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Topic Options
#1976155 - 10/20/12 09:48 AM Looking to trade up Mason & Hamlin A to a BB
Keymar Rob Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/24/11
Posts: 17
Loc: Maryland, USA
I was very very happy with my 8 year old A until I played a BB. Now I have to forgo a new truck and find a BB I can afford.
I am willing to either trade up or to sell the A and find a BB.

I actually find the broken in BBs preferable to new ones. Anyone have any suggestions? I am in Maryland.

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#1976175 - 10/20/12 10:11 AM Re: Looking to trade up Mason & Hamlin A to a BB [Re: Keymar Rob]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 624
Loc: NY and NC
I just bought a slightly-used BB. It is a very fine piano and if you can find one, you should be very happy with it. I have only played a couple of A's, but think they are very nice if your space is smaller. Do you have a good-sized area for a BB? Mine is in a bedroom, and it seems to be ok, but a nice, big space would be nicer. You can see pictures of the delivery (done several days ago) on the photo gallery.
_________________________
2004 Mason-Hamlin polished ebony BB.
Working on jazz standards and Chopin nocturnes, preludes, and mazurkas (the easier ones.)

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#1976193 - 10/20/12 10:44 AM Re: Looking to trade up Mason & Hamlin A to a BB [Re: Chopinlover49]
Keymar Rob Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/24/11
Posts: 17
Loc: Maryland, USA
I is in a room about 15 x 25 and is carpeted.I was concerned that when I play for guests they might be blown away but I can always give them ear plugs.

I just saw your room. Mine is a little bigger. Do you mind sharing what you paid for it? I paid $32,000 for my A new about 7 years ago.


Edited by Keymar Rob (10/20/12 10:52 AM)

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#1976246 - 10/20/12 12:11 PM Re: Looking to trade up Mason & Hamlin A to a BB [Re: Keymar Rob]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2306
Loc: Portland, Oregon
To relate my experience with my M&H BB, very similar experience to yours Rob.......some years back, I had a 1916 M&H A in my living room...very nice piano, once owned by the author Norman Cousins, and purportedly chosen for him by his friend Rachmaninoff...no kidding! This was the story told by Norman Cousins relative to the man that bought the piano from Cousin's estate, however, there was no provenance attached to the piano. frown It was a very nice sounding M&H A, but it needed a lot of work, inc a new soundboard, action, and strings.

I had it for about a year, that is, until I heard a M&H BB from the 1920's at a friends home. My jaw dropped when I heard this piano...the bass was beyond explanation, as was the overall tone of the piano. It was an original Ampico RBB, and they had the Ampico system rebuilt. After I heard that piano, I HAD to find one! Luckily, I did...the one I have now.... a 1927 RBB, and I have not looked back, nor am I searching for another piano. Btw, the "R" stands for "reproducer". The RBB is exactly the same as a normal BB. The only differences are underneath the piano, with a slightly different bracing and tension resonator configuration in order to accommodate the Ampico roll playing system.

I had it totally rebuilt, excluding the original soundboard, which had been shimmed in the 1960's, quite a few shims in fact. To this day, there are no more cracks in the soundboard. It has 2 player systems in it, The "Ampico" roll system, and the "LX" system, the best of the old and new technology. The finish was also redone. It's been through a few changes since the rebuild.... Ari Isaac hammers, and the Wapin bridge modification were the big changes. The end result is one beautiful sounding 1920's BB.

Here are a few of the many recordings I have made of the piano, using the modern LX playback system installed in the piano. www.live-performance.com

1. https://www.box.com/shared/static/58feab6692dd00098978.mp3

2. https://www.box.com/shared/static/63ce746c1da219b44572.mp3


Edited by Grandpianoman (10/20/12 10:32 PM)
Edit Reason: corrections

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#1976372 - 10/20/12 05:26 PM Re: Looking to trade up Mason & Hamlin A to a BB [Re: Grandpianoman]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19224
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Grandpianoman
It has 2 player systems in it, The "Ampico" roll system, and the "LX" system, the best of the old and new technology.
I'd guess that very few pianos have a rebuilt player system from the early 20th century and a modern system.

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#1976407 - 10/20/12 06:34 PM Re: Looking to trade up Mason & Hamlin A to a BB [Re: Keymar Rob]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 624
Loc: NY and NC
Everyone always comments about the clear, rich bass on a BB. I can now testify that it is, indeed, remarkable. However, it does not hurt the upper registers on mine, at least. Very smooth throughout. If you can use a BB, I would go for it.
_________________________
2004 Mason-Hamlin polished ebony BB.
Working on jazz standards and Chopin nocturnes, preludes, and mazurkas (the easier ones.)

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#1976417 - 10/20/12 07:05 PM Re: Looking to trade up Mason & Hamlin A to a BB [Re: pianoloverus]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2306
Loc: Portland, Oregon
I am pretty sure it's the only one in the world. I have had pm's asking about how it was done etc, so maybe in the future, there will be more, however, it was a very complicated process to fit both systems in there. The LX is so precise, it can play exactly like a finely regulated Ampico, so it's not necessary any more to have a roll system.

However, I do enjoy taking a 1920's roll, say Rachmaninoff, Hoffman, Rosenthal, and watching it work, and marvel at the ingenuity they had back then to make music from paper, leather, wood and vacuum.


The BB is a great piano, as you know smile.. ...it's surprising there are not more of them out there.

Here are 2 more examples of the remarkable tone this piano has now. Nothing was added to the recordings, just 2 mics in front of the open lid in my living room. Headphones are a +.

1. https://www.box.com/shared/static/d88fcea9574fcc34ccb0.mp3

2. https://www.box.com/shared/static/b6bc3e9462278c33da83.mp3



Edited by Grandpianoman (10/20/12 11:04 PM)
Edit Reason: correction and added 2 recordings

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#1976679 - 10/21/12 10:22 AM Re: Looking to trade up Mason & Hamlin A to a BB [Re: Grandpianoman]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4977
Loc: boston north
So beautiful GPM!

Thank you for sharing.

Encore! Encore! Encore!

I'd love to save them on a CD.

Or use them in one of my garden vids on Youtube.

Is that possible?
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1976713 - 10/21/12 12:09 PM Re: Looking to trade up Mason & Hamlin A to a BB [Re: Keymar Rob]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2306
Loc: Portland, Oregon
You're welcome Lilylady! Yes, of course you may put them on a CD, and please feel free to use them on your YouTube channel. smile

All these recordings were made about 2 months ago when Ari Isaac, the fellow that made my bass strings and hammers, had flown out to voice his Classical West hammers. He also tuned the piano by ear in ET, which is what you are hearing in these recordings.


These links are easier to dload, as there is a button just for that. Have included a few more as well. Enjoy! smile

1. --Admiration-- by M.Garson, played by M.Garson on the LX--Isaac ET.mp3 https://www.box.com/s/d88fcea9574fcc34ccb0

2. --Longings-- by M.Garson--played by M.Garson on the LX--Isaac ET.mp3 https://www.box.com/s/58feab6692dd00098978

3. --Reflections-- by M.Garson played by M.Garson on the LX--Isaac ET.mp3 https://www.box.com/s/b6bc3e9462278c33da83

4. B.Pezzone playing --Somewhere in Time-- on the LX, in Isaac ET.mp3 https://www.box.com/s/469f4f8a5a5a322540cd

5. B.Pezzone playing--Sleepless in Seattle--on the LX, in Isaac ET.mp3 https://www.box.com/s/63ce746c1da219b44572

6. John Arpin playing ---As Time Goes By--on the LX-in Isaac ET.mp3 https://www.box.com/s/70ab73623e2ebdda004a

7. John Williams-- Princess Leia's Theme--played by B.Pezzone on the LX--Isaac ET.mp3 https://www.box.com/s/a40117ec0876f31ab8a3

8. Theme from Il Postino--played by B.Pezzone on the LX--Isaac ET.mp3 https://www.box.com/s/b6a54c1e9aae7f077562


Edited by Grandpianoman (10/21/12 03:05 PM)
Edit Reason: url correction

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#1978402 - 10/25/12 09:08 AM Re: Looking to trade up Mason & Hamlin A to a BB [Re: Grandpianoman]
Keymar Rob Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/24/11
Posts: 17
Loc: Maryland, USA
Very nice, GP! I'm going to have to reconsider older BBs. I feel like the piano is more like a chorus than wood and metal.

I have been told that the Yamaha f6 is comparable, as opposed to the production models and will be trying a couple out to see just to make sure. Although my heart is with the M&H and I almost feel disloyal even considering anything else.

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#1978472 - 10/25/12 12:23 PM Re: Looking to trade up Mason & Hamlin A to a BB [Re: Keymar Rob]
mu$ik Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/12/12
Posts: 3
Rob - have you sold your M&H A? Just a ball park, how much will you be selling it for?

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#1978479 - 10/25/12 12:59 PM Re: Looking to trade up Mason & Hamlin A to a BB [Re: Keymar Rob]
rada Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
I know of a BB that's been completely rebuilt and is for sale [ I think it is 1918]....send me a PM if you'd like to know more...It's not my piano.

rada

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#1978542 - 10/25/12 03:31 PM Re: Looking to trade up Mason & Hamlin A to a BB [Re: Keymar Rob]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2306
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hi Rob,

You're welcome, I hope it helps. An older rebuilt M&H BB is obviously no slouch...;)...as is a new one.

Here are a few more files I posted in another thread in the Tuner/Tech forum, dealing with a question on ETD's used for tuning pianos. Headphones are a +.


Here are a few examples of how the Ipad Verituner handles a mild WT that was made for my piano by Bill Bremmer, called EBVT III. All 88 notes were measured by Bill, using his Sanderson Accutuner, installed those figures into the Verituner, which I then tuned. These are played with the LX on my M&H BB.


Albeniz--Rondena from Iberia-- in EBVT III.mp3 https://www.box.com/s/a67b7ac8c623f43979bd

Debussy-- Pour les arpeges composees-- From Douze Etudes --Original Key-- EBVT III .mp3 https://www.box.com/s/7e05fc34393fbfb5f2ac

Debussy --Pour les arpeges composees--Douze Etudes--Half-Step Lower-- EBVT III .mp3 https://www.box.com/s/049100a7df2f36f8e234

Debussy--Pour les arpeges --from Douze Etudes--Whole Step Lower--EBVT III .mp3 https://www.box.com/s/74bfddde2421907cda5b

Scarlatti 4th mov in EBVT III .mp3 https://www.box.com/s/8311e80ae9e21ddac108



Here, another example using the Verituner with a temperament called "Wendell Synchronous Quasi ET" Using 12 offsets, the Verituner generated these tunings, again played with the LX on my M&H BB.

Mozart 2--Wendell Quasi ET Temperament--.mp3 https://www.box.com/s/iby20pqvt3dj89rj1e8f

Scarlatti 4th mov -Wendell Quasi ET Temperament--.mp3 https://www.box.com/s/x60vgwdhk8o30htuwhqp
[/i]


Edited by Grandpianoman (10/25/12 03:48 PM)
Edit Reason: added soundfile and content

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#1978556 - 10/25/12 03:54 PM Re: Looking to trade up Mason & Hamlin A to a BB [Re: Keymar Rob]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19224
Loc: New York City
It's unfortunate that I think many people, including myself, have not really had much opportunity to play many rebuilt Masons. I have a new BB which I really like, but I have always been curious about how a really well rebuilt Mason would sound.

Even though I live only 30 blocks from Piano Row in NYC and have been there more times than I think most could imagine, the number of rebuilt Masons has always been very tiny compared to the number of rebuilt Steinways. Maybe something like a 25:1 ratio. I have only played one rebuilt Mason BB at the dealership(can't remember the name) where Klavierhaus now sits and a tiny sprinkling of other rebuilt models at Faust Harrison and Beethoven. My guess is that there are far fewer of the old Masons available for rebuilding and that rebuilding may not be as profitable from a dealer's perspective.

It's possible I'd like the new Masons more than the old ones (or the opposite), but I've never really been able to have much to go on.


Edited by pianoloverus (10/25/12 03:57 PM)

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#1978569 - 10/25/12 04:11 PM Re: Looking to trade up Mason & Hamlin A to a BB [Re: pianoloverus]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2306
Loc: Portland, Oregon
pianoloverus, sorry you are not on the 'left' coast, you could play my BB. smile

Incidentally, my BB was one of only 94 made in the RBB configuration.

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#1978575 - 10/25/12 04:24 PM Re: Looking to trade up Mason & Hamlin A to a BB [Re: pianoloverus]
RealPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 2314
Loc: NYC
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
It's unfortunate that I think many people, including myself, have not really had much opportunity to play many rebuilt Masons. I have a new BB which I really like, but I have always been curious about how a really well rebuilt Mason would sound.

Come on over and try my CC2, if you don't mind visiting a different borough. Caveat: it really needs new hammers and whippens. Rebuilt 1985 by Camilleri (but he left the old whppens in).
_________________________
Joe

www.josephkubera.com

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#1978593 - 10/25/12 05:01 PM Re: Looking to trade up Mason & Hamlin A to a BB [Re: Keymar Rob]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 624
Loc: NY and NC
Country Piano, in the Watkins Glen, NY, area had a very fine rebuilt Mason-Hamlin BB from 1972 last year. I tried it and was seriously thinking about it, but it sold before I could make up my mind. They had redone everything, including the soundboard, and it was selling in the low 20s, I think. Really good deal. Nice people. They also have a lot of already-finished Steinways, but not sure if they have many Masons done right now. I believe they have some Mason-Hamlin grands ready for rebuilding if anyone is interested. (I have no affiliation with them. Just trying to help.)
_________________________
2004 Mason-Hamlin polished ebony BB.
Working on jazz standards and Chopin nocturnes, preludes, and mazurkas (the easier ones.)

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#1978610 - 10/25/12 05:48 PM Re: Looking to trade up Mason & Hamlin A to a BB [Re: Chopinlover49]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2306
Loc: Portland, Oregon
I have also seen their ads and videos over the years. I bought my current 1920's BB bench from them and had it re-finished.

www.countrypiano.com/showroom.html

I think they do have M&H BB's from the 1920's ready to be rebuilt. However, it is probably a good idea to wait until they have one rebuilt before buying one. I was lucky in that mine sounded pretty good when I found it, although the tone and sustain was not like it is now. The 3 items that helped in that regard were the Wapin bridge modification, www.wapin.com and the hammers and bass strings from Ari Isaac. www.isaacpiano.com Those 3 together contributed to the tone you now hear on the recordings.

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#1978714 - 10/26/12 12:20 AM Re: Looking to trade up Mason & Hamlin A to a BB [Re: Keymar Rob]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2306
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Forgot these two...there were recorded at the same time as the other Debussy.

Debussy --Arabesque--played on the LX-in EBVT III.mp3 https://www.box.com/s/1979d68b781305d23e0a

Reflets dans L'eau by Ravel--from an Ampico piano roll converted for the LX playback system EBVT III .mp3 https://www.box.com/s/cdcf486f37cf614b734b


Edited by Grandpianoman (10/26/12 12:37 AM)
Edit Reason: added soundfile

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