Posted on September 27, 2010 – 10:22 am

When I meet people  the topic of pianos often comes up.  “What is your favorite brand of piano” seems to enter the conversation.  If you walked up to me and asked, “What is your favorite piano?,” I would suggest a couple of brands that I enjoy. The purpose here is to address this question from the viewpoint of a musician and a piano technician.

About five years ago I finished tuning a couple of pianos in a thrift store, and a woman and I discussed this exact question.  The underlying question is this, “Why do you like this particular brand of piano over a different one?”  My training in this field led me to some key observations.

Like an individual, each piano boasts it’s own personality.  The tone may differ ( i.e. a brighter treble, a mellow bass, “brassy” sounding bass, darker bass, dull treble, a tubby bass), touch ( i.e. heavy touch verses a light touch, responsiveness, do keys repeat quickly on staccato blow?  which touch will affect).  There are also the obvious areas such as various types of pianos such as grand, upright, spinet, studio and console.

So what is your favorite piano?  A pianist arrives to the piano with his or her own experience level and expectations.  As a musician I too maintain certain preferences.  As a piano technician however the technical dimensions enter the picture and that along with my training adds certain biases about certain pianos.

We then can take this technicial dimension and apply it to certain situations where we can improve a piano in order to transform it into one a pianist will enjoy more.  For example, a pianist owns a piano with a bright treble.  We can alter it’s tone by “voicing” the hammers or by changing their tone.  We know however that certain pianos can gain some improvement while others are “as good as they’re going to be” because we have a knowledge as to what brands boast higher quality than others.

So before you purchase a piano, play it for a while.  Examine its tone.  Observe it’s touch. Play slow.  Play fast.  A piano preference is as individual as the piano itself, and with the technical help of a piano technician, we can help you maintain that preference for a life time.

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