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#1543322 - 10/25/10 05:39 PM Best Practice Instrument - upgrading to a M&H AA or A?
Nathan Smith NYC Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/26/10
Posts: 1
Loc: New York, NY
Hello everyone,

I am a student pianist finishing his undergrad and am in need of upgrading pianos. I have had an Otto Altenberg 6'11 grand which I purchased for $9,500 - and it's no longer cutting it for me. I have the option of trading up and getting 100% of that $9,500 back towards another instrument, so now I'm seriously considering my options. The most that I am at all going to be able to manage is something in the low to mid 20's, but even that is stretching it. Occupational hazard I guess...

Anyways, here are my options: A 1900 AA (Victorian case, not that that's too important), or a 1926 A. Both are fully rebuilt and being sold by the same VERY reputable company. I've played them both and they're not Steinway B's but they're pretty close in quality - a definite upgrade from what I have now. I need to get an instrument I'll be happy practicing on for at least 10 years, if that's at all possible. I can't keep moving pianos and paying sales tax and all that...

That being said, which would you recommend? Should I be considering other instruments? I am really tired of practicing on an instrument that's holding me back in the realm of tone/color control, balance, etc etc.

Thanks in advance for your advice and opinions!

Edited by Nathan Smith NYC (10/25/10 05:42 PM)

Hailun / Pearl River Pianos

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#1543333 - 10/25/10 05:51 PM Re: Best Practice Instrument - upgrading to a M&H AA or A? [Re: Nathan Smith NYC]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5314
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
... what would I suggest? laugh

mp3\wav files

AvantGrand N3, CP5

#1543344 - 10/25/10 06:06 PM Re: Best Practice Instrument - upgrading to a M&H AA or A? [Re: Nathan Smith NYC]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 22962
Loc: Oakland
I would suggest finding a good technician and seeing what can be done with the piano you have.
Semipro Tech

#1543346 - 10/25/10 06:07 PM Re: Best Practice Instrument - upgrading to a M&H AA or A? [Re: Nathan Smith NYC]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2992
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Those vintage Mason's are great. My favorite is the model A, but that huge size difference may be too much of a shock to your system. I'd probably opt for the AA in your situation.
Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Weber & Hailun
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#1543411 - 10/25/10 07:03 PM Re: Best Practice Instrument - upgrading to a M&H AA or A? [Re: Nathan Smith NYC]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 20564
Loc: New York City
If you like the AA more but it's more expensive, then only you can decide if it's worth the difference and if you can afford it.

"Should you consider other instruments?" would depend partly on how many others you've tried and which ones are sold by the dealer you're trading up with. Assuming you want to work with that dealer, there shouldn't be that many possibilities in a particuloar price range.

I would have any rebuilt piano inspected by an independent tech no matter how good you think the particular dealer is. Since you are an advanced player, I think you are in a good position to decide what's best for you.

#1543507 - 10/25/10 09:29 PM Re: Best Practice Instrument - upgrading to a M&H AA or A? [Re: Nathan Smith NYC]
Rich D. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 1316
Loc: Rehoboth Beach De. USA
Tough decision. I also generally like the Mason A better than the AA but it all depends on the specific piano. Now a Mason Hamlin BB would be ideal. A rebuilder who posts on the forum recommended a Mason Hamlin BB in Boston that he has serviced thats for sale for 17.5. It's less than 20 years old. That sounds like a great deal to me. Good luck.


Retired at the beach (well maybe not completely)

Anton Rubinstein said about the piano: "You think it is one instrument? It is a hundred instruments!"


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