ThePianoGuys News

“I Want You Bach”

Story behind the song

What if the harpsichord from the 1770s hit headlong into the talk box from 1970s? What if J.S. Bach and Jackson 5 met up and just jammed? Would they jive? Can you dig it? These are the kind of far out questions we asked ourselves as we laid down the licks and cut the film of our upcoming music video. We put together a gig with two wigs in dandy attire and two hep-cats in some funkadelic threads to see if it would fly. (Incidentally, Steve’s 1770/1970 alter egos are “Sir Reginald von Sharp” and “Scooby” while Jon’s are “Duke Johann van Keymeister” and “Phil.”)

PRESENTING … “I Want You Bach” – Jackson 5’s funky “I Want You Back” mashed-up with 5 illustrious themes written by J.S. Bach!

As per usual, all the sounds you’ll hear were created by piano, cello, kick drum and some vocal textures, but this time we’ve introduced some new elements! You’ll hear the robot-like words “I Want You Back/Bach” simulated by a “talk box” (popularly used in the 1970’s, but never with a cello!) Here’s how it works: Steve plays cello notes through a micro speaker built into a foot pedal, the sound then travels through a tube and into his mouth where he shapes the notes into actual words. (Google “talk box” to learn more – it’s pretty groovy.)


Phil is tickling the ivories of a custom-built hybrid grand piano, while Scooby shreds on a custom 5-stringed electric cello complete with a sidecar kick drum. Conversely, Sir Reginald is playing a circa-1700-replica Baroque cello (no “why don’t you fix it?” jokes, please), and Duke Johann is playing an actual harpsichord that was built and designed by Hale Centre Theatre (the location where we shot the video). To our knowledge the likes of electric cello, grand piano, harpsichord, Baroque cello, talk box, and kick drum have never gigged together. Until now. It’s totally the battle of the 70’s – the 1770s and the 1970s…can you dig? Nearly everything you’ll see in this video was provided by Hale Centre Theatre – from a sinking Piano/Cello platform down to the disco duds of Scooby and Phil opposite the Scarlett Pimpernel robes arrayed upon Johann and Sir Reggie.

We filmed this using 4K resolution (a huge step up from 1080p and quickly becoming the new “high def”), allowing for more freedom and flexibility to zoom in and out of static shots (which helped us create the illusion that two different versions of Jon and Steve are jamming together.)

If you’ve read this far into this blog you’re invited to either an evening of highbrow hobnobbing with Sir Reginald von Sharp and his entourage or a night of sick roller-skating with Phil and his dancing mustache. Please choose a 1770s/1970s alter ego name.

To be notified of the the video release, sign up for TPG Insider!


“I Want You Back” as performed by Michael Jackson and Jackson 5, written by The Corporation
Arrangement written and produced by Al van der Beek, Jon Schmidt & Steven Sharp Nelson
Also inspired by the following Johann Sebastian Bach pieces: Brandenburg Concertos No. 3 & 5, Two Part Invention No. 8, Minuet in G, Bourrée, and Gavotte from the French Suite No. 5
Performed by
Jon Schmidt: Piano & harpsichord
Steven Sharp Nelson: Baroque cello, electric cello, talk box, cello percussion, percussion, & vocal textures
Al van der Beek: Vocal textures & percussion
Recorded, mixed, & mastered by Al van der Beek at TPG Studios, Utah
Video filmed & produced by Paul Anderson & Shaye Scott
Edited by Shaye Scott

We owe a monumental debt of gratitude and a HEAVY shout out to Hale Centre Theatre for providing the set, the elaborate costumes, the harpsichord, the descending piano/cello cage and, most of all, the friendliest professional team of stage people in the business! If you are ever in Utah, you HAVE to see a production there: THANK YOU, AMAZING HALE PEOPLE!

Hale Center Theatre Crew:

Theatre Producers – Mark & Sally Dietlein
Scenic Designer – Kacey Udy
Props Mistress & Set Dresser – Michelle Jensen
Props Assistant – Jennifer Taylor
Production Assistant – Jamie Sanduk
Stage Manager – Jimmy Smolka
Lighting Designer & Body Double – Adam Flitton
Costume Designer – Brooke Wilkins
Wig & Make Up Designer – Krissa Lent & Trisha Ison
Costumer – Peggy Willis
Sound Engineer  – Shane Steel
Carpenter & Body Double – Ryan White
Carpenters & Engineers – Rob Kinmont, Kelby Merton, & Brian Loth

LEGO ThePianoGuys!? – Scenes from Arwen’s Vigil and Berlin

Joshua Hanlon from talks with Daniel and Joseph Ford about their Piano Guys LEGO builds at the 2014 BrickFair in Virginia.


TPG Ebay Auctions!

Wanna piece of TPG? We’re selling some of our camera equipment, memorabilia, and more in this Ebay auction:

Check out our EBAY STORE here:

I Buy My Cello an Airplane Seat and Other Adventures of a Traveling Musician

Sharp Nelson and one of his traveling cellos (The Piano Guys)

Most people travel the world with friends and family — I travel with my cellos.

You may or may not recognize my name: About five years ago, my stint moonlighting as a musician turned into an Internet phenomenon, and now I am the cellist of the musical group the Piano Guys. In that time, we’ve recorded multiple albums that have hit No. 1 on Billboard, and we’ve traveled the world playing and shooting music videos at iconic spots from the Great Wall of China to the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio. And throughout the journey, everywhere I’ve gone, my cellos have come with me.


ThePianoGuys Perform on Hungary’s Hit Talent Show Virtuózok

Watch as ThePianoGuys perform “Rolling in The Deep” by Adele and “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction on Hungary’s hit classical talent show Virtuózok!



When Paul Anderson was brainstorming ways to sell pianos for his now-shuttered music store The Piano Guys in Saint George, Utah, he came across a video featuring pianist Jon Schmidt and cellist Steven Sharp Nelson performing a mash-up of “Love Story” by Taylor Swift and “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay. Anderson was dumbstruck with inspiration and wanted to make them the centerpiece of a marketing campaign for the store.


Why the World Still Needs The Piano Guys

The year was 2010. Internet 2.0 was starting to show what people are capable of: Facebook and Twitter were already a reality in our daily life, basically impossible to ignore.

Old Internet forums were gradually shifting towards live communities and YouTube was taking pride in creating artists like Justin Bieber.


CMS Suzuki Ensemble Perform with ThePianoGuys

Violin students from the Community Music School (CMS) of Webster University’s Suzuki Ensemble joined featured act The Piano Guys onstage at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, to perform Beethoven’s 5 Secrets to a sold out crowd on Oct. 18.

The students who played were Lian Anderson, Kate Bowermaster, Clare Bolesta, Grace Bolesta, Fiona Carton, Trevor Scott, Josh Simelbauer, and Kevin Zhou. Under the direction of Joanne Keefe, the Suzuki Ensemble is comprised of students who have advanced to the highest level of accomplishment in the Community Music School’s Suzuki String Program.


Music: Beautiful. Inspirational. The Piano Guys.

Music is a phenomenal creature.

The power of harmonic sound provides an ever-present soundtrack to our lives. Through the greatest of joys and even the times of challenge, music – through song and sound – has the capability to unite us, define us, and undoubtedly, move us.

There is no group that personifies this more at the moment than The Piano Guys.


The Piano Guys Deconstruct Their Strategy Behind Viral ‘Frozen’ and ‘Batman’ Mashups

The Piano Guys are about to hit a very high note — 500 million views on YouTube.

So how did four dads from Utah collect over 3.3 million subscribers and debut their fourth studio album, Wonders, at the twelfth spot on the Billboard Top 200 earlier this month — their highest debut and biggest opening sales week to date? With a little help from Batman, One Direction and Swedish House Mafia.


Thank You for 500 Million YouTube Views!

What?!?! 500 million YouTube views? A half-billion? A sixth-tri-billion?? :-) When we started The Piano Guys three years ago we were just doing this for fun. Now we’re still doing this for fun but we have 500 million YouTube views!

Even though this number blows our minds and is a little hard to wrap our heads around, EVERY view to us counts. Each one means so much to us. It’s something we never let ourselves forget — we constantly remind ourselves that this little Piano Guys thing has been built by you – one view at a time. Thank you for watching. Thank you for sharing, for liking, for commenting. Thank you for being a part of what we call “The Piano Guys Miracle,” four Utah dads playing instrumental music on classical instruments in nature — even just barely surviving on the internet would be a feat in and of itself, but to have this collection of views is nothing short of a miracle. That’s why we can’t thank YOU enough.

We love you!



“Wonders” is Number 12 on the Billboard Charts!

The Piano Guys, Wonders – No. 12 – The group earns its highest charting album ever, and the largest debut sales week for a new age act in over five years, as Wonders starts at No. 12 with 23,000 sold. The last new age act to earn a bigger opening frame was new Yanni, who saw his Yanni Voices project bow with 26,000 on the chart dated April 11, 2009.

The Piano Guys also log the highest-charting new age album on the Billboard 200 since Dec. 6, 2008, when Enya’s And Winter Came… spent its final week in the top 10 (at No. 9).

Wonders, released on Portrait/Sony Masterworks, naturally also debuts at No. 1 on the New Age Albums chart — making it their fifth consecutive chart-topper. The album also bows atop Classical Albums, Classical Crossover Albums, and Internet Albums. The album sold particularly well online, with 52 percent of its first week coming from Internet retailers like

Happy Pioneer Day Utah!

Happy Pioneer Day Utah! We are proud to call this place our home. See if you can find all 10 hidden TPG items.

If you’d like to learn more about Utah’s Pioneer Day click HERE


New Sheet Music! ThePianoGuys Simplified Favorites Vol. 1 (Easy Piano / Optional Cello)

We are excited to announce the release of our new piano/cello duet book ThePianoGuys Simplified Favorites: Vol. 1.

Perfect for the late beginner to late intermediate instrumentalist, this book’s songs include Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends, Home, A Thousand Years, All of Me, and more!. Pianists and cellists of the world: Unite!

SimplifiedFavoritesBuyAll of Me (Piano Solo)
Arwen’s Vigil (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
Begin Again (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
Home (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
Moonlight (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
Over The Rainbow / Simple Gifts (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
Peponi (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
Rolling In The Deep (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
A Thousand Years (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
​• Titanium / Pavane (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)
Without You (Piano Solo / Opt. Cello)

ThePianoGuys Are Giving Away Their Personal iPad For Hitting 1 MILLION!

Why are we jumping for joy?? Because we just simultaneously hit 1 MILLION Facebook likes AND 400 MILLION YouTube views! WOW! We wish we could give each of you a personal “thank you” — we know it’s because of YOU that we’re celebrating these milestones. You’ve “liked” and commented on our posts, shared our videos, and even supported us by purchasing our songs and merch in the TPG store. THANK YOU! This has been an incredible ride for us. You know what the best part has been? Hearing YOUR response to the music and the videos, meeting you at our shows when we’re on tour, and reading your thoughtful messages and emails. So many of you have said that TPG has made a positive difference in your life. That has made us smile – encouraged us – even at times brought us to tears in gratitude for the joy and spirit that can be felt through music. As we’ve read your words we’ve felt connected with you, no matter how far away or how differently we’ve lived, we’ve felt the positive impact you’ve had in our lives and in the lives of our families. Thank you so much for all you have done for us. We still have so much we want to share with you and hope that you’ll continue to share us with your friends and family.

We’ve got to celebrate somehow, right?? … Here’s what we’re thinking … We want to randomly pick someone that shares this page and send him or her OUR PERSONAL IPAD (pictured below), autographed and pre-loaded with all our music videos! We wish we had 1 MILLION IPADS we could send to you ALL, but we burned all our cash in the last Wonder of the World video. Click the share link below. We hope we pick YOU!! We love you! Thank you! We’ll see you next tune! :-)


ThePianoGuys Change Name to TheCelloGuys

After many discussions and much deliberation, we have decided to change our name to TheCelloGuys. Give us your thoughts in the comments below.


Steven Sharp Nelson’s New Album – Grace


This CD is a collection of Steven’s best arrangements and originals from his albums produced by Stone Angel Music that have sold over 50,000 copies worldwide. It also features original music he arranged for #1 Billboard Pianist Paul Cardall.

Tracks include:

• The Traveler (from Ephraim’s Rescue)
• Come, Come Ye Saints (from 17 Miracles)
• Lead Kindly Light
• Come Thou Fount (featuring Paul Cardall)
• Homeward Bound (with Marshall McDonald)
• Tender Mercies
• O, Savior Thou Who Wearest a Crown
• God Be With You
• Thanks Be to Thee
• All Creatures of Our God and King
• Be Still My Soul


ThePianoGuys Interview for Music Express Magazine

Students talk One 2 One (actually One 2 Four!) with The Piano Guys. This artist spotlight interview correlates with the student article and lesson in the May/June 2014 issue of John Jacobson’s Music Express magazine.

ThePianoGuys on The Huckabee Show

ThePianoGuys played Angels We Have Heard On High on The Huckabee Show! Check it out!


Angels We Have Heard On High (LIVE) On The Today Show

The viral stars are at it again with their latest Christmas album “A Family Christmas,” and perform their latest viral rendition of the song “Angels we have heard on high.”