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John Byrne
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Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 108493
Posted: 09 September 2017 at 8:23am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

(First, this: Since my Ex and I have been divorced for longer than we were married, and remain good friends, I have decided it is passed time to start referring to her as "my friend Andy" rather than "my Ex". So here we go...)

A year ago, I finally convinced Andy to let me pay to have her mother's 1934 piano (a Kimball "apartment grand") restored. It had been a long time since the poor old thing had seen better times.

When it was taken away, we were assured the process would take about four months. After six months, we started calling to find out what was up. No response. This went on until about a month ago, when Andy finally got a response to her calls, and a time was set up to return the piano.

That was yesterday. I won't say it was worth the wait (and worry) but it looks beautiful. Like new, and yet not, if you know what I mean. And slipped right back into place in Andy's living room like it had never been gone.

Since I'd paid for the restorations, she let me be the first to play it. In need of tuning, of course, but I was immediately struck by the richness of the tone as compared to my upright. (And my upright is top quality.)

This has me now pining for a grand (maybe a baby grand), but I don't know where I could place it in my own living room without messing up my feng shui!

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Robbie Parry
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Joined: 17 June 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 8105
Posted: 09 September 2017 at 8:47am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

In a world where perhaps few things can be restored effectively, it's nice to read that the piano has been restored so well. 
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Adam Schulman
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Joined: 22 July 2017
Posts: 184
Posted: 09 September 2017 at 10:42am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I wasn't aware you played, JB. Any particular style or choice of material?
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John Byrne
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Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 108493
Posted: 09 September 2017 at 11:18am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

To say I "play" would be very generous. I can waggle my fingers on the keys and recognizable noise comes out!
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Robbie Parry
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Joined: 17 June 2007
Location: United Kingdom
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Posted: 09 September 2017 at 2:54pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Did you play any instruments at school, Mr Byrne? 
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John Byrne
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Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 108493
Posted: 09 September 2017 at 3:41pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

The simplest and most correct answer is no!
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Leigh DJ Hunt
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Joined: 20 February 2008
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 1261
Posted: 10 September 2017 at 11:03am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

My favourite thing about this story is how well you get on with your ex. Sorry, I should say Andy! :)
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Larry Gil
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Joined: 09 November 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 525
Posted: 10 September 2017 at 2:22pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

An artist is an artist is an artist...it seems JB was born with tons of creativity.
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Tom French
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Joined: 07 January 2005
Location: United States
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Posted: 10 September 2017 at 2:26pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

When my grandmother passed, I inherited her Kimball upright -- 1897 stamped on the soundboard -- so old, the hammers still had leather straps and, dog forbid, ivory keys.

I had to restore it in stages. Did the hammers first -- new felt and then, new straps. That was a healthy chunk of change, especially for internal work.

I had it semi-restrung. Several of the low strings had stretched through the years and the piano couldn't be brought back to a440. Made it easier to sing high notes...

Next -- as my own project -- I stripped and re-varnished it. The varnish had cracked and melted to the point beyond antique-kitsch. I took great pride in restoring the exterior.

THEN a tuner came to work on it and said, "It has no value now. By removing the original finish, you've removed it's value as an antique."

"It has value to me. That's all that matters. And look at it -- it's beautiful."

"You can't even bring this piano back up to pitch."

"It's more in tune that it ever was when I was a kid. I like it."

For many years, my grandmother's old Kimball upright shared the same office as my Baldwin studio upright, the piano my grandmother bought me for my college graduation.

It's nice to get them restored. F*ck value.
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Andrew Bitner
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Joined: 01 June 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 5100
Posted: 11 September 2017 at 8:42am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

My mom has a baby grand in her living room. Apart from photo albums and family heirlooms, I think it may be her most prized possession.
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John Byrne
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Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
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Posted: 11 September 2017 at 8:58am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Here's the piano in Andy's living room...

When I called the restorers to find out what was up, he referred to it as "the little one".

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John Byrne
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Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Joined: 11 May 2005
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Posted: 11 September 2017 at 9:03am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Oh, and I have resisted the urge to swap my upright for my oqn grand. No matter how I shuffle the furnishings in my living room, I cannot make one fit without unbalancing the whole room.
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Peter Martin
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Joined: 17 March 2008
Location: Canada
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Posted: 11 September 2017 at 10:26am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

An option that would allow you a richer tone without reshuffling the room would be a taller upright. Of course the easiest option is indeed to stick with what you have. Nice looking piano, by the way!
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Kevin Brown
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Joined: 31 May 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 7313
Posted: 11 September 2017 at 10:28am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Oh, and I have resisted the urge to swap my upright for my oqn grand. No matter how I shuffle the furnishings in my living room, I cannot make one fit without unbalancing the whole room.

********************************

The solution is obvious:  You need all new furnishings!
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Andrew Bitner
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Joined: 01 June 2004
Location: United States
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Posted: 11 September 2017 at 10:40am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

There's no way in the world we could have a grand piano in our condo without removing most of the furniture in the living room.
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Andrew Bitner
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Posted: 11 September 2017 at 10:40am | IP Logged | 16 post reply

And that's a lovely piano, JB!
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Eric Sofer
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Joined: 31 January 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 1503
Posted: 12 September 2017 at 3:28am | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Oh, she's a beauty. She just radiates class and tones.
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Robbie Parry
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Joined: 17 June 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 8105
Posted: 26 September 2017 at 8:15am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Rather than a new topic, here's a piano-related story that I enjoyed reading:

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Robbie Parry
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Joined: 17 June 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 8105
Posted: 12 October 2017 at 10:27am | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Another news story about a piano here:

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