My son has been after me for awhile about getting a piano. As a piano is a major investment, I’d been putting him off. Then, all of a sudden, my mom is getting rid of MY piano. It’s an Opera piano made in 1893. It’s a gorgeous upright with a rich, melodious sound. Of course, it is in Pennsylvania and I haven’t played it in more than 20 years, but still. According to The Antique Piano Shop, pianos made during the last decade of the 19th century (as my piano was) are “some of the finest craftsmanship and quality ever to be put into piano manufacturing.” So it’s a pretty good piano.
Then, the very next day, there was an ad in the local paper about a piano for sale. As we determined it would cost more to go and get MY piano than to purchase another one, we decided to go and check this one out.
The man who was selling the piano was obviously a music teacher. The piano in question was a Kimball studio piano and he wanted 17,000 pesos for it. I sat and played around on it for a bit. It was ok. It had been refinished. The owner went on and on about the quality of the piano, that it came from a New York company and that it should be kept out of the light to protect the finish and sound. Hmm–Kimball was never more than a mediocre piano, manufactured in Chicago, and I had NEVER heard anything about sound being affected by sunlight. I said I would think about it and we left.
A few days later, I sent my husband to ask if he would consider lowering the price. I felt that maybe 14,000 pesos was a fair price. My husband arrived and spoke with the owner who said he’d lower the price $500 pesos but then he wouldn’t tune the piano once it had been moved. As my husband was leaving, he ran into another person who had come to see the piano. This person said that he had purchased the piano but had returned it since it would not stay in tune. This indicated to me that there was something wrong with the piano and I crossed it off the potential list.
So then I tried a google search. Morelia is about an hour away and is a city with a bit of culture. Certainly, there must be pianos for sale there. I found a lovely website with pianos in my price range, however, messages and phone calls went unanswered. So I went to the second in the list, Su Majestad El Piano (Your Majesty the Piano) a bit of a pretentious name, but I received an immediate response to my message. They even have a page on Facebook. I set up an appointment for that Friday and printed out driving directions.
It was a straight shot to the local. We arrived a little early and had time to enjoy some tacos de canasta (basket tacos) while we waited for the place to open. We talked with Lulu the owner who suggested we go to the warehouse to see the options. As we weren’t familiar with Morelia and it was raining cats and dogs, we all went in her mini-van.
It was an amazing experience. First, we looked at the upright pianos much like MY piano in PA. There was a whole room of them in various conditions. Some were pristine, others looked like they needed some work. We decided that an upright would just be too big for the little house in Sunflower Valley, so we headed out into the main warehouse.
It was a veritable feast for the senses. We must have spent about an hour walking up and down and looking over these pieces of history. Lulu saw we were appreciative and had the workers uncover her masterpieces.
There was a Bradbury square piano from the 1850s, a leather wrapped Wurlitzer piano, The Sting Player Piano, a piano Lulu called a Scorpion Tail Grand Piano, but actually was a concert grand piano, French pianos, German pianos, pianos so old that I could imagine Mozart playing on them, player pianos, more uprights, more grand pianos, more spinets and studio pianos, even a pink piano. What an experience!
I was drawn to an unpretentious Winter spinet that according to the Piano Blue book was built around 1910. The inside had slight damage, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed. The finish was scratched a bit, but nothing major. My son approved. My husband thought it would look good with my brown chairs (See Furnishings). So a deal was struck. I paid half down and the other half to be paid upon delivery. Delivery charges would be $500 pesos. The piano would be completely refinished and repaired. I could order a bench for an additional $1000 pesos, however as I had already overspent my budget, that wasn’t gonna happen. The piano would be tuned once it arrived, by one of Lulu’s sons, and I would receive a written copy of the 5-year guarantee.
We could hardly wait until Friday. I told my son that he could stay home from school to receive the piano. He was ecstatic. Only the piano didn’t arrive. After a few messages, I confirmed a delivery date for Saturday morning. Then, before I knew it, we had a piano. My son plopped his butt in a chair and off he went into the musical world. Yes, it was out of my budget. Yes, it’s a luxury item. Yes, it cost more than my moto. But, oh the sound of a piano!
Note: All pianos pictured (except for MY piano and the Winter piano) are available from Su Majestad El Piano.