Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best piano? - The best piano is the piano you like to play. Pianos are very personal choices and purchasing a piano should be a serious consideration based on many factors, not just price. I encourage folks to go to piano stores and try as many "different" pianos as possible to understand how pianos differ in touch response, tone, and construction. Once you decide what brand you like, you will usually find it best to buy "new". If you can't afford a new piano, then buy a good used piano in the brand you like. Since pianos appear to last up to 100 years and longer, a piano that is 25 or 30 years old will still have plenty of playing left in it. For more see Buying a Piano
How often do you tune a piano? - That depends on how much and how hard you play it, the stability of the piano pinblock, the stability of the environment around the piano, and how sensitive the player is to when the piano gets out of tune. Tune no less than once a year, twice might be better for a beginning piano student with a quality piano in a stable environment. For more advanced players, those who play their pianos more than several hours a day, or those who are extremely sensitive to the piano being out of tune, the tuning may have to be more frequent.
How can I stabilize the environment around my piano? - A good piano, particularly a grand piano, is an investment that will cost a fair amount of money. To protect that investment, I highly recommend the purchase of a small Hygrometer to keep track of the moisture content and temperature surrounding the piano. If you find an unstable environment where the temperature or hhumidity umidity are fluxuating substantially (such as +/- 20 degrees or +-20% or both), there are special humidifying and DEhumidifying systems available to protect your piano. Ask your piano technician for advice, often these items can be purchased directly through the technician. For more see Advice
How old is my piano? - Dates found on the plate of a piano do not reflect the "manufacturing" of the piano, but the founding date of the "company" or dates of particular "patents" owned by the manufacturer. The age of the piano is usually determined by the "serial number" which can be found inside the piano near the center of the plate (stamped in the pinblock wood), just under the lid of the piano stamped in the pinblock wood, or on newer pianos on a sticker or plate either just inside the top of the piano (usually on the left side) or on the back of the piano. You then need to give that number to your piano tuner, someone with an Atlas, or contact the manufacturer online if the piano is fairly current to try to establish a date of manufacture. Contact us if you would like our assistance and submit a request with the number.
I just moved from another area, how long should I wait to tune my piano? - That depends on how different the current environment is from the previous environment, how the piano was transported, when the piano was last tuned, and the overall condition of the piano. Establish a contact with a qualified piano tuner and follow his best advice. As a rule of thumb, if the environment is quite different from where the piano was located previously, as far as temperature and humidity are concerned, it is best to let the piano have 4-6 weeks to aclimate to the current surroundings prior to tuning. However, if you have just acquired a used piano from another location and it has not been tuned for a considerable time period, you might want to at least pitch-raise the piano asap, let the piano aclimate 4-6 weeks, then tune.
What size piano should I buy? - This is a very difficult question because of the many factors involved - quality, price, age of the piano, who is going to play it, how long have they taken lessons, etc. While it is basically true that the larger the piano is in size (spinet 36", console 40"-42", studio 45" vertical grand 50", grand 4'8" to 9') the greater the soundboard area, the longer the bass strings, the piano will have a better sound. Other factors getting involved include construction materials, workmanship, access to action for future repairs, etc. Sometimes a smaller piano that has better construction will actually sound better than a more cheaply constructed larger piano. As an example: a laminated soundboard will generally not be as responsive as a solid spruce soundboard. Also spinet pianos with a recessed ("drop") action, can be more difficult to repair because of limited access. The best size is the best constructed piano for the amount of money available for the purchase. Keep in mind that vertical studio pianos have more soundboard area and longer string length than a very small grand piano.
Are electronic pianos or keyboards a good starter piano? - This decision needs to be weighed carefully. To date, in my opinion, there is no substitute for a real acoustic piano. There are many advantages to an electronic instrument such as- light weight, mobility, low cost, no tuning issues, recording and playback capabilities, MIDI capability for computers and other equipment. Some of the drawbacks are - difficulty in getting service, parts, average maybe 10 year usable lifespan or less. While the digital pianos are getting better and better, and the cost is substantially coming down,Even with weighted hammer action an electronic piano does "not" play, feel, respond, or sound exactly like an acoustic piano. If you move alot, require portability, or just don't have the money for a good condition acoustic piano, an 88 note electronic can be used for several years starting with a beginner student, but plan that they will outgrow this instrument quickly. A better choice might be to "rent" an acoustic piano from a music store until you can afford a quality piano of your own.