Pianos: What's in a name?

What do you get in a brothel?


I love a swear as much as the next person who loves a swear. A sneak preview of this new gallery's wares (and wearables) comes with the territory while servicing the piano. The artists' fascination with 'objects of interest' in the space saw the dedicated Caped Regulators (piano pamperers to the stars... and you) confirming that the piano was more 'object' than 'piano'. You can object all you like, little piano.

Back to the Fuchs (and more). The internet reckons:

Nearly all Fuchs and Möhr pianos are small modern pianos with mahogany cases, dated from about 1965 to 1980. They are serviceable and reasonably stable, but like most pianos made in former East Germany when Germany was divided, lack any real interest in tone.

'Modern' is stretching credulity. The above photo of a section of the treble bridge reveals a startling lack of angle in the strings themselves as they travel across the bridge. Each pair of bridge pins is meant to be offset by 10°-12°. It would appear that these strings could be just a smidge more deviant.

Weidig: A hayfever sufferer's attempt to rid their garden of weeds...

...is a quip reminiscent of Homer's foray into lecturing at night-school in The Secrets of a Successful Marriage.

"Now, what is a wedding? Well, Webster's Dictionary describes a wedding as the process of removing weeds from one's garden."

Despite its dotage, the Weidig piano had above-average scale design details. Note the separate bearing point for the two wound bichord notes at the bottom of the treble bridge. Decent piano makers have striven to smooth out the transitions between bridges and string types. 

This piano appears to have been restrung, hence the 'blue' more modern tuning pins, and the shonky un-addressed string spacing (which is most likely not worth fiddling with at this late juncture). Often the grooves in the metal bearing points (not to mention the string grooves in the worn hammers) mean that it's hard to improve these pianos' fortunes without major refurbishment. Rarely is such a level of servicing worthwhile (nor budgeted for). It can ALL be done, but should it? Whoever did string this piano was a bit slap-dash and negligent with certain aspects of the task. Ne'er mind.

What's in a name? When a piano cabinet is restored and refinished, one might need to reinstall logos and branding. There are companies who make logos and decals for this purpose.

Brass logos for the fallboard. You can have gold... or gold (they are subtly different). OK, let's slap the leftovers on any random pianos. More than a few wily shopkeeps have given variations of that idea a go.

I rebranded my backpack with a bit o' bunting from another worthy product in my collection. A stitch (not quite) in time saw me rejuvenate the 'leading' strap (that I always grab first) to keep this favourite item going. I used material from a discarded backpack and was pleased with the results. And, dear reader, you're afforded a sneak peek at my newly-furnished rear deck.

I salvaged parts of a discarded backpack to restore robust functionality to my own staple tote. It's the reverse of Homer's famed jacket renovation (in order to look more scholarly for his night-school lecturing role).

"Now that I'm a teacher I've sewed patches on my elbows."

Marge: "That's supposed to be leather patches on a tweed blazer, not the other way around. You've ruined a perfectly good jacket."

"Incorrect, Marge... two perfectly good jackets."

These labels (for a mere $2) made me think, 'what's to stop me buying these then slapping them on everything else in the shop?' 

A refinished soundboard receives a decal.

It's the henna tattoo of the piano world.

That's a lot of awards and hype.

What's in a name? A client's music intrigued. This late variation of Chopsticks is one I never mastered. Messy indeed. That twenty-two-tuplet full of accidentals will end up in my lap for sure. Mop and bucket to Aisle 12.

I'm reminded of a Yum Cha dining experience with a mate who was grappling with some sort of birds' feet 'delight'. He reached into his pocket and revealed a Leatherman-style multi-tool. The staff were quick to run to our aid with knifey-spoony items.

...but different. Some of the Sames pianos' sorry story I'll relay another day.

By Royal appointment?

They like music, I thought. Perhaps they have a piano. Only later did it occur that they've labelled their cottage a 'batch' perhaps. The hashtag #bach is trending due not to Johann Sebastian, but to bogans abbreviating the term 'bachelor' in reference to a reality television show. Gah!

"Kurn of the kurn kurn".

"Hern of the hern hern". In the Goon Show whenever Peter Sellers imitated US radio news announcements (laden with self-important post-vocalic 'R' sounds) the sprinking of many a 'hern' created the quintessential distillation of the American accent.

The Kurn was notable not only for its fine copperplate. The piano had a Beale-Vader-style all-iron tuning system. It must be a rebranded Beale, possibly marketed on the West Coast. The client loved that I took an interest in these details. 

This pianist had better remember which leg they were limping on when they return to the vehicle. To be fair, the allegation of fraud is all in my head. Personalised licence plates intrigue and amuse (which is their point, I guess). I'd never sport one myself, but I respect those who'll go there.

In which I demonstrate that I may have changed the colour of the vehicle to protect the guilty. "Piano, one-fat-lady*". Does this car belong to Mrs Mills?

That's a pretty retro reference, Cazzbo. But hey, a certain 'vertegrand' (upright) at Abbey Road Studios is apparently named "Mrs Mills" in her memory. Pianos, eh?

I'm happy to shove an iThing where the sun don't shine (inside a piano with its action removed). In my right hand I hold a the end of a slender length of timber (a ruler, as it were) to assist in measuring string lengths in a piano which will be restrung. As long as someone else is crunching these numbers, I'm happy.

The word 'mute' is pronounced 'myute' not 'moot' (unless you're imitating many an American). Moot is a different word, a detail that far too few acknowledge. I digress.

Oh, 'MY UTE'... riiight. Well, why didn't you say? 

I'm able to dispatch this mirthful missive to a mate and spread the LOLs before the lights turn green. It's a rather slow intersection.

Schaecke by name, shaky by nature. An inquiry into the viability of this piano's innards is prompted by an Airbnb hirer who'd like to play it. Nein.

Many a previous tuner has (not unreasonably) cut-and-run. String breakages, action and damper problems aplenty, and tuning pins which are too loose to have any hope of holding on. Furniture duties only, I'm afraid. 

Here's a prominent business card. Flornoy Quimbie (not his real name) must surely be annoyed by his own card impeding his service access. It's a florid statement for the next technician to find. Normally tuners' cards and stickers are inside the cabinet sides or under the lid.

Sorry, Flornoy. Your branding has to be moved to a less prominent position.

Old ad wording seems so charming. Brags about size amuse on every level. I advise against any baby grand that seems it may have needed a humidicrib. It's a red flag for a grand to be wider than it is long. Beware.

* It's bingo-speak. "Two fat ladies" is number 88.

Check out some other bloggy bits...

Beale Street Blues

Pianos: Talking dirty...

Pianos: The garland is always greener

Pianos: Hidden hoards and Hapsburgs

Pianos: Dogs, doors and dioramas.

Spruced Up - Pianos About Town

The Piano is 'Beached As...'

Putting pianos out to pasture

Pianos: Painos (not a typo)