On various tours, I’ve seen a few bands pull off a DIY project that I always thought would be a fun undertaking; converting an old upright piano into a MIDI workstation. The basic concept is:
Step 1: Find an old upright for cheap. Really cheap.
Step 2: Gut it.
Step 3: Refinish it to your liking.
Step 4: Install your favorite MIDI/audio devices.
The reasons for the project are functional as well as aesthetic. It could be used by the bands at my local church, as well as look cleaner and cooler than a table full of wires and cables.
Last month I decided to stop just thinking about it, and try it. Step 1 was finding a piano for “free-fifty”. I had noticed a guy on Craigslist that was always selling old uprights, and in some of his photos it seemed he had a storage space full of them so I gave him a ring. Our conversation:
DZ: Hello, I have a question for you that you probably don’t get a lot. Do you have an upright that is damaged beyond repair?
GUY: Why yes, i was taking one to the dump tomorrow. Want it today?
Sweet. That was easier than I expected.