Stalking pianos in the urban jungle...

It's a jungle out there. I see many a piano suffering a too-fashionable location with outdoor living areas and watery views within coo-ee, with lids eternally open (the ubiquitous bragging right of grand piano ownership) ensuring premature rusting of strings and dust build-up that the maid can't tend. At least Stampy has the prop stick correctly orientated, which is more than I can say for many a self-starting function room staffer (who arguably shouldn't be opening the piano anyway).

If you play like this... risk this! 

A replacement part will need to be sourced. It may or may not be the correct fit, there are very few piano parts that can be regarded as standard, particularly across the generations. I know all about this pedal (the accelerator) it has cost me dearly, to the tune of just shy of ALL the demerit points on my driver's licence. Will somebody please remind me not to hum that tune and tap my right foot?

If your pianistic touch resembles Stampy's... risk this!

This little Danemann piano presented with several broken keys and evidence of many previous reglueing efforts to address this problem. Most pianos mercifully cannot be plagued by these troubles. Key levers are generally one length of wood, not three steps, as these keys are.

Coupled with tuning, I set about reglueing, splinting with masking tape, then nursing the keys back in the piano as the glue joints stabilised, to ensure that each key's lateral angles were correct and not interfering with neighbouring keys. Many already-reglued keys (roughly done in someone's shed) required either filing/sanding, or to be dismantled and reglued more accurately. Success... until some weeks later when the client experimented with a healthy fortissimo which resulted in another call-out to repair several more (different) keys! 

Another example of someone else's glue-work (with a different glue type to what I elected to use). Also visible: some rather rustic previous filing of this key to address either misalignment of the reglued piece, warping of the key, or both. This piano has 'done time' in a shed, which has no doubt exacerbated its difficulties.

This triple key design, with its obvious weaknesses, is driven by furniture fashion - the result of an era when tall pianos looked dated and imposing. Few, if any, aspects of piano design benefit from being made more mini.

One of two gorgeous cats (essentially still kittens, all claws out and way too playful) here momentarily reclining elegantly on one of my bags. Witness kitttens on the keys as the siblings scampered over the piano and investigated the not-normally-available nooks. 

Come inside the singer/dancer/actors' studio, hothousing the triple-threats of tomorrow: When I first visited this Performing Arts School (to tune one piano and inspect two others) I was perplexed to find that all of the pianos were missing cabinet parts. It was a mystery as to where they had gone (although one top board was found ill-fitted to the wrong piano). How does one lose a bottom board? It's nearly as big as a door! We may never get to the bottom of this...

Cover up, please - for the love of G-strings! Had these scantily-clad pianos no shame? Modesty must prevail. Ballet pianos that barely sport tutus desperately need leg-warmers. I suggested that someone shed-wise may be able to fashion some sort of protection for the pianos, and only then would it be worth starting work on the problems inside. I did not feel equipped nor inclined to be that shed-wise person.

To their credit, the proprietor and his mate went to Bunnings and set about fashioning bottom and top boards for the pianos. They repaired hinges and secured other case parts that had been perched precariously or held with gaffa tape.

Bunnings bottom board.

An inelegant but functional hinged top board... 

...reduces (slightly) the chances of these pianos being used as refuse receptacles.

The upper front board (which had been held with gaffa tape) now sports stylish Bunnings brackets and screws.

A technician needs to reach for a screwdriver where normally one would rotate a simple latch device, but I do not quibble about this minor inconvenience. Instead, I praise the initiative that has been shown (in heeding my passionate recommendations so thoroughly!) 

Replacing a missing keytop, understandable and tangible with the potential to eclipse myriad tuning and action work. 

For a little context, I present the very untidy keytop replacement and reglueing evident. 'An orthodontist's dream' I proclaimed, on first sighting. Note differing overhang, lack of parallels, agricultural filing of key throats (the parts of the white key that fit around the blacks). Again, this is a piano boasting shed-time on its curriculum vitae.

There is plenty of cleaning to be done. I had already retrieved enough random objects and rubbish from each piano on first inspection to reinforce my 'these pianos need to cover up' argument.

A boxed set in the warehouse. How does Father Christmas get one of those (and a piano technician ready to set up, tune and regulate) under the tree?

Kawai as hai as an ivory donor's ai, aye!

'Play safe' I certainly wish to. Pianos should only fall in cartoons, for comic effect, with the disclaimer: No pianos were harmed in the making of..

Finally we've come full-circle and all phones are guaranteed to have X and W available. I wonder where XW was.

Similar posts: