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Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by davethehiker, Jan 26, 2020.
You're an inspiration to us!
Dave, I began with lessons at age 5 and continued with 2 separate instructors through 12th grade, then spent close to ten years playing at my Church for Sunday services, providing piano music for the Senior and Junior choirs, for the Christmas and Easter cantata's, and whenever anyone needed the music accompaniment for vocals. All told, 55 years now. I've never played professionally nor did I ever have the desire to do so, as it can be fairly demanding, and as a father of three children and knowing how very competetive doing such work for a living can be, I stuck with the welding/fabricator job with Grumman so I could have somewhat of a pension when the time came to retire.
Now, as I've been forced into early retirement due to severe RA, I'm not able to play with as much vigor and for as long a period of time as I once did (I used to play for 8+ hours straight on the weekends), but I now have lots of time to compose, and I'm finding it most rewarding, surprising myself with my growing repertoire of original music. My neighbor is a Berklee College of Music graduate who has some decent recording equipment so one of these days I'm going to record my individual pieces and submit them for Copyright, so in the future my kids might somehow benefit.
I was classically trained, but quickly became bored with the classics and found that I much rather enjoyed the uniformity that I found in the random fractal mess known as jazz. I also compose alot of what could be considered contemporary music, but it's none of this lah-de-dah crybaby metrosexual stuff that permiates the airwaves these days, LOL.
My Yamaha really is a beautiful instrument, with quite a dynamic range...it responds well to a very delicate touch, but when I pounce on it holy moley the power is trully unbelievable. I'm greatful that I have carpeting in the room on the floor beneath it because it helps to absorb some of the volume of sound, but not too much else it would sound dull.
I purchased it while I was still living in NY, but had it sent down to my folks home here in NC that had been sitting vacant since my Mom passed away the year before. By doing this I saved myself from having to pay the NY State tax, and if I remember correctly it cost me $850(?) to have it moved down here. The piano movers arrived at around 4am (shown below...I told them it didn't matter what time they showed up):
...and they had it assembled and placed in position roughly an hour or so later. I couldn't wait to play it, so when they were finished the three of them sat down on my chaise and I went at it. I was playing for about 5 minutes, fully absorbed in the experience, just about forgetting that they were there, then I suddenly remembered and stopped playing, looking over at them and all 3 were just smiling. I smiled back and said "What???!!!" The bossman then said to me, "You know, I don't know how many pianos I've delivered like this, but most of the time the owners tells us where they want it, and when we're done they say 'Thank you, bye...' and they go about their business and we leave. But you just played for 5 minutes straight, and it was enjoyable to sit here and actually hear one of our customers play the piano that we just delivered for them, thanks!"
I'd previously had a 6' double leg George Steck Aeolean player grand piano since age 17 that I put through hell during my divorce, then it spent 13 years in a not so climately controlled storage facility and the cabinet got ruined, so off it went into the hopper of a rear loading garbage truck to get crushed to smithereens before I moved here to NC:
It was a shame to see it go, but it had already been rebuilt just prior to arriving at my parents house and it simply wasn't worth the $$ that it would have taken to restore it back to it's previous condition. Enter: Miss Yamaha!
And yes, if you can have a PTG member along with you, he or she will give you their honest appraisel...I think my guy charged $75, which I thought was very reasonable, especially after I'd seen his work. Incidentally, he was an older gentleman who worked as an apprentice under the piano technician/tuner who used to tune my George Steck piano when I was a teenager! 'Small world indeed!
Anyway, sorry for rambling! Take care, stay well, and again, best wishes with the piano
Thank you for the complete explanation. Sorry to learn of your RA. I'm reminded of a very talented dancer and dance instructor who got me started taking "West Coast Swing" dance lessons. The poor guy died of a disease that first robed him of his ability to move then killed him! Years ago I was heavy into the dance community around Washington DC. I enjoyed it and it helped me meet women. (My first wife died.) Women mistakenly believe that because a man is good dancer that he will also be a good lover. Dance has played a significant role in my life when it came to meeting women. I re-met my current wife at our HS reunion at a county club. We knew each other since forth grade. She was also widowed. The band played a cha-cha and I asked her for a dance. I led her through several old fashioned and more contemporary cha-cha dance moves. She smiled at me and I fell for her like a ton of bricks. Later while mountain climbing in Romania my cancer struck me. The young women I knew abandoned me but Barbara drove hundreds of miles to my home moved in, and helped me survive my first chemotherapy. That was fifteen years ago. We are married now:
She still has that million dollar smile.
BTW I also have an antique Aeolean up right player piano in my recreation room and over a hundred piano rolls. It's out of tune now. I had considered buying a grand piano with the more modern player mechanisms built into it that also provide expression. I decided not to mess with a good piano and leave that for my wife. We have my old Aeolean for entertainment and sing along party fun.
Do you have an opinion about those players that can be added to grand pianos? I don't know much about them.
Wishing you the best!
Prayers sent for good news. tom.
Best of luck on all fronts!
Awe Dave, thanks for sharing part of your life stories...heartbreaking, but heartwarming as well, as you and your wife look so very happy in your wedding picture!!
'Interesting that you have an Aeolean piano! It's built like the proverbial brick [email protected]$! house, right?! Aeolean had absorbed the George Steck piano company; George had a mission in life, and that was to create a piano that was sturdy and rigid enough to allow them to stay in tune for extended amounts of time, and he practically invented the "schoolhouse piano"...you know, like the ones seen in the typical high school band practice rooms with the two handles built into the back of it to aid in rolling it around from area to area! I remember reading this and it was pretty clear to my eyes from the construction of mine that he meant business! In the bottom half of the rim of my piano's case I counted 18 layers of 3/32" rock maple, and the case supports which spanned like the supports of a Japanese fan beneath the soundboard were 2"+ thick solid pieces of wood. It did in fact stay in tune for much longer than I'd ever have expected, and I literally beat the hell out of it during my divorce...it was like therapy, likening it to playing handball against a wall; all the wall had to do was remain there static while I ran around ragged chasing after the ball, until such a time where my mind had been so overcome with the need for precision while playing that I'd become physically exhausted. It worked beautifully at clearing my mind.
Anyway, about the new player mechanisms...I've heard a number of them which were attached to numerous brands of pianos like Kawai, Boston, Young Chang, and most recently, a Shigeru-Kawai, which is a fabulous top tier Japanese handmade piano. It did look odd though sitting there in all it's majesty with an iPad sitting on the music stand as the keys played...the music selections were numerous, but to be honest I didn't notice that much emotion in what I heard, which to me is an absolutely essential part of piano music, which is what sets it apart from other instruments besides it's tremendous range of notes.
Not having much experience with them myself, I suggest some reading on the subject at the website below, by an industry recognized and respected group, where you'll learn all about the piano player mechanism of today, along with things to consider before adding one to your box of wood and metal:
That said, thanks again for sharing...you've not only provided a face to a name, but you've added feelings and emotion to your words as well.
The first job I was offered when the recruiters came to my collage looking for employees, was from Grumman air craft in Long Island. I was offered a job working on the "Lunar Exploration Module" LEM. I turned it down and instead took a job with IBM up in Poughkeepsie NY. By that time I had enough of living in NYC where my school was, and wanted to move into a more rural location. Years later I read about the big lay-offs in aerospace and thought I made the right decision. IBM moved me down to Virginia and many, years latter I was laid-off by IBM but I got a generous golden parachute. I was lucky. When I decided to marry Barbara I bought a house in the woods out in farming country in PA. I love it were I live.
If you look close you can see me standing on the roof power washing my gutters when I first moved in.
I followed the link about the player mechanisms. Interesting! After reading it I realized it was still a compromise and steps down from having a real piano player. I think I'll have my old player piano tuned and keep the two modes separate.
Prayers for all fighting this disease. My wife is a survivor and doing well. My son also plays the piano since 5yo and we have a BG in the front room.
Saw the doc. They took blood and will tell me the results the next time I see them. They could not feel any enlarged lymph nodes and my spleen did NOT feel enlarged, it normally is.
They want to continue to check my blood and will do a CAT scan much latter, after the pills have had a chance to do their thing. The Doc mentioned that she has seen patients go into complete remission with just the use of these pills. No bad news and I feel good. TBD
Next we will go look at the piano. We are waiting for the piano guy to arrive at my house.
WhooHooo!! Prayers sent and fingers crossed, Dave!
Thank you for the good news update.
Dave, that woman is a keeper! Good luck to you both and may God bless you both.
Prayers, for you, Dave!
That white piano will look nice in your Miami room!
Good luck Dave! Prayers sent.
We examined the piano. It was beautiful but we found problems. A B-flat key on the left side was not moving properly. I did not raise as high at the other keys and was not making as much sound as the other keys. The piano was not in tune. My piano guy said it's a good piano but it needs some work.
I told the seller that "I do not want to buy a problem that needs to be fixed. If she has the needed repairs done I'll buy it. In the mean time I'll be be shopping for a different piano." Then the truth came out. It was her mothers piano and her mother did not play it for years. The mother died and her daughter had it moved to her house and it's sat unused for a while longer. God knows when it was last tuned?! The seller understood and asked me if I could provide the names of someone who could perform the needed work. My piano guy gave me some numbers and I'll pass them on to the seller tomorrow.
We were all impressed with how pretty it was and we were disappointed that we could not make arrangements to have it moved into my home. Everyone agreed that I made the correct response.
I took everyone to my favorite Chinese restaurant and my piano guy was pleased. He joked that he hopes to get another dinner with us when the piano is repaired.
You see Dave, you're better safe than sorry!
There are a number of things that can negatively affect a piano that's not used regularly or one that's sat for a good while, but most can usually be easily attended to and corrected. Thankfully your piano tech didn't see any major issues with this piano's pin block, sound board, and bridges, as these are usually expensive to repair. It's unlikely that the seller will pay to have the work performed on the piano before you take ownership, because in their mind you could always change your mind and not buy it, in which case they'd be left with a piano that they wanted to get rid of but just cost them money! The $$ number your tech gave you for the repairs that he suggests can instead be used as a bargaining chip towards reducing the seller's asking price, and you can then use that savings to put into the piano, or simply spend nothing and look for a different one. There are a tremendous number of used pianos out there, from pristine to complete junk, so this is where the piano tech comes in handy, as they know exactly what to look for.
I too think you made a wise decision to delay the purchase, along with your choice for dinner...I love Chinese
Keep us posted!
Bill my piano guy, gave me two name of local piano technicians that are very good. I then found two more who are members of the Piano Guild that you told me about, and live just over six miles from my house. The lady and her husband who was trying to sell the piano seemed very receptive my idea her paying for the repairs before I buy the piano. They know nothing about pianos. I think it was the first time they ever heard it played. My wife played some Beethoven on it and it filled the room with sound. Bill played a mix of music including some very loud pounding "Jerry Lee Louis" sounding music. The sellers were smiling and enjoying the performance. I think it's the first time they heard it played. The room the piano is in is a man cave above a garage. It had a narrow steep stair case leading up to the the room. I would not thought it was possible to get the piano around the corner at the top of the stair case and get it into the room, but the fact that it's there proves that it can be done. The ladies husband mentioned to me that he would not recommend the movers he had hired because they put the piano down too hard on the floor at the top of the stairs. If I do end up buying it, I'm sure the movers will charge me a premium to get that piano down the stairs.
While Bill was playing a dance tune, I picked up on the beat and put on a little show leading my wife through a little West Coast Swing. The sellers were impressed and applauded. I get the impression the sellers have deep pockets and trust me. I think they will be willing to spend hundreds to get it repaired so that they can recoup thousands when they sell it to me. They asked us for the names and phone numbers of repairmen. I'll give her the names tomorrow.
Cosmetically the piano looked new but I did see some chips in the paint on the piano stool. It occurred to me tonight that people in nail salons and dentists know how to make repairs on shiny white surfaces. I think the little chips in the chair could be easily hidden. I have a 1st cousin who is a dentist and once told me that makes repairs on broken things around his house using the same material he patches teeth with. LOL
My wife tells be that there was a big difference playing that grand piano and her little digital electric piano. We were a little disappointed that the sale could not happen last night. We all agreed that that the piano would look beautiful in my house. Bill seemed happy with the dinner that I bought him as payment and enjoyed our company. Over dinner he told us many stories including one about how his current wife was once one his married music students but he got involved with her romantically and ended up raising her five children and two of his own from previous marriage. We all have a story to tell.
My option are open and I'm still looking. I may still end up buying the one I looked at last night.
Miami room???? We live in Pennsylvania!