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. 

Finding The Perfect Place For My Piano

Finding The Perfect Place For My Piano

“Just stick it in the corner.” 

“Put it against the wall.”

If you’ve had a piano delivered to your home, you might have uttered a phrase similar to the ones above. But are they the best choices? Where is the perfect place to put a piano? Does it make a difference?

While it may sound like sound vibrates throughout a piano, in truth, it’s created by the soundboard. The soundboard is a large piece of wood that amplifies the vibration of the strings. 

If you were to pluck a string, it wouldn’t create much sound. You wouldn’t get the rich tonal quality you expect every time you strike a key on your piano. That’s why the soundboard is in place.  

Depending on what type of piano you’re playing determines where the soundboard is placed. On an upright, the soundboard sits right in front of you as you play the piano. All sound vibrates back at you. For an upright, the soundboard is lying flat. The sound vibrates up towards the lid before bouncing back out into the environment. 

The upright pushes sound back towards the player, while the grand pushes sound out towards the audience. That’s one of the primary reasons you see grands used in concert settings. 

If you place an upright along the wall, the sound will be flattened by the wall, and bounce back through, possibly into the music rack. That further muffles the sound, making it softer, more closed. 

If you place a grand in the corner, an open lid will bounce sound up, out from the lid, into the wall, and project the sound out into the room. Think of it as a projection system, one that can add greater concentration of sound throughout the room. 

This doesn’t mean a corner is the best choice for piano placement. What it does showcase is placement matters. Be conscious of where you place your piano depending on the results you hope to achieve. 

Walls make a difference. Be conscious of how close you put either uprights or grands in your home. It can significantly impact sound quality. 

Be careful if you have drapes or rugs nearby as they can further deaden sound. 

If you have further questions on creating the perfect music room, just ask. We’re here to help with all of your piano needs. 

Creating A Music Room Around Your Piano

Creating A Music Room Around Your Piano

Decorating your home is one of the most fun projects you’ll take on. This is where you add your personality. This is how you create a space you’ll love to come home to each night. 

For piano lovers, you don’t want to push your piano into the corner – out of sight, out of mind. Instead, if you’re like a lot of piano lovers, you’ll want to put your piano on display, front and center. 

No matter how big or small your home is, we have some tips for you to keep in mind while creating your music room. 

First, decide where your piano will go

This may sound like an obvious step, but sometimes your ideal space doesn’t match what’s best for the piano. Pianos are more than furniture; they are working ever-changing instruments that need care to keep them in the best playing condition possible. If you’re considering a room, and have a spot picked out, consider these factors:

  • How much foot traffic the area sees – will placing a piano here change the flow of the room? The home?
  • The climate – does the area receive direct sunlight? Does it have vents or registers where heat and cool air will impact the wood?
  • Is this the perfect place for practice, playing, and enjoying? Pianos add ambiance to any room; just ensure everyone in the home will enjoy it. 

Second, put your piano front and center for full enjoyment

Many homeowners tuck their pianos into a corner and forget about them. It’s not much fun to practice in a dark, dingy corner. And the more of an afterthought your piano comes, the more you’ll begin to place other things around it – stacks of books, pile papers on the bench, place knick knacks on the top of the piano. For that reason, we suggest making your piano center of attention for maximum enjoyment. 

Create open space around it for other people to join in. You can place other instruments nearby – guitar, violin, even small instruments like drums and flutes. This is a way to get the entire family playing together. 

You don’t have to leave your piano in traditional stains or colors. Some of the most functional music rooms put brightly colored pianos center stage. Red, yellow, blue, green, or white, if you make it a part of your room, you’re more likely to use it. 

How have you decorated your music room to make it the most used room in your home? 

An Easy Way To Find The Serial Number On Any Piano

An Easy Way To Find The Serial Number On Any Piano

Want to find out how much your piano is worth? The best place to start is by finding the serial number on your piano. This number is unique to every piano created. Think of it as the VIN number of the piano world. 

However, finding it is another story. Your piano is large, with thousands of tiny parts inside and out. The serial number is small. In most cases, serial numbers are seven or fewer characters, mostly numbers, but occasionally you’ll find letters too. 

Not every manufacturer puts the serial number in the same place. And depending on the make and the model, even that’s changed over time. 

Grand Piano

With a grand piano, the serial number can be placed in numerous areas. 

  • Some may print the serial number on a plaque on the inside of the rim or case
  • Some may stamp the serial number on the soundboard, top or bottom
  • Some may print and adhere a sticker to the back of the piano
  • Some may print the serial number behind the keyslip in front of the keyboard

Depending on the age and condition of your piano, you may have to give the inside of your piano a thorough cleaning to find the numbers. If restoration has occurred before, the numbers could have been covered up by upgrades. 

Upright Piano

Vertical pianos have less space to print the serial number, so it’s usually easier to find. You can usually find it by lifting the lid; look at the gold harp plate, and it’s usually there. If not, take a look:

  • On the top of the lid
  • On either of the side walls
  • On one of the hammers
  • On the back of the piano, often stamped onto the wood

Why is the serial number so important? Because this is the starting point to find out how much value your instrument has. A serial starts by telling you how old the piano is. When you combine this with the make and model, most dealers will instantly be able to tell you its worth. 

Keep in mind that this is the starting point. Care and maintenance also play a big role in value. But if you’re considering selling your piano, or trading up for a better one, finding your serial number is a great place to start. 

Why Do Pianos Depreciate?

Why Do Pianos Depreciate?

When you purchased your last car, the value dropped the moment you drove off the lot. You drive it. You put miles on it. It gets a few dings. Maybe you repair it after an accident. It depreciates every single day. 

Most things in life work that way. You buy it. You use it. And then you dispose of it, depending on what it is. If you’re lucky, you can sell it in a second hand store, on eBay, or possibly in a garage sale. 

A piano works is no exception.

You buy it and it begins depreciating from the moment it arrives at your home. 

How it goes down in value depends on what you’re buying, the manufacturer, and the model. 

Dealers sell new pianos straight from the manufacturer. As a part of a capitalistic society, new always costs the most. The moment someone else takes ownership, the price begins to go down. 

And like other high-valued assets, the biggest drop comes within the first two to three years of life. That’s when the biggest depreciation exists. You’ll find pianos often drop as much as 20 percent the first year, usually settling into 5 percent for years two or three. 

Of course, this can be altered in many ways. What make and model did you purchase? How well do you care for your piano? Do you tune it regularly? Does it have appropriate levels of humidity? 

Not every piano depreciates in value over time. In some cases, a piano can appreciate and be worth more than you paid for it. Some of the bigger brands like Steinway, Bosendorfer, and Yamaha are always in demand. 

Their quality is so good, they tend to hold their value better than others. 

You might also find some come in limited editions, meaning they were produced with special qualities in mind. Especially in the professional arena, people often develop a liking for one particular brand and sound. If your piano meets certain qualifications, it can rise in value instead of going down. 

If you use your piano in a commercial application – a school or a church, for example – it’s often important to understand your options and select based on personal needs. Do you regularly switch up your pianos, purchase on a regular cycle? Depreciation may be just a part of doing business. If you’re looking for long term, maybe only a higher quality will do. 

Whatever your needs, we’re here to help. Just ask. 

Do Pianos Hold Their Value?

Do Pianos Hold Their Value?

Purchasing a new piano can be a daunting task. It’s not as easy as running to the sporting goods store and picking up a soccer ball. You can’t store it as easily as a new pair of sneakers. 

Purchasing a new piano is an investment in your future. Selected correctly, you can expect your piano to give you a lifetime of enjoyment. And whether you’re ready to move up in quality, or simply downsize and give the next generation an opportunity to play, pianos can be an investment that pays you back when you’re ready to sell. 

But how do you know which pianos hold their value? Is it based on style? Make? Brand? 

Every piano is different. It depends on all of that and more. Yet there are a few general principles that determine how much value a piano will hold over time. 

First of all, realize that pianos depreciate just like every major asset you own. As soon as you bring them home from the dealer, they start the depreciation process, sometimes losing as much as 20 percent in the first year alone. Then they continue to move downward depending on a variety of factors:

  • How well they are maintained
  • How much humidity impacts the parts
  • Replacement parts
  • Tuning, voicing, and other care

But not all pianos depreciate at the same rate. Mass-produced pianos are going to go down in value more than ones that are lovingly created one at a time. If you choose the best names in the business – Steinway, Bosendorfer, or Yamaha – they can actually go up in value over time. 

Why? Because of the quality. They’re that good. 

If you select a limited edition instrument, they also tend to hold their value and be more valuable in the resale market. These instruments have unique finishes or special components that make them wanted on the open market. 

Do pianos hold their value? The best answer is: it depends. If you want a high quality piano you can play for a lifetime, we can help you with that. If you care about long term value, we can help you with that too. Stop by today and consider your options from our complete stock of high quality instruments. You’ll find one you can love for a lifetime. 

How Long Can A Piano Go Without Being Tuned?

How Long Can A Piano Go Without Being Tuned?

No matter what you purchase, taking care of it is a lifetime process. When a piece of equipment comes with a several year guarantee, the manufacturer assumes the item will be well maintained throughout its life. 

The piano is no different. Pianos can last decades, but only if they receive proper maintenance. Pianos aren’t a “buy them and leave them alone” kind of item. 

Instead, when you purchase a piano, it’s necessary to bring in a trained tuner to keep your piano in the best condition possible. 

The first tuning should be shortly after you bring the piano into your home. Place your piano in its final resting spot and wait three to four weeks. Then bring in a tuner. It’s important for your piano to have the chance to acclimate to its new surroundings. A piano breathes and settles in based on room conditions and temperatures. How Long Can A Piano Go Without Being Tuned?

No matter how old your piano is – whether you bought it new or used – the sound quality won’t hold forever. Even if you can’t hear the difference, the need still exists. The longer you wait between tunings, the more inflexible the tension of the strings will become. 

Tuners, in general, recommend tuning a piano at least twice per year. Spring and fall work well because that adjusts for the harshest of conditions during the coldest and warmest months of the year. A string’s tension is strongly connected to the temperatures of the surrounding area. 

Don’t think not playing the piano makes a difference. If you don’t regularly sit down and play, your piano is still impacted by other conditions. The temperatures still change. The wood, metal, and wiring are all still impacted. 

Normally, tuning takes one to several hours, depending on how well the piano has been kept. If you haven’t tuned your piano in years, it might take more than one tuning sessions in a row to allow the piano to stay in tune. It might even take repair of the internal parts to ensure a proper sound. Likewise, a new piano, or a piano that has recently been upgraded with new strings will require more tunings in the first year. This is to allow the tension to settle into its new surroundings, and adjust it to hold its sound. 

When was the last time you had your piano tuned?

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. Do Pianos Really Increase In Value?

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 To Creative An Effective Piano Room

How To Creative An Effective Piano Room

Looking for an ideal place in your home to practice the piano? Here are a few tips to create the perfect environment to make playing fun. 

Create the right atmosphere

When you design your home, you decorate for all kinds of occasions. You select colors that match your mood and style. You add accessories to show off your personality. The piano isn’t something you just throw into a room and have it set apart from the rest of your decor. Instead, decorate around it to make it blend and flow with the ambiance of the room. Add flowers nearby. Incorporate artwork or photographs to help it blend in. Be sure it’s well lit to make playing easier, and to show off your piano. 

Have the right tools nearby

As you progress with your lessons, you might be in need of a variety of tools. Music, pencils, highlighters, blank scorepads, paper, a metronome – keep it all close by. Many piano benches have storage built right in. You might also have a storage box or shelves in the room where all of your supplies are close at hand. Having to get up and find tools can detract from your real purpose; it’s easier if you have everything close by. How To Creative An Effective Piano Room

Have goals

What is your ultimate goal as a piano player? Do you wish to do it for enjoyment? Are you hoping to join a band? Do you want to play just for your own relaxation, or is your goal to play for an audience? If you want a room where people listen to your music, be sure to have comfortable seating that is clearly set up to listen to the music. You might even select a room that can change as you progress, including space to move from an upright to a baby grand. 

Understand the instrument

Playing the piano is a lot more than plucking the notes and creating music. It also involves understanding the way the piano creates sounds and music. Think of it as a foreign language – you have to work to understand all the nuances of the language. In your music room, you might also wish to incorporate a sound system that allows you to hear the great artists of the world, both old and new. Don’t just listen for pleasure, dive in and pull different parts of the music out. Analyze what makes the artist and the performance really stand out. 

The more you listen, the deeper you get into the process, the better you’ll become. 

Playing the piano is a lifetime of learning and enjoyment. And if you enjoy the process every time you sit down to play, you’ll ensure it’s a process you enjoy for the rest of your life.