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Topic Options
#2015509 - 01/16/13 02:00 PM Is it worth it?
MsAnna Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 1
Hello everyone, I'm new to this forum. I have a piano that I am trying to determine if it is worth it to make the necessary repairs or if it's time to call it quits. I don't know much about pianos myself, this piece belonged to my great grandmother and for a long time has taken space in various family member's houses. Here is a picture:

The writing on the front says:
Philad'a New York
Three Sounding Boards
Patented Oct 30, 1902

I've been trying to figure out if this is worth anything, other sentamental value. If it is an actual antique or anything, I'll put out the money to get it fixed and in workable condition, if not I think I may just trash it. Anything anyone knows about it would be much appreciated; google hasn't been much help. Thank you all for your help!

Ms. Anna

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#2015519 - 01/16/13 02:31 PM Re: Is it worth it? [Re: MsAnna]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Short answer? NO. It's not worth it.

Do you have any idea whatsoever how many parts are on the inside of the "case of that piano that nobody can see?" Those unseen parts, are the working parts of the piano. What you show in the picture is a mere picture of the outside of the piano and the basic condition of "it." Given that one picture, it is a safe bet that the inside of the piano is in much worse shape than the outside is to which I would say...trash it...
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan

We love to play BF2.

#2015522 - 01/16/13 02:36 PM Re: Is it worth it? [Re: MsAnna]
ju5t1n-h Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/13/12
Posts: 179
Loc: Vancouver, British Columbia
Essex EUP-123S

#2015532 - 01/16/13 02:52 PM Re: Is it worth it? [Re: MsAnna]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 23196
Loc: Oakland
If you were thinking of restoring it with the idea that it would be worth more than it would cost to restore, that is not the case. If you were thinking of restoring it with the idea that it would be a piano that you could use for the rest of your life, regardless of its value, that is a possibility, but even then, not always.
Semipro Tech

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#2015796 - 01/16/13 09:20 PM Re: Is it worth it? [Re: MsAnna]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3484
Pianos like this tend to have not just $0 value, but negative value, due to the cost of having it professionally disposed of.
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

#2015857 - 01/17/13 12:18 AM Re: Is it worth it? [Re: MsAnna]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4551
Loc: San Jose, CA
It may have been nice in its day, but that was 110 years ago. Consider if your washing machine was that old... would it be a valuable antique, or off to the store for a new one?

The useful life of a good piano is about 50 years; with regular care you might stretch it to 60+, but with diminishing returns. The keyboard shows that there is some obvious damage--- it has not been cared for. You might call in a tech for an appraisal, but I would not hope for much money value from an unknown make. For less than the thousands of dollars it would take to put it in shape, you might buy a new one, in warranty, which would be a much better piano in the first place, and which would last long enough for your grandkids to play it (or maybe their grandkids).

The Praying Hands on the keyboard are pointing the way: that piano is going to be with Jesus very soon.

#2015903 - 01/17/13 03:21 AM Re: Is it worth it? [Re: MsAnna]
JohnSprung Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 2447
Loc: Reseda, California
The main question is, does it have great sentimental value because it belonged to your great grandmother?

If the answer is yes, pay about $100 - 150 to have it evaluated by a technician, who will tell you how many thousands it'll cost to fix up. (Angie's list is a good place to find one.)

If the answer is no, get rid of it. (Craig's list it as a freebie for that.)

The part about "three sounding boards" is interesting, though. I've never seen that before, and kinda wonder what they mean.

Edited by JohnSprung (01/17/13 03:24 AM)
-- J.S.

I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body.
Then I realized who was telling me this.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690

#2015985 - 01/17/13 08:04 AM Re: Is it worth it? [Re: MsAnna]
Rickster Offline

Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 9329
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: John Sprung
The part about "three sounding boards" is interesting, though. I've never seen that before, and kinda wonder what they mean.

My receintly acquired old Conover upright has three bridges (Bass, tenor, treble)... maybe that is what they meant.

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

#2015986 - 01/17/13 08:04 AM Re: Is it worth it? [Re: ju5t1n-h]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 13324
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: ju5t1n-h

Here's another idea (perhaps a bit more practical...ahem...):

piano desk

It is unfortunate that this heirloom was not maintained over the years, but this is a way you can keep the heirloom and make it something someone can actually use.
private piano/voice teacher FT

#2016401 - 01/17/13 10:47 PM Re: Is it worth it? [Re: MsAnna]
Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 389
Loc: East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
One problem are all the reality shows of people finding pianos like this in old buildings and saying wow this is worth a fortune. Can someone get it working? Maybe but it depends on where it's been. We cleaned one up ( Bush & Lane) that sat in workshop for 80 years. The owner said it was sitting there 50 years ago when he moved in which sounds pretty bad to me but it turned out to be the opposite.

Did it need a 10K restoration? No. It was cleaned up, we put new bass strings on it and now it's being used to record with at A440. That was 5 years ago and they are still using it. So It just depends on the person and if they feel motivated enough to take a hard look at it
J. Christie
Nashville Piano Rescue
East Nashville
Bowling Green, KY
Scottsville KY.
Chamber of Commerce

Putting inspiration in the hands of area musicians
Through restoration/renovation

#2016718 - 01/18/13 12:56 PM Re: Is it worth it? [Re: MsAnna]
John Pels Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 1270
Loc: Tomball, Texas
This is prescient. One of my students is unfortunately playing on one that might be similar to this. The Mom refuses to get rid of it, even had it refinished. The soundboard is flat, the bridge looks like it spent some time underwater. The bridge pins no longer maintain the proper trajectory of the strings due to the massive splits in the bridge. The action is shot the hammers hard as heck. The tuning pins are loose and the "piano" sounds like a honky-tonk in an old western bar all the while being tuned a step flat. The poor student of course cannot control dynamics or develop the ability to make subtle changes in any matter, way shape or form.I have suggested that almost any studio upright available on Craigslist would be an improvement. The Mom's retort was "Where would I put this one?" She then went on to tell me that she believes that her piano sounds every bit as good as her Dad's Yamaha grand and we will just have to agree to disagree. Imagine!!! I am negotiating on them getting a touch-sensitive keyboard. I wish this old junk would find its way to the landfill, so I wouldn't have to deal with it. It's not the first time, and it's so unfair to the student.I try very hard to be diplomatic with my clients, but this one had me close to the edge. I was just trying to figure out whether those two degrees in piano performance and 20 years of rebuilding experience had any meaning.
John Pels

#2016722 - 01/18/13 01:08 PM Re: Is it worth it? [Re: MsAnna]
jawhitti Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/01/12
Posts: 235
Hah! My in-laws are both quite well-to-do, they probably make $200,000 between them. Their daughter was interested in piano so after the kid exhausted the $100 casio they brought home a *ghastly* clunker not unlike the one pictured. It was so awful as to be beyond description. I have no idea where they found it, but nothing worked. The notes that could sound made horrible, horrible noises.

Surprisingly their daughter soon lost interest in piano. A lot of parents think "well, maybe we'll get her something better if she sticks with it" while not thinking that if the piano sounds and feels awful that the kid will probably quit out of frustration.

I'm sorry for your poor student.


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