What Makes a Piano Special? 

What Makes a Piano Special? 

Can you hear it? Can you hear the piano creating beautiful music? There’s nothing quite like it. It’s a marvel of engineering and artistry, a true masterpiece of human ingenuity. 

But what is it that makes a piano so special? Is it the way it looks? The sound it produces? The way it makes you feel? 

Maybe it’s the physical construction of the piano. It’s a massive instrument, and it takes a lot of time and effort to build one properly. The craftsmanship involved is truly awe-inspiring. The piano is made up of thousands of individual components, all working together to create its signature sound. 

The frame is typically made of solid wood, with black and white keys just tempting you to touch. The strings are under tremendous tension, and the hammers strike them with incredible force. The pedals allow the pianist to manipulate the sound in a variety of ways. All these elements come together to create an instrument that is beautiful to look at and incredible to play.

Of course, the piano is more than just a collection of parts. It’s a living, breathing thing, with a soul of its own. Every piano has its own unique character, its own voice. No two pianos sound identical, even if they’re built by the same manufacturer. This is because every piano is a product of its environment. 

The wood, the humidity, the temperature, the amount of use it receives – all of these factors can affect the instrument’s sound. And then there’s the matter of how it’s played. The same piano can sound vastly different in the hands of two different pianists. The way the keys are struck, the pressure applied, the nuances of touch – all of these things contribute to the overall sound.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the piano is its versatility. It’s an instrument that can play any genre of music, from classical to jazz to rock to pop. It’s been used in everything from concert halls to saloons to living rooms. 

The piano is equally at home in a grand concert hall as it is in a small apartment. It’s an instrument that can be played solo or as part of an ensemble. It can create soaring melodies, delicate harmonies, and thunderous chords. The piano truly is a jack-of-all-trades, and that’s part of what makes it so special.

But beyond all of these technical aspects, something more intangible makes the piano special. A certain magic happens when someone sits down at the keyboard and starts to play. The music comes alive, filling the room with energy and beauty. The piano has the power to move people in a way that few other instruments can. It can make us laugh, cry, dance, or simply sit in awe. It’s an instrument that can touch the deepest parts of our souls.

What makes a piano special? Maybe it’s not any one thing. 

It’s an instrument that has captivated people for centuries and will continue to do so for generations to come.  

Whether you’re a seasoned pianist or just someone who appreciates the beauty of music, there’s no denying the special place that the piano holds in our hearts and minds.

How to Take Care of Your Piano For Life

How to Take Care of Your Piano For Life

A piano is a beautiful and valuable instrument that can provide a lifetime of joy and entertainment. Many buy a piano as much for the aesthetics it adds to a room as they do for a creative outlet. 

If you buy it and wish to ensure that your piano lasts for generations, you have to take proper care of it. What does that mean?

Keep your piano clean

This may sound simplistic, but one of the easiest ways to maintain your piano is by keeping it clean. Dust and dirt can accumulate on the piano’s surface, and over time, they can damage the finish. Use a soft, dry cloth to wipe down the piano regularly. Avoid using water or any cleaning solution, as they can damage the finish.

Control the temperature and humidity

Pianos are sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity, which can cause the wood to expand and contract. This can result in tuning problems, cracked soundboards, and other issues. To prevent this, keep your piano in a room with a stable temperature and humidity level. Ideally, the temperature should be between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and the humidity should be between 40 and 60 percent.

Tune your piano regularly

Pianos need to be tuned regularly to maintain their sound quality. Most manufacturers recommend that you have your piano tuned at least once a year, or more frequently if you use it heavily or if there are significant changes in movement, temperature, or humidity. Hire a professional piano tuner to ensure that your piano is properly tuned.

Protect your piano from direct sunlight

Direct sunlight can cause the finish on your piano to fade and can damage and warp the wood. Avoid placing your piano in direct sunlight or near a window that receives a lot of sun. If you must place your piano in a sunny room, use curtains or blinds to block out the sun during the heat of the day.

Keep your piano away from moisture

Moisture can damage the wood and the finish of your piano. Avoid placing your piano in areas of high humidity, such as a damp basement or near a humidifier. If you live in a humid climate, consider using a dehumidifier to keep the air dry.

Play your piano regularly

Playing your piano regularly can help to maintain its condition. Regular use can prevent the wood from drying out and help keep the action and hammers in good working order. Keep in mind that even if you don’t play regularly, it will still need to be tuned and inspected from time to time. 

Hire a professional for repairs and maintenance

If you notice any issues with your piano, such as a sticky key or a broken string, do not attempt to fix it yourself. Hire a professional piano technician to repair and maintain your piano. Attempting to make repairs yourself can cause further damage and may be costly to fix.

Have additional questions?

Taking care of your piano is essential to maintain its playability. It also ensures that it will last for generations. By following these few simple tips, you can enjoy your piano for life.

The Anatomy of a Piano: Understanding Its Parts and Function

The Anatomy of a Piano: Understanding Its Parts and Function

For many beginners, a piano is just an instrument … until they sit down and start to play. As you touch the keys, you can feel the various parts working together. Peek under the lid, and you’ll find an intricate display of wood and metal, all helping to create a sound like no other. 

It should come as no surprise that a modern piano has over 10,000 parts. If even one of those parts isn’t working well, it can compromise your overall sound. And that means you won’t enjoy making music and may lose the pleasure of playing!

While you don’t need to build a piano to appreciate its complexities, a general understanding of the anatomy of the piano can help you be a better player. Learning the various piano parts and their function can help you discover a greater love for making music. 

The piano is a complex musical instrument that produces beautiful and rich sounds. It is composed of many different parts, each with a specific function that contributes to the instrument’s overall sound. Are you ready to explore the major components and discover how they help create better sound?

Casing and Lid

The casing and lid of a piano are essential in protecting the internal components of the piano from damage and environmental factors such as dust and humidity. The lid on a grand piano helps control the sound, as it can be opened or closed to alter the room’s acoustics. A closed lid produces a mellow sound, while an open top produces a brighter and more resonant sound.

Keyboard

The keyboard is the most recognizable part of a piano and is where every pianist gravitates, knowing this is how to produce music. A standard piano keyboard has 88 keys, each making a different note when pressed. The keys are weighted and balanced to provide a consistent feel and response, essential for precision playing and expression.

Soundboard

The soundboard is a large wooden panel that amplifies and resonates with the sound produced by the piano strings. It is responsible for creating the characteristic sound of a piano and must be carefully crafted to ensure optimal sound quality. The shape and curvature of the soundboard are critical factors in determining the tone and quality of the sound produced by the piano.

Hammers

The hammers are felt-covered mechanisms that strike the strings when a key is pressed. They are responsible for creating the initial sound of the piano and must be carefully adjusted to ensure optimal sound quality. The hammers’ weight, shape, and density affect the sound produced by the piano and can be adjusted to alter the tone and timbre of the instrument.

Strings

The strings are thin wires stretched tightly across the piano’s body and struck by the hammers to produce sound. The strings are made from high-quality steel wire and must be carefully tensioned to ensure optimal sound quality. The strings’ length, thickness, and tension all affect the sound produced by the piano and can be adjusted to alter the pitch and tone of the instrument.

Bridge

The bridge is a wooden structure that anchors the strings to the soundboard and helps transmit the sound vibrations to the soundboard. It is responsible for sending the sound produced by the strings to the soundboard and is critical in creating the characteristic sound of a piano. The shape and placement of the bridge are essential factors in determining the tone and quality of the sound produced by the instrument.

Tuning Pins

The tuning pins are metal pins that hold the strings in place and allow the pianist to adjust the tension and pitch of the strings. They must be carefully adjusted to ensure the piano is in tune and produces optimal sound quality. The tuning pins are essential, as they allow for precise tuning and control over the sound produced by the instrument.

Pedals

The pedals are three foot-operated levers located at the base of the piano designed to control various sound effects and sustain notes. The sustain pedal is the most commonly used, allowing the pianist to sustain notes longer. The other pedals can produce different sound results, such as softening or brightening the sound produced by the piano. Pedals are essential for pianists, as they allow for greater expression and control over the sound produced by the instrument.

A better understanding makes a better piano player …

The careful craftsmanship made to each piano component ensures optimal sound quality and responsiveness. Pianists must also learn to use the various parts of the instrument to their fullest potential, controlling the sound produced by the piano with precision and expression.

Overall, the piano is an incredible instrument with a rich history and legacy. Its complex components work harmoniously to produce beautiful sounds and provide a canvas for pianists to create art and express themselves through music.  

Whether you are a seasoned pianist or a beginner, understanding the major components of a piano and how they contribute to the sound of the instrument is essential for appreciating the artistry and craftsmanship that goes into creating this incredible musical instrument.

What Piano Maintenance is Necessary After You Buy

What Piano Maintenance is Necessary After You Buy

Very few things are “buy it and forget it.” Instead, if you expect longevity and years of enjoyment, you’ll have to perform maintenance to keep it running well.

Pianos are no different. 

Piano maintenance is an important aspect of owning a piano. Grand and upright pianos both need regular maintenance to keep your instrument in good condition and ensure that it produces the best sound. 

What does that involve?

Tuning

Regular tuning is necessary to keep your piano in good pitch. How often depends on the piano’s age, usage, and environmental conditions. This is a process you’ll often find talked about online. There are lots of DIY manuals and videos, but keep in mind that a good piano tuner has years of practical experience. It’s something you feel as much as it is a learning process. 

Cleaning

Piano keys can get dirty and sticky over time, affecting the feel and response of the instrument. Regular cleaning with a soft, damp cloth is necessary to keep the keys clean. Additionally, the soundboard, strings, and other parts of the piano should be cleaned periodically. This is a careful process – you don’t want moisture to come in contact with any of the delicate parts. Harmful chemicals can also ruin the finish as well as hinder playability. Ask one of our sales associates for more details on the perfect cleaning methods. 

Humidity control

Pianos are sensitive to changes in humidity, which can affect their sound and stability. Maintaining a consistent humidity level is essential to prevent damage. Pay attention to room conditions, and consider using a humidifier in dry weather and a dehumidifier in humid weather to control the environment, if necessary.

Regulation

Regulation refers to adjusting the piano’s action, hammers, pedals, and other mechanical components. This should be done by a professional piano technician at least once every five years, or more frequently if necessary. Regulation ensures that the piano plays smoothly and produces the best sound. You can talk with the professional who tunes your piano for more information. 

Repairs

Like any functional asset you own, it will occasionally need repair due to normal wear and tear, or accidental damage. Repairs can include fixing broken strings, repairing action components, or fixing cracks in the soundboard. It’s critical to address repairs promptly to prevent further damage.

Polishing

Piano finishes can become dull over time. Polishing the piano’s finish helps to maintain its beauty and shine. Yet beware of chemical cleaners. Many of them can dull the finish. You can chat with one of our associates about the best way to keep your piano shining year after year. 

Ready to make your dreams come true by owning a piano this year? Proper piano maintenance is crucial to ensure that your piano stays in good condition and produces the best sound possible. 

Taking care of your instrument ensures that it lasts and provides you with many years of enjoyment.

Why You Should Keep Your Piano Away From Outside Walls

Why You Should Keep Your Piano Away From Outside Walls

Pianos are delicate and sensitive instruments, and as such, they require a certain level of care and attention in order to maintain their beauty and functionality. One important aspect of piano care is ensuring that the instrument is not placed near outside walls. Here are a few reasons why you should keep your piano away from outside walls:

Temperature and humidity fluctuations: Pianos are sensitive to changes in temperature and humidity. Placing them near outside walls can expose them to these fluctuations. This can cause the wood in the piano to expand and contract, leading to warping and other damage. In addition, extreme temperature changes can damage the piano’s strings, causing it to go out of tune.

Risk of damage: Outside walls are more susceptible to damage from things like water leaks, pests, and other external factors. If a piano is placed near an outside wall, it is at an increased risk of being damaged by these things. In addition, if the exterior wall is not properly insulated, the piano may be exposed to drafts, which can also cause damage.

Lack of sound quality: Pianos are designed to produce beautiful, rich, and vibrant sounds. However, an outside wall may dampen or distort the sound. This can negatively impact the quality of the music being played, and may even make it difficult for the pianist to hear themselves.

Take a look at your room; where have you placed your piano? It is important to keep your piano away from outside walls in order to protect it from temperature and humidity fluctuations, damage, and poor sound quality. By taking the time to carefully consider the placement of your piano, you can ensure that it will continue to provide you with beautiful music for years to come.

How Much Does a Piano Weigh?

How Much Does a Piano Weigh?

You only have to look at a piano to understand its weight. It combines thick hardwood, heavy cast iron plates, and more than 10,000 components to create a one-of-a-kind instrument. 

If you compare it to all other instruments, no other comes close to its sheer size and volume. You might be able to pack away a trumpet or saxophone and carry it with you, but you’ll never be able to walk away with an acoustic piano. 

Of course, how much a piano weighs depends on its size and shape.   

Vertical pianos

  • Uprights – 480-600 pounds
  • Studio – 400-500 pounds
  • Console – 350-450 pounds
  • Spinet – 200-300 pounds

Grand pianos

  • Baby – 500-1,100 pounds
  • Petite – 400-500 pounds
  • Medium – 500-600 pounds
  • Parlor – 600-700 pounds
  • Ballroom – 900-1,000 pounds
  • Concert – 700-1,200 pounds

Digital pianos

  • Digital keyboards – 25-60 pounds
  • Standalones – 100-300 pounds
  • Digital grand – 150-350 pounds

It’s important to understand that digital pianos play differently from uprights and grands. They don’t utilize strings and soundboards; instead, they use recording sensors to create a similar sound. 

No matter what piano you’re considering, it’s important to use appropriate equipment when moving it. That includes proper piano straps, padding, and other tools to move it safely and securely. It’s not just the weight that makes moving difficult; it’s also the weight distribution. While most of the weight is consolidated into the soundboard and inner workings of the piano, you also have delicate features such as the legs. One wrong move can crack or break off the legs, and cause extensive damage to the piano. 

What’s The Difference Between Piano Tuning and Piano Repair?

What’s The Difference Between Piano Tuning and Piano Repair?

We get a lot of questions from people looking to invest in a new piano. One of the most common is: What’s the difference between piano tuning and repair? 

Just the other day, we spoke with a woman in the market for a new piano. Through a friend of a friend, she’d found someone willing to sell her their old piano. They assured her it was in good condition, though it might need tuning. Should she consider it? 

It depends. 

There are a lot of pieces to this statement, and we carefully walked her through each item she should consider. 

What condition is this piano in?

If the owner is already stating the piano needs tuning, they’re admitting it hasn’t been tuned in a while. How long has it been since it was properly maintained? Months? Years? For a piano to remain in good working condition, it needs annual tuning to maintain its voice. The longer it goes without, the greater the chance it won’t be tunable. If that happens, it will be extensive repair work to bring it back to playable condition. 

How has the piano been stored? 

Where was it stored if it hasn’t been played in a while? Did it reside inside the home? Was it moved to the basement or the garage? Pianos are sensitive instruments that can’t handle fluctuations in temperature or humidity. 

How old is the piano?

Did this friend purchase a new piano just a few years ago? Is it a hand-me-down that’s several decades old? The older a piano is, the more age plays a part in how repairable it will be. You should also consider previous owners, and how well it was cared for along its journey. 

Is it worth repairing?

We often hear people say: “I got it for a great price.” Only after the fee is paid and it’s inside their homes do they realize how much money it will take to repair the piano back to working condition. That good deal is no longer a good deal. 

How to protect yourself

If you aren’t sure what to look for in a piano, we suggest you bring a qualified piano technician with you before you finalize your decision. They can help you determine the current condition of the piano and what it will take to get it into good working condition. 

It’s the best way to help you bring a high quality piano into your home. One you’ll love to play for years to come. 

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.