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Posted By: Bob The Junk we find inside - 09/12/09 12:19 AM
I tuned a Baldwin R today. The lid was closed and it took about 5 minutes to clean all the stuff from on top of the lid. I removed the fall board and found on top of the keys:

A pair of drumsticks
8 pairs of chop sticks
A penny
2 gummy bear chews, semi petrified
A metal washer 1 1/2" diameter
A full size hair brush
4 pencils
3 pens


All dropped in there since the last tuning (Nov 2006)

Hee Hee
Posted By: LVP Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/12/09 12:26 AM
WHAT?

HAIRBRUSH?

I really wish there was a photo to go with this.
Posted By: curry Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/12/09 12:52 AM
Lol. I'd rather find drumsticks and a hair brush. I get the weird stuff like used condoms, petrified candy, and cigar stubs.
Posted By: Dan Casdorph Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/12/09 01:03 AM
I had one case where I actually made money on a cell phone. The 16 year old daughter dropped her cell behind the fallboard of a grand, and was having DT's each time it rang. I went out the next morning and they also wanted a tuning since I was there.
Posted By: Horowitzian Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/12/09 01:57 AM
Originally Posted by curry
Lol. I'd rather find drumsticks and a hair brush. I get the weird stuff like used condoms, petrified candy, and cigar stubs.


sick I guess some people don't consider that a piano technician might discover their, ah, private business. grin
Posted By: LVP Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/12/09 02:31 AM
curry-

Do you tune a lot of hotel lobby pianos in Vegas or something? Oh wait, you work in Jersey. Uhm....big wedding venues then? University practice rooms? I mean, I found that stuff as a chamber maid, but how is all that getting into pianos??

I'll never forget the only Long Island wedding I went to. The photographer had the 'voluptuous' bride climb onto this grand for photos. WHAT? I mean, how could this seem like a good idea? But they did it like it was totally natural, just another standard on their shot list. Here's an example of this tacky trend. Oh well, at least it's a Yamaha wink
[Linked Image]

Posted By: Little_Blue_Engine Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/12/09 02:33 AM
The first time I opened up the bottom of my upright I found skeletal remains eek
Posted By: Dave Stahl Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/12/09 02:58 AM
I got a tuning out of a lost Blackberry, same as Dan, lol. And found a pair of mouse skeletons atop a nest of bridle tape material.

Bob, how did the piano even play?
Posted By: GardeningPianolady Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/12/09 03:08 AM
Melted candy canes, dropped inside the top of an upright (probably by kids at Christmas), melted across about an octave of keys.
Posted By: Sam Casey Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/12/09 04:49 AM
Set of diamond wedding rings.
Microphone.
Diaper, (used)
I got a picture of a half completed puzzle laid across the plate of a new SS L, babinga. Safe puzzle storage at 45K.
Posted By: Ludwig van Bilge Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/12/09 09:57 AM
Yikes.
Posted By: Randy Karasik Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/12/09 01:11 PM
Were the drumsticks still fresh?


... ahem ...


... I once found a paper sack filled with ... uh ... adult videos. The customer was entertaining her mother and a friend, so I discreetly called her aside to tell her what I just found. She immediately shared this information with her companions and the three women shrieked with excitement over the find.

I was the only one embarrassed by the episode.

Posted By: Jeff Clef Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/12/09 02:21 PM
"She immediately shared this information with her companions and the three women shrieked with excitement over the find."

The best story yet.

What goes on in these places?
The Titanic, Monica's dress and Queen Victoria's bloomers.
Posted By: LVP Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/12/09 03:41 PM

I got a picture of a half completed puzzle laid across the plate of a new SS L, babinga. Safe puzzle storage at 45K. [/quote]

Post! Post!
Posted By: Marty Flinn Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/13/09 01:22 AM
A complete chicken carcass on top of the beam under a recent Steinway B. I assumed the family cat left it there.

A relatively fresh, large, dead rat on top of the keys behind the fallboard of a recent Yamaha C3. (That was a pants peeer!)

Deck of nudie playing cards inside an old Knabe.
Posted By: Horowitzian Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/13/09 01:24 AM
Oh, man Marty!!!! That's GROSS. sick They ought to feature piano techs on Dirty Jobs.
Posted By: Sam Casey Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/13/09 02:46 AM
Was chasing a rattle on a old grand and as I climbed under and started feeling around the posts came up with a plastic bag stuffed with, ah, "oregano."

Found dog food nuggets under the keys of an old spinet that were lined up in rows, 6, 5, 6, 5 across the length of the key bed. Pulled out the keys and showed the owner and he said, "why, that's old Rex's dog food. He's been dead for YEARS."

Will post the puzzle pic tomorrow.
Posted By: Larry Buck Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/13/09 12:02 PM
My most interesting find was $40,000 in gold coins stored all over the insides of an old spinet.

I was hired to tune the piano, it wasn't playing well, so I opened it up.

It was an amazing sight and I was stunned.

According to the family, "Grampa's" collection had been missing for 20 years.

I know what you are all thinking ....

No, no tip.

Posted By: Greg Seagraves Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/13/09 07:01 PM
I will never forget the time I opened a piano and found a small jewlery repair envelope. I opened it and there was a diamond solitare inside. I called the lady into the room and said "I found your ring inside" and handed it to her. It was ovbious from her expression that this was the first time she had seen the ring..Somebody had some explaining to do when he got home that night, assuming she waited for him to speak.
Posted By: Dennis Kelvie Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/13/09 09:21 PM
Worst thing I ever found was a pair of woman's panties behind the fallboard of a 6 month old grand piano. The lady of the house was FURIOUS! "THOSE AREN'T MINE!" are the words I remembered!

I tuned quickly and left! I'm glad I wasn't her husband!

Posted By: Horowitzian Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/13/09 11:22 PM
Originally Posted by Sam Casey
Was chasing a rattle on a old grand and as I climbed under and started feeling around the posts came up with a plastic bag stuffed with, ah, "oregano."

[...]


So what was the owner's reaction?
Posted By: David Jenson Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/14/09 01:39 AM
I've seen people roll up "oregano" and smoke it.

I opened up an old upright once and two jumbo sized bags of stale potato chips fell out, but the all time winner in an old Chickering grand behind the damper wires was a 6 foot Python ... very much alive!
Posted By: eweiss Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/14/09 01:42 AM
Originally Posted by Larry Buck
My most interesting find was $40,000 in gold coins stored all over the insides of an old spinet.

I was hired to tune the piano, it wasn't playing well, so I opened it up.

It was an amazing sight and I was stunned.

According to the family, "Grampa's" collection had been missing for 20 years.

I know what you are all thinking ....

No, no tip.


No tip? No way! Those cheap ...!!
Posted By: Sam Casey Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/14/09 05:30 AM
When the oregeno owner saw me dive under the piano after the buzz he got REAL nervous and when I pulled it out he looked like I just convicted him to Alcatraz. I suggested he find other storage.

The 45K Steinway puzzle storage box:

[Linked Image]
Posted By: Sam Casey Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/14/09 05:37 AM
Found 2 bras in a Baptist Church choir room Acro. Never found live snakes but a snake skin about 4 foot long.

Found jewel boxes with earings and necklace in the bottom of a Lowery console. Old lady was hiding them from her kids.
Posted By: Horowitzian Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/14/09 12:49 PM
Hehehehe, I suppose he thought you were going to turn him in. That's too funny that he imagined that under the piano would be a foolproof hiding place for "oregano".

Were they trying to dampen the sound? grin
Posted By: LVP Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/14/09 03:13 PM
Now I want to take apart my piano and see what the last owner might have lost in there...before an errant thong pops up!
Posted By: bellspiano Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/15/09 12:35 AM
I found $1.65 in change between the keyfronts and keyslip on a spinet once -- the customer had noticed that the keyslip was warping and binding the keys, so she was putting in the coins as wedges -- but Larry's story has me all beat for dollar value. And some of the other stories make me grateful for my quiet life!
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/16/09 12:34 PM
I won't tell you the worst thing I found in a piano but, suffice it to say, it was not a very pretty site and it was not an animal.
Posted By: Larry Buck Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/16/09 03:33 PM
About 20 years ago, I rebuilt a small no name grand.
Failed pin block and bridges etc.
Client and I agreed that the tome was a little dull.

Upon removing the plate, I found an entire peanut butter and jelly sandwich stuffed between the plate and sound board.

Needless to say, improving the tone just got easier.

Client said their daughter hated the sandwiches and disposed of them all over the house.

I sent the newly rebuilt piano home with instructions on climate control as well as a suggestion to remove the PB & J from the menu ...
Posted By: LVP Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/16/09 10:45 PM
This is so funny!
Posted By: saerra Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/16/09 11:55 PM
Yikes!

But - reading these - I wonder, what's the ratio of gold coins/jewelry to dead animals/unmentionables ?

It makes me wonder if someone should be collecting all those free Craigslist pianos, pulling them apart, and profiting from years of diamonds and cold coins being hidden, dropped, or otherwise lost inside wink ?!
Posted By: Larry Buck Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/09 12:02 AM
Well, if there are not enough valuables to make it worth while ...

At least you can clothe yourself ...

Or feed yourself ...
Posted By: RPD Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/09 12:22 AM
Yeah...I found "oregano" once in a piano owned by a college professor...this spice also featured a small pipe in the bag...behind the knee board.

"That must be my kids'stuff!" he said.

Yeah right...you're a college professor with a ponytail. I got a big laugh...this stuff was ages old...so covered in dust that there was no way to tell what it was except to.....

NO! I didn't! But, we did get a good laugh...

RPD
Posted By: Sam Casey Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/09 01:48 AM
Years ago I was in a 3rd floor apartment on a winter night about to tune a old grand for two single girls. Half the keys were stuck and I could tell it was junk. Pulled the fall and there were forks, spoons, pencils, paper, cards, nail files, bobby pins, just tons of garbage. One girl made a terrible embarassed fuss gathered everything from me, went to the window threw the armload into the street, 3 floors below! Not mine to reason why...
Posted By: jpscoey Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/09 02:03 AM
'
This has stumped me on numerous occasions -

I've opened up a piano, and found a piano action & keys inside.....

where do they come from? thumb !!!

Posted By: LVP Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/09 02:12 AM
Originally Posted by Sam Casey
Years ago I was in a 3rd floor apartment on a winter night about to tune a old grand for two single girls. Half the keys were stuck and I could tell it was junk. Pulled the fall and there were forks, spoons, pencils, paper, cards, nail files, bobby pins, just tons of garbage. One girl made a terrible embarassed fuss gathered everything from me, went to the window threw the armload into the street, 3 floors below! Not mine to reason why...


I imagine she was the guilty party that had heard some versions of this over the months or years:

"Oh my god, did you leave your ___________ on the piano again? Do you realize how much that thing costs? Seriously, if you do that again, like, I am going to be, like, so totally pi**ed"

OR

"Do you have my hairpin/chopstick/barrette/fork/jigsaw puzzle nearing completion?"

Of course, the answer was always a version of "No, It wasn't me!" or "I don't have it"

You nearly outed her! laugh
Posted By: ddcptr Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/09 07:52 AM
once i went to do a tuning job for an elderly widow. as always, she was "amazed" by how easily her piano came apart.. especially as i was taking the keys out to vacuum the key bed. anyways, there was a note in there and she excitedly opened it to find it a note written by her deceased husband to his lover!!

yes.. things became a little awkward
Posted By: UnrightTooner Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/09 11:02 AM
Originally Posted by jpscoey
'
This has stumped me on numerous occasions -

I've opened up a piano, and found a piano action & keys inside.....

where do they come from? thumb !!!



A little OT, but...

I used to enjoy the look on new crewmembers faces, when coming onboard a munitions ship, and I would mention that there was a bomb on board... quite a few, actually.
Posted By: Randy Karasik Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/09 12:50 PM
Originally Posted by Jerry Groot RPT
I won't tell you the worst thing I found in a piano but, suffice it to say, it was not a very pretty site and it was not an animal.


Aw c'mon, Jerry. Don't tease us.

Posted By: Scooters Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/09 01:16 PM
Ditto!
Posted By: Jeff Clef Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/09 02:50 PM
"once i went to do a tuning job for an elderly widow. as always, she was "amazed" by how easily her piano came apart.. especially as i was taking the keys out to vacuum the key bed. anyways, there was a note in there and she excitedly opened it to find it a note written by her deceased husband to his lover!!"

There's a country music song in this... or an aria for an opera buffa. Or Steely Dan could have done something with it.
Posted By: Monica K. Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/09 04:48 PM
Originally Posted by Peter Sumner- Piano Technician
The Titanic, Monica's dress and Queen Victoria's bloomers.


For the record, it wasn't MY dress, nor am I responsible for the used condoms. smokin

This is the funniest thread I've read in ages. thumb

Posted By: Larry Buck Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/09 06:51 PM
Couple of years ago,

I received a call, a clients new Yamaha grand ceased to play at all.

None of the keys worked, pedals didn't work, they were confused and concerned.

I opened up the action area to find it completely filled with dog food.

A quick inspection of the dog food bag revealed it was empty.

That was one busy mouse ....
Posted By: piqué Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/09 08:13 PM
these stories are just great! makes becoming a piano technician seem even more attractive! laugh
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/09 08:30 PM
OK, you asked for it. It was, hmm, how shall I phrase this? A woman's um, USED ummm, well, it was a certain item that someone stuffed between the keybed and bottom panel? Not under pants either. WORSE! They fell down below and didn't smell pretty. Actually, there were several of these in there.... Well??? You asked!!!!! Now you wished you hadn't! And, NO I did NOT touch them! I showed them to the client and let THEM remove them! Talk about an embarrassed client?
Posted By: Larry Buck Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/09 09:06 PM
Jerry,

Do you think the mice put them there?
Posted By: Horowitzian Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/09 09:39 PM
Originally Posted by Jerry Groot RPT
OK, you asked for it. It was, hmm, how shall I phrase this? A woman's um, USED ummm, well, it was a certain item that someone stuffed between the keybed and bottom panel? Not under pants either. WORSE! They fell down below and didn't smell pretty. Actually, there were several of these in there.... Well??? You asked!!!!! Now you wished you hadn't! And, NO I did NOT touch them! I showed them to the client and let THEM remove them! Talk about an embarrassed client?


Eeeeewwww. sick
Posted By: Horowitzian Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/09 09:39 PM
Originally Posted by Larry Buck
Couple of years ago,

I received a call, a clients new Yamaha grand ceased to play at all.

None of the keys worked, pedals didn't work, they were confused and concerned.

I opened up the action area to find it completely filled with dog food.

A quick inspection of the dog food bag revealed it was empty.

That was one busy mouse ....


They need a cat...
Posted By: piqué Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/09 09:43 PM
Originally Posted by Larry Buck
Jerry,

Do you think the mice put them there?


rotfl
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/09 09:46 PM
God only knows!!! But, I pity the stupidy of the mice if they did!
Posted By: Sam Casey Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/18/09 01:13 AM
Mice are incredibly versatile and determined. Every tuner has a share of mouse horror stories. I had one shred a white plastic trash bag on the keys of a Steinway upright for a nest. Spraying lacquer sometimes requires addition of silicone to prevent "fisheyes" from a previously highly waxed surface. It can come in little plastic caplets, one per quart cup. I had a mouse break open and eat 10-12 of them. Raw silicone.
Posted By: Horowitzian Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/18/09 04:01 AM
Well, that's a semiconductor mouse I guess. grin
Posted By: JIMBOB Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/18/09 04:09 AM

Paper clips
Pencils
Quarters, pennies
Dried plant leaves
Candy
Candy Wrappers
Small rubber balls
Broken plastic recorder/flute
Playing cards
Business cards
Dead bugs
Mice droppings
Bird Feathers
Cat and Dog Hair
White mold
Snake skin
Lego Blocks
Hair pins
Emory boards/nail files
Picture Hangers
Pieces of paper
Broken glass
Dried food
Crumbs
Hammer felt
Posted By: Ludwig van Bilge Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/18/09 05:58 AM
I'm beginning to understand why my tuner shows up wearing haz-mat suit and oxygen tank.
Posted By: Silverwood Pianos Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/18/09 04:06 PM

Found these this morning in the bottom of an old upright I brought in for salvage parts. Note the dates on the printings.

Click on a picture to enlarge and use the zoom to read or click on top and drag the photo around…..

http://picasaweb.google.com/silverwoodpianos/AntiqueNewsMagazines?authkey=Gv1sRgCJ--urfe-bDqeA#
Posted By: Sam Casey Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/18/09 06:25 PM
Good God Dan, those are cool. Can't believe the mice or moths or other critters didn't get them.
Posted By: bkw58 Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/18/09 06:41 PM
Years ago, I was called by a hotel concerning their upright. It seems that the keys were not functioning at all. When I arrived, sure enough, the thing was frozen solid. What junk did I find that was at the root of the problem?

Rice. Lots of it.

They had hosted a wedding a few days earlier and attendees must have thrown the stuff by the buckets lodging the grains between the keys.

Have found lots of interesting things over the years, but this one comes to mind first. Other than junk: lots of jewelry.
Posted By: Scooters Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/18/09 06:53 PM
Those are cool! Real keepers!

They survived because Northern mice don't know how to read. laugh

Posted By: Silverwood Pianos Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/18/09 08:03 PM


Thanks Sam,

Yes I thought the same thing. I wonder if they have not been in there that long….. I am trying to get a hold of the people I got the instrument from……. These could be of some value to them or others………

The earliest one is dated October 30 1869 (the one with H.R.H. Prince Arthur on the front).

This is just 2 yrs after Canada became a country through Confederation in 1867.

And the one with Louis Riel….he was a Métis that was executed here in Canada for high treason in 1885……. some other great stuff inside for stories.....

Ha! Scooter….no they can’t read but they sure can eat!
Posted By: David Jenson Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/18/09 11:49 PM
Years ago I was called to tune a rather nice Chickering grand. The center section of the action didn't work and it turned out the culprit was most of a carton of blueberry yogurt that had been spilled in the action. Everything visible from the top had been meticulously cleaned by the young man who had spilled it. What he hadn't counted on was the effect on the action of a month or so of yogurt absorbtion.
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/19/09 12:29 AM
I commend you Dan that you are willing to contact the owner of the piano regarding the contents inside. I might do likewise. But, on the flip side, it's no different really, than buying a house and finding something left behind in it. You did acquire the piano legally including all of its contents. Just another twist to consider.
Posted By: Piano Girl RMG Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/19/09 02:50 PM
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Tech Forum:

This is my new favorite PW thread. (Jeff Clef turned me onto this)

Many thanks for all of these stories—exactly the kind of thing I love!

Posted By: Silverwood Pianos Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/19/09 03:54 PM


Well Jerry, you just never know,

I just got a call back from the previous owners of the piano here. It seems that granddad passed away and the magazines were left to one of the grandchildren (beneficiaries of the estate.)

The people are coming to pick them up this morning………..very gratefully I might add…………..
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/19/09 11:59 PM
Well, good for you Dan. That's wonderful!
Posted By: David Jenson Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/20/09 12:57 AM
No reward, Dan?

'Bummer!
Posted By: David Jenson Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/20/09 01:01 AM
'Tuned a couple of old uprights in a Quaker Meeting House where the complaint was that one of them didn't work. Sure enough, the keys wouldn't go down at all. When I removed the keys all the space under them was packed full of crayon pieces. I filled two gallon jars with the pieces of crayon. That was one busy church mouse!
Posted By: David Jenson Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/20/09 01:04 AM
Piano Girl,

Technicians lead very interesting lives as you can see.
Posted By: Piano Girl RMG Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/20/09 02:35 PM
Obviously you do lead very interesting lives!

One day you'll open up a piano and find ME inside. Although I've been known to sleep under the piano, and have had several occasions to be on top of the piano (don't ask), I've yet to be inside a piano. On the other hand, when I'm playing a beautiful instrument that has been tweaked and tuned by a talented technician, I really do feel like I'm inside.
Posted By: Sam Casey Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/20/09 03:10 PM
I can't imagine popping the bottom board of an old upright and have a girl burst out. Talk about a heart attack. Tuner's batcherlor party? Can we keep what we find? Clad in a "G" string? (groan..) Keep the mice out anyway.
Posted By: saerra Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/20/09 04:06 PM
Originally Posted by Silverwood Pianos

Found these this morning in the bottom of an old upright I brought in for salvage parts. Note the dates on the printings.

Click on a picture to enlarge and use the zoom to read or click on top and drag the photo around…..

http://picasaweb.google.com/silverwoodpianos/AntiqueNewsMagazines?authkey=Gv1sRgCJ--urfe-bDqeA#



Wow - how cool! Thanks for posting the pics!
Posted By: Piano Girl RMG Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/20/09 05:57 PM
This thread is going to keep me awake all night, thinking about short story ideas!

Sam, I'm no stranger to the G-string, but that was in another lifetime.

Silverwood, those magazine photos are amazing. YEOW!
Posted By: Dave Stahl Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/20/09 07:58 PM
Hey Robin,

Good to see you on here! All of you other techs should read PIANO GIRL if you haven't already. A really enjoyable book!

Posted By: Robin Spielberg Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/27/09 02:12 AM
How about the junk you SMELL inside? I played a private party once for a woman who owned several cats. She had a lovely/swanky New York City apartment and an A-list of guests...but the piano literally STANK. I am crazy for felines and have had them as pets my entire life, so I know cat pee when I smell it...and her cats were definitely using the inside of the Steinway grand as a littler box. That was the stinkiest gig EVER!!! The owner didn't seem to notice and I thought it would be rude to mention it. Maybe the kitties were commenting on her playing?
Robin
Posted By: pianohead30 Re: The Junk we find inside - 10/22/09 01:43 AM
I have a friend that bought a antique english upright piano from the 1800s,from a estate sale in New Orleans. She wanted me to come and take a look at it. When I opened the bottom door I found a violin case, with a violin inside it laying against the lower bass of the harp. Looks like it had been hidden in there for sometime. That was the coolest thing I ever found in a piano. Mostly its dust, cobwebs, dead spiders and live ones sometimes or just small pieces and junk.

Thanks for sharing all the stories, very interesting to say the least lol, things you find in places you never expect.

J
Posted By: Jeff Clef Re: The Junk we find inside - 10/22/09 03:48 PM
"When I opened the bottom door I found a violin case..."

Maybe it was stashed away before Louisiana exempted musicians' instruments from seizure and sale of bankruptcy assets.... believe it or not, there was a thread about it the other day. Or someone shot the piano player. Fiddler carried off by fever or burned up when the Opera House caught fire; who knows, there could be all kinds of stories.

You would think New Orleans would be very unkind to pianos, but I know I've played some there. Some pretty old ones, too--- but not as old as that one.
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT Re: The Junk we find inside - 10/22/09 08:37 PM
What kind of violin was it? I wonder if it had any value to it?
Posted By: Dan Casdorph Re: The Junk we find inside - 10/22/09 09:19 PM
The violin starts the thread drift to talking about "attic Strads". When you work in a music store, they come in clutching this find from the barn loft, wanting an appraisal. The paper tag inside indicates it to be worth millions...
Posted By: Eric Gloo Re: The Junk we find inside - 10/23/09 01:56 AM
I've probably told this before...

A woman called me to inspect and tune her grandmother's old Chickering upright, if it was tunable. I never heard such an awful sound as I played the bass notes. Before opening up the bottom panel, I was thinking the bass bridge had fallen apart...or something like that.

Turns out it was an old broken dining room chair, stuffed into the bottom of the piano...along with a whole bunch of books.

Removing all this really didn't help the sound much, and it didn't make the piano tunable, either.
Posted By: Tweedpipe Re: The Junk we find inside - 10/23/09 04:35 PM
This is a fascinating thread. Immensely enjoyable! Keep 'em coming guys...... thumb
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT Re: The Junk we find inside - 10/23/09 05:20 PM
When I was about 12, I went with my dad to a school (speaking of mice stories). When he went to push down some keys, they stayed put. When he removed them, he found a huge mouse nest that was preventing the keys from going down. We could hear a mouse scurrying around inside under the keys. As dad removed one handful of keys at a time, the mouse would scurry to the next batch of keys all the way up to high C. Dad grabbed a broom and got ready. When he removed the last key, the mouse took off running down the side of the piano with dad right behind him smacking at him with the broom and me standing there laughing my fool head off watching him chase this mouse all over the class room and back. The side door that lead outside of the building had been propped part way open. Finally, the mouse flew through it with dad right behind him whipping away!

After a few minutes, dad came in all winded. I said, well? Did you get him? YEP! I finally got him to stop running after I hit him a hundred times with the broom. And then? I squished him with my foot! That was the only mouse we found in the piano. He cleaned it all up, tuned it and ran off to the next job.
Posted By: pianohead30 Re: The Junk we find inside - 10/23/09 05:37 PM
Well,
She took the violin to a music shop in town and found out it is a 18th century German Stainer? If that is the correct spelling. They said the violin will need to be restored, it has come unglued in places, but they said in restored condition would be worth around 4 to 5 thousand. The piano came from a old estate in the French quarter that a older couple had. The husband had passed a few years ago and the wife was moving to a retirement home. My friend contacted the daughter of the couple about the violin, and she apparently had no idea about it, she said the piano was brought over from England when her parents moved to Louisiana 45 years ago. She said no one really played the piano but her mother during the holidays. So theyy are uncertain about why it was in there?

My grandfather use to tune pianos before world war 2, and during the war he said he picked up several violins while in germany as a U.S. soldier in abandoned houses that were looted.
Said that pianos or any musical instruments were destroyed so american troops would not take them or play them. Using the butt of a rifle to break the hammer off of the action of smash the keyboard. So that is what i gather, that it might have been hidden for a certain reason years ago during that time maybe.

thanks
J
Posted By: stevepiano Re: The Junk we find inside - 10/23/09 08:18 PM
While working for Steinway I was tuning a piano in an apartment in Manhattan. The client said to me, "Look under the piano and see if my husband hid anything under there." She was referring to the beams under the soundboard. Sure enough, I found a wad of cash with a twenty on the top and a box of jewelry. She was thrilled. Another time, while out on my own, I found postage stamps from the 1950s behind the fallboard of a Steinway S. Also found a $100 bill one time when the customer wasn't home. I left her the bill and a note: "Didn't think you were going to MAKE money from my visit!" Another time, Dr. Robert Pace called me and I took my good friend, Ralph Bisceglie up to Dr. Pace's house to check out a problem with the keys. Dr. Pace was away for a week and came back to keys not working. Turns out, while he was gone, some squirrels got into the piano and feasted on the keys!
Posted By: Ken Knapp Re: The Junk we find inside - 10/24/09 02:42 AM
A 14k gold bracelet underneath the manuals of a Hammond B3.

Ken
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT Re: The Junk we find inside - 10/24/09 04:28 AM
Very interesting pianohead. Thanks for that information. I did not know they did that to their instruments.
Posted By: Sam Casey Re: The Junk we find inside - 10/24/09 04:40 AM
In a German birdcage I found a aluminum German coin circa 1941 with a swastika on one side.

In a seldom used Baldwin L a perfectly preserved chocolate cookie, pertrified on the keys in the mid section. Grease from the cookie was soaked half thru the keys.

A pile of candied pecans 3 inches deep stacked on the extreme treble keys of a Gulbransen console, hauled in overnight by mice.

The wax of a large candle that dripped between low A and the keyblock of an upright and pooled under the keys on the bed. Customer always wondered how the candle mysteriously disappeared.
Posted By: shw123 Re: The Junk we find inside - 10/24/09 05:39 AM
I agree with the earlier comment that this is the funniest thread I've ever read.

I'm not a tuner, but I am one of those crazy people who actually used to put things in my piano. During the last big recession during the early 80's inflation was out of control and I was scared the banks were going to go under so I took my life savings and bought gold Kruger Rands and silver bars and hid them in the bottom of my old upright piano. During the time that I left them in there the price of gold and siver tripled! Too bad I was still a student and my life savings didn't amount to much.
Posted By: pd1500 Re: The Junk we find inside - 10/24/09 05:55 AM
Did you sell them before the value of the metal crashed again?
Posted By: Ken Knapp Re: The Junk we find inside - 10/24/09 12:50 PM
Originally Posted by shw123
During the last big recession during the early 80's inflation was out of control and I was scared the banks were going to go under so I took my life savings and bought gold Kruger Rands and silver bars and hid them in the bottom of my old upright piano. During the time that I left them in there the price of gold and siver tripled! Too bad I was still a student and my life savings didn't amount to much.


That was back when the Hunt brothers tried to buy all the silver on the market. They ran out of their own money and then borrowed all they could lay their hands on. Interesting story - if anyone is interested just do a google on it. It was due to their crazy buying that the market went so high.

Ken
Posted By: gdguarino Re: The Junk we find inside - 10/26/09 11:12 AM
Originally Posted by Sam Casey
When the oregeno owner saw me dive under the piano after the buzz he got REAL nervous


I'm not a tuner, so I'm not up on all your fancy technical terms. Are you saying that a bag of "oregano" gave the piano a buzz? Who knew. Maybe that's why you find bags of snack food in there too.
Posted By: David Jenson Re: The Junk we find inside - 10/26/09 12:05 PM
[Linked Image] This is an example of a piano that used a bit of "Oregano". This piano used to play nothing but classical and hymns. Now look at it!
Posted By: Emmery Re: The Junk we find inside - 10/26/09 02:15 PM
Dan, that was an awesome find. I love those older papers that had the hand drawn stuff well before photoshop came around. In the late 60's my parents bought a piano for me to do my playing on, an older Lesage upright. When I was around 10 y/o I discovered how to remove the knee board and went exploring inside. I found several large bundled packages containing multiple issues of both Life and Time magazines (mint condition), all issues on the Kennedy assassination dated between 1964-66. I put these away with my old hockey cards in the attic and they are still there. Although I haven't checked, they are probably worth something by now if I were to sell them. I also found an 1877 American silver dollar in a customers' piano which he later told me was only worth about 10 bucks, he did mention that if it would have had certain letter stamped on it designating a certain minting location, it would have been worth much more.
Posted By: pianohead30 Re: The Junk we find inside - 11/03/09 05:20 PM
Yes During WW2 I am sure many a fine German pianos were destroyed because they didnt want Americans to play them or take them. So they made them worthless, or destroyed them to the point of not being able to fix them. There were some that werent destroyed that he saw. In one house he saw a Large Bluthner grand that the top was open and a violin was inside on the strings, which he took. It had a alligator case that went to it. When he sent it home, it never made it to the US, someone stole it. So was like easy come easy go I guess since he stole it first.
Also in China the revolution during the 50s they destroyed lots of musical instrument. (Hint, watch the movie the Red Violin) They didnt want the Western world in there country anymore or in their culture, thus the buring and destruction of any western musical instruments. So much history with music.

Also I tuned a old upright piano that use to be a player, and it had quaters from the 1940s in it. Maybe from when it was a coin operated instrument back then?
Posted By: Sam Casey Re: The Junk we find inside - 11/03/09 05:37 PM
Used to be a piano teaching method to place coins on the back of the hands to insure level hand postion. As a result, coins in the keybed.
Posted By: Monica K. Re: The Junk we find inside - 11/03/09 05:37 PM
Originally Posted by Ken Knapp
Originally Posted by shw123
During the last big recession during the early 80's inflation was out of control and I was scared the banks were going to go under so I took my life savings and bought gold Kruger Rands and silver bars and hid them in the bottom of my old upright piano. During the time that I left them in there the price of gold and siver tripled! Too bad I was still a student and my life savings didn't amount to much.


That was back when the Hunt brothers tried to buy all the silver on the market. They ran out of their own money and then borrowed all they could lay their hands on. Interesting story - if anyone is interested just do a google on it. It was due to their crazy buying that the market went so high.

Ken


And the Hunt brothers would've succeeded, too, if the Feds hadn't gotten nervous and passed legislation preventing them from cornering the market.

Those were wild and woolly days indeed in the rare coin business. My coin dealer hubby waxes nostalgic about how he'd have a line of customers a block long outside his office door every day to sell silverware etc. He'd buy it all and then at the end of the day ship it via an armored car to melt it down.

The market these days is looking pretty interesting, too. Hubby's betting on gold hitting $2000 an ounce within five years. Let's just say he's buying and not selling his own position at this time.
Posted By: pianohead30 Re: The Junk we find inside - 11/20/09 04:42 PM
Looked at a antique, 1800s square grand piano at our city community building that is now used as a hall table. the piano was used there years ago in the 1930s I am sure, when the building was built. It needs a lot of work, key tops missing, broken music stand, but when I opened it all up, It had multi colored glitter all under the strings. The piano hasnt been used in many years. But never have seen glitter in a piano before....
wonder what caused that LOL!
Posted By: ScottSchreiber Re: The Junk we find inside - 01/04/10 04:14 PM
I don't know if there are any rules against bumping a somewhat older thread, but I just found this one, and it's amazing. I think I know where Amelia Earhart might be hiding.
Posted By: OperaTenor Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/04/13 04:08 PM
AFAIK, there's no rule against it, although I suppose Mr. Schreiber probably isn't around to read this.

I think can blame this bump on MarkR - laugh

While working for the school district, I found two conductor's batons behind the fallboards of two separate grands, and an old copy of Hustler behind the bottom panel of a practice room piano at a high school. One of the guys in Equipment Repair said it probably belonged to my predecessor (when they had to clean out his old shop, they found his stash of Playboys).

Posted By: Minnesota Marty Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/04/13 04:12 PM
I would think that is perfectly normal to find a stashed
"Hustler" in a piano in a H.S. practice room! I wouldn't necessarily blame the tech.
Posted By: Mark R. Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/04/13 06:16 PM
Originally Posted by OperaTenor
I think can blame this bump on MarkR - laugh


Yes, you can. (I've done worse... wink )
Posted By: UnrightTooner Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/04/13 06:40 PM
Found something different in the rebuilt action of an Iver and Ponds upright - a leather triangular table top "football". Apparently the lid was off the piano (no hinges) during a game years ago when the footbal went out-of-bounds and was never found. The action needs more aftertouch, which I'll probably take care on next time. Wish I could come up with something clever to say with "touch", "after" and "football"...
Posted By: Les Koltvedt Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/05/13 12:29 AM
Originally Posted by Dan Casdorph
I had one case where I actually made money on a cell phone. The 16 year old daughter dropped her cell behind the fallboard of a grand, and was having DT's each time it rang. I went out the next morning and they also wanted a tuning since I was there.


Thats a phonextomy... I've had one too....

worst one was a full hand full of pencils/pens, a box of nerds, cellophane wrapper between the capstan and whippen, a couple of small toys and they never complained about it... the cellophane wrapper is what I went in for... I pull most FB's before tuning now
Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/05/13 01:42 AM
I have opened a piano bench to tighten loose legs to discover a loaded revolver. AND they had little kids living there!

I have removed a fall-board on a Yamaha, (which I feel is a must do because they slam shut from my arm while tuning), to see a envelope stuffed with cash quickly grabbed by the owner.

I have found Valium, Lithium, Darvon etc in the home piano of a Psychiatrist. He was certifiably insane in my opinion.

I found a string of pearls in a Steinway sent for rebuilding that I returned to the owner who said she sometimes hid jewelry there before going out of town.

A marble rolling on the soundboard under the plate that could not be reached by hand bedeviled a pianist friend of mine. I asked him to stand at the bass end of the keyboard and lifted the bent side so the marble rolled over to where he could reach it. He couldn't stop laughing about how easy I made it look, and of course I replied "thats why I get paid the big bucks!"

Posted By: Olek Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/05/13 01:16 PM
Not really junk : a red bag full of gold coins "Napoleons".

I thought of some product against moth, and clearly it was not smile

Unfortunately not my piano. The owner was really ashamed, he probably did not even remind having those there, or was not expecting me o open the bottom panel.

Very bad place to hide a treasure in my opinion...
Posted By: bkw58 Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/05/13 02:11 PM
Cleaning a very old grand, I found a little girl's 14K diamond ring which I happily gave to her - now a woman. Given to her by her parents when she was 10 or 11, it had been missing for some 40 years.

Not exactly "junk" but a memorable find nonetheless.
Posted By: Gary Fowler Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/16/13 04:41 AM
I found a hard Jelly donut inside the action of a school piano I once tuned. Also I found a $50 bill inside a customer's piano
Posted By: Saxaphool Re: The Junk we find inside - 09/17/13 06:48 PM
Star Wars Stormtrooper action figure behind the fallboard of a Steinway Grand
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