Should I Cover My Piano When Not In Use?

Should I Cover My Piano When Not In Use?

This is a question we get a lot around here. And it makes sense, you spend a lot on purchasing the right piano for your home, protecting it seems only natural. 

In most cases, it isn’t necessary to cover your piano. If you have a grand piano, covering it can be quite a chore. Especially if you play your piano regularly, covering and uncovering it each time can take away minutes that would be better off playing. 

If you do have a grand piano and are worried about keeping the inner workings in the best possible shape, it’s better to close the lid when you are done playing. This can help with the integrity of your piano, and protect wood and strings from dust and humidity. Air conditioning can be especially hard on it. You can’t completely stop your piano from being impacted by the elements, but closing the lid reduces exposure, and can slow the aging and degradation process. 

Your piano is designed to be inside your home and be played. With proper cleanings and tunings, it can last for decades. You can’t stop exposure to the elements, even if it’s covered or you close your lid. Aging and wear happen naturally. 

But there is one thing you should do before you place your piano in its final resting spot, and that’s paying attention to the way sunlight streams into your home. Sunlight is possibly your piano’s worst enemy. 

Sunlight can wear down the finish, warp wood, and tighten the tension throughout your piano. It can cause the soundboard to crack. It can degrade the finish, taking away your piano’s classic good looks. While you should consider moving your piano to a better location, covering it to protect it from the sun’s rays would be the next best step. 

Do you have other questions about your piano’s condition? 

Caring For Your Piano During COVID-19

Caring For Your Piano During COVID-19

Now that you’ve been staying in place for a few weeks, has cleaning taken on a whole new meaning? Do you find yourself scrubbing everything down daily, lugging out the bleach to ensure everything is clean? 

Before you take a rag to clean and disinfect your piano, let’s talk about safety. 

COVID-19 has made us more aware than ever that our fingers can be weapons. If you head to the grocery store, for example, and pick up germs, everything you touch in between can spread the bacteria. That’s why handwashing is so important. 

It’s also why it’s important to clean and disinfect the things you do touch regularly. Like your keys, your doorknobs, light switches, and remote controls. 

While you can use a spray cleaner on a light switch or doorknob, don’t try that on your piano keys.

Caring for your piano takes a different strategy than other fixtures in your home. 

First, it’s important to know what your piano keys are made of. “Tickling the ivories” became a catch-phrase because piano keys were once made out of ivory. The practice of using ivory in piano production was banned decades ago, but that doesn’t mean ivory piano keys are completely gone. If you have a piano that’s been handed down from generation to generation, there’s a chance real ivory was used. 

Real ivory is porous, which means they can get dirty quickly. You’ll also find they give off a yellowish color as they age. Ivory is very distinct in how they look and feel; you’ll see horizontal lines flowing from the key’s head to tail. You’ll also see the distinct veneer covering the wooden key placement underneath.

Plastic keys may try and imitate this look, but you can tell the difference. Plastic keys are molded in entirety, making them more durable and affordable to manufacture. 

Black keys are made from plastic or ebony wood. They are polished to give a sheen. 

No matter what type of keys your piano has, remember liquid is an enemy, not a friend. Less is more when it comes to cleaning. Never spray any cleaner directly onto the keyboard. Liquid can seep in between, settle there, and do extensive damage. 

Instead, always use a damp cloth and ensure you work one key at a time, leaving no moisture behind. We recommend one part white vinegar to two parts water. Do not use bleach of any kind, as that will dull, strip, and damage the keys. 

You can also make it a rule that hand washing is necessary before anyone sits down to play. That will reduce the chance of any trace germs settling onto your keys. And eliminate the chance of germs settling in.  

Caring for your piano with the coronavirus on everyone’s mind doesn’t have to be a demanding chore. Use common sense to ensure your piano has a very long life. 

What About Room Placement – Piano Basics

What About Room Placement – Piano Basics

Thinking of buying a new piano? Did you know room placement – where you place your piano – is equally as important as the piano you purchase?

If you place your piano in the right spot in your home, it greatly impacts sound quality. It also gives you better performance overall. And if your piano is happy with the conditions, it will increase playability and longevity for years to come. 

Before we talk about what you should do, it’s worth mentioning what you shouldn’t do. 

Don’t do these things with your piano placement

Because pianos are sensitive to the environment, it’s important to place them where they won’t be subjected to direct sunlight or other elements that can change the overall structure of the instrument. Even a few hours of direct sunlight can cause wood to heat up and start to expand. It can dry out the soundboard, weaken joints and connections, and cause the outside to fade. If direct sunlight is unavoidable, add in shades or drapery and keep them closed during the brightest portion of the day. 

Likewise, a steady stream of cold or heated air can have the same effect as direct sunlight. Never place your piano near a window, or near a register or vent. This can cause drastic fluctuations in temperature over a short period of time, and alter the internal parts so severely they’ll need replacing. 

Good room placement includes these things

Most people place a piano where it fits best in a room, given their furniture placement. It’s a good idea to rethink it before you bring your piano home, to ensure good performance. 

For example, if you place a piano in the central hub of your home, will it interfere with other household activities? Will your child be able to practice if others are doing homework? Will practice seem like a chore, or will it be a pleasant experience? 

Playing should not only sound good to those who are listening, but also help the one playing develop a good ear for music. Carpet will help mute the sound, whereas hardwood provides a deeper, fuller sound. 

Also, remember your piano isn’t another piece of furniture, designed to hold things for storage. Placing objects on or near your piano can damage it, both inside and out. 

Trying to decide what piano to buy? Wondering about room placement, and where your new instrument will sound its best? We can help. Stop by today and we’ll answer all your questions, and help you make the perfect choice for your home. 

Why Consider A Piano Appraisal

Why Consider A Piano Appraisal

A piano isn’t like other instruments. A piano is an investment in your future. 

When you take the time to find the right piano for your needs, it involves a variety of steps and thought processes. While you may be just starting out and looking for your first piano, you still want something that will last for years. That means finding a piano that sounds good and has playability for years to come. 

To get the right piano, it takes time to find the best one. It can also take quite a lot of money. 

  • If you’re ready to sell, how much is your piano worth?
  • If you’re ready to buy, are you getting a piano worth the price tag? 
  • If you’re insuring a piano, do you know how much it’s really worth? 
  • If you’re trading up for a better piano, are you making a fair trade?

For all of these reasons and more, it might be time to consider a piano appraisal. 

Having a piano appraisal can be a good thing for all parties involved. 

For the seller, a piano appraisal can:

  • Show a buyer you’re serious about being transparent on how much a piano is worth
  • Find the fair market value of the piano
  • Provides an overview for all the technical questions a buyer might ask – this can be especially helpful if you’re not knowledgeable about the inner workings of a piano

For a buyer, a piano appraisal can:

  • Help you ensure you’re getting the quality piano you’re buying
  • Verifying the current market value is what you’re paying
  • Understand the quality to have a better idea of what maintenance you’ll have in the future

You’re ready for a piano assessment if:

  • You want to determine how old your piano is
  • You need advice on whether to sell, refurbish, or dispose of your piano
  • You want to know how much it will cost to rebuild your piano
  • You want to determine the fair market value to insure your piano
  • You’re thinking of selling or trading your current piano in

No matter where you are in your piano buying or selling process, we’re here for you. Give us a call today. 

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?