SOLUTIONS FOR HUMIDITY CONTROL ON AN ACOUSTIC PIANO
I. KNOW YOUR PIANOS GREATEST ENEMY
People often ask me what is the best temperature to maintain in my house for my piano? My answer is always, it is not temperature you have to worry about as much as humidity. Humidity or lack of humidity is the greatest enemy of acoustic pianos. However temperature almost always has some affect on humidity. This is because when you turn the heat up in the winter it usually dries out the air and the humidity goes dangerously low. In the summer you open the windows and the humidity gets dangerously high. Humidity swells wood and in the winter when you turn on the heat, furnaces lower humidity and wood can dry out and crack. In the summer pianos tend to go sharp and in the winter they tend to go flat. This fluctuation between season can be brutal on a piano.
With exposure to excessive humidity I have seen pianos go so far sharp that strings would break and even frames crack. One client called and said their piano exploded in the night. What happened was the tension became so great the frame cracked and all the treble strings popped off making an exploding sound. Recently we had a relatively new Baldwin Console did this because the client never had the piano tuned since they purchased it and every summer it kept going sharper. Here are some pictures of a Beautiful 1980's vintage Baldwin Spinet that we had to burn because of this high humidity problem that cracked the frame. If the client had a inexpensive humidity bar installed it would have saved this piano. For a very very snmall investment a piano could have been saved from the burn pile!
When there is very low humidity in your house the pin block can dry out on your piano and pins will become loose and then the piano will not hold a tuning. Sometimes the bridges crack and then there is a buzzing sound in the bass or treble. These pianos often cannot be brought up to pitch because there is a loss of side bearing on the strings. Side bearing is what causes a transfer of sound from the string to the bridge and then to the soundboard. Low humidity often dries out glue joints when the glue joints on the ribs dry out the soundboard can loose crown, and again there often is a buzzing sound, sometimes the sound on the piano becomes dead, often there is a lost of support for the bridges and the piano will not stay in tune.
The larger the piano and the more substantial the workmanship the more resistant the instrument will be to humidity change. I had a Baldwin 9 foot concert grand that was brought in from Northampton Mass. We purchased it In the winter, and it was in an unheated trailer for over a month, we unloaded the piano and set up in a church. When I went to tune it the piano sounded great and was pretty much in tune except for the high treble.
The reason those old uprights were so massive from the turn of the century was because our nation was so large from east coast to the west coast that during the frontier days there was a call for a piano that could withstand the brutal climate variations of our nation. So manufacturers developed the massive old upright pianos. However most of these pianos are reaching ages of 80 – 100 years old. With over 8000 moving wearing parts in an acoustic piano it is a wonder that any of these old uprights can still play and are somewhat musical. Newer spinets and consoles are not faring as well. The lack of humidity and the stretching of being swelled and then dried up has taken tremendous tool on these instruments. Too much humidity or the lack of humidity is the enemy of every acoustic piano.
II. CONSIDER THAT YOU PAY FOR WHAT YOU GET
Every one wants an inexpensive piano for their child to learn on, however, usually the more inexpensive piano they get the more hostile environment and will require tunings more often. I always warn clients that they need to remember that the as a rule the less expensive the piano, the more often it will needs to be tuned. If you are not planning to spend the money to maintain and tune your acoustic piano I would strongly suggest you consider looking at some of our economical digital piano solutions. To understand the issue more I would recommend you read my article "Digital Pianos Facts or Fiction" Generally speaking a good acoustic piano that can hold up to climate change and fluctuation of humidty are very expensive. Also the expense of a good piano should cause one to consider the need to protect their investment with a proper humidity control unit.
III, CONSIDER YOUR BEST SOLUTIONS
Having said all this the best thing for a piano is stable humidity all year long. Ideally humidity should be about 45% Unless your home has climate control and central humidity control it is advisable to protect your piano by getting some form of humidity control.
Depending on where you live you may need de humidification or humidification or both. Some places only need de humidification. If this is the case, there are some very inexpensive ways you can address this problem.
Manufacturers make a De-humidifiation bar. This is good for De-humidification only. These devices can also destroy a piano if for some reason they are left on when the humidity drops for some reason. I have seen pianos destroyed when people keep these plugged in all winter long. When the heat comes on the humidity drops and then the De-humidification bar causes the humidity to drop even further. I recommend to clients that they also purchase a humidity control unit that turns off the dehumidifier when the humidity gets below a certain point. The unit then feeds a humidifier if one is plugged in. A cheap humidifier can be purchased at Walmart for this purpose. Walmart does not sell the heater bar or the humidistat unit. Here is a picture of this Humidity Control Unit:
The dehumidification bars come in two sizes, 36" and 48" The best place to install these is on the bottom kick plate on an upright piano. The clips come with the heater bar to install on the back of the kick plate. Or the bar can be hung inside the piano.
On a grand piano it is best to install a 36" bar and a 48’ bar. These should be placed on the tail of the Grand piano, and under the front of the piano. Again the units should be unplugged during the heating season or purchase ahumidity control unit to automatically turn off the de humidification bar if the humidity drops too low.
IV. SOME FINAL THOUGHTS ABOUT A PIANOS ENVIRONMENT
I often have people ask me about placing their piano on an outside wall. Usually in the old days when houses were not insulated very well it probably was best not to put a piano on an outside wall. In those old farm houses you could feel the breeze blowing right through the wall. Cold air hitting hot air could cause condensation and damage to the piano especially as steel strings will tend to rust. However, newer building codes and insulation standards have just about eliminated this problem. Also as far as heating systems go, the worse heating systems for a piano are convection style wood or coal burners, forced hot air, or electric heaters. Better systems are steam and hot water baseboard. The best heat I have seen for pianos believe or not are propane gas fireplaces or space heaters. Propane emits water into the air as it heats. I tuned one piano that had not been tuned for many years and found the instrument to be within a few cents of 440. I was amazed. But the client heated the room entirely all winter with a propane wall heater. I was impressed.
For pianos that are put up against radiators, hot water or electric I recommend that a reflective style insulation board should be cut and placed on the back of the soundboard to reflect the dangerously dry heat from doing damage to the soundboard of the piano. The boards need not be thick. The idea is to reflect the direct heat rays back away from the piano and avoid the heater from drying out the wood and doing damage to the pianos back and drying out the soundboard and ribs.
How about a window? The biggest problem with windows is that someone may leave it open and a storm may come and rain may pound on the piano. Also an open window can let in a lot of humidity. The greatest concern about putting a piano near a window is that strong rays from the sun can cause cosmetic damage to your piano. I have had many a grand piano where the top of the lid is a different shade than the underside, Also closing over the lid would expose the two shades of the piano. A darker environment will always preserve wood finishes better.
V. MY ADVICE FROM MY EXPERIENCES
A few years back I was restoring a vintage piano. The soundboard was original and immaculate Not a crack. We ran out of time to continue the project and the busy Christmas season was upon us. So, I covered over the piano in blankets and decided in the spring I would restring it. When spring came I took the blankets off and was shocked to see cracks throughout the soundboard. What was a immaculate perfect soundboard was now a mess. We proceeded to rebuild the soundboard but also I invested in a whole shop humidifier. Never before had I seen in a short time what low humidity can do to devastate a piano. I personally believe that the worst enemy of a piano is extreme low humidity. When loggers want to preserve their logs they will totally submerge them in a pond or lake. Such logs can be stored for over 100 years. It is also said that such logs make better musical instruments. So it is my contention that low humidity is more dangerous for a piano than high humidity. The biggest danger I have seen with high humidity is the piano going sharp.. This problem can be solved if you just have it tuned often. The other problem is rusty strings. I have only seen this problem in extremely high humidity regions. Also sticky keys can be a problem. However, this nuisance usually only happens because the client does not have a tech over enough to de-ez the keys and apply proper lubrication. Except for rusty strings I do not see as severe damage with high humidity as low. It is for this reason I really advise people to use a humidistat controller with dehumidifaction bars whenever possible. Either this or again make sure the bar is unplugged in the winter. After all in trying to solve one problem you can cause other more severe problems if you are not careful.
VII. A PIANO DISCLAIMER
Through the years I have seen clients complain about small pianos they have purchased. I think they expect the piano to sound as good 6 months down the road as it did the day it was tuned. You should expect that a small piano will go out of tune in 6 months. I had one lady complain because she bought a small spinet and had it in an old coal miners house. Poor insulation, hot air heat, and she said the piano is defective because it will not stay in tune for a year. I don’t think a 60,000 Steinway would stay in tune for more than a year in her house. For such people I tell them get a digital. If you can’t afford to get your piano tuned each time it goes out of tune get a digital piano. People often say a digital is not a good.. I would say no it is better if it is always in tune.. Years ago I started out as an organist, my Hammond organ was always in tune. When I was 15 years old I told my music teacher in high school, that I wanted to go to college as a music major. He said what instrument do you want to major in, I said, Hammond organ.. he said you need to learn piano. So at age 15 I got a piano. It was a spinet… and sure enough I had to have it tuned just about every 6 months because I knew what an in tune instrument should sound like from playing a fixed key instrument like a Hammond organ. Birds fly, cows moo, cats meow, and pianos go out of tune…
I had a beautiful Mason Hamlin Grand piano that was on consignment a few years back. It was one of the most delightful pianos I have ever played. However, before I got the whole shop humidification unit in my shop it needed to be tuned every three months. I loved using it for recordings, however, each time I recorded with it .. it needed to be tuned. I usually always try to encourage my clients to ad a lifesaver system to their piano when they purchase a piano from me. The reason why is simply because I know that environmental humidity changes are one of the greatest factors to tuning stability and preservation of a fine piano.
These observations concerning hostile environments for acoustic pianos. I have had over 36 years experience in tuning repairing buying and selling pianos. Over these many years I have found that a pianos environment is one of the key factors to tuning stability, and longevity of the instrument. I hope this article has been of help to you to understand this issue and some ways to solve humidity problems and environmental problems with your piano.
Thank you for reading this article and feel free to email me if you have any questions or further concerns about this matter. You can find all the items mentioned in this artilce for sale at our on line web store, at www.pianofarm,com.
PIANOS THAT WE BUY AT
PIANO ORGAN DEPOT & PIANOFARM.COM
We get calls almost every day from someone that wants to sell their piano. So you may ask what kind of pianos do you buy at Piano Organ Depot and your affiliate site www.PianoFarm.com. I have written this article to answer this question.
First: Let me say we do not buy older style upright pianos. The reason for this is very simple. By time we pay to pick them up and fix them tune them and then turn around and sell them, we could not even get our labor out of them. This is a sad reality. We usually always have to charge to remove them. If you have an older upright piano and need it removed you can call us and we can give you a quote on what we would charge to remove it. Usually we have to charge the move. We do not charge anything for disposing of the piano. We only charge the moving fee to remove it from your house. Then we evaluate what we can do with it. Either we recycle it for parts, or in rare cases we fix the piano and sell it or give it away and charge for tuning and moving again.
Second: We are always interested in purchasing Older Vintage Steinway Pianos, Baldwin Pianos, and Mason Hamlin Pianos or Vintage pianos like, Bösendorfer sometimes Knabes or Bechstein. Call us if you have one of these.
Third: We do buy some newer Yamaha, Kawai pianos or sometimes other current model pianos. However we certainly cannot pay what these pianos are selling for retail since we have to invest in picking them up, tuning them and then delivering them again. Remember we are a dealer and we can purchase these pianos new from the manufacturer, Unless we can get a like new piano for well below what we would have to pay to buy the same piano new, why should we buy it?
I would always suggest trying to sell the piano outright before you call us. If you do sell the piano we would be happy to provide you a quote for professionally moving the piano and tuning it. We realize you want to get as much as you can for your piano. To do that you have to wait for the right buyer and that takes time. Most people sell to us because they do not have the time or the patience to sell their piano outright. They don’t want to waist their time. Time is money and some people would be better off spending that time doing what they do for a living rather than trying to sell a piano when they are not in the piano business.
Fourth: Sometimes we will take a piano in on consignment or trade in. This is one way you can get a higher price for your piano, but again you will have to wait until it sells to get paid. We also do take pianos in on trade if you are looking to upgrade your piano. Sometimes people are scaling back and want a digital instead of a larger upright. We often have people who are retiring and moving and can’t move their piano across the country. The cost of doing so often is more than the piano is worth. We often can trade the piano in and give some monetary value in the trade and get the client into a nice digital piano that can be easily shipped across the United States economically. We often have digital pianos in boxes ready to ship out. We sell the highest end digital pianos made in the world, 75 % of all the digital pianos sold in the word are represented by the brands we carry.
FIFTH: Here are the hard cold facts about the used piano market: digital pianos (Please note not keyboards) but quality digital pianos are getting to be so good that they are replacing the lower end used acoustic pianos (i.e. uprights, spinets, older consoles).
Every acoustic piano needs to be serviced at least once a year. There are over 6,000 parts that wear and go out of adjustment on an acoustic piano. The cheaper and older the piano the more these parts need adjusting and repair. In fact if you call a technician and they tune and repair your piano for you, don’t be surprised that in 6 months it needs to be tuned again. I have seen pianos that need to be tuned every month to sound right. It always amuses me when people jump around from tuner to tuner thinking it is the tuner’s fault that their piano sounds bad in 10 months after it was tuned. I had a high end Mason Hamlin piano that was one of the greatest sounding and playing pianos that I ever played but it needed to be tuned every two months depending on the climate humidity and tempature sometime every month. This piano sold for $17,000.
We have a recording studio in our store, I tune their piano every month. When I do a recording everytime I record I tune the piano. The smaller the piano the more often it needs to be tuned. So having said this a person can get into a quality digital piano starting at about $1000.00. So every used piano is competing in this market. Someone will say, "well they are just not the same.. " No I would say they are better, they may not look better but they are. Maybe the day that old acoustic is tuned it seems better than a digital. But remember the digital piano never goes out of tune and the ones we sell will last 20 years without any service. The ones we sell also come with a in home 5 year part and labor warranty. I am talking about the products we sell but probably what I am saying is not true about 90% of the other brand X digital pianos out there. Almost always, when people think of digital pianos they are thinking about the keyboards they have seen in the big box stores and have no idea what is available today.
Please beware: every piano will need to be serviced at least once a year and most twice a year if in fact all they need is tuning,. On an average that is $200 a year so in 5 years the digital is free. So having said this usually we cannot buy a older spinet or console for more than what we would pay for a new digital. Nine out of ten pianos we sell today are digitals. In fact (usually) until you get into a new Console, or a new Grand Piano or quality used Grand Piano you are probably not going to get a better instrument dollar for dollar than the digital pianos we sell. The digital pianos we sell you cannot buy in Guitar Center or Sams Club or Walmart, or any of these places. Most people when they think of a digital piano they are thinking about these instruments which are really toys compared to what is available today.
FINALLY HERE IS MY ADVICE: Just like a car there are three different prices you can get for a used piano. There is dealer retail price which will be higher because a dealer can offer delivery, free tunings, backup warranties etc, the next is consumer retail which is lower than what you would expect to pay in a piano store but really it is not, because if you paid for the move and tuning and repairs, I have found that 90% of the time our price beat the consumer retail price, and then thirdly there is dealer wholesale price which is lower than new wholesale and below consumer retail. If you are trying to get a lot of money for your piano I would say try and sell it yourself. If you need to sell it quick and it meets the criteria I outlined above you can call us to see how we can help you .
I hope this article helped you and feel free to email us if we can be of any further assistance.
Owner of Piano Organ Depot and www.PianoFarm,com our line store.
"Digital Pianos, Facts or Fiction."
Almost every piano teacher will tell you that it is best for your child to take lessons on an acoustic piano. There are many reasons a piano instructor recommends this. However, in this article I want to share some facts that hopefully will help put things in perspective for all those who are willing to think through this subject with an open mind.
FIRST: It always amazes me when people are so dogmatic about telling others how things should be done. Ignoring the evidence of what many people have accomplished, by doing it just the opposite way of their opinion.
This can be easily illustrated as we consider the blind spots in our medical field today. How many times has a person gotten well from a sickness, using a means totally un-approved of? Is it better that the person remains sick than to get better by using a treatment that the experts say is not best?
What I am saying is that we want people to play music, children to learn music, and people to enjoy the process of learning. If they get there a different way than you got there is that way wrong? Some teachers would say so. However, I don’t think so and the evidence is the proof it just isn’t so.
Most teachers will tell you that a student should start with the piano and it is the king of all instruments. I personally disagree. I believe the King of all instruments is the Organ. Though that King has been dethroned nevertheless the Organ has a far greater history than the piano. The organ is goes as far back as the days of Adam and his children. Most people look to the Harp as being the predecessor of the piano, but we know that there was no piano as we know it with escapement and the ability to play loud and soft, until 1700 when Bartolomeo Cristofori built it. No doubt the harp and harpsichord are considered the predecessors of the piano.
Note there are still harps today, and they are still called harps! They are marvelous instruments, but certainly not the king of instruments. The Piano is called the King of instruments by many because it is such a great tool for musical compositions and accompaniment. However, this is because of convenience not because of the facts historically or in reality. There is no instrument like the organ for the ability to provide all the tonal rage of the orchestra. In fact, what an organ really is and always has been is an instrument designed to take the place of an orchestra or many musicians at once. The earliest organ was an instrument that had many pipes that could be played together to produce harmony.
Since the earliest time of human history it has fascinated the minds of men to have one man produce the sounds of many instruments and musicians from one instrument, called the organ.
When I was young my parents wanted us to play an instrument. They bought my brother and I accordions. An accordion is really an inexpensive and primitive organ. In fact, they were probably the equivalent to a portable organ in their day. Who could take an organ with them? However, the accordion was nothing more than a cut down version of an organ. Every accordion has tabs that try to imitate other instruments. On my first accordion there was a tab called Bassoon, and another called, Clarinet, and another called, oboe. Did these tabs accurately duplicate the sounds of these instruments? Not really, but if in that day they could have done a more realistic job in their imitation of these orchestral instruments, they would have implemented any advances available to do it!
I will never forget when I first heard a salesman at a music store demonstrate a combo organ. He was able to play a string bass, a drum sound and an organ sound all together at once. That was the day that I decided I wanted to play organ rather than accordion. I was about 11 years old at the time. Why settle for second best? I begged my parents to buy me an organ… and they said, "if I did better with my accordion lessons they would," so as I advanced on the accordion they kept their end of the agreement.
That purchase started my love for music. What if the salesman or some teacher told me you can’t do it that way, you need to start with the piano? I wasn’t fascinated with a piano. What excited me was the idea that I, being one person, could sound like many. That was the original goal of the most primitive of organs: To play more than one pipe or reed at a time.
What was the goal of a piano? The real goal was to get away from the limitations of the harp and harpsichord. The harpsichord could only be played at one volume as the keys plucked the notes. The harp was limited also. The piano escapement made it possible for a player to play a stringed instrument using a keyboard both loudly and softly. Thus the original name "Pianoforte" meaning piano = soft + forte = loud. A keyboard instrument that by the touch of the musician could be played loudly and softly with the use of the mechanical escapement of the action. The harder (or quicker) the musician trips the mechanism, the faster the hammer hits the string and the louder the instrument plays. The beauty of music is the ability to add dynamics and emotion to a composition. This is accomplished by controlling how loudly and softly an instrument is played.
Recently I had a customer that came to buy a piano from me. He said his piano teacher insisted he get a Grand Piano. He did not understand why? I explained to him escapement and showed how this worked on an action model. I also showed how on a Grand piano there is greater control of escapement and demonstrated the ability to play a wide dynamic range. Then he finally understood and bought a Grand piano. He said to me, "why couldn’t my teacher explain that." I said, "because she is not a technician and a teacher. I have been both." The classical music he was studying required a Grand piano. However, if he were playing other music this dynamic range would not be necessary or could be achieved in a different way.
Let us get back to the history of the piano. Soon just like so many other instruments, the piano took on a personality of it’s own and became the most popular of Keyboard instruments, surpassing the organ.
With the industrial revolution, almost every home in our country could and did have a piano in it. The piano reigned supreme and still does. However, what was the goal of the makers of the piano? It was to provide an instrument with versatility.
Now this brings us to the digital keyboard. Now it is possible to have a flute stop on a keyboard that sounds like a real flute. In fact, with digital electronics what is being played is an actual recording of a flute. A bassoon can sound like a bassoon. The possibilities seem endless.
Laurens Hammond, in 1935, invented the Hammond Organ, to be an electronic economical substitute for the pipe organ. The ingenious array of drawbars provided an versatile way for the player to control the voices and ranks of the organ which were set up like pipe stops. Again, the goal was to imitate the pipe organ, which was huge and expensive, and was designed to imitate multiple players of reed and flute instruments. The ultimate goal: gives one player the ability and flexibility to sound like many. Flexibility of tone, and volume, was now possible through electronic design. Soon the instrument took on a personality of it’s own and now, it has become the classic sound of the Hammond that everyone wants to hear in popular music, from gospel to every form of contemporary music imaginable. Even the defects of the instrument are imitated, whether it is the keys that clicked or the speakers that distorted.
This now brings us to the digital piano. Is it really a piano? Is it inferior to a piano? Remember this, the first pianos were not very popular. Bach himself did not like them at first. When Hammond Organs came out they were sued by Pipe Organ manufactures because of the claim that they could imitate the sound of a pipe organ. By the way the Pipe Organ Companies lost the lawsuit.
It was the sound of an organ that sparked my first serious interest in music. I decided in high school that I wanted to study music in college, and wanted to be an organ major. The college I wanted to go to did not have an organ major, and I was told that even if I went to college as an organ major, I still needed to study the piano. When I was 16, my parents helped me to get my first piano and I purchased a Hammond Organ and Leslie. It was then that I started to study music seriously. I then discovered the beauty and versatility of the piano. I studied music on the piano; I loved and played music on my Hammond.
Now here is the bottom line of this article, and conclusion of it all. The Organ was around a lot longer than any piano. The piano superseded the Organ because of versatility, the piano then became a standard unto itself. Most teachers will tell you that it is essential to have an acoustic piano to properly learn the piano. I personally think it is essential to learn the piano to be a proficient organist, but the superior instrument is the organ not the piano and this is becoming more evident with the advancement of digital electronics.
The digital pianos of today are actually Hybrid Organs of yesterday. Today it is possible to have the 88 notes of a piano, a piano that sounds very close to a real piano and all the other instruments that sound like the real instruments. Plus the keys are touch sensitive and add the capabilities to play Piano (soft) & Forte (loud) unlike the organs that we have had in the past. Why is this inferior to a piano? A teacher will say. "There is no escapement" Well some models build that in, but the purpose of escapement is to provide emotion flexibly expression, in your music, (not necessarily a feeling in your fingers as most teachers would equate it with). Do not digital pianos provide that? Here is the dilemma. Someone will say, if a student learns on a digital piano they will not be able to play a real piano as well because they feel different. Then someone else could say, if they play a real piano only what will happen when they are challenge to play a digital piano… they will not play it very well. The truth is a good player should adjust their technique to the instrument they are playing on like a runner would adjust to the terrain. I believe it is best to learn to do this and become a well rounded player.
Here are the facts. The goal of the average person is to learn music and enjoy the process. Does it matter how a person fulfills this goal? It is best when a musician can sit down a play an acoustic piano and a digital piano equally well. In the day that we live it is best that a student has exposure to both and who cares in what order as long as there is progression for learning and there is a progression in their motivation to learn, desire to learn, and inspiration to learn.
Also, if parents are on a limited budget and they are not going to get their piano tuned for a while I think it is better that the student hear the proper notes (A-440) at (A-440). So many students quit lessons because their music doesn’t inspire them because they are playing on an out of tune piano. I learned music first on the accordion then I went to a home organ and then to the piano when I was serious about music. By that time my ear was trained to hear proper pitches. When our piano was out of tune I told my parents it needed to be tuned because I knew what in tune music sounded like from the organ not the piano. When the tuner came and tuned my piano I sat there the whole time, and when he was done I sat down and played the piano and made him correct anything I didn’t like or any unions that were slightly out. (The poor guy). I learned this from the sound of the Organ not the piano. My parents didn’t do that I did it. My ear was trained by hearing the electronic organ that had a fixed and locked temperament that was at an acceptable standard. Who cares how you get there as long as you get there. Every teacher will tell you that wasn’t the right way to do it. That’s what they told Laurence Hammond, and I am sure that’s what a lot of people told Bartolomeo Cristofori. That’s what a lot of people told Louise Pasteur. And that is what a lot of people are advising people concerning Digital pianos.
I personally think Digital Electronics are Advancement over the piano, but require a good understanding of piano technique to truly master. Just like I needed to take the piano before I could be a serious Organ Major. If a student can get inspiration from a digital to see the need to take serious piano lessons, that is good. If they get serious about music they will want a real piano. There is something about the intermingling of live acoustic harmonics that inspire creativity in a musician. The electronics can be a good starter for the student. Serious and proper Organ or Keyboard technique is really a challenge if done right. An organ doesn’t have a sustain pedal. The musician has to hold a half note for the duration of the half note. Most pianists get lazy in this regard.
For the adult player who doesn’t have the time to become a serious student of music, they just want to get where they want to be as soon as possible. The new digital pianos offer the easy play features of the home organs from years ago with amazing improvements. Just as computers have come a long way so have the digital music scene. Any Digital piano with Midi can now be hooked up to the home computer and there is such a variety of software that can be purchased to help a person make music the possibilities are endless. The average sound card in a computer has more sound power than organs that were being sold for thousands of dollars in the 70’s and even 80’s What the new Digitals provide is a comfortable Keyboard real standard size keys, good speakers, esthetically pleasing décor, that can be coupled with any home computer. I would suggest that this instrument is a must for any serious musician.
What is the conclusion. I think that if a digital Piano provides more inspiration and motivation for a child to learn music go for it. If the parents are willing to get a good acoustic piano for learning, that is even better. Who cares how they get there as long as they get there. I never would have gotten serious about music if I started out with piano. I personally was more excited about sounding like an orchestra and the piano was just one instrument in that orchestra. Soon I learned that it was impossible to reach my goals without mastering the piano and I did. Who is going to say that is wrong? The organ was around a lot longer than the piano. It was the mystique of the organ that inspired me to learn the piano. If the Mystique of a digital keyboard inspires a student whose to say that is not the right way to do it?
These are the facts as I see them. But before I end this article let me tell a little of my experience.
In the 80’s I worked as a piano organ salesman for a company that today I purchased the remaining inventory and equipment from. At that time over half of the console organs I sold in the company. I sold very few pianos, mostly because we were sales oriented company and not a service oriented business. It was hard for me to sell something I did not enjoy myself. I could not enjoy playing an out of tune piano. I later left that company and through a series of circumstances became a piano technician. However, my true love all these years has been and is the mystique beauty and power of the organ. When I learned to play the organ I had to play three things at once and control the volume with my other foot that was free and in between change stops. Now think about that, how is that possible. It is for this reason there are less and less true organists. However, with the emergence of the Digital Pianos musicians are able to enjoy the thrill of playing all these parts without having to go through all the years of discipline that people like me had to learn. Why is that inferior, especially for an adult that just wants to play some music for relaxation and theory. I think it’s great.
I am going to ask all the teachers and my fellow piano technicians to close their ears for this last story. I recently sold a digital piano to a client who upgraded from a digital that I sold him a few years back. After I spent a little time with him, he was so excited about the sounds and the music that he was able to make, he said to me why would anyone want a real piano. I kind of cringed… I know what he means…. What he means is… he doesn’t have enough years left to get the music out of a piano that he can from his digital that is a fact. Am I going to tell him that he is learning the wrong way? For him this is how he needs to get there.
I hope this article has given some of the facts concerning digital pianos and Keyboards. Please fell free to call at Piano Organ Depot if you have any questions concerning digital pianos (570) 383-0034.
Frank Bissol Owner of PianoOrganDepot.com
HOW WE CAN HELP YOU
FIRST OF ALL WE SELL & SERVICE HAMMOND ORGANS: We stock vintage Hammond Organs and Leslies, and also We have a network of talented and qualified service technicians who can refurbish or rebuild your Vintage Hammond Organ. We can service the Northeastern PA region and also parts of New Jersey. Our technicians are located in Annadale NJ, and Northeastern Pa, we also have a tech near Binghamton New York, We certainly cannot do small service calls if you are a distance from one of our techs. Logistics would make a small service call impossible. However, if you want your organ totaly rebuilt it may be worth using our services we can arrange shipping to get your instrument to us.
SECONDLY: Another service we offer is that we at times purchase vintage Hammond B, C, and A-100 model organs or Leslie speaker. Click Here For Information About Hammond Organs We Buy
THIRDLY: We sell a variety of do it yourself service kits and our in house techician can be available to answer questions about products you purchase from us. You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org PLEASE NOTE: Before you email, please go to the following link which provides common answers to questions that many people ask about their Hammond organs. Most of your questions will be answered in this link..
FOURTHLY: WE HAVE PARTS FOR VINTAGE HAMMOND ORGANS: We have many items on our shopping cart if you want to save money and do simple repairs on your organ yourself. We have trailer loads of vintage parts, amd even cabinet parts. You can email us for more information. Also go to our on line Shopping Cart to order parts for your Hammond Organ. Click here to go to our on line shopping cart to purchase Hammond Organ and Leslie parts. We will be adding more items as time permits and they become available.
FINALLY Here is a link answering most of the commonly asked questions about Vintsge Hammond Organs. Click Here For Answers To The Most Commonly Asked Questions About Vintage Hammond Organs
Here are some of the technicians we use:
The Following Technicians Have Been Trained By Paul
My son Joe Bissol working in the refinishing shop on refinishing a vintage B-3. We recently restored two B-3 organs that were totaly submerged in the Wilkes Barre flood. Below is a picture of one of them in our spray booth. Any other organ or piano would be unrestorable. Joe has been working with me on refinishing projects since he was 13 years old. He has been trained by some of the best refinishers in the country. The finish he does on a vintage B-3 is finer than you would have on a new B-3 coming out of Hammond Suzuki. The quality of the wood on a vintage B-3 or C-3 is of the finiest qaulity and worth restoring. There is no way a new organ would be worth restoring after being totally submersed in water like this instrument you see in the pictures below.
Joe Bissol In Our Refinishing Shop
We Can Rebuild Your Hammond
Almost all Vintage Hammond Organs are at the age where they need service to be put back in proper operation and optimum playing condition. For instance, almost every original Hammond made in 50's and 60's needs new AC power cord replacements. The generator, and line box filters generally leak and need replacing, to get the organ back to proper output levels. Vibrato scanners, often need rebuilding, amps, need rebuilding, bus bars can be lubed or replaced. We often have to fix leslie cables and connections, and switches as well as replace tubes. These are just a few examples of the rebuilding and refurbishing procedures, and checks that we do.
An Example Of A Complete Rebuild
We Will Do Leslie Amp Swaps
For A Quote
For Sales Email us at