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#1378639 - 02/20/10 03:20 AM Stories of Piano User Error
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2991
Loc: Atlanta, GA
I was posting in another thread when I thought this might be fun though embarrassing for some of us.

I thought the forum could generate some funny stories of piano user error. It's probably better to keep the victims anonymous (and their pianists wink ).

Several years ago, a customer selected a nice used piano from us. We delivered the grand to their home and they were very happy.

Just a few days later, the customer called us, irate mad . "You sold me junk! The piano makes these horrible noises in the action when you play it, and some of the notes have already stopped working!"

"Calm down, ma'am. We'll make an appointment right away shocked ."

Walking into the house and up the the piano, it was exactly as the customer described. At least half a dozen notes didn't play and there was a lot of rattling in the action.

Our technician looked over at the stern face of our newest customer as she held the hand of her toddler daughter who was fascinated at all the attention their new piano was getting.

"Don't worry, ma'am. We'll take care of this."

She led her daughter out of the room and left him to his work. She didn't make it to the kitchen before the technician was calling her back. She arrived to the piano room where the technician handed her two fistful of pencils, pens, markers and crayons confused .

Behind the fallboard, sitting on the keys and working their way into the action were over two dozen of these objects. Our tech demonstrated how to replace the fallboard on the piano and in ran the toddler. She bolted for the pile of crayons, placed one on the space between the fallboard and the stretcher, closed the fallboard and watched the crayon disappear with the greatest satisfaction. Timing is everything. The little girl had made a great game of it laugh .
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Weber & Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop

Hailun / Pearl River Pianos

Pearl River World's Best Selling Piano
#1378760 - 02/20/10 11:18 AM Re: Stories of Piano User Error [Re: PianoWorksATL]
Rickster Offline

Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 9103
Loc: Georgia, USA
Interesting story, Sam, and humorous too! grin

I would imagine you dealers have seen a lot and experienced a lot of “user error” over time. I suppose that we consumers can forget, at times, that there is a lot of responsibility on the part of the new piano owners for caring for the piano, especially with small children around.

I have two grand children and when they visit they love to play on my pianos. I think because they know they are going to get granddaddy’s undivided attention. My four year old grandson, Grant, was banging on the keys of my grand piano real hard and I told him not to hit them hard, it would damage them. He said “I’m going to hit em’ hard”. Talk about rebellion at an early age! grin

I said, “Grant, if you hit them hard again, granddaddy is not going to let you play the piano again, ever”. Then he said, “granddaddy, can I hit em’ hard”? Well, at least he was asking for permission! Of course, I’ve hit em' pretty hard myself a few times! grin

Nice post!

Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

#1379147 - 02/20/10 08:23 PM Re: Stories of Piano User Error [Re: Rickster]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3992
Customer calls and says "the notes on my piano ring". It turns out they are playing the notes where the dampers end which ring because there are no dampers there! Every tech gets called out on that one, and quickly learns to diagnose it over the phone and save a wasted trip.

#1379274 - 02/21/10 12:42 AM Re: Stories of Piano User Error [Re: Bob]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2991
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Yes, Bob, I like this one, too. I get this call a couple of times each year.
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Weber & Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop

#1379356 - 02/21/10 03:02 AM Re: Stories of Piano User Error [Re: PianoWorksATL]
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3458
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
I had a customer complain that her piano was ringing after I tuned it. It wasn't dampers: her toddler had deposited her cellphone on the fallboard, opened it, and deposited it right into the action as you described!

I always show parents with kids how to remove and replace the fallboard...

Cy Shuster, RPT
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Director, PTG Norfolk 2016 Technical Institute

#1379455 - 02/21/10 09:38 AM Re: Stories of Piano User Error [Re: Cy Shuster, RPT]
Rank Piano Amateur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 1836
While I would bet that most problems like those in the descriptions above are both similar to the described ones and easy to remedy, I would caution tuners and technicians against assuming that to be the case without diagnostic visits. I have had two problems in my ever-lengthening and increasingly distant past with two different pianos that were catastrophic, and luckily for me in both cases the relevant professionals took them very seriously. Both pianos required replacement (one for a cracked plate; the other for a less obvious but nonetheless critical issue).

I think it's a great idea to show piano owners with children how to remove and replace the fallboard. On some pianos this is obvious and easy, but on some it is not. Now that I think about it, removing the fallboard might be a great lesson for all piano owners. My piano teacher had a clear plastic shield installed on her piano over the pinblock to stop pencils from falling into the piano, but it does not stop them from diving in behind the fallboard!

#1379474 - 02/21/10 10:19 AM Re: Stories of Piano User Error [Re: Rank Piano Amateur]
Pete M. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/30/10
Posts: 125
Loc: California
I didn't realize this was such a problem, but then I don't have kids.
Looking for piano learning resources or interesting piano stories? Check out my piano blog.

#1379597 - 02/21/10 01:26 PM Re: Stories of Piano User Error [Re: Pete M.]
apple* Offline

Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
that was a great story PIANOWORKSATL

great timing.. heh
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Ă•un (apple in Estonian)


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