Old or New Piano - Which Side are You On?
As the adage goes, old is gold- but it doesn’t seem to apply one bit to certain musical instruments, particularly the piano.
12:27 19 August 2021
But there are people who think there’s no real reason to believe it’s true.
There are basically two schools of thought or two factions, so to speak, as far as the love for piano goes. One attaches a lot of value to the old stuff and pays tribute to the traditional way of piano-making that the UK has come to be known for. The second is the group of enthusiasts who just want to be pragmatic and make a choice that’ll help them have an easier time overcoming the steep learning curve ahead of them. Let’s look at each one briefly.
According to a reputed piano tuner in the UK, it’s pretty normal to see age-old pianos with rich legacy passed on from one generation to another. Most of these pianos could be well past their prime, however, there is still a lot of nostalgia attached to playing old musical instruments. From the German-made Knabe upright pianos of the 1900s known for their harmonic richness to the truly bespoke Faziolis to the honky-tonk piano grade, there’s a whole lot out there. Each piano is different in their own way with their own little personalities, depending on their make, their history, their action and where they’ve spent most of their lives. And when an opportunity of buying an old piano presents itself, some people simply jump at it without thinking twice. Why wouldn’t they? These piano enthusiasts think that playing old pianos that have their own bit of history and personality is an exceptional feeling that not even the brand-new pianos with advanced features can offer.
But not many people seem to connect with reviving an old piano and bringing it back to life. Especially the piano enthusiasts on the other end of the spectrum, who’re far more pragmatic and less nostalgic. The way they see it, the heritage of a piano is something really nice-to-have but practically amounts to nothing if the instrument itself is far from being able to produce that soul-touching music like it did back in its prime.
And some piano specialists nod in agreement. With 88 keys, some 220 odd tuning pins with many strings that go up around each one, and tens of hundreds of components, there is a high amount of tension which is why it gets out of tune easily. And a mechanical object like that needs all of its parts to function together to perform at its best and can simply cease to perform all of a sudden if not maintained properly.
An old piano cannot go on forever like it did when it was new and shiny, even if it’s given a tune-up every now and then.
Everything about the piano affects the sound it is capable of producing, for instance the quality of the tone, clarity, dynamics and what not. Therefore, they argue that picking a well-tuned new piano holds the key, and that it hardly matters whether or not you have a recently refurbished uprightpiano made in the early 20th century of superior steel and leather and mahogany and felt, and a personality of its own.
To each his own. That’s a dismal or lame way to end this argument between the two factions, you think. And so did we. Wanting to settle this matter, we reached out to a specialist who knows a thing or two about heritage, pianos, and the simple matter of expressing yourself through music. Before we get to that here is a profile of the UK based piano experts for you.
Markson Pianos was founded over a century ago by Louis Markson and has been in business ever since. An adept piano technician, Louis had a zeal and passion for tuning and fixing up pianos which still continues to shine through today in this third-generation family business run by his grandsons Maurice and Simon. Ever since the duo joined hands to take over, they’ve managed to build a bit of reputation for themselves refurbishing older pianos even the ones deemed unfixable. No surprise they are a household name in the piano circuit in the UK. They provide a range of services from piano tuning to reconditioning and advise clients on buying the right one that matches their requirements and fits within the budget. With years of experience in this industry, they have grown into one of the UK's top piano suppliers too. They deal with all kinds of clientele, from private homes to marquee events and concerts across the country. Talk to them today to see how they can be of help to you, whether you’ve your eyes on the one sitting in your aunt’s basement that needs fixing or are looking for a brand new one.
And here is what you’ve been waiting for. The moment of truth, maybe. According to Markson pianos, the face of the market is rapidly changing with several new brands coming in and some old brands on their way out. But the shopping advice pretty much remains the same: just go to the store, try out a few different brands and pick the one that helps you connect with the musician deep down and gives you the sheer joy of playing with expression. Talk about keeping it simple.
So which side are you on?