Chicago Pianos . com’s unique MIDI song files for pianos!

For most people interested in purchasing a Player Piano, the most important question is: “How do I get music for it?”  If you’re planning on buying a Yamaha Disklavier, PianoDisc system or QRS Pianomation, please read on!

Most new player systems today include a limited amount of music pre-installed and ready to play. When you’ve exhausted that music, there’s truckloads of more music available from the manufacturers, for purchase. And at an average of $2-3 a song, it can be an unwanted pinch, especially if you’re still licking the wounds from the purchase of the player piano!  🙂

midi-vault1This is why chicagopianos.com offers a most unique service — THE ONLY ONE OF ITS KIND and it attracts piano buyers from all over the country.  Back in 1997, we recognized the future demand for player piano “software” (or songs) and began compiling our own library of music — separate from what the manufacturers offer for sale in their own libraries.  This library is called our “MIDI File Vault” and it is available for FREE to our player piano customers through a password protected service.  Over the years our library has grown to include over 5000 selections, which means our library — if it were even purchasable — could arguably be worth upwards of $10,000 to each of our customers.

What’s in the library?
Some of the selections are public domain (MIDI file) performances that we have edited and converted into the specific type of MIDI format that player pianos read.  Other selections have been recorded for us by professional pianists.  We have regular contributors from all over the world so we are always adding to the library and it will always be FREE to our customers.  We all date the entries so you’ll know what’s new.  It is important to note that many of the selections are completely unique and are only available through our MIDI File Vault.  For instance, we have a 45-minute Christmas song medley performed by a pianist that covers many of the great Christmas tunes in one long medley.  There is no selection like this in any of the manufacturer libraries — for purchase or othewise.  It’s like having a cocktail pianist in your living room over the holidays; there’s a performance of Debussy’s First Arabesque performed by a 10 year old Hungarian boy who happened to be in our store many years ago when his family moved here to study with a famous professor.  It is the best performance of this piece we have ever heard and it’s magical (along with inspiring to children!) to know that it was performed by a 10 year old; there are downloadable ZIP files of the complete set of Chopin Preludes or Beethoven Sonatas for instance.  And that’s just the beginning.
We have the complete archived performances from the Yamaha Disklavier e-Competitions, where amazing young pianists from all over the world compete for scholarships through a competition that only exists in cyberspace:  The contestants record their performances into a Yamaha Disklavier from the short list of e-Competition official sites around the globe and the performances are adjudicated in the U.S. by a jury of piano professors.  Amazing!  Among other things, this shows the incredibly accurate recording and playback capabilities of a Yamaha Disklavier.
We make a point to include selections that are difficult to find or completely unavailable in the manufacturer libraries.  With all the amazing music that has been written for the piano, our MIDI File Vault expands the breadth of music from where the manufacturer libraries leave off.
midi-vault2It’s educational!
Many of the composer name headers are actually hyperlinks that provide you with the history of the composer and links to where you can buy the sheet music.  Some of the links even provide the history of the specific pieces — sort of like taking a Music Appreciation class…for free…and without having to leave your home.  As an axample, above the listing for Bach’s complete set of 2-Part Inventions, you can click on a link that explains the history of the pieces and what to listen for.  None of the player piano system manufacturers offers a service like this, even as a paid subscription!
It keeps you informed and updated!
We notify you about software updates for your player system, peripheral devices to enhance your system’s features and links to software that could help you enjoy your piano more.  Technology continues to open more doors to keep you enjoying your piano so it’s good to know about them!
The legal stuff…
When you receive a password to enter the site, you’ll be asked to accept the terms of the site, which include that the files are for personal use only by the original purchaser only and they are only to be used on the piano you bought from us.  We have agreements with our contributors that the files are to be used exclusively in this manner.  Due to these agreements, we cannot offer access to our library for a fee.  We can only give it to our player piano customers by assigning user names / passwords and by maintaining IP security on the site.
midi-vault3AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT MIDI FILES FOR PLAYER PIANOS!
Not all MIDI files are created equal and most don’t play properly (if at all) on player piano systems so be wary of a salesperson who says, “You don’t need to buy music, just go online — there are millions of songs out there for free.”  In theory, this may be true, but in reality it’s very far from it.  The risk of downloading a virus or malware from these unknown sites should be enough to deter you from going down this road.  And many sites claim to be free only lead you many pages deep into their site before letting you know that the particular selection YOU wish to download costs money.  Even if you do find a trusted site, most MIDI files on the web are not for solo piano.  They include the accompaniment from other instruments.  Even if you are a MIDI file expert and were able to strip away the accompaniment from an editing program, you would be left with the shell of a song.  Even “piano only” MIDI files aren’t necessarily coded correctly to be played back on an actual acoustic piano.  Finding good-quality MIDI performances for player pianos is painfully time-consuming.  This is why we have invested considerably over the years to provide a service that doesn’t exist elsewhere.
Thinking of buying a digital piano?
As it turns out, MIDI files are also how Digital Pianos play music. And when you purchase a digital piano from us, you’ll get free access as well.  And it’s easy!  Most new digitals can transfer MIDI files in and out of the piano through a common USB connection. This has also become the standard connection for player pianos to import music. Simply download the file from our website to a memory stick, plug, and play
The Cordogan’s MIDI Vault also offers tips, tricks, and software update information. Visit the MIDI Vault login page to learn more
Stop by or give us a call today at 630-584-5000 for more information.

It’s official, a used Yamaha U1 piano is the most requested piano in the entire industry.

This is only news insomuch as it hasn’t been proclaimed in print as much as it has long been suspected, until now. A used Yamaha U1 piano is by far the most sought after used piano model, representing 35% of all inquiries. Considering that the remaining 65% represents piano inquiries for the entire industry, spanning literally thousands of brand names and over 100 years’ worth of products, this is quite a testimony to the popularity of this particular model number. It begs the question, why?

Used Yamaha U1 professional upright piano

The most popular used piano

We should first qualify our claims about the used Yamaha U1 piano’s popularity. Our website, chicagopianos.com, fields as much as 50 inquiries a day from people all over the world seeking information about buying a piano. Because our site has more images of new & used pianos than any other retail piano website in the country, the inquiries we receive are very broad in nature. When we first posted this blog in 2011, we studied the previous three months of used piano inquiries in our database and 43% specifically asked about U1. In 2016, the same study showed a used Yamaha U1 was mentioned in 35% of the inquiries.

While the percentage has gone down a little, it’s important to note that hardly any other model even registers on this list.  The used Yamaha U1 piano is a thing.

In all fairness to the rest of the industry, this isn’t much of a surprise for several reasons:

1) Yamaha has made the U1 for half of a century worldwide without changing the model. Very few manufacturers have models that have been available even a fraction of the time.

2) The Yamaha U1 does have an excellent reputation for being a terrific, durable, professional upright piano so it stands to reason that it is highly requested.

3) Yamaha’s competitor Kawai, changes models from time to time…and from country to country, so they don’t really have a chance to compete in this contest, even though a couple of Kawai’s taller, yet comparably priced used models (along with a used Yamaha U3) could eat a U1 for lunch.

4) Yamaha has made more U1 pianos than the total of all models produced by most piano manufacturers.

5) Many cultures ONLY request Yamaha U1’s, so with that sort of brand/product loyalty, the piano has tremendous presence.

It is important to remember, however, that not all used Yamaha U1 pianos do not weather time the same. This is why the price range for U1’s wildly varies on the wild wild web. Also keep in mind that age doesn’t often have much to do with resale value. We recently had a 5 year old U1 that rightfully sold for less than half the price of one that was 40 years old due to how it was cared for. The cabinets both pianos looked great but the insides told a different story. Used Yamaha U1 and U3 pianos imported from Asia also have a very wide range of quality…and therefore a wide price range as well. There is a LOT to know about these pianos when simply shopping price on the lawless internet, where “mint condition” has no legal definition so please feel free to contact us for more information. You can also Click here for Buying Tips that you will likely find to be most valuable if you’re looking for information on buying a used piano.

Cordogan’s tries to obtain as many used Yamaha U1 pianos and used Yamaha U3 pianos as we can get but good ones are often difficult to find — especially ones that have been cared for well, so please check our used piano inventory or call 630.584.5000 to see what we currently have in stock.  Our prices not only represent the best value you’ll be able able to find anywhere in the U.S. but you can also have the security of buying from a reputable, family-owned company established in 1950!

Does all of this talk of Yamaha U1’s mean YOU should want one? Not necessarily. It just means that it’s an easy product to research because it is widely popular on a global level and because it doesn’t have much competition given its long history and widespread popularity. There are definitely pianos that might be a better value for you, depending on your circumstances and use.

Also there are still plenty of issues to discuss if you should find yourself considering a used Yamaha U1 piano, so please contact us at 630.584.5000 for more information.

The “Grand Piano Mute Rail” from chicagopianos.com!

Up until recently, there was no solution for owners of player grand pianos who found their pianos to be too loud. We have the solution! The Grand Piano Mute Rail from chicagopianos.com quiets the piano considerably for both pianists and player piano systems where the music is simply too loud. This device is easily retrofitted in the home and allows a pianist to enjoy the authentic action of their grand piano instead of considering a digital piano option. This device also solves the common problem of “note drop out” on player piano systems which occurs when the volume level is turned down to its lowest possible level in an attempt to achieve quiet playing levels.

So enjoy your grand piano without disturbing the family…the neighbors…the dead. 🙂

Please call 630.584.5000 for more information and watch the video!

Roland is back at chicagopianos.com!

Cordogan’s Pianoland is proud to announce that Roland is back at Cordogan’s! This gives our customers an exclusive opportunity to compare Yamaha’s Clavinova and Roland SIDE BY SIDE! No other area retailer carries both product lines so come experience the two top brands under the same roof!

We are heavily stocking the new Roland product line and we can’t wait to get the their two newest products in — the LX-10, Roland’s top-of-the-line upright digital piano and the RM-700, Roland’s top-of-the-line digital entertainment piano.

The pianos will be arriving soon!

Cordogan’s downloadable player piano song library tops 4500 selections!

…And we couldn’t be any more proud! To this day, 9 years after we began our downloadable song library for customers, we are still the the only piano retailer to offer a service of this kind. If you are in the market for a http://www.chicagopianos.com/yamaha_disklavier.html or any sort of player piano…or even a CVP Series Yamaha Clavinova, you will instantly inherit a 4500 song library — worth thousands of dollars — for absolutely free, just for doing business with Cordogan’s!

And that’s not all. It keeps growing. Your membership is free and permanent too, so our online library is a great backup system for your CD’s, disks and USB thumb drives. If you ever lose them or they become damaged, all you have to do is log back in and re-download.

We also have “Listen & Learn” files, where you can download classical selections AND print out the listening guide so that you can learn the history of the piece you’re enjoying. It’s like stepping back into Music Appreciation 101, but this time, it’s not just for the credits! It can also be a great educational experience for the whole family. NO player piano manufacturer’s software library even offers this — only chicagopianos.com.

Our player piano customers are from all over the country, much of which is due to our free exclusive software library AND our competitive pricing. Get a taste of it here!