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#2104649 - 06/18/13 10:19 PM First time Buyer - 1926 Baldwin 6'1 Grand Suggestions
synthcomp Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/18/13
Posts: 5
Hi all - I've been a pianist for a long time but have been without an acoustic piano for way too long. I've never bought a used piano before. Have been doing a lot of reading and went to see a 1926 Baldwin 6'1" grand tonight being offered privately. Asking price is $1000 firm.

History - bought around 1980 from a piano shop that had refurbished it. I don't think rebuilt as strings don't appear to have been replaced.

Serial Number is 52062

Will be played 3x a week for pleasure only

Observations
1. Interior was repainted in the refurbishing - is this a red flag?
2. A small water mark that appears related to a beverage spill
3. Smells good
4. Hammers and strings are good.
5. Soundboard appears good
6. Exterior appears to have been painted black - not sure if it's the original color. I'd give it a B+ for condition. They maintain it with Tongue Oil.

Playing
1. Action is quick, not too noisy. Good feel and feedback.
2. Good voicing and dynamic range
3. Great extended midrange,very high end gets a little brittle. Low end is a little muddy probably from old strings!
4. Two notes (Ab2 and Bb2 had a bit of a plucky/thunky sound)
5. Eb2 sticks when soft pedal used
6. Soft pedal doesn't go back up (seems like an easy fix?)
7. Overall it was a joy to play and a great overall tone - not too mellow not harsh. Very musical.

Maintenance
Owners never open windows - constant climate control. No humidity control on piano.
Has been tuned regularly but NOT played regularly at all.

My plan
1. Post here for ideas/suggestions!
2. Contact their tuner/technician to find out future maintenance and longevity if it's played regularly, especially with some Rachmaninoff and Beethoven. :-)

So - thoughts? Suggestions? Is this a good value or something I should run away from? Like I said, I'm probably only playing 3x a week and largely for pleasure only.

THANKS IN ADVANCE!!!!!
Josh

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#2104655 - 06/18/13 10:30 PM Re: First time Buyer - 1926 Baldwin 6'1 Grand Suggestions [Re: synthcomp]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1337
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
For that price, it doesn't matter what kind of work was done on it! It's being sold at a loss if they did put any money into it at all.
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
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)

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#2104658 - 06/18/13 10:52 PM Re: First time Buyer - 1926 Baldwin 6'1 Grand Suggestions [Re: laguna_greg]
synthcomp Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/18/13
Posts: 5
Thanks so much for your response - so it's a good deal? I had no idea what to think although my gut feels 80% solid on it. My biggest concern is will it hold up to being played after 30 years of not really being played? Will I end up having to put a lot of money into it in a year or two?

THANKS!
Josh

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#2104674 - 06/18/13 11:59 PM Re: First time Buyer - 1926 Baldwin 6'1 Grand Suggestions [Re: synthcomp]
synthcomp Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/18/13
Posts: 5
Oh and any rough idea on value too?
Thanks!
Josh

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#2104688 - 06/19/13 12:25 AM Re: First time Buyer - 1926 Baldwin 6'1 Grand Suggestions [Re: synthcomp]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21393
Loc: Oakland
I do not think Baldwin made a 6' 1" piano. So first of all, you should find out exactly what it is. The scale designation is usually cast in the plate in large type to the left of the bass strings.

You should get an independent technician to look at it and assess its condition, and get some idea of what sort of work it needs. You can rest assured that a piano this old will need a lot of work.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2104738 - 06/19/13 04:33 AM Re: First time Buyer - 1926 Baldwin 6'1 Grand Suggestions [Re: synthcomp]
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9170
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
BDB is spot-on, as usual.

Consider this an "as-is" piano. Ignore whatever work may (or may not) have been done 30+ years ago.

Have an independent technician examine it and tell you something about this particular piano. At the age it is it would be normal to need 30k+ worth of work to function like new.

Please keep us posted,
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Get Cunningham Piano Email Updates

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#2104802 - 06/19/13 09:50 AM Re: First time Buyer - 1926 Baldwin 6'1 Grand Suggestions [Re: Rich Galassini]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3320
I agree with Rich and BDB. And no, it is not a bargain... a rebuilder would pay maybe $500 for it.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#2104806 - 06/19/13 09:59 AM Re: First time Buyer - 1926 Baldwin 6'1 Grand Suggestions [Re: synthcomp]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5224
Loc: Olympia, Washington
I agree with the others who have said that Baldwin did not produce a 6' 1" grand. The closest they came to that length was the Model C -- which later morphed into the Model L -- at 6' 3". Please be aware that many "rebuilders" and/or "refinishers" attempt to enhance the value of an otherwise "no-name" piano by putting the name of a much better known piano on the keycover.

This does not necessarily mean that the piano you are looking at is not a good piano; it may actually be a great piano. I am aware of a Steinway Model L grand that was labeled a Baldwin by a "rebuilder." One can only guess as to the motivation behind that less than brilliant deception.

The best advice? Have a qualified technician check it out.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#2104832 - 06/19/13 11:08 AM Re: First time Buyer - 1926 Baldwin 6'1 Grand Suggestions [Re: synthcomp]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21393
Loc: Oakland
Mismeasurement is much more common than deception, when it comes to grand piano size.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2104837 - 06/19/13 11:18 AM Re: First time Buyer - 1926 Baldwin 6'1 Grand Suggestions [Re: BDB]
synthcomp Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/18/13
Posts: 5
Thank you all - I'm sure it's a mismeasurement. After some careful thought and discussions such as this, I'm going to pass on it. I really don't feel it has been very much refurbished and the majority of the parts are original. If the action is already bad on 3 keys after not much playing in 30 years, then it's only going to get worse if I actually play it.

The old adage about being too good to be true is, in fact, true here as well. I'd rather save up for something that won't require quite as much work.

Thank you all for your feedback - truly helpful, and it's amazing to see the level of talent on this board.

Thanks,
Josh

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#2104848 - 06/19/13 11:41 AM Re: First time Buyer - 1926 Baldwin 6'1 Grand Suggestions [Re: synthcomp]
Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 384
Loc: East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
Well not just refinishers. I have folks from wealthy neighborhoods all the time wanting Steinway decals for their Kimball La Petite in time for the annual cocktail party.... sooooo Trees will be torn from the ground from the force of the gasp of paying 40 dollars for a decal too. Hahaha!
_________________________
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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#2104856 - 06/19/13 12:01 PM Re: First time Buyer - 1926 Baldwin 6'1 Grand Suggestions [Re: Nash. Piano Rescue]
SBP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/12/12
Posts: 258
It could just be that they measured it wrong, or they just eyeballed it and said "That looks to be about 6'1", or the basic design of the Baldwin C/L may have changed just a tiny bit over the years like the Steinway A did. Even so, I don't think you're being scammed. Most piano companies in the '20s that made grand pianos were generally higher-end brands (most of the cheaper companies just made upright players).

In my neck of the woods, people would sell a '20s Baldwin for $3K and say it's a steal '0,o,o,

Originally Posted By: Nash. Piano Rescue
Well not just refinishers. I have folks from wealthy neighborhoods all the time wanting Steinway decals for their Kimball La Petite in time for the annual cocktail party


Steinway and Schei├če?


Edited by SBP (06/19/13 12:02 PM)
_________________________
2012 Kawai K3

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#2104859 - 06/19/13 12:05 PM Re: First time Buyer - 1926 Baldwin 6'1 Grand Suggestions [Re: synthcomp]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: webcomposer@gmail.
... Exterior appears to have been painted black - not sure if it's the original color. I'd give it a B+ for condition. They maintain it with Tongue Oil...

Never, never use Tongue oil on a piano! Especially Cat Tongue oil, that stuff is really bad - the roughness of the applicator can wear down a finish quickly.

OK, removing tongue from cheek now.
Tung oil should never be used on on a piano. In fact, keep all oils (lemon oil, furniture oil etc)away from your piano's finish. Oils are sometimes used in finishing raw wood, but they are not intended for use on top of lacquer or other piano finishes. They do nothing but create a gummy coating which will attract dust and grime. They sometimes soften the original varnish on old pianos, which can cause a pretty big mess.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2104861 - 06/19/13 12:06 PM Re: First time Buyer - 1926 Baldwin 6'1 Grand Suggestions [Re: synthcomp]
SBP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/12/12
Posts: 258
Don't use your Tongue period :P
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oShTJ90fC34


Edited by SBP (06/19/13 12:10 PM)
_________________________
2012 Kawai K3

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#2104942 - 06/19/13 04:04 PM Re: First time Buyer - 1926 Baldwin 6'1 Grand Suggestions [Re: SBP]
synthcomp Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/18/13
Posts: 5
Great info--turns out that just before I called to pass on it they reneged on their offer! They're keeping it! Crazy. Fine by me. Great experience for me learning to look at used pianos, but I'll stick with something newer/reconditioned!

Thanks,
josh

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