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Joined: Jun 2001
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I don't think the issue is even open to discussion.

Redo the piano.


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Yes I would say restore ! Then sometimes sit down at the piano and play it .Even just knowing it has been restored would nice.

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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Yes I would say restore ! Then sometimes sit down at the piano and play it .Even just knowing it has been restored would nice.


LadyBird gave me a cool idea, Rich. Why don’t you “document that piano’s rebuilding” with pictures. Your Mom’s piano has a story, and your rebuilding it adds to that story.
My two cents.


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Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Yes I would say restore ! Then sometimes sit down at the piano and play it .Even just knowing it has been restored would nice.


LadyBird gave me a cool idea, Rich. Why don’t you “document that piano’s rebuilding” with pictures. Your Mom’s piano has a story, and your rebuilding it adds to that story.
My two cents.


+1 That would be a great keepsake for your future generations.



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So sorry to hear about your mother, Rich. My heartfelt condolences.

If you are sentimental about your mom's piano, definitely have it rebuilt. Sentiment is a perfectly good reason for rebuilding an instrument...especially since you're in the business. I understand sentiment.

My mom owned a small Farrand grand (about 5'7"). My sister's piano teacher had told my mom that my sister was quiet talented and needed a grand to progress. My mom was a single mom with 3 kids just trying to make ends meet, so this was a big deal, buying a grand. She bought it on lay-away...something they used to do back then. I don't know how she scraped the money together, but she was determined that her children had every advantage she never had. After my sister went off to college, it became my piano.

Many years later I became a piano technician and on trips home would do some work on the old Farrand. I soon discovered it was virtually untunable as it had had oversized pins put in and then at some point the pin block had been doped. An examination of the block from underneath revealed cracks from pin to pin. The sound board was badly cracked as well and was no longer resonating. The action sounded like a factory loom. The piano wasn't particularly well made to begin with, I quickly discovered. Nothing short of a total rebuild would have saved it and restored it to what? A mediocre instrument?

As sentimental as I was about this piano, I had to tell my mom it just wasn't worth saving. A local piano dealer agreed to take it off her hands and sell her a console piano. Kimball as I recall. It suited my mom just fine, and us kids would play carols at Christmas on it, for which it was fine. Needless to say, I had no sentimental attachment to that Kimball console and no desire to rescue it after my mom died.

It's very difficult to weigh sentiment against the age, brand, and condition of the instrument that sparks the sentiment. I have no regrets about the Farrand. If you think for a second you'll regret not rebuilding your mom's piano, by all means do it.


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Hi Rich,

First off, very sorry for the loss of your mother. I lost mine in 1974 (I was 20) and that's a loss you'll feel for the rest of your life. But there will be a new normal eventually.

I'm curious what the piano is you'll be rebuilding. My brother inherited my grandfather's Hardman and Peck grand and had it rebuilt. I know that wasn't a wise choice financially, but now you know the impact of sentiment in these decisions. It was always a pretty good piano but even after it was rebuilt I could feel the let off. It always felt like you were throwing the hammers at the strings. The bass was only so so, but I played on that piano a lot when I was younger. I was also really upset when my younger brother was the one who inherited it as I played a lot more than he ever did. Now I feel like I dodged a bullet.


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Originally Posted by Steve Chandler
Hi Rich,

First off, very sorry for the loss of your mother. I lost mine in 1974 (I was 20) and that's a loss you'll feel for the rest of your life. But there will be a new normal eventually.

I'm curious what the piano is you'll be rebuilding. My brother inherited my grandfather's Hardman and Peck grand and had it rebuilt. I know that wasn't a wise choice financially, but now you know the impact of sentiment in these decisions. It was always a pretty good piano but even after it was rebuilt I could feel the let off. It always felt like you were throwing the hammers at the strings. The bass was only so so, but I played on that piano a lot when I was younger. I was also really upset when my younger brother was the one who inherited it as I played a lot more than he ever did. Now I feel like I dodged a bullet.


Thank you Steve. The good news is that my only sibling (my sister) and I have always had a great relationship and my parents made things pretty easy on us. Neither of us, to my knowledge, have had any feelings hurt, there has been nobody upset about anything, and nobody has felt slighted through out the process of settling things for Mom. But also, we have talked through things when my parents weren't crystal clear about things. We also switched things up to suit us - and I know my mother would've been ok with that. Her best hope was for everyone to stay close (our kids especially).

BTW, my mother's piano is a Winter console. It is never going to be a great instrument. That is my issue with restoring it. I won't like it when it is finally done. I continue to vacillate on this and I really don't have to make a decision right away. The piano is in my warehouse right now and I have so much work that I cannot do it immediately anyway. A cooler head prevails one day and the next I an "all in" on getting it started.

Thanks for listening all,


Rich Galassini
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Rich, Before we had my grandfather's Hardman we had a Knabe spinet (which I lost to a crazy landlord in the 80s). I wouldn't have restored that thing. Frankly, I think the most you should do with the Winter is make it look nice.


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Rich, you have my deepest condolences for the loss of your mother. I had no idea.

The first piano I learned on was a fruitwood spinet. I am not sure what brand it was, but it was quite possibly a Winter and if not, it was similar in quality. In my family, learning a musical instrument was not an option, it was a requirement and having even that humble piano along with the cost of piano lessons ( for 3 of us ) was not easy.

If that piano was still in my family I would not hesitate to restore it at least to a reliable and functional level. I would do minimal work on the case wanting to preserve its look to match my memory as much as possible. I would also enjoy it not only for its importance in my life but for its musical qualities as well.

In thinking back about that spinet and having been lucky enough to have a family that valued and could help provide me a musical education I am humbled and grateful.

You are lucky to be able to restore that true family heirloom and my opinion is you should.



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I look at pianos like inexpensive consoles as challenges. Not as much of a challenge as spinets (because of the mechanics of working on spinet actions), but in either case, I like to do as much as I can for these poor little instruments because many of my customers cannot afford better, and I do not want them to be discouraged from playing the piano. So if I have some extra time after tuning, I will look to see what I can do to make them better without charging for it.

It is usually possible to improve them quite a bit pretty quickly. Taking out lost motion improves the touch. Rounding out the edges of the string grooves improves the sound. Softening the hammers under the strike point can improve the sound as well. These may not be complete jobs, but I always do it so that more can be done later if need be. If the piano comes out better, to me that is better than saying, "You have to spend $X,000.00 more to get a decent piano." How many customers will just decide to give up on piano entirely if they hear that? This way, the customer gets an idea of what a better piano sounds and plays like, of the value of good maintenance, and the difference that a better piano can make for their playing.

So maybe you should sic some of your technicians on this piano to see what can be done with it, without spending a lot of time or money on it, at least at first, Rich. If it makes them better techs, I think your mother would approve! You can always decide to do more work later.

My sister still has our family piano, a mid-century Story & Clark studio. I have done quite a bit to it, but then, I did a lot to it when I was young, and it could really use new hammers. One of these days...


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An object at rest stays at rest...

The longer it sits in the warehouse, the longer it's gonna sit in the warehouse.

Get it out of there and get going with it! thumb


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Rich, I'm sorry you lost your mother in March, may she rest in peace.

You know, regarding the piano that was your mother's, well, you own a piano restoration factory and you can kind of afford to do this. The head says no but the heart says go on.

I have a 1953 Challen Upright that I was given by my grandfather when I was a child. The piano is now pretty ropey, it's not worth restoring at all, it will never be 'as good' as a new Yamaha. It would probably cost as much to buy a Yamaha YUS5 as it would to restore this Challen because in all honesty the action probably needs replaced, the pin block would need replaced, and I don't even know if the soundboard is good enough to keep. I could spend £10,000 on this piano and end up with a piano worth £2,000 at most. If I had a spare £10,000 (and I mean a *SPARE* £10,000), would I have the piano rebuilt?

Truthfully? Absolutely. I know that buying a new Chinese piano would be about half the price of the restoration and it would be superior, but that's not the point when it comes to this kind of thing is it?

My grandfather would of course hit the roof if he thought I was going to spend £10,000 rebuilding this piano - he'd tell me to spend the money on something more fit for purpose, make sure I had the right tools for the job, and would hate to think I'd spend more than the piano was worth on restoring it.

Anyway it's all pie in the sky because I don't have a spare £10,000 so I don't need to worry about Grandpa reaching out from the great beyond and hitting me over the head any time soon.


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Originally Posted by joe80
Rich, I'm sorry you lost your mother in March, may she rest in peace.


Thank you Joe and all who expressed their sympathy on this post. It is a club none of us want to belong to, but many of us eventually do.

[quote=joe80}My grandfather would of course hit the roof if he thought I was going to spend £10,000 rebuilding this piano - he'd tell me to spend the money on something more fit for purpose, make sure I had the right tools for the job, and would hate to think I'd spend more than the piano was worth on restoring it.
[/quote]

These are things my mother would be saying... and my father, for that matter, Joe. I understand exactly where you are coming from.

Cheers!


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Hi Rich,

my contribution is FULL offtopic, but partly on topic. I don't own the piano of my childhood as there was none, I fetched my first own piano when I "stole" the old piano-to-get-wrecked by school friend, a shy tiny 108 piano, when I was 16 or 17, and my dad took it apart when there was a chance to get an electronic organ which my youngest bro was eager to get...

... but I would pay huge money and travel to CHile or Siberia if I would know where the remains of my ever first piano were, besides of the whole nonsense in any financial and technical aspect.

I'd simply like to HAVE IT.

Because it was my first piano.

I own another thing of the same time being 16 or 17 years. In my garage sits - eagerly awaiting further usage - a suuper old motorcycle which my dad bought new, and which I got with a mileage of 00137, no error, he drove it 137 kilometers, then bought a new car, and the motorcycle was put aside - I took it when I got my 1st drivers licence. It is a tiny moto of 1.2 HP only, but I will never never ever let it go.

Some fifteen or eigtheen years ago my dad had it in the (old) family home, had it stored apart on the storey.., and wanted to install a new heating, the moto was blocking these works. He angrily asked, shouted on me, "HEY YOU ONCE WANTED THAT THING, WHAT'S GOING ON !?? IF YOU DON'T TAKE IT; I will GIVE IT TO THE SCAP SAMPLER MAN...."

I immedialtey told him that we instantly will pull the parts from the roof, put it into my station wagon, I drove the stuff home, put it together, tried to see if there is a spark, if the engine turns, and there it sits...-

MY EVER FIRST MOTORCYCLE from 1964, first hand in our family.

Who can tell that he still owns his very first motoring experience...?....

And this thing is a mess, it is lame, it is expensive to restore, but I have it, I have all parts needed, and I can ride it. I will never never let it go, my son can throw it on the scrap yard when they had taken me with my feet in front last time out of my home. No worry.

THEN. No second earlier.

Would be same with my ever first car. That Volkswagen savvy beetle which replaced the tiny moto for my dad. VW 1200 A Model 1966. I sold it in southern Germany.... And would become a thief if this would give me the chance to get this lousy savvy beetle back.

Because it was my first car.

Same with my very first piano.

I can fully understand your feelings. Such things are not only piano, moto, car - they are deeply anchored in our soul. We (now...) cannot stand to give them away. Even if you would become a minimallist, you won't become untrusty with your first one. Only young people are so uneducated, so young that these things don't matter to them.

But if you have some life experience, if you remember your youth, if you KNOW how and why you once became that man you now are, then you cannot act untrusty against such little things.

Thumbs up for your ever first piano, Rich. Take care.

I'd like to play it one time if allowed.

Yours
Bernd A. B


Pls excuse any bad english.

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If the rational voices saying "Don't restore" are winning the debate, then by all means cherish and honor the memories in a different form: photography, collage, or something else wonderful.


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