Why Should I Buy A Bigger Grand Piano & Other Frequently Asked Questions
Why should you consider springing for a larger piano? What do the pedals on a Steinway piano do? What about a 'free' upright piano? In today’s blog post, we cover a few of the piano-related questions we receive here at Chupp’s Piano Service.
What Is The Benefit of a Large Grand Piano?Besides the amazing focal point that a large grand piano can give any room, there are a number of benefits that come with the purchase and use of a large grand piano over their smaller cousins. The first benefit you may notice when you begin to play is the superior level of control many large concert grands provide. Much of this can be traced back to the longer key sticks. What is a piano keystick? Traditionally crafted from a premium pine or spruce, the long wooden keys are capped with a keytop. (It is important to note that a piano key extends in length far beyond the small part at the front that is touched by the pianist.) Pianos of yesteryear boasted keytops of genuine ivory and ebony. Today, the most common materials are high-grade plastics and polymers. These materials are more environmentally friendly and less prone to cracking or yellowing. The larger key bed and action cavity space in a concert grand gives enough room for the length of the keys to be extended to their optimum length. The longer piano keys allow for greater precision and control over each note.
Boston vs. Kawai Pianos – Clearing the Confusion
What is a 'Boston' Piano? - Designed by Steinway?
Question: I've been looking at purchasing a new piano. What is the deal with Boston pianos? I was told they were Steinway pianos, but I also heard they are built in Japan. It is getting a bit confusing!
1992 - The Launch of the Boston PianosIt is first good to know a bit of the back story behind the Boston piano brand. In the early-1990s, Steinway & Sons decided that they wanted to have their dealers offer what they considered to be a full line of pianos. This would range from the highest tier Steinway & Sons, down to entry-level uprights. The introduction of the Boston pianos in 1992 was the first salvo in their battle for a wider range of the piano market. Steinway & Sons contracted with Kawai Musical Instruments in Japan to build pianos under the Boston name. Kawai had, and continues to be a strong competitor to Steinway around the world. Kawai builds the Boston piano for Steinway in Japan, without many of the innovations and improvements that are standard in Kawai instruments. (Including the Millennium III ABS-Carbon Action, keybed reinforcement, etc.) Boston pianos were 'designed' by a group from Steinway that had little experience in actual piano manufacturing. A few little things were changed such as string size, case design, etc. Today, as it was then, Boston pianos have much more in common with real Kawai instruments than Steinway & Sons pianos. As they are built by Kawai, Boston pianos are of solid, good quality - there is no debate on that.
"I would like to emphasize that this is not a Steinway & Sons project." - Bob Dove, Boston Piano General Manager, 1992
North Carolina Family Purchases Grand Piano from Chupp’s Piano Service – Testimonial
North Carolina Family on their Chupp's Pianos Kawai GrandWe were recently fortunate enough to be able to provide a beautiful Kawai Grand Piano to a family in North Carolina. They were kind enough to send in a testimonial about the piano and their experience working with Chupp's Piano Service. It is always a joy to be able to help pair up a 'perfect piano' to a new home!
If you haven’t watched Chupp’s video, “The Garage Piano,” I encourage you to do so. This video showed me Mr. Chupp’s integrity and the heart of this family business, and I immediately knew that I wanted them to rebuild my circa 1891 grand piano. I contacted them right away via their website. Tim Chupp called me back, and we discussed the rebuilding process and the costs involved.
A Political Note… Steinway Pianos in the White House
White House Steinways - Since 19031600 Pennsylvania Ave in Washington, D.C. The home of the President of the United States... and multiple pianos? Like other countries, music is rooted in American history, so it is no wonder that pianos of various makers have found their way into one of the world's most well known political residences. Since 1903, the showpiece grand piano in the White House has been a Steinway Model D. Read on for more!
The Current Piano - Steinway #300000Steinway & Sons recognized the honor, prestige, and yes, marketing value that came with having their instrument reside in the home of the President of the United States. The most well-known piano in the White House is a 1938 Steinway & Sons Art Case Model D Concert Grand #300000 veneered in mahogany. Resting on legs resembling American Bald Eagles, this piano features motifs depicting traditional American music.
Steinway Buys Renner – What it Means for the Piano Industry
Renner Joins the Growing Family of Steinway Musical Instruments' Owned SuppliersIn July of this year, it was announced that John Paulson's Steinway Musical Instruments had completed the purchase of Louis Renner GmbH & Co. KG. Renner is widely respected as one of the finest producers of piano action parts still in existence. Numerous makes of pianos, including Hamburg Steinways use Renner parts. Below is the Steinway & Sons announcement letter and below that are our thoughts on the issue.
Why Are My Piano Keys Sticking & Other Frequently Asked Questions
Why Are My Piano Keys Sticking?
Behind each ivory, ebony or plastic topped key stick resides almost every moving part in a piano. All of these moving parts creates the potential for annoying sticking and binding, causing notes not to function. There are a number of reasons this may occur and can usually be quickly diagnosed by a qualified piano technician. Here are a few of the most common reasons.
- Debris. The gaps between the keysticks allow for small debris to fall between them. Over time, this can cause keys to bind together. Each key pivots on metal pins. If the rail pins become dirty or filled with debris, this can cause keys to feel sluggish. With a grand piano, pencils and similar items can often fall between strings and into the piano's action. (This author has dealt with that a time or two on his personal piano...) The fix for this usually involves removing the action stack or keys to get to the issue, removing any junk and thoroughly cleaning the action. If possible, keep small items stored away from where they could accidentally fall into the piano's action cavity or between the key sticks.
- Humidity swings can cause wooden key sticks and action parts to expand and shrink, causing parts to bind. We highly recommend that you take steps to control the humidity levels within and around your piano. The best way to do so is to invest in either a whole room or whole house humidification control system. As a nice side benefit, this will also greatly increase the comfort level of your home. We also recommend the consideration of a Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver System installed directly onto the piano. The combination of these steps will ensure that you receive the longest service and most enjoyment out of your musical instrument.
- Broken parts. There is a chance there may be broken action parts which are keeping your piano from functioning. Lost screws, flattened knuckles, broken wippens. These are just a few of the issues that may be causing your piano keys to jam or not return properly. Again, this would be an issue for your piano technician to diagnose and repair.
New York Steinways vs. Hamburg Steinways – a Tail of Two Factories
Steinway & Sons New York and Hamburg | What's the Difference?
Question: “What's the difference between Steinway pianos built at the company's New York Factory and their Hamburg Factory?"
An American Company
While Charles Dicken's novel A Tale of Two Cities dealt with the cities of Paris and London, this comparison deals with New York and Hamburg. Specifically, their shared role as the home for Steinway & Sons pianos. This unusual situation has resulted in key differences between the American and European variants of these legendary musical instruments.
Contrary to the belief of some, Steinway & Sons is not a European company and have always been an American company first and foremost. Founded by German immigrant Henry E. Steinway, the New York-based company grew quickly from its modest founding in 1853 to quickly become the leading piano maker in North America. This led to increased demand for their products in both the United States and around the world. As this demand for pianos grew, the decision was made to open a factory overseas and the Steinway name returned to Germany - the City of Hamburg, to be exact.
Excerpts from “The Other Masters of the Keyboard” – The Unsung Heroes of the Concert Stage
"Beauty cannot be measured, you see. It must be perceived."The following paragraphs are taken from an article by Lili Földes entitled The Other Masters of the Keyboard. Through the experience of being married to a concert pianist (Andor Földes) and the keen eye of a journalist, Mrs. Foldes pulls back the curtain on the unsung artists of the keyboard - and the rest of the instrument we know as the piano.
“…work was first class – one of the finest restorations.” – Google Reviews of Chupp’s Piano Service
"We can’t believe what a beautiful instrument it is; exactly as represented"Recommendations and reviews from our friends and clients is always a great encouragement. Read on to view two recent reviews left on our Google Business listing. Thank you to Franklin and Diana for your kind words!
"We purchased our piano from Chupps in 2003 and it has been one of the best purchases we have ever made. We really had to save to buy and restore the Steinway B, but Dennis Chupp patiently helped us to find exactly what we were looking for and he restored it to perfection. The cost was less than what others had quoted us and the quality of Chupp's work was first-class. Our piano tuner (who is quite noted herself) said it is one of the finest restorations she has seen. She loves voicing and tuning our Steinway.
Steinway Piano Provided to Little Rock, AR Clients by Chupp’s Pianos
Little Rock, AR Clients on their Chupp's Piano Service Vintage Steinway Grand Piano
We were recently fortunate enough to be able to provide a beautiful vintage Steinway & Sons Grand Piano to Sam & Kim Vallery of Little Rock, Arkansas. They were kind enough to send in a testimonial about the piano they purchased from us along with some beautiful photos, which we have included below.
"What a delightful experience it was to come and see your pianos. We had scoured our area (Little Rock) in search of the perfect piano for me, but were left disappointed. We then hit the road. We ended up in Elkhart IN, visited several stores, and saved the best for last. Dennis gave me free rein to play whatever piano I wanted. No pressure, no time frame.
A ‘New’ Piano for the New Year – Used Upright Pianos for Sale
Pre-Owned Upright Pianos for Sale | Refurbished Pianos2019 is underway! Whether your New Year's resolution has anything to do with music or not, we just might have the piano that is right for you. Along with our selection of rebuilt/restored grand pianos and new Kawai upright, grand and digital instruments, we also have a fine selection of pre-owned instruments at astounding prices. Here are just a few of them!
The Baldwin: The Story of a Piano Restoration – Ruthmere Museum & Chupp’s Pianos
Partnering With The Ruthmere to Restore Local HistoryThis historic Baldwin Model M Baby Grand Piano was fully rebuilt by Chupp’s Piano Service. Built in 1938 at the Cincinnati Baldwin piano factory, this grand piano was a family heirloom of the Deputy family, the last residents of the historic Ruthmere Mansion in Elkhart, Indiana. (In fact, one of their family portraits at the museum shows the family sitting around this very piano.) The piano is believed to have been moved out of the mansion in 1969. Recently, the Deputy family generously donated the Baldwin piano to the Ruthmere Museum, returning it to its former home. This is the story of a historic piano’s full restoration. Producer/Shooter/Director: Benjamin Rogers - Music Written & Performed by Philip Balke - Special thanks to The Ruthmere Museum of Elkhart, IN.
Why Do Pianos Go Out of Tune?
Why Pianos Slip Out of Tune
A piano is made up of thousands of individual parts. A dizzying number of components constructed of wood, metal, and cloth all combine to create one musical instrument. In one way, all acoustic pianos are equal - they require tuning. Today, the standard pitch to which pianos are tuned is A440. Here are some of the reasons your piano will slip out of tune.
Question: Why do pianos go out of tune? What has the greatest affect on my piano's tuning stability?
- Humidity Swings: The biggest factor that affects a piano's stability of tuning are swings in humidity. Traditionally, a piano's pinblock, soundboard and bridges are all made of wood. Wood can be very susceptible to swings in humidity which cause the wood to expand and contract. Constant swelling and shrinking combined with the thousands of pounds of tension created by the strings, causes the piano to quickly slip out of tune.
- Maintaining Consistency: A humidity range between 40% and 50% is optimal for your acoustic piano. The best solution is to maintain a constant humidity level in your home by using a whole house or room humidification control system. We also highly recommend the use of a Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver System installed on the instrument to help create a stable 'microenvironment' around and inside the piano. These systems are available for both upright and grand pianos.
A Walk Down Memory Lane – Four Pianos, Years of History
Four Pianos, Hundreds of Years of HistoryWe recently had several pianos lined up in our Rebuilding Facility that spanned the near entirety of what is considered the golden age of Steinway & Sons Factory quality. When we saw what we had set up, we couldn't help but snap some pictures to share! For lack of a better word, this was just plain cool! From the early days of modern piano building to the style of instrument most popular today, it's all represented! Here is some detail regarding these fine grand pianos.
Steinway & Sons Model D #52626 was completed in early 1885. This means that construction of this piano began at the New York Steinway Factory in 1884. This is the first year that Steinway ever made what is now known as the king of concert grand pianos, the Model D! Veneered in a rich cut of rare Brazilian Rosewood and as one of the very first Model D Concert Grands ever built by Steinway, this piano marks the beginning of an era. It is a rare find indeed! The piano features a then typical round arm art case design with double narrow moldings around the case, a figured music desk with 'old-style' fretwork, hand-carved Victorian fluted flowerpot legs with hidden casters and a large box pedal lyre with carved pillars. This instrument was originally purchased for use at the DuPage County Library near Chicago, IL. This concert grand piano is currently located at our New Paris Rebuilding Facility and is available for selection and purchase. [Click Here to Read More About This Piano.]