Hi, I just acquired an old Farrand player (double-valve Standard)
built in Holland, Michigan. A friend of mine bought it in a lot of
other stuff at an auction. He told me "I knew you rebuild old pianos,
and thought you could use it."
I evaluated the piano today. It's a large piano, very similar to
a Lexington or a Lakeside, but has a unique problem I have never seen
before. I heard some very weird buzzing similar to a loose rib, but
this wasn't the case though.
The soundboard in this piano is loose at the _top_, where it meets the
pinblock, all the way across! I have never seen this happen before.
I think I have an idea on how to fix it, but since that joint is bad,
all glue joints in the frame are suspect.
Has anyone seen this happen in an upright before? I did notice that
the soundboard has no harmonic trap, and the piano might have been
carelessly built. I have read that Farrand was a high quality piano,
but I don't think this was the one the writer was speaking of!
In all likelihood, this piano would be pronounced "dead", like that
art case Foster (which turned out great, if I do say so myself). I am
going to try to save it if at all humanly possible. To me, these old
machines are very special: once they are gone, they are gone forever.
I will probably not make a handsome profit on this unit, but that's
not always my bottom line, despite attempts by a few to completely
"commercialize" this field. I feel that preservation is more
important, and too many people have lost sight of that.
I do have my rewards, though. I am sometimes visited by an retired
elderly gentleman who worked for the Baldwin piano company, and he
supplied me with some of the best stringing scales I have ever used
in a "no-name" upright. He made the remark (talking about the 1918
Foster), "That is a really nice sounding player." I asked him,
"Do you remember that old player in the shop that you said should have
been thrown away forty years ago?" He replied "Yes, what did you ever
do with that?" I grinned and replied, "You're looking at it!"
Reward is not always in dollars. If the dollar comes my way, it's a
nice thing to have, and I can sure use it. But I choose to focus on
rebuilding the player first without worrying about the money I am going
to get. If not, I would be too tempted to take a shortcut.