Things You Never Knew You Needed: String Blanket

So, the last time I’d had my piano tuned, Debbie Pianotuner* was cleaning the inside of the case and ran a cloth along the strings.  She looked at the cloth and said, “Hmmm…”
Now, “Hmmm” is rarely good and so I came over and there were little streaks of rust where the cloth had been.  Debbie suggested that I needed a string-blanket.
My furrowed brow response was: “A what?”
Being not-too-far from the ocean and the fact that we tend to keep the house open, there’s a reasonable amount of salty moisture in the air here and the metal strings of the piano (which should last 20+ years) are susceptible to it.  Debbie explained that a string blanket is made of absorbent felt that is custom fitted to your piano and rests on the metal baffles inside the piano.  That way, the moisture doesn’t get to your strings, and there is minimal muffling of the sounds.   So, she had one made and delivered it yesterday afternoon.  I played this morning and really couldn’t tell much of a difference, maybe someone further away could.  Of course, she said, if you were having people over for a concert**, you can remove it and stuff it in the closet.

Speaking of which, even though I haven’t posted too much about it, I’m still plinking away.  My teacher has me going through one of the Alfred Adult books and I’m currently working on “Arkansas Traveler” and the theme from Muzetta’s Waltz from La Boheme.   And of course there’s always the scales then Hanon warm-ups.  Oh and I'm still working on the Chopin*** Etude (Op-10) theme in honor of Frederick's 200th birthday which is being commemorated this year.  My message to him is: Happy Birthday, Frederick, stop kicking my ass.

I’m also still churning away on the composition exercises and have gotten to the end of book-2 (of 5).  My teacher has been pretty happy with what I’ve produced****.  The last exercises in this book are to compose a binary and then a ternary (three part) composition.  Given the rate at which I compose, I should be done by the summer!
*she has a last name, but I can never remember it, and this what she’s entered into my phone as, which also distinguishes her from Debbie Dogwalker.
**Which is pretty laughable considering how much I dislike playing in front of others.
***Apparently Chopin was a good enough composer to have a high end vodka named for him.  Pretty sweet.
***** I have, too, but it’s hard to think about them objectively.

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9 thoughts on “Things You Never Knew You Needed: String Blanket

  1. I've been trying to figure my way to a piano for a while. Our neighbor moved out and left his with us for a while, but I didn't get any use out of it because of work. Now it's gone and I've been contemplating getting one. I've never been very musical, but always appreciated the talent in others. I just want to learn how to play, mainly just for my own entertainment.

  2. I have to say, when I read the phrase "string blanket," what it really ended up to be is not what I originally would have thought. I'm not really sure what I thought one was, though….

  3. A string blanket….who knew?! (And I'm a comp & arranging major and didn't know that!) Great to hear you're still plinking away (sounds like you're doing much more than plinking….give yourself some credit!).

  4. J — I think they're fairly specialized – and only needed in coastal areas. The folks that made mine have a small outfit in Florida. You send them the dimensions of your piano and they make it from scratch. Talk about a niche business!

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