Challen Piano #GearThatMadeUs

2nd June 2022

This week’s Gear That Made Us features a very special piano which has been a constant fixture at Abbey Road for over half a century.

One of two Challens at Abbey Road, this 1930s instrument is known for its nice warm tone – much softer than a grand piano or the Steinway Vertegrand (Mrs. Mills).

It has an option for a metallic sound called the jangle box setting. Controlled by the third pedal below, it adds brass-tipped felt strips over the strings to produce a sharp bright tone known as “tack” piano.

 
 

This piano was a favourite of The Beatles, who used it on The Fool on the Hill, A Day in the Life and Paperback Writer to name a few.

Note the cigarette burns to the left of the keys, quite possibly courtesy of John or Paul!

It was also used by artists including The Zombies, Pink Floyd, John Barry, Joe Loss, Sid Phillips, Matt Monro and Billy Cotton.

 
#ChallenPiano #AbbeyRoad90
 

This Challen piano was sampled by Spitfire Audio last year in Studio Two using our vintage microphone collection.

Play it for yourself!

Learn more about the Jangle Box Piano sample library in the video below.

 
 

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