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Posted By: texasdiver A plague of free pianos - 03/07/19 03:23 AM
So I've been shopping for a used grand piano on craigslist and decided to peek at what is available on Nextdoor.com which is basically facebook for neighborhoods. In my own neighborhood of Camas WA (suburb of Portland) with about 20,000 population there are currently 14 free pianos listed on Nextdoor. That is for my own immediate neighborhood. There are about 10 more that are all but free ($50-500 or "make any offer").

If we extrapolate my neighborhood to the whole country that would mean there are 227,500 free pianos available in the entire US. That's a lot of free pianos!
Posted By: Rickster Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/07/19 04:02 AM
My piano enthusiasm has subsided a bit from what it was several years ago, although I still like pianos; and, I like to tinker with them and work on them (to an extent).

That said, I've turned down several free acoustic pianos in the last few years. As much as I like old pianos, they are big, heavy, hard to move, take up a lot of space and can take a long time to refurbish/restore. It can be very labor intensive.

However, on the other hand, if a very nice old freebie were to come along, like a well know name brand that would be worth the time to mess with, I might take it. That said, I did turn down an old Steinway square grand a year or so ago. I was just not in the mood to mess with it.

On the other, other hand ( smile ) if a nice, more modern Steinway, M&H, Baldwin (turned down an older Baldwin Grand a couple of years ago) or other reputable brand, I might take it, depending on what it is. I know you're not supposed to look a gift horse in the mouth, but a piano ain't a horse. smile

All the best!

Rick
Posted By: WimPiano Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/07/19 11:33 AM
Ahh.. it seems that the severity of your PAS is decreasing Rickster?
Posted By: j&j Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/07/19 03:06 PM
Unlike our friend Rickster, I can’t work on pianos. Routers, switches, and desktops (Windows only) yes. Pianos? I rely on trained professionals. There are opportunities where families just want to get rid of a piano quickly and don’t bother to find the value, but the vast majority of free pianos take more work and materials to fix than the poor neglected piano would ever be worth.
My form of PAS is trade up PAS. If my family let me have my way, I’d have a Bosendorfer Imperial sitting proudly in a two room shack! 😎
Posted By: Steve Cohen Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/07/19 03:39 PM
Piano peaked in popularity in the U.S. in the early 1900s. Most of the pianos produced in those years were of low to average quality with a ~60 year average life expectancy..

Why is it surprising that there are hundreds of thousands of dead or "should be put down" pianos out there?
Posted By: Rickster Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/07/19 03:40 PM
Well, I suppose if you want to start learning to tune and work on pianos, the old freebies that don't cost anything, except for maybe moving, is a good place to start. That is where I started. Fact is, I'm sort of at the point now where I'd be reluctant to let just anyone tune or work on my pianos. Of course, Sally Phillips is an exception. In fact, she's the only professional who has ever touched my Yamaha C7 in terms of any kind of tuning and service.

However, I only work on my own pianos so no one can say I ruined their expensive piano. If i ruin my own pianos, well, that's on me. smile

As I've slowly recovered from my PAS condition, I've developed another condition, WICAPTP; which is an acronym for "wish I could actually play the piano", so I'm focusing more on actually learning how to play a piano. smile

Rick
Posted By: j&j Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/07/19 03:59 PM
Rickster +1 If I spent as much time and energy on practice as I do on dreaming about, reading about, and posting about pianos I’d be light years ahead on sight reading and advanced exercises.
WICAPTP! Perfect!
Posted By: Michael P Walsh Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/07/19 04:31 PM
The problem is once you've tinkered with the saloon sound piano it really doesn't matter if someone gifts you a Fazioli, it's all downhill.
Posted By: Lady Bird Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/07/19 08:56 PM
I also always look at pianos on Craigslist. At the moment they have a 1934 Feurich grand .,but not free .
Then an old beautifully carved ornate Schaeffer upright.,But it is so large I can only imagine the movers would run away .But the price is fairly cheap !
Posted By: Retsacnal Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/08/19 12:43 AM
Looks like that SF-10 is still available in Sooke. I bet someone could really drive a hard bargain on that one.
Posted By: Lady Bird Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/08/19 06:38 AM
Feurich 1934 ?I wonder how it ended up in Canada .Those were troubled times in Germany.

Retsacnal you will have to import that Baldwin concert grand to USA?
Sooke is very near Victoria . Ask Bruce to try it ? He could judge it quite well by the sounds of him .He could take a technician with him
Bruce hope you do not mind me suggesting !
Posted By: Lady Bird Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/08/19 08:04 AM
Bruce is going to blow me up any minute and I deserve it .
Posted By: JohnSprung Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/13/19 12:08 AM
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Feurich 1934 ?I wonder how it ended up in Canada .Those were troubled times in Germany.


True, but the move from Germany to Canada might well have happened later.
Posted By: Retsacnal Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/13/19 03:46 PM
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Retsacnal you will have to import that Baldwin concert grand to USA

Unfortunately, I'd like a walnut finish.
Posted By: Lady Bird Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/13/19 09:02 PM
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Retsacnal you will have to import that Baldwin concert grand to USA

Unfortunately, I'd like a walnut finish.

Oh fussy! I shall have to watch out for you !
Posted By: Retsacnal Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/14/19 03:03 AM
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Retsacnal you will have to import that Baldwin concert grand to USA

Unfortunately, I'd like a walnut finish.

Oh fussy! I shall have to watch out for you !

I definitely prefer wood grained finishes, but might be ok with black. Mrs. Retsacnal, however, did not want a black piano in her home, so I will continue to honor that. smile
Posted By: Rickster Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/14/19 03:15 AM
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
I definitely prefer wood grained finishes, but might be ok with black. Mrs. Retsacnal, however, did not want a black piano in her home, so I will continue to honor that. smile

I like the real wood grain finishes too, Ret. One of my grand pianos is ebony satin but the rest are wood grain; two satin walnut and one cherry, but the cherry is not real red, just red enough to be called cherry (I think?:-).

Thing is, you rarely or never see anything but black on a concert stage, although there may be exceptions.

All the best!

Rick
Posted By: afoonah Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/14/19 12:08 PM
I love when you see random pianos on street corners, at the farmers market, shopping malls... I think all the last bits of marrow should be sucked out of these oldies. Turns a plague into a potential and maybe reaches people that might not have instruments in their sphere of life. Maybe some little prodigy walking around that doesn't know it. I love that stuff.
Posted By: MikeC65 Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/20/19 06:30 AM
If you want to see a ton of free / super cheap pianos, check out Facebook Marketplace. In my area (St. Louis) they appear on a regular basis. Along with the usual assortment of old low quality uprights that look like they need to be hauled to the dump post-haste, there are a surprising number of fairly decent appearing studio uprights in the hundred dollar or less price range. I’m sure many of them need work, but enough appear on a regular basis that if, say, I were looking for a starter piano for a kid to take lessons on that’s in decent condition, I bet I could find one fairly quickly.
Posted By: Retsacnal Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/20/19 04:32 PM
Originally Posted by afoonah
I love when you see random pianos on street corners, at the farmers market, shopping malls... I think all the last bits of marrow should be sucked out of these oldies. Turns a plague into a potential and maybe reaches people that might not have instruments in their sphere of life. Maybe some little prodigy walking around that doesn't know it. I love that stuff.

There was a psychedelic upright on a street corner in Lancaster, PA last summer that was in surprisingly good tune! Of course, I'm sure it's good tune owed more than coincidence to the fact that the PTG convention was going on across the street! wink
Posted By: LarryK Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/20/19 04:33 PM
There is a website where you can search for pianos to adopt:

https://pianoadoption.com

I believe this website was set up after this article in the New York Times highlighted how many pianos are going to the dump.

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/...-in-the-dump.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share
Posted By: Retsacnal Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/20/19 04:34 PM
Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
I definitely prefer wood grained finishes, but might be ok with black. Mrs. Retsacnal, however, did not want a black piano in her home, so I will continue to honor that. smile

I like the real wood grain finishes too, Ret. One of my grand pianos is ebony satin but the rest are wood grain; two satin walnut and one cherry, but the cherry is not real red, just red enough to be called cherry (I think?:-).

Thing is, you rarely or never see anything but black on a concert stage, although there may be exceptions.

All the best!

Rick

Variety is the spice of life! When you have multiple pianos, you can have a variety of finishes as well!
Posted By: Living_tribunal Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/21/19 03:30 AM
Finding good uprights on Facebook or auction sites is worse than finding a needle in a haystack 😥
Posted By: Geusey Re: A plague of free pianos - 03/30/19 09:26 PM
Originally Posted by texasdiver
So I've been shopping for a used grand piano on craigslist and decided to peek at what is available on Nextdoor.com which is basically facebook for neighborhoods. In my own neighborhood of Camas WA (suburb of Portland) with about 20,000 population there are currently 14 free pianos listed on Nextdoor. That is for my own immediate neighborhood. There are about 10 more that are all but free ($50-500 or "make any offer").

If we extrapolate my neighborhood to the whole country that would mean there are 227,500 free pianos available in the entire US. That's a lot of free pianos!


Yeah, unfortunately these instruments just aren't usually worth the cost of moving/tuning. I get more calls everyday from people looking to sell pianos that I can't take off their hands because they aren't worth picking up. I can't say for sure whether or not we have more old pianos here than other areas of the world, but Portland did experience a lot of growth between 1900 and 1930, so I wouldn't be surprised if we have more per-capita here than other places.
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