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#2074659 - 05/01/13 01:01 AM Old Blutner - dump or find a home?
Tree512 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 6
I own an about 100 year old rosewood Blutner grand. It has been in my family since it was new, but no one in the family including myself has the room for it now. It is in OK shape but needs to be rebuilt. It has never been rebuilt before.

My question is what I should do with the piano. I either need to find a home for it or discard it. Getting rid of it seems a waste - it is a beautiful piano with a great warm sound. At the same time, it doesn't seem like there is much of a market for grand pianos that need to be rebuilt.

Any suggestions or should I just have it taken away and dumped?

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#2074673 - 05/01/13 01:25 AM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3336
Old Bluthners can still be valuable instruments. My recommendation would be to find it a new home, rather than send it to the dump. If you tell us your location, we might be able to offer suggestions.
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#2074823 - 05/01/13 08:23 AM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1712
Loc: London, England
Some 30 years ago I purchased a similar vintage Blüthner for very little. All original, very little played and it is still giving good musical service to its current keeper.

The reason I could purchase it for next to nothing was because it has the old Blüthner patent action. Very few piano techs In America understood this action in those days and some otherwise experienced techs and tuners had valued the instrument as worthless.

Today, however, it is a totally different matter. There is a lot of information on the Internet about those actions and I see no reason that you could not sell the piano as the fine instrument it is, or has the potential to be.

Unless it is badly damaged, It has to be worth at least the price that rebuilders in your area are buying in core fine instruments for rebuilding.


Edited by rxd (05/01/13 08:42 AM)
_________________________
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"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2074835 - 05/01/13 08:40 AM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
Tree512 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 6
I am in the San Francisco Bay Area if that helps

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#2074873 - 05/01/13 09:46 AM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1712
Loc: London, England
Being in a major metropolitan area is a big advantage.

Up until a few years ago, I tuned a few regularly of that vintage that were all original and with moderate care can still be viable as musical instruments. if it is playable and has the kind of Bluthner sound we rarely hear anymore, someone will fall in love with it as it is. It will not appeal to brutal piano beaters and so will not get their attention.

The manner of factory tone regulating when these pianos were built gave them a soft warm tone quality with good range of volume and left them voiced for life. They don't get nearly as harsh with age even with worn hammers.

Notify teachers and tuners first. They may have interested students or clients. I'm sure you won't want just anybody in your house to look at it.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2074917 - 05/01/13 10:29 AM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1196
These old Bluthners are gorgeous pianos, some of them anyway, and they rebuild so very well, but the sound world of the piano means you need to really know what you are doing.

Piano bashers, as rxd put it, don't like Bluthners old or new, because they don't feel that they're getting that immediate aggressive bite that some other makes have. However, when you really listen to a Bluthner, they have a long sweet sustain, a very clear and pure sound. They are amongst the most beautiful instruments available. I'm a bit of a succer for the old patent grands!

One of the sweetest pianos I've played recently was a Bluthner 6'3 rebuilt by piano restorations in the UK (formerly the UK Bluthner workshop, who still handle all Bluthners restorations here). The tone was as clear as a bell, yet very mellow. It had a lot of power if you wanted to drive it that way, too. The sound swells up and surrounds you, it doesn't pierce directly through the eardrum as some other instruments can.

Some repertoire and some situations require a piano with more bite of course, because concert halls that are being built today are so big, and have lots of soft furnishing in them, and I happen to like many makes of piano, but these old Bluthners have a wow factor.

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#2075132 - 05/01/13 04:32 PM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
LFL Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/12
Posts: 72
I'd love to see some photos! Can you take some and download?
I agree that it seems that this is a piano that can and should be restored, but of course needs evaluation by a good restorer (IMHO). You may not make much $$ at all just by selling it to a restorer, but that's more than its worth just sitting around.
_________________________
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#2075331 - 05/01/13 11:05 PM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
musicpassion Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 975
Loc: California, USA
Yes it does help. I'm in northern CA and would be glad to try assisting. If you can post some pictures and further specs, such as exactly what model (and most importantly size) then I can start talking to some people I know.

Please DO NOT bring the piano to the dump. Unless something castrophic is wrong with it (such as a broken plate) it deserves consideration of a rebuild / restoration.
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2076037 - 05/02/13 04:48 PM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
David-G Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/06
Posts: 1243
Loc: London
I would love to see some photos, and also to know the serial number if you don't mind telling us.

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#2076041 - 05/02/13 04:54 PM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Bluthners are fantastic candidates for restoration depending on the action it has.
If it's 6 feet or bigger, I'm sure you could find it a home other than the dump.
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#2076416 - 05/03/13 03:47 AM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1969
Loc: Philadelphia area
Don't send it to the dump. Properly rebuilt it's an amazing instrument. Try to get it into the hands of a skilled rebuilder.

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#2076438 - 05/03/13 05:28 AM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Rod Verhnjak]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1196
Originally Posted By: Rod Verhnjak
Bluthners are fantastic candidates for restoration depending on the action it has.
If it's 6 feet or bigger, I'm sure you could find it a home other than the dump.


In fact, don't even worry about the action. It can be replaced with a new action and keyboard, or the original can be restored for a more historically minded player.

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#2076620 - 05/03/13 12:06 PM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: joe80]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: joe80
In fact, don't even worry about the action. It can be replaced with a new action and keyboard, or the original can be restored for a more historically minded player.

Sure, anything can be replaced, if you have the money and think the project warrants the investment. Installing a new keyboard and action in a Blüthner Patent Action grand (which this most likely is) involves a serious re-designing of the same. A new action and keyboard, installed, regulated, voiced, will set the owner back close to 10 grand or more, by the time the back action is also replaced.

At this point, the pinblock, soundboard, strings and case are as yet still untouched....
A good refinishing job on a 6' piano runs 6 - 9K.
Cost for doing everything? 20K ++

I agree, refurbishing the action and keeping it original for a player who prefers it is the way to go.
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#2076665 - 05/03/13 01:22 PM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1196
Yes the cost of replacing the action is high, but the quality of the piano is high. Bluthners in London sell rebuilt grands with new action and keyboard, new soundboard, repolished, new pinblock for 35000 pounds. It's actually fairly common for these grands to have the action and keyboard replaced. They offer the full rebuilding service for around 15 k.

You can also have the original action and keyboard rebuilt and they are fabulous too.

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#2076733 - 05/03/13 03:50 PM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
JohnSprung Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1364
Loc: Reseda, California
Bottom line, what needs to happen is that someone must be found in the San Francisco area who wants a project piano, and will give the OP a few bucks for the core.
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Knabe Grand # 10927
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#2076751 - 05/03/13 04:34 PM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1196
In this country bluthner London will pay about 2000 pounds max for the core.

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#2076801 - 05/03/13 06:17 PM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1382
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
I'm seconding and third-ing what everybody has written so far. Don't send it to the dump! If you like the sound now, wait until some key parts are replaced and adjusted. You'll be in love!
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1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
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#2076848 - 05/03/13 08:36 PM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: joe80]
JohnSprung Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1364
Loc: Reseda, California
Originally Posted By: joe80
In this country bluthner London will pay about 2000 pounds max for the core.


That's a touch over $3000 over here. I doubt it could be shipped profitably, but there must be someone in SF who will give the OP something for it. Perhaps he should start a thread looking for a core buyer in SF.
_________________________
-- J.S.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690

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#2076852 - 05/03/13 08:42 PM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7438
Loc: Rochester MN
The best bet would be to check with the PTG to find a rebuilder in the area. Many are often on the search for good cores.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2076918 - 05/03/13 11:51 PM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
Almaviva Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 598
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Hey Tree512,

Earlier today I spoke to Jim Reeder of Reeder Pianos in Lansing, Michigan. In addition to piano restoration, Mr. Reeder is also Bluthner's U.S. distributor. I told him of your situation, and he might be interested in buying your old Bluthner rosewood grand to be used as the core of a piano rebuilding project, especially as it has the old Bluthner patent action. New parts built to the old Bluthner designs are available.

Mr. Reeder's phone number is (800)225-8641. Give him a call and see if you two can do business.

As you live in California, you also might want to contact Piedmont Piano in Oakland or Kasimoff Piano in Los Angeles, both of whom are Bluthner dealers.

Whatever you do, don't send that Bluthner to the dump. If it is rebuildable, somebody is going to have a wonderful instrument on their hands.

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#2077634 - 05/05/13 12:29 PM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
Tree512 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 6
Thanks everyone - I am working with the person who has the piano today to get the info like the serial number and get some pictures. I definitely do not want the world to lose this instrument.

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#2077661 - 05/05/13 01:25 PM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7438
Loc: Rochester MN
Have you seen this thread in the tuner/tech forum?

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...tml#Post2035219
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2077904 - 05/05/13 09:18 PM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
Tree512 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 6
Just got the serial number - 85032. According to the Blutner site that means it is from 1911. Hopefully that is a good thing smile



Edited by Tree512 (05/05/13 09:19 PM)

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#2077917 - 05/05/13 09:41 PM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
Tree512 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 6
My friend who has the piano measured it at 73", so I would assume it is what other folks are calling 6'3" (even though 73 inches is 6'1"). I also have attached a photo - it still looks good.


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#2078210 - 05/06/13 09:33 AM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
Steve Cohen Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10480
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Better than expected.

As Marty suggested, I would call the president of the local chapter of the Piano Technicians Guild and ask for the names of rebuilders who might be interested.

www.ptg.org
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#2078216 - 05/06/13 09:42 AM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1196
That piano is either a style 7 or style 8. What differentiates the two models is the style 8 has the aliquot stringing, which is a 4th unstruck string that resonates in sympathy with the struck strings. It adds a bit of colour to the sound. The style 7 which doesn't have it, is still a sought-after instrument and can be fully rebuilt to an exceptional standard. The piano probably still has a fine sound, although a rebuild would bring out the exceptional qualities in the piano. It is really important that you don't dump this piano, but find a buyer who wants a project or who wants to enjoy it as it is. I am totally in love with the early 20th Century Bluthners, they were far superior to the models that came later (the style 12 replaced the 7 and 8), and the new model 6, despite having the more modern lattice style plate design, seems to owe more to the style 8 than the models in between.

These pianos have a beautiful sustained singing tone and are amongst the finest instruments ever made, despite the fact that they have a low market value in original condition.

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#2078275 - 05/06/13 11:44 AM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21531
Loc: Oakland
It does not look like rosewood. It is probably mahogany. Rosewood has dark stripes.
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#2087059 - 05/22/13 10:09 PM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
Tree512 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 6
To close the loop, I found a new home for my old Blüthner through this board, and it is en route to its new home now. Thanks all for the advice - it is definitely not being dumped.

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#2087183 - 05/23/13 06:38 AM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1196
Great news!! Thanks for saving it!

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#2087184 - 05/23/13 06:39 AM Re: Old Blutner - dump or find a home? [Re: Tree512]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1196
Great news!! Thanks for saving it!

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