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#2079579 - 05/09/13 12:12 AM Mason & Hamlin 50 (1973) Price
Pantoufle Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/08/13
Posts: 14
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Hey everyone,

Long time lurker... but now that I'm about to possibly take the plunge, First Post! yay! Okay.

I have been shopping for an upright for about six months now and doing my research for at least a year and an opportunity has come up and, before I take further action, I'd maybe like to briefly ask for some collective wisdom from PW. I should mention that I really liked this piano, so I am trying to be as objective as possible in the process because I realize that emotion can play such a huge role in these things and can lead one astray.

The piano in question is a 1973 used Mason & Hamlin 50 upright. Cosmetically, it looks very good. I really like the tone of the piano and the thing looks great inside (to my untrained eye). I'm a bit put off by the fact that the keys feel a little short but that seems to be a standard thing on some uprights and not others. I have compared it with the modern M&H50 (which I absolutely love... dream piano aside from the Bosendorfer 214) and while it doesn't match it, it's no slouch - although I find the key length of the modern M&H50 to be much much better.

What the dealer has told me: there piano was purchased from a wholesaler; there are a few hairline cracks in the soundboard, nothing that's unexpected of a 40 year old piano; the piano has been outfitted with brand new hammers from the previous owner (the hammers have not been perfectly aligned but are more than adequate).

What I've noticed: action doesn't feel as sharp or as fresh as the new M&H50's action that I've tried (despite this, I find it to be quite good and it feels good to play on it); there are a few notes which, when played, make a brief rattling sound (which the dealer has told me would be fixed when brought into my home); there are a few notes which, when played and the key is released, make a weird "wrrzing" noise that is quite audible as the dampers approach to mute the string (the dealer has informed me that this is because it has older dampers and is to be expected but they are willing to fix the few notes where this is quite noticeable).

Now before I buy it, I will absolutely get a local tech that I trust to go out and inspect the piano. Furthermore, the dealer (Merriam Music) is one of the bigger dealers in my area - Toronto, Canada - and, I assume, is fair about their product (within reason - everyone wants to make the sale, right?!).

The asking price: $7500.

Here is a link to the e-bay page for the piano

My question is, given the aforementioned facts, is this a fair price? Should I expect to haggle it down a bit? I noticed some threads saying that something like this should go for around 3-5K range. Should I aim for that range with taxes, music bench, delivery, free tuning and standard dealer warranty included? I'd just like to know what to expect before I spend the money to get a tech out there because if it would realistically sell for, say, 3.5k, and they won't sell it for a more reasonable price, I am fully prepared to walk away and await another great opportunity.

Thanks very much and I look forward to your replies.

Also, hi again PW!

-Pants
_________________________
Refurbished 1971 Kawai KG-3 (6'1")

Dream piano: Mason & Hamlin AA/BB. One day, I will have her!

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#2079585 - 05/09/13 12:32 AM Re: Mason & Hamlin 50 (1973) Price [Re: Pantoufle]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3319
Unless it has received more work than new hammers, $7500 is too much, IMO. Mid-century Masons are not as highly regarded as the golden era ones, or the ones being made today.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#2079587 - 05/09/13 12:32 AM Re: Mason & Hamlin 50 (1973) Price [Re: Pantoufle]
terminaldegree Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2624
Loc: western Wisconsin
I'm always a little nervous when people suggest problems you notice in-store will be fixed after delivery in your home... Some dealers have a tech workshop in-house, so why not fix it at the store?

The other thing that comes to mind is $7500 will buy a lot of new and more recent used upright pianos of nearly any size and a variety of levels of quality/prestige. I would imagine the M&H 50" didn't even cost half that amount when it was new. If you have the time and energy, I'd play more pianos at your target price before finalizing your decision.
_________________________
Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200, Bechstein A190 #192939 @ home
Steinway A #585209, B #416809 @ work
Schimmel 130T #339100, on loan

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#2079727 - 05/09/13 08:39 AM Re: Mason & Hamlin 50 (1973) Price [Re: Pantoufle]
Steve Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/07
Posts: 648
Loc: Toronto

Hi:

If you are getting a used piano with issues, absolutely get them
taken care of before you buy anything. Do not rely on a sub-contracted technician for this. I'm sure they will correct this for you. Make sure the touch is what you want, and also make sure you have it inspected.

Take care,

Steve
_________________________
Vintage Piano sales and restoration in Toronto
Exclusive Live Performance Player Systems Dealer

http://stevejacksonpianos.com

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#2079737 - 05/09/13 09:02 AM Re: Mason & Hamlin 50 (1973) Price [Re: Pantoufle]
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
$7500.00 for a used upright? I could find you any number of incredible grands for that price, or lower, needing little or no work at all. Besides, doesn't it make you wonder about a dealer who won't fix an obvious issue with a piano on his sales floor until someone commits to the instrument?

For instance, this one's an hour and 45 minutes from you:

http://buffalo.craigslist.org/msg/3741001144.html

And this is right in your backyard:

http://toronto.en.craigslist.ca/bra/msg/3773747844.html

http://toronto.en.craigslist.ca/tor/msg/3749042529.html


Edited by CC2 and Chopin lover (05/09/13 09:11 AM)
_________________________
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#2079747 - 05/09/13 09:29 AM Re: Mason & Hamlin 50 (1973) Price [Re: Pantoufle]
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8395
Loc: Georgia, USA
Welcome to Piano World!

I agree with the others that the price is too high, considering the issues. Wouldn’t that have been an Aeolian made Mason?

This thread reminds me of an experience I had a couple of years ago… being the piano enthusiast that I am, I saw on our local Craigslist a Mason & Hamlin model 50 upright advertised for $900. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, you never know until you check it out… I called the guy, who lived in a neighboring town about 30 miles away. He sounded legit and said he inherited the piano and didn’t need it or want it.

I schedule an appointment to go look at it and it was a Mason & Hamlin alright, but was an old 36” spinet. Needless to say, I was disappointed. I mentioned to the seller that I thought a Mason model 50 was 50" tall upright. He said he had always heard his family say it was a model 50 (made in 1950, maybe).

Moral of the story… every thing that glitters ain’t gold. (I just wrote a new blues tune with those lyrics… smile )

Good luck, and keep us informed!

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

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#2079792 - 05/09/13 10:57 AM Re: Mason & Hamlin 50 (1973) Price [Re: Pantoufle]
Rich D. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 1239
Loc: Rehoboth Beach De. USA
About 15 years ago I bought a nice used late 1960s Model 50 for $2,500. I sold it a couple of years later for around the same price. I've since seen them on Craigslist, usually in the 2 to 4K range. Nice upright but $7,500 is way too high IMHO.

Rich
_________________________
Retired at the beach (well maybe not completely)

"Life is like a piano....what you get out of it depends on how you play it"
Anonymous


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#2079794 - 05/09/13 11:00 AM Re: Mason & Hamlin 50 (1973) Price [Re: Pantoufle]
Pantoufle Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/08/13
Posts: 14
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Thanks all for the responses. Be sure to keep them coming if you think anything else is worth mentioning.

TerminalDegree - they told me that they would be willing to fix it should I want to buy it. Not in my home, but in their place. They are renovating this June so are not fixing up used pianos as they would regularly because everything will soon have to be moved - at least this is what I have been told and it sounded reasonable enough.

CC2 and Chopin Lover - Thanks for the rough grand rundown. Unfortunately, unless I find a grand that I really really really love, I would like to stick to an upright because of space issues. A grand would certainly fit in my living room, but it would take up at least 1/3 of the space available. I am also on the 5th (top) floor of an older building so getting it up here would take some serious effort I believe, whereas an upright on its side would definitely fit in the elevator. Having said that, if I found a M&H grand for ~10k in decent condition with financing available, I would probably jump at the opportunity.

In my 6 months of trying pianos out at dealers, I seem to really gravitate towards M&H's and the American made Baldwins with some other pianos catching my attention here and there, Heintzmans or a few Kawai K3's (many of them sound nasally but a few have really shined) and seem to dislike Yamahas. I recently tried a Perzina model 112 - and my first impression was really positive. Great touch, great sound for a 45, and, from what I've been told by the dealer, very reliable piano. But as I played it more and more, I started to notice that the piano has a great bass sound but gets progressively... weaker?... in tone as you go into the treble. Maybe i was just going crazy.

Anyways, thanks again for your replies.
_________________________
Refurbished 1971 Kawai KG-3 (6'1")

Dream piano: Mason & Hamlin AA/BB. One day, I will have her!

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#2079988 - 05/09/13 07:01 PM Re: Mason & Hamlin 50 (1973) Price [Re: Rickster]
Jean Claude Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 354
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Rickster

Moral of the story… every thing that glitters ain’t gold. (I just wrote a new blues tune with those lyrics… smile )

Good luck, and keep us informed!

Rick


Oh Rick, your recent quoting from `I’m gonna' hire a wine-o to decorate our home` has left me yearning for more; please, please let us have the lyric to `Ever`thing that Glitters....` otherwise I`m li`ble to book my body and soul into that ol` infirmary and start fixin` to die.

J-C.

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#2079996 - 05/09/13 07:27 PM Re: Mason & Hamlin 50 (1973) Price [Re: Pantoufle]
Jean Claude Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 354
Loc: France


Just so people don`t suppose that I`m always off-topic, I thought I`d add a message to the OP. It is this. 7 1/2
big ones for a 40 year-old MH upright with a wonky action? You`ve just got to be kidding.

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#2080033 - 05/09/13 09:12 PM Re: Mason & Hamlin 50 (1973) Price [Re: Pantoufle]
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8395
Loc: Georgia, USA
Originally Posted By: Jean Claude
Oh Rick, your recent quoting from `I’m gonna' hire a wine-o to decorate our home` has left me yearning for more; please, please let us have the lyric to `Ever`thing that Glitters....` otherwise I`m li`ble to book my body and soul into that ol` infirmary and start fixin` to die.

J-C.

Okay, not to drift too far OT, but since you asked, Jean Claude, here are some of the lyrics to my latest original blues tune... "You know you got the blues"

"Well, you know Muddy Waters and B. B. King too

They brought us the blues, ya’ll; and a-lot-a-others did too

But one thing about it, I learned a long time ago

Everybody ain’t your friend and everything that glitters ain’t gold


I said you know you got the blues now…

When you can feel it deep down in your soul

I said you know you got the blues, ya’ll

When you cry so much, you just can’t cry no mo"


I'll admit, it ain't all that good, but it is original... smile

P.S. although this post is OT, at least it bumps the thread back up to the top... smile


Rick


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

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