How I and my Piano have Bonded
- Disassembling the Piano
- Approaching the piano
- Choosing to buy a 7'6" Yamaha Conservatory Grand
- How I and my piano have bonded
- About performing...written years ago
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I bought my new piano from Classic Pianos in Portland, Oregon. I'll be playing a concert there on the 21st of June, 2008. My new piano is a 7'6" Conservatory Concert Grand, refitted with Renner Blue Hammers, and is a 1984 Yamaha, adjusted to my specifications. Notice my chair, cut to spec, 14" off the floor. As for the Yamaha naysayers, let's not forget that Gould himself chose a Yamaha over all other models and makes of pianos to 'replace' his irreplaceable CD318. And the great pianist Chick Corea plays a Yamaha, as does the piano genius Alan Broadbent JW, May 08
I've had my new piano for about two weeks now, and it has been a very illuminating experience.
First, let me say that it is MY piano, the one I love. I will never sell this one. This one is with me 'til death do us part. It fits me like no other piano has. This is a combination of great craftsmanship, superb advice, sound judgment on my part (as far as knowing what I wanted), and sheer dumb luck. Make no mistake. There are very few great pianos out there in the world. Most of them are in various levels of disrepair, and many of them are beyond help. The majority of pianos are absolute junk. That junk can cost an unsuspecting buyer upwards of $200,000.
America makes bombs now, not pianos. And very few people are pianists. There are many people who claim to play the piano but most are not pianists. The Chinese make pianos. Not very good ones at the moment, but one can be certain that this will change. The Chinese piano-makers are improving constantly. In America, the land where almost every household had a piano, the land in which almost every woman played at least a few tunes on the piano, the land in which the Steinwegs brought piano-making to an art in the early 1900's, pianos are now just so much kindling. The repetition/action of the new Steinways is deplorable. In 1953 they used teflon to supremely ill effect. Now they may as well be using rubber. It feels like that. Rubber action. Almost every piano I have played, with the exception of an occasional Bosendorfer or Fazioli, is virtually unplayable by a discerning pianist. The one, the only exception is the Yamaha. Even their 6-foot grands sound and play well.
Needless to say, my Yamaha seven-foot, six-inch Conservatory Grand from 1984 with Blue Renners is a dream come true.
Strange thing about this instrument... there is not one single mark on the fall board.
The fall board is always subject to little hits and dents from the fingernails as one plays. Fall boards are never clean except if they have been replaced, or if the piano has not been played. Judging from the pristine keyboard, the absolute absence of any mark anywhere on either black or white key, indicates that this piano was hardly ever played. If ever.
There are no wear-marks on the pedals! None at all. I have looked in vain for any sign of usage and wear, and can find none.
Was this the piano that was owned by the "little old man in Oswego" who only played Moonlight Serenade on it once a month? And even then, very very very sloooowwwly? - JW, June 17, 08
An instrument can be an assemblage of parts, or it can be alive, a living and breathing animal. That's what I have in my studio. This piano has bouquet. It is filled with possibilities, and not unfulfilled ones, either.
It can sound like a soft symphony. I can make it sound like a guitar. I can make the bass soft and round or hard and square. It can roar like a lion. And there are miles between it's whisper and its roar. It is that infinitely delicate touch. There is so little escapement friction that it will occasionally repeat a note on a bounce-back. No, it is not supposed to do that, but I wouldn't change it for anything. It's idiosyncratic, like mayonnaise with your fried chicken. Don't make me eat fried chicken without a little mayo on the side!
There is an aura about this instrument. And a mystery. Where has it been? How did it get to be this way? Who worked on it and adjusted it to be so sensitive and sonorous?
Only a very astute craftsperson could have done this. This piano is also in tune, and yet I have not yet had it tuned, because it needs to settle for several months. And it's in tune. It came 150 miles to me, by truck, and was bumped and wheeled around and turned sidewise and this way and that way and it's in tune. And it sings, perfectly. You tell me. I've never experienced anything like this.
There is a problem I see arising. There will come a time when someone else will want to sit at my piano, touch my piano, and perhaps play my piano. What will I do then? Risk losing a friend? Of course not. I just won't let anyone play my piano. That way I will NOT lose a friend.
I can't imagine someone else touching this. I know it so well. I knew it after it was here for a day. Like an old friend I hadn't seen for ages.
I've had other pianos. I've had movers drop them. I've even had one person break an entire pedal assembly with a size 13, 300-pound foot. This will not happen to my piano. I have a mover. He better stay alive for a long time. His name is Helge and he is a master. One must be a master mover trained in the art of piano moving to move such temperamental, delicate beauties.
And never will a piano tuner touch this piano. Only a piano expert - a superb technician - will tune and adjust this piano.
I have fallen in love with a piano!
The story of where and how I found it here - JW Jun 23, 08