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Thinking about getting a free piano (Read 567 times)

Offline bridgerb

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Thinking about getting a free piano
« on: August 17, 2020, 09:03:29 PM »
Hello Everyone!
I have been playing piano for about a year now and I want to get an upright, at the moment I'm playing on a fairly nice keyboard. I plan on keeping the keyboard, but getting an upright to supplement the keyboard. I was looking on craigslist and I came across a free piano. It's not in great condition, but it doesn't look horrible. I am willing to do work on it, but I am not very experienced and I don't know what to look for to know if it will work. It is branded as a "Mendelssohn" but it appears it was painted over some time ago and I don't know the serial number. The tuning pegs appear to be either somewhat rusty or dirty. I really like the look of the piano, but I don't want to take on more than I can handle.

Offline quantum

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Re: Thinking about getting a free piano
«Reply #1 on: August 17, 2020, 10:29:30 PM »
Hi and welcome to Pianostreet.

Have a piano tech check out the instrument.  Do you want to get this piano to play, or restore yourself, or both?

Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline bridgerb

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Re: Thinking about getting a free piano
«Reply #2 on: August 17, 2020, 11:00:11 PM »
I would like to do both, but I want to know that it is possible to restore it. Does it cost much to have a piano tech look at it?

Offline quantum

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Re: Thinking about getting a free piano
«Reply #3 on: August 18, 2020, 01:11:27 AM »
The piano tech will give an evaluation of what needs to be done to the piano.  From that evaluation, it will allow you to make an informed decision if this a project you are willing to take on.  Seeking the evaluation of a piano tech is a frequently recommended standard practice in the decision to buy any piano. 

The evaluation would likely be similar to the cost of a piano tuning in your area.  It is worth it. 

If you do decide to take on the project, there will also likely be the cost of specialized tools and educational materials on how to repair pianos.
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline volcanoadam

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Re: Thinking about getting a free piano
«Reply #4 on: August 18, 2020, 11:39:38 AM »
I wouldn't bother to hire a technician to look at it. The cost of restoration will be much higher than cost of buying a piano in good condition, even if you repair it on your own. To move it will also cost you money.
Plenty of rust suggests that piano stayed in damp condition for a long time, which means not only the metal parts suffered but also wood and felt. Keyboard also isn't in great condition and is uneven, which means it wasn't regulated in a long time if ever. However, that's not a problem (it's quite easy fix to do it yourself) but it suggests the piano was never kept in good condition and whole action will need regulation.
I don't think that piano is worth a penny.

VA

Offline j_tour

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Re: Thinking about getting a free piano
«Reply #5 on: August 18, 2020, 05:57:08 PM »
I would like to do both, but I want to know that it is possible to restore it. Does it cost much to have a piano tech look at it?

Well, sure, it can be done.

And, yes, it will be expensive both in labor and parts.

If it's a project you want to do, then you can certainly acquire the tools and spend probably at least quadruple the time somebody who knows what they're doing will take to do the tasks, and there are likely many.

It's like an old car or a motorcycle:  people can and do restore those, but most times IME it just sits in a garage for ten years while the home tinkerer figures it out.

OTOH, if you're just looking for a beater piano to play outside in the rain and do a Chicago blues, then why not.  You don't really need to hire professional movers in this case:  a few guys and a truck can move it, but it's not going to do the piano any favors.

Although I've seen the difference between actual piano movers and just some guys you find out of the newspaper.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline quantum

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Re: Thinking about getting a free piano
«Reply #6 on: August 19, 2020, 12:03:08 AM »
It really depends on what the OP wants to get out of it.  If it is for the experience of taking a piano apart, learning how it works and how to fix then.  Then sure, it is worth it.  Just set reasonable expectations, don't presume you can make a concert instrument out of it. 

If the OP is getting it because they think they are getting a good deal because of the term "free" then maybe further consideration is needed.  Free does not always equal free.  Value is not solely the monetary value of the instrument alone.  There will be costs for moving, tools, and education.  There will be costs for making errors out of inexperience and having to redo a job.  There will be costs in workspace, because a project like this will need to take up a good amount of space in your home.  There will be costs in time.  However, if it is something the OP wants to do for enjoyment, then that enjoyment adds value to the investment. 

Just like j_tour said, it might be like working on an old car. 
Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline bridgerb

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Re: Thinking about getting a free piano
«Reply #7 on: August 19, 2020, 08:45:53 PM »
Thanks for the help everyone! I think I'm going to keep looking. It makes me sad because I really liked how it looks, but I think it's for the best.