- piano teacher links:
- Bosendorfer - Austrian; very
expensive; distributor: Winston Music ph: 1800 679 444
- Steinway - very expensive;
- Boston -
their grand pianos are less highly strung allowing larger, tapered
soundboard giving longer sustain & more singing quality in the
- Bechstein-Samick Alliance:
- Alex Steinbach
- exclusively designed for Studio 19 Imports of Launceston,
- uprights $A4000-14000; grand $A14000-25000;
- Conover Cable -
American designed & styled pianos
- W.Hoffman (Czech)
- Ronisch - German made
- Schimmel - German
- Twin Tone versions use Yamaha's Silent piano system to allow
- Petrof - Czech
- Kingsburg - German/Dutch
based on the German Perzina pianos (1871-)
- Kawai - originally made in
Japan, now largely made in China
- VT-132 Vari-Touch piano allows touch to be altered for fast action
or grand piano touch $A15,000
- uprights $A4500 - 14,500; grand $A15,000-62,000
- Yamaha - originally made in Japan,
now largely made in China
- Beale - originally made in Australia from 1893, now made in Pearl
River / Yamaha factory in China
- Roland - digital
- Kohler digital
- Wertheim - made in Melbourne, Australia from 1908 at the Richmond
factory (later taken over to become GTV 9 TV studios)
- Detoa - Czech manufacturer of piano actions used in Petrof,
Bernstein, Kingsburg, Irmler, Weinbach pianos
- "Austrian" white spruce Picea Abies - used in
Steinway, Bosendorfer, Schimmel, etc.
- Sitka spruce - Boston
- Melbourne retailers:
- Allans Music - city, Kew
- Kawai, Yamaha, Steinway, Boston, Ronisch & Roland
- Billy Hyde Music - city, Blackburn - George Steck, Yamaha
- Prestige Pianos -
Preston - Alex Steinbach, Yamaha, Allen organs
- Austral Piano World -
Ivanhoe - Kawai, Steinway, Bechstein, Hoffman
- Melbourne Piano Sales - Richmond - Yamaha, Kawai
- Piano shop Oakleigh Sth -
Kawai, Beale, Petrof
- Bernies Music Land -
Ringwood - Schimmel, Bernstein
- Keyboard corner -
Boronia - Beale, Ritmuller, 2nd hand Yamaha/Kawai
- A.B.C. Pianos - Montrose -
Alex Steinbach, Conover Cable, Samick, Yamaha
- Melbourne piano removalists:
- what to look for in buying a piano:
- animation of how a piano works: http://www.musicplay.com/action/action.html
- price range:
- Buy the most expensive piano you can afford. Saving money by
buying cheaper musical instruments usually produces dissatisfaction.
- depreciation rate:
- a good hand made acoustic piano will generally hold its value well
- a digital piano will depreciate quite quickly as technology continuously
- will it physically fit in your room
- for beginners, it is usually recommended a large studio model
upright of at least 45 inches - with pianos, bigger is better.
- most brands have a model (usually the height is the model number,
121cm 108cm, 115cm, etc.), and you will find that all brand names
have a model in the same height. The price is usually around the
same or maybe $500.00-1000.00 difference. The difference in price
does not mean that the more expensive one is any better or is going
to last any longer or need less tunings each year.
- is the rich, resonant sound quality that emanates from a
- tone through the full range of musical expression... powerful,
delicate, short, long, fast, or slow. Whatever the dynamic
requirement, the piano must respond with clear and expressive tone
that reflects the player's intentions.
- you might only buy one piano in your lifetime, so it makes good
sense to go to all the piano stores and comparison shop. Different
makes have different tonal qualities. Tone colour may be affected by
the tuning of the instrument, so to make a comparison; instruments
should be at the same pitch.
- It's important to determine in advance what kind of piano sound
you like: mellow, brilliant, loud, soft. Then, when you go shopping,
take a pianist with you and ask for his feelings about each piano he
plays. Listen to low, middle and high notes. And, don't forget to
try out several pianos of each brand and model. Often, depending on
the make and price range, there are surprising individual
differences and you want to find the one that exactly suits you.
(Then, note the serial number to make sure the same one is delivered
- depends also on acoustic features of the room
- hand made European pianos tend to have better tone than the
- the responsiveness & feel of the piano
- the hammers in a grand piano are returned to rest by gravity and
the mechanism has many more parts, which allow for much greater
- the heavier touch of a grand piano may make it more difficult for
small hands of young children
- a light touch may make it difficult for a student to then do exams
on a heavier touch grand piano
- Kawai's are known for their ultra-responsive touch
- strength & durability:
- a grand piano must be able to support over forty thousand pounds
of string tension.
- a well-built piano will serve its owner for 50 years or more.
- buy a piano favored by most music institutions (conservatories and
universities). They know by experience which are the best, most
- the 8 second test:
- Play the note C6 (C two octaves above middle C). The sound
should last about eight seconds. If it does not, there may be a
serious wood problem.
- another test:
- In all pianos, metal struts reinforce the plate. The action of
a piano has a separation with one hammer striking on each side
of the strut. These are called the bass-tenor and the treble
breaks. If you play the two keys on either side of the break
simultaneously, the sound should die away evenly on both notes.
In the case of the bass-tenor break, the sound should last
around 24 or 25 seconds. IF the sound decays quickly on one
note, there may be a wood problem. Repairs may be expensive or
- An object of beauty animates the senses and expresses symmetry,
elegance, splendor, and refinement & assists in maintaining its
- Satin finishes are generally easier to care for than high gloss.
Most pianos being manufactured today have polyester finishes.
Furniture polish should not be used.
- attention to detail:
- the small improvements in design that make it more pleasurable
- Warranty varies on new pianos from 3-5 years, to 10 years to a
Lifetime Warranty. The longer the warranty the better off you will
be because the manufacture is willing to provide a warranty like
this to their instrument, which means they are certain that the
piano will be fault free for the warranty period.
- buy a piano made by a reputable company, one which has a good
production volume, and offers a manufacturer-backed warranty.
- 2nd hand pianos:
- Unlike wines, pianos tend to deteriorate with age. The tone in the
last stages is soft and dies away quickly. There is no such thing as
a piano that is 'good enough to start on'. When Johnny quits his
lessons, it may be because it was too hard for him to practice on
the old clunker that someone gave you. Many pianos have had hard
use, and infrequent service for most of their lives.
- you would be wise to enlist an independent piano tuner to assess
the piano. A piano technician can appraise an instrument using
specialized tools to check the torque of the tuning pins. The
minimum recommended torque is 40 inch/lbs. Anything lower may not
allow good tuning stability. Replacing tuning pins is a major
repair. The tuner should evaluate the piano and give the prospective
buyer a list of necessary repairs.
- One of the pianos to try and avoid is the “over-damper”
pianos. These usually have problems with the damper mechanism and
have been found to be a lot of hassle to repair by tuners and
- It may not be wise to purchase a 'drop' action or spinet piano.
The repetition of the action is often too slow for all but the
simplest pieces. A repair that takes only a few minutes on a full
size piano may take over an hour on a spinet.
- Be aware that there are a lot of second-hand pianos being imported
from Asia and you really need to “proceed with caution” on these
as many have been excessively used in schools, etc.
- When purchasing from a store or a private piano tuner make sure
that they have some type of warranty which include the pin block,
frame, soundboard. The person selling these instruments should be
able to place a 5 year warranty on the above. Also make sure that
the piano is tuned in your home after delivery, this is usually done
about 1 week after delivery with a new piano and should also be done
with a piano that is second-hand .
- unlike new pianos, when it comes to buying a 2nd hand piano more
than 30 years old, the brand name will make a HUGE difference in the
quality of the instrument and also the purchase price.
- look for a water line, if the piano has been flooded, it may be a
- Play each key several times in a row. If a note fails to sound or
will not repeat, the mechanism may need repairs or adjustments. If
there is buzzing, the soundboard may be cracked.
- Play each note in turn from the bottom to the top. Are there any
dramatic changes in pitch or tone colour? If there are, the
instrument may need to have strings or hammers replaced.
- maintaining a piano:
- The piano is a highly developed and complicated piece of equipment. It
contains about 240 different lengths of high tensioned wire. These
lengths of wire make up to 85 to 88 notes spread across the music tonal
range. For each note there exists a mechanism which in the upright piano
contains up to 14 different moving parts and in a grand piano up to 22
moving parts per note. This means that there is around 2000 moving parts
in a piano!!
- Since the piano must be maintained at a specific tension to achieve a
good musical sound the matter of maintenance becomes an ongoing process.
If you play the piano several hours a day and work to a performance
standard you may need to have your piano tuned frequently. This could be
mean that your piano would need to be tuned 5-6 times a year, or more!!
- A finely tuned and functioning instrument will make practice and
performance much easier and encourage students to practice more because
their instrument is performing at its best. It will also give you peace
of mind that your investment in the piano will last.
- You should realize that a piano will never stay in tune, no matter
what brand it is or if it is an upright or a grand. However, a piano
that is manufactured to a high standard and using better materials will
stay in tune for longer periods.
- keep in mind that a new piano will require several tunings throughout
the first 2 years. This is usually every 3-4 months until the strings
and pin block have time to ‘wear in’ and settle down.