At the end of our first White Caps rehearsal for the year, while I was putting my flute away, our friend Paul came over to talk with me. He offered to take a look at my little cajun piano. In addition to playing the trombone, he’s a professional piano tuner and refurbisher. So this past Saturday, he stopped by to see what he might be able to do.
He aimed his flashlight at the inner workings and remained undeterred by the layer of rust on the pegs and strings (it had been sitting basically unprotected from the sea air for an unknown length of time in a fellow’s garage in Morro Bay before it came to me). He only gave a wry smile, made mention of the word, “firewood,” and continued on with his assessment.
With his handy-dandy little book, Paul determined that my Brambach baby grand piano was built in 1921. He said that it wasn’t played a great deal during those 92 years. There is surprisingly little wear on the hammers — he estimated the equivalent of about 25 years of moderate use — and the ivory keys are in beautiful condition, no chips on the edges or wearing on the black keys.
He and I removed the action, then he showed me how to clean everything so that when he comes back in a couple of weeks he’ll be able to start reshaping the hammers, doing a few other repairs, tuning it (he said that it’s only about 10 cents flat — not too bad, amazing really, considering everything) and figuring out the mystery of why the left side sustain pedal isn’t working properly.
When he talked about repairing and refinishing the case, he said things like, “make it fun,” “be creative,” and used the word, “wild.”
“You could paint it red like those boots over there,” he said. “Or purple.” :o)
He was speaking my language!
Having the action sitting up there on top of the piano is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I’m stunned by Paul’s generosity and kindness, deeply grateful for his offer to do this for me without charge.
I walked around in a state of euphoria all the rest of Saturday . . . and then some. Just thinking about it now makes me smile and feel light. I’m so looking forward to the first time I sit down again with my little cajun piano and make some happy music together.