Pianos Are Not a One Size Fits All Instrument

Pianos Are Not a One Size Fits All Instrument

If you’re thinking of buying a piano for yourself, chances are you’ve learned a lot about it online. You’ll find a ton of information to help you consider what piano to buy, and how to keep up with your practice. 

Yet one thing you might have yet to think much about yet are the differences in pianos. If you visit a big box store, you might only have one to choose from. Yet a piano is not a one-size-fits-all instrument. 

Instead, it takes careful planning and consideration to select the right piano to suit your needs. Things you should consider are:

Size

Need something portable? Maybe a digital piano is what you need. Want something grand to be the center of attention? A grand piano may better suit your needs. Pianos come in a variety of sizes to give you what you need most. Yet in all categories, you’ll find all levels of quality. 

Start by assessing your needs. Where will you play your piano regularly? 

Then pay attention to quality – quality over size. A high-quality vertical will sound better than a lower-quality grand piano every time. It’s not about size, it’s about what suits your lifestyle best.  

Location

Pianos are designed for aesthetics. One that works well in a closed practice room won’t sound the same as one intended for a concert hall. 

The same applies to your home. Take a look around your room. Are there vaulted ceilings? A wall of glass windows? Hardwood or carpet? Lots of artwork on the walls? All of that impacts the way the sound vibrates throughout the room. If you’re investing in a piano to create music you love, it’s important to select one that sounds good to your ear. 

Voice

Pianos are created using different materials. No two pianos are ever the same. 

Over time, a technician will tune your piano, adjusting the way your piano sounds. It depends on the materials used during production, and the way they adjust inside your home. 

Before you buy a piano, sit down and play it. Feel the keys beneath your fingers, and hear the sound of the notes. Working with just a handful of pianos will give you a better idea of how different they sound. You’ll notice you gravitate towards one or another. Go with your instinct. 

It’s the best way to find a piano you truly love, one you’ll continue to play as you grow in talent. 

And that’s what truly matters the most. 

The Perfect Spot For Your New Piano

The Perfect Spot For Your New Piano

You’re in the market for a new piano. You’re excited to bring music into your home. 

But where is the perfect spot for your new piano? There are many factors that can affect your choice. 

Count your steps

A piano isn’t something you can move into place yourself. If you try and move it with a buddy, you’ll find just how bulky and heavy they are. You can risk damaging the piano, and injuring yourself. 

Hiring a piano mover is your best choice to get the job done the right way the first time. Be aware that expenses increase with more difficulty. If they have to navigate staircases, maneuver around walls and obstacles, it takes more time and dedication. The closer you can get to the front door, the better. 

Avoid humidity, moisture, and sunlight

Most people place their new pianos on display. You want it in a room where it will be noticed and get played. However, sunlight isn’t good for a piano. It can dry out the wood, causing it to crack. 

A dark, damp basement isn’t a good choice either. If mold and mildew can creep up, it will impact playability. Moisture can warp wood and cause wire and metal to rust. 

While pianos may have a large presence, they are delicate by nature. They do best in a room with very little change, preferring a temperature around 70 to 72 degrees. 

Acoustics

A piano will change tone based on the quality of the room. High vaulted ceilings will amplify the sound, whereas low ceilings with drapery and wall decor will muffle the tonal quality. 

When you’re finalizing your decision on what piano to buy, ask about sound qualities for where you’re considering placing it. Pianos will sound differently in your home than on the showroom floor. Small changes can have a huge impact. 

If you have a spot for your piano, play around with the decor. Add an area rug. Or remove it and let it rest on the hardwood floor. Test out the sound and come up with an ambiance that works perfectly to amplify the sound. 

Where’s the perfect spot for your new piano?

4 Ways To Make Your Piano Last For 100 Years

4 Ways To Make Your Piano Last For 100 Years

Many people put a piano on display, proud of their family heirloom. It sat in their parent’s home, their grandparents owned it too. It can be traced back further than that, even back to their great-grandparents. 

Yes, if you invest in a quality piano, it can last for 100 years. Not every piano is up for the job; here’s what it takes. 

Pay attention to brand

Brand matters for longevity. If you want a piano to be around to hand down to the next generation, start by looking at pianos built for a lifetime of play. A reputable dealer will be able to point you toward pianos that stand the test of time. They are the very same manufacturers that built pianos during your grandparents’ time. They know how to produce high-quality instruments, and they stand behind their work. 

Regular tuning

Tuning is one of the most important maintenance items to keep your piano healthy. The Piano Technicians Guild recommends that a piano be tuned four times during the first year, then twice a year beyond that. Time it with seasons change to ensure heat and moisture don’t leave their impact. This allows a professional to find minor problems that could quickly escalate into bigger issues. 

Care and maintenance

Location is everything. Ensure the right level of humidity, and low fluctuations in temperature. Keep a piano away from drafts, and avoid streaming sunlight. Don’t put drinks on the edge or lid; water is one of the most damaging items. Carefully dust the keys, and keep things away that can block function. 

Restore when it’s time

Pianos have a lifespan of 30 to 50 years, no matter what brand it is or how well it’s cared for. Eventually, certain things may need repair. New pins. Update strings. Replace the soundboard. 

A reputable piano restorer will keep it as close to original as possible. They will upgrade where necessary, with the end goal of quality. 

If you want to make your piano last for generations, start out by buying a piano built for the task. 

We can help. Just ask. 

Is Upgrading Your Piano a Good Investment?

Is Upgrading Your Piano a Good Investment?

Is a piano a good investment? It depends on your purpose. 

When most people buy a starter piano, it’s to move into a hobby they’ve been considering for a while. They enjoy music, and the thought of creating it is exciting. They are ready for all of the rewards that come with playing the piano. 

Yet upgrading brings something else to the table. You’ve played the piano; you understand what it brings to your life. Now you’re ready to upgrade and have a higher quality sound. 

A new learner requires stability of the notes to hear what you’re playing while you practice. With a higher quality instrument, it takes the sound to the next level. You can hear the difference. 

Of course, piano brands have a lot to do with it. Certain brands hold their value better than others. What matters the most is a high-quality soundboard. Choose a soundboard made from solid wood rather than one created from composite materials. The soundboard is the heart of the piano, it creates the tone and voice of the sound. High-quality materials will ensure a high-quality sound. 

In most cases, you’ll also find pianos that maintain their value and become a good investment using more timeless finishes, like polished ebony. It’s classic and endearing, and has become synonymous with a high-quality instrument. 

Once you’ve upgraded, you’ll have to provide regular care to ensure the value remains high. That includes things like:

Regular tunings – most piano brands suggest tuning the instrument on a yearly basis. But that changes depending on your situation. New pianos need several adjustments during the first year, as the strings adjust to their positioning. If you move the piano, tuning can help ensure it stays in good playing condition. Stick with a regular tuning professional, and they can recommend a schedule that works well for your situation. 

Proper conditions – pianos can be very finicky instruments if the environment is constantly changing. Move it away from windows or doors where it might be in the line of drafts. Keep it away from vents and registers where it will receive a constant stream of conditioned air. Avoid direct sunlight as UV rays will impact the finish. Avoid too much humidity, as it can lead to warping. Avoid dry air, as it can cause the wood to crack. 

General care – be cautious of what you clean your piano with regularly. Dust it to avoid buildup along the keyboard. Keep the lid closed then it’s not in use. Constant pounding of the keys can cause them to stick; be careful to clean them with a mild solution of soap and water, and never let moisture saturate between the keys. 

Is a piano a good investment? Should you consider upgrading to one that currently suits your needs? Yes! If you enjoy playing and are ready for a better sounding instrument, it will help you become a better player. 

Music is something you can carry with you for life. Upgrade to a higher quality piano today, and enjoy making music for life. 

Do I Need a Piano If My Child Is Starting Lessons?

Do I Need a Piano If My Child Is Starting Lessons?

Children often have many desires, running from activity to activity as they try to find what they enjoy. As a parent, that can be difficult on the budget, trying to keep up with the costs required to enter every activity. Should you rent? Should you buy? Should you wait until your child shows real interest? 

What’s a parent to do? 

Is a piano necessary?

Like all activities your child will start, they need to have the basic equipment at hand before they sign up for lessons. And to play the piano, you’ll need to bring a piano into your home. 

This isn’t the time to pick up a small keyboard at your local big box store. It may look like a piano, but it definitely doesn’t play like one. If it’s nothing more than a toy, your child will never pick up the nuances of what it takes to play the piano. 

Pianos have weighted keys to aid in playing. They use 88 keys for an entire span to play every song. Without a proper instrument, they won’t develop the correct technique. 

When should you buy a piano?

Pianos can be expensive. It isn’t easy to put out the money necessary for your child to start lessons and see if they enjoy making music. 

Yet like every activity, it’s a journey, not a destination. Are you prepared to help your child develop a love of music? If so, you’ll need to get them proper tools to help them learn. 

You wouldn’t expect a child to learn soccer without the proper shoes or a flat ball. You wouldn’t expect them to fall in love with cooking without investing in pots and pans. Every hobby, every activity, has its own tools of the trade. It’s required to learn properly and fall in love with the activity. 

What’s a parent’s best plan?

Luckily, there are many ways you can get the best tools without breaking the bank. 

You may be tempted to look online, and give the “free” piano on Craigslist a try. That can be an expensive endeavor. With nothing to compare it to, you may wind up with a piano that barely plays, and is way out of tune. That’s like playing soccer with a flat ball. 

By trusting a piano dealer, you’ll be able to compare used pianos with new ones, and hear the difference between price points. You’ll learn what makes a quality instrument, and discover the best instrument for your budget. 

Starter pianos are great places to start – they give your kids a great chance at falling in love with music, while keeping the price low to fit within your budget. 

Have more questions? Stop by today. When you need a piano, we’ll help you find the right selection to suit your needs. 

How Often Should Piano Hammers Be Replaced

How Often Should Piano Hammers Be Replaced

A piano hammer is the part of the action that strikes the strings when a key is pressed. Hammers are responsible for producing sound as you push down on each key. 

They are manufactured with a thick, stiff felt stretched around wooden molding using tension. This tension creates a “bounce” factor that causes the hammer to “bounce” off the string after it strikes it, creating a specific vibration or tone. 

As one of the most moveable action items in a piano, it should be no surprise to learn how durable this mechanism is. Over time, the piano’s strings tamp down on the felt, breaking down the fibers with each repeated strike. This impacts the piano’s sound. When you press a key without a clean blow, it strikes without intensity, generating a harsh sound that isn’t pleasing to the ear. 

Once you notice this, it’s time for the piano hammer to be replaced. 

Is this something you’ll have to do often? It depends. A concert piano that is used regularly for performances will undergo much more maintenance and care than a piano used periodically in a home environment. 

Playing is one factor, but it isn’t the only one. Location matters – is the piano in harsh conditions with direct sunlight, changing temperatures, and lots of humidity? That can wear down the felt quickly too. 

There isn’t a specific lifespan for when you’ll replace piano hammers. Instead, it’s important to watch for signs of change, guiding you to make repairs long before they wear down and need total replacement. 

Piano hammers have a characteristic egg shape. As they connect with the strings and begin to harden into grooves, a professional is able to reshape the hammers back to their original condition. Most piano hammers can be reshaped up to three times before the shape and hardness require repair. This restoration process involves using fine sandpaper to return it to the required shape. 

How do you know when it’s time? 

The first step is with an audible clue. When hammers are worn down, the piano will create a harsh and unpleasant sound. The tone will be different from what you’re accustomed to. 

The second is by looking at the hammers. If the grooves in the felt are half the diameter of the strings themselves, then the hammers require reshaping at a minimum. As the tracks move closer to the same width as the strings, then the hammers will require replacement. 

Do all pianos need to have hammers replaced? Yes, eventually. This is where the action happens, where sound is created, and where the most stress is created. 

Regular maintenance will ensure its quality to keep your piano in good working condition. That includes replacement of items like the piano hammers from time to time. It’ll keep your piano playable.

How Often Should We Be Tuning Our Church Piano?

How Often Should We Be Tuning Our Church Piano?

A general rule of thumb is that a piano should be tuned twice a year. Yet that isn’t always true. 

When your piano is in constant motion, when you play your church piano day in and day out, it may need to be tuned more frequently. 

Playing isn’t the only thing that impacts playability. Where is your piano located? Is it in the line of drafts from windows and doors? Are there temperature fluctuations? Do the humidity levels change frequently?

How often should you be tuning your church piano?

Pianos may appear to be large, bulky pieces of furniture that can withstand much abuse. Yet inside a piano is 10,000 tiny intricate pieces that need care to keep them working well. To keep those 10,000 parts working well, schedule maintenance like you do with other assets you care for. Seasonally works well – once when you turn off the heat, and again when you turn off the air conditioning. Both of these modern conveniences can have a profound impact on the condition of your piano. Tuning them at these intervals will ensure it’s in good working condition. 

Tuning … or service?

If you hire a well-educated piano technician, they will have lots of experience in caring for a piano. From fine tuning to voicing, to repair work and restoration, they will be able to pick up on tiny nuances that can impact the quality of your piano. Pianos are expensive, isn’t it better to care for them over time than to replace them before their time? 

Why do pianos need to be tuned regularly?

Every time you touch a key, the string moves, hammers jump, notes are created, and a sound is produced. This action is repeated every time you sit down and play a song. That’s a lot of stress that goes into the makeup of the piano. Regular tuning ensures each of these systems are well maintained and cared for. 

What if you don’t tune the piano?

It happens more often than not. In time, strings go out of tune due to stress. If you don’t put these strings back in proper position, they can cause damage to other parts of the piano. If left uncorrected, the pitch may diminish to a point where it can no longer hold a tuning. That can require extensive repair or restoration. 

What if a piano is never tuned?

We see this occasionally. At this point, it depends on the quality of the piano. Does it make sense to spend the time necessary to restore the quality to what it was before? Does it make sense to restore the piano to working condition? Or is replacement a better option?

The best way to keep your church piano in quality working condition is to provide the correct care throughout its life. That includes regular tuning, action regulation, and tone adjustments. 

When was the last time your church piano was tuned?

Are Pianos Eco-Friendly?

Are Pianos Eco-Friendly?

“It might sound strange, but lately, I’ve been trying to bring more sustainable, eco-friendly items into my house. I’ve been looking at pianos, and started wondering how they’re made. Are pianos eco-friendly?”

Great question. 

When people purchase a piano, they bring all sorts of questions with them. And occasionally, we are asked about sustainability too. 

Overall, pianos are created from more than 10,000 pieces. Some of its wood. Some of its metal. But it all comes together to create an instrument you can enjoy for life. 

New or used?

Before diving into the way pianos are made, it’s essential to talk about lifespan too. When you purchase a high-quality piano, you can reasonably expect it to last for a generation or more. When well cared for, a piano can be enjoyed for decades. 

If you look back at some of the top piano brands in history, you’ll find many of them still make good investments today. Because dealers understand quality, they often purchase used pianos back from clients, ensure they’re in good working condition, and then resell them to families looking for a good investment. 

New or used, if you pay attention to quality, you can expect decades’ worth of use. This isn’t something you’ll use and throw away anytime soon. 

Ivory piano keys

A lot has changed in the past century. 

When pianos were first invented, they were made from a variety of materials. Ivory became popular for both looks and playability. Musicians enjoyed the feel of ivory underneath their fingertips, and it created a valuable item that people enjoyed showing off inside of their homes. 

During the Great Depression, manufacturers began using plastic in place of ivory as a way to save money. They also found plastic was easier to work with, especially in manufacturing lines. 

By 1989, the use of ivory was officially banned from use. You can no longer purchase ivory. If you own or buy a piano built before 1959, there is a strong possibility it is made with ivory. How you feel about owning something made with this product is up to you. 

Eco-friendly

Many of today’s manufacturers work hard to create products that won’t harm the environment. Some brands create manufacturing processes designed to be sustainable and ethical. They pay attention to energy reduction and how they source their materials. 

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) ensures wood is sourced and harvested sustainably. You can check if the brand you’re purchasing follows their guidelines for the wood used in manufacturing. 

It’s your choice

If you truly wish to be more eco-friendly with every purchase, stop by and chat about what instrument may be the best choice for you. We can help you identify top brands for consideration, and provide details to help you make the right decision. 

What questions can we answer for you? 

Yes, You Can Afford a High Quality Piano

Yes, You Can Afford a High Quality Piano

How much does a piano cost? If your child has expressed an interest in playing piano, you might be a little nervous about investing in an instrument. The size, the complex features, all point to something that’s going to hit your budget hard. 

Yet you want what’s best for your child. And they want to play. 

Can you afford a high quality piano? Or will you resort to finding something less-than-stellar at a garage sale, or pick up a toy piano and hope for the best?

How to afford a high quality piano

Before settling for a poor quality piano based on price alone, let’s talk about the importance of a high quality instrument. 

Would you attempt to start playing basketball … and use a flat ball?

Or start downhill skiing … with toy skis?

Of course not. We understand that to make the most of a hobby, and to stay safe while doing so, it’s important to have the right equipment. Without it, you’ll never pick up the nuances of settling into your new hobby. Nor will you enjoy the process. 

While you might need professional level equipment, you do need certain standards to ensure you make the most of your time practicing. It has to make the process enjoyable. 

Can you imagine playing a piano where the notes were all out of key? Or the sound was tinny, anything but pleasing? Eventually, you would no longer participate in the process. 

How piano dealers can help you

When you hunt through Craigslist, you might find a high quality instrument if you weed through all of the listings, trying to find one that suits your needs. What you’re more likely to find is a lot of pianos that have been abandoned, without playing, without maintenance, until someone decides to move them out of their home. 

This rarely offers a high quality sound. 

Dealers only sell high quality pianos. They offer new and used, at every price point, and of varying degrees of quality. From startups to professionals, a piano dealer offers every level of piano to suit your needs. 

They can also help with financing. Because they are a retail dealer, they have a variety of options available for you. 

But it all starts with a first step … coming in and discussing your needs and desires. 

Whether you’re just starting and have never touched a piano before, or have specific wants and desires in mind, we have a solution to suit your needs. 

Yes, you can afford a high quality piano. 

It starts by stopping by today. We look forward to working with you. 

Making Sure Your Piano Keys Are Never Sticky Again

Making Sure Your Piano Keys Are Never Sticky Again

When you first purchase a new piano, it looks perfect sitting in your home. Yet as your family plays over time, something can start impacting the way it plays. 

You may have a rule of no food or drink near the piano. That’s a good rule to make. But it isn’t the only thing that can impact the piano keys. Humidity, dust in the air supply, or a small object wedged between the keys can stop playing in its tracks. 

You’ll know it when it happens. Sticky piano keys mean your fingers won’t be able to move up and down the keyboard nimbly as you play. You’ll hit a key, and your finger will stop. It won’t feel right. It won’t sound right. 

It’s time to jumpstart piano maintenance, and ensure your keyboard is ready to play again. 

Cleaning the keyboard is quite easy. But there are a few tricks to learn first. 

What are the keys made of?

Start by determining the key material. Most modern pianos use acrylic plastic. Ivory is no longer used, but if you have an older piano, it may still be in place. Ebony is a hard, tropical wood often used for the black keys. Sometimes cellulose is used, which is known as imitation ivory. 

If your piano is known, it is probably made from acrylic plastic. The older it is, the more chance it has of being ivory. You can tell it’s ivory by looking for a horizontal seam where the white key starts to narrow. 

Cleaning plastic piano keys

Plastic keys are fairly resilient. That said, you should still avoid using too much water, as it can seep between the keys and cause damage underneath. Use a mild dish soap and a slightly damp microfiber cloth to remove dirt and stains. Be sure to place the cleaning solution on the cloth; never pour solution directly onto the keys. Don’t use a scrub brush or anything harsh that may scratch the surface. Clean one key at a time, back to front, until all the keys are cleaned. 

Cleaning ivory piano keys

Ivory is a porous material that is vulnerable to certain cleaning products. Less is more. Start by rubbing with a clean microfiber cloth to remove the top layer of dirt. Then using a mixture of one part dish soap to four parts water, clean the notes from left to right, back to front, one key at a time. Make sure to use a light color cloth as darker colors can transfer to ivory keys. Wipe down the surface after cleaning to ensure they are dry.

In all cases, avoid using harsh chemicals on the keys. Vinegar can be harsh, scratching and dulling the surface. Alcohol can also cause damage to the surface of the keys. When in doubt, refer directly to the manufacturer, or give us a call. We can make recommendations. 

Are your keys still sticky?

Cleaning should be a regular part of your routine. Yet if you’ve cleaned the keys and they still stick, it may be time to call in a professional. They can pinpoint and fix the problem quickly, having you back to playing in no time. 

Have you experienced sticky keys before?