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#2124989 - 07/29/13 07:57 PM Possible Purchase; Info needed on Gulbransen, 1960s
bleeg411 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 4
I'm new to piano world and pianos in general and am looking to purchase a used piano for my young daughters and myself to learn. yep, I'm 35 and have finally decided to do it! looking at a 1960/61 Gulbransen with serial #495660. I'm told it has a rich sound and harp...what does this mean? it's had 2 owners (father & son) and he is asking 400$. is this a fair price? is it likely several parts will need to be replaced soon? are the parts pricey for this piano? as you can tell, I need any and all info, please!


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#2124999 - 07/29/13 08:32 PM Re: Possible Purchase; Info needed on Gulbransen, 1960s [Re: bleeg411]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014

Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Hi Bleeg411 - Welcome to Piano World!

Gulbransen, from that era, was a middle-of-the-road piano. We need a little more info. What size is it? Spinet? Console? Grand?

The only way to tell its condition is to have it inspected by a qualified piano technician. Everything else is just a guess. Considering the price of the piano, it may not be worth it, however.

Let me just say this, a +50 y/o Gulbransen would not be my first choice. From that era, and at that price, you would be better looking for a Baldwin, Hamilton, or Acrosonic. If you can go up to ~$1K, you would have much better options.

Good luck with your search and keep us posted.
Marty in Minnesota

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

#2125011 - 07/29/13 09:19 PM Re: Possible Purchase; Info needed on Gulbransen, 1960s [Re: bleeg411]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10490
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Keep shopping.
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

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

#2125018 - 07/29/13 09:32 PM Re: Possible Purchase; Info needed on Gulbransen, 1960s [Re: bleeg411]
Rank Piano Amateur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 1784
My father had a birds-eye maple Gulbransen spinet for many years. He bought it used probably in the early 1970s; I have no idea when it was made. It gave him many years of good service. We eventually gave it away to a friend, whose daughter was a singer, and it gave her good service too. As far as I know, it is still going!

#2125024 - 07/29/13 09:48 PM Re: Possible Purchase; Info needed on Gulbransen, 1960s [Re: bleeg411]
Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 386
Loc: East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
I like Gulbransen pianos myself. I'm pretty sure they went out of business though by 1969. They were used quite a bit by schools and I've always had pretty good luck with them. The ornate studio uprights they made around 1938 - 42 or so are some of my favorites to refinish.
J. Christie
Nashville Piano Rescue
East Nashville
Bowling Green, KY
Scottsville KY.
Chamber of Commerce

Putting inspiration in the hands of area musicians
Through restoration/renovation

#2125223 - 07/30/13 10:19 AM Re: Possible Purchase; Info needed on Gulbransen, 1960s [Re: bleeg411]
bleeg411 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 4
Thanks for your replies! What a wonderful resource you all have created!


#2125248 - 07/30/13 11:01 AM Re: Possible Purchase; Info needed on Gulbransen, 1960s [Re: bleeg411]
TunerJeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 479
Loc: Oregon Coast
Gulbransen was a decent company and produced a lot of instruments. They are a mid-to-good quality and pretty durable. The bigger question, given the age, is how much use has it had and was it properly maintained along the way? Any used piano, of that vintage, has likely got some rattling or dull bass strings....but that may not be critical to beginning lessons and budding talents. ;>)

Honestly; you should hire a technician to go kick the tires for you, and make sure the instrument does not have some terminal problems in there. There are so many things that can happen (....among the 12,000 parts) which can render a piano untunable or unplayable, that I won't even try to list them. Pretty cases, and neglected works, can lead to real disappointment when the piano gets home. Has the piano been regularly tuned? Are the tuning pins tight? Is there rust? Have mice come to visit?

In my area, I will perform a basic inspection for a low price...because I want to encourage folks to let me lift the lid before dragging a non-tunable, if pretty, piano home. Check around and see what it will cost to have a technician check YOUR possible purchase...and maybe they can suggest an instrument, too.

At a minimum; play every note twice from bottom to top and make sure they repeat! Open the lid and look for dust, dirt, rust, and mouse-poop! Are the parts neatly aligned and clean? Do the hammers move smoothly and evenly? Are there missing parts or wires? Do the pedals work? (sigh) There is a lot going on inside a piano...which is why having a technician kick the tires is a good idea!

Brushing the dust,
from the last Craig's list buyer's piano,
dead from the get-go,
Yr. mileage may vary,
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services

#2125551 - 07/30/13 09:29 PM Re: Possible Purchase; Info needed on Gulbransen, 1960s [Re: TunerJeff]
bleeg411 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 4
Thanks Jeffrey, very helpful!

We're also looking at an older Baldwin Acrosonic serial #142682. Any info on this model piano would be helpful! Trying to find the year. I think it's a bit over priced at $1500, but it has been regularly maintained for the past 14 years. you can click on the link to see the photo...
link to the photo

#2125630 - 07/31/13 12:05 AM Re: Possible Purchase; Info needed on Gulbransen, 1960s [Re: bleeg411]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21656
Loc: Oakland
At that price, look for a studio upright, 45" tall. The quality and longevity will be much better.
Semipro Tech


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