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#2310036 - 08/01/14 11:50 PM Ivory v. Plastic Questions
Retsacnal Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Feb 18  2015


Registered: 10/11/12
Posts: 499
Loc: Northern Virgina
Questions:
  • How do you feel about plastic v. ivory keytops?
  • Are there plastic keytops available with a nice texture?
  • Are there plastic keytops available in off white?
Why I'm wondering:

My piano's ivories are in pretty good shape. There are a couple of keys that have hairline cracks running from the front edge inward, maybe a half inch long, and one that's cracked similarly but enough that the crack is darker (dirt?).

One key top had come loose when the piano was shipped to me, but I reattached it using instructions I found in an old post, and it seems to be holding fine, but off and on I've been wondering about replacing the three cracked tops.

The key tops are not yellowed, but they do have an off-white, dirty/alabaster sort of look to them. Probably silly, but I kind of like them that way, but I've also assumed it would make matching the tops with new ones difficult. So I've wondered about cleaning them up too.

Well, a few weeks back there were some posts about ivory and governmental concerns about it, bans on shipping, etc, and it got me thinking about whether or not plastic is the way to go. I read the related articles and documents, and searched through old posts here. It seems like the consensus on PW a while back was that plastic is the way to go for both practical and ethical reasons, but, as is the case with older posts, very few of those posters are still posting.

What I'm thinking so far:

I'm going to be candid and say that at this point I think I'm in the "plastic" camp for both kind of reasons:
  • Ethical: just look in the hidden section below
Click to reveal.. (Warning: graphic)

I just want no part of this! This shows a guy with a hatchet, but apparently the more common way now is to use a chainsaw. See the lower pictures.
Somehow it just seems inhumane to have ivory on my piano at all...




  • Practical:
    1. Probably easier to clean and maintain. (?)
    2. The proposed regulations will likely ban interstate shipping in the U.S., and we'll certainly be retiring and moving someday, my wife and I have both lived and worked internationally before, and there's a good chance that we will go abroad after our girls graduate from High School, and international shipping is already an issue.

Questions:

Anyway, I'm curious what others think about plastic versus ivory key tops, and what the state of the art for plastic is in terms of look (color) and feel.

_________________________
1950 Baldwin M

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#2310071 - 08/02/14 03:20 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Retsacnal]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1147
I think ivory was always irresponsible, but it is easier to play on when you sweat - still that's not even close to a good enough reason to use it.

An old ivory keyboard is one matter, but I know manufacturers and rebuilders that will give you new ivory if you pay a premium which I think is grossly irresponsible.

I like the acrylics that kluge use - very comfortable, and Yamaha ivorite is wonderful

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#2310077 - 08/02/14 03:40 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Retsacnal]
musicpassion Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 922
Loc: California, USA
I think good quality plastic keytops feel good. They are easy to clean, and they are more durable than ivory. The mineral plastics feel very good - they feel more "dry". On any new piano I think - as probably every does - that plastic is the way to go. As an aside, some pipe organs use cow bone (probably plenty of the raw material available thanks to the beef industry) and they feel quite good. They usually seem somewhat grey and perhaps a bit streaked. But they have character and don't look bad, IMHO. I don't know how readily available the product it is (if it is... I've heard story of one organ builder starting the process with a trip to the butcher).

On antique pianos I think the keytops should be preserved if they are in good condition. Ripping off keytops from a 100 year old piano doesn't do anything - IMHO - to help the current problems. Furthermore I don't presume to judge the decisions that were made in 1905, for example.
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2310079 - 08/02/14 03:47 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: joe80]
musicpassion Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 922
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: joe80
I know manufacturers and rebuilders that will give you new ivory if you pay a premium which I think is grossly irresponsible.

If the manufacturer or rebuilder is in USA it can't be actual new ivory. They have been able to use pre-ban existing stocks of old ivory. Of course you may not like that, but I think there is a distinction between actual new ivory and old, pre-ban ivory.
Quote:
Yamaha ivorite is wonderful

I agree
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2310091 - 08/02/14 04:43 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Retsacnal]
PhilipInChina Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/19/13
Posts: 770
Loc: China
When an elephant dies what is the problem with using the ivory? It is regulation of thr trade that is needed.
_________________________
Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"

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#2310093 - 08/02/14 05:02 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Retsacnal]
JohnSprung Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1300
Loc: Reseda, California
I really don't care if it's plastic or ivory. It's the sound, not the feel, that matters.

That being said, the big danger to us is that extremeist activists demand ever more draconian measures as their campaigns succeed in passing laws that don't solve the problem. Now they want a ban on all ivory:

http://www.96elephants.org/

Maybe it would be nice to do some pushback and start a site called 88keys.org...? The senseless destruction of pianos won't stop the senseless destruction of elephants.
_________________________
-- J.S.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690

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#2310103 - 08/02/14 06:13 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Retsacnal]
PhilipInChina Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/19/13
Posts: 770
Loc: China
I heard some member of the uk royal family saying he would like to destroy everything made of ivory is all the royal palaces. The sort of knee jerk reaction you get from people of limited analytical ability.
_________________________
Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"

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#2310125 - 08/02/14 07:45 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Retsacnal]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1945
Loc: Philadelphia area
Over the years I've found that most players, ranging from beginners to professional levels, prefer plastic over ivory.

Personally, I play equally bad on both surfaces. If there is nothing wrong with the key tops you already have, why change them? The first thing to check is if the top of the keytop is still flat. Ivory warps and will also wear down over years of playing, leaving a bowled area which you can sometimes feel with your fingers.

Have you gone to go to a showroom where you can compare different keytop surfaces? As mentioned in an earlier post, there are excellent options to choose from.


Enjoy.

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#2310144 - 08/02/14 08:49 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Retsacnal]
S. Phillips Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 265
Loc: Forte Farm, Lexington, KY
I have just written an update to my original article about this on Piano Buyer.
http://www.pianobuyer.com/articles/ivory.html

Two bills have just been introduced in the House and the Senate to try to bring some logic to this issue:
http://www.pianobuyer.com/articles/ivory2.html

OP: Depending on what state you live in currently and where your technician lives, you may be able to have the few ivories replaced, but another option is to have your tech repair the existing ivories with a material that is put in like a filler and sanded down. If your tech has the experience with this material available from Pianotek called Acrylikey II, the crack is cleaned out, the material is filled in and after it dries, it is sanded and polished. I good job with this material will be invisible. It is the similar to the material that dentists use to make a tooth and can be mixed to match the color of the original ivory.

The other suggestion that I have is to have the keys recovered in mineral plastic. Blackstone Valley http://www.pianoandorgankeys.com does an incredible job with this material and it looks and feels more like ivory.

Getting back to the ivory issue, as I said in my article, ivory was used because prior to the invention of plastic because it was really the only material available that could be worked and was durable for use on the key tops. It was never a decorative material but a functional one that was much harder than the wood used for the key. Without a hard, smooth material covering the wood of the keys, the wooden surface would have worn down rapidly. As soon as man made materials were available the piano industry quickly abandoned ivory in the 1950's here in the U.S.

I would vote for the complete replacement of your ivory keys because unless the original ivories have been very well maintained and are perfectly flat, the regulation of the key height and dip is much more accurate with plastic that is uniform.

While the official comment period about this with Fish and Wildlife has not yet begun, now is the time to write your congressional representatives about the problems for piano owners with this regulation.

See my link to the update to review the issues at hand.
_________________________
Sally Phillips
Piano Technician
One can always find something to improve.
2 Steinway Os, Steinway B & C, C. Bechstein A
Phillips Piano Tech
Contributor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
New Federal and State Ivory Regulations and Pianos
http://www.pianobuyer.com/articles/ivory.html

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#2310150 - 08/02/14 09:10 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: joe80]
BrianDX Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 512
Loc: Lewes DE
Originally Posted By: joe80
Yamaha ivorite is wonderful

I agree also very strongly.
_________________________
Groucho Marx: "Now we're getting somewhere"
2013 Yamaha C2X | 2001 Yamaha M500-F .


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#2310156 - 08/02/14 09:21 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: S. Phillips]
Karl Watson Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/11
Posts: 319
Dear friends:

The above responses represent a perfect example of how opinions can differ. It is incomprehensible to me that anyone could prefer the feel of plastic to real ivory keytops. I think that Steinways are perhaps the worst. Having said this, I recently tried a very artistic rebuild of a vintage Steinway (yes, it was at Cunningham's) that had new keytops of the mineral type. They truly are what we've been waiting for and render the old ivory/plastic debate a waste of time and ink. They look and feel just swell.

Good news from Sally Phillips and an excellent explanation of that filler stuff. Even I can understand the process.

I do believe that those that have ivory keytops should, by the Grace of God and the State, be allowed to keep and maintain them, as well as transport them, with the necessary documentation.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

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#2310179 - 08/02/14 10:50 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Karl Watson]
S. Phillips Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 265
Loc: Forte Farm, Lexington, KY
Originally Posted By: Karl Watson
Dear friends:

I do believe that those that have ivory keytops should, by the Grace of God and the State, be allowed to keep and maintain them, as well as transport them, with the necessary documentation.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY



The proper documentation is exactly the problem. Pianos under 100 years old will not be eligible for an antique exemption. Ivory was used here until the 1950's and 60's, in Europe until the 1980's. If you are personally transporting a piano that does not change ownership, in theory you should be able to do that but if the piano gets inspected and there is not enough (and who will decide what is enough) documentation to prove that you did not just buy it, it may be confiscated. Let's say you have a family piano that was purchased years ago and you just inherited it from Aunt Mable. You might have pictures of it from Christmas in 1970. You might have some repair documentation that proved that she owned it. You might be able to get a copy of the will if it specifically designated you are the heir. But maybe you don't have these things. Maybe you got it and have never had it tuned. Your mother just said, "Why don't you take the piano, I'm sure she would have wanted you to have it." The company that made it is out of business and all you have is a Piano Atlas that says it was made between 1913 and 1915. What is realistic? The way this is written it is possible for a Hamburg Steinway from 1935 that was imported properly with CITES documentation to be able to be exempt but a Sohmer made in 1935 to not be exempt.

The message to your congressional representatives needs to be: Leave pianos out of this. Remember, the piano industry is not now using any new ivory. So all this regulation, inspection, documentation, and restriction will not save any elephants because no elephants are being sacrificed for piano keyboards now. They are trying to regulate and stop something that is not now happening in the piano industry.
_________________________
Sally Phillips
Piano Technician
One can always find something to improve.
2 Steinway Os, Steinway B & C, C. Bechstein A
Phillips Piano Tech
Contributor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
New Federal and State Ivory Regulations and Pianos
http://www.pianobuyer.com/articles/ivory.html

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#2310182 - 08/02/14 10:52 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Retsacnal]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2494
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
How about printing up some fake documentation that says that it is fake ivory?
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

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#2310187 - 08/02/14 11:00 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: malkin]
S. Phillips Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 265
Loc: Forte Farm, Lexington, KY
Originally Posted By: malkin
How about printing up some fake documentation that says that it is fake ivory?


No one should even consider doing anything like that. First of all the fines will be huge. I don't know any professional in the business that would take such a foolish risk. If this does become law, we will all just have to either be able to prove that we own it, or over 100 years old with documentable provenance or we will have to bite the bullet and take the ivory off.
_________________________
Sally Phillips
Piano Technician
One can always find something to improve.
2 Steinway Os, Steinway B & C, C. Bechstein A
Phillips Piano Tech
Contributor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
New Federal and State Ivory Regulations and Pianos
http://www.pianobuyer.com/articles/ivory.html

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#2310188 - 08/02/14 11:01 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: malkin]
Silver Keys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/21/13
Posts: 89
Loc: Upstate N.Y.
Originally Posted By: malkin
How about printing up some fake documentation that says that it is fake ivory?


How about going to prison?
_________________________
So much music and so little time!
-----------------------------------
1916 Mason & Hamlin BB
Yamaha P155

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#2310189 - 08/02/14 11:02 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Retsacnal]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1959
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
To add to Sally's final comment, I don't think anyone anywhere in the world is using illegal ivory to make piano key-tops.

David Warther of Ohio was offering old pre-ban ivory that he cut into key-top blanks. I don't know if he still does. His family business does scrimshaw and they accumulated tusks many years ago.

There has been no evidence to show that piano key-tops contribute to ivory poaching.

I wonder if this idea of restricting used piano sales because of ivory came from someone in the new piano business who saw an opportunity to reduce sales of used pianos.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2310200 - 08/02/14 11:30 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Retsacnal]
S. Phillips Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 265
Loc: Forte Farm, Lexington, KY
Ed, I don't think the new piano manufacturers had anything to do with this. I think that the Director's Order was made without consulting stakeholders involved and it was only when the piano industry and other musicians realized the ramifications of the new regulations that the alarm bells rang. Here are the problems this is creating for other musicians.

http://thestrad.com/latest/debate/the-us-ivory-ban-risks-criminalising-hard-working-musicians
_________________________
Sally Phillips
Piano Technician
One can always find something to improve.
2 Steinway Os, Steinway B & C, C. Bechstein A
Phillips Piano Tech
Contributor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
New Federal and State Ivory Regulations and Pianos
http://www.pianobuyer.com/articles/ivory.html

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#2310206 - 08/02/14 11:51 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Retsacnal]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3455
Loc: US
I've come over time to prefer plastic keytops to ivory. Kluge keyboards feel very good-- smooth, level, easy on the fingers. They look good, and don't discolor, warp or crack/split. I now find the feel of ivory to be a bit odd, and too often there are dips or irregularities in the surface. The idea of cattle bone is just a bit repulsive, for some reason. I haven't had the chance to try the mineral plastic keytops but look forward to it.


Edited by sophial (08/02/14 11:53 AM)

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#2310210 - 08/02/14 11:57 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Silver Keys]
BrianDX Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 512
Loc: Lewes DE
Originally Posted By: Silver Keys
Originally Posted By: malkin
How about printing up some fake documentation that says that it is fake ivory?


How about going to prison?

How about I think he was kidding? wink
_________________________
Groucho Marx: "Now we're getting somewhere"
2013 Yamaha C2X | 2001 Yamaha M500-F .


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#2310227 - 08/02/14 12:58 PM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Silver Keys]
Frankni Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/13
Posts: 148
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: Silver Keys
Originally Posted By: malkin
How about printing up some fake documentation that says that it is fake ivory?


How about going to prison?


As long as they have a top end grand there that would be ok.
_________________________
Yamaha C3, Sauter Delta 185

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#2310256 - 08/02/14 02:05 PM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: joe80]
master88er Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/07
Posts: 854
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Originally Posted By: joe80
I think ivory was always irresponsible, but it is easier to play on when you sweat - still that's not even close to a good enough reason to use it.

An old ivory keyboard is one matter, but I know manufacturers and rebuilders that will give you new ivory if you pay a premium which I think is grossly irresponsible.

I like the acrylics that kluge use - very comfortable, and Yamaha ivorite is wonderful


The new Larenim keytops from Otto Huess, which are mineral keytops, are the best I've seen. Like Ivory, they are easy to play on when sweat is an issue, and they have a natural grain that encourages the finger to stay put rather than slide. While Kluge builds a simlar product, I still prefer Larenim.
_________________________
Russell I. Kassman
R.KASSMAN, Purveyor of Fine Pianos
Berkeley, CA

FORMER US Rep.for C.Bechstein

SF Area Dealer: Steingraeber•Grotrian•Sauter•Estonia•Kayserburg•Baldwin•Brodmann•Ritmüller
www.rkassman.com
russell@rkassman.com
510.558.0765

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#2310263 - 08/02/14 02:39 PM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: joe80]
phantomFive Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1255
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: joe80
I think ivory was always irresponsible, but it is easier to play on when you sweat

That's the first time I've ever heard anyone give a practical reason why they preferred ivory
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

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#2310289 - 08/02/14 03:49 PM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Retsacnal]
RickG1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/09/10
Posts: 302
Loc: TX
Sally,
Your article also appeared in the August issue of The American Organist magazine and was very informative. I feel it is totally over reach by the govt and should be stopped. I could say more but don't want to start a political flame war. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.
I personally like the feel of ivory or a high quality plastic as my hands do sweat. I play on a Wurlitzer Theater pipe organ that was restored with high quality synthetic key tops and it is great. I also play a tracker pipe organ that has rosewood naturals and pear wood sharps. It is great to have that absorption of moisture. I have played so many cheap plastic keys on low end pianos and organs that it is a treat to have quality under the finger tips.
_________________________
Mason-Hamlin "A"
Steinway "B"
Baldwin console

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#2310409 - 08/02/14 10:28 PM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: S. Phillips]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1341
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Sally,

Would you please recap the issues in the new law?

I'm something of a crank as many of you know, and I would be very, very happy to write to our congressional representatives in support of, well, whatever you say needs to be supported. Just give us some pro forma language, and I'll get to work.

Thanks!
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2310425 - 08/02/14 11:08 PM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Retsacnal]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1945
Loc: Philadelphia area
Sally, Perhaps you could post a form type letter we could copy to our local reps. A simple flood of emails can get the point across.


Thanks for your work on this issue.

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#2310530 - 08/03/14 07:46 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Retsacnal]
S. Phillips Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/15/07
Posts: 265
Loc: Forte Farm, Lexington, KY
In February in response to Director's Order 210, U.S. Fish and Wildlife announced plans to ban not only the import/export of ivory but also interstate sales. Several states followed up with their own legislation.

The short version is that the purpose of this order is to prevent the illegal importation of NEW ivory that is subsequently being passed off as old ivory.

The reasoning behind this is that if all sales of ivory are banned then it will devalue any ivory and the result is that the importers of illegal ivory will have no market for their wares. Sadly no one thought about the huge number of pianos made with ivory before the invention of plastic. Because of the broad sweep of this regulation, pianos with ivory fall under this proposed ban. Many other antique articles with ivory are also affected. See the article above that I posted about the problem that violinists are having with their bows.

http://www.fws.gov/international/travel-and-trade/ivory-ban-questions-and-answers.html

Note in the far right column the proposed regulation. When the rules are announced later this summer there will be a comment period when we can all voice our thoughts about this.

I'm copying directly from my Piano Buyer blog. Here is my original article:
http://www.pianobuyer.com/articles/ivory.html about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife proposed ivory ban.

Here is the update on bills introduced in congress to prohibit Fish and Wildlife from implementing the proposed ban. If you go to the blog update the links to the bills are there.

http://www.pianobuyer.com/articles/ivory2.html

Here are the bills:
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced bill S.2587.
Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT-At Large) introduced bill H.R.5052.

It is important to contact your representatives now to let them know the impact of this proposed ban.
The points that need to be made are:

• No piano-manufacturing company is lobbying for the use of ivory.
• No piano companies currently use ivory.
• No piano importers have been found to be attempting to disguise new ivory as old ivory.
• Since the piano industry is not currently involved in any way in the use of new ivory, prohibiting the movement of old pianos with ivory will do nothing to save elephants.
• Use of government funds to discover interstate shipments of old pianos with ivory will unfairly target owners of old pianos and reduce the resources available to stop illegal ivory trafficking.

Here is what you can do:

#1 RIGHT NOW LETTERS (CAN BE EMAILS) NEED TO GO TO YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES TO HIGHLIGHT THE ISSUES WITH OLD IVORY

#2 DURING THE COMMENT PERIOD (HAS NOT YET BEGUN) LETTERS (NOT EMAILS) NEED TO GO TO FISH AND WILDLIFE. I WILL COME HERE TO ANNOUNCE WHEN THE COMMENT PERIOD BEGINS, I WILL POST THE ADDRESS.


Edited by S. Phillips (08/03/14 11:24 AM)
_________________________
Sally Phillips
Piano Technician
One can always find something to improve.
2 Steinway Os, Steinway B & C, C. Bechstein A
Phillips Piano Tech
Contributor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
New Federal and State Ivory Regulations and Pianos
http://www.pianobuyer.com/articles/ivory.html

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#2310562 - 08/03/14 10:04 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Retsacnal]
KurtZ Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/13/10
Posts: 880
Loc: The Heart of Screenland
The sad thing about all this is that the real market for ivory that is causing all the poaching is the market for art and religious pieces in Asia. At least it is according to an article I read in The Economist about a year ago.
The sale of used pianos across state lines here in the United States is completely inconsequential to elephants.

Kurt
Typing from Nicaragua
_________________________
I just wanted to be just "a" guy. That's enough of a life.

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#2310852 - 08/04/14 02:40 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Retsacnal]
michaelha Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 809
What kind of volume are we talking about - I mean how many of these 1950's pianos with ivory keys changing hands are we talking about? Is it really worth potentially opening up a loophole for ivory importers?

At the moment, I'm not seeing this as a reason to write to my Congress person - I'd rather inconvenience a couple people with ivory keyed pianos than to potentially open up a loophole.
_________________________
Casio CDP-100
2012 Kawai RX-5 BLAK

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#2310854 - 08/04/14 02:52 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: Retsacnal]
backto_study_piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 413
Loc: Australia
An aside re the "feel" of ivory keys. I've played some older pianos with ivory keys, and generally enjoyed the "feel". BUT - I play several Pipe Organs, including one which was built in 1930, played by many different people. It's OK to play on moderate days, but when both temperature and humidity are high, they're really sticky/slippery. On those occasions, I wipe them down, and the cloth ends up quite dirty. It must be the oils and dirt from 85 yrs of fingers plus dust in the air which did this. The technician cleaned them with something, but they're no better on hot/humid days. The keys have also cupped slightly and worn on the front edges. However - the organ (and building) is heritage listed, so my request to have them re-capped with plastic was refused.
_________________________
Alan from Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert - she's 7'4" long and ebony) & 2 Allen Organs [long story - the first is for sale] - MDS312 and CF-15.

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#2310862 - 08/04/14 03:31 AM Re: Ivory v. Plastic Questions [Re: michaelha]
Piano Doug Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/24/13
Posts: 179
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: michaelha
What kind of volume are we talking about - I mean how many of these 1950's pianos with ivory keys changing hands are we talking about? Is it really worth potentially opening up a loophole for ivory importers?

At the moment, I'm not seeing this as a reason to write to my Congress person - I'd rather inconvenience a couple people with ivory keyed pianos than to potentially open up a loophole.


This is an insensitive and ill-informed posting. We are not talking about "1950's pianos," but rather all pianos built up until sometime in the 1950's in the United States. Included in this group are many of the high-end pianos built during the "golden age" of piano building - from the late 1800's through the 1920's. Even pianos from this period over 100 years old may be impacted because of the difficulties others have mentioned regarding documentation.

Many of these pianos have been meticulously restored and many have a sound that is very difficult if not impossible to replicate today. And many of these instruments are family heirlooms or have other historical value.

Far from "inconveniencing a couple of people," the proposed regulations would destroy the economic value of these instruments, and impose extreme restrictions on what their owners can do with property that was legally manufactured and acquired. And, as others have pointed out, these rules would do nothing to stop the trafficking in illegal ivory.

What kind of "loophole" do you think would be created by a broader exemption for pianos? No new pianos being made today are made with illegal ivory. Let me repeat that again. No new pianos today are being made with illegal ivory. So what loopholes were you thinking about?

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