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Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Steinway Vertegrand 'Mrs Mills' Piano

The Steinway Vertegrand was brought into Abbey Road in the 50s for its boogie woogie sound. The piano had a harder, old time sound which you couldn't get from grand pianos. The felt hammers were hardened to make the strings louder when struck, and the strings were always kept slightly de-tuned to give the piano an antiquated sound. These qualities led to the Beatles choosing to use it on several of their tracks. It was used on Sgt Pepper, but probably most famously, it was the piano Paul used on Lady Madonna.

Here's the piano on display in Studio 2 and being used by the fabulous foursome:

The piano was known as 'Mrs Mills' piano' by the Abbey Road staff after Gladys Mills used it on many of her albums. Here she is in action. She isn't using the Steinway here, but the piano she's playing has a similar sound: