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#2115321 - 07/09/13 08:02 PM Looking for info on Knabe Piano
howard24u Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/08/13
Posts: 8
Can anyone give me some information on a 1922 Knabe Baby Grand serial number 92877? I'd be interested in knowing what model it is, what they typically sell for today, where it was made, type of wood in the construction, etc. It's 6'4".

Thanks

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#2115331 - 07/09/13 08:27 PM Re: Looking for info on Knabe Piano [Re: howard24u]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 944
Loc: shirley, MA
This would be during the time American Piano Company was making Knabe. I'm actually just finishing up a complete remanufacture of the Knabe 50 which was a 5ft instrument...sounds a bit more baby than your baby.

These instruments have good potential, as I find the manufacturing of both American and a bit later Aeolian, at least into the forties produced a good, well made, reasonably accurate case. I have been able to turn these pianos into fine sounding instruments.

However, here in the Northeast they were worn out, tired and screaming when they were brought in. So my take is that the construction and basic design gives a good rebuilder something to work with, but depending on your location, expect serious work to all functional parts of the instrument.

Jim Ialeggio
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
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#2115335 - 07/09/13 08:36 PM Re: Looking for info on Knabe Piano [Re: jim ialeggio]
musicpassion Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1611
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
This would be during the time American Piano Company was making Knabe. I'm actually just finishing up a complete remanufacture of the Knabe 50 which was a 5ft instrument...sounds a bit more baby than your baby.

These instruments have good potential,
Jim Ialeggio

I agree they have potential. Out of curiosity - when was Knabe still owned by Knabe? I didn't realise they were owned by American in the early 1920s.
_________________________
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#2115338 - 07/09/13 08:42 PM Re: Looking for info on Knabe Piano [Re: howard24u]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 23949
Loc: Oakland
Knabe then was part of the American Piano Company trust, but still the separate Knabe Piano Company of Baltimore. The trusts were set up to provide some commonality of finances and materials, particularly for the player mechanisms (Amphion-Ampico for the American Piano Company and Aeolian [Pianola]-DuoArt for the Aeolian Company). The trusts did not unify construction of their separate labels into central locations until well into the depression, after they had merged.
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#2115340 - 07/09/13 08:43 PM Re: Looking for info on Knabe Piano [Re: howard24u]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Hi Howard - Welcome to Piano World!

Knabe is considered to be one of the historically great American piano builders. They came into prominence during the latter part of the Nineteenth Century along with Chickering, Mason & Hamlin, Baldwin, and Steinway & Sons. Construction of the pianos is/was considered to be of the highest quality using the finest of materials.

In the year that your piano was built, it would most likely have come from the factory in Cincinnati. I believe that the Baltimore factory was closed by that time. The wood would have been harvested from the Appalachian Mountains and the soundboards were of solid White Spruce. They were well built and were very respected at the time. As so often happened with the early American builders, there was much wrangling, financial intrigue, and power plays in evidence. However, the pianos were good and the Knabe was the official piano of the Metropolitan Opera, NY, into the mid-Twentieth Century.

As far as a model name is concerned, it really doesn't matter. Piano builders of the era use the latest catchy name in their advertising and they changed often. It is best to simply refer to a grand by its length and add the finish and furniture design (period) if you so choose.

Is this your piano, or are you considering a purchase? At that age, it would, most likely, require extensive rebuilding and restoration. That can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars. Knabe is of the quality where that makes sense for consideration.

Please give us more information and it may be possible to provide some additional history concerning the instrument. Photos are always very helpful.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2115344 - 07/09/13 08:52 PM Re: Looking for info on Knabe Piano [Re: musicpassion]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: musicpassion
Out of curiosity - when was Knabe still owned by Knabe? I didn't realise they were owned by American in the early 1920s.

At that point, American Piano Company was a business affiliation and not a builder, per se. Knabe was independent, but embroiled in a lawsuit with AmPiCo at the time and was facing bankruptcy. Pianos built in 1922 were before the centralization of manufacturing in East Rochester and before any affiliation with Aeolian.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2115353 - 07/09/13 09:05 PM Re: Looking for info on Knabe Piano [Re: howard24u]
howard24u Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/08/13
Posts: 8
Thanks for the warm welcome everyone. I am interested in purchasing the piano. It has about 70 hour worths of restoration work done on it. There's still some more work that the dealer is doing with the action on the lower keys and will be replacing the casters. I played the piano and it sounds quite good. I myself have been playing piano for over 20 years. I'm 28 now.

I have a couple of photos that I took of the piano, but do not see a way to post them, perhaps because I'm a new member? If anyone has suggestions on how to upload them, please let me know.


Edited by howard24u (07/09/13 09:06 PM)

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#2115356 - 07/09/13 09:09 PM Re: Looking for info on Knabe Piano [Re: howard24u]
PianoWorksATL Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 3171
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: howard24u
Can anyone give me some information on a 1922 Knabe Baby Grand serial number 92877? I'd be interested in knowing what model it is, what they typically sell for today, where it was made, type of wood in the construction, etc. It's 6'4".

Thanks
90 years later and in original condition, they don't sell for much. Musically and for core construction elements, it is highly desirable and rebuildable. In a stronger piano market, this is an automatic rebuild candidate in that, financially, it is a better than break even investment. At this moment, it is probably a little below the break even financials, though musically you could still have a bargain even with the big investment.

If kept in original condition, whatever functional life remains is not going to dramatically affect the value in the market for most buyers. Are you a buyer, seller or heir?
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#2115357 - 07/09/13 09:12 PM Re: Looking for info on Knabe Piano [Re: howard24u]
howard24u Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/08/13
Posts: 8
Please see the attached photos that I uploaded to Flikr.

[img]http://www.flickr.com/photos/98653131@N03/9252954446/[/img] [img]http://www.flickr.com/photos/98653131@N03/9252954918/[/img]

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#2115377 - 07/09/13 09:57 PM Re: Looking for info on Knabe Piano [Re: howard24u]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10732
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
And even more important...

The original Knabe factory was located on what is now Raven's Stadium!
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Since 1937.

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My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#2115395 - 07/09/13 10:27 PM Re: Looking for info on Knabe Piano [Re: howard24u]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Steve,

Isn't there some sort-of plaque or something?
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2115413 - 07/09/13 11:14 PM Re: Looking for info on Knabe Piano [Re: howard24u]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 3692
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Knabe's from the 1920's were overall well made pianos. They usually had flat-sawn maple bridge caps-which move in a more self-destructive way with humidity changes compared to quarter-sawn maple caps.

It would be very unusual for a Knabe of this age to still have a healthy soundboard/bridge/pin-block structure. Hire an independent technician to evaluate the condition!

The low bass tone quality on the 6' grands was not as good as contemporaneous Mason/Steinway/Chickering/Baldwins. (No comment allowed on my run-on branding).
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
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Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com

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#2115611 - 07/10/13 10:18 AM Re: Looking for info on Knabe Piano [Re: howard24u]
howard24u Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/08/13
Posts: 8
So the impression I'm getting is that it's probably not worth much due to the typical condition of the major components in Knabe's of this vintage. I will get some further information from the seller though regarding the refurbishment efforts that have been put into it to date.

Thanks for the great information everyone.

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#2115674 - 07/10/13 12:57 PM Re: Looking for info on Knabe Piano [Re: howard24u]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Howard,

What has been said applies to any piano of this age, Knabe or not. All pianos deteriorate because they are primarily built from natural materials including wood and wool. Time takes its toll. The environment the piano was located in, and how well it was cared for are the issues which result in its current condition.

There is no way for any of us to judge the condition of that Knabe. This holds true for any single piano of any given brand. But, the Knabe is a very well built piano and there is a better chance that it is in playable condition as opposed to a Garbago Brothers cheapo.

The only way to know is with an on-site inspection by a qualified piano technician.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2115869 - 07/10/13 10:18 PM Re: Looking for info on Knabe Piano [Re: howard24u]
Rich Galassini Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 10175
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
As Ed said, the older Knabe pianos have delicate bridges, but at the age of this piano, you can count on doing many other things along with replacing the bridges or recapping them with quarter sawn maple.

By the way, the older Knabe pianos, particularly this model, are some of my favorite pianos. Just for fun:



My 2 cents,
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

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#2116106 - 07/11/13 12:00 PM Re: Looking for info on Knabe Piano [Re: Rich Galassini]
pianogirl13669 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/13/10
Posts: 34
Loc: Ogdensburg, NY
Howard - I have a partially restored 1920 Knabe 5'8" and I plan to have it fully restored someday. It's a great little grand but does need work on the action, etc. I have it as the second piano in my studio and my students love it. That being said, what the others have said is correct. You should have it checked over by a good technician. If it has a bad pin block or something serious wrong with it, then you've wasted your money.

Christine
_________________________
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