At the tender age of 5, my exasperated piano teacher quit in front of me, telling my mom I’d never be any good because I hated practicing and that she was done teaching me. Not surprisingly, that moment left a mark. I refused to touch a piano again until I was 12, when I asked my parents to buy me books so I could teach myself. After months of practicing, I could proudly play Fur Elise, but I never advanced beyond that. I discovered the tenor saxophone, joined the school band and lost interest in the piano. As I got older, I’d play a tune now and again for fun, but I didn’t work toward advancing my skills until recently.
A few months ago, I started working for Piano Man Superstore, where the kindly owner, Nick, rekindled my passion for piano. Whenever possible before the world came to a grinding halt due to COVID-19, I’d sit down at my favorite piano—a shiny ebony polish August Hoffman baby grand—and play. Sometimes Nick would sit at the piano next to me and teach me something new or correct me from his office feet away, but more often I’d just play my favorite songs from my childhood or try playing a song from the stacks of books in the showroom. Little by little, my chops started improving and I became progressively more eager to start practicing seriously.
Now that I’m working from home, I’m practicing every day—not just playing my favorite songs, but really practicing by playing scales and chords. After all, I have the time and a piano, and playing music is the best therapy when you’re stuck at home and stir crazy. It’s a proven stress-reliever that lowers blood pressure, slows your heart rate and increases serotonin, it brings the whole family together, and it’s a great way to break up the monotony of sheltering in place.
If you’ve always wanted to learn to play piano or want to get your child started, there’s never been a better time. There are tons of free educational videos online and virtual piano lessons available, and Piano Man Superstore can hook you up with an acoustic piano for a reasonable price and free delivery. We’ve been serving the DMV for over 45 years and aren’t letting the current crisis stop us from safely delivering the joy of music to people’s homes. In response to the pandemic, we’re now selling pianos through our website and via virtual tours with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. All the details are accessible through our homepage, including how we’re protecting customers during deliveries. Explore our site today to take your first steps toward learning a new skill while you’re isolated at home or call 877-635-1699 for more info.
Have a happy and healthy quarantine!
Web Writer & Digital Marketing Specialist
Sohmer & Co., Inc., was established in the eastern US in 1872 by Hugo Sohmer and K. Kuder. Although the company has changed hands several times in the past ~140 years, it is still considered one of the leading piano manufacturers in the world. In particular, Sohmer is known for:
- Creating the first baby grand piano in 1884
- Patenting agraffe bars and actions in 1882 (An agraffe is a guide for bass, tenor and lower treble strings at the tuning pin end of the strings in grand pianos. An agraffe bar positions the strings and determines the length of string that will vibrate.)
- Patenting a 4-string agraffe in 1887
- Patenting a pianissimo (“very softly”) dampener pedal in uprights in 1887
- Patenting bridge agraffes in 1890
Sohmer pianos have been produced by several companies throughout the brand’s history, mostly in the US, as detailed below:
- Sohmer & Co., Inc., was family-owned and operated from Long Island, NY, from 1872 to 1982.
- In 1982, the family sold the company to Pratt Reed & Co., who manufactured Sohmer pianos in Ivoryton, CT.
- Robert McNeil bought Sohmer in 1986 and relocated its manufacturing facilities to Elysburg, PA, in 1988.
- In 1989, the owner of Falcone Piano Co., Bernard Greer, bought the rights to produce pianos under the Sohmer, Knabe, Mason & Hamlin, and George Steck names.
- Sohmer’s parent company was Mason & Hamlin Corp. until 1994, when the company went bankrupt and the Sohmer factory in PA was closed.
- The Burgetts, owners of Music Systems Research, bought Mason & Hamlin’s assets in 1996, but a new Sohmer brand didn’t emerge until 2001.
- Persis International, Inc., has been producing Sohmer pianos since 2001, but SMC–distributors of Samick pianos-also claims to have licensed the Sohmer name from the Burgetts. During the dispute between Persis and SMC, Sohmer pianos were produced by 2 companies–Persis in Chicago, IL, and Royale in Korea, Indonesia, and later (2007) Tennessee.
Ashley, Larry E. “Pierce Piano Atlas, 11th Edition.” Bob Pierce, 2003, Albuquerque, NM.
Fine, Larry. “2006-2007 Annual Supplement to The Piano Book, Buying & Owning a New or Used Piano.” Brookside Press, 2006, Jamaica Plain, MA.
“Sohmer and Company Established in New York, 1872.” Total-piano-care.com, 31 Mar 2020, https://www.total-piano-care.com/sohmer-and-company.html.
Keep your piano looking and performing beautifully for years to come with our piano maintenance and piano cleaning tips!
- Give thought to where you place your piano initially. Pianos are susceptible to air, moisture and sun damage, so it’s wise to place your piano near an inner wall within your house. Excess sunlight can fade the exterior, and too much air or moisture can lead to damaged parts or, at minimum, the need to have your piano tuned more frequently.
- Consider having a humidity control system installed. To protect your piano from seasonal changes that can dry out or over-saturate elements of your piano, we can install a humidity control system for a reasonable rate. Call 877-635-1699 for a quote.
- Have your piano tuned at least annually. Piano manufacturers often recommend having a piano tuned 3-4 times in the first year after it’s delivered to make it pitch perfect (i.e. tuned to A=440hz), then 2 times per year thereafter. However, an annual tuning will typically suffice for the average player.
- Clean the exterior of your piano with care. Don’t use harsh cleaners on your piano, particularly if it has a lacquered finish that could be marred by chemical cleaners. Instead, use a soft, damp, lintless cloth to wipe down the exterior and the keys. Do NOT over-saturate the cloth! If you feel the need to disinfect the keys themselves, you can use rubbing alcohol on a paper towel to gently wipe down the keys.
- Ask your piano tuner to help you vacuum the interior of your piano. Your annual tuning is the perfect time to clean dust from the interior of your piano. Ask your tuner for help or guidance if you wish to vacuum yourself.
- Protect your piano from moths. There is wool and felt inside your piano, under the keys and on the hammers and dampeners. These materials are mothproofed at the time of manufacture, but the treatment doesn’t last forever. Typically, the cleaning a piano tuner does at the time they tune a piano is sufficient to protect against moths; however, if your technician notices damage from moths, do their recommended mothproofing.
- Play your piano! The best way to maintain your piano’s inner workings in between tunings is to play it regularly. Do NOT touch or try to clean the inner workings by yourself!
- Have professional piano movers move your piano when needed. If you’re moving or just want to relocate your piano within your house, it’s wise to use professional piano movers, because even the best furniture movers can damage a piano beyond repair. Call us at 877-635-1699 before you move and we’ll ensure your piano is transferred to its new home with care.
If you have any questions about caring for your piano that we haven’t addressed here, feel free to contact us for additional guidance.
Piano Man Superstore is a family-owned and operated small business that’s been serving the DMV and delivering pianos across the US for 45 years. We have a 30,000+ sq. ft. piano warehouse in College Park, MD, where we sell reconditioned pianos that look, sound and perform like new. Additionally, we operate a piano shop where our skilled technicians rebuild fire- and water-damaged pianos, restore antique pianos and recondition used pianos for sale in our showrooms. Our current inventory includes over 130 upright pianos and grand pianos of all sizes that cost roughly half what new pianos do, plus each one is backed by a 10-year warranty on parts and labor and comes with free delivery and a free in-home tuning. Stop by today and explore our selection!