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#1755009 - 09/18/11 10:06 PM Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time???
Me123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 28
Loc: NJ
Hello, new poster here !

I am in the market for an upright piano for myself (lapsed adult player with 10 years of piano lessons as a child/ teen) and my 1st grader who is very interested in learning. My budget is $5K. I am actively hunting a used Charles Walter (love the sound and touch!), but my local piano dealer just recommended a 1978 or so Sohmer upright that is within my budget ( he has commented that $5K is not realistic for CW). I have the latest Larry Fine Piano book and have been lurking on this website for several weeks. Can anyone comment on the Sohmer brand of pianos? Is it even worth my time to have my RPT look at this piano? The serial # provided by the dealer looks like 213853 #450C, but I cannot be sure from the photo.

Thanks so much -

A working mom that is very dedicated to shopping for the right piano for everyone involved smile


Edited by Me123 (09/26/11 10:34 AM)

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#1755035 - 09/18/11 10:57 PM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: Me123]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21583
Loc: Oakland
That would be from 1977. Sohmers were well made pianos with lousy designs. Unfortunately, that is harder to fix than a poorly made piano with good design. I prefer Hamilton and Everett studios from that period. You should be able to find one of those for under $1000.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1755074 - 09/19/11 12:36 AM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: Me123]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1969
Loc: Philadelphia area
Doesn't hurt to shop around. Take your time.

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#1755088 - 09/19/11 01:35 AM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: Me123]
PianoWorksATL Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2711
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Here I agree with BDB but will add that the best examples of Everett or Hamiltons may reach $1500. I like the Everett studios very much.
_________________________
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PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
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#1755102 - 09/19/11 02:58 AM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: Me123]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21583
Loc: Oakland
Everetts and Hamiltons can go higher than $1500, but there is little correlation between price and condition in the used market for them. I recently pointed out that someone could buy a Hamilton in a fancy case that looked nice from the photo for $400 around here. The less money you want to spend, the more time you need to look.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1755675 - 09/19/11 10:22 PM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: Me123]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 982
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
I will say a word here in favor of the Sohmer piano. I would definitely at least look at it. For some 15 years I had one of the last good Sohmer uprights, from the early 1980s (bought used), and it was a beautiful instrument. I traded up to a grand piano for the action but otherwise loved the Sohmer. Technicians I trust have spoken highly of the older Sohmers also.
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#1755849 - 09/20/11 08:24 AM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: jdw]
Me123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 28
Loc: NJ
Thanks all for the responses and the information!

jdw - I plan to take your recommendation and look at the piano. The outside of the piano is in beautiful condition for it's age. Hopefully it plays well. I will let everyone know.

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#1755850 - 09/20/11 08:27 AM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: BDB]
Me123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 28
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: BDB
That would be from 1977. Sohmers were well made pianos with lousy designs. Unfortunately, that is harder to fix than a poorly made piano with good design. I prefer Hamilton and Everett studios from that period. You should be able to find one of those for under $1000.



What does the phase "well made pianos with lousy designs" mean? What is a lousy design? Never heard that phrase in my piano research. Thank you.

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#1755859 - 09/20/11 08:51 AM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: Me123]
Rotom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1670
Originally Posted By: Me123
Originally Posted By: BDB
That would be from 1977. Sohmers were well made pianos with lousy designs. Unfortunately, that is harder to fix than a poorly made piano with good design. I prefer Hamilton and Everett studios from that period. You should be able to find one of those for under $1000.



What does the phase "well made pianos with lousy designs" mean? What is a lousy design? Never heard that phrase in my piano research. Thank you.


Well made means made with high quality materials, and is a long lasting and durable piano. Lousy designs means the scale of the piano was not designed well at the drawing stage, and probably means that there are some deficiency of tone, sound, or other in the piano's sound it produces.

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#1756206 - 09/20/11 08:13 PM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: Rotom]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 982
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Maybe one source of difference in opinions: one rebuilder told me that the old Sohmer uprights were great, but the grands not so much.
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#1758680 - 09/24/11 10:39 PM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: Me123]
FrankJoseph Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/09
Posts: 66
Loc: Redding, CA
I recently heard some nice things about a Sohmer from a teacher, and also got to play one that was for sale in Redding. Sounded pretty nice. Today I noticed this ad in the Sacramento Craig's list that even mentions them being sold in Steinway Hall at one point, which may or may not be true. I don't know too much about Sohmer, but I hear nice things. Below is what is mentioned in that ad. Frank

FOR SALE: Sohmer Upright Piano

$1650 OBO

Excellent musical condition. This piano and matching stool has a beautiful singing tone in a neutral provencial wood stain. Years ago when Sohmer pianos were sold in Steinway Hall in New York, many technicians and teachers said, "If you can not afford a Steinway, buy a Sohmer." The same could be said today; it has the classic "American sound" and the classic American piano look. This piano is for a discerning purchaser who wants a grand piano sound, but does not necessarily have the space. It's serial number indicates a 1981 construction year.

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#1758894 - 09/25/11 12:10 PM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: Me123]
Me123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 28
Loc: NJ
Update - I haven't been back to play the Sohmer again due to time constraints. The family really wants a shiny black piano, which this one is not. However, a dealer offered to refinish it in black to get the look I want. Any comments on this offer, or on refinishing in general? Does refinishing affect the sound or touch of the piano in any way? I would not think so, but I figure it wouldn't hurt to ask the experts here. Also worried about the cost - seems like once it's all said and done I won't save much money vs. looking for the piano I really want - the elusive, preowned black Charles Walter 1500 (subject of my other post). I have no idea what I should expect refinishing to cost.

Any comments would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks.


Edited by Me123 (09/27/11 11:27 AM)

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#1759255 - 09/25/11 10:34 PM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: Me123]
Me123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 28
Loc: NJ
I went back to my local piano dealer today and played to Sohmer as well as the Charles Walter. The 30 year old Sohmer sounded beautiful!! But still not as nice as the brand new Charles Walter, which I cannot afford. I am in purgatory frown

Any comments on refinishing a piano would be very helpful right now...

Thanks.

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#1759265 - 09/25/11 10:53 PM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: Me123]
ChasT Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/09
Posts: 649
Loc: Georgia
How close to Elkhart, In. are you?

Charles

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#1759266 - 09/25/11 10:53 PM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: Me123]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
OK. Refinishing a piano.

1. Extremely difficult. For home refinishers, failure (not just imperfection, but true failure as in making it worse than before) is essentially guaranteed.

2. Quite expensive to have done.

3. Therefore not worth it, except on a multi-thousand-dollar piano that plays beautifully.
_________________________
(I'm a piano teacher.)

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#1759281 - 09/25/11 11:33 PM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: Me123]
FrankJoseph Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/09
Posts: 66
Loc: Redding, CA
I agree that refinishing has many drawbacks. Would not recommend. Great to hear how nice the Sohmer sounds. That is consistent with what people tell me. This could be an interim piano for a few years until funds are amassed to purchase new. For many, performance is more important than appearance. This Sohmer sounds pretty special. Frank

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#1759318 - 09/26/11 12:37 AM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: ChasT]
Me123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 28
Loc: NJ
[quote=ChasT]How close to Elkhart, In. are you?

Nowhere near. I live in NJ.

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#1759321 - 09/26/11 12:49 AM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: FrankJoseph]
Me123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 28
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: FrankJoseph
For many, performance is more important than appearance. This Sohmer sounds pretty special. Frank



Yes, I 100% agree. The performance and sound were spectacular! However, I have had 10 years of piano lessons and competitive playing experience and know the difference. My spouse (who does not play) and child (who will start lessons in November) do not have this same knowledge and have stated multiple times that a brown piano, no matter what the sound, is not what they want to look at everyday for years. As far as funds, I have as much as I will ever have for a piano, so this purchase is it...unless I win the lottery smile

Purgatory! But for all my suffering I will reiterate to others that old Sohmer upright pianos sound beautiful if in good condition. If you see a black one, let me know smile


Edited by Me123 (09/26/11 02:19 AM)

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#1759489 - 09/26/11 08:38 AM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: Me123]
ChasT Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/09
Posts: 649
Loc: Georgia
NJ? Too bad. Charles Walter has a showroom at their factory in Elkhart. They have used Walters as well as other brands. Visitors have reported good experiences shopping there. You might call to see what they have. It might be worth a quick trip out (only half a continent). Check the air fares. Walter has their own transportation company, as well.

Charles

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#1760017 - 09/26/11 10:40 PM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: Me123]
mahermusic Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 347
Loc: U.S.A.
Is the price Worldwide Piano quoting you even close to your 5k budget? How much difference are we talking about?

BTW - When I purchased my Walter there, they had a polished black "traditional" model with nickel-plated hardware up against the wall. My wife and I went for the QA in polished mahogany, but I remember thinking how sharp the black/nickel combo looked... real art deco looking...
_________________________
Charles R. Walter 1520 QA Mahogany #531739 w/ High Polish, Renner and Quiet Pedal

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#1760037 - 09/26/11 11:10 PM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: mahermusic]
Me123 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/17/11
Posts: 28
Loc: NJ
For the CW, no. It is out of my range, especially in black. I'm looking at other new and used piano brands, trying to settle for less I guess, but just can't. Champagne tastes and soda money...:)

How was your buying experience with Worldwide? You can PM me about it if you like.

Thanks!

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#1760054 - 09/26/11 11:34 PM Re: Sohmer Upright Piano worth my time??? [Re: Me123]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5306
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Me123
Originally Posted By: BDB
That would be from 1977. Sohmers were well made pianos with lousy designs. Unfortunately, that is harder to fix than a poorly made piano with good design. I prefer Hamilton and Everett studios from that period. You should be able to find one of those for under $1000.



What does the phase "well made pianos with lousy designs" mean? What is a lousy design? Never heard that phrase in my piano research. Thank you.

Among other things the stringing scale was quite uneven which made voicing them smoothly, even when new, some problematic. The bass/tenor break was particularly obnoxious. This is not necessarily something a beginner would notice but, over time, it can become quite annoying. Once it starts to bother you there is little your technician can do short of rescaling the piano (which involves restringing the thing and is expensive and is something you really don’t want to do to a piano of this type).

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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