We have been passionate about Pianos since 1931, much earlier than Spotify, facebook, the internet or even the moon landing.

We have been in the piano trade for three generations, serving, supporting and supplying our clients with the pianos they deserve.

Our piano founder and grandfather Allan Makin

Allan Makin was born in Chatham, Kent in 1900. He worked as the production manager in the Sames piano factory in Birmingham until this was unfortunately lost to a tragic fire. He moved north to Edinburgh looking for work and was hired by Patersons, a notable piano firm which at that time was based in George Street in the centre of Edinburgh. Allan worked as the workshop manager here for some time, overseeing the high-quality restoration work which was an important part of Patersons’ business.

Allan Sr. set up his own Piano business

In 1926 Allan’s son, also called Allan, was born. Always ambitious, Allan senior decided in 1931 to go into business on his own account, setting up in a small workshop in North East Cumberland Street Lane, in the New Town of Edinburgh. Conditions here were initially rather primitive, without telephone or running water.

Fortunately, Allan had secured accommodation nearby in Royal Crescent and was able to work between the two premises. The business centred entirely on reconditioning instruments for the piano trade, which at that time in Edinburgh was much larger than today. Local piano tuners without their own workshop would commission Allan to restore their old pianos for subsequent resale to their own clients.

Allan Jnr. joins the business

It was always likely that Allan junior would join the family business, as he had “helped” his father in the workshop from the age of five! Allan formally joined the business aged 15 and served his apprenticeship with his father. In those days, apprenticeships were long and arduous, typically lasting a minimum of five years. In 1943, the business had outgrown the small workshop in N E Cumberland Street Lane, and moved to 13c Dundas Street in central Edinburgh.

The father and son team were becoming increasingly aware that the fruits of their labours were largely being enjoyed by these tuners, and so from the beginning, 13c Dundas Street had a small piano showroom in which to display their own work. Trade work steadily declined as Allan focussed on reconditioning pianos for his own growing business, with the aim of securing the future for himself and his son.

Grand Pianos make debut in our showroom

This formula proved very successful, and the firm enjoyed a good reputation for high quality reconditioning work on upright and grand pianos. Sales on new instruments were added in the early 1960s. Allan junior’s son Brian joined the business in 1971, serving his apprenticeship in piano building and tuning. The business continued to grow.

The next move came in 1973, when much larger premises were acquired in 5 Summer Place, formerly a dressmaker’s shop. With a much larger showroom, it was possible to display grand pianos for the first time.

Brian and Colin continue the story.

In 1985, Allan’s second son Colin joined the business, and shortly thereafter further expansion took place with the purchase of 4 Summer Place. Following major building work, the two buildings amalgamated into very much larger premises, 4-5 Summer Place. The business now traded as Allan Makin & Sons.

Allan junior retired from the business around this time, leaving the business in the hands of the Makin brothers, Brian and Colin.

Colin goes it alone.

In 2018, Brian retired from the business after giving more than 45 years’ service. This represented a big loss to the business and to Colin personally. After a period of reflection and adjustment, Colin decided to keep the Makin flag flying and now runs the business single-handedly. 2020 is undoubtedly proving to be a challenging time, and a huge thank you is due to all of our customers, friends and business associates for their support and encouragement. We couldn’t do it without you.

The business still trades from Summer Place and the year 2021 will see the firm’s 90th Anniversary. The recent turn of world events has resulted in a significant change of circumstances for many. If there could be a silver lining to this, perhaps it has highlighted the enduring value and priceless nature of music and creativity. So here’s to the future…