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#2055395 - 03/27/13 11:20 PM The Piano at Ballarat
Plowboy Offline

2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2624
Loc: SoCal
Last Saturday we stopped off at Ballarat, Calif., just outside Death Valley National Park, on the way to a strenuous but terrific hike of Porter and Sentinel Peaks.

Ballarat is a ghost town, founded in 1896 at the base of the Panamint Mountains. It sort of petered out in 1917. Its most famous resident was Seldom Seen Slim, the last of the old time prospectors who passed away in 1968.

It had a saloon. The saloon is now run by the one resident, who sells cokes and beers. You can shoot his black powder rifle for $2. I wouldn't show up there with a Obama sticker on my bumper, if I was you. When we were there they were discussing the procedure for making ammonia nitrate flour.

Anyway, on the porch of the old saloon, under a roof, is an old upright. My guess is it's at least 100 years old. It hasn't been maintained since at least 1917 is my best guess. Nobody knows how long it has set on the porch, but Panamint Valley is pretty dry.

I gave it a try with Bach's Prelude in C Major. It actually worked! Sort of. While all the keys produced a "tone", most of the keys had to be pulled back up with a thumb before they could be played again. It sort of slowed down the prelude.

I didn't try the pedals.

It was kind of cool to play what I consider a historical instrument. Back in the day, that saloon must have been pretty lively with thirsty miners. It must have been an interesting crew of players that preceded me on that instrument. I wonder who they were and what stories they'd tell.

I wonder how many of them got plugged? I looked around but didn't see a "Don't Shoot the Piano Player" sign. You can see the piano on the right of the porch:

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#2055504 - 03/28/13 07:05 AM Re: The Piano at Ballarat [Re: Plowboy]
wouter79 Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/14/10
Posts: 4141
Wow nice, great weather too smile Thanks for posting. Maybe you can bring a bit of teflon spray next time to fix the hanging keys wink

#2055508 - 03/28/13 07:33 AM Re: The Piano at Ballarat [Re: Plowboy]
LarryShone Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/01/10
Posts: 1181
Loc: England
Poor thing needs some TLC and a good home!
If the piano is the King of instruments then I am its loyal servant.

My Soundcloud
Casio Celviano AP-450

#2055646 - 03/28/13 11:49 AM Re: The Piano at Ballarat [Re: Plowboy]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012

Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17948
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Fun story and pic. smile
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

#2055718 - 03/28/13 02:17 PM Re: The Piano at Ballarat [Re: Plowboy]
jotur Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 6141
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
That would have been fun to play - well, try to play, as it seems smile I'd love to have a gig in a place like that! Great photo - thanks for posting.


Practice like you are the worst; play like you are the best - anonymous

#2055969 - 03/29/13 12:34 AM Re: The Piano at Ballarat [Re: Plowboy]
Plowboy Offline

2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2624
Loc: SoCal
Thanks for the kind words. It's a cool piano.

Oh, Ballarat had one other famous resident: Charlie Manson.

#2056471 - 03/29/13 08:12 PM Re: The Piano at Ballarat [Re: Plowboy]
Amaruk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/02/11
Posts: 822
Loc: New England, USA
Great story Plowboy! Like all old pianos, this piano looks like it is in excellent shape! smile
My piano channel on YouTube: Link


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