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#3186662 01/19/22 08:59 AM
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Call from a new client, late 80s. Brand new top of the line Yamaha upright under warranty, I happened to be that dealers 1st service call tech at the time for my area.

Ask if he has any issues besides tuning, he says "Oh yes, but just come out, you'll see the problem". His tone of voice made me slightly nervous. I couldn't imagine what the problem could be. This was the best model of upright Yamaha made at the time, and I knew the house tech for that dealer was fantastic, he just never made any mistakes, and I'd never seen a factory bug coming from any Yamaha piano that dealer sold.

Very pleasant drive out in the country on a gorgeous spring day. It'd been raining a lot and the New Mexico landscape was unusually lush and green. The client was in a kind of small close knit arts community a half hour out of town. Painters and sculptors and weavers and writers and musicians and retired scientists. Nice place, first time and client there.

Got there and parked and immediately deduced the client worked in glass. Stained glass windows in the front of his house and a very large and impressive abstract multi-colored glass sculpture in his front yard.

The piano was in a play and activity room he'd designed just for his three boys, ranging from four to nine. Toys and games and an indoor gym set, very nice set up. The piano was in one corner and I could see the top lid was up.

Walked up and had a kind of mental disconnect and did not quite understand what I was seeing. Had to just stare for a few seconds while my gears turned.

The piano was completely filled with sand all the way up to the lid.

Sand.

Just stood there dumbfounded and looked over at the client.

"Uh, see, uh, my kids, uh..."

He trailed off.

"I told my kids that it was very very important that this piano stay dry, that getting wet was very bad for any piano. They had a conference, and decided that if they filled it with the sand I use to make glass, if any water got in there, the sand would soak it up and protect the piano. It took them a whole day to do this. They were quite proud."

Deep heavy sigh, but no anger, really pretty chill guy.

I really could not think of a single thing to say. I was just trying to figure out how I was going to get all that sand out and wondering if the piano was ruined or what, and how the dealer was going to handle it.

"This is obviously not going to be covered under my warranty. Uh, what do we do here?"

"I didn't bring my shop vac, you wouldn't happen to have one would you?"

He was fully equipped to deal with sand as it turned out.

I spent the rest of the day getting all the sand out. It was bone dry, uniform grained and as clean as it gets. There wasn't any damage at all. By the time I got done it was time to go home and had to come back the next day to do the service tuning and warranty checkup.

He paid me cash under the table and I never told the dealer or his house tech what happened, and it was as if it never did.

Became a regular twice a year client, we had a laugh at every tuning, and his kids never did anything that boneheaded again.

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thanks, it's curious essay. The kids wanted save their piano used a sand. It is good that the father did not use plaster and cement to make his statues.

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Man, I thought for sure it would be a tune with loud kids issue. Guess no snakes or bug in there?

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Now you can say, "I've been sandbagged" and really mean it.


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Maximillyan #3186728 01/19/22 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Maximillyan
thanks, it's curious essay. The kids wanted save their piano used a sand. It is good that the father did not use plaster and cement to make his statues.

grin ha

Nice response, Max!


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You have certainly had a fun career!

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I had a client whose kids used the front of the piano (upright) as a dart board. Had to farm that one out as it was beyond my touch up ability.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


Peter W. Grey, RPT
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www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
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P W Grey #3186846 01/19/22 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by P W Grey
I had a client whose kids used the front of the piano (upright) as a dart board. Had to farm that one out as it was beyond my touch up ability.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

Now I'm curious; type of wood and finish? Was there a target they were aiming at or just random? Was it a good piano or a clunker? Did the kids play it in between darts? wink

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It was an Asian make, (I'm thinking Samick but cannot be sure...might have been a Yamaha). As I recall they taped the target (paper or cardboard) on the front of the piano and of course everything went right through. The piano itself was not a bad instrument Parents did not know what was going on (big house, quite wealthy, piano in basement with the pool table and all kinds of entertainment paraphernalia), thought they were just having fun (which they were, unsupervised).

It was "discovered" and I was called to "tune and repair" the piano. Fortunately I had access to a good refinisher who made it acceptable (actually much better than expected). Obviously, the piano was not something in regular usage in that household...and I never heard from them again. It was in DC during my years there.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
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Great stories!


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I think a book that tells the stories of the techs here would be great: each of you could have a chapter as I am sure there are many wonderful stories we haven’t heard


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Great story. I live in the deep south. Had a spinet that had it's keybed completely filled with dry corn grits right to the top of the keys, and these weren't kids, they were a retired couple. They thought that the grits would help with sticking keys, so when it didn't, they kept putting more in. sheesh


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I've had several pianos in which mice transported enough dog kibble to the piano to fill up under the keys just like that. One was a grand (otherwise nice C3...but eventually condemned). I have no idea how they did it.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8

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