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#2059051 - 04/04/13 05:12 AM Why are old pianos worth nothing?
pianoworldanon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 62
Hi,

Why does old pianos worth nothing.. pianos that are not the top name brands. I go onto craigslist, and there is the

For example, this one:
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/msg/3718905398.html

Or what about this one:
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/msg/3711345134.html

Let's assume I go in and find that the piano is in tune more or less and all the keys work. I ask because an old Steinway still cost a lot once it's fully refurbished with new parts.

Let's say the above were fully refurbished, would they typically sound better than the Kawai MP6 or an average upright piano?

Which would you think sounds better, the above pianos if they were fully refurbished or the MP6?

Thanks,
Gordon


Edited by pianoworldanon (04/04/13 05:15 AM)

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#2059061 - 04/04/13 06:12 AM Re: Why are old pianos worth nothing? [Re: pianoworldanon]
BoseEric Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 731
Loc: Fairfield County, CT
Newer is better, especially with verticals. Technology, design, materials all change and (usually) improve. No matter what you spend, the Hamilton will always sound like a Hamilton which, with the range of new verticals available, is not a good thing.

Comparing an acoustic piano to a digital is like comparing apples and hamsters however. I don't know what you are looking for in a piano but if your demands are not high a good digital can be a better intermediate step then a craigslist $500 vertical.

Pianos wear out and most pianos on craigs list should be in a landfill. Don't get stuck with one. Think of your grandfathers refrigerator. Yes, it may still cool to some extent, but do you want it?
_________________________
RPT. In the business: Feurich pianos, Neupert harpsichords, Hidrau benches, piano technician

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#2059068 - 04/04/13 06:41 AM Re: Why are old pianos worth nothing? [Re: pianoworldanon]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Not my advice when the best brands are concerned.

But if you have half the budget for a first grade piano, searching for a recent second hand is a real option,

On the old piano side (1930) the tone is what make people buy them.
Repairs are always a challenge, but the building quality is near perfect at some occasion.

I have seen people falling in love with old pianos and taking the trouble to bring them back home from very far.

I have also seen very deceiptives repairs, with half of the original charm lost..
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2059091 - 04/04/13 08:04 AM Re: Why are old pianos worth nothing? [Re: pianoworldanon]
RestorerPhil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/12
Posts: 212
Loc: Georgia, USA
That Baldwin Hamilton Studio is a 1959 model. $200 is CHEEEEP, unless it is really shot! We are seeing really shocking drops in the cost of used pianos. This is the clearest example I have seen. The big upright, on the other hand, is actually high, unless some significant internal work may have been done to it. (Keep in mind, though, that the keytop job on the Ludwig could now cost, at retail, almost the $450 they are asking for the the whole piano .)

Yes, the Baldwin could be worn out. On the other hand, it could be one which could have hammer shaping, lost motion adjustment, and tuning and be used for twenty more years.

The practical way to look at that one is not from the standpoint of "restoration." That would be excessive investment. By no means, however, does that mean that you could not get many years of entry-level service out of that $200 Baldwin (plus moving and the cost of doing the minimal work). You can buy a new Yamaha P-22 these days, due to dealer desperation, as low as $5K. You could not really "restore" that Baldwin for that little. A very reasonable price might be $7K, and that would probably not be the price in California's high-cost market.

By the way, "fully refurbished" usually means someone is about to be taken. Most typically, a used piano described that way by a dealer has had only that minimal work done that I described, so that it is useable and can be sold. Real full scale rebuilding involves many thousands of dollars of both parts and labor - even tens of thousands, if high end work with high-end parts on high-end instruments are involved.
_________________________
Lavender Piano Services
Established 1977
Tuning, Concert Maintenance,
Rebuilding & Restoration

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#2059108 - 04/04/13 08:25 AM Re: Why are old pianos worth nothing? [Re: RestorerPhil]
pianoworldanon Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/03/13
Posts: 62
What level of player is the P22 for? Would a professional player enjoy it?

Thank you.


Edited by pianoworldanon (04/04/13 08:25 AM)

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#2059128 - 04/04/13 08:56 AM Re: Why are old pianos worth nothing? [Re: pianoworldanon]
RestorerPhil Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/26/12
Posts: 212
Loc: Georgia, USA
It is Yamaha's familiar 45" studio, but now they are made in China. You would need to try one. It is several steps down from the professional uprights - similar to Kawai K-2.
_________________________
Lavender Piano Services
Established 1977
Tuning, Concert Maintenance,
Rebuilding & Restoration

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#2059254 - 04/04/13 11:48 AM Re: Why are old pianos worth nothing? [Re: pianoworldanon]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21822
Loc: Oakland
There are a few factors that lower the value of old pianos. The lack of demand, the cost of repairs, the availability of new or newer pianos at low prices, the often false economy of electronic substitutes all contribute to the low price of old pianos. When people buy a piano for their children, and their children grow up and move out of the house, the piano may no longer have the value to the owners that it did, and they lower the price to get rid of it.

People are hesitant to put a lot of money into an old piano. A set of new hammers can cost more than the piano did, and that is a psychological barrier. When some rebuilders go around telling everyone that old pianos inevitably need to have expensive things like soundboards replaced, that makes buyers shy away from pianos that could be restored for less than a comparable new piano costs. The fact that it takes care and knowledge to determine which pianos are worth restoring and which are not is another impediment.

Also, refinishing a piano is difficult and expensive, particularly with the environmental concerns that must be met.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2059325 - 04/04/13 01:51 PM Re: Why are old pianos worth nothing? [Re: pianoworldanon]
Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 386
Loc: East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
Another factor to consider is there are old pianos and then there are old pianos. If you own one in a damp moist envirornment or see one in a place like that my recommendation is incineration. They are major TB hazards so if you have not had a vaccine then you do not want to spend lots of time near any wet antique pianos.

I get lots of people on these boards asking me what my interest is in antique uprights and just tell them well one in probably ten is worth saving although we do go out and pick them up. The main reason is we are after the wood. Piano is no longer of any use as a piano but the wood involved can make some really nice furniture after the veneer is planed off. We regularly trade with Amish and Mennonites the wood for piano benches they build for us from re-claimed piano wood. So it's a nice relationship

It takes skilled workers about 40 hours to de-construct a piano to planks and we remove all the hardware by hand. A 100 year old blue steel screw will still last longer than a 1 year old non hardened screw made today.

So in a throw away society that doesn't have time anymore to do these projects at least in my area these pianos aren't going to the dump.
_________________________
J. Christie
Nashville Piano Rescue
www.NashvillePianoRescue.com
East Nashville
Bowling Green, KY
Scottsville KY.
Chamber of Commerce
Member/Sponsor

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

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#2059349 - 04/04/13 02:37 PM Re: Why are old pianos worth nothing? [Re: pianoworldanon]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: pianoworldanon
Hi,

Why does old pianos worth nothing.. pianos that are not the top name brands. I go onto craigslist, and there is the

For example, this one:
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/msg/3718905398.html

Or what about this one:
http://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/msg/3711345134.html

Let's assume I go in and find that the piano is in tune more or less and all the keys work. I ask because an old Steinway still cost a lot once it's fully refurbished with new parts.

Let's say the above were fully refurbished, would they typically sound better than the Kawai MP6 or an average upright piano?

Which would you think sounds better, the above pianos if they were fully refurbished or the MP6?

Thanks,
Gordon


I'm a teacher not a tech or tuner. I have seen kids be put off music, probably for life, because their parents would not hear that their old 'piano' was actually an ex-piano.

Here's what I mean:
Pins not capable of holding a tuning. Piano permanently out of tune, even when tuned 'flat'
The mutes don't work so each note rings forever.
Iron-hard hammers so each note is ff
Student and I wince at each note.

These kids would be far better off with a Clavinova, or better yet a guitar.

Old pianos are for film-sets and for blowing up on mythbusters, they are not for playing. I'm sure a few are good, but mostly not.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#2059420 - 04/04/13 05:30 PM Re: Why are old pianos worth nothing? [Re: pianoworldanon]
miscrms Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/29/12
Posts: 187
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
FWIW my experience of old pianos vs. digitals has been just the opposite. Granted I was never a serious piano student, but come from a musical family and music in general has been a big part of my life from the beginning. Growing up we had a Kawai K1 (quite pricey for us at the time) and my grand mother had an ancient grand (a Henry Miller I think) that probably hadn't been tuned or worked on in 40 years. The only thing I found fun about the digital as a kid was that you could make all kinds of funny sounds out of it, and the sequencer was fun to play with. On the other hand, I would regularly spend hours at a time doodling around on that old grand. There was something very captivating about its sound and mechanical operation that made it fun to play, despite being horrendously out of tune.

Its always possible my perspective would have been different if I was more seriously trying to practice and improve, but IMHE blaming ones equipment for lack of progress is usually a convenient excuse for not really wanting to do it in the first place. I was conversely quite serious on trumpet, playing in a community theater orchestra which at times required transposing parts on the fly starting at age 11, and won first chair in concert band and orchestra as a freshman. My folks were lucky enough to find me a Bach Strad horn for $75 at an auction about the time I started high school, and while it was kind of cool to have an "expensive" instrument (which really did sound nice) I don't recall it ever really affecting my motivation. I was just as happy playing the beat up school loaner french horn when the orchestra needed one.

My experience as an adult has been much the same. After many years without a piano, my wife and I bought an 88 key weighted keyboard to play on. It got pulled out of the closet about 4 times in five years. In contrast when we decided to get a "real" piano for Christmas this year, we spent a long time hunting for "the one" that we really connected with on our $500 budget. Despite being 140 years old and having lots of warts, our "new" piano is still getting used at least an hour or two a day between my wife and I at 4 months in. Just as when I was a kid, I find the richness of the sound and the direct mechanical linkage between my fingers and that sound to be truly captivating.

I suppose the bottom line is it takes all sorts. Some will be perfectly happy on a digital. Some will really get off on playing a new piano or a high end piano. Some will derive just as much pleasure from a tired old upright. But generally speaking, if the interest or passion isn't there to start with, it probably won't matter that much what is parked in front of them.

Rob
_________________________
1874 Steinway Upright "Franken" Stein

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#2059848 - 04/05/13 01:12 PM Re: Why are old pianos worth nothing? [Re: pianoworldanon]
Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 386
Loc: East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
Alan Jacksons AJ Country boy video will attest to the theory about using them as stage props. We delivered two pianos to a junk yard for the video , blew one up in the video and fell in love with the other 1890s ish Hamilton which he had restored.
_________________________
J. Christie
Nashville Piano Rescue
www.NashvillePianoRescue.com
East Nashville
Bowling Green, KY
Scottsville KY.
Chamber of Commerce
Member/Sponsor

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

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