While it's true that most car owners have only a passing familiarity with the workings of the internal combustion engine, somehow it doesn't seem to matter as much as it does with pianos. This is because (unless you drive a sports car) as long as your vehicle gets you from point A to B reliably and doesn't make funny noises you don't need to pay much attention. It's different with pianos – from the pedals to the soundboard, the whole thing is about performance. So when you're choosing a piano it's important to know how different design and construction choices affect the instrument. There's nothing worse than a really good pianist playing a really bad instrument; it's like trying to win the Tour de France on a tricycle. That's why, over the next few web pages, I'm going to "take apart" the piano so you can see its structure more clearly. At the end of the exercise you'll know what to look for and what questions to ask.