Does Installing a Player System Affect the Touch of Your Piano?

Piano Lessons / piano questions / Does Installing a Player System Affect the Touch of Your Piano?

Hi, Robert Estrin here at, Your Online Piano Store with a viewer question. Does installing a player system on your piano affect the touch? This is actually a really good question. I’ve never addressed this exact question, even though I have other videos on player systems on pianos.

Well, first some historical context. Going back to the early 20th century when player pianos were really popular, pianos had different accommodations for them. As a matter of fact, many of them had shorter keys and they weren’t exactly the same type of touch on many of the player pianos.

Well, today, the way player pianos are worked is that a slot is cut in the key bed. I know that sounds really scary, and indeed, if somebody doesn’t know what they’re doing, they can destroy a piano. But if it’s an experienced installer, it has absolutely zero effect upon the piano, the way it functions, or the way it plays because here’s the thing, the player mechanism doesn’t actually come in contact with the keys or the action in any way. So, it can’t possibly have any effect whatsoever on the function of the piano or the way it plays, or even the way it sounds when you play it without the player playing.

That’s the good news. So, if you want to be able to hear your piano playing, here’s something else that’s really remarkable, there’s a tremendous library of the original player pianos, the expressive players from over 100 years ago. The great pianists, some of whom made piano rolls even before audio recording was developed. Like do you know there’s Debussy, there’s some horrifically sounding piano recordings made on 78 RPM records of Debussy. But you can listen to Debussy and Gershwin, Rachmaninoff, Paderewski, all on piano rolls, which had been converted digitally.

It seems amazing that you can pick up your iPad or your smartphone and listen to Rachmaninoff play on your piano, his performance. But this is all possible with player technology. The good news is, no, it doesn’t affect how when you play your piano, the piano feels or sounds.

Thanks for the great questions. Again, Robert Estrin here at Your Online Piano Store 949-244-3729