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Advice on purchasing an original condition grand piano (Read 1159 times)

Offline annm377

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Advice on purchasing an original condition grand piano
« on: October 16, 2015, 04:56:52 PM »
I have the opportunity to purchase a Mason and Hamlin Model A from 1921 for $1500. The owner is needing to sell quickly so they have dramatically dropped the price of the piano. The piano is in original condition, but it is in good condition for its age. I did not notice any cracks in the soundboard or anything like that. The finish of the piano is flawless--not a single scratch on the piano. It is however very dusty on the inside and looks like it might need to be restrung. Should I go through with purchasing a piano or is it too risky?

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Advice on purchasing an original condition grand piano
«Reply #1 on: October 16, 2015, 05:28:59 PM »
You don't mention any budget for upgrade options to the inner workings of the piano if needed or willingness to put some money into the piano. Or not for that matter. If it needs re stringing that is a good time to brighten things up that reside below the strings. But a good assessment from a competent tech would give you an idea of what kind of budget you might need to work on in your decision making on this piano. I would expect a minimum of regulation, voicing and then the option of new strings. The feasibility of new strings kind of hinges on if the pin block can handle the job, not so much the sound board. Just so you know that much up front. And that is not to say any of this is bad, we just can't assess a pianos condition online lol ! But $1500 is a good price for any grand just about and that is a great brand as well as name.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline indianajo

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Re: Advice on purchasing an original condition grand piano
«Reply #2 on: October 18, 2015, 11:20:54 AM »
I've played a lot of 1920's uprights in my Sunday School days.  Not top of the line pianos like a Mason and Hamlin, but home use pianos don't deteriorate that much. It is not the years, it is the hours use that wears out a piano.  Most home piano owners don't practice that often.   I don't really see the repairs the previous poster warning about being commonly needed.  The most common thing in 1920's pianos besides the rotted straps (which grands don't have) is the ivory keytops coming off.  I recently played an heirloom upright in the living room of a local minister.  It felt and sounded fine to me.  After recent tuning the local service that advertises on the radio,  had mentioned they could put the piano in fine shape for $2000.  Fearmongering is what I call that practice.  
To inspect a piano yourself read post 2 of this thread: http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php
If the various strings match in tone and the keys don't stick I don't see voicing and regulation being that essential to a 1915 piano.  The main barrier, the scale (wire lengths) is designed for A=420 or so, not 440.  Playing at home, only your record player will know your tuning is low.  I wouldn't recommend pulling it up, the overtones could be off.  

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Advice on purchasing an original condition grand piano
«Reply #3 on: October 18, 2015, 07:12:04 PM »
I've played a lot of 1920's uprights in my Sunday School days.  Not top of the line pianos like a Mason and Hamlin, but home use pianos don't deteriorate that much. It is not the years, it is the hours use that wears out a piano.  Most home piano owners don't practice that often.   I don't really see the repairs the previous poster warning about being commonly needed.  The most common thing in 1920's pianos besides the rotted straps (which grands don't have) is the ivory keytops coming off.  I recently played an heirloom upright in the living room of a local minister.  It felt and sounded fine to me.  After recent tuning the local service that advertises on the radio,  had mentioned they could put the piano in fine shape for $2000.  Fearmongering is what I call that practice.  
To inspect a piano yourself read post 2 of this thread: http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php
If the various strings match in tone and the keys don't stick I don't see voicing and regulation being that essential to a 1915 piano.  The main barrier, the scale (wire lengths) is designed for A=420 or so, not 440.  Playing at home, only your record player will know your tuning is low.  I wouldn't recommend pulling it up, the overtones could be off.  

Intriguing.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.