March 6, 2021
Here at Forsyths we pride ourselves in having a wide selection of pianos available from a range of makers offering something a little different and special as well as the tried and tested modern day ‘best sellers’. We always like to have some fully rebuilt pianos on offer that are both a beautiful piece of furniture as well as a superb musical instrument. We are in the final stages of restoring one such fine piano - this Steinway Model A in rosewood dating from 1898.
Our French polisher has been painstakingly restoring the casework to its former glory.
In the second picture you can see the piano pre-restoration. We have had to rebuild the bottom of the ‘elephant’ legs to how Steinway originally intended with the castors hidden beneath. The faded rosewood has been returned to its true glory.
Please do get in contact if you are interested in this piano or something similar - we often have pianos waiting to be restored that may not yet have made it to our website. We can also help source appropriate pianos if you have a specific make or style in mind. You can see a selection of our antique restored pianos here. Otherwise please do give us a call to discuss your needs on 0161 519 1996.
April 2, 2020
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!
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
February 24, 2018
One of our favourite piano products of the last few years has been a new venture between electronics giant Casio and the historic piano manufacturer Bechstein to produce a unique digital instrument with many of the advantages of a traditional grand piano. We recently spent the day with Casio at their London headquarters so it seems like the perfect time to have a closer look at these fabulous instruments!
Introducing The Celviano Grand Hybrid
* World’s first collaboration on a digital piano between two large players in the piano market.
* Genuine wooden grand piano keys and hammer action of a grand piano – matched only by very expensive systems such as the Yamaha Avant Grand and Kawai Novus
* Samples taken from the three leading European piano manufacturers where other brands use either their own brand (Kawai, Yamaha) or a single main instrument (Roland)
* Speaker system intended to emulate grand piano with speakers facing upward or downward where a grand piano soundboard would be.
* Designed for authenticity rather than ease of play – many digitals are designed to be easy to play which is great when you’re trying one in a shop but not ideal for technique if you then take exams on a traditional strung piano.
* Scene Setting (400 and 500 only) allows fast recall of desired settings both in terms of the piano technician settings and features such as layering or split keyboard
* Concert play allows the user to play along with recordings made specially for the Grand Hybrids by the NHK orchestra in Japan
Mechanics of the Grand Hybrid
AiR Acoustic and Intelligent Resonator technology
The AiR system comprises the following elements:
* Piano Tone: the basic engine is driven by a series of recordings of three grand pianos sampled in an anechoic chamber. These are:
Berlin Bechstein 282 Concert Grand
Hamburg Steinway D
Vienna Bosendorfer Imperial
* Key Off: when you take your finger off the key the note does not simply stop but switches to a recording of the key being released. The Grand Hybrid actually uses two different key off samples to control how the note ends which means that when you take your finger off the key quickly it sounds different to when you remove your finger slowly. This gives an effect much closer to how the notes decay on a traditional strung piano.
* String resonance: on a traditional strung piano when you strike a note on one key there is much more going on than simply that string vibrating, and as long as the hammers are lifted away from the strings numerous strings vibrate in sympathy which adds a huge amount of colour to the sound. A good way to hear this is to hold down a C triad with your right hand then strike a staccato C in the bass register with your left: you will hear the C chord ringing out for as long as you hold down those keys. To simulate this the Grand Hybrid plays back numerous samples to properly reflect what you would hear on a traditional piano.
* Damper noise: As every part within a piano is mechanical, those parts create mechanical noise that you can hear when you play. A significant mechanical noise on grand pianos is the sound of the pedals being depressed, and the Grand Hybrid contains samples of this noise that it can add in whenever the pedals are moved.
* Action Noise (400 & 500 only): The action of a grand piano also adds noise, that can easily be heard if you play the Grand Hybrid with when it’s turned off. The GP400 and 500 have been designed to sound closer to a concert grand by creating the illusion of having the player and action close to each other while the strings are far away. This is done by blending a little artificial noise recorded from a concert grand piano into the sound you hear as you play.
* Aliquot resonance (400 & 500 only): concert and higher end baby grand pianos often have one of a couple of design attributes designed to add colour to the high end of the piano, which is particularly useful if the piano is being used in a large space where high frequencies don’t carry so well so benefit from a little enhancement. One such tuning is known as Aliquot stringing as invented by Julius Bluthner. This comprises an extra string in the top three octaves that is not struck but resonates in sympathy. Other makers obtain a similar effect known as duplex (or triplex) scaling by tuning the portions of the string outside of the actual speaking length so that they act as sympathetic resonators. The 400 and 500 have their own digital version of these sympathetic effects, adding a level of harmonic complexity to enhance the sound of the piano.
Grand Acoustic System
* Sound from an acoustic grand piano does not emanate forward and backward but rather up and down as the soundboard vibrates in those directions.In the Grand Hybrid there are four speakers firing upward and two downward to simulate this.
* The four upward speakers are aimed at the lid, so sound is reflected in the way it would be by a real piano lid.
* The headphone mode on the Grand Hybrid uses addition processing to give a realistic stereo spread rather than relying on the sample you hear through the speakers that will sound unnaturally wide through headphones.
* The Grand Hybrid has a genuine hammer action keyboard – all of their competitors use the term but very few actually have hammers in them!
* The key is Austrian quarter sawn Spruce bought from Bechstein’s suppler in Europe. Buying quarter sawn spruce ensures that the key is stable and will not warp, and ensures a more consistent density.
* The key bed is also Spruce and is very rigid. Most digital pianos have plastic or metal key beds which are not as strong or rigid and are less able to stand up to professional level of play over a long period.
* Although the hammer mechanism is simplified from a grand piano key, all the parts are lined up in the correct orientation so that they have the same travel as the hammer mechanism in a traditional piano key, and they are engineered to have the same weight. The practical upshot of this is that the key resistance and recoil is incredibly realistic. Using plastic parts in place of wooden ones means the Grand Hybrid does not need to be regulated, so there is no maintenance necessary.
* A common complaint with most digital piano is that they suffer from slow key recoil compared to a traditional piano. The Grand Hybrid keyboard tests as faster than a traditional piano key with a rate of 20 notes per second compared to 14 for a Bechstein grand – this is due to the combines hammer and whippen in the simplified hammer mechanism.
* The sensor in the Grand Hybrid is positioned at the hammer location rather than under the key as on most digital pianos. This means you hear the note at the split second a hammer would hit the string on a traditional piano.
* The Grand Hybrid comes loaded with 12 Concert Play tracks for which the sheet music can be found along with the manual. These are prerecorded backing tracks for which the pianist can play the piano part. These are not the typical MIDI files as found in many pianos with similar features but actual recordings made for Casio by the world renowned Japanese NHK orchestra.
* In addition to the 12 pieces installed Casio have been building a library of these recordings that is available for free online, along with PDF downloads of the manuscripts.
* If you are struggling with a new piece in the Concert Play mode it is possible to slow down the recording using the metronome controls.
* The reverb algorithms for the Grand Hybrid are based on 12 legendary venues and have been made specially by Casio in a process that involved visiting the venues offered on the Grand Hybrid and conducting acoustical tests.
* In addition to the 12 venues, the modelling process has been conducted from three listener locations so, not only can you choose between the venues you can also choose between sitting at the front, middle or rear of the venue.
Scene Setting (400 & 500 only)
* Scene setting gives the pianist a series of preset voices and allows them to store their own settings. These can comprise functions such as layering two sounds or splitting the keyboard, or they can be adjustments to elements of the piano sound such as mellow and bright voicings, reverb or lid position.
* The technician voice presets include sounds specifically set to compliment the style of certain composers
* There are 10 user scenes as well as the factory settings for players to input their most commonly used settings for instant recall.
There are a number of very cleverly designed digital pianos currently on the market that bring the digital piano ever closer to being able to function as a satisfactory substitute to a traditional piano even for experienced players, and pianos such as the Kawai CS11, Roland LX17 and Yamaha CLP685 are all exceptional instrument. In teaming up with Bechstein however, Casio have brought something genuinely unique to the market place and we’re blown away by how good these new instruments feel.
To make it even easier to buy one of these great instruments, we can also offer free concierge delivery on Casio Grand Hybrids in the Northwest UK* - that means we’ll assemble it at the shop and send out a team to install it in your home, so no trying to figure out how to put it together, no nasty surprises out of the box and no mountain of cardboard to dispose of afterwards!
We have all three in the showroom to try and will be delighted to demo them for you.
*The offer is restricted to properties with reasonably easy ground floor access. If there are multiple steps into the property of you want it in an upstairs room that’s no problem but we will have to make a small charge for the additional work. We can of course deliver boxed pianos to your door pretty much anywhere in the UK and do not charge for this service.
August 5, 2016
Here at Forsyth Music Shop we’re busily preparing the 11 pianos we’re bringing for Summer School participants to use. We’re bringing 4 Grands by Schimmel and Kawai UK for use in various teaching rooms, 5 uprights and digitals by Kawai, Yamaha and Schimmel for practice rooms as well as a Yamaha Transacoustic upright and NU1 (pictured) for use in the Atrium.
The NU1 is an interesting creature - a digital piano but with a real acoustic action…. and therefore like any ‘real’ piano needs its action regulating to perform at its best. Come and pickup a map/list of new Schimmel, Yamaha and Kawai pianos to discover around the school.
Meanwhile on our ground floor our Sheet Music and Recordings department staff are busily boxing up large quantities of interesting piano music to have on display in our shop in the atrium throughout the Summer School… along with our ever popular musical accessories and gifts.
We are proud to be sponsoring/supporting the Summer School for another year and look forward to seeing you there. We’d also like to invite you all down the road to explore our shop on Deansgate and come for one of the behind the scenes workshop tours on the changeover day and the last day of the Summer School.
We look forward to welcoming the first week’s participants next Friday!
July 31, 2016
New in store we have the flagship Roland LX-17! A wonderful marriage of the pinnacle of digital technology combined with Roland’s superb build quality and audio knowledge.
With limitless polyphony, six amplifier channels and eight built-in speakers it certainly packs a punch to the ear and is capable of faithfully handling even the most demanding of repertoire.
However, with over three hundred voices contained within you are not limited to the piano, and can turn your hand to recreating an orchestra or imitating old time jazz scat singers.
And when you’re not using it for music, it will be a beautiful addition to any room - the impressive polished black cabinet ensures you’ll always be pleased to have it on display.
Whatever I say about it will never be the same as trying it for yourself, so pop in store today and have a play!
July 28, 2016
We are extremely pleased and excited to show off this stunning rarity by Schimmel in our showroom in Manchester. It was originally designed and made for the musikmesse annual piano festival in Frankfurt this year. This particular Schimmel International I115M is the only one of its kind in the UK finished in white polyester with special chrome fittings!
It is currently on offer for £8,550 to include a matching single adjustable stool by Schimmel which is finished in white polish with a grey leather top (price on its own £600).
This piano would make a very beautiful and smart addition to any modern home.
Find out more here.
November 9, 2015
During November we are giving a free LED piano lamp and a free piano stool with Kawai CA & CS model digital pianos.The total cost of these items is nearly £180. offer ends 30/11/15
We are also able to offer 0% finance on most Kawai & Roland digital pianos. (subject to status).
All our digital pianos are priced at online matching prices both on our website and inside our superstore hear in central Manchester. So you can be sure you get the very best advice and the best deal.
October 16, 2014
We’ve had a busy week with new arrivals in our Piano Department, with some exciting additions to our stock.
Piano manufacturers are becoming increasingly clever at combining the traditional qualities and design of real acoustic instruments, with 21st century technology, and two of our new arrivals are excellent examples of this.
Yamaha have been making their Disklavier range of self-playing pianos for several years but the more recent developments have really transformed its capabilities. The DGC1 is in very short supply, but we have taken delivery of one this week. It is a very nice acoustic piano, made in Japan, with the added benefits of full Silent Piano functionality and the ability to play a wide range of Yamaha MusicSoft songs. You can also record your own playing and then have it played back by the piano - a great way of checking your progress with a new piece! Furthermore, the DGC1 is included in Yamaha’s Silence Is Golden campaign which could give you up to £950 extra for your part-exchange.
Meanwhile, Yamaha’s fellow Japanese competitors Kawai have also been busy. They have developed a new version of their ‘Anytime X’ silent piano system, and we’ve just taken delivery of a K200 upright piano fitted with it. ATX II builds on the talents of the previous version but adds the flexibility of a better piano sample with 256-note polyphony (the same as used on the company’s CA65 and CA95 digitals), and the ability to record your playing to a USB memory device in either WAV or MP3 format. The MP3 recording is particularly nice as it makes sharing your music so much easier.
The ATX II system can also be ordered on most other Kawai upright piano models.
In addition to these exciting new arrivals we also have Yamaha’s new TransAcoustic version of the ubiquitous U1 upright piano for you to try. This currently has very limited availability and we are one of the few shops where you can try the technology for yourself. The TransAcoustic takes Yamaha’s excellent SH silent system and adds a soundboard speaker system so that as well as being able to play in normal acoustic or digital silent modes, you can also play the digital side of the instrument out loud and benefit from the natural resonance of the solid spruce tone wood. You can even play the acoustic piano with the digital samples at the same time, so there are no limits to your creativity. Like the DGC1 this instrument is included in the Silence Is Golden upgrade bonus scheme.
September 9, 2014
Well, maybe not the lost chord but perhaps you are in search of the right piano so that you can play the right chord!
We’re here to make your search easier. Visit us to view our extensive range of new and second hand acoustic and digital pianos. We select the best the piano world has to offer including new pianos from Schimmel, Bechstein, Bosendorfer, Kawai, Yamaha, Kemble, Hoffmann, Wilhelm Schimmel, and Roland. You’ll find it so helpful to be able to directly compare a wide range of options, and our specialist staff will help you to see beyond the black and white specs so that you understand how the unique features of each piano can benefit you and your music making.
Furthermore, we’re open when you need us - 7 days a week! Come and see us 9am-5.30pm Monday to Saturday, or 11am-5pm on a Sunday. Spend us much time as you need in our relaxed surroundings, and don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you like. A piano is an important purchase and it is important to us that we help you to make the right choice.
We look forward to welcoming you to Forsyth.
August 31, 2014
Yamaha are never a company to sit still and their latest launch is the SH TransAcoustic version of their ubiquitous U1 upright piano. The U1SHTA combines the famed qualities of the U1 acoustic with Yamaha’s excellent SH silent system and the additional flexibility of being able to play the digital sounds (including the CFX grand sample) through a speaker system which utilises the piano’s soundboard. We now have the U1SHTA on our showroom floor ready for you to try, so do come in and experience it for yourself. Photographs are available to view on our product page
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