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MMD > Archives > May 2006 > 2006.05.24 > 04Prev  Next

Painting a Piano
By Ray Finch

[ Joyce Brite wrote in 060523 MMDigest:

> I can understand someone wanting brighten up a room with a coat of
> paint, but what purpose is served by painting the piano?  Unless the
> painter is Picasso or another famous artist, the resale value of the
> piano immediately plummets.

It's interesting to see how people perceive things that are important
to them.  Hopefully I don't ruffle too many feathers here.

I heard an old story (one of those that are supposed to have deeper
meaning, to help you live a better life) about a wealthy man who wanted
to impress his guests with his obvious great knowledge by building
a massive library.  He first had the shelves constructed: four sets
to cover each wall of the library floor to ceiling.  Next he got books
of nearly every subject.  When it came time to put the books on the
shelves it turned out most of the books were to be too tall for the
shelves.  His solution?  Cut the books down to fit the shelves.

The decorator who painted the piano was not thinking about resale
values or anything else concerning the piano.  In fact, I would not
be surprised if the piano was never even tuned, much less ever played.
What was important was a pretty room -- even if the piano happened to
get lost in the process.

As for the guy who painted players red, white and blue and used plastic
table cloth material to make keyboard pneumatics, again he was not
concerned about the piano itself.  The piano was only a tool he used
to make his living.  Back in those days piano stores had way too many
players come in on trade-in and they just thew them away.  For most
people the players had little value except as an amusement device.

My point here is this:  We need to keep a healthy perspective on
things.  Everyone on the list has a love for players, pianos in general
and mechanical music machines of all kinds.  It hurts us to think about
someone abusing one of the magical instruments -- especially to the
point of loosing yet another to the city dump.  But we are in the

Most people see players as a passing fancy at best and although players
are in somewhat dwindling supply, standard pianos both new and old are
plentiful.  We tend to get blinded by our devotion to our hobby (and
for a select few their profession).  There is nothing wrong with this
as long as it is kept in perspective.  Most other people don't care
about pianos from a preservation viewpoint.  And while many people
buy a piano to play, in the end, to them a piano is just a piece
a furniture much like a couch or a table -- something to enhance the
look of the home.

So if people really want to paint their piano red, white and purple,
while there are lots a really good reasons not to, who are we to say
that they shouldn't?

Ray Finch

(Message sent Wed 24 May 2006, 08:24:35 GMT, from time zone GMT-0600.)

Key Words in Subject:  Painting, Piano

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