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#1481828 - 07/26/10 01:30 PM Value & pros/cons of Baldwin Howard C171 (5'8" Samick, 1984)
royaldis Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/26/10
Posts: 6
Hello Piano World experts! I've been impressed by the depth of knowledge displayed in the posts I've read while researching baby grands.

I'm now hoping that some of you will be generous enough with your time to let me know the age, manufacturer and your opinions about the quality & approximate value range of a Howard C171 5'8" grand (which seems to exist between the 'baby' and 'parlor' grand designations). The serial number is 42279.

I know I need to have a piano tech examine it, but first I'm trying to figure out if that's worthwhile. To my amateur's eye, it looks Korean---very much like a Young Chang, which I know made the Howards for a time. Overall visible condition is excellent. But the entire keyboard & action shifts to the right when the left pedal is depressed. Major concern?...

Your thoughts would be very greatly appreciated!

Edited by royaldis (08/02/10 09:14 AM)

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#1482213 - 07/27/10 01:00 AM Re: Expert opinions on Howard C171? [Re: royaldis]
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3458
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Welcome to the forum!

Howard C171's are average for what was available at that time -- neither the best nor the worst. I just tuned one today, in fact, and it's still in good shape.

The action shift is how the una corda works on almost all grand pianos; the hammers then hit only two of the three strings.

Your piano was likely made by Samick some time before 1988; I don't have an exact serial number match. Value depends on condition. It would probably not be more than $3,500 - $4,000 in most markets.

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

#1482331 - 07/27/10 08:53 AM Re: Expert opinions on Howard C171? [Re: Cy Shuster, RPT]
royaldis Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/26/10
Posts: 6
Many thanks, Cy!

#1482370 - 07/27/10 10:14 AM Re: Expert opinions on Howard C171? [Re: royaldis]
PianoMan1958 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 502
Loc: Tennessee
Some Howards were made by Kawai, but usually you could see the Kawai stamp under the strings and it was noted somewhere on the piano that it was made for Baldwin by Kawai.
Jack in TN

Yamaha C5 grand (home)
Kawai KG5 grand (church)
Roland RD300GX digital (jazz group)

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#1482416 - 07/27/10 11:31 AM Re: Expert opinions on Howard C171? [Re: PianoMan1958]
royaldis Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/26/10
Posts: 6
Grateful for the tip, PianoMan! Will check for that...

#1482860 - 07/27/10 11:18 PM Re: Expert opinions on Howard C171? [Re: royaldis]
Piano*Dad Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10648
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
The Kawai Howards have the Kawai label emblazoned on the sound board and on the plate. It's quite unmistakeable that they are Kawai pianos. That size also would have been labeled a 550 on the Kawai plate, not a C171.

#1483044 - 07/28/10 08:58 AM Re: Expert opinions on Howard C171? [Re: Piano*Dad]
royaldis Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/26/10
Posts: 6
OK, armed with these valuable insights (thanks for the latest, Piano Dad), I'm going for a more thorough inspection in a couple of days. Will recheck the serial number to make sure I got it right. Please all feel free to chime in with other things to look for with this model!

#1484001 - 07/29/10 05:31 PM Re: Expert opinions on Howard C171? [Re: royaldis]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1460
Loc: Michigan
As Cy mentioned, it was a Samick contracted piano. I sold one when I was a Baldwin dealer and still tune it. In all honesty, I'd say keep looking, I wasn't impressed with what the piano was when new and haven't become any more impressed now.
Keith Akins, RPT
Editor, Piano Technicians Journal
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

#1485242 - 07/31/10 01:42 PM Re: Expert opinions on Howard C171? [Re: kpembrook]
royaldis Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/26/10
Posts: 6
Thanks for your input, Keith. I did reexamine the piano. The serial number I posted is correct, 42279.

Keith: would it be possible for you to elaborate a little on the negatives of this piano?

Everyone: I'd be so grateful if you'd weigh in on the value of this piano assuming the following condition...
> very good overall
> a few minor scratches
> sound board looks pristine
> keys & action all good
> sustain pedal needs adjusting to provide more resistance
> a few strings produce vibration rattles, which I'm assuming is caused by the loosening of the wire wound around the core and means they simply need to be replaced?
> my pro pianist friend played it and said: the una corda shift is right on; the piano is bright, overall, but not in an offensive way; the duplex strings produce clear, ringing tones.
> this piano has hardly been played in the last 10 years; it's a "decorator piece" in the owner's home.


#1486452 - 08/02/10 09:12 AM Re: Expert opinions on Howard C171? [Re: royaldis]
royaldis Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/26/10
Posts: 6
Cy & Keith: you were right on. I just got confirmation from the Baldwin people (at Gibson, which now owns the brand), that this serial number indicates the piano was manufactured by Samick in 1984 for Baldwin's Howard brand.

Any further thoughts based on the above condition report?...


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