As your piano tuner Wilmington DE, I am frequently asked what makes a high quality piano different from a lesser quality piano. Often, the underlying question is whether it is better to buy an inexpensive new piano or a quality used piano. Before we answer that underlying question, it will be helpful to give background information on the difference between pianos of differing quality.
There are three main areas that differ between expensive and inexpensive pianos. They are:
1) Resonance of the instrument
2) Sensitivity, speed of repetition, and reliability of the piano action
3) Beauty of the tone of the instrument
We are dealing with each of the three main areas in separate articles. In the fourth article, we will answer the underlying question about which is better to buy.
Our last two articles discussed the first and second areas, the resonance of the instrument and the differences in quality of the piano actions. This article will discuss the beauty of the tone of the instrument. The main goal of music is to create beauty. The quality of the tone of the instrument is dependent on a few things. Most important is the quality of the felt used in the piano hammers, the portion of the action which strikes the piano strings.
The resilience of the felt determines whether the tone is harsh or pleasing to the ear. The problem lies when a maker of an inexpensive instrument uses quality felt, but manipulates it to compensate for shortcuts taken in other aspects of the piano’s construction. In our first article we spoke about how the resonance of the instrument is very difficult and expensive to construct. If an inexpensive instrument does not have the needed resonance, the maker typically hardens the hammers in order to make the tone louder. This results in a harsh and unpleasing tone. It may sound okay in the showroom, but after a few hours in the home, it becomes tiresome to the ear. Typically, it is much more agreeable to listen to a quality instrument with properly prepared hammers. The instrument is resonant enough to sound good without the need of hardened piano hammers.
Our next article will discuss which is better to buy, an inexpensive new instrument or a quality used instrument.
If you have any questions about pianos, please contact us at Kenneth Keith Piano Services. We are your Wilmington DE piano tuning experts. We also proudly provide piano tuning and other piano services Philadelphia PA, Eastern Shore MD and Southern NJ.