We received a pretty cute situation from LA Piano Tuner David Mann, who has really earned his plug for submitting this situation. Here ya go….
A couple years ago I wrote a popular blog article entitled “Discovering What’s Inside Your Piano,” which highlighted some of the curious objects I have found in my line of work as a piano tuner. I make a regular habit of taking photos of the unusual treasures I often come across. Since writing the last article, I have found numerous objects that are far more odd, and frankly, much LARGER than anything I have found before.
We would expect normal items to slip inside the piano like pencils, paperclips, etc. Church pianos are especially laden with such debris. But for more unusual items, it becomes a lot more difficult to imagine how they could get in there. The explanation for 99% of these special cases? Children.
To a small child, a piano looks like a slot machine. It has slots and holes of various sizes and when a child sees an object of about the right size and shape, naturally he or she wants to test it to see if it will fit inside. But the next thing you know, the object vanishes — never to return. Or at least not until 10 or 20 years later when the piano gets serviced by a technician such as myself.
Here is my “Greatest Hits” list of items I have found:
Largest Item: A full-sized T.V. remote. (Q: Honey, where’s the remote? A: In the goddamn piano, of course!)
This item was impressive because it was too large to get inside the piano by any normal means. It was also impressive because there was no evidence of any mischief on the part of children to be found. I and the piano owner speculated for some time as to how it got there. The conclusion I finally came to is that the owner set the remote on top of the fallboard, the lid that covers the keys. Someone opened the lid to sit down and play, and the remote slid backwards and into the piano. Another explanation is that the fallboard was open already and pointed straight up. Someone pulled it forward slightly and dropped the remote inside, possibly by accident.
The owners called me because some of the keys weren’t playing properly. I expected the usual ailments: tight flanges, tight key bushings, etc. I was both surprised and relieved when I opened it up and saw an entire convenience store worth of trinkets. There were so many that I had to take several photographs just to cover them all. Among the spoils were the following:
3 Lollipops (melted)
Pool Diving Ring
Mystery Item that looks like a dish sponge
Best Story: The Dead Rat
The story surrounding this find is just as interesting as the rat itself. I spend several weeks every year on the north shore of the island of Kauai. While staying out in the jungles of Haena with my friend Doug, he asked if I could help his friend Marco get a dead rat out of his piano. I asked, “What is Marco’s address?” Doug replied with typical Hawaiian directions as follows: “Drive to the two bridges. In between, turn right up the dirt road. When you get to the broken down truck, turn left.” “How will I know which truck?” I asked. He said, “You’ll know. After turning, go to the house at the end and go upstairs.”
I did all of this and arrived at Marco’s shack in the jungle. The piano was a gorgeous 1985 Steinway M grand in mint condition. Quite a contrast to the humble shack in the middle of the rainforest. Marco was a hardcore surfer with a red face, tan skin, and a heavy brow, who looked like one of man’s ancient ancestors. There were scantily clad Brazilian girls everywhere in a panic from the smell. They had tried to take the piano apart themselves and parts were everywhere.
In about five minutes, I had the action out, and removed the rat. I put it back together and remedied the damage they had done. Marco was so grateful that he told me I was welcome in his home any time and to please play the piano as much as possible. I took him up on this invitation and stopped in almost every day to play for about an hour. The construction workers who were hammering away downstairs greeted me as “The Piano Guy” and were happy to hear me play. It was definitely one of the highlights of my last trip.
Cutest Item: Dear Jacob Letter
What always intrigues me is that each item tells a story about the past. This was a secret letter written by a child, which, like the rest, ended up inside the piano. It read as follows:
“Dear Jacob, I wrote in xmd. If you don’t know what that means it’s my new language. It (can’t read) thank you for the Pikachu pillow. I love it. From Andrea.”
Runner Up: Hair Brush
Nearly as interesting a find as the T.V. remote.
If you are having some mechanical issues with your piano and you think a strange foreign object might be the culprit, please visit the website below and I will remedy your PIANO SITUATIONS: