Pianos at the dump--

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Steve Senseney
Posts: 673
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:45 pm

Pianos at the dump--

Post by Steve Senseney »

The head line and pictures are sad. Luckily, the one in the picture is a Knabe, which I would not get excited about.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/arts/ ... wanted=all
James Rugby
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:32 pm

Re: Pianos at the dump--

Post by James Rugby »

that is so very sad
just think of all the history a pianos holds within it's key's,wooden frame and all the people that have sat before it.

James
Clay Schaeffer
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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:04 pm

Re: Pianos at the dump--

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Knabe pianos are very good pianos, generally.
I was given an old square grand with a rosewood veneered case, probably dating from the 1860's or 70's. It still plays but needs some work. It was destined for the dump, but that would be a shame for such a nice old antique. Piano's are like old cars, most of them will go to the scrapper and a few will be restored as nice old classics. The square grands were once treated like Ford's Edsel - but look at the Edsels now! But seriously folks.... <g>
Jason Rodgers
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Location: Portland, OR

Re: Pianos at the dump--

Post by Jason Rodgers »

An interesting point to the article is the estimated normal service life of a piano: about 80 years. Then, when an overhaul is necessary, does the instrument have the value to warrant such work? We have similar conversations about guitars and fiddles. How many instruments are tossed because the return on investment (in repair) isn't worth it? Where's the line between keeping something for "sentimental value" and just giving in to the fact that it's not playable and is taking up space? I think people feel worse about tossing a piano because they are such big instruments.

Like in the article, I inherited a Kimball upright from my grandparents. It's nothing special, and needs a good bit of work done on the action and damper clearance. At this point in time, the cost to get it running well is more than its value. If it came down to it, it would be a tough decision to move it or toss it, but it would probably be the latter. Sad, but true.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Pianos at the dump--

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Pianos are very mechanical. Someone with a little mechanical aptitude and Arthur Reblitz's Piano servicing book can fix most of the problems old pianos have. It's just doing everything 88 times that daunts most people.
I took a course in piano tuning and regulation many years ago. There are a lot of little things that can be done to make the piano play better that don't cost a lot of money to do.
Tim Douglass
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Re: Pianos at the dump--

Post by Tim Douglass »

While I hate to see instruments going to the dump, there is also a very practical side to it. For most families any more the piano is just a large cabinet that collects dust and gets banged on by pre-school kids. There are also so many alternatives if you actually want to make keyboard music that the cost of maintaining an old piano become impractical. Both of the last two churches that I have served at have replaced traditional upright pianos with digital models - largely in order to get away from maintenance issues. The church buildings are not kept heated throughout the week, so the pianos go out of tune quickly and also suffer from glue failures regularly. The result was that we were having to have them repaired a couple times a year and tuned about every quarter - just too much money. The digital piano stays in tune and ties directly into the sound system. For a church it is a no-brainer.
Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Pianos at the dump--

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

Pipe organs have the same problems with needing to be tuned and maintained. God forbid that they go digital!
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Jim McConkey
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Re: Pianos at the dump--

Post by Jim McConkey »

They already have, Clay! Probably the majority of churches are now getting digital organs for all the same reasons. The newest electronic church organs are extremely sophisticated and use all the latest wind pipe modeling technology. Sometimes they keep old pipes just for looks, and stick a big speaker behind them.
MIMForum Staff - Way North of Baltimore
Arnt Rian
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Re: Pianos at the dump--

Post by Arnt Rian »

Jim, I suspect Clay knows... Anyways, I struggled hard to convince one of my in-laws, who is on a local church committee, that they should keep and restore their old pipe organ. As I understood it, the overhaul they were facing wasn't that major, but it would have cost more than 1 mill. NOK (over 160.000 USD), with technicians coming up from Germany etc. Small community, small congregation, small church... They went digital, of course.
Steve Senseney
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Re: Pianos at the dump--

Post by Steve Senseney »

Maybe you can get the old organ set up in your house!
Clay Schaeffer
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Re: Pianos at the dump--

Post by Clay Schaeffer »

I guess it's like mp3's replacing analog recordings. Convenience trumps sound quality.
Jason Rodgers
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Location: Portland, OR

Re: Pianos at the dump--

Post by Jason Rodgers »

And digital emulation of analogue is getting better all the time. Check out Strymon effects pedals, for example. Way cool.
-Ruining perfectly good wood, one day at a time.
John E Giarrizzo
Posts: 140
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:17 am

Re: Pianos at the dump--

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

James Rugby wrote:that is so very sad
just think of all the history a pianos holds within it's key's,wooden frame and all the people that have sat before it.

James
Let me tell you guys my sad piano history story (with a happy ending):

This was my piano. I used it to write and record many songs. After I bought a new piano for my wife, this one was relegated to the garage, where it got in the way of my wife’s garden equipment. I had dreams of restoring it someday.
001 JEG MIMF 100_5137.JPG
002 JEG MIMF 100_5138.JPG
After many years of “discussions” with her, and having a professional repairer telling me to burn it in the backyard, I reluctantly gave in and agreed to get rid of my “baby”. Took a chain saw and sledge hammer to it. (The photo does not show my sobbing with tears falling on the wood)
003 JEG MIMF 100_5157.JPG
However ---I just could not throw away any of the "annointed" wood --- saved all the shattered splintered pieces

Virtually every piece of wood in my violin Number 013, 2010 came from this piano. Except the purfling, corner blocks, neck center strip, and tail piece inlay (ivory and ebony). Even the bridge and sound post are piano wood. The musical soul of it lives on! --- In a new body --- (That reminds me of something else I read somewhere). It is one of my richest sounding violins.

I'll post pictures of it, and continue this post in the Bowed Instruments section.
Discussion continued here
Chuck Tweedy
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Location: San Diego, CA

Re: Pianos at the dump--

Post by Chuck Tweedy »

Outstanding!! That is recycling at it's best.
Likes to drink Rosewood Juice
John E Giarrizzo
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Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:17 am

Re: Pianos at the dump--

Post by John E Giarrizzo »

Thanks, Chuck.
Dana Emery
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Location: Newcastle, PA

Re: Pianos at the dump--

Post by Dana Emery »

Knabe was a popular brand in the Washington DC area, the rebuilding shop I worked for respected them, but each piano we considered in trade was evaluated individually.

Condition of the pinblock is the first consideration, renewal of an uprights pinblock often requires a teardown removing at least the bass side to free up the harp. So, if the pins are loose and already have been renewed to size 6 you are hosed.
Gordon Bellerose
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Location: Edmonton AB. Canada

Re: Pianos at the dump--

Post by Gordon Bellerose »

I've never had much to do with pianos, other than plunk away on one a few times. I love them as an instrument. A good player on a piano is magical.
Isn't there quite a bit of salvageable wood in them? Couldn't they be turned into other instruments as in John E. G.'s post above?
In this day of carbon fiber and plastic being used for guitars, in an effort to save wood, why are these pianos being destroyed?
I need your help. I can't possibly make all the mistakes myself!
Steve Senseney
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Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2012 2:45 pm

Re: Pianos at the dump--

Post by Steve Senseney »

There is very little salvageable wood. The case work is mostly plywood and laminates. The soundboard has screws and some holes in it. The keyboard ivories can be used for a few things.

Getting rid of the iron harp and the strings is a minor nuisance.

Tearing them apart is a labor intensive effort.
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