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Probably a simple question... (Read 1121 times)

Offline rogerbann

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Probably a simple question...
« on: February 08, 2016, 12:11:30 PM »
Hello

I found an interesting ad in Sweden. Somebody was giving away a 1914 Ekströms concert vertical piano. The height being 57"  and depth 26.5" I wondered what the measures of such a "concert vertical" would/should be? That sounds like a small baby grand.

Offline indianajo

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Re: Probably a simple question...
«Reply #1 on: February 08, 2016, 03:50:11 PM »
The sound of a pre-WWII upright can be quite good.  They definitely have longer bass strings than a baby grand.  They can be quite fast, depending on whose action kit was used.  Give it the two finger trick.  They are often called on the casting "vertical grand" or "home grand" or just "grand" , which was not true but there was no FTC to define words in 1914.  The difference, a vertical piano will not have una chorda action shift with the soft pedal, and the middle pedal will not sustain just the notes held down when it was depressed. 
The negative to the quality versions of these, they weight 200 kg or more and take 4 men to move them unless the two guys are really strong.  The piano moving company in my town refuses to touch them.  Many modern houses don't have floors strong enough for them. 
If you do decide to pick it up, inspect with this regime: http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=56680.0
You may want it if it is slightly slow, the pitch difference at strike is peculiar to pre WWII pianos and an accurate sound for ragtime and believe it or not, Beethoven.  Out of tune and rusty strings are not problems.  Broken leather retrieve straps can be replaced with polyester shirt material quickly.  Mouse eaten felts wood clevises falling apart because the glue is coming undone, hammer shafts warping due to rain damage, run away.  Not all old pianos have these problems but some do. 

Offline rogerbann

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Re: Probably a simple question...
«Reply #2 on: February 10, 2016, 06:14:39 PM »
Thank you for your help  :)

Yes, the guy giving it away told me it weighs about 300kg...

The piano has been used for practice by a professional musician 1950-2000 and passed on to her children. Stood indoors ever since and not much used.
It seems to keep it´s tune but the owner told me they had it lowered half a note to be sure?

Offline indianajo

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Re: Probably a simple question...
«Reply #3 on: February 11, 2016, 10:22:02 AM »
A=440 is a post 1927 phenomenon.
Before that A was 427 or something. Half note down from 440 is 415.  The shift was gradual going from orchestra to orchestra, so no telling when certain piano manufacturers changed over.   The overtones of upper strings will be annoying if the piano is tuned higher than it was designed for.  Same with lower.  Typically strings don't thin out, except Boesendoerfer, so I would tune to A=427 and just replace the ones that break.  Quality music wire is still being sold, I've been using Malin of Brook Park OH bought in a 1/4 lb roll from an industrial supply house.  Much cheaper than the recommended strings (other piano site) from the piano supply house.  No sound difference I can tell.  Of course straight wire will not replace wound bass strings.  Those have to be custom adjusted to match the existing ones. 
Loose pins is a problem. One or two loose ones that won't hold pitch,  you can try the cardboard shim in the hole trick.  Also the pine tar trick.  Oversize pins are about $2 each or less in sets of 88.  Mostly I find tuners won't deal with this and the piano gets sold off and replaced with some *****y import.  A whole new pin block is only about $200.