other decorations on top. Your piano is built to perform the way it was designed. By placing random objects on it, you’re impacting the tonal quality of the instrument. If you put plants or water glasses on it, you risk damaging it from spills. 

Piano Care Tip #4 Storage and Movement

Pianos aren’t like other pieces of furniture. You can’t stack them into a basement and expect them to continue working. If you need to store a piano while you renovate your home, for example, it’s best if you hire professional piano movers and store it in a place where it can maintain temperature and humidity levels equal to your home. Professional movers are skilled in handling a piano gently, so that it will work correctly when it gets to its final resting place. Experienced movers ensure you won’t have extensive damage when your move is complete. 

Piano Care Tip #5 Tuning

Every piano is a moving, living instrument that changes every day. Playing it impacts it. So does sitting. If you’ve just invested in a new piano, it’s recommended to tune it up to four times in the first year to ensure the strings are properly balanced. If you work with a tuner regularly, they can help you determine the right schedule for your piano, to ensure it’s always playing at its best.