Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad) End Stage Fright
End Stage Fright
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Topic Options
#2073151 - 04/28/13 09:29 PM Mason & Hamline mavens, please chime in!
Almaviva Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 433
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Guys,

I have stumbled across the following instrument at a local dealer:
A 1981 Mason & Hamlin Model BB, black satin finish, for $20,626.

The dealer says that there is nothing wrong with it, but we will have a technician check it out. From the looks of it, the case needs some polishing, but otherwise there are no cosmetic flaws. Assuming the tech finds nothing wrong with it, is $20,626 a good price?


Edited by Almaviva (04/29/13 04:00 PM)

Top
(ads 568) Hailun Pianos

piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#2073156 - 04/28/13 09:44 PM Re: Mason & Hamline mavens, please chime in! [Re: Almaviva]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 6037
Loc: Rochester MN
The BB is a fabulous instrument. It strikes me as being a bit on the high side, but if it is truly A+++, it would be a strong consideration. Those pianos can have a strong clear bass which can make you weep!

Have you done any bargaining yet? Lots will depend on the tech's assessment.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

Top
#2073165 - 04/28/13 09:57 PM Re: Mason & Hamline mavens, please chime in! [Re: Almaviva]
dynamobt Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 603
Loc: NH
I paid more than that for my rebuilt 1918 BB. But my piano was in "like new" condition after rebuilding. The BB is a fabulous piano. I adore mine and feel it was the find of a lifetime. I plunked down my deposit a day before a concert pianist came to check it out again to buy as his main practice instrument.

Anyway, it depends on how much playing is left in this piano being 30 years old. If it is in good to very good contition you are getting a deal.
_________________________
1918 Mason & Hamlin BB




Top
#2073191 - 04/28/13 11:05 PM Re: Mason & Hamline mavens, please chime in! [Re: Almaviva]
RealPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 2281
Loc: NYC
What do you think of it, after playing it?

I can't remember the Mason & Hamlin timeline, i.e., who owned the company back then and what the build quality was like. Might be worth checking into. Don't think it is the current owners.

That said, I have a rebuilt 1928 Model CC and really like it, though it now needs a lot of action work.
_________________________
Joe

www.josephkubera.com

Top
#2073198 - 04/28/13 11:11 PM Re: Mason & Hamline mavens, please chime in! [Re: Almaviva]
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4372
Loc: Jersey Shore
Seems high for a piano that is getting close to the 30 year mark.

Top
#2073213 - 04/28/13 11:30 PM Re: Mason & Hamline mavens, please chime in! [Re: Almaviva]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20741
Loc: Oakland
I think that is from the Peres era.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#2073214 - 04/28/13 11:31 PM Re: Mason & Hamline mavens, please chime in! [Re: RealPlayer]
Almaviva Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 433
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Thanks for the info, guys. We'll have to have the tech check it out. Hope he gives the green light.

My niece has played another Mason & Hamlin BB about a month ago, and liked it. ("Big & bold tone", she says.) She hopes to get over to the dealer this week and play this one.

If she doesn't like it, my friend and his young son might want to check it out.

Top
#2073222 - 04/28/13 11:44 PM Re: Mason & Hamline mavens, please chime in! [Re: Almaviva]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1166
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Hi Alma,

I too am interested in hearing what you think about the piano after playing it.

My Mason & Hamlin "AA" is pre-WWII. It has the unusual smokey golden, spinto timbre typical of their best period. The decay is just chock full of colors even though the instrument is only 6'1", and the sustain in the upper treble is amazing. I'm still in love with that sound after 30+ years of playing it.

I'm sorry to say that today, with the resurrection of the brand, and new management and production in Asia, the recent instruments don't sound like that. The timbre is a bit closer to the modern American Steinway in tone color, with a few more colors in the decay than Japanese instruments but much, much less interesting or impressive overall in dynamic range, resonance or sustain than the golden-era instruments.

You knew all that, right?

Are you looking for yourself? If you are, and you've never heard one of the pre-WWII instruments, please go check them out first. If they're in good shape, they're incredible. The differences in timbre or sustain from the modern instruments are very noticeable; I myself don't even think they sound like the same brand. If you're shopping for somebody else, or an organization, then I don't think they'll be disappointed. The modern M&H BBs are good instruments that work fine for churches, rehearsal studios or small recital halls. They usually have good projection and are quit stable. And yes, that price is a very good one for an instrument of that size.

But the new ones just don't sound like those from the golden era...

...(sigh)...
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

Top
#2073223 - 04/28/13 11:45 PM Re: Mason & Hamline mavens, please chime in! [Re: Almaviva]
Almaviva Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 433
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
P.S. - No, we haven't started bargaining yet. I played it a little bit Saturday afternoon. The bass was great, but the treble was a little bright and "clattery". The dealer's tech promised to check the voicing first thing Monday morning.

Top
#2073343 - 04/29/13 08:33 AM Re: Mason & Hamline mavens, please chime in! [Re: Almaviva]
Rich Galassini Online   content
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 8974
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted By: Almaviva
Guys,

I have stumbled across the following instrument at a local dealer:
A 1986 Mason & Hamlin Model BB, black satin finish, for $20,626.

The dealer says that there is nothing wrong with it, but we will have a technician check it out. From the looks of it, the case needs some polishing, but otherwise there are no cosmetic flaws. Assuming the tech finds nothing wrong with it, is $20,626 a good price?


My thoughts,

I did not even know that the BB was made in 1986. In late 1985 M&H became a part of Sohmer/Pratt-Reed, but for the next couple of years I was unaware that M&H grands were built.

I am thinking that this may have been a partial piano that was completed under Sohmer. This is speculation on my part, but it makes sense based on what is presented here Almaviva.

If I am correct it means that an uncompleted piano was moved from one facility to another and completed by a staff that had never made one before, and perhaps with only some of the tools, jigs, and training that the original staff had. This opens up lots of areas for issues that are normally nothing to worry about. If a piano is "finished" in a separate factory from where its life began, basic things like the fit of the action to the piano, the correct dimension of parts, fit of plate into piano, correct strikepoint, etc. could be questionable.

Full Disclosure - My speculation might not be correct at all. I am going by the history of a company that I love as I know it. If anyone else can contribute more information, I look forward to hearing it.
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Get Cunningham Piano Email Updates

Top
#2073359 - 04/29/13 09:05 AM Re: Mason & Hamline mavens, please chime in! [Re: Almaviva]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19095
Loc: New York City
My advice is to make sure not to let the fallboard name overly influence your purchase. This piano was not from a period that is generally considered very good for Mason Hamlin, although I have read at PW that some of these instruments can be very good as is or good with some tweaking. Unless one has 100K to spend virtually any piano will be somewhat of a compromise.

Ask yourself how much you like it if you didn't know it was a Mason. And. of course, you need to have listened to a reasonable number of other pianos to really answer that question.

You need to find a really good tech who is truly independent from the seller to evaluate the piano. They should be aware of any problems that Masons of that era might have so they can decide if this piano has any of them and how serious they are in terms of need to fix them. The price does seem somewhat high based on the current price for the BB and Fine's depreciation schedule, although Fine says the schedule is for a private sale and a piano bought through a dealer would be higher. Does the piano have a warranty and what does it say?

You should also decide what cosmetic condition you eventually want the piano to be in and get an accurate assessment of what that might cost from someone who does that kind of work. If the piano requires refinishing to get it to look the way you'd like, that could be an addition 5-10K. OTOH it could be only a few hundred dollars depending on the present condition of the case and what you want.


Edited by pianoloverus (04/29/13 11:07 AM)

Top
#2073428 - 04/29/13 11:22 AM Re: Mason & Hamline mavens, please chime in! [Re: Almaviva]
songwire Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/10/13
Posts: 12
Loc: NE Ohio
The fact that the piano is 30 years old alone shouldn't deter you from purchasing it. I recently purchased a 1940 Mason & Hamlin Model B. It has a deep rich bass, a full singing midrange, and a brilliant treble range. It still has the original strings; the hammers were reshaped once. The technician who recently tuned it absolutely loves this 73 year old piano and said it needs nothing. I can't speak for the build quality of a 1980s vintage Mason & Hamlin, though my technician says the older ones are some of the best pianos ever built.


Edited by songwire (04/29/13 12:28 PM)

Top
#2073472 - 04/29/13 01:09 PM Re: Mason & Hamline mavens, please chime in! [Re: songwire]
Karl Watson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/11
Posts: 231
My advice would be to read, mark and inwardly digest what Rich has written above.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

Top
#2073478 - 04/29/13 01:16 PM Re: Mason & Hamline mavens, please chime in! [Re: Almaviva]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20741
Loc: Oakland
It all boils down to: If you really like the piano, nothing else matters, not even the price.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#2073590 - 04/29/13 03:42 PM Re: Mason & Hamline mavens, please chime in! [Re: Rich Galassini]
Almaviva Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 433
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini
I did not even know that the BB was made in 1986. In late 1985 M&H became a part of Sohmer/Pratt-Reed, but for the next couple of years I was unaware that M&H grands were built.

I am thinking that this may have been a partial piano that was completed under Sohmer. This is speculation on my part, but it makes sense based on what is presented here Almaviva.

If I am correct it means that an uncompleted piano was moved from one facility to another and completed by a staff that had never made one before, and perhaps with only some of the tools, jigs, and training that the original staff had. This opens up lots of areas for issues that are normally nothing to worry about. If a piano is "finished" in a separate factory from where its life began, basic things like the fit of the action to the piano, the correct dimension of parts, fit of plate into piano, correct strikepoint, etc. could be questionable.

Full Disclosure - My speculation might not be correct at all. I am going by the history of a company that I love as I know it. If anyone else can contribute more information, I look forward to hearing it.


Good news, Rich. I got the Model BB's serial number from the dealer, and it turns out that the piano was made in either 1980 or 1981. Are there any potential problems with M&H pianos made during that period?

Top
#2073600 - 04/29/13 03:53 PM Re: Mason & Hamline mavens, please chime in! [Re: Almaviva]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20741
Loc: Oakland
That was the end of the Aeolian American era. Probably no potential problems, but there may be plenty which are evident!
_________________________
Semipro Tech

Top
#2073624 - 04/29/13 04:22 PM Re: Mason & Hamline mavens, please chime in! [Re: Almaviva]
Beethoven17th Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/14/11
Posts: 16
Loc: Utah, US
Just to add a data point from a different era-played a 1997 BB (after the restart by the Burgett's). Good feel, nice treble, but . . . . that bass is amazing. I've played a Steinway D and a Fazioli 308, and couldn't say that the bass on either was better than the BB.

The one I looked at was priced in the 30k range-I'd jump on it if I had that kind of scratch around. Maybe I can scare it up . . . . I think I'll get back to work . . . .

Top
#2073720 - 04/29/13 06:59 PM Re: Mason & Hamline mavens, please chime in! [Re: laguna_greg]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2625
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Originally Posted By: laguna_greg

I'm sorry to say that today, with the resurrection of the brand, and new management and production in Asia, the recent instruments don't sound like that. The timbre is a bit closer to the modern American Steinway in tone color, with a few more colors in the decay than Japanese instruments but much, much less interesting or impressive overall in dynamic range, resonance or sustain than the golden-era instruments.

As I recall M&H have no production in Asia. They're built in Haverhill MA and some parts are made in Asia. I do recall that many (most) of their production staff are Asian, but the pianos are built in the USA.

Top
#2073743 - 04/29/13 07:29 PM Re: Mason & Hamline mavens, please chime in! [Re: Almaviva]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6031
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Steve - You recall correctly. In addition, the M&H Vertical Model 50 is assembled at M&H's plant in Sacramento - using parts made in Haverhill. MA. Perhaps the new M&H grands aren't quite like those of the "golden age" - but they are still top notch instruments.
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

Top

Moderator:  Ken Knapp, Piano World, Rickster 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
Download & Print Sheet Music Instantly
sheet music search
sheet music search

sheet music search
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
Who's Online
155 registered (adanepst, accordeur, acortot, 36251, 41 invisible), 1742 Guests and 59 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
74206 Members
42 Forums
153498 Topics
2249334 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Troubleshooting the Gravity Drop/Weight Transfer etc.
by bledredwine
04/16/14 11:16 AM
Stories in SoundBook 2 Valerie Roth Roubos
by DameMyra
04/16/14 10:48 AM
Teaching memorization
by clarikeys
04/16/14 07:45 AM
Accepted Procedure for Having a Piano Tech look at a piano?
by Paul678
04/16/14 07:19 AM
Tips for playing a piece through
by Hemmingway
04/16/14 06:40 AM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission