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#2105543 - 06/21/13 01:43 AM Cracks in sound board and across base bridge
piano.toronto Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/19/13
Posts: 3
Hi everyone,

I'm a newcomer to this forum without much knowledge about piano. I'm looking for a used upright for my little boy and my budget is not high.

I did a little self-learning on how to pick a used piano from Youtube. What I learned include staying away from cracked soundboard, cracks on bridge, and discoloration/glue from tuning pins. Recently I saw a piano which I like the sound and in our budget, unfortunately it has each of the above three issues - not big in my eyes though. I'd like to know are they deal breakers and I should walk away from this piano?

A crack on sound board, about 2-3 inches (in the middle of the picture)


A crack on the base bridge. It's hard to see from the picture, in lower half of the picture, 45 degree cutting to the base bridge. It's narrow but pretty long.


Stain/glue around tuning pin.


Thank you so much for your input!

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#2105545 - 06/21/13 02:04 AM Re: Cracks in sound board and across base bridge [Re: piano.toronto]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 22782
Loc: Oakland
These look like minor issues on a rather low quality piano. The crack in the soundboard looks like it is in a non-functioning portion of it, in the corner beyond a cutoff bar. That is not a crack in the bass bridge, that is merely a joint between two pieces of wood used for the bridge cap. The discoloration at the tuning pin looks more like a place where the paint was not applied properly.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2105555 - 06/21/13 03:36 AM Re: Cracks in sound board and across base bridge [Re: BDB]
Maximillyan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 1664
Loc: KZ
Originally Posted By: BDB
That is not a crack in the bass bridge, that is merely a joint between two pieces of wood used for the bridge cap

I'm agree with BDB. It's not a crack. It's so must be

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#2105587 - 06/21/13 06:18 AM Re: Cracks in sound board and across base bridge [Re: piano.toronto]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 2155
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Look at the holes in the plate where the strings go through. This looks like a Heintzman and not low quality in my opinion. Is it a Heintzman?

Also, it needs to be said the the information you got from Youtube was poor. For low cost pianos, sometimes soundboard cracks are acceptable. They may not buzz, and even if they do, there are some simple stablizing techniques to stop the buzz.

Bridge cracks are serious but you couldn't tell the difference between a crack and a joint. The bad cracks follow the bridge pins, and the front pins are more serious.

Stains around the pins indicate pinblock treatment due to loose pins. But you don't know the difference between glycerin treatment stains, CA glue treatment stains, and a simple paint chip.

I recommend having the piano professionally inspected. It will give you great peace of mind. Factor in the cost of inspection and tuning with the yearly cost of lessons; it is very small. Don't cheap out on the expenses that matter most. That's only my opinion.
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2105604 - 06/21/13 07:55 AM Re: Cracks in sound board and across base bridge [Re: piano.toronto]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2451
Loc: Maine
A local tech can tell you if the tuning pins are tight enough in the block to hold a tuning. That is a much more foundational issue than cracks and stains.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#2105632 - 06/21/13 08:57 AM Re: Cracks in sound board and across base bridge [Re: David Jenson]
Maximillyan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 1664
Loc: KZ
Originally Posted By: David Jenson
A local tech can tell you if the tuning pins are tight enough in the block to hold a tuning.

It's most foundational moment for your piano

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#2105635 - 06/21/13 09:02 AM Re: Cracks in sound board and across base bridge [Re: piano.toronto]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4263
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

This is a Heintzman product, revealed by the materials in the cut-off bar, the patented agraffe bridge, and the crazed gold finish on the plate that Heintzman used from the mid-fifties.

The bass strings look fifties to sixties by the ending of the windings. The sounding board deteriorations will not factor into performance of this instrument at all, and probably have been there for a long time, considering the darkness of the crack line.

The bridgework that can be viewed is in good shape. Tuning pins and wire shown are original install; the blemish could be something underneath the gold finish that bled through later or just a small chip in the finish, not important really.

Heintzman was one of the best, not a low quality build.

Recommend tech inspection as others have mentioned.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#2105653 - 06/21/13 09:29 AM Re: Cracks in sound board and across base bridge [Re: piano.toronto]
Steve Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/07
Posts: 681
Loc: Zichron Yaacov, Israel

Yes, it definitely is a Heintzman. Get it inspected. I would be
more concerned about the bass strings from that era.

Take care,

Steve
_________________________
International sales of vintage Piano and restoration.
Exclusive Live Performance Player Systems Dealer

http://stevejacksonpianos.com

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#2105670 - 06/21/13 10:09 AM Re: Cracks in sound board and across base bridge [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
piano.toronto Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/19/13
Posts: 3
Wow you guys are great! Yes this is a Heintzman, from the fifties. I'm amazed you could see this from those pictures! I guess that's what professionals do :-)

The owner said the piano sound beautifully. And it's just been tuned by the No 1 tuner from the biggest piano store in town, who was amazed by the sound...Those sound very tempting to me...

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#2105699 - 06/21/13 11:24 AM Re: Cracks in sound board and across base bridge [Re: piano.toronto]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4263
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

The 42 inch model is the Elgin. The rare 45 inch model is the Richmond. The 50 inch model is the conservatory model which is the 54 inch scale in a smaller box. If it is the conservatory, that is a very good instrument with big sound.

The conservatory cabinet will have a pull-out music desk making the front board three panels. I think the Elgin does too.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#2105701 - 06/21/13 11:27 AM Re: Cracks in sound board and across base bridge [Re: Silverwood Pianos]
piano.toronto Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/19/13
Posts: 3
Dan this is 42 inch, which will be Elgin then.

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#2105704 - 06/21/13 11:31 AM Re: Cracks in sound board and across base bridge [Re: piano.toronto]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
The exceedingly short backscale length of the bass strings (not to be confused with base strings wink ) tell me that this is a short piano, which will have a constricted tone in the bass.

Not all Heintzmans are Heintzmans, in that the later and shorter pianos were often quite so-so.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2105710 - 06/21/13 11:41 AM Re: Cracks in sound board and across base bridge [Re: piano.toronto]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4263
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada

The Elgin is a good instrument for students. Non-descript cabinet in utilitarian style, maybe light walnut or mahogany colour, middle range sound. Small instruments do not have strong bass sections.

Anything in TO at fifty years of age will have wood deterioration such as that sounding board crack, or some small cracks around the bridge pins.

The Elgin was not bolted through so have the block checked by a tech along with the rest of the instrument.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/SilverwoodPianosDotCom
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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