Friday, January 19, 2007

the green we pay for love

I have an emotional connection to a piano, which seems to surpass all cognitive and fiduciary logic. I think I’ve unwittingly started a co-dependent relationship with an upright grand. There, I said it, and I feel so relieved. But let me back up and make some introductions.

This isn’t exactly what she looks like. (My girl don’t have no fancy panels and what not, but the size and color are the same.)

This is a Chickering upright grand piano, which basically means her strings are the same length as some grand pianos which gives her a full, beautiful sound. She was given to me by a friend last month. Free. She was built, here in beautiful Boston, somewhere between 1918 and 1921, so she’s quite the granny. By way of quality, it’s been said that Chickering is just a step under Steinway. Her sound is so rich and gorgeous, I want to eat it with a serving spoon. I had a certified piano appraiser come to the apartment last night and…well….appraise her. Here were a few of his comments:

“Wow, this piano is OLD!”

“Okay, now you see that…oh man…yeah, that right there, you see how this mallet pad, that’s like a flat surface, that shouldn’t be that way. That’s just years of BANGING away on the strings, that now she’s just, wow, she’s just in really bad shape.”

“Ope. You gotta crack in the soundboard, that’s understandable. (plays a quick scale.) Man, she still sounds amazing, though.”

“You need a few key top replacements. Look, this one’s chipped, and this one…oh. Yeah, basically you need all of your key tops replaced.”

“You got 100 year-old dust bunnies under here.”

Then he starts giving me some numbers. For a full refurb - $450. For full keytop replacement - $350. He throws in a tuning at no cost. Grand Total: $800. I agreed to it without even blinking. If you want to know why, keep reading.

I can’t explain it, but I love this piano. I love her! She’s old and falling apart, but there is this amazing history and sound and personality that just makes me weep! Without a doubt, I was one of those little girls that talked to inanimate objects and believed they had spirits and voices. And when she comes back to me all refurbed and pretty and singing like an angel, I really believe I will make this piano happy! And that makes me so giddy! When you factor in that I paid $250 to move her into my place, by the end of next month I will have sunk over a thousand dollars into this piano. That’s a figure that, even when debating on whether to buy a new car or a laptop, would make me pause. But for this piano, it’s not a factor. I do it without any regret. Because I totally love this piano. I can’t think of anything more deserving of a little TLC than this instrument. I can’t wait to get her back. Then I can resume teaching voice lessons!

So does anyone want voice lessons? I’m running a special: $100 for each 30-minute session. 10-session minimum. Bring your own water.


For your reference, $800 is a steal for the refurb ALONE. So feel good about getting the key job and tuning in there.

Also, is he replacing the soundboard? Cause you don't want to do that if you love the tone. Repair, don't replace. Just curious, what did it appraise for?

Finally, and most emphatically, when do I get to come and play this thing? I'll let you play my Hammond Organ if you let me play your Chickering.
I remember Mary playing the piano and coaching my singing as I prepared to audition for the The Music Man (i think it was)when I was in Junior High. Talented talented Mary.

Beautiful beautiful piano.
Mooney: that does make me feel better, thanks! He's not replacing the soundboard, it's just not worth the hassle and cost. But he said, after the refurb, I could get $1500 for her. Did I mention she's REALLY banged up?

Sarita: I remember that! You were so adorable! Everyone: when Sarita was in junior high, I'm sure I was no more than a high school senior. I'm pretty sure. So don't got thinking I'm really old and stuff. Cuz I'm not. Kay.
DUDE. I can't play piano worth beans, but I think your new piano is gonna be even HOTTER!!! YESSSSSSSSSSSSs
Oh, and a heads up - the link on your page to my blog is a random one... if you do, you get the real deal.
I think that you and your piano, and this refurb of your blog are the adorable ones.
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