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#162601 - 06/22/04 12:31 AM How do I get rid of an old upright piano???
Timothy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/20/04
Posts: 8
Loc: SF Bay Area
I've got an old Stirling (spelled with an "I") that's over 100 years old and needs to be COMPLETELY restored, restrung and retuned, that I need to get rid of. What do people do with this sort of thing? Is a landfill the only solution?

I'm told that restoring it will cost in the area of $5,000.00, but I'm reluctant to do this because NOBODY can tell me what it is or what it's history is. Nobody's ever even heard of a Stirling spelled with an "I".

I'd try to sell it, but it's going to cost me about $500.00 just to get it craned out of the house, and I doubt I could even get that much for it.

Any suggestions would be great..

Thanks!

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#162602 - 06/22/04 12:50 AM Re: How do I get rid of an old upright piano???
tl91pink Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/13/04
Posts: 134
Loc: Midwest
Offer it in the paper as "Free Piano-if you pay to move it"

I know that many on this forum sell and own the finest pianos that are made in the world, but to a family with very limited finances who have a little beginner child who would like to play the piano, it may be something they might want.

I would think if it got into your house, it would be able to get taken out.

My personal story, when I was really little, Probably around 6 years old, my aunt offered to sell my parents her very old (over a hundred years old, I believe) , and very, very heavy upright piano for $100 granted that they would move it themselves. The bench was huge and thick. I used to walk across the part of the piano where you set the music! I remember it tore our carpet. I have no idea what brand it was, but I sure didn't care when I was so small. I was excited to have a piano. After just messing around on it for several months, my parents decided to start me in piano lessons. If we hadn't gotten that piano, my parents may have never started me in lessons. I've been playing the piano for 28 years now and have been used greatly to be a blessing playing the piano. It has been a blessing to me as well.

On the same note, A couple months ago I was scheduled to play the piano for a trio to sing at a banquet. I went over to the family's house to practice with them. They had a piano because their two daughters (now in junior high/middle school) both play. Anyway, I was very surprised at the condition of their piano. It didn't even have a matching bench or a bench the right height. Some keys had been replaced. It played horrible, extremely loose...I couldn't believe that the one daughter especially was so good at playing the piano, having such a bad piano to practice on, but they were glad to have found it at a very low price and glad to have one. They were willing to pay a little bit here and there to have a string or key replaced just to keep it playable, even though it was still awful. I don't think they even realized how bad it was. They could probably not afford anything halfway decent, yet the girls are learning how to play.

All that to say, one man's garbage is another man's treasure...

We wouldn't want it, but there is probably someone who would. Just be honest with them about its condition, but some people probably won't care.

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#162603 - 06/22/04 03:49 PM Re: How do I get rid of an old upright piano???
Manitou Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 1044
Loc: Colorado
*FREE TO GOOD HOME*
_________________________
Manitou - Pianist - Technician

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#162604 - 06/22/04 03:57 PM Re: How do I get rid of an old upright piano???
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
I've helped 4 families get older uprights for free. They are so grateful.. I would actually sell it for the price of the ad. or..

if you're handy and the cabinet is cool you could make it into a desk or shelving. Check it out.

http://www.pianodesk.com/desk10.htm
_________________________
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

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#162605 - 06/22/04 04:08 PM Re: How do I get rid of an old upright piano???
kathyk Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 6971
Loc: Maine
Or you could turn it into a bicycle driven piano bar.

http://pic.templetons.com/burnpic/burn/ride-piano.jpg

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#162606 - 06/22/04 06:06 PM Re: How do I get rid of an old upright piano???
John R Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/07/02
Posts: 36
Loc: So. California
I watched a show on PBS recently about people donating their pianos for transport to Cuba.

A quick search might help you/them with your piano situation. Below is a brief news article:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++=

By Associated Press, 2/1/2001 03:48. Boston Globe

FALMOUTH, Mass. (AP) Glenway Fripp is just one of those people who will spend $1,200 to go to Cuba in the middle of February to tune and fix pianos.

''I'd rather not vacation as a tourist,'' Fripp, who lives in this Cape Cod community, told the Cape Cod Times. ''I'd rather work where I go, because working puts you in touch with the culture and the people.''

Fripp will travel to the Caribbean island nation as part of Send a Piana to Havana, a not-for-profit organization that has been sending pianos, piano tuners and technicians to Cuba since 1995.

Fripp got the idea of the Cuban trip from David Stanwood of Martha's Vineyard, a fellow piano technician. Stanwood made the trip with Send a Piana to Havana in 1997.

''Most of the pianos in Cuba were in terrible shape,'' Stanwood said. ''The Cuban people didn't have the knowledge, technology or tools to fix them. They treated us like royalty, and couldn't have been more accommodating.''

The founder of the project, Benjamin Treuhaft, first visited Cuba in 1993, and fell in love with the country.

''I went crazy for the place,'' Treuhaft said. ''It's so beautiful. The people are so beautiful.''

When Treuhaft began sending pianos to Cuba in 1995, he contacted the U.S. Commerce Department, which said pianos were not on the list of items that the U.S. government would allow into Cuba. He was referred to the Office of Nuclear and missile Technology, which eventually gave him permission to send pianos to Cuba with the condition that they not be used for ''torture or human-rights abuse.''

Since its inception, Send a Piana to Havana has shipped more than 140 of the instruments to Cuba.

Copyright 2001 Boston Globe Electronic Publishing, Inc.

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#162607 - 06/23/04 06:52 PM Re: How do I get rid of an old upright piano???
Eric F Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/23/03
Posts: 518
Loc: La Quinta, CA
So we send them worthless pianos and they send us boat-people. Seems like a fair trade to me. Do we ship the pianos by rubber raft? \:D
_________________________
Eric Frankson
"Music comes first from my heart, and then goes upstairs to my head where I check it out." - Roberta Flack

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#162608 - 06/27/04 12:30 AM Re: How do I get rid of an old upright piano???
Timothy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/20/04
Posts: 8
Loc: SF Bay Area
I'm having a hard time finding anyone who wants it. The other problem is that it's going to cost me $500.00 just to get it craned out of the house (more than I could really ask for it).

I called a few piano movers and piano repair shops to see if they wanted it, or some of its parts, but they said "No Thanks". According to them, a landfill is the most likely resting place for it. Having it hauled to the landfill will cost an additional $150 to $200.00! $700.00 just to get rid of an old piano!

It looks like I'll be getting a crash course in how to dismantle a piano soon.

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#162609 - 06/27/04 01:57 AM Re: How do I get rid of an old upright piano???
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
gas and a match?


train tracks?
_________________________
Outlive Yourself - Become an Organ Donor

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#162610 - 06/27/04 08:23 AM Re: How do I get rid of an old upright piano???
Piano World Online   blank


Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5563
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (originally N...
 Quote:
Originally posted by Timothy:
I'm having a hard time finding anyone who wants it.

It looks like I'll be getting a crash course in how to dismantle a piano soon. [/b]
Crash being the operative word, here are a few things to watch out for:

Lesson 1
The total tension exerted by the strings is measured in tons. Do not attempt to cut the strings (or as one man did, chop up with an ax) without loosening the tension.

Lesson 2
Individual parts of the piano can still be too heavy for one person.
Example: The cast iron plate supporting the strings. I know this from personal experience because early in my career I tried to carry one downstairs, when I realized it was too heavy, it got away from me, breaking a window and punching a hole in the wall.

Lesson 3
Do not be surprised if you find rodent nests under the keys. They find this to be an attractive place to live (if the piano isn't being played much).
Dark and cozy with lots of nice felt and wool for making nests.

Lesson 4
Pianos are assembled by a team of people using special tools, including big presses and really big wrenches.
A screwdriver and a pair of pliers will probably not be sufficient to disassemble the piano.

Lesson 5
Before you scoop out all the junk under the keys, poke through it with a pencil or screwdriver.
I've found lots of interesting old coins, pictures, etc. Maybe you'll be lucky and find an old coin worth money:-)
Or better yet, like the story circulating a couple of years ago about the tuner who found a bag of old money stuffed inside the bottom of the piano!

Good Luck.
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#162611 - 06/27/04 11:54 AM Re: How do I get rid of an old upright piano???
Steve Cohen Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10446
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Pay the money...have a piano mover take it to the dump for you.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#162612 - 06/30/04 07:32 PM Re: How do I get rid of an old upright piano???
Timothy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/20/04
Posts: 8
Loc: SF Bay Area
Just a little update... I (we actually, as my brother helped) managed to take it apart last night (mostly). All that's left is the back and sides.

Frank.. Thanks for the tips! You're right about the "Plate" (I thought it was called a harp).. I knew it was going to be heavy, but DAMN, I didn't know it was going to be THAT heavy!!

We've taken off everything we can that was held on by bolts or screws, but now I'm sorry to say it's time to break out the sledge hammers and crow-bars.

In so much as the piano was my mother's and though she didn't play it herself, had great personal feelings for it (it was a gift from my
Dad in 1975), we're going to see if it's possible (or leagle) to burn the wooden parts of it at Ocean Beach, in San Francisco's Outer Sunset District.

Thanks again for all the replies :-)

-Tim

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#162613 - 06/30/04 08:03 PM Re: How do I get rid of an old upright piano???
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21253
Loc: Oakland
It's not legal, and I've got friends on the BAAQMD! \:\)
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#162614 - 06/30/04 09:04 PM Re: How do I get rid of an old upright piano???
pete Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 796
Loc: port washington, ny, us
That isn't just an old story about finding a bag of money in the piano. When I was in law school, we studied a case in Tax Law about a family that found a bag of money when they bought a used piano and had it tuned. Guess what, the IRS rled that it was income.

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#162615 - 06/30/04 09:11 PM Re: How do I get rid of an old upright piano???
samekenny4 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 144
Loc: So. California
 Quote:
Originally posted by kathyk:
Or you could turn it into a bicycle driven piano bar.

http://pic.templetons.com/burnpic/burn/ride-piano.jpg [/b]
Kathy
OMG
What the muck?
Where the farg did you find that tragedy in crisis?
_________________________
I am not you.

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#162616 - 06/30/04 09:15 PM Re: How do I get rid of an old upright piano???
samekenny4 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 144
Loc: So. California
Then there is always that rich guy in the United Kingdom.
He owns lots of land.
Sheep graze on it.

He has an interest in medieval weapons of mass destruction.
He has a big catapult thing that used to be used to fling plague infected livestock over the walls of the enemy.

Now he delights in catapulting old pianos on his land, much to the chagrin of his nervous sheep.

I thought *I* was weird.


And Chickgrand recently posted that cool link to the backyard piano BBQ?
_________________________
I am not you.

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#162617 - 07/01/04 08:15 AM Re: How do I get rid of an old upright piano???
RKVS1 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/01
Posts: 3192
Loc: Topeka, Kansas
Kenny, I believe that this particular British eccentrocrat requires all donated "ammunition" to be "tuned and concert ready". \:D

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#162618 - 07/01/04 08:30 AM Re: How do I get rid of an old upright piano???
Steve Cohen Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10446
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Piano World:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Timothy:
I'm having a hard time finding anyone who wants it.

It looks like I'll be getting a crash course in how to dismantle a piano soon. [/b]
Crash being the operative word, here are a few things to watch out for:

Lesson 1
The total tension exerted by the strings is measured in tons. Do not attempt to cut the strings (or as one man did, chop up with an ax) without loosening the tension.

Lesson 2
Individual parts of the piano can still be too heavy for one person.
Example: The cast iron plate supporting the strings. I know this from personal experience because early in my career I tried to carry one downstairs, when I realized it was too heavy, it got away from me, breaking a window and punching a hole in the wall.

Lesson 3
Do not be surprised if you find rodent nests under the keys. They find this to be an attractive place to live (if the piano isn't being played much).
Dark and cozy with lots of nice felt and wool for making nests.

Lesson 4
Pianos are assembled by a team of people using special tools, including big presses and really big wrenches.
A screwdriver and a pair of pliers will probably not be sufficient to disassemble the piano.

Lesson 5
Before you scoop out all the junk under the keys, poke through it with a pencil or screwdriver.
I've found lots of interesting old coins, pictures, etc. Maybe you'll be lucky and find an old coin worth money:-)
Or better yet, like the story circulating a couple of years ago about the tuner who found a bag of old money stuffed inside the bottom of the piano!

Good Luck. [/b]
Frank, how about adding this reply to FAQs?
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

Top
#162619 - 07/01/04 08:55 AM Re: How do I get rid of an old upright piano???
Manitou Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 1044
Loc: Colorado
I agree with Cohen, after a piano is deemed unsalvageable, post your post as last resort to dumping pianos with help of movers.
_________________________
Manitou - Pianist - Technician

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