On its death bed

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Aly
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On its death bed

Post by Aly » 29 Jan 2008, 18:38

We have a piano that has recently been diagnosed as dead.
We were having problems with some keys sticking, some were not making a noise when played, and others were just plan out. We had a tuner round and she told us that it was acting as if half of it was damp, and the other half dried out. She tried to fix some of it but said that the keys had been tuned as much as the would go, and thought there was a crack in the board the pins are in. She said it was repairable, but would cost a lot as each hole for the pins has to be made by hand.
We also found out a little bit about the history of our piano. I’ll warn you now I know nothing of piano’s so put everything!
Under the lid it says;
H.Hicks & Son,
53 -57, New Kent Road
London.
It has 4 gold medals. Two on the left, the one in front with a picture of a queen with; Awarded to H.Hicks & Sons Ltd. The one behind you can see; Gold medal, London and 1899 on it.
There are two on the right. The one of the front with a picture of a different queen with;
Victoria, Brit. Reg. 1870. The one behind you can read; Gold medal London, 187(0 presumably, it’s hidden behind the other medal.)
Over the keys its says; Overstrung upright Iron Grand.
Our tuner told us that she thought it dated pre-ww1, and was one of the first of its kind (overstrung I think she was referring too) when it was created. And would have been a very special piano.
The reason I wrote was to find out what I should or could do with it now? We weren't told the price on repairing it but I'm pretty sure we couldn’t afford it, or it would be cheaper to buy a new one, which was what we were told. But I don’t want it to end up down the tip or anywhere else like that. It’s been a wonderful piano while we had it. Before we moved our last tuner managed to tune it to concert A and couldn’t stop praising it enough. I feel slightly guilty as I feel the move had a lot to do with upsetting it. I know it wouldn’t be much good as a playing piano unless someone had the time or money to repair it, but I don’t want to just throw it away.
The tuner said that as the casing is still in good condition that art students could use it, and there is a lot of led inside too.
Does anyone have any ideas? Any ideas appreciated!

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Post by mdw » 29 Jan 2008, 21:18

Match+Petrol=job done!!!

Sorry but the best you can do is get rid at the least cost to you. Some local councils will take away for a charge but some stipulate they must be able to lift it onto a lorry.

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Post by Tom Tuner » 30 Jan 2008, 19:44

The dates of the awards, medals etc. only give a date which the piano could not have been made before, not what year it was actually made. It probably pre-dates 1920 as no one much bothered making claims about gold metals and such after. If you are acurately reporting your tuner's evaluation you should seek a second opinion since she talking through her hat. In general it is true that most pianos can be repaired the question is whether it is worth the cost for sentimental or other reasons.

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Post by Gill the Piano » 30 Jan 2008, 20:49

Yes, get a second opinion. As Tom said, you can always repair a piano, but it isn't always economic sense. However, as someone who spent far more on her Morris Minor than it was worth, we all know that you can't budget for sentiment. It might not be worth it economically, but if you want to keep it in the family then go ahead and ask another tuner. It will still be an old piano with all the faults of an old piano, so don't expect it to sound like a new Yamaha if you do go ahead! And you won't be able to sell it for what you paid for the repairs, so bear that in mind as well. Get an independent qualified tuner, rather than one from a shop as they sometimes tend to want to sell you a new piano rather than to do repairs.

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Post by Aly » 30 Jan 2008, 22:13

Thank you for the replies.
Lighting it on fire is not something I really want to do :P
Don't want a brand new piano either, i prefer the sound of the older ones, they seem richer.
I will see about getting someone else to have a look at it. We know the Aflat key cannot be returned, we watched as she tried, she twisted it round but as soon as she let go it just went back to where it was!
After moving, it's been one of the few things we could take with us. I will see if I can find out how much it would cost to repair. I have about £200 that was going towards driving lessons but plans have seemed to change! Either way I go I have a long way to save before I get a decent piano again.
What I really want now is a piano that will last for a very long time, this is our second one on only a few years. Both have been very old pianos. It would be nice to get one now that I could keep for years!
We know of one place that might take it for free, but I'll have another ask round if anyone can use it for anything. I've seen some turned into fish tanks and they look so cool! But I think thats unlikely :wink:

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Post by Openwood » 30 Jan 2008, 23:06

I've seen some turned into fish tanks and they look so cool!
Wow! I've never seen that. Imagine that though! If my playing gets any worse I might just go for it.

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Post by Grenache » 30 Jan 2008, 23:17

I've seen some turned into fish tanks and they look so cool!
And remember to switch off the Dampchaser :lol:

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Post by Gill the Piano » 30 Jan 2008, 23:32

I had a customer who did the fishtank thing and got a new piano. I sent him a card reminding him that it was time the piranha was tuned.

Sorry... :roll:

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Post by Aly » 31 Jan 2008, 18:47

Well if anyone wants to try it...
It's something I'd love to do if we had the space, time and know how! It has three panels that would come out of the front so you could have three separate tanks with the two on the outside with like a single big colorful fish and the one in the middle with a little group. Then you could put like a keyboard where the keys should be.
Maybe one day when I have a house of my own I'll give it a try. Other people have turned old pianos into writing desks and other slightly more boring things.

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Post by Openwood » 31 Jan 2008, 21:31

Other people have turned old pianos into writing desks and other slightly more boring things.
Screw 'em; get the goldfish in, that's what I say.

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Post by tuna » 01 Feb 2008, 23:10

....or, you could just get a fishtank that has a stand....

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Post by Openwood » 02 Feb 2008, 16:55

I like the image of someone strolling into Steinway Hall, writing a cheque for a Model D and just before they leave saying, "Oh, by the way, would you take all those wires and things out before you deliver it; my Japanese Koi do so like their space."

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Post by Aly » 04 Feb 2008, 19:09

Openwood wrote:I like the image of someone strolling into Steinway Hall, writing a cheque for a Model D and just before they leave saying, "Oh, by the way, would you take all those wires and things out before you deliver it; my Japanese Koi do so like their space."

I'm not sure you'd make it out of the shop in one piece.
I'd just love to see your visitors faces when they walk into a room with a piano fish tank, especially if the piano still worked, which I think has been done. Though I wouldn't suggest playing a concert on one...
And where is the fun with just buying a fish tank with a stand? :D

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Post by Tom Tuner » 05 Feb 2008, 18:44

If a previous tuner brought it up to "concert pitch" you know it is at least structurally competent, and not a complete write-off. One loose wrest-pin is not a catastrophe, there are plenty of ways to mend that which do not involve crossing one's fingers and hoping it will stay put.

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Post by Barrie Heaton » 09 Feb 2008, 13:42

Make a piano bar


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Aly
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Post by Aly » 09 Feb 2008, 18:02

Barrie Heaton wrote:Make a piano bar


Barrie,
I can see my parents loving that!

I've found someone in my area that does repairs and will contact him to see if he thinks its worth repairing

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Post by Brumtuner » 09 Feb 2008, 19:58

You can tuna fish but you can't tune a fishtank piano.



Or summink.

Aly
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Post by Aly » 11 Feb 2008, 00:59

ok heard back from the repair man. He says from what he's heard it will cost over £2000 to fix and its better just to get a new one.
So I have a new question now. I really don't know much about pianos and I'd like to know which make of piano I should go for. It would be wonderful to get one that will last years now.
I've looked up some yamaha's but that is really the only piano name I know a bit about, and trust. Can anyone tell me which ones to look out for and which to avoid?

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Post by PianoGuy » 11 Feb 2008, 09:18

Gill the Piano wrote:Yes, get a second opinion. As Tom said, you can always repair a piano, but it isn't always economic sense. However, as someone who spent far more on her Morris Minor than it was worth,
It looks like someone saw you coming Gill. Morris Minors have four seats and a little humpy bonnet out front. Yours appears to have been 'chopped' as they say in the customising fraternity.

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Post by Gill the Piano » 11 Feb 2008, 19:22

My Morris was adopted last year by someone who had the time to rebuild it properly, after the cowboy who was supposed to be doing it let me down badly. I'm waiting for him to get a piano... :twisted:

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Post by Barrie Heaton » 11 Feb 2008, 20:53

Aly wrote:ok heard back from the repair man. He says from what he's heard it will cost over £2000 to fix and its better just to get a new one.
So I have a new question now. I really don't know much about pianos and I'd like to know which make of piano I should go for. It would be wonderful to get one that will last years now.
I've looked up some yamaha's but that is really the only piano name I know a bit about, and trust. Can anyone tell me which ones to look out for and which to avoid?
Depend on budget Lancaster is a bit limited on piano shops so you will have to travel to get anything other than Yamaha You have Promenade Music who sell Charles Howes piano but the Yamaha B1 is better built and can be got cheaper. There are a other shops that do other makes

Preston
The Music Cellar
Titterington Peck Pianos

Leyland
Rimmers Music Ltd

Bloton
Harker and Howarth (Pianos) Ltd with has the Steinway Piano Gallery

Brampton
Omega Music is worth a visit for something different they are in Brampton Cumbria Like Harker and Howarth they are not into discounting

if you click on piano shops in the Quick Links to your left you will see all the shops near you

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Fish tanks

Post by Bill Kibby » 18 Feb 2008, 12:35

I had a customer once who imagined I could tune her upright while there was a large fish tank on top of it. When I explained that I had to open the piano, she said it would take hours to drain the tank and move the fish so she decided not to bother!

Apparently there is a garden centre in East Anglia which has a grand fishtank, sounds interesting, but I haven't seen it yet. Probably a good use of a bad grand.
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Post by Celestite » 21 Mar 2008, 20:26

Hmm. I wonder what music would befit a fishtank piano? Handel's Water Music is an obvious one, or perhaps Bach's Goldfish Variations. Trout Quintet..........

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Post by major corbin dallas » 22 Mar 2008, 20:48

or you could just stick to Scales ...

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Post by Celestite » 22 Mar 2008, 20:56

Or carp-eggios!

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