Monday, January 31, 2011

Still scared – still not back in the water

It’s a good thing I have my piano off in the seldom visited corner of the house. You know: out of sight, out of mind. Attentive (and even not so) readers will have noticed that I have not worked on my piano of late. I purchased everything I think I need to fix it and get it operational, but I have not jumped back in the pool since right around the holidays. The reason is simple: I’m scared. I’m deathly afraid that I will find the piano to be beyond repair, at which point, I will have to face that fact that I am hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars SOL. I know avoidance is not the best policy, but for now, it’s the policy I’ve chosen. Two weekends ago, I promised Mrs. S I would work on the thing this past weekend, but this past weekend, the temperatures hit darn close to 70 degrees, so I worked outside trimming all our crepe myrtles and all of Mrs. S roses instead, needing two and a half hours on Saturday and one and a half hours on Sunday to do it. So, here’s hoping it is cold and miserable next weekend to put me in the mood to work on the piano once again. Maybe I can at least finish it before I’ve owned the thing one year (Memorial Day-ish).

I’ve been occupying my other free time with practicing my melodic minor scales, searching high and low for a good trumpet, searching preliminarily for a violin, and seeking out and buying the last few CD’s I need to complete the entire 188 disc “core collection”. So let me write about those things instead.

For buying the trumpet, I enlisted the help of a classmate at school, and I did a ton of reading online. Since the trumpet will basically be just a decoration in our music room, the number one priority was to buy something that looked nice, but it also had to be playable, since I intend to mess around with it some. (That rules out “brand new student trumpets”, especially anything made in China.) Having only played the trumpet all of one summer when I was ten or eleven, I had to study some to not get too badly burned in the market. But since I wasn’t completely without experience. I was up to speed pretty quickly. Anyway, if you go to ebay and search trumpets, you will find about 135 pages with 50 items to a page, or roughly 7000 trumpets, mouthpieces, stands, pipes, valves, care kits, etc. It is no small task weeding out the wheat from the chaff. And after letting a really nice, rare trumpet slip away last week, I paid close attention this weekend and picked up a 1941 vintage Conn trumpet for right at $350. It is two-toned, engraved, and very classic looking. I’m excited to see it in person. Here’s a picture from the auction:
The 1941 Conn "New York" Trumpet
So after that, Mrs. S said, see if you can spend the same energy and effort to find a violin. Well, if you go to ebay and search violins, (wait for it) you will find about 885 pages with 50 items, or roughly 45,000 violins or violin items. Of those, roughly  44,273 of them are made in China. (Mrs. S said, “No ‘Made in China’, no matter how good it looks or how cheap it is.”) Despite the long odds, I still found a couple of nice ones, but the closest we could come to buying one, was finishing second in a reserve auction that the first place bidder did not win because not even he bid enough. Unlike the trumpet, it is unlikely that Mrs. S or I will play the violin, other than taking a few token strokes over it with the bow, so we’re primarily looking for something that looks nice and which we will be able to resell for what we pay for it. That means we’re going to have to spend a couple hundred on it, too.  And, we have to keep looking and wading through the plethora of Du-shi and Xiang Ho and Ming Mang Mong instruments.

Who knew having a music room to display an antique piano in could be so difficult and expensive?

I’ll write about the CD collection in a separate entry.

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