Tuning the rats’ piano

Oliver Norred, 22 March 2021

A family of rats is giving away its home on Craigslist. “You haul,” reads the listing. They’ve kindly moved out by the time I pick it up with my dad and Riley, and they even left a housewarming gift:

A rats’ nest underneath the keybed

I think there’s money in here—how generous!

Unfortunately, their home will become my piano, and their living quarters are under the keybed, so I’m gonna vacuum all their stuff out. I wish they’d been a little cleaner with their feces, but whatever. I’ll just use this oil-based wood cleaner. That’ll get the smell out!

But man, does it sound bad. Some of the keys stick, and it’s not tuned to any temperament I’ve ever heard. The cheapest tuning company charges, like, a hundred bucks. Frick. How much is this tuning hammer I found online? Twenty? Deal!

Worth every penny. Not only is it way easier than the greedy piano-tuning-business–running bloggers make you think, I also gain a way deeper understanding of the instrument in the process. Fantastic.

My makeshift rubber band jack solution

I don’t know how to fix all the sticking keys. Some just need sanding down. Others have insane mechanical issues behind the scenes. I’ll attach these stubborn hammers to their jacks with these rubber bands. Holy crap, that worked.

This free piano is great! I think I’m done. When something’s out of tune again, I’ll just tune it. I have the tool!

The piano, from above