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#1565857 - 11/28/10 03:09 PM Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano
airgrabber Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/10
Posts: 25
Loc: NJ
Hello all. I am new to the forum and to the world of pianos. I have some questions regarding a Mathushek baby grand piano that I am hopeful will soon be coming home with me. First, are Mathushek pianos considered a quality instrument? A quick google search revealed that they seem to be considered a respected make. Your opinion? Can the manufacturing date of the piano be determined from its serial number? I am curious how old it is. I am guessing mid-1920s or so based on the selling dealer's decal. The instrument is in original condition and has not been tuned in approximately 6 years or so. Providing the instrument has good bones, how much can I expect a tuning to cost? The finish exhibits alligatoring common to wood furniture subjected to cold/dry and hot/humid seasonal cycles. I don't mind this effect of age, actually...but I wonder what sort of wood lurks beneath the murky darkness. Mahogany? Walnut? I have pictures of the instrument but I have yet to figure out how to post them. Any tips, advice, abuse or critical flagellation is appreciated and welcome. Thank you for your time and your thoughts.

Regards,
Scott


Edited by airgrabber (11/28/10 03:10 PM)

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#1566303 - 11/29/10 10:47 AM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
airgrabber Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/10
Posts: 25
Loc: NJ
If it helps, here are some pictures...hopefully this helps engender some replies:



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#1566373 - 11/29/10 01:23 PM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
Even under the crazed finish, one can see it is some type of ribbon Mahaogany.
If all "original" internally, chances are it needs some degree of restoration.
Most likely it needs more that just tuning.It may not even hold a tune. You should hire a tuner/tech/rebuilder to assess it's present condition. Better yet,scheduele a tuning and take it from there. You could pick his brain as for it's realistic condition.
As you can see,these Mathusek pianos are built like a tank. I've never rebuilt one other than just refinishing though if I recall the replacement action parts are available. Good luck!
_________________________
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#1566380 - 11/29/10 01:29 PM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4187
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

Mathushek is a good make. The ones I have come across here have had unusual cabinets.

Just wanted to add get some type of floor protection underneath those wheels before you break the backing of the carpet. There are wooden cups available or the metal ones with carpet on the bottom.
Even plastic ones if you like that sort of thing.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
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"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#1566382 - 11/29/10 01:36 PM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8494
Loc: Georgia, USA
Hi Scott,

I’m by no means an expert and have said things here that I should not have said due to lack of knowledge; but I’ll respond to your thread with some information that I have read in the past.

The Mathushek piano in your photos looks like a good, solid piano. I have no direct experience with the Mathushek pianos, and I have read that they can be nice pianos and good candidates for rebuilding; however, I have also read that some of the action components and designs of the Mathushek pianos were a little different than the conventional designs of the day. In other words, designers of the Mathushek apparently wanted to do things a little differently than most other major piano manufacturers of the day. Not that that is a bad thing, but it may be a little more difficult or a little more expensive to restore, and, or, modify some of the components.

Then again, I may not know what the he** I’m talking about… but at least I bumped your thread up the ladder… smile

Take care,

Rick


Edited by Rickster (11/29/10 01:37 PM)
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#1566975 - 11/30/10 09:06 AM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: pianobroker]
airgrabber Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/10
Posts: 25
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: pianobroker
Even under the crazed finish, one can see it is some type of ribbon Mahaogany.
If all "original" internally, chances are it needs some degree of restoration.
Most likely it needs more that just tuning.It may not even hold a tune. You should hire a tuner/tech/rebuilder to assess it's present condition. Better yet,scheduele a tuning and take it from there. You could pick his brain as for it's realistic condition.
As you can see,these Mathushek pianos are built like a tank. I've never rebuilt one other than just refinishing though if I recall the replacement action parts are available. Good luck!


Thank you for your response. The piano does appear to be of quality construction (to my layman's eyes) but also appears to be unmolested and original. I am paying to have it moved to my house and hopefully that will be occurring soon. That is the extent of the cost involved in obtaining this piano. I also plan on having it tuned, perhaps after the holidays. Your suggestion to question the technician tuning it regarding the instrument's overall condition is a good one.

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#1566978 - 11/30/10 09:17 AM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
airgrabber Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/10
Posts: 25
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: Silverwood Pianos

Mathushek is a good make. The ones I have come across here have had unusual cabinets.

Just wanted to add get some type of floor protection underneath those wheels before you break the backing of the carpet. There are wooden cups available or the metal ones with carpet on the bottom.
Even plastic ones if you like that sort of thing.


Thank you for your input. I was hoping Mathushek had a decent reputation. FWIW, those pictures show the piano in its current home, not mine. Hopefully it will be coming home with me soon. I have hardwood floors, not carpet. I think, however, that I should probably still get some sort of plastic cups or something to protect them. That is something that had not occurred to me!

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#1567014 - 11/30/10 10:14 AM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: Rickster]
airgrabber Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/10
Posts: 25
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: Rickster
Hi Scott,

I’m by no means an expert and have said things here that I should not have said due to lack of knowledge; but I’ll respond to your thread with some information that I have read in the past.

The Mathushek piano in your photos looks like a good, solid piano. I have no direct experience with the Mathushek pianos, and I have read that they can be nice pianos and good candidates for rebuilding; however, I have also read that some of the action components and designs of the Mathushek pianos were a little different than the conventional designs of the day. In other words, designers of the Mathushek apparently wanted to do things a little differently than most other major piano manufacturers of the day. Not that that is a bad thing, but it may be a little more difficult or a little more expensive to restore, and, or, modify some of the components.

Then again, I may not know what the he** I’m talking about… but at least I bumped your thread up the ladder… smile

Take care,

Rick


Hi, Rickster. Thank you for your response. I am sure you have more knowledge than I do and the fact you have 3000+ posts in such an educated forum is certainly a qualification to speak with some authority on the subject. When I researched the forums for any info on Mathushek, I did see some references to proprietary parts possibly being difficult to find or repair, as you state. Largely thanks to my ignorance, I believe I will take the gamble anyway wink. The piano will only cost me the price of its removal and transportation to my house, thankfully. Thank you for the "bump".

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#1567024 - 11/30/10 10:25 AM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3448
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
The first question to ask is, what was the piano like when new? It's a lot more expensive to improve a piano past that point.

The next question is, how different is its current condition from new? If you bought a 90-year-old mechanical device of any kind, especially one made primarily of natural components like wood, leather, and felt, you'd expect to have to do a lot of work to bring it into useful working order. Regardless of wear from usage, organic materials deteriorate significantly over time.

For grands, one starting point for potential quality is the overall size. There's a big difference between grands under about 5'9" or so, and bigger ones, and the difference accelerates as you get smaller. This is because small grands are generally built to be the most inexpensive. This one seems to be a decent size. You measure the largest overall distance, from keyboard to tail, as though you were putting it into a box.

And yes, it's quite possible to look up the age from the serial number. It's usually in the triangular area between bass and treble tuning pins. In 1910, the starting serial number for Mathusek was 51,000; in 1920 it was 66,000.

--Cy--
_________________________
Cy Shuster, RPT
505-265-4234
www.shusterpiano.com
www.facebook.com/shusterpiano
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Registered Piano Technician
Dampp-Chaser Certified Installer
PianoDisc Certified Service Technician

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#1567052 - 11/30/10 11:07 AM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: Cy Shuster, RPT]
airgrabber Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/10
Posts: 25
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: Cy Shuster
The first question to ask is, what was the piano like when new? It's a lot more expensive to improve a piano past that point.

The next question is, how different is its current condition from new? If you bought a 90-year-old mechanical device of any kind, especially one made primarily of natural components like wood, leather, and felt, you'd expect to have to do a lot of work to bring it into useful working order. Regardless of wear from usage, organic materials deteriorate significantly over time.

For grands, one starting point for potential quality is the overall size. There's a big difference between grands under about 5'9" or so, and bigger ones, and the difference accelerates as you get smaller. This is because small grands are generally built to be the most inexpensive. This one seems to be a decent size. You measure the largest overall distance, from keyboard to tail, as though you were putting it into a box.

And yes, it's quite possible to look up the age from the serial number. It's usually in the triangular area between bass and treble tuning pins. In 1910, the starting serial number for Mathusek was 51,000; in 1920 it was 66,000.

--Cy--



Cy, thank you for your insight here. For one thing, I am a total newbie to the instrument, so I have no idea what this piano would have sounded like when new. Another poster mentioned questioning a technician about the piano when getting it tuned, which I believe is a good idea. It certainly makes sense that an instrument with as many moving parts as a piano might need service after so many years. I think I might be happy if it sounded quite decent (without knowing exactly how to quantify that "level" of performance) and stayed reasonably in tune. I am certainly not expecting perfection from something so old and "inexpensive", but can decent performance (your definitions thereof) be expected from such an instrument without extensive restoration? Assuming its a solid, tunable piano, of course. One probably cannot make an accurate determination without evaluating the piano in person, I am afraid. I am obtaining the piano for the cost of its transport, so I guess I am taking something of a risk here.

Not knowing any better, I measured the piano top and it was ~5' 3" without taking the keyboard into account. I would say it's about 5'7 to 5'8" in total length. The serial number is 80311. Perhaps it was manufactured later than I initially thought?

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#1567068 - 11/30/10 11:27 AM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8494
Loc: Georgia, USA
Hi Scott,

It sounds to me like you got a really good deal on the piano… free (except for moving cost)!! And, it sounds like you are in for a nice piano adventure; and, most likely, a very nice instrument for the money.

If I had more room or an environmentally controlled out-building, I’d have lots of old pianos to tinker around with! I’m thinking that might be a good hobby as I approach retirement (I already have the white hair grin).

The older pianos can have a very nice tone and timber that can’t be matched by some newer instruments without a lot of expense.

Best of luck to you!

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

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#1567081 - 11/30/10 11:47 AM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21454
Loc: Oakland
Just keep in mind that a thorough restoration of this piano could easily cost more than a new piano of equivalent quality.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1567276 - 11/30/10 04:13 PM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: Rickster]
airgrabber Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/10
Posts: 25
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: Rickster
Hi Scott,

It sounds to me like you got a really good deal on the piano… free (except for moving cost)!! And, it sounds like you are in for a nice piano adventure; and, most likely, a very nice instrument for the money.

If I had more room or an environmentally controlled out-building, I’d have lots of old pianos to tinker around with! I’m thinking that might be a good hobby as I approach retirement (I already have the white hair grin).

The older pianos can have a very nice tone and timber that can’t be matched by some newer instruments without a lot of expense.

Best of luck to you!

Rick


Thanks for the encouragement, Rick. I hope to begin my piano adventures soon! I am sure I'll be posting in the beginner's section soon, too. wink

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#1567297 - 11/30/10 04:40 PM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: BDB]
airgrabber Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/10
Posts: 25
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: BDB
Just keep in mind that a thorough restoration of this piano could easily cost more than a new piano of equivalent quality.


Thank you for the advisory. Truly, a thorough restoration of the piano is about the furthest thing from my mind right now. I cannot afford a new piano, so this is about the only way I would be able to obtain a baby grand. I do have some skills refinishing wood furniture, so I am not too worried about its current alligatored finish. I'd just like a decent player that stays in reasonable tune. My eventual goal is to show my daughter the basics of playing piano and see if she takes more of an interest in it.

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#1567545 - 11/30/10 11:55 PM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3448
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
The serial number dates to about 1933.

Quote:
I'd just like a decent player that stays in reasonable tune. My eventual goal is to show my daughter the basics of playing piano and see if she takes more of an interest in it.


There is no guarantee that it plays at all, or even if it can be tuned. Generally, pianos are worth what you pay for them. I wish you the best of luck, but... The size is reassuring, at least.

Learning to play means developing fine motor control in the hands. To do this, you need an instrument that is controllable and consistent from note to note, with the same downforce needed on each key. Playing a piano in bad condition is like learning to drive on a car with play in the steering wheel and bad brakes: exactly the kind of obstacles you don't need as a learner.

Far too often, children give up quickly with an old piano, and parents are then relieved that they didn't invest in a new one. The tragedy is often that the instrument is the barrier to success.

There are many uncertainties here. You'll know much more useful information after you have a technician inspect it. I hope for the best!

--Cy--
_________________________
Cy Shuster, RPT
505-265-4234
www.shusterpiano.com
www.facebook.com/shusterpiano
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Registered Piano Technician
Dampp-Chaser Certified Installer
PianoDisc Certified Service Technician

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#1567789 - 12/01/10 11:34 AM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: Cy Shuster, RPT]
airgrabber Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/10
Posts: 25
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: Cy Shuster
The serial number dates to about 1933.

Quote:
I'd just like a decent player that stays in reasonable tune. My eventual goal is to show my daughter the basics of playing piano and see if she takes more of an interest in it.


There is no guarantee that it plays at all, or even if it can be tuned. Generally, pianos are worth what you pay for them. I wish you the best of luck, but... The size is reassuring, at least.

Learning to play means developing fine motor control in the hands. To do this, you need an instrument that is controllable and consistent from note to note, with the same downforce needed on each key. Playing a piano in bad condition is like learning to drive on a car with play in the steering wheel and bad brakes: exactly the kind of obstacles you don't need as a learner.

Far too often, children give up quickly with an old piano, and parents are then relieved that they didn't invest in a new one. The tragedy is often that the instrument is the barrier to success.

There are many uncertainties here. You'll know much more useful information after you have a technician inspect it. I hope for the best!

--Cy--



Cy, thank you for the information regarding the year of production. It was made a bit later than what I first thought. Each key plays and (again, to my layman's fingers) appears to take approximately the same effort to depress. However, I realize I am taking a gamble here. The moving costs of the piano are $295. I suppose I am hoping that the instrument is worth that amount in its present condition. My fingers are crossed until a technician can take a look at it and give me an honest assessment. Why is the size of the piano reassuring?

The piano supposedly is getting delivered today. I will take more detailed pictures of it once it arrives if anyone is interested.

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#1568343 - 12/02/10 01:52 AM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3448
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Originally Posted By: airgrabber
Why is the size of the piano reassuring?

Originally Posted By: Cy Shuster
For grands, one starting point for potential quality is the overall size. There's a big difference between grands under about 5'9" or so, and bigger ones, and the difference accelerates as you get smaller. This is because small grands are generally built to be the most inexpensive. This one seems to be a decent size.

--Cy--

_________________________
Cy Shuster, RPT
505-265-4234
www.shusterpiano.com
www.facebook.com/shusterpiano
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Registered Piano Technician
Dampp-Chaser Certified Installer
PianoDisc Certified Service Technician

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#1568514 - 12/02/10 10:11 AM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: Cy Shuster, RPT]
airgrabber Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/10
Posts: 25
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: Cy Shuster
Originally Posted By: airgrabber
Why is the size of the piano reassuring?

Originally Posted By: Cy Shuster
For grands, one starting point for potential quality is the overall size. There's a big difference between grands under about 5'9" or so, and bigger ones, and the difference accelerates as you get smaller. This is because small grands are generally built to be the most inexpensive. This one seems to be a decent size.

--Cy--



Thank you, Cy. FWIW, the piano movers canceled yesterday's delivery late in the afternoon and without letting the other folks know beforehand...not too considerate of them, in my opinion. I suppose that the heavy winds and rain that we experienced yesterday may have played some role in their decision. However, they are informing me that perhaps this Friday or this upcoming Tuesday would be good for them. Wish me luck!

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#1573352 - 12/09/10 12:58 PM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
airgrabber Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/10
Posts: 25
Loc: NJ
Well, the piano was delivered on Tuesday. The movers thought it certainly was a worthwhile endeavor just paying for the move. I will take better pics if anyone is interested. Now, to schedule a tuning and evaluation.

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#1573541 - 12/09/10 07:29 PM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
David-G Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/06
Posts: 1242
Loc: London
Yes, do post some more pics!

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#1667621 - 04/27/11 06:55 PM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
Mathus Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/26/11
Posts: 1
I know the original post was quite some time ago, but I ran across it while looking for information on Mathushek pianos. My 1934 Mathushek 5'7" grand looks utterly identical to yours! Mine was also badly darkened and alligatored, and I am in the process of refinishing it now. What was exciting was finding out what was under that awful varnish. One of the responders was right- it's ribbon mahogany, but it's a heavily figured ribbon mahogany! It's really stunning, and I doubt you can even get such beautiful veneer nowadays. The grain of the wood seems to move as you walk about the room or change lighting.
I know the family story behind mine, and it was a high quality, expensive instrument when originally purchased. It had been reposessed by the music store when one of the wealthiest families in town could not make the payments. (The Great Depression hit everyone hard). My family bought it in 1936.
Good luck with yours. I hope you find it as beautiful as mine is turning out to be! I'd be happy to exchange information and pictures if anyone's interested.

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#1689773 - 06/03/11 09:20 AM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
Kenny M Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/31/11
Posts: 2
Loc: FL
Yeah, I was waiting for the OP to post up their experiences and pics of it in it's new home!

I too got a mathushek baby grand 1893 earlier this year. It was given to us and my brother helped me move it. Ours needed a few key tops and just basic tweeking/tuning. The tuner remarked on how nice it was considering it's age. I play it almost every day and while a couple key actions need adjusting/repair, it still sounds beautiful and my family loves it.

I will post pics of mine this weekend.
_________________________
1893 Mathushek Baby Grand Piano

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#1689837 - 06/03/11 11:13 AM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: Mathus]
airgrabber Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/10
Posts: 25
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: Mathus
I know the original post was quite some time ago, but I ran across it while looking for information on Mathushek pianos. My 1934 Mathushek 5'7" grand looks utterly identical to yours! Mine was also badly darkened and alligatored, and I am in the process of refinishing it now. What was exciting was finding out what was under that awful varnish. One of the responders was right- it's ribbon mahogany, but it's a heavily figured ribbon mahogany! It's really stunning, and I doubt you can even get such beautiful veneer nowadays. The grain of the wood seems to move as you walk about the room or change lighting.
I know the family story behind mine, and it was a high quality, expensive instrument when originally purchased. It had been reposessed by the music store when one of the wealthiest families in town could not make the payments. (The Great Depression hit everyone hard). My family bought it in 1936.
Good luck with yours. I hope you find it as beautiful as mine is turning out to be! I'd be happy to exchange information and pictures if anyone's interested.


I'm the OP...I am still lurking around PW absorbing wisdom and learning. Your piano has a wonderful story behind it and I would certainly love to see pictures of it, before and after refinishing. One of my friends is a professional wood finisher/refinisher and told me that the veneers that Mathushek used on this piano was possibly Brazilian mahogany, which would be very expensive today if you could find it.

For those who requested it, here is a picture of mine in it's new home:

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#1690013 - 06/03/11 04:55 PM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
RachOn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/11/07
Posts: 88
Loc: W. Pa.


looks great! You must be excited about having it home now (nice floor too!)
I'd be nervous about the radiator that close to the piano -- maybe it's not working?
_________________________
RachOn
Estonia 190; Yamaha U1

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#1690309 - 06/04/11 08:57 AM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
Rotom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1670
Wow! If it plays OK, and looks that good, I'd say it was definitely worth what you paid ! Congratulations!

Ya, be careful, don't turn your radiator on. It does not go well with pianos, you may end up with problems, keep in mind. Also, don't put anything liquid on top of the piano (is that a jug of water and a pot plant - hope it's fake!). It could seriously damage and ruin your piano.

but... You got a good deal, and a good instrument for your kids to start playing on! Congratulations, and happy listening,

Best of luck,
Rotom

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#1691272 - 06/06/11 08:48 AM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: RachOn]
airgrabber Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/10
Posts: 25
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: RachOn


looks great! You must be excited about having it home now (nice floor too!)
I'd be nervous about the radiator that close to the piano -- maybe it's not working?


Hi, yes I am excited (or more like relieved) that it's finally home. The radiators are hot water (not steam) and, unfortunately, they are everywhere in my house. There's not a place for me to put the piano that *wouldn't* be next to one! The good thing is that the radiator to which the piano is adjacent is the smallest one in the place. Thanks for the comment on the floors...they are long-leaf pine and probably could stand to be refinished (much like the Mathushek!).

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#1691273 - 06/06/11 09:01 AM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: Rotom]
airgrabber Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/10
Posts: 25
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: Rotom
Wow! If it plays OK, and looks that good, I'd say it was definitely worth what you paid ! Congratulations!

Ya, be careful, don't turn your radiator on. It does not go well with pianos, you may end up with problems, keep in mind. Also, don't put anything liquid on top of the piano (is that a jug of water and a pot plant - hope it's fake!). It could seriously damage and ruin your piano.

but... You got a good deal, and a good instrument for your kids to start playing on! Congratulations, and happy listening,

Best of luck,
Rotom


Hi, Rotom. Thanks for the kind comments! The movers told me the piano was worth the price of the move and then some. The radiators are pretty much all over the house and rather unavoidable...the piano is next to the smallest one in the house. They are hot water and not steam, so they don't get blistering hot. No worries! The flowers are indeed fake and I think what you're seeing is a candle to the right of the family photograph. I know the destruction that leaking potted plants can wreak! My little one (3 years old) is already learning how to depress the keys properly and learning the names of the different parts of the piano! She likes to "play" the harmonica and piano simultaneously as I "sing" along, lol.

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#1838714 - 02/04/12 10:25 PM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
PianistWannabe Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 2
Hi! I'm new to this forum-what brought me here was your post. I have a 1929 upright Mathushek--ribbon mahogany (probably Brazilian) as is yours. Your grand is a 1933 model, slightly newer than mine. But they do have identical finishes, original ebony and ivory. I was wondering if you might post another update, if anything drastic has happened with the piano. Also, in case you're interested, denatured alcohol is the cleaner of choice for the keyboard, and never let the liquid drip, pool, or stand. I use Old English dark scratch cover/polish on the wood parts of my piano, and it's looking pretty good for its age. I was on a strict budget when I purchased my piano, but I knew I wanted an old upright, and one that was kept along an inside wall, with no visible damage. I was after the sound you get from these. I lucked out. I'm the third owner, and these pianos DO hold a tune, but you'll want to keep it tuned frequently, I'm sure. Mine still sounds great with the exception of the Bb, which needs to be diagnosed. Also I have had offers for the ivory alone. The ebony is a thing of the past, and as such is valuable to me personally. I don't know that I'd ever be able to sell the piano, and it takes two skilled or four nonskilled movers to budge her, but the old girl means everything to me. Enjoy your piano, give it the love and respect it deserves. Then pass it to the next generation. It's a keeper, and it will last! --also, google Frederick Mathushek sometime. It's a fun bit of reading. One last thing--my pedals need cleaning. Do you happen to know what kind of metal they are, or the best way to clean them? HELP! And thanks for listening to this lengthy ramble.

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#1838727 - 02/04/12 10:56 PM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
Rotom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1670
My technician uses brasso for cleaning metal case parts on my piano, maybe it'll work for you. Welcome to Piano World, PianistWannabe! laugh

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#1838740 - 02/04/12 11:24 PM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21454
Loc: Oakland
Denatured alcohol can be a good cleaner, but it can wreak havoc on old piano finishes. If you are not experienced with using solvents around finishes, you should not use it.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1842584 - 02/11/12 12:49 PM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: BDB]
PianistWannabe Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/04/12
Posts: 2
To Rotom: Thank you for the tip! The pedals are years overdue for cleaning, but I was afraid to touch them!

And to BDB: Thank you for the warning!

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#1842970 - 02/12/12 01:25 AM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
Pianolance Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 1192
Loc: Nashville, TN
Sometimes pianos of that vintage can be quite playable with only some minor repairs (that can range from a tuning and cleaning to some regulating to hammer shaping and voicing, but what ever, by minor I mean in the 100's of dollars rather than the 1000's of dollars.) I have a friend who got a free Kurtzman grand piano that sounds lovely and plays pretty good too. It's all original, and he's happy with it - so I guess that's what matters most. If you're happy with it, that's great. It looks great in your home and the "shabby chic" look has its own charm.
_________________________
Knabe 5'2" Louis XV Walnut circa 1927
Very part time piano broker.

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#1873972 - 04/05/12 02:59 AM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2381
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
So airgrabber, I'm assuming you had a technician look at it? You've had it tuned?
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#1913498 - 06/14/12 02:38 PM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
specialkay4444 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/14/12
Posts: 1
Hello! This is my first time on this site so forgive me if Im not in the right forum! I am hoping that someone can help me. I am buying a furnished house in Pennsylvania. The house is coming with a Mathushek baby grand piano. I have zero piano experience and will be selling the piano the first chance I get. Is there any value to the piano or am I going to end up giving it away in a few months? The piano does play but I wouldnt know if it was in tune or not. The prior owner was a music teacher so Im sure it was maintained to some degree. Ive looked on some other sites and see that a lot of people just want to give their pianos away to get them out of the house. I would feel like a sucker if I gave away an expensive piano! I can try and find out some more info on the piano if you tell me where to look. Thanks!

Kelly

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#1915078 - 06/17/12 11:27 PM Re: Seeking info & advice on Mathushek Piano [Re: airgrabber]
Kenny M Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/31/11
Posts: 2
Loc: FL
Here's a picture of mine, not the best lighting:

_________________________
1893 Mathushek Baby Grand Piano

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