Where pianos go to die

If you ask your piano mover to donate your old, expensive-to-repair piano to a good home, chances are, she or he will reassure that this will come to pass, but chances are that your beloved instrument will be tipped into a trash heap with a tremendous, final crash. There must be something we can do with all these beloved, uneconomical beasts: perhaps we could stage a concert in which they were hurled by trebuchet across a stadium.


    1.  Ah, wow, my parents used to have a block of land in York and I went to this place as  a kid, didn’t realise there was a website. Thanks for the good memories Simon!

  1. If someone wants to take the stupid piano my foolish housemate brought here for it to never be tuned or played but to take up space that could otherwise be used for keeping bikes, of which there are always many, then be my fucking guest.

  2. Michael Frassinelli, a Boston area artist, uses old piano parts to create artifacts for a fictional tribe named the Pianistas. He describes them as a  “lost culture that used piano parts for all their basic needs, creating tools, ceremonial objects, masks, musical instruments, shelter, weapons and other items, in much the same way tribes from the Great Plains utilized the buffalo”. 


  3. Yup, not unheard of. Unfortunately the price (labor) to fix and restore an old piano is great. And the piano may never sound right. (This is similar to buying a crappy bike at a Walmart vs buying one at a bike store.) Ten years ago my father owned a successful piano tuning business in Texas. People would give  him pianos, he would restore them, and then rent to own them to families.

  4. It only makes sense, less and less people want pianos and those that do want very high quality ones. 

    As for things to do with old pianos, MIT likes to throw them off roofs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bZwm1jpoeE

  5. I know of a few places in northern WI that used to leave an old piano out on the lake in the spring and take bets on what day it would go through the ice, then give half the proceeds to a local charity.  Of course, nowadays you have to convince the local DNR guy that old pianos make excellent fish habitats.

  6. Why do some posts not show the comment/share links? I guessed my way to this point… (“If I was a sloppy web designer, where would I put that link?”)

    At the very least,  someone should be rescuing the ivory.

    1. Mini-posts.  Just click on the title, which is usually the first sentence, to open the post.

  7. I saw a documentary once about a piano being delivered up the Amazon and through the rainforest to an indigenous tribe. They seem to love Western classical music. All tribes should have a piano. I can’t seem to find much information, however, if I try googling Amazon and pianos (which is all I have to go on)…

      1. Yes. From a British perspective I’d say an enthusiastic or passionate dude. He seemed quite normal to me.

          1. The incident I am thinking of happened recently, in the last twenty years or so. A British guy, for some reason or other, was indebted to an Amazonian tribe who were enthralled by what they had heard of classical music. To repay his debt (either at their suggestion or his) he promised that he would get them a piano. The film I saw was his journey accompanied by a camera crew to deliver the piano through the rainforest. Not quite the stuff of legend yet, but fascinating nonetheless.

          2. I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen the film that Wreckrob is talking about.  And it is all mixed up in my head with Fitzcarraldo.  And Burden of Dreams.

          1. I wish I did, but no. The film was part of a documentary series on TV. I was only able to catch part of it.

  8. Let’s face it, a $2,000 (or or less) digital piano is going to sound and play much better than any of these old instruments, even if it doesn’t sound quite as wonderful as a genuine piano in perfect condition.

    But it would be nice to recyle the hardwood rather than throw them out completely.

    1. Not to mention, with headphones, the digital piano can be silent, a big plus at some locations and time of day.

  9. Surely there must be some wily coyote we can sell them to, so he can attempt to drop them on a roadrunner?

  10. Last year Sarah Nicolls organised a Piano Scrap Heap Challenge

    where four teams competed to make the coolest new instrument out of pianos destined to be scrapped.

  11. Play “Piano Smash” You;ll need:

    Two pianos (same style and size)
    Sledgehammers and Cutting torches (enough to equip two equal size teams)
    Two Basketball Hoops

    (Optional but recommended, one large First Aid Kit…)

    First team to get their piano through their basketball hoop wins.

  12. My wife inherited her grandfather’s piano, an eighty-year-old Steinway that is probably worth a decent amount of money.  But it requires a few thousand bucks’ worth of tuning and restoration, so there it sits at her mother’s house, unplayed.  Then again, it’s a baby grand, and way too big for our smallish house.  Someday we want to get an upright, but we can’t figure out what to do with the Steinway.

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