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Upright Piano Digital Conversion

Beautiful Bargain

Upright Piano digital conversion
This old piano was just too pretty to pass up.

Well it is pretty much official now, I can never move again. I wouldn’t be able to afford the movers’ fees now that I have not one, but TWO old upright pianos. This lovely old upright piano had been sitting at the back of the Tillman’s Corner Goodwill store for weeks and when I saw the price had dropped to $19.99, I just couldn’t resist buying it. Fortunately, my son, Joseph was able to haul it for me the day following my purchase and I didn’t have to spend a fortune having it brought home.

Why Buy Another Piano?

I already have a beautifully carved mahogany upright that my parents bought when I was about six years old. I love this piano, but it is not always convenient to practice when others are in the house. I considered gutting it, and putting one of my digital keyboards inside, but just never had the heart to do that to the piano I grew up with. This second piano, however, would be my opportunity to have the flexibility of a digital keyboard housed inside a lovely piece of furniture.

Gutting the Piano

It was actually pretty easy to gut the piano. We took the lid off and the fronts both on the top and the bottom. Next we removed the fall board which covers the keys, it had several sections. Then we took out the keys, they just lifted off metal pegs. After that, we took out the rack of hammers. It was surprisingly simple, just a couple of bolts and the whole thing came off as one piece. I have all of these parts stored for future projects. I was considering doing some artwork on individual keys to sell at my craft booth, but a bit of research revealed that you can’t sell ivory piano keys even from antique pianos. We decided to leave the harp and the soundboard even though this means the piano is still extremely heavy. After putting the keyboard in, I found that I liked the resonance the strings had from the sound vibrations of the keyboard when I play it without headphones.

Gutting an upright piano
Here my cousin Jacob is removing the final pieces that held the hammers and keys in place.

Going Digital

I own two digital keyboards and was hoping to use my better one inside the old piano. It was too large, so for now I’m using my older keyboard, a Yamaha P70. It doesn’t have a USB port and the only output is for headphones, but it has weighted keys and works great for practicing. I’d love to replace it with a keyboard that has a USB port like the one below. In any case, my family is happy because I can use headphones so that no one else is disturbed. I chose to keep the original pedals on the piano and have a portable pedal plugged into the keyboard. I just ran the wires through the bottom of the piano. I hoped to be able to put the fall board back on once the keyboard was placed inside, but I do not have the carpentry skills to manage that. The keyboard sits higher than the original keys did, so the fall board doesn’t fit now.

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Music Room

This second piano resides in my dining room for the time being. After Joseph and his family move into their own place, I will be converting one of the bedrooms to my music room/office and the piano will go in there. All in all, I think I got my money’s worth on this thrift-store buy. Now if I need to get a couple of benches for my uprights. I think one like this would look great with them. I have also been thinking of ways to use the pieces that were removed from the piano, and that led me to a whole new board for my Pinterest obsession, Piano Room.

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