• The Forsyths Blog

    April 2, 2020

    We are OPEN for ONLINE and TELEPHONE orders and deliveries! Monday – Friday, 10am – 5.30pm: 0161 834 3281

    UPDATE 23/03/20

    With the Government announcing the closure of all ‘non-essential shops’ we will be closed to customers coming into our premises, however we are still very much open and will be able to help, advise and sell you things over the phone and on-line.

    Our mailorder and delivery service will continue for everything from sheet music to pianos.

    If you have any queries about any music, instruments or accessories please do not hesitate to ring or email us and we will be pleased to help.

    We are continuing to despatch items by Royal Mail, DPD, specialist piano carriers nationally and our own delivery service locally.

    During the COVID-19 shut down time our opening times may vary. Our core hours when you should be able to reach us by phone will be 10am-5.30pm Monday to Friday.

    We are sorry to announce that the ABRSM exams due to take place at Forsyth on 21 and 28 March have been cancelled and that the Learn to Play Day weekend planned for 28-29 March has been postponed.

    If you have booked an exam at Forsyth for yourself or for another candidate, ABRSM will process refunds for all exams cancelled by them from 18 March to 4 April. For more information, please see ABRSM’s COVID-19 Update page.

    A new date for Learn to Play Day will be announced in due course by Music for All, the charity which oversees the event at a national level. If you had booked a taster lesson, we will guarantee you another at the rescheduled event and will be in touch with you as soon as the new date is set.

    Meanwhile, Forsyth remains open so, even if you can’t get in to Manchester, we can still send you all the instruments, music and accessories you need to keep your spirits up! If there is anything we can help you with, please give us a call on 0161 834 3281.

  • Piano Department

    April 2, 2020

    Let’s talk ‘humidity and acoustic pianos’

    Like the majority of the UK right now, members of our team are working from home. We are still working to help to support our lovely customers from home and I happen to be one of them. Where I would normally be working full time in the acoustic piano department at Forsyth, I am now making the most of this terrible situation staying at home, sitting in the sun whilst doing what I love most. Talking acoustic pianos!

    Although the weather was lovely last week and gave the UK a much needed moral boost, it can also come with some bad news for your treasured acoustic pianos. Glancing over at my pride and joy, as I often do and which usually brings a smile to my face, kicked off a mini panic. Here you can see a picture of the hygrometer currently sat on my piano at home.

    A hygrometer is a device that measures both the temperature and relative humidity in your home. Most piano manufacturers recommend keeping pianos between a relative humidity of 40 - 60% and as you can see, mine is currently reading an almost Saharan 35%. It even reached as low as 29% yesterday, which is well into the red zone!!!

    Considering that the primary material of a piano is wood, then it is not surprising that humidity plays such a huge part in the proper care and maintenance of your instrument.

    Now for the “sciencey” bit.

    We have many of our customers who aren’t sure what relative humidity is and why it can badly affect pianos. I will explain:

    Relative humidity is the ratio of how much moisture is in the air compared to the maximum amount of moisture the air can hold. The absolute amount of water that the air can hold varies depending on its temperature - the warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold. This means that with this beautiful weather, the sun is blasting down and heating up the air enabling it to hold more moisture than before. This change actively decreases the ratio of how much water is currently in the air to what it can actually hold, therefore creating a much drier environment for your piano.

    When the air has a lower relative humidity, this in effect draws moisture out of the wood in your piano causing it to shrink/contract. When the humidity increases again, this will then allow the wood to absorb moisture causing the wood to expand. It is this constant change in relative humidity that affects the tuning of the piano as well as the regulation of the action. When the humidity is extreme - too high or too low for extended periods or wildly oscillating it can cause irreversible structural damage to your piano. This can cause the wood to crack, split and even warp, regardless of whether the piano is a budget piano or a handmade concert grand piano made in Austria!

    The weapon of choice to combat an excessively dry environment is a humidifier. For those who suffer from the opposite with excess humidity instead, you will need a dehumidifier. There are plenty of humidifiers, dehumidifiers and combinations of them both in one available on the market. Some of the top end models have a built in humidistats that will automatically control the environment, while the others are much more basic. These devices are generally used to treat the room as whole, which is definitely advisable for grand pianos and has the added benefit of helping other wooden items in the room like furniture! As we don’t sell them at Forsyth, we unfortunately do not have recommendations on particular models, however there are plenty of reviews out there and devices to suit your budget.

    The humidity in our showroom is on the low side, most of the time, so to combat this we have some industrial humidifiers, which would be overkill in your own home. We also have some smaller models which we picked up from Maplins, before they shut down. A customer of ours recently contacted us about what we would recommend. We sent him the specifications of Maplin’s own humidifiers, which he used to source his own. He wrote back to us to say “I have ordered the ‘PureMate PM-906 Digital Ultrasonic Cool & Warm Mist Humidifier with Ioniser’.  The company Pure Mate has been very helpful. When it arrives, I will let you know what I think of it. It costs £79.99, with free delivery (a bit extra for delivery to Ulster, Northern Ireland)” We will report back ourselves when we hear from him!

    The other way to try and improve your piano’s environment is to use a piano specific system such as a Dampp Chaser, “life-saver” system or an in-piano humidifier tube.

    If you know you suffer from low-humidity, you can purchase a piano humidifier tube. As it explains on our website, the piano humidifier tube is a simple but effective way of adding humidity to the environment within a piano. In many homes with central heating the relative humidity can drop to levels that can cause structural problems with pianos (i.e. below 40%RH). By using this tube, which is manually soaked in water then placed in the piano, you can effectively create a micro-climate in an upright piano. These are priced at £46 and are very easy to install inside the bottom of your upright piano. Please follow the link above to order on our website now.

    At the other end of the spectrum with high relative humidity, there are low energy heater bars that you can again fit into the bottom of your piano, which will help to keep the relative humidity levels down. Like the humidifier bar, the enclosed nature of an upright piano helps to create a microclimate that will protect all the internal guts of the instrument. In their simplest form the heater bars can be plugged in and you have to decide when to turn it on and off. These are easy to self install and are £52. Alternatively there is a ‘humidistat’ controlled system which does this for you for £156. These will shortly be added to our website, however if you would like to order one of these please email [email protected] Keep an eye out on our website here for when they are listed.

    A grand piano works a little differently as you can’t create the same microclimate effect that you can in an upright so we would always recommend treating the room as a whole if possible. If not, you can use a Dampp Chaser Complete climate control system (i.e heater bar and humidifier within the climate control system).

    For an upright - This will protect the piano for those whose environments are constantly changing. When the humidity reads above 45% the low emission heater bars will kick in to eliminate excess humidity. If the relative humidity reads below 45% this will turn on the humidifier system which introduces moisture into the air to protect the piano. These are available for both upright and grand pianos, starting at £388 for an upright and £422 for grand pianos up to 5ft and £494 for grand up to 6ft. For larger grands you may need an additional heater bar at the back of the piano. Again these are provided with some very easy instructions for self installation, however we are able to come and fit these if required at an extra cost and depending on location. You can see these on our website.

    If you have concerns about the humidity in your home, you can easily measure it with the same hygrometer device that I have. These digital hygrometers, which record the maximum and minimum temperatures and relative humidity, are much more accurate and give you a better understanding of how the conditions change over time rather than one off readings. We have plenty of these in stock and you can purchase these on our website

    I hope this information is helpful and easy to understand. Let us know how else we can help!

    For further details, enquiries or if you would like to place an order, please email [email protected] or call on 0161 834 3281 extension 5 for more details.

    If you have any further questions regarding purchasing or renting acoustic pianos, please contact the piano department on 0161 519 1996.

    In the meantime, stay at home, stay safe and keep playing!


    Senior Piano Sales Consultant

  • The Forsyths Blog

    March 7, 2020

    Postponed: Learn to Play Day 28-29 March: Free Lessons at Forsyth!

    16/3/20 Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, all events have been postponed until further notice.

    If you or your children are considering taking up a new instrument, or returning to one you used to play, you can now book free taster lessons here at Forsyth!

    As in previous years, we are taking part in Learn to Play Day, a nationwide charitable event organised by Music for All to encourage active music-making. We will be offering free taster lessons on a wide range of instruments throughout the weekend of 28-29 March, as well as a free group ukulele class from 3pm until 4pm on the Sunday. Please click here for more information on Learn to Play Day!

    But you don’t have to wait until Learn to Play Day: we have a roster of brilliant teachers available to provide lessons at Forsyth on most major instruments, and we are pleased to offer free taster lessons all year round to help you decide whether you wish to sign up for regular lessons. Please click here for more information on Music Lessons at Forsyth!

  • The Forsyths Blog

    January 19, 2020

    Book your ABRSM music exams at Forsyth!

    Exam Room

    When booking your ABRSM instrumental and singing exams, it is now possible to specify Forsyth as your exam venue so you can take advantage of our excellent pianos and familiar surroundings!

    This month, ABRSM launched its new online exam booking service, which for the first time allows candidates, parents and teachers to choose their exam date and venue.

    We are next hosting ABRSM exams on Saturdays 14, 21 & 28 March, and 4 April 2020. For more information on exam bookings, see ABRSM’s website.

    Here at Forsyth, you can also book practice sessions in the exam room (right) so that, when you take your exam, you feel comfortable in the room and with the superb Schimmel International I212 Recital Grand Piano!

    The exam room is available during our normal opening hours for £18 per hour, or £16 per hour when booking four hours or more (not necessarily in a single session). To make a booking, please contact our Piano department on 0161 834 3281, ext. 604, or via [email protected].

    For more information on ABRSM exams at Forsyth, please see our Events page!

  • The Forsyths Blog

    January 18, 2020

    Work for Forsyth! – Opportunities in our Accounts, Instruments & Sheet Music departments

    Jobs 2020 JanWe are delighted to announce three opportunities for enthusiastic individuals to join our friendly and historic family-run business – the largest general music shop in the UK and the oldest independent business in Manchester!

    The part-time position in our Accounts department – about 25 hours per week – would be particularly suitable for a parent with school-age children as it would allow for flexible working, Monday to Friday, during normal school hours.

    The weekend positions in our Instruments and Sheet Music departments are ideal for musicians who, alongside a sales role, would like to offer lessons on piano, guitar or woodwind as we grow our in-house teaching provision.

    For more information on each of the available positions, please click on the links below:

    Part-time Accounts Assistant, c. 5 hours per day – Monday to Friday

    Sheet Music Sales Advisor & Piano/Guitar Teacher – Weekends

    Musical Instruments Sales Assistant & Teacher – Weekends

  • The Forsyths Blog

    December 28, 2019

    JANUARY SALE NOW ON! & New Year opening times

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    IN-STORE & ONLINE: Browse online SALE items here!

    * * *

    Save up to 45% on Yamaha acoustic pianos!

    Many pianos available in-store at better-than-Internet prices! To check for the latest prices, please call our piano specialists: 0161 834 3281, ext. 604

    * * *

    Fantastic deals on dozens of other instruments!

    * * *

    Plus £5 off when you spend over £30 in our Sheet Music, Recordings and Musical Gifts Departments

    (In-store only. There are a small number of exceptions such as hymn books. Unfortunately, this offer cannot be used online or in conjunction with any other offer.)

    * * *


    Sunday 29 December: 11am – 5pm

    Monday 30 December: 9am – 5.30pm

    Tuesday 31 December: 9am – 4.30pm

    Wednesday 1 January: CLOSED

    Thursday 2 January: 9am – 5.30pm

  • The Forsyths Blog

    December 24, 2019

    Merry Christmas! – and our seasonal opening times

    MERRY CHRISTMAS from all of us at Forsyth!

    It may be Christmas Eve but it’s not too late to pick up gifts for musicians and music-lovers: we’re here to help you out from 9am until 4pm today!

    After Christmas, we’ll be back on Friday 27 December but, meanwhile, we’re always open online!

    Here are our Seasonal Opening Times in full:

    Tuesday 24 December: 9am – 4pm
    Wednesday 25 December: CLOSED
    Thursday 26 December: CLOSED
    Friday 27 December: 9am – 5.30pm
    Saturday 28 December: 9am – 5.30pm
    Sunday 29 December: 11am – 5pm
    Monday 30 December: 9am – 5.30pm
    Tuesday 31 December: 9am – 4.30pm
    Wednesday 1 January: CLOSED
    Thursday 2 January: 9am – 5.30pm

  • The Forsyths Blog

    December 24, 2019

    CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS: check out our new gift ideas HERE every day until Christmas Eve!

    Like a musical advent calendar, every day throughout December until Christmas Eve we are revealing our Gift-of-the-Day suggestions to help you find the perfect presents for the musicians in your life – or treats for yourself!

    As always, for personalised advice, just give us a call on 0161 834 3281 to speak with one of our specialists, or visit us at our historic store on Deansgate in the centre of Manchester.

    Here is our list of gifts so far…

    Dec 24: Sheeran by Lowden – Finally, the long-awaited acoustic guitars from Ed Sheeran and George Lowden have been released, just in time for Christmas! – From only £595!

    Dec 23: Last-minute digital gift vouchers! – Redeemable in-store, by phone and online, and available online in the following denominations: £5, £10, £15, £20, £25, £50, £75 and £100

    Dec 22: 20% OFF Yamaha YDPS54 Digital Piano – A compact digital piano reproducing the touch of an acoustic grand piano – SAVE £261! | RRP £1,130 | NOW ONLY £869!

    Dec 21: Musical Dominoes – One of our favourite musical gifts and a fun twist on traditional dominoes! – £20

    Dec 20: 15% OFF Banjo-Ukulele by The Magic Fluke Company! – American-made banjolele with loud and complex sound! – SAVE £40! | RRP £259 | NOW ONLY £219!

    Dec 19: ‘Too Hot to Handel’ Apron & Oven Gloves and Mozart Apron & Oven Gloves – Protecting both clothes and musical fingers in the kitchen this Christmas – £12.99 each

    Dec 18:  Antique Kirkman Upright Piano with new Wilhelm Schimmel inside – A gorgeous MUST-SEE piano with 1874 walnut casework! – £18,950

    Dec 17: The Music Diary 2020 – The annual best-seller from Boosey & Hawkes, available in black, red and green£7.99

    Dec 16: Yamaha PSS-A50 Keyboard – Small, portable keyboard ideal for enabling creativity on the move and for encouraging it in the young! – SAVE 12.5%! | RRP £102 | Now only £89!

    Dec 15: Chopin Liszt Note Board, including the ever-popular ‘Chopin Liszt’ shopping list pad£12.99

    Dec 14: Mahalo Coloured Soprano Ukulele – An affordable and appealing first instrument for children and adults alike – only £25!

    Dec 13: Musical Timberkits – Build your own moving mechanical pianist, guitarist, bassist or drummer, turn the handle and watch them move! – from £21.99

    Dec 12: Stentor Student II Violin Outfit – Recommended by teachers and music services for its quality and reliability as a beginner’s first instrument – only £185!

    Dec 11: Musical Glasses Case – Smart white glasses case reproducing a manuscript extract from Bach’s Violin Concerto in A minor – £4.99

    Dec 10: Casio CDP-S100 Digital Stage Piano – The world’s smallest, full-sized digital stage piano, with sustain pedal, AC adaptor, and a 13-hour battery life! – SAVE £70! | RRP £399 | Now only £329!

    Dec 9: Sterling silver musical pendants – Elegant quaver, semiquaver and treble clef pendants neatly presented in lined gift boxes – from £27.50

    Dec 8: Van Gogh and Music – A lavishly-illustrated book on the artist who considered his ‘Sunflowers’ to be a “symphony in blue and yellow” – £25

    Dec 7: Squier Short-Scale Stratocaster Electric Guitar Pack – The ideal starter pack for all ages, with guitar, amp, cable, strap and picks! – 20% off! | SAVE £41! | RRP £210 | Now only £169!

    Dec 6: Music’s Spell – Poems About Music and Musicians – A beautiful 250-page hardback collection of poems on all aspects of music – £10.99

    Dec 5: £100 OFF the ideal starter sax with all the accessories you need: Trevor James Classic II Alto Saxophone Outfit – SAVE £100! | RRP £699 | Now only £599

    Dec 4: The Faber Music Soundtracks Piano Anthology: from Casablanca to The Crown – £20

    Dec 3: Katz Klips: hold music open without damaging your piano! – £30

    Dec 2: Da Capo: the new music theory card game anyone can play! – £17.99

    Dec 1: 38% OFF the Casio GP500 Celviano Grand Hybrid Digital Piano!SAVE £1,496! | RRP £3,895 | Now only £2,399

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