An aged upright piano—specifically the 1905 "Mrs. Mills" Steinway Vertegrand owned by Abbey Road Studios

A tack piano, also known as a harpsipiano, jangle piano, and a junk piano, is an altered version of an ordinary piano, in which objects such as thumbtacks or nails are placed on the felt-padded hammers of the instrument at the point where the hammers hit the strings, giving the instrument a tinny, more percussive sound. It is used to evoke the feeling of a honky-tonk piano (a piano in which one or more strings of each key are slightly detuned).[1]

Tack pianos are commonly associated with ragtime pieces, often appearing in Hollywood Western saloon scenes featuring old upright pianos.[2] The instrument was originally used for classical music performances as a substitute for a harpsichord.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Everett, Walter (2009). The Foundation of Rock: From "Blue Suede Shoes" to "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes". Oxford University Press. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-19-531023-8.
  2. ^ Malvinni, David (2016). Experiencing the Rolling Stones: A Listener's Companion. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-8108-8920-0.
  3. ^ Miller, Leta (1998). "Incidental Music for Corneille's Cinna (Suite for Tack Piano)". In Harrison Lou (ed.). Selected Keyboard and Chamber Music:1937-1994. A-R Editions. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-89579-414-7.