In November, good friends of ours gave us a Brambach baby-grand piano. They were moving and no longer wanted it, and we had first refusal. We didn’t really have a place for it, to be honest, but it’s a very pretty instrument and I’ve been wanting to improve my piano abilities for years now. It sounds nice enough and the action is light. Brambach pianos were originally of average quality, but when in the 1930s they were purchased by another company the workmanship quickly deteriorated. This instrument dates from the mid-1920s.
My friend Noel advised me to remove the keyboard and vacuum it well. There are seven hidden screws, after which the keyboard pulls right out. It’s odd to have the entire mechanism sitting on the floor, but it’s a great way to learn how it works. Each key is a marvellously complex set of levers and knobs — my Brambach mechanism has a gizmo called a “Thayer’s knuckle.” Evidently Steinway uses a much better kind of knuckle, but you’d expect that for the money.