Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From PPP

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Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From PPP

Post by Amskeptic » Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:01 pm

.... that's the Pahrump Piano Purgatory for those who have not been following the mostly annual visit to the trailer wreck desert inferno that is the home/aluminum sarcophagus to a 1913 Model M Steinway that my dad wanted me to have, to play, to resuscitate.

I skipped the visit in July 2011 due to a cowardly refusal to cause the death of this magnificent piano by trying to tune it in the scorching heat.

I skipped the visit in October 2011 due to skyrocketed CHTs and oil leaks in Chloe as I limped to Elwood's Blue Tarp Blue Shield old Volkswagen Hospital.

This time, I sez, "screw it, I am getting old too, let's do it." I played the requisite several games of Gin Rummy with my departed dad's next-ex wife and assisted with starting the Yamaha four-wheeler and watched TV in the air-conditioning until they went to bed.

At 10:30PM, armed with a real piano tuning hammer (thank-you Amy!!), a lighter for the incredibly poorly behaved kerosene lamps, a Diet Coke, and the piano tuning fork gizmo, I bashed through the obstacles of junk and opened up the piano in the 120* heat. Under horrendous flickering and popping, I slowly tuned the 230 (minus two broken) strings. I was desperately hopeful for an hour or so until I got to the bass octaves. There, I discovered that this grand dame has finally gone crippled. No amount of teasing would keep the lower end in tune. So, like any good doctor, I got my ball peen hammer out of the car and a real Coke from the fridge and I slathered that anchor block with Sugary Coca Cola, waited a few minutes, and tapped the pins firmly into the anchor block. Such a bellowing from the piano, sounded like it had fallen out the window. "Sorry."

This tune would last only tonight, and not even that as some aborted recordings will attest. No saving it. The best I could do is this muddy experiment that I never got to "develop" or "polish". By the second run through, lower "E" had gone lower still B flat and the "F" string next to it let go with a snake hiss. Pulled it out, but the damper is a v that needs both strings, so the remaining F just sounded as long as it wanted. Put the sound board down, played my sign-off Dad Requiem piece, closed it up, blew out the flame-thrower lamps and went back to the house and put myself to sleep.

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BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 111,155 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,820 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 103,007 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,885 miles

Psucamper
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From PPP

Post by Psucamper » Sat Jul 14, 2012 9:28 am

Colin...Interesting stuff about the Steinway M. My father was a Steinway factory trained technician and having been surrounded by pianos all my life I appreciate your frustration regarding
a dry pin block and breaking strings. I believe dad used a fluid pin block restorer made up of glycerine (hygroscopic) and isopropyl alchol (carrier). But in the extreme conditions you describe,their may be no permanent hope. Setting a solid temperament would be a tuners nightmare! Best wishes. RDL (2 baywindow 78,79 owner)

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From PPP

Post by Psucamper » Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:56 am

Colin...upon a reread of my message I was horrified! Forgive my (temporary insanity) with the use of the pronoun "their" instead of the adverb "there". I stand chastened. RDL

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From PPP

Post by SlowLane » Sat Jul 14, 2012 3:21 pm

Psucamper wrote: the use of the pronoun "their" instead of the adverb "there". I stand chastened. RDL
RDL: that's what the "edit" button is for ... :wink:

Colin, you managed to coax some nice sounds out of that piano, despite your tuning troubles.
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From PPP

Post by dingo » Sat Jul 14, 2012 8:59 pm

yeah that was a cool piano piece =D>
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From PPP

Post by aopisa » Sun Jul 15, 2012 6:28 am

Nice work under extreme conditions, but that seems to be your life in general.

I really enjoyed that undampened F as it seemed to add a unique dramatic punctuation to the pieces you played.

Thank you for sharing. I look forward to hearing about be Steinway interlude during your travels.
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Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. - Chuang Tzu

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From PPP

Post by Amskeptic » Sun Jul 15, 2012 10:32 am

Psucamper wrote:Colin...Interesting stuff about the Steinway M. My father was a Steinway factory trained technician and having been surrounded by pianos all my life I appreciate your frustration regarding
a dry pin block and breaking strings. I believe dad used a fluid pin block restorer made up of glycerine (hygroscopic) and isopropyl alchol (carrier). But in the extreme conditions you describe,their may be no permanent hope. Setting a solid temperament would be a tuners nightmare! Best wishes. RDL (2 baywindow 78,79 owner)
I was given the automotive anti-freeze trick by the Steinway people in Austin Texas in 2007, it was a whispered sort of trick.
The extreme conditions at the trailer have been so laughably over-extreme for so over-long a period of time, that I knew every moment with that piano was just a gift. Even so, with its end is staring at me in the face, I wish further still that the Laws of Physics might be suspended a little further still, ahh no.

Is it "restorable"? I think yes, more expensive now than if I had been able to cart it off to a restoration outfit in 2008. The soundboard is still an amazing perfect sound chamber.
If I knew how to play a harp . . . :alien:
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 111,155 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,820 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 103,007 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,885 miles

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From PPP

Post by zblair » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:12 pm

That piece had the sound of a rather "Philip Glassian" type dirge...there are some who "mount" a piano and pluck the strings to play it. Given the condition of said Steinway M along with its operators chassis, not a great idea...but worth mentioning for the giggle value.
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From PPP

Post by Amskeptic » Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:06 pm

zblair wrote:That piece had the sound of a rather "Philip Glassian" type dirge...there are some who "mount" a piano and pluck the strings to play it. Given the condition of said Steinway M along with its operators chassis, not a great idea...but worth mentioning for the giggle value.
Operator? Operator's "chassis"?? Why, I never . . .
. . . I would never "mount" a piano, unlike Lovine's little dog who took quite a too much liking to me.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 111,155 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,820 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 103,007 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,885 miles

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From PPP

Post by Hippie » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:15 pm

My grandpa had a full set of piano tools in a leather covered case, dating from the turn of the last century. That's what he did was itinerant piane repair and tuning. We used to play with the tuning forks when I was little. I wonder what ever happened to them.
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From PPP

Post by Amskeptic » Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:47 pm

Hippie wrote:My grandpa had a full set of piano tools in a leather covered case, dating from the turn of the last century. That's what he did was itinerant piane repair and tuning. We used to play with the tuning forks when I was little. I wonder what ever happened to them.
Wow. That is an art for a business. Got his customer list??
Colin :compress:
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 111,155 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,820 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 103,007 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,885 miles

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Hippie
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From PPP

Post by Hippie » Thu Jul 19, 2012 3:00 pm

Sorry, he passed away when I was about five. I wish I had that case of cool tools though.
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From PPP

Post by jtauxe » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:39 am

Amskeptic wrote:. . . I would never "mount" a piano, unlike Lovine's little dog who took quite a too much liking to me.
Colin
Not sure I'd mount a dog, no matter how much liking it took to me.
John
"The bus came by and I got on. That's when it all began..." - Garcia/Weir/Kreutzman
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From PPP

Post by Amskeptic » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:52 pm

jtauxe wrote:
Amskeptic wrote:. . . I would never "mount" a piano, unlike Lovine's little dog who took quite a too much liking to me.
Colin
Not sure I'd mount a dog, no matter how much liking it took to me.
Oh my God, it does now look like I lost my grammar there.
Lawdy lawdy, thanks for pointing that out.
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 111,155 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,820 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 103,007 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,885 miles

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