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#1303732 - 11/12/09 12:01 AM 1943 Steinway Console or Baldwin 243?
88knees Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/05/09
Posts: 7
Hello all, I have the opportunity to buy one of two pianos, quite different from each other.

The first is a beautiful one-owner 1943 console, kept in tune and in good shape. However, it is 65 years old

The second is a 46" Baldwin Hamilton in good condition (two owners, both individuals, not institutions). I don't know the age but the serial # is 185177.

Both of these is available for $800. Which one should I take? I'm feeling a bit bruised by the whole piano shopping experience. Last month I turned down a 6 year old Yamaha P22 for $1100 and I've been kicking myself ever since. I just got nervous b/c so many people were telling me that the Yamaha sound is too bright and would get worse with age but honestly, it sounded fine to me. So now I feel these are probably not as much of a steal but they do both seem to be sound.

Is there an obvious answer? Is the Steinway too old? Is the Baldwin a great deal? Or are they about equal?

Is the

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#1303746 - 11/12/09 12:30 AM Re: 1943 Steinway Console or Baldwin 243? [Re: 88knees]
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1925
Loc: El Cajon, CA
The Hamilton is a 1959. I personally like the Hamiltons from that era. $800 sounds a bit high to me, but not out of the question depending on what condition the piano is in. I'm sure someone with more experience could give you more detailed advice. The fact that it wasn't an institutional piano helps - chances are it wasn't used as much in a home as it would have been in a school or church, for example. The Hamiltons can be bright, especially the ones of that age, but I personally like the way they sound when they're on the bright side. Some other pianos that I've heard described as "bright" I really didn't care for.
Associate Member - Piano Technicians Guild
1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
You can right-click my avatar for an option to view a larger version.

#1303813 - 11/12/09 03:38 AM Re: 1943 Steinway Console or Baldwin 243? [Re: 88Key_PianoPlayer]
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3458
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
There's a huge difference between a six-year-old piano and a 65-year-old one. You might consider renting a new-ish piano for a while until you get a better feel for what pianos you like.

Generally I recommend against consoles; the smaller action parts don't perform as well as a full-sized action (such as repetition). I have a Steinway console from that era (family piano), and it has brass action parts which could be problematic in the future. It also has lots of lead in the keys (which are also shorter). It's beautifully made, though; current condition is very important (in any piano).

Hamilton 243s are standard school pianos, but again, anything 50 years old could be problematic.

Trust your own instincts about a piano's sound. You're the one that's going to live with it. I see many broad characterizations here, about how all Yamaha's sound and so forth (some of them are motorcycles!).

Cy Shuster, RPT
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Director, PTG Norfolk 2016 Technical Institute


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