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#1932338 - 07/25/12 04:39 PM K52 Frankensteinway
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2356
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
I got referred to do a tuning and a bit of work on a circa 1917 K52 last week. Owner of it is going to either sell it, or ship it to a relative. He mentioned how much he paid for it a few years back and asked me to take a look at it and possibly confirm if it was reasonable to ask the same for it as he paid.

Well I usually look over something this old pretty good before I even put my tuning lever on it. It was in remarkable shape for its age, no cracks or repairs on the soundboard, tuning pins were nice and tight, it was restrung about 20 years ago. Action a little worn but the bridle straps replaced and new dampers put on it. Two bass bichord strings were missing their pair, but it looks as if this was not taken care of when the damper work was done. A single string damper was installed on both of them instead of the usual wedge. Hammers were original but not excessively worn other than the highest notes had split the felt.

I played on it and it sounded okay, but certainly not to its full potential if fully reconditioned. Well this is where it gets scary...looking underneith at the bass bridge I discover a horrendous repair job. The bridge was toast. Its extention was solid to the soundboard and in good shape but somebody had taken the trouble to remove the strings, pour epoxy all over the place, not clamp the splits shut, and let it set up that way. The following photos will show that it had continued to crack in new places afterwards also.


depth of crack..

new crack extention..



Well the issue is that I politely informed him that although the piano doesn't sound horribly bad, (at least not as bad as you would think with the bass bridge looking this way), it will have some major issues in the very near future. I also informed him he would not recover what he paid for it, if a buyer were aware of these things. The other bridges were in great shape comapratively, only a micro crack coming off 2 pins.

So.......If I hadn't pointed out these things, this fella likely could have sold this for the price he paid for it, with a clean conscience. (Makes me feel I didn't do him a great service pointing this out in this respect, even though he did ask me to).

Secondly, if I had the room presently (which I don't), I would buy it myself, repair it properly, and sell it for a profit. This makes me wonder if its more worthwhile for this fellow to contact rebuilders, then private buyers, to unload this quickly? What do you think?

He was going to ship it to AZ as a gift to his son alternatively. I told him its not worth it, and also mentioned a piano this age and condition will die in short order in that climate down there.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1932340 - 07/25/12 04:43 PM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Emmery]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21196
Loc: Oakland
That would be pretty easy to fix by replacing the bass bridge.
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Semipro Tech

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#1932357 - 07/25/12 05:27 PM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Emmery]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2356
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Yeah, I know, and this would be a lovely piano for someone if some TLC went into it. Can't fathom why someone would go through the trouble of unstringing it, and then doing a repair like this...or go through the trouble of fitting single dampers instead of just getting 2 strings.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1932415 - 07/25/12 09:11 PM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Emmery]
Dave B Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1867
Loc: Philadelphia area
Your kinda stuck. If you make an offer, it looks like your trying to take advantage of the situation. I usually recommend a couple of techs the customer can call and get out the door.

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#1932463 - 07/25/12 11:13 PM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Emmery]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3828
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: Emmery
[...] He was going to ship it to AZ as a gift to his son alternatively. I told him its not worth it, and also mentioned a piano this age and condition will die in short order in that climate down there.


Isn't Arizona rather consistently dry? And, isn't rather consistently anything good for pianos as long as it's consistent (including consistently dry)? If, as BDB says, this is a fairly straightforward fix (as ugly as the current repair is), and if the guy wants to gift it to his son (who might actually rather have the piano from his dad for a number of reasons), and if there is a tech in AZ who can do the fix (even if it takes a while before the fix gets done), then maybe it might be "worth it"? There are legit piano movers who move other things as well as pianos, and who actually take time to build loads in such as way as to keep costs down for their customers as they traverse the continent. Given all of that, this might not be such a lost cause.

--Andy
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1932530 - 07/26/12 05:01 AM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7072
Loc: France
Max did say to one of his students to do a similar work but using Vynil glue and did not trust me that it er to make a new bridge top
was he have a very good way for DIY to repair that with vynil glue mixed with wood dust, or paper, I just dont know which is the best wink


Edited by Kamin (07/27/12 02:46 AM)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1932533 - 07/26/12 06:03 AM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Emmery]
pianolive Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 325
Loc: Europe
Isaac, how is your self-esteem nowadays? Do you like taking every chance to kick Max or try to make fun of him?

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#1932534 - 07/26/12 06:14 AM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: pianolive]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: pianolive
Isaac, how is your self-esteem nowadays? Do you like taking every chance to kick Max or try to make fun of him?


+1. Seriously.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1932597 - 07/26/12 09:47 AM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Olek]
Maximillyan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 1477
Loc: KZ
Originally Posted By: Kamin
I just dont know which is the best wink

A lady from Ekaterinburg made ​​it so
http://donguluk.ucoz.ru/photo
_________________________
A=440
http://www.donguluk.ucoz.ru/

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#1932665 - 07/26/12 11:47 AM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Emmery]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

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

I would not recommend taking an instrument from the lake head to Arizona. The dry climate will finish the piano off within 5 years or less.

The bridge repair, if one can call it that, looks as if the glue was not entirely set before tension was applied to the strings, as some of the pins appear to have moved. The side bearing angle on some of the strings over the bridge is different….

Not going to get much from anyone with a bridge in that condition, even from a rebuilder who will want this one at wholesale or less….
_________________________
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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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#1932770 - 07/26/12 03:23 PM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Emmery]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2356
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
The photos might not show it clearly but some of the strings were seated away from the bridge pins on clumps of protruding epoxy. Like I said, it was surprising that it did not have a bunch of sound issues related to this messy work (yet).

By afternoon, average RH levels for most areas in Arizona are in the low to mid 20's.
In comparison to where the piano has resided, average anual RH levels are more than triple this amount. Probably even higher for this piano since it sits 100 feet from Lake Erie in a home with no air conditioning or de-humidifier. This is probably what has kept the pin block in as good shape as it is presently.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1932944 - 07/27/12 02:07 AM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Emmery]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2379
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
I grew up in the Arizona desert.

Emmery and Dan are correct; the desert would kill this piano.

My personal piano, OTOH, a 1921 Hamilton upright player, spent most of *its* life in the desert, and now, living in Sandy Eggo has been really good for it. The pins are as tight as the day it was made, and the prior dry climate keep the interior metal parts clean and rust-free.
_________________________
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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#1932962 - 07/27/12 03:00 AM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: pianolive]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7072
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: pianolive
Isaac, how is your self-esteem nowadays? Do you like taking every chance to kick Max or try to make fun of him?


I hate it in fact, I was one of the first to propose him some help.
But see, he begin to understand he can learn something, so that may give a result in the end.

that did the job under Max supervision have been given bad advice
.
just to say, my self esteem is but the conversations on this site are often rude, boring and non professional with people that gives you the impression they know better than you.

(the conversations on pianist corner are way more interesting in the end !)

I believe I will let the things be as they are.

In 6 months there I get almost no new information,
When I say something of value I am just ignored...

The world is full of self taught people that state they are piano technicians, sometime since 35 years, while tome they are more musicians that learned to tune pianos by themselves.

people that never repair a piano and that are giving advice.

They just dream to be piano technicians, when they meet on a forum like this they are recognizing themselves....

I dont care to give a few tricks to amateurs or my colleagues, but this forum is not so interesting those days .

A few fun things, a few good people met , like in real life in the end, but it takes too much time in the end.










Edited by Kamin (07/27/12 03:04 AM)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#1933030 - 07/27/12 07:17 AM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Olek]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Kamin

just to say, my self esteem is but the conversations on this site are often rude, boring and non professional with people that gives you the impression they know better than you.


You need to take a serious look in the mirror.


Edited by Loren D (07/27/12 07:18 AM)
Edit Reason: removed extra quote tag
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1933087 - 07/27/12 10:11 AM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: OperaTenor]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3828
Loc: Rockford, IL
I stand corrected many times over. I am too much of a sentimental sap, I think.

Couldn't you soak the piano in water for a few years before sending it to the desert? kidding... kidding...

--Andy


Edited by Cinnamonbear (07/27/12 10:26 AM)
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1933501 - 07/28/12 07:12 AM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Olek]
pianolive Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 325
Loc: Europe
Isaac,
My point was simply that I do not think that Max or anyone will learn from being kicked and made fun of.
You and I may just have different opinions about pedagogy and that´s it. smile

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#1933574 - 07/28/12 11:54 AM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Cinnamonbear]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2379
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
I stand corrected many times over. I am too much of a sentimental sap, I think.

Couldn't you soak the piano in water for a few years before sending it to the desert? kidding... kidding...

--Andy


Heh. Might as well, given the probable outcome... wink

Seriously, I get and agree with what you say regarding consistency of climate conditions, but to take an old piano that's spent its life in humidity and put it someplace consistently dry, all of the wood will probably shrink to the point of instability and splitting. Or, at least, I wouldn't want to take the chance.
_________________________
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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#1933582 - 07/28/12 12:24 PM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Cinnamonbear]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2356
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
I stand corrected many times over. I am too much of a sentimental sap, I think.

Couldn't you soak the piano in water for a few years before sending it to the desert? kidding... kidding...

--Andy


There is nothing wrong with being a "sentimental sap" if you were contributing to a Sentimental Sap Forum. This is a Tuner Technician Forum, thus the reasons for being corrected many times over.

I don't mind going to a car mechanics forum to ask questions about my car; I don't go there however to suggest they are wrong, don't know what they are doing, or giving my 2 cents worth of suggestions how they can be doing it better. I'm not a mechanic.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1933649 - 07/28/12 03:57 PM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Emmery]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7120
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: Emmery
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
I stand corrected many times over. I am too much of a sentimental sap, I think.

Couldn't you soak the piano in water for a few years before sending it to the desert? kidding... kidding...

--Andy


There is nothing wrong with being a "sentimental sap" if you were contributing to a Sentimental Sap Forum. This is a Tuner Technician Forum, thus the reasons for being corrected many times over.

I don't mind going to a car mechanics forum to ask questions about my car; I don't go there however to suggest they are wrong, don't know what they are doing, or giving my 2 cents worth of suggestions how they can be doing it better. I'm not a mechanic.


Why such a rude reply to Cinnamonbear?

He didn't make any "suggstions" regarding any technical issues. He offered a viewpoint as to why the owner may want to give the piano to his son.

My suggestion to Your Omniscient Techness is to put a tuning hammer to your attitude, rid yourself of the inharmonicity in your maners, and offer an apology to Cinnamonbear.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#1933678 - 07/28/12 05:09 PM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3828
Loc: Rockford, IL
I can understand why Emmery is short of patience with me. (There are two techie posts I wish I could take back--one about blue glue (BDB), the other about a strange action mechanism (Silverwood). Other than that, I stand by everything I've written or shared in this forum.)

Still, I wonder how such a piano as the Frankensteinway would fare if moved to this desert environment?

The Musical Instrument Museum -- Phoenix, AZ

--Andy
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1933736 - 07/28/12 07:11 PM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Cinnamonbear]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2379
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear

Still, I wonder how such a piano as the Frankensteinway would fare if moved to this desert environment?

The Musical Instrument Museum -- Phoenix, AZ

--Andy


I had the pleasure of spending a whole day there a couple of years ago. It's an interesting place, but I have to say I was a little disappointed with their piano collection. It wasn't varied as much as I would expect from an institution with such an expansive title, the pianos generally weren't in such hot condition, and then there was the Steinway corner. They had taken what appeared to be a former road/trade show display and made a museum exhibit out of it(they also advertised Steinway as one of the museum sponsors, rather obnoxiously, IIRC). It just seemed they could have done so much more, and more effectively.

I doubt they'd be interested in a K52, unfortunately. Plus, just to pick nits. I guess the climate there wouldn't really matter, because you aren't allowed to touch the instruments.
_________________________
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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#1933740 - 07/28/12 07:18 PM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Emmery]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2379
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
To expand a little on what I was talking about:

To compare, they had extensive collections of instruments from many countries, and in a lot of cases, they had enough depth that they could display the history and evolution of a given culture's instruments. But, I recall there being a smattering of pianos, mostly from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, without much in the way of a timeline-type representation like you would see at a place like the Fredericksburg museum(or so I have heard). IIRC, there was nothing from the early history of pianos, but I could be remembering wrong.
_________________________
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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#1933889 - 07/28/12 11:53 PM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Emmery]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2356
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Museums tend to have better control of their environment, certainly more than people do in their homes. I remember visiting the Liberace museum in Vegas a year before it shut. Similar desert climate to Arizona. I had got permission to get past the ropes to look closer at some of the glitzy pianos on display there, and most were in quite horrid condition inside them. Sound boards with big cracks, split, cracking bridges, cabinet showing cracks at joints ect...
Alot of evidence of what dry climates can do over time...even in a museum.

It was a shame they had to shut the place due to financial troubles.


Edited by Emmery (07/29/12 01:47 AM)
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1934091 - 07/29/12 10:03 AM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Emmery]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3828
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: Emmery
[...] I remember visiting the Liberace museum in Vegas a year before it shut. Similar desert climate to Arizona. I had got permission to get past the ropes to look closer at some of the glitzy pianos on display there, and most were in quite horrid condition inside them. Sound boards with big cracks, split, cracking bridges, cabinet showing cracks at joints ect...
Alot of evidence of what dry climates can do over time...even in a museum. [...]


Curses!!! Foiled again!... laugh
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1934661 - 07/30/12 11:31 AM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Emmery]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3828
Loc: Rockford, IL
_________________________
I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.

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#1934695 - 07/30/12 12:28 PM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Cinnamonbear]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2379
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear


I just read that article. It's making the rounds on Facebook.

It hurts...
_________________________
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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#1934707 - 07/30/12 12:54 PM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Emmery]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2356
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
What that article doesnt address is that digital pianos and many of the newer cheaper pacific rim accoustics will make that same "thud" sound at the dump...only 60 years sooner than the older ones did. Also, some of the older ones are salvagable and decent candidates for refurbishment/restoration. Its still worth it to take a peek inside before taking it to the dump....some people are a little hasty to condemn some of these old gems in the rough these days. I woud venture to guess that quite a few folks keep some older pianos as "furniture" pieces also...complete junk from an instrument point of view...but nicely compliments the antique rosewood dining cabinet in the corner.


Edited by Emmery (07/30/12 12:55 PM)
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1934709 - 07/30/12 12:58 PM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Emmery]
pianolive Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 325
Loc: Europe
Well, we throw away cars, computers, furniture all kind of things. Why not pianos?
I have too often seen techs repair pianos which should not even have been made in first place. It is great to get all the bad pianos off the market, then we can repair the good onea that are worth the repair.

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#1934732 - 07/30/12 01:28 PM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: Emmery]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2356
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Well, the old pianos are meeting this fate because of two things. First off, most of them are not worth the work needed to be put into it. The second reason has more to do with values in the younger generation of people. In the old days, when things broke, people fixed them. Now they just go shopping for a new one.

This goes for relationships between couples also....thats why the divorce rates have grown so high with the younger generations.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1934757 - 07/30/12 02:31 PM Re: K52 Frankensteinway [Re: pianolive]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2379
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: pianolive
Well, we throw away cars, computers, furniture all kind of things. Why not pianos?
I have too often seen techs repair pianos which should not even have been made in first place. It is great to get all the bad pianos off the market, then we can repair the good onea that are worth the repair.


I think those are not good comparisons. The pianos referred to in the article mostly come from the "golden age" of piano building. They're 70-100 years old, hand-made from the best materials, built by virtual artisans. The comparisons you use are all mass-produced with built-in planned obsolescence. Therein lies a fundamental difference.

And, as Emmery said, modern pianos don't really compare in quality to what was being produced then.
_________________________
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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