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#1740535 - 08/25/11 06:40 PM Core pianos ... how to find them?
Colin Dunn Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/05
Posts: 516
Loc: Arvada, CO

I see some discussion of old, unrestored pianos as being "core" pianos. As in, you buy a core and rebuild what's needed to yield a complete piano.

But while I've been monitoring eBay, Craigslist, etc. for cheap pianos, I haven't yet found an example of these mythical cores ... such as a 9' concert grand for $1,500, or a playable 7-footer of non-prestigious manufacture for a few thousand.

Do real "core" pianos disappear rapidly from the market? Or are they actually rare and you have to keep hunting for them?
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Colin Dunn

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#1740539 - 08/25/11 06:49 PM Re: Core pianos ... how to find them? [Re: Colin Dunn]
asd123321 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/05
Posts: 689
The small ones come up regularly, not many 7 feet.

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#1740541 - 08/25/11 06:54 PM Re: Core pianos ... how to find them? [Re: Colin Dunn]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 22199
Loc: Oakland
If you are buying it as a core piano, why would you care whether it is playable or not?

The less prestigious manufacturers, even if you lump them all together, did not make many large grands. Many of them have probably been scrapped.
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#1740575 - 08/25/11 07:35 PM Re: Core pianos ... how to find them? [Re: Colin Dunn]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8589
Loc: Georgia, USA
Hi Colin,

I could be wrong, but I'm thinking that the rebuilders and dealers know all the secrets and where these "core" deals can be found. And, I'm quite sure that many dealers won't reveal their sources...

I see ads on the Atlanta Craigslist often of buyers looking for Steinway grand pianos in any condition. Here is an example

http://atlanta.craigslist.org/atl/msg/2559546468.html

I suppose you could continuously search all the want ads and estate ads and any other resources that might be available. Or, be patient and keep looking… smile

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

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#1740585 - 08/25/11 07:52 PM Re: Core pianos ... how to find them? [Re: Colin Dunn]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3428
I passed up on a completely shot mid-'40s Baldwin SD-6 once, which I regret, but it was a little pricey for what I thought it was worth, and it was bad timing.
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#1740600 - 08/25/11 08:15 PM Re: Core pianos ... how to find them? [Re: Colin Dunn]
John Pels Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 1269
Loc: Tomball, Texas
There are wholesalers that cater to the rebuilding trade, but that being said I have bought pianos via Ebay and Craigslist, wholesalers and word of mouth.Folks that rent storage units advertise as well. If you are financially ready there is an endless supply. A dose of patience is always desirable.

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#1740669 - 08/25/11 10:30 PM Re: Core pianos ... how to find them? [Re: Colin Dunn]
Plowboy Offline

2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/26/08
Posts: 2450
Loc: SoCal
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#1740797 - 08/26/11 03:23 AM Re: Core pianos ... how to find them? [Re: Colin Dunn]
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
If you are not a part of the rebuilding trade as in the biz,you're not gonna have the prerequisite knowledge to fairly assess the value of that rebuildable core. The wholesale brokers are not interested in selling that 1 lone piano to a retail buyer unless you inadvertantly are willing to overpay. It's called hitting a home run. grin
It is a tight knit community that is based on repeat customers as for the relationship between the wholesaler and the rebuilder buying network. It is an exclusive club so to speak of the rebuilding network and a few knowledgeable dealers doing spec pianos. Like any commodity wholesalers don't usually sell to the retail end user.

It is somewhat comparable to the wholesale salvage car auctions whereas the body shop entrepenuers and car dealers are the only ones privy to these crashed car insurance auctions because they are the ones who are gonna be fixing and sell them. It is not open to the public.

Rebuilder core pianos OTHER THAN Steinway and Mason & Hamlin and ? are all over craigslist because the rebuilding industry are not usually interested at any price.

Folks think that estate sales are where individuals find these rare vintage treasures. Most always the estate personnel have made arrangements with their "piano guy" for liquidating these pianos way before the sale. If you desire a core piano for rebuilding ask your rebuilder to aid you in your search.


Edited by pianobroker (08/27/11 02:19 PM)
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#1740803 - 08/26/11 03:52 AM Re: Core pianos ... how to find them? [Re: Colin Dunn]
JohnSprung Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1815
Loc: Reseda, California
A few months ago, I found a no-name baby grand for free on Craig's list. (Not what I was looking for, though). Maybe it just takes time.
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#1741530 - 08/27/11 12:47 PM Re: Core pianos ... how to find them? [Re: Colin Dunn]
Colin Dunn Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/05
Posts: 516
Loc: Arvada, CO
It likely takes time. After I posted this, a "core" 9-footer came up on eBay:

1920s Chickering on eBay

Looks like this one will need a complete refinish and rebuild. Chickerings of that vintage are well-regarded pianos; the refinish / rebuild work would cost about $25K. A completely restored 9' for about $30K out the door ($27K for piano and restoration + a few thousand for moves) is not bad.

I'm not in a position to completely restore a concert grand right now, but someone with $30K may get a nice piano.


Edited by Colin Dunn (08/27/11 12:48 PM)
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#1741533 - 08/27/11 12:55 PM Re: Core pianos ... how to find them? [Re: Colin Dunn]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8589
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: John Sprung
A few months ago, I found a no-name baby grand for free on Craig's list. (Not what I was looking for, though). Maybe it just takes time.

I saw an older Kimbell grand piano advertized for "free" on CL a few weeks ago. There was not much info in the ad, but it looked like a 6 + footer in the photos. If it had been closer to my location, I may have jumped on it just to have something to tinker with. I would have paid a mover to move it.

It is rare that a grand piano, in any condition, comes up for free, but it does happen on occasion.

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

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#1741534 - 08/27/11 12:55 PM Re: Core pianos ... how to find them? [Re: Colin Dunn]
Colin Dunn Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/05
Posts: 516
Loc: Arvada, CO
... And as for what I'm looking for, this thread was inspired by another thread in which someone was looking at a Wurlitzer 7' grand. It appeared that piano only needed about $1,000 in repairs to become a fully-functional instrument.

I'm keeping an eye on the used market for that "diamond in the rough" piano - one that doesn't need complete refinishing / restoration, but that others bypass as they don't see the potential. Most likely a 5'-6' grand that can be retrofitted with a modern player system.
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Colin Dunn

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#1741540 - 08/27/11 01:07 PM Re: Core pianos ... how to find them? [Re: Colin Dunn]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8589
Loc: Georgia, USA
Hi Colin,

Like Pianobroker said, the dealers and rebuilders community have sources and resources that the average PW member does not... maybe PB or John Pels or others here can help you find what you are looking for...

It may be worth paying a small finders fee to get that diamond in the rough!!! laugh

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

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#1741840 - 08/27/11 11:47 PM Re: Core pianos ... how to find them? [Re: Colin Dunn]
John Pels Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 1269
Loc: Tomball, Texas
Rick, the thing about doing business with wholesalers is that they will only deliver to a business location. Keyboard Carriage is also getting cranky about delivering residentially even if that is where your shop is. I am not a business, but the wholesaler said that I was and they delivered the pianos. I have friends in the business, so I can work around this in the future if I have to, but most folks don't have access to businesses that will cooperate. So, you have the cost of Keyboard Carriage which can range from $450 to $1000, then you have to get someone with a business involved and then you have to essentially move it again to get it to a residence. The logistics sometimes make procuring a diamond in the rough a bigger pain than it needs to be. I have seen just as many good deals on Craigslist of late, as I have through the wholesalers.

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