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#1222275 - 06/24/09 05:25 PM Did my piano technician fool me?
sunnysidepiano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/22/09
Posts: 7
Loc: NY
Hello everyone,

I just got a Baldwin 5'8'' grand piano that sounds really beautiful and is in great condition, seems like. I paid $5000 for it. The thing is, it's from 20s, not from 50s or 60s, like my piano technician/seller told me.

When I talked to a lot of people before I decided to buy this piano, I described the piano as "Baldwin 5'8'' from 50s or 60s that's been restored maybe 5-10 years ago to a perfect condition." because that's what my piano technician told me. It was a piano that he's been taking care of for the last 5 years and now he was selling it for the owner ASAP. People that I've talked to told me it'll cost about $10,000 for a piano like that. So I thought it's a great investment opportunity also and I hurried to gather some money to buy it.

Was he lying to me? As a well-known piano technician (Queens, NY area), how could he not know of its age when he was taking care of it for 5 years?

Now that I know that the piano is about 40 years older than I thought it was, I'm wondering if I got fooled and paid more than its value or is it still a fair price for a well-maintained piano like this...

Can anyone help me with your knowledge/opinion?

Thank you for your time.


Edited by sunnysidepiano (06/24/09 05:28 PM)

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#1222281 - 06/24/09 05:41 PM Re: Did my piano technician fool me? [Re: sunnysidepiano]
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 2604
The piano was grossly misrepresented by a professional who absolutely knew the truth. Now I would have questions about the "restored" condition as well. "5-10 years ago" is quite a spread from a professional tech who has worked on the piano for five years already. I would say you got more than just "fooled".

Was the piano refinished less than 11 years ago or not?
Was the piano restrung less than 11 years ago or not?
Were there new action parts, hammers and dampers installed less than 11 years ago or not?
If all of the answers are proven yes, then you may have gotten your monies worth. If not, then you were taken.

Significant evolutionary improvements were on Baldwins of the 1950-60's compared to those of the 1920's. If you grand truly measures 5'8" at the longest dimension it would likely be a model E from the earlier years rather than the much more popular more current model R. It might also be a lesser line of Baldwin i.e. a Hamilton, Elington, or Howard.

Originally you were led to believe you were getting a $10,000 piano for $5,000. Worse case scenerio, you got an $1800 piano for $5k. Best case scenerio, you got a $5k piano for $5k.
_________________________
Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.

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#1222287 - 06/24/09 05:57 PM Re: Did my piano technician fool me? [Re: Marty Flinn]
sunnysidepiano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/22/09
Posts: 7
Loc: NY
The serial number is H47754. Does that mean it's an"H" model? I'm pretty sure that it's a Baldwin though. Nowhere on the body of the piano says otherwise. The PT said that he doen't know exactly when and what's been done in terms of restoring, he just assumes that it was restored not too long before he started taking care of this piano.

One very reliable PT (a friend of my friend) told me that Baldwin in the 60s adopted a special technique -which I couldn't remember exactly- that made the models superior. And he was excited about my purchase. I guess my piano is very far from it now...

Thanks for your reply Mr.Marty Flinn.

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#1222301 - 06/24/09 06:43 PM Re: Did my piano technician fool me? [Re: sunnysidepiano]
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
Was any of this put in writing? This nonsense about 'he assumed it had been rebuilt' is just that.. nonsense. by what stretch of the imagination did he 'assume' this?

You at least have what was posted on PW as evidence on your side if you decide to take this guy to court.
_________________________
Michael

====

He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'

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#1222386 - 06/24/09 10:31 PM Re: Did my piano technician fool me? [Re: mikhailoh]
sunnysidepiano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/22/09
Posts: 7
Loc: NY
No, none of this is put in writing. I just have the proof of purchase and a receipt of payment. I've talked to a couple of musician friends describing the piano as I was informed by the PT/seller before I bought it so their testimony can be used as a proof of his mis-representaion when it comes down to it.

He said he knew for sure that it was restored (not rebuilt, he said) He just didn't know when exactly it was done, so according to its condition he thought it was done not too long before he got to work with the piano. He even said that It won't need any work for the next 20 years.

I haven't communicated with that guy yet, I wanted to gain some insight on this matter before I do.

Thanks for your interest.



Edited by sunnysidepiano (06/24/09 11:00 PM)

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#1222390 - 06/24/09 10:33 PM Re: Did my piano technician fool me? [Re: sunnysidepiano]
mikhailoh Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 4288
Loc: Cincinnati
Be aware that your piano tech may well be reading this.
_________________________
Michael

====

He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'

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#1222399 - 06/24/09 11:18 PM Re: Did my piano technician fool me? [Re: Marty Flinn]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2340
Loc: Olympia, WA
Originally Posted By: Marty Flinn


Significant evolutionary improvements were on Baldwins of the 1950-60's compared to those of the 1920's. If you grand truly measures 5'8" at the longest dimension it would likely be a model E from the earlier years rather than the much more popular more current model R. It might also be a lesser line of Baldwin i.e. a Hamilton, Elington, or Howard.


I'm curious to know what the evolutionary improvements were that happened in the 50-60s.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1222408 - 06/25/09 12:00 AM Re: Did my piano technician fool me? [Re: rysowers]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: rysowers
I'm curious to know what the evolutionary improvements were that happened in the 50-60s.

I'm curious about that, too, as the OP also mentioned being told that "Baldwin in the 60s adopted a special technique ... that made the models superior."

Accu-just hitch pins came to mind, but I've never heard much of anything good or bad about that particular innovation.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1222475 - 06/25/09 07:38 AM Re: Did my piano technician fool me? [Re: sotto voce]
John Pels Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 1253
Loc: Tomball, Texas
Yet, if we go by the serial # we likely have a model H which was a predecessor to the model R. It would date to around 1924. I rebuilt a model H for one of my students 20 years ago. It was and continues to be a fabulous piano. I would say that the tech would have to know the approximate production date, but if the rebuild was done to a high standard it wouldn't matter whether it was 1920's or 50's, assuming that the board has good crown and bearing. The price of $5000 is modest though.I question what exactly you get these days for that kind of money. It is what I charged for the H I sold to my student 20 years ago. In defense of the earlier piano less all of those "improvements" that Marty alludes to, my student lived 2 miles from the Baldwin dealer and would often stop by to try out their new Baldwins. He never did find a new Baldwin that he thought superior to his model H. His pilgrimages were routine for around 12 years, until the local dealer closed. As to whether it is a genuine Baldwin, all one need do is post a picture of the plate with the lid up and we can tell many things. Pesonally I wouldn't push the panic button quite yet because too many things are unknown.

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#1222500 - 06/25/09 08:47 AM Re: Did my piano technician fool me? [Re: John Pels]
Rank Piano Amateur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 1735
I think that John Pels has the right idea here. It is true that the piano is a lot older than the OP thought, but that does not automatically mean that the purchase is a disaster. Let's try to locate and look at the bright side here.

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#1222519 - 06/25/09 09:34 AM Re: Did my piano technician fool me? [Re: Rank Piano Amateur]
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8078
Loc: Georgia, USA
Hi,

In your opening statement you said that the piano sounded really beautiful and was in great condition. Plus, from my perspective, $5000 ain't a lot of money to pay for a nice 5'8" grand of any make. I wouldn't worry about the age, though the PT clearly misrepresented the age, if indeed he knew (how could he not?) It sounds to me like you’ve got a great piano!

I bought a Ford farm tractor once that the seller said was a 1986 model and it turned out to be a 1983 model. I was a little disturbed for a while, but it's been a terrific tractor and I still have it. What does this have to do with this thread? I'm not sure, but it seemed relevant.

Enjoy you new-to-you-piano!

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#1222565 - 06/25/09 11:12 AM Re: Did my piano technician fool me? [Re: Rickster]
Monica K. Online   blank

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17699
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
I think John, RPA, and Rickster are making some good points. That misrepresentation has occurred is not in doubt. The question then becomes, what do you want to do about it? Had you been informed accurately of all the particulars of this piano--correct model number and date of manufacture, full detail about what was restored and when--would you have still bought the piano at the purchase price and had been happy with your purchase?

If the answer is 'yes,' then I'm not sure it's worth the aggravation to pursue things with the seller. If the answer is 'no,' then it sounds like you have good grounds for pursuing a partial or full refund.

If you're not sure, perhaps a good strategy would be to hire an independent technician whose judgment you trust to inspect and appraise the piano for you.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1222591 - 06/25/09 12:33 PM Re: Did my piano technician fool me? [Re: Monica K.]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
The question of whether the OP would still have bought the piano at that price and been satisfied had all the relevant information been at hand is a sensible bottom line here, but it's premature to answer that question until the full extent of the misrepresentation has been revealed. We know the piano's real age, but (unless I've overlooked something) we still don't know what refurbishing was done, how long ago, or how well.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1225084 - 06/30/09 01:32 PM Re: Did my piano technician fool me? [Re: sotto voce]
sunnysidepiano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/22/09
Posts: 7
Loc: NY
The PT/seller came this morning to tune the piano. About the misrepresentation, he said he didn't know what year it was manufactured because he didn't pay much attention to the serial number. He was just tuning this piano for five years before it went into a storage. But he supplied me the details of the restoration- new strings, hammers, action, tuning pins- and assured me that it's very well-maintained piano that will last for a long time.

So I'm settled and happy with it. I've already gotten attached to the sound of this piano already anyway. It's just beautiful. Thank you everyone for your help and concern.


Edited by sunnysidepiano (06/30/09 01:34 PM)

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