There’s walnut in that piano!

Piano lesson.
Now here is a story going back many years into the distant past. Looking back when we first moved to Tulsa in 1974 in order for me to take a radio announcer’s position working on-the-air for a local Tulsa radio station, wife then decided to expand her musical horizons. Since I would be away during weekend hours, my lovely wife thought she would arrange for piano lessons for herself. But first we had not a piano. One certainly needs a piano in order to practice. Makes perfect sense. So, she got out the local newspaper want- ads and began searching for an affordable piano. An old upright would do. Eventually she found one nearby and we drove to take a look at this ancient musical relic. Would it work for piano lessons? It was an old five-foot-tall upright piano covered with a flat off-white latex wall paint. Some of the piano keys ivory was worn off. and to my unexpert ear, way out of tune. They wanted a hundred bucks but without the adjacent nearby piano bench. So, we asked if the benched came with the piano. No, but if we wanted the piano and the bench it was a hundred and ten bucks. The bench too was painted in flat wall paint and with a worn fabric seat cover. So, we agreed on the total combo. Remembering back, I do not remember how we got it home. It weight a ton and wasn’t easy to handle. But anyway, we now had it in our tiny Tulsa living room in our 54th street house.
After lessons began, we decided to sand this hulk down and give it fresh coat of paint. We bought a glossy medium green paint and started to paint. The piano had these oval inserts on the movable front panel over the striking hammers and one down below on the panel covering the lower string action. The ovals, which had this carved and scrolling wood work we painted it a cream color. The colors went well with each other. Did I mention we were practicing Okies? But anyway, we painted the bench as well with the glossy green color. I would have to admit the piano looked much better. Sort of like a new two-tone DeSoto automobile. Now only if it had all its original ivory keys. But we did have it tuned.
As time passed, we signed up six-year-old and only daughter for piano lessons. This wasn’t easy. She continually balked at this notion and she made her own pronouncement that she would only continue lessons but stop when she was fourteen. Well, if you say so.
However, later on we thought of making some repair and refinish the piano’s various surfaces. We had contacted A man named Moose Miller who had refinished and restored older pianos. So, he came and took a look at this marvelous green and cream two-tone music box. He gave it a closer look and when scratching around on the layers of paint and he discovered it had solid walnut below the layers of glossy and latex paint. No wonder it weighed a ton. After doing some math Moose told us for $800. he could strip the layers of paint, put on all new key covers, then replace all the copper-wound bass strings. Then he mentioned according to the serial number inside the cabinet that our junky old piano was assembled in 1912 and was a Hamilton piano that was built in the same factory and to the same specification as the Baldwin pianos.
So, we had Moose do the restoration and refinishing. The piano was gone for about a month but when we got it back from the piano shop, Wow! It looked like something just rolled out from the Baldwin factory. An incredible natural walnut finish, all new piano key covers on all 88-keys, a much richer sound due to new bass strings, and then it increased in value by 2-grand. And that was counted in dollars by the way.
The end result was a spectacular looking and playing music instrument and saw much use when later placed in my recording studio. Many pianists coming to record loved it’s rich sound. Sounded like a baby grand some had mentioned.
After many moves around Tulsa and a move to New Mexico, our youngest daughter now possesses the handsome looking instrument. Now that is well over a hundred years old it is a genuine antique and well worth four or five grand. But I hope it stays in the family after wife and I are gone. Piano lessons anyone?

Published by OkieMan

I come from a family who migrated from the parched red dirt Plaines of southern rural Oklahoma. Migrating to blue collar working class community of East Los Angeles. There is where I was born. I am Mr. Writermelon. I can only write what my grammar and spell checker allows. I am neither profound nor profane. Boy howdy! Send comment to:

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