“Wicked” Piano Cover on Steinway M #227953
Piano Technician/Pianist Philip Balke performs ‘I’m Not That Girl’ from the beloved Broadway musical, ‘Wicked’. Written by Stephen Schwartz, originally recorded by Idina Menzel (original song) and Kristin Chenoweth (reprise). Performed on restored Steinway & Sons Model M Grand Piano #227953. Recorded at the Chupp’s Piano Showroom in Goshen, Indiana, video production by Benjamin Rogers.
Question: My child is starting piano lessons. What kind of piano should I get for them? I found a free one on Craigslist and most of the keys still work. Could I start them on this piano until they get good enough to deserve a better one?
The selection of an instrument for your budding student is an important one. Students of the piano will spend many an hour practicing scales and building up to ever increasingly difficult pieces. A link should build between the artist and their instrument. This is why it is critical to select a piano that encourages them to sit down and play.
Imagine someone beginning to learn a sport, say, baseball. One wouldn’t give the budding player a stick broken off from a nearby tree and tell them; ‘learn with this, and when you get really good we’ll give you a real bat!’ It is obvious that this would not be conducive to enjoyable learning and would impede progress. One would be tempted to simply quit when placed under this handicap.
Unfortunately, we see this far too often in the world of pianos. The difference between a fully functional, professional grade piano and the ‘Craigslist deals’ and cheap keyboards one often sees in us for practice is like day and night. Even budding pianists can tell the difference, even if they cannot express what exactly they are feeling.
Young students are much more perceptive to tonal quality and touch than many parents think. Many of the ‘free deals’ that can be found on Craigslist (and yes, even at some piano dealers) can be much more trouble than they are worth. A badly built and maintained piano may require much more repair and restoration work than is initially noticeable when examining the exterior. It is always recommended that you contact a qualified piano technician prior to considering the purchase of one of these used pianos.
It can be incredibly frustrating to sit down at a barely functioning piano that has been badly maintained and attempt to bring some kind of discernable melody out of it. It is maddening for the professional; just imagine how frustrating it is for a beginning student. Sadly, we see this so often. It is no wonder that many students fail to stick with piano lessons.
In terms of monetary value, a durable, high-performance instrument can and will help you and your student get the very most out of piano/music lessons. A well-built, properly maintained instrument will stay in regulation and in tune saving you money in service calls. Many music teachers also have minimum requirements for the student’s practice instrument – and with good reason!
Which Piano is Right for You: Yamaha Vs. Kawai?
Question: “I am considering both Yamaha and Kawai pianos and they seem similar. What are some of the differences?”
Yamaha pianos are often near the top of the list when pianists begin looking for a good piano. If you are looking at the purchase of a new Yamaha piano, the consideration of a piano manufactured by Kawai may be in your best interest. Founded in 1927 by Koichi Kawai, Kawai endured ninety years of history to become one of the leading piano makers in the world. They continue to produce high-quality pianos at a price point that is hard to beat—even for Yamaha.
Kawai and Yamaha pianos are often compared due to a number of similarities. They are both based in Japan and have decades of experience in the crafting of both upright and grand pianos. Their factories are some of the most advanced in the world and they pride themselves on consistency. Both of the companies build an incredibly high number of pianos each year. This high production capacity combined with truly good quality has made both brands the choice of musicians, students and piano lovers around the globe. That being said, Kawai has some significant advantages over Yamaha pianos, which has allowed them to be the leader of innovation in the piano industry while maintaining competitive pricing for their high-quality pianos. So what separates Kawai pianos from Yamaha pianos?
1: Higher Stability
Kawai pianos, especially their grand pianos, have undergone steady and constant improvements in their design and workmanship over the years. Today, Kawai pianos come standard with their industry leading Millennium III ABS-Carbon Fiber action. Several decades ago, Kawai made the bold decision to begin the production of piano action components utilizing ABS-Styran. This change from wood was shocking to the traditional piano industry and initially was widely dismissed. The years since have proven the stability and accuracy of their new parts, which today, are widely accepted and credited by the piano industry. In fact, America’s Mason & Hamlin through their subsidiary Wessel, Nickel and Gross have recently switched to similar, ABS components with raving reviews. Currently, the new Millennium III action parts are made of ABS infused with Carbon Fiber for added strength and rigidity. These actions are utilized on both Kawai grand and upright pianos.
Why A ‘Free’ Upright Piano Is Not Always Free
“Free piano! Plays great! *just needs tuned. You move. Bring lots of friends, this thing is heavy…”
Ads similar to this example, fill newspapers and local Craigslist listings all over the country. At first, this can sound like a deal of a lifetime. “A free vintage piano and all I need to do is pick it up and have tuned!” Unfortunately, these apparent deals can quickly turn into money pits that leave you with a lackluster, barely functioning instrument that cannot be improved without an inordinate amount of time and money.
There are a few reasons that these pianos are often left in homes when they are sold and you can find free pianos abound on the internet. Below we will go over a the top reasons you should think twice before undertaking the inconvenience of acquiring a free/cheap piano.
1: Moving Cost
There are a number of hidden costs that might not be apparent when it comes to a free or cheap one-hundred-year-old upright or even a grand. The first is moving. Old, full-size upright pianos can weigh nearly 700 lbs. and are harder to move than a grand. Awkward in size and weight, these instruments require a qualified piano moving team to safely remove, transport and set up the piano at its new home. Asking a couple of buddies to help you move it will not suffice, and likely will cause more damage to the piano and potential injury to those attempting to move it.
Free Desktop Backgrounds from Chupp’s Pianos | Winter 2016
We’ve designed a few computer desktop backgrounds for our use here at the shop and thought we would share some of them with you. All of these are 1920 x 1080. You can click on either the download link or the photo itself to open a larger version of the desktop background. After doing this right click, and save to your computer.
August 2016 | Piano Video Highlights
As summer begins to wind down, here are some piano video highlights from the month of August. Enjoy!
Piano Technician Philip Balke playing part of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 23 in F Minor, 3rd Movement on a fully restored Steinway & Sons Model C. This semi-concert grand piano came out beautifully and is a wonderful example of historic Steinway quality. This particular piano was rebuilt for a church in Dallas, Texas. The Steinway Model C is no longer produced at the New York Steinway Factory and is quite a rare find. Sitting in size between the Model B and the Model D, the 7’5″ Model C balances size with a full, warm tone.
From 1854 to Today | Mason & Hamlin
The tale of the Mason & Hamlin’s rise to the top of the piano world is an interesting piece of history, dating back to the mid 19th century. Now normally, the first name to come to mind when thinking of premium pianos is probably the venerable Steinway & Sons company. Steinway has long enjoyed a spot at the top of American piano manufacturers in both artists’ use and public opinion. However it would be very remiss to ignore the contributions and the ongoing history of another leading piano maker, Mason & Hamlin. Created one year after the founding of Steinway & Sons in 1854, Mason & Hamlin quickly asserted themselves as a company dedicated to handcrafted quality and today is one of only two fully operational piano manufacturers in the United States today (with the other being their longtime competitor, Steinway).
Steinway Model M Grand Pianos | Their Past, Present, & Future
The Steinway Model M is a fantastic grand piano, and has been since its creation in 1911. But before we tell the tale of the Steinway Model M, we need to understand the historical context under which this Steinway piano was invented. Things had begun to shift and change during the early part of the 20th Century.
The piano had quickly become THE luxury item that every family yearned to own. Hundreds of thousands of grand and upright pianos were manufactured and sold yearly during this industry ‘golden age’ in the United States alone. This increasing popularity with the general public led companies to begin to look at crafting instruments that fit inside of smaller rooms and within slightly smaller budgets.
Historic Roots | The Newest Technlogy
During the early part of the 20th century, player pianos were incredibly popular. Today, new technology has replaced the old paper music rolls and allows for an incredibly detailed musical experience that is truly impressive. QRS Music Technologies Inc. was founded in 1900 by Melville Clark (of Story and Clark piano fame.) Today, they produce the PNOmation Player Piano System. This amazing piece of technology can be installed on almost all existing pianos, grand or upright. Gone are the days of large, unsightly control boxes and having to keep track of tapes and data disks! This advanced, modern system virtually disappears into the piano. Chupp’s is proud to be able to offer their latest PNOmation III Player Piano System to our clients.
The Steinway Model D Benchmark
The Steinway & Sons Model D grand piano is one which signifies an instrument’s grace, power, and delicacy unlike any other. Measuring at 8’11 3/4″ in length, the Model D towers above regular grand pianos, which are usually around 5’6” to 6’ long. Truly the pinnacle of Steinway’s historic dedication to innovation and top shelf craftsmanship, the thousand pound Model D-274 truly is the standard by which other concert pianos are judged against. Decades of craftsmanship and development, signified and represented by one instrument it has long been considered the first choice of concert pianists.
Concert Pianist and Professor on her Rebuilt Steinway & Sons Model B
Chupp’s Piano Service is proud to provide many professional pianists with premium restored Steinway & Sons pianos. Accomplished Concert Pianist and Professor Solungga Liu purchased a rebuilt Steinway & Sons Model B Grand Piano from us. She was kind enough to give us the following testimonial.
A Basic Overview & What You Need to Know
The grand piano is one of, if not the most distinctive and recognizable instruments in history. Invented in the early 1600s by inventor Bartolomeo Cristofori, the piano has a long and rich history. The mention of a grand piano may conjure up images of a shiny black cabinet and seemingly countless black and white keys. But while the outside is magnificent, the inside is where the heart of the piano truly lies. There are over 12,000 parts in a ‘basic’ Steinway grand piano and the vast majority of them are held in the interior of the cabinet. The piano truly is a modern mechanical marvel! Here is a quick rundown of the basic interior parts of a grand piano.
When lifting the lid and looking inside, the first piano part you probably will notice is the large cast iron plate. Although colors and casting methods vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, the basic function of the plate stays the same. The plate (sometimes called the piano’s harp) serves as the backbone for the piano. The strings are affixed to the plate and the pins in the pinblock, so it must be able to withstand up to 40,000 pounds of tension. The large holes you see on the plate are cooling holes, which allow the cast metal to cool evenly. Usually the plate features various patent information and logos from the manufacturer. (You have to put your branding somewhere!)
The Steinway Model A Family | What’s the Difference?
Question: “I was looking at Steinway Model A pianos and noticed that there are pianos labeled Model A-1, A-2 and A-3 and it is getting a bit confusing. What is the difference between these models of Steinway pianos?
The First Model A Grand Piano | 1878
The Model A family of pianos consists of several 6′ variants in Steinway’s line of grand pianos. The A-1, A-2 and A-3 are all in the same family, yet there are some distinct differences, and even differences within those models. Steinway & Sons was founded in 1853 and the first Model A, the A-1 was first introduced back in 1878. This piano measured 6’ in length. This piano was an 85 note piano and the scale design was scaled down from the larger Model B. When first introduced the Model A was actually the smallest of all of the grand pianos built and sold by Steinway. (This was before the introduction of the Models S, O, L or M.)
The scale design was crafted by C.F. Theodore Steinway, an innovative man credited with many of the patents and technical advances introduced by Steinway in their early days of operation. This model was fairly historic in terms of innovation and introduced the bent-rim case construction, which allowed for a better transfer of soundboard vibrations, a technique still in use today.
Recently we have been updating our website’s portfolio section with some of the projects, both past and current that we have completed here at Chupp’s Piano Service. I encourage you to view the portfolio section on our site, to see the caliber of work we strive to complete daily here in our workshop. From one of a kind art case pianos, to unique concert hall ready pianos, our work spans a wide gambit. Embedded below are some highlights from our portfolio:
This Model A-II Grand Piano is the only Sketch #425 ever manufactured by Steinway & Sons. Featuring a stunning Tiger Oak veneer and ornate case carvings, this piano has a long and rich history as well! We completely rebuilt this unique and truly one of a kind piano. Click the photo below to read more.
About the Steinway Model B Grand Piano
The First Model B Grands | 85 Notes
The Steinway & Sons Model B is considered by many to be a perfect balance of size and power making it a very versatile instrument. Measuring 6’11” in length, 58″ in width and weighing well over 700 pounds these pianos are much larger than a Steinway Model S, M, or L. (And a bit larger than the somewhat comparable Model A-II.) The Model B ‘Music Room Grand’ was introduced in 1878 as a replacement for the piano that Steinway called the Monitor Grand. This instrument is considered to be the first modern piano ever built by Steinway. (The first several Model B pianos were built in the style of these Monitor Grands.) These early Model B Grands featured an 85 note keyboard and were offered in various art case cabinet styles. A capo d’astro bar was utilized in place of agraffes for notes 52 to 85. In 1891 #73212 the first Model B with an 88 note keyboard was introduced and in 1897 the Steinway factory in Hamburg, Germany began production of the Model B.