(Riverton, WY) – Bob Hussa has been a piano tuner since 1977. Traveling all across the state to work on pianos for nearly 50 years. A year and a half ago, he became “smitten” with a piano that he was asked to tune: a 1946 mahogany, lacquer finish grand piano built by Steinway in New York.
“I have loved Steinway pianos for years,” Bob shared. “I’ve had an opportunity to work on junk Steinways to Steinways that are worth way over $100,000. And I’ve always liked the sound of Steinway more than any other grand piano.”
This 1946 Steinway had captured Bob’s heart, but it needed a lot of work. The owner, Ann, who is in her nineties, had likely not tuned it since the ’70s when the piano traveled from the Baltimore area to Casper.
“The piano was badly out of tune, and the action didn’t work,” he said. “So, the hammers, when I pressed down the keys or played the keys, the hammers would hit the strings, and then slowly, slowly, slowly fall down back into position.”
Telling Bob she wanted to sell the piano after she died, because no one in her family wanted it. He returned with a proposal to purchase the piano and give her an upright so the missionaries, who do yardwork and clear snow off her sidewalks, would have a piano to play. The whole reason she wanted the Steinway tuned in the first place.
“She accepted my offer, so I brought her home in May of 2022.”
After diving into the piano, he decided to replace the action, which gave him a bit of a hassle.
“I’m looking in the action cavity and realizing that the action is too tall for the hole. I couldn’t bring it out.”
A technician friend of his had seen this before and said it was specific to Steinway. He explained how to get the action out, and it worked.
“I’m excited that it’s there and that it works. And that it’s a piano again, you know, instead of an ornament. So that’s the goal. Preserve the piano. That’s what my passion is: to make the piano an instrument that people can enjoy as players or as listeners.”
Bob named the piano Miss Ann after the lady he purchased it from in Casper. He has no plans on selling it.
“I bought it for me to play. I’ve been looking for 30 years for a Steinway.”
Bob will be doing a Maker Space 307 presentation on Tuesday, Feb. 13, where he will discuss some piano history, design, actions, and business opportunities in piano technology. He’ll also bring some piano actions and a couple extra instruments for people to examine and play.
This is at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow at 826 W Main Street in Riverton.