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#1297190 - 10/31/09 12:13 PM Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly?
webber5606 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/30/09
Posts: 3
I have the opportunity to purchase a 1917 Steinway Grand Player Piano (with player mechanism missing). Price is $4500. I believe it is a Model AR (rather than OR or XR) as it is approximately 6'8" long.

Condition: The red mahogany case is in good wood condition but badly needs refinishing. Keys are great- not a single chip, sound board has no cracks from my amateur eye. Missing one string (I think its age of string rather than warped soundboard as its only 1 string and is a bass string)

My questions-
I wouldnt be interested in the player mechanism unless there was a financial return to fix it (find one). Are these players generally worth more or less in comarison to their non-player counterparts?

Would the soundboard in this piano be the same as a 7' or a smaller piano? (I would like the larger soundboard)

At $4500 and needing a full refurbishment am I money ahead or should I look for a Model B that has already been refurbished?

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ THIS! YOUR HELP IS GREATLY APPRECIATED!

William

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#1297195 - 10/31/09 12:20 PM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: webber5606]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21923
Loc: Oakland
The ex-players are worth a lot less than the straight pianos. If these questions are important to you, you probably should avoid this piano.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1297212 - 10/31/09 12:42 PM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: BDB]
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3347
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
When we rebuild these old player Steinways for clients who are not interested in the player part, we convert the case to its equivalent non player shape and size.
This requires a completely new key set and key frame. This is a very expensive rebuilding project, and it requires a rebuilder that has a tremendous expertise in action design and work as well as in the cabinet modification.
The interesting thing about these old player Steinways is that they have much more substantial belly rails than the non player Steinways and the back post design is also superior to the normal Steinway back post design. So, when they are rebuilt properly, you can end up with a better than normal Steinway that works better in the "killer" octave area.
Expect to pay big bucks for the rebuilding of this piano, but you are buying it at a great price. The extra expense in the rebuilding will probably eat up your savings, but you might end up with a really wonderful instrument.
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
www.pianocraft.net
http://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel/videos

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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#1297215 - 10/31/09 12:50 PM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: Keith D Kerman]
Bart Kinlein Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 715
Loc: Maryland
Pay attention to whatever Keith says - a real pro (not to single him out - among many others on the forum)
_________________________
Steinway 1905 model A, rebuild started 2008, completed 2012
Yahama CVP-401
Will somone get my wife off the Steinway so I can play it!

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#1297227 - 10/31/09 01:13 PM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: Bart Kinlein]
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 2604
If the piano does in fact measure 6'8" it is an AR model and would have the same soundboard as in an A III 6'4" piano without the player. These instruments play like a truck when played manually. I would pass. For $4500 you are looking at a core only that must be rebuilt to use as a musical instrument.
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#1297309 - 10/31/09 04:16 PM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: Marty Flinn]
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3347
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
Marty's reasoning is exactly why I think this piano is very worthwhile. smile

$4500 for an A3 core is an absolute steal. However, Marty's reasoning is also sound. This piano will play like crap if you keep the original keyset. So, if you have the right rebuilder ( pretty rare), and you are willing to spend the money, you have a winner. If you have the wrong rebuilder, and/or are not willing to spend the money, you should pass.
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
www.pianocraft.net
http://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel/videos

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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#1297330 - 10/31/09 05:23 PM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: Keith D Kerman]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21923
Loc: Oakland
If you are looking for a piano to rebuild, you probably should start by finding the rebuilder first.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1297364 - 10/31/09 06:33 PM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: BDB]
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
For the qualified commisioned rebuilder,it is a great gig. For the client end user,I'm not sure!. It depends on, as Keith mentioned, whether or not one was planning on a complete remanufacture in replacing the keyset,soundboard,bridges and ribs along with the remaining restoration. If you do decide to go this route,you have no choice as for not replacing the keyset.It's a domino effect.If one changes the keyset,most likely one would address most EVERYTHING else.
So ...it's all or nothing in my book!
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#1297550 - 11/01/09 02:22 AM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: Keith D Kerman]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3371
Originally Posted By: Keith D Kerman
When we rebuild these old player Steinways for clients who are not interested in the player part, we convert the case to its equivalent non player shape and size.


How does one re-size the case?
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M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
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#1297632 - 11/01/09 09:34 AM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: beethoven986]
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3347
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
It is the front of the case that gets modified and reshaped to match its non player equivalent. Lots of carpentry. A new stretcher, keybed, keyslip, and fall board get made along with other parts getting modified or remade. Everything gets shaped according to jigs and templates we have made from equivalent non player models from the same period. Everything gets new veneer as well. It is a big job.
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
www.pianocraft.net
http://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel/videos

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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#1297634 - 11/01/09 09:37 AM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: beethoven986]
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
With a sawsall or a chain saw. grin You actually cut the case down eliminating the area where the player(Duo-art) used to be.You have to reconfigure the new positioning of the stretcher bar,pinblock,arms,cheekblocks,fallboard,keyslip,new keyset and ? . If it is a wood finish piano,one has to reveneer wherever necessary. It can get fairly complicated for a piano guy in that it is a woodworking skillset beyond the capabilities of many and most piano rebuilders.You have to also cut down or make a new flylid in that the original will be too long and also totally reconfigure the trapwork,sostenuto uh...and on and on and on...Is it worth it for the client? Depends on the aquisition price of the explayer in that the conversion of the case is much more $$ in this restoration project.


Edited by pianobroker (11/01/09 10:44 AM)
_________________________
www.pastperfectpiano.com
Largest selection in the USA
100+Steinway and M&H grands
Warehouse showroom Onsite Restoration
Preowned & Restored
Hailun dlr.818-255-3145
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#1297666 - 11/01/09 10:59 AM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: pianobroker]
Ed A. Hall Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/23/01
Posts: 266
Don't these pianos also have keys that are reduced in length from the fallboard to the keyslip? Can that be lengthened as well?

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#1297668 - 11/01/09 11:01 AM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: Keith D Kerman]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7303
Loc: torrance, CA
If you chop four inches from the keybed end of the case and gut the internals while most likely replacing the board, is it still a Steinway? Is its potential resale value anywhere near the cost to the buyer?
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#1297711 - 11/01/09 12:48 PM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: Ed A. Hall]
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3347
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
Originally Posted By: Ed A. Hall
Don't these pianos also have keys that are reduced in length from the fallboard to the keyslip? Can that be lengthened as well?


We put in a modern scale keyset. It is the same as would go into a brand new Hamburg Steinway of the same model.
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
www.pianocraft.net
http://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel/videos

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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#1297715 - 11/01/09 12:55 PM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: turandot]
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3347
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
Originally Posted By: turandot
If you chop four inches from the keybed end of the case and gut the internals while most likely replacing the board, is it still a Steinway? Is its potential resale value anywhere near the cost to the buyer?


It is still a Steinway. Actually, IMO, it is more a Steinway than if you don't do this work.
Its potential resale value is as good as the work that was done. If the piano looks, plays and sounds great, resale should be similar to a rebuilt Steinway that was not originally a player piano. The inner rim, belly rail and back posts are more substantial than on non player Steinways, and these pianos can really sound great if the rebuild is done well.
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
www.pianocraft.net
http://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel/videos

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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#1297724 - 11/01/09 01:08 PM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: Keith D Kerman]
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7303
Loc: torrance, CA
Originally Posted By: Keith D Kerman
Originally Posted By: turandot
If you chop four inches from the keybed end of the case and gut the internals while most likely replacing the board, is it still a Steinway? Is its potential resale value anywhere near the cost to the buyer?


It is still a Steinway. Actually, IMO, it is more a Steinway than if you don't do this work.
Its potential resale value is as good as the work that was done. If the piano looks, plays and sounds great, resale should be similar to a rebuilt Steinway that was not originally a player piano. The inner rim, belly rail and back posts are more substantial than on non player Steinways, and these pianos can really sound great if the rebuild is done well.


No argument on the musical qualities. I'll defer to you on that. But I question the phrase "more a Steinway" since it no longer is any model that Steinway produced. Maybe "more than a Steinway" would be more correct.

On the value question, I think there's huge difference between the price potential of the fresh rebuild from the rebuilder providing the warranty and what the consumer owner can realize later, especially if the piano had been modified so drastically in the chop shop. grin
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Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#1297734 - 11/01/09 01:23 PM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: turandot]
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3347
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
Originally Posted By: turandot

No argument on the musical qualities. I'll defer to you on that. But I question the phrase "more a Steinway"


When we are done, they feel and respond like a perfect new Steinway. The player Steinways with the original actions and keysets don't feel or respond like Steinways. So, I feel this makes them "more a Steinway".

Originally Posted By: turandot
On the value question, I think there's huge difference between the price potential of the fresh rebuild from the rebuilder providing the warranty and what the consumer owner can realize later.


This is always the case, whether a piano is new, used or freshly rebuilt and being sold by professionals as opposed to private parties.
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
www.pianocraft.net
http://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel/videos

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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#1297816 - 11/01/09 04:12 PM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: Keith D Kerman]
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
All the "player" Steinway grand mdls. had their nonplayer versions which we all know.The XR is a M scale,the OR is the L scale,AR is the A-III scale. To say the player versions don't play like a Steinway and aren't "more a Steinway" than the normal may not be appropriate semantically. The player versions with the longer keys can be said to play inferior than that of a normal one.

The converted player is most definitely affected as for a value perspective. The unconverted explayer is most definitely worth less. The converted cut down is definitely worth more though one has to factor in the conversion cost. Though a converted is more valuble than a unconverted,A converted is worth less than a normal original one. Is a "salvage title car" which has been repaired back to normal worth the same as a "clean title" car ?. I don't think so.

These player mdls. were originally sold to Aeolian who in turn installed the players and sold them.There can be serial # discrepancies which affect it's resale value.

Many dealers have purchased these explayers and attempted to disguise the fact of it's original status and or sent the pianos to ? to do the conversion. You can bet after the fact,there is no disclosure to the end user.So...the term chopshop is somewhat appropriate.grin



Edited by pianobroker (11/01/09 04:17 PM)
_________________________
www.pastperfectpiano.com
Largest selection in the USA
100+Steinway and M&H grands
Warehouse showroom Onsite Restoration
Preowned & Restored
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#1297827 - 11/01/09 04:40 PM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: Keith D Kerman]
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
Originally Posted By: Keith D Kerman
Originally Posted By: Ed A. Hall
Don't these pianos also have keys that are reduced in length from the fallboard to the keyslip? Can that be lengthened as well?


We put in a modern scale keyset. It is the same as would go into a brand new Hamburg Steinway of the same model.

Keith,I know you guys do a righteous job on the conversion.
As for the client's piano,no problem if it benefits all the parties cost $ wise.
As for me,spec piano wise ,thanx but no thanx! Been there did one,too much down time!I'd rather pay more for a regular "core" though believe me with my bellyman and rebuilder,we can do it more precise than an all original one. grin

Now this piano in question,it actually may be a bit tricky in that it is not a regular production mdl. anymore being that the A-III was discontinued in the 40(s). Actually in that it was never a Hamburg mdl.,one could not order a kluge keyset for an AIII. You are not actually duplicating the original key set so..it's not like you can send the old original keyframe and samples to whoever in the states.

Maybe an AII keyframe is the same I'll have to check. No reason to up till now. Actually since you are cutting the keybed to size,maybe you can cut it down to the A-II or B size keyframe.
I have no idea! If theres a will theres a way ,one can figure it out. wink


Edited by pianobroker (11/01/09 04:43 PM)
_________________________
www.pastperfectpiano.com
Largest selection in the USA
100+Steinway and M&H grands
Warehouse showroom Onsite Restoration
Preowned & Restored
Hailun dlr.818-255-3145
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z8RvhXGKzY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Voo0zumHGgE

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#1297842 - 11/01/09 05:08 PM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: pianobroker]
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3347
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
PB,

A2 is the same.
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
www.pianocraft.net
http://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel/videos

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460

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#1298534 - 11/02/09 09:36 PM Re: Steinway 1917 Grand Duo Art- buy or fly? [Re: webber5606]
webber5606 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/30/09
Posts: 3
I cant thank you guys enough for the great information, I learned a lot from the posts.

I plan to pass on this piano. If anyone is intersted in the case, let me know and I will get you in touch with the owner.

Thanks a million!

William

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