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#2158980 - 09/28/13 09:24 AM would you attempt restoration? Albrecht
Katimaybe Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/27/13
Posts: 4
Circa 1790 Albrecht Square grand piano. Case in good shape. Has all keys. Dampers not attached but in possession.Hand stop functional. Would you try to make this beautiful antique functional? Or would you leave it alone? Also-would any of you have an idea as to approximate value?

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#2158994 - 09/28/13 09:49 AM Re: would you attempt restoration? Albrecht [Re: Katimaybe]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8585
Loc: Georgia, USA
Hi, and welcome to Piano World!

I’ve seen old square grands for sale pretty cheap (or free). I admit that they are beautiful, but, as for me, I would not want one in my home. They are a relic of days gone by and a part of piano history; but me personally, I want a piano as modern and as good an instrument as I can get.

Also, for what it would cost to have it completely, and properly, restored, you could buy a very nice modern piano, or a restored vintage instrument.

Hey, you asked what I would do, and that is about it… smile

Good luck!

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

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#2159028 - 09/28/13 11:08 AM Re: would you attempt restoration? Albrecht [Re: Katimaybe]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2411
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Albrecht pianos are among the earliest ones made in the USA. Some date before independence.

Conservation and preservation would be advised if you can afford it.

Can you post pictures with serial number showing?
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2159031 - 09/28/13 11:11 AM Re: would you attempt restoration? Albrecht [Re: Katimaybe]
terminaldegree Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2818
Loc: western Wisconsin
Are you interested in it as a working musical instrument or a historical piece?

If the former is the case, no, I would never attempt to pour money into restoring a square piano.
_________________________
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Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
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#2159116 - 09/28/13 02:55 PM Re: would you attempt restoration? Albrecht [Re: Katimaybe]
musicpassion Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1153
Loc: California, USA
I wouldn't dump money into a square grand if the goal is a musical instrument.

If the goal is historical interest, then it's a different story.
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2159122 - 09/28/13 03:04 PM Re: would you attempt restoration? Albrecht [Re: Katimaybe]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2464
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
I believe this piano predates what we commonly associate with "square grand." I agree with Ed; this piano almost certainly has historical significance and probably ought to be preserved.

Here's a photo of a 1790 Albrecht square I found on line:

It would be a museum piece.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2159158 - 09/28/13 03:47 PM Re: would you attempt restoration? Albrecht [Re: Katimaybe]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Is it a true piano or a clavichord?
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2159207 - 09/28/13 05:36 PM Re: would you attempt restoration? Albrecht [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2411
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
The historical record of early keyboard making in the new world does not have any records of clavichords or harpsichords being made there. Only pianos.

Unless I missed something in my studies.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2159209 - 09/28/13 05:38 PM Re: would you attempt restoration? Albrecht [Re: Katimaybe]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Thanks.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2159704 - 09/29/13 03:23 PM Re: would you attempt restoration? Albrecht [Re: Katimaybe]
Katimaybe Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/27/13
Posts: 4
Thanks all. I have looked everywhere and I'm unable to find a serial number. I think I can figure out how to upload pictures.will try on home computer as mobile seems not to work.So then who does this type of restoration? Kate

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#2159719 - 09/29/13 03:57 PM Re: would you attempt restoration? Albrecht [Re: Katimaybe]
Katimaybe Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/27/13
Posts: 4
I do love this piece but am debating its future in our family.
Unable to find serial numbers - is that odd? Here is a picture - think I have this figured out.


Attachments
Albrecht.jpg



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#2159721 - 09/29/13 03:59 PM Re: would you attempt restoration? Albrecht [Re: Katimaybe]
Katimaybe Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/27/13
Posts: 4
ok. I don't have it figured out. Sorry - no pics today.

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#2159789 - 09/29/13 07:22 PM Re: would you attempt restoration? Albrecht [Re: Katimaybe]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2464
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Is it similar in appearance to the one I posted?

I think for a 1790-vintage piano, there may well be no serial number.

If you don't want to keep it, I'm certain any number of music-related museums would be interested in it.
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2159877 - 09/30/13 12:07 AM Re: would you attempt restoration? Albrecht [Re: Katimaybe]
Nash. Piano Rescue Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 389
Loc: East Nashville,TN Scottsville...
It would probably be a really short number as in 2 -3 digits. I have an 1806 Stodart & Dubois which has a 3 digit SN. It too has a beautiful cabinet with quite a bit of gold leaf and a really odd base. It's a great conversation piece but does not play. We too decided to keep it original as they are only that way once.

Museums love to trade so if you go that route and have something they want maybe they have something you might like .
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Nashville Piano Rescue
www.NashvillePianoRescue.com
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Bowling Green, KY
Scottsville KY.
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Putting inspiration in the hands of area musicians
Through restoration/renovation

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#2160202 - 09/30/13 07:05 PM Re: would you attempt restoration? Albrecht [Re: Katimaybe]
David-G Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/17/06
Posts: 1244
Loc: London
This is completely different from the sort of "square grand" to which Rickster was referring. This might better be described as a square fortepiano. I love these instruments - the sound is delicate, they have a very light touch and would suit Mozart admirably. And they are extremely elegant as pieces of furniture. I understand that it may not be too difficult to restore this type of instrument, but you will want to be historically sensitive and you will need guidance.

"Friends of Square Pianos" is based in the UK, but you will find their web site very informative:

http://www.friendsofsquarepianos.co.uk/

Despite the distance, I am sure that you would find David Hackett very helpful. In the US, a person who is very knowledgeable about this type of instrument is Tom Strange, "Square Piano Tech". His web site is

http://www.squarepianotech.com/

I suggest that you contact him, I am sure that he would be pleased to give you advice.

You have a lovely instrument Kati, you should try to restore it.


Edited by David-G (09/30/13 07:15 PM)

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#2160277 - 10/01/13 01:03 AM Re: would you attempt restoration? Albrecht [Re: Katimaybe]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
If it is really from 1790, it should never be restored. It should be be conserved. Too many vintage and historical pianos have been ruined by restoration by well-meaning individuals. Fewer and fewer remain in original condition for viewing and study.

If someone wants to play period music on a forte piano from around 1800, the way to go is to get a replica. These are commonly found in universities and music academies. There are numerous makers who specialize in replicating period keyboard instruments and early pianos.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2160292 - 10/01/13 02:22 AM Re: would you attempt restoration? Albrecht [Re: Supply]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2464
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: Supply
If it is really from 1790, it should never be restored. It should be be conserved. Too many vintage and historical pianos have been ruined by restoration by well-meaning individuals. Fewer and fewer remain in original condition for viewing and study.

If someone wants to play period music on a forte piano from around 1800, the way to go is to get a replica. These are commonly found in universities and music academies. There are numerous makers who specialize in replicating period keyboard instruments and early pianos.


Amen, Jurgen!
_________________________
Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
[url=www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind]www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind[/url]

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#2160339 - 10/01/13 06:44 AM Re: would you attempt restoration? Albrecht [Re: Supply]
Rich Galassini Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9397
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted By: Supply
If it is really from 1790, it should never be restored. It should be be conserved. Too many vintage and historical pianos have been ruined by restoration by well-meaning individuals. Fewer and fewer remain in original condition for viewing and study.

If someone wants to play period music on a forte piano from around 1800, the way to go is to get a replica. These are commonly found in universities and music academies. There are numerous makers who specialize in replicating period keyboard instruments and early pianos.



I agree with OT - beautifully said.

I am in Philadelphia (where Albrecht built) and I have seen several of these and at least one is on display in our local museums. What is the exact name of the piano? Does it say "Albrecht", "Charles Albrecht", "Albrecht & Co.", or something else?

This would give us some clue as to its age. A picture would be grand also.

He was also a retailer and sold a variety of early pianos and perhaps harpsichords. These could have a secondary label of "Albrecht" since he was the seller. I am throwing that in there in case there is another name on it.
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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#2160422 - 10/01/13 10:54 AM Re: would you attempt restoration? Albrecht [Re: Katimaybe]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4441
Loc: San Jose, CA
Kate, as to the value of this piece, an appraisal by someone qualified to give an opinion would be the way to go (and would be much more affordable than launching into a restoration or conservation project). You don't mention your location, but an easy way to begin might be by sending letters (stating provenance as far as you are able, and including photographs of the instrument, inside and out) to museums, or to universities with departments which publish on historic keyboard instruments. For example, the Smithsonian, Yale, University of Indiana, Oxford--- there will be many more which don't come to mind immediately. Maybe some of the more prominent conservatories.

As to Ed McMorrow's observation, "...The historical record of early keyboard making in the new world does not have any records of clavichords or harpsichords being made there. Only pianos..." It is, no doubt, true, yet curious. One would think the clavichord would have been just the thing for musical people to drag West, or around the Horn. But, no. We hear of the piano, the pump organ, the fiddle, the harmonica. Even the guitar gets scant mention, and the lighter brass and reed instruments even less.

Anyway, best of luck with your researches.
_________________________
Clef


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#2161430 - 10/03/13 09:34 PM Re: would you attempt restoration? Albrecht [Re: Katimaybe]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
Agree with Supply! You want to leave this thing unmolested
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Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time...

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