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#1999517 - 12/14/12 06:20 PM Another old piano adventure
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8569
Loc: Georgia, USA
Hi All,

Not that I needed it, but I bought another old piano today. I saw it advertized on Craigslist and it was only a few miles from my home. The family who owned it is moving out of state and they didn't want to take it with them. I paid $50 for it.

It is an old Conover-Cable with the claw-feet and French legs. It needs some work, but not ready for landfill just yet. I'll tinker with it a little and then sell it or give it way. I'll have some fun playing it first... smile

Here is a YT video of the piano before I unloaded it off my utility trailer.

Another old piano adventure....

I know, I have a sickness... a weakness for old pianos... smile

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

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#1999533 - 12/14/12 06:49 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
PaintedPostDave Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/09/10
Posts: 550
Loc: Upstate New York
Way cool! Thanks for sharing!
_________________________
Dave Koenig
Yamaha M1A console
1927 Knabe 7' 8" grand
https://sites.google.com/site/analysisofsoundsandvibrations/

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#1999574 - 12/14/12 08:53 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
I quite like your rendition of Blueberry Hill Rick, that is the perfect kind of music for that piano. Too bad the bass strings sound really dead - I'll bet with new bass strings that piano would roar.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#1999581 - 12/14/12 09:14 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9297
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted By: Rickster

I know, I have a sickness... a weakness for old pianos... smile

Rick


It is not just a sickness, it is a disease, Rick. I think it has reached epidemic status here on PW. I am definitely infected.
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

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#1999585 - 12/14/12 09:26 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Is there a twelve step program?

Congratulations Rick on your decidedly not new, new to you, not even newish, member of your piano family.

Are the goats jealous?
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#1999586 - 12/14/12 09:31 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rich Galassini]
fcar Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/19/11
Posts: 52
Loc: GA, USA
Congratulations on the new acquisition. It was fun to hear you play it.

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#1999590 - 12/14/12 09:36 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Minnesota Marty]
woodog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 405
Loc: Bowling Green, KY
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Is there a twelve step program?



If there is, y'all stay away from it. I like what you do for these instruments. It's a gift for the present in a way.

so keep at it! :-)

Forrest
_________________________
-------------------
current studies:
Debussy: Suite Bergamasque
Bach 848, 866
Schumann Op. 15

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#1999598 - 12/14/12 09:51 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
ventil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/11
Posts: 148
Loc: TX
Rick,

Is it strictly the physical instrument that interests you?

An older piano tends to become a family member, developing a personality and history in a way that a sofa or refrigerator does not. To me that's part of the fascination of an older piano, especially if it appears well-cared-for.
_________________________
David M. Boothe, CAS

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#1999833 - 12/15/12 01:31 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
nwpiano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/04/10
Posts: 122
Loc: Oregon
It's not a sickness, it is intelligence! That could be an amazing piano. I just bought a Weber upright (1895 ish) for my parents and they had it rebuilt. Wow, what an instrument! It will give my grandma's Steinway K52 a run for it's money anyday. If you end up replacing the hammers, I would recommend Abel, that is what we used on the Weber and it gave it that American Piano richness.
Craig
_________________________
Craig
2010 Young Chang YP-208 (Church)
Rebuilt 1919 6'2" Conover 88 (Home)

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#1999917 - 12/15/12 04:36 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
Mark R. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2043
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Rick,

Firstly: you know how to make the feet tap!!!

Secondly: on the issue of tubby bass strings. If you do decide to go into this, and have some time (rather than money) on hand for this piano, I can recommend Reblitz's method for revitalizing old bass strings. I spent about 15 hours on my project piano doing this, and not only do the bass strings look better, but more importantly, their sound has improved remarkably. And I didn't find that the procedure caused undue wear on the pinblock either.

Granted, there have been two or three strings on which the new-found sound didn't last very long, but most of them are still fine, and it's been about a year now.

Good luck! (Looking for any pointers, just drop me a line.)
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1999976 - 12/15/12 06:51 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
Kurtmen Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 632
Loc: San Mateo, CA
AWESOME! Blueberry Hill.

Very cool. smokin
_________________________
San Mateo Piano
Purveyors of:
Kawai, Wilh. Steinberg.
Kawai Digital Piano, Pianodisc.
<a href="http://sanmateopiano.com" style="color:#FF0505;font-size:10px;font-family:Times New Roman;text-decoration:underline;" target="_blank" >http://sanmateopiano.com</a>

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#2000058 - 12/15/12 10:54 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Minnesota Marty]
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3165
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Is there a twelve step program?



Yes...it starts with C, C#, and chromatically up to B...12 steps!
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#2000062 - 12/15/12 11:10 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: rocket88]
jmcintyre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/10
Posts: 228
Loc: Wash. DC area
Originally Posted By: rocket88
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Is there a twelve step program?

Yes...it starts with C, C#, and chromatically up to B...12 steps!


It's best to ease yourself into the program - make it twelve half-steps.
_________________________
I'd rather be practicing wink
Kawai K-3, Roland FP-7F
Now: Brahms Op. 118, Bach French Suite #5

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#2000063 - 12/15/12 11:16 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
Roy Rodgers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/09
Posts: 347
Loc: Ranger, Texas
If there is a cure, I don't want one. Love to hear these old beast even if slightly out of tune.

Keep the videos coming.

And keep having fun.
_________________________
Tuning and repairing pianos since 1981 in Ranger, Tx. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Roys-Piano-Service/173273022711505

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#2000620 - 12/17/12 08:46 AM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3555
I'm not so convinced about the piano, how's the action?

But you're really good at blueberry hill. Solid playing, nice tempo, even the singing, great!
_________________________

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#2000678 - 12/17/12 12:31 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8569
Loc: Georgia, USA
Thanks for the comments, All!

Yes, I know the old Conover has a lot of wear, and age has certainly taken a toll on it. The action is not too bad… it has the old Billings brass flanges (?). One of the brass flange plates broke while I was tightening the flange screws. I fabricated another one with a piece of flat brass I had laying around my shop. You can still buy the flange plates and I may need more yet, but I’ve got the action working pretty smoothly for now (thanks to Proteck CLP and powdered Teflon smile ).

It is amazing how long these old action parts can last.

Though there was lots of dust everywhere on the inside, there is surprisingly very little rust on the strings and other metal parts. I figure the piano was at least housed in a relatively environmentally controlled space during most of its life. Oh yea, it also has a heater bar professionally installed behind the foot board.

I’ve got it all taken apart and in the process of replacing some of the chipped and missing ivory pieces on the keys. I had another old upright piano that was given to me that had some decent old ivory key top fronts I was able to salvage.

It may not turn out to be a top-notch instrument, but it will be another project to help me hone my meager piano tech skills and be a lot of fun along the way.

All in all, I think I’ve already had $50 worth of fun and stress relief tinkering with it. smile

One thing is for sure, I have a renewed respect for real piano rebuilders, restorers and techs.

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

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#2000680 - 12/17/12 12:36 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
TigerRad Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/25/11
Posts: 32
Loc: Columbia, SC
That performance alone is worth the 50 bucks! Not so sure about the effort of getting that beast on and off the truck though.
_________________________
Yamaha CLP-240....and looking

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#2000734 - 12/17/12 03:12 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
wouter79 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 3555
Yes it looks great for a fun project. If you can get the action all right and you get that twoink sound out of the bass strings, it might be fine!
_________________________

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#2000773 - 12/17/12 05:00 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
Roger Ransom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/05
Posts: 1265
Loc: SouthWest Michigan
And you didn't even hire the pros to move it. Proves it can be done.
_________________________
Laugh More
Yamaha G7 - Roland FP7

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#2003744 - 12/24/12 02:03 AM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 386
Loc: East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
Did you get the " It took 7 guys to get that thing in here" line from the previous owner? I think that is a standard line. If picking up antique pianos is an illness I need help badly. I think we have about 400 of them in the warehouse by now lol. We are just suckers for those old pianos here in Nashville.
_________________________
J. Christie
Nashville Piano Rescue
www.NashvillePianoRescue.com
East Nashville
Bowling Green, KY
Scottsville KY.
Chamber of Commerce
Member/Sponsor

Putting inspiration in the hands of area musicians
Through restoration/renovation

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#2003832 - 12/24/12 08:56 AM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8569
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: Nash Piano Rescue
Did you get the " It took 7 guys to get that thing in here" line from the previous owner? I think that is a standard line. If picking up antique pianos is an illness I need help badly. I think we have about 400 of them in the warehouse by now lol. We are just suckers for those old pianos here in Nashville.

Actually, the previous owners (husband & wife & 4 kids) helped me load it on my utility trailer. They did most of the work. I figure that was part of the bargain. smile

I've taken the gem apart and cleaned out a 100 years worth of dust... I ordered new polymer key top fronts that look like real ivory and glued them on the white keys... that turned out well. I put the keys and action back in yesterday to see how the new key top fronts look and spent about 4 hours playing the heck out of it... smile

Of course, I needed the practice and the action needs loosening up. Most of the notes repeat pretty fast... some are still sluggish, even after treatment with Protech CLP. I'm hoping the stubborn sluggish notes will smooth out without too much prompting.

I like the tone of the old gal... smile

The exterior finish has been refinished in the past and it looks like they did a good job... it won't need much; maybe a good cleaning and going over with 0000 steel wool and soapy water.

My sister has alrady expressed interest in the piano; so, when I'm done with it I may give it to her (unless I fall in love with it even more smile ).

Thanks for all the comments, and Happy Holidays!

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

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#2003841 - 12/24/12 09:12 AM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Hi Rick,

Will the crowning glory be a new fallboard decal?

Happy Holidays to All!
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2004084 - 12/24/12 06:48 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
Sam Rose Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 673
Loc: Los Angeles
Rickster, what's "Protech CLP" if I may ask?
_________________________
Playing since age 21 (September 2010) and loving it more every day.
"You can play better than BachMach2." - Mark_C
Currently Butchering:
Chopin Ballade no 1 in G minor Op.23
My Piano Diary: http://www.youtube.com/sirsardonic
♪ > $

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#2004137 - 12/24/12 10:45 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8569
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: Sam Rose
Rickster, what's "Protech CLP" if I may ask?

Hi Sam,

I may have mispelled it... it is Protek CLP. It is a special product made especially for acoustic piano action parts. It cleans and lubricates. They sell it here at Piano World at the Piano Supply page. Protek CLP

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

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#2005751 - 12/28/12 07:46 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
j&j Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/09
Posts: 444
Loc: Southwest
Rickster,

Very cool. Thank you. If it is a disease, maybe A&E could do a series "Piano Hoarders NYC", "Piano Hoarders Orange County"!

BTW, where do you find room to keep these old gals as you're rebuilding them?

It really brightened my day.
_________________________
J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working." Pablo Picasso

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#2006522 - 12/30/12 12:43 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8569
Loc: Georgia, USA
I thought you all might get a good laugh, or at least a smile, ( smile ) out of my field engineering set up to treat the tuning pin block on my old Conover upright. Thing is, it worked... well. smile

When you don’t have the right tools or equipment (or human assistance) you use what you got…

The old gal is responding to my TLC just fine... I can't get over how well I like the tone, in spite of the dead bass strings and warn hammers.

And, J&J, I almost have a piano in every room of my house... I may have build on another room. grin

Happy New Year!

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

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#2006534 - 12/30/12 12:57 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Yeah Rick!

Simple piano tools are one thing, but most of us don't have a Ford Tractor with a rear boom!!!!!!

Good Job!
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2006599 - 12/30/12 03:16 PM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
Eric Gloo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1251
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
Great photo! While the piano was tipped, did you take a minute to tighten up the bottom board screws and the caster screws? smile
_________________________
Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York

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#2006945 - 12/31/12 09:20 AM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8569
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: Eric Gloo
Great photo! While the piano was tipped, did you take a minute to tighten up the bottom board screws and the caster screws? smile

Thanks, Eric.

Actually, yes, I did tighten the caster screws... but not the bottom board screws; I didn't think about those.

And, Marty, I have 3 Ford tractors... Guess I'm a fanatic there too. grin

By-the-way, I treated the tuning pin block with CA glue. Some of them (tuning pins) felt a little loose (but still holding); but I went ahead and treated all the pins slots.

I'll see how the treatment worked when I give the old gal a full tuning, but for now I'm still enjoying the saloon sound. smile

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

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#2006948 - 12/31/12 09:31 AM Re: Another old piano adventure [Re: Rickster]
Roy Rodgers Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/01/09
Posts: 347
Loc: Ranger, Texas
Nothing wrong with improvising. A lot better to use the tractor for tipping than trying to do it without enough help or the right tipper.

my wife is a good piano tipper. She's much stouter than I am. LOL
_________________________
Tuning and repairing pianos since 1981 in Ranger, Tx. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Roys-Piano-Service/173273022711505

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