Adoption in the old piano universe

Today’s good deed was my hands on effort to place a gorgeous sounding old upright in a deserving home.

Emerson piano in Berkeley

And judging by the attention this Emerson vintage piano eventually received after I played it for well past an hour at a Berkeley thrift store, there may be hope that an old veteran like this, can upstage a digital newcomer.

Emerson hammer view

Going for just $75, this seasoned senior is resonant and easy to the touch.

Take a listen. and you’ll know instantly it’s a musical treasure.

About the Emerson piano


About arioso7: Shirley Kirsten

International piano teacher by Skype, recording artist, composer, piano finder, freelance writer, film maker, story teller: Grad of the NYC HS of Performing Arts, Oberlin Conservatory, NYU (Master of Arts) Studies with Lillian Freundlich and Ena Bronstein; Master classes with Murray Perahia and Oxana Yablonskaya. Studios in BERKELEY and EL CERRITO, California; Member, Music Teachers Assoc. of California, MTAC; Distance learning and Skyped instruction with supplementary videos: SKYPE ID, shirleypiano1 Contact me at: OR or at FACEBOOK: Shirley Smith Kirsten, /shirley.kirsten TWITTER: Private fund-raising for non-profits as pianist--Public Speaking re: piano teaching and creative approaches
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9 Responses to Adoption in the old piano universe

  1. The doors suggest that it’s a player piano. Brings back memories of the Gulbransen player that my parents purchased for about $25 (a lot of money for them at the time) when I started piano, age 4, Norwood (Cincinnati) Ohio schools, probably 1941. Curious what updating such an old instrument would need, that would not compromise it’s quality.
    Info on the Emerson here


    • Yes, indeed it was a player.. and I noted that when I detailed it up close and personal. Of course the player was taken out like so many of these from the player era. If it were me, I would not update, or overhaul this piano. It plays very well, but needs about 7 key tops replaced. This current keyboard is still smooth to the touch and no impediment to playing. The problem with overhauls is wrong choices can be made. Basically this piano has a great sound board to sound like this, and its perfect regulation is intact. I might want a tech to do a little pedal adjustment. That’s about it. For $75 with an instrument like this, it’s a win win situation. Shipping might be the most pricey part of an expedition.


      • I also think these bigger uprights, always have the advantage to produce a wholesome tone because of soundboard size. Obviously this one had been in a stable climate, and was not abused. I have played many treasures in this upright universe, and most people have them, and never bother to touch them or enjoy the musical experience they provide. Interesting that I helped a friend sell her drop dead gorgeous small grand that could not play nearly as well as the Emerson.. and the former was sold overnight based on LOOKS alone. The buyer didn’t even bother to try it out.


    • The player mechanism may have become damaged, or player rolls difficult to find, or old ones torn. I remember pumping away when practicing became a bit tedious. – On another note, some of the recordings of the more sophisticated players (Duo-Art, etc) are such fun. Happened to see a true Duo Art (?sp) at a small motel in New Hampshire, of all places. The owner was an avid hobbyist. The thing required a blower in his basement feeding upstairs through the floor to his piano.


      • Yes, players are so often removed from these pianos.. though I bumped into a fellow some years ago who was a rebuilder and specialist in this arena. Totally passionate and brilliant at what he did. He showed me a collection of working players of all kinds. Fascinating universe. I think I did a blog on him which I am going to hunt down.


  2. Robin says:

    A bargain Shirley. An absolute bargain. Buy it!


  3. One more thought – “yes” to your comment about the larger soundboard, compared to studio or spinet pianos. Really, NO comparison. They were great pianos – just not considered great decor as times changed. Sad.


  4. Yes, times have changed… and right now we have a digital phase, and many piano stores closing down. (like Beethoven Pianos in NYC already in the past tense)


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