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#1924961 - 07/10/12 06:50 AM An old grand piano badly in need of TLC
AmberCat Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/03/12
Posts: 2
Loc: France
Greetings - thanks for such an informative and helpful resource. I have learned over the last few days of reading posts here, that I will reserve my DIY skills and proceed directly to Piano Technician!

What sort of questions should I put to the Tech, what does he/she need to know from my expectations. A big open ask, I realise.

I'd like to inform myself a bit before the Tech arrives a) 'cos I'm like that, b) I'll need to gen up on the technical terms in French (I live in rural France).

An idea of how to approach cleaning the innards would be greatly appreciated.

Further info:-
I have acquired an old baby grand piano circa 1900 (Wilhelm Straube, Wien) - and I like it as a piece of furniture. In the event that it has passed its playing life, I will still keep it and admire it, polish up its coachwork and continue my note bashing on my Korg SP-200.
All the keys appear to function and the sound (apart from the tuning) is agreeable. I'm a singer, not a player.

Thanks for taking the time to read and discuss my post.
Lost in France

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#1925050 - 07/10/12 11:32 AM Re: An old grand piano badly in need of TLC [Re: AmberCat]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 23196
Loc: Oakland
You probably have a piano with a Viennese action. If the hammers' hinges are away from the keyboard, rather than closer to the keyboard than the hammers themselves, then you know for certain. If it is a Viennese action, you will need a technician who is familiar with them, and you can ask before you hire someone.

A good technician can give you options for servicing possibilities. Explain what you want. If the technician does not communicate well when you call, look for someone else.
Semipro Tech

#1925076 - 07/10/12 12:52 PM Re: An old grand piano badly in need of TLC [Re: AmberCat]
Phil D Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/10
Posts: 551
Loc: London, England
Viennese actions were pretty rare in Europe by 1900, you very likely have a piano with a relatively modern action.

Ask him about the regulation: Is it currently well regulated, can it be regulated with the current parts? How are the hammers, could they be refaced or do they need to be replaced?

As BDB says, he should give you options based on what you wish to invest. With a bit of luck you should get a piano that is in tune with an action that feels better than your Korg.

As for cleaning, that's something your technician can help you with as well. Compressed air is very useful.
Phil Dickson
The Cycling Piano Tuner

#1925154 - 07/10/12 05:21 PM Re: An old grand piano badly in need of TLC [Re: Phil D]
Chris Leslie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 1033
Loc: Canberra, ACT, Australia
Originally Posted By: Phil D
Viennese actions were pretty rare in Europe by 1900, you very likely have a piano with a relatively modern action.

I have serviced a Viennese action Franz Wirth from 1920. They do exist.
Chris Leslie
Piano technician

#1925329 - 07/11/12 05:03 AM Re: An old grand piano badly in need of TLC [Re: BDB]
AmberCat Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/03/12
Posts: 2
Loc: France
Thank you very much for the response. On examining the action further, based on your comments and a bit of googling, I can confirm that the action is indeed Viennese.

As to the date of the piano, I have had no luck in tracking down the maker Wilhelm Schaube of Vienna, 79 Maria Hilfer Strasse, so I am guessing at the age of the piano largely by the style of the case.

As to the regulation, from what I gather from my research on the web, it looks to my ignorant eyes as if all the keys are even but there are perceptible differences to the feel as I strike different keys. So I guess average to below average, but the Tech will no doubt assess the condition as to whether it is worth significant repair work - given that I don't actually play! It already feels much better than the Korg - much firmer in response and the return of the keys is pronouncedly crisper.

I've already had much fun in cleaning and polishing the outside!
Thanks again, I look forward to getting the Tech in and discussing it with them with more knowledge than I had yesterday.
Lost in France


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