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#2218471 - 01/21/14 08:46 PM Baldwin Studio Upright, thoughts??
johnbarnesiii Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/08
Posts: 240

I'm considering a Baldwin studio upright as one here suggested, and as I saw yesterday at a piano warehouse. They seem to be a good bang for the buck piano on a budget for someone just starting out.

What are your thoughts on these? They seem to sell like hotcakes at the warehouse, what are your opinions?

Also I don't know if there's a model name to this or if they're so common that they're just called Baldwin studio uprights??

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#2218494 - 01/21/14 09:34 PM Re: Baldwin Studio Upright, thoughts?? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
Steve Cohen Online   content
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10726
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
The Baldwin studio uprights have a well earned reputation for being workhorses. They were very heavily used in public schools where they stood up to many years of use, often despite neglect.

They generally play well and have decent tone.

With older instruments you should definitely have a tech go over the piano before purchasing.
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.

#2218533 - 01/21/14 11:21 PM Re: Baldwin Studio Upright, thoughts?? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
johnbarnesiii Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/08
Posts: 240
Thanks for that. So is a 243 synonymous with baldwin studio upright (ie same thing)?

#2218586 - 01/22/14 02:01 AM Re: Baldwin Studio Upright, thoughts?? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
BDB Offline
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Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 23776
Loc: Oakland
243 is one of the designations of the case for Baldwin studios. There were other cases, with other designations. The common characteristic is that they were about 45" tall. They were usually labeled Hamilton.
Semipro Tech

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#2218597 - 01/22/14 04:09 AM Re: Baldwin Studio Upright, thoughts?? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
PhilipInChina Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/19/13
Posts: 2319
Loc: Bulgaria
What is meant by a "studio" upright?
Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"

#2218598 - 01/22/14 04:15 AM Re: Baldwin Studio Upright, thoughts?? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1928
Loc: El Cajon, CA
From what I understand about the Baldwin studio uprights (having looked at a lot of ebay & craigslist ads, including photos, serial numbers, etc, and seeing several in person) ...

Marketing data says they started in 1939, but I've seen one at a store in San Marcos, CA, whose serial number dated it to 1937. This early, they were labeled "Hamilton" in the center of the piece above the fallboard, and "A Product of Baldwin" to the far right and on the plate. (The same name was used some time before that, but on a different-styled piano, which may or may not have had the same plate in the mid 1930s. Earlier (1900s, 1910s, I think), the Hamiltons were tall uprights labeled as "Hamilton Piano Co" on the fallboard, with a "House of Baldwin" emblem on the plate.)

Around 1949, they introduced the full-width music desk. (Previously it only was about half the piano's width.)

Around 1951, the plate and right-side name was changed to "Built By Baldwin", while retaining "Hamilton" on the fallboard.

In 1956, the scale was changed - the piano was widened a couple inches, bass string length was increased a few inches (I measure 43" in my 1950 Hamilton and 48" in my 1956 Hamilton for the low A), and the low tenor went from plain trichords all the way to the break to having 2 wound bichords. This then-new design was the 243. (There were also other variations on the 243 later, but I don't know what's what on those, like 243E, 243HP, 243HPA, etc.) The previous scale, according to an RPT in SoCal who's known me since I was a baby, was the 242.

Around 1963, the cabinet was changed to the propstick cabinet - front and top lifts up in one piece, and a propstick swings down to rest on the left side. (Previously the top lifted up (from "catches" in the front panel), and the front panel had latches inside to remove it.)

Around 1966 or 1967, the name was changed again, this time to "Baldwin" in the center of the fallboard on a brass(?) plaque, "Hamilton" on the right, and "Baldwin Made in USA" on the plate.

Sometime in the mid 1970s or so, the design of the fallboard plaque was changed, losing the brass and making the plaque the shape of the letters. I've heard there was also a minor scale tweak in there, but I don't know any details about that.

Around 1987 I think, Del Fandrich rescaled the piano, this time with 4 bichords in the tenor above the break. (Correct me if I'm wrong, Del? I'm guessing maybe it may not have been you -- or do they have the "reverse-curve"-from-tradition bass bridge without a cantilever and a floating soundboard?)

In the early 1990s, the cabinet was returned to having the top lifting separate from the front, but without the spring-loaded "catches".

The last Baldwin studio uprights made in the USA were made around 2001 or so, I think, when Baldwin was bankrupt and bought by Gibson. Recent ones are made in China, in a factory owned by Baldwin/Gibson.

(BTW, for some time in the last decade or two, there were some pianos made with the Hamilton name on them. These are not the same as the Baldwin studio uprights we've been talking about.)

I'm sure there are plenty of technicians who worked on the original Hamiltons when they were new can chime in and correct me on what I've said. wink

Also, Baldwin Hamiltons are among my favorite upright pianos, especially the older ones, before about 1962, and to a lesser extent before about 1986 or so. (No, I'm not admitting to being OCD on Hamilton history. :p)
Associate Member - Piano Technicians Guild
1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
You can right-click my avatar for an option to view a larger version.

#2218643 - 01/22/14 08:47 AM Re: Baldwin Studio Upright, thoughts?? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
Bob Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 4182
The full width music desk is one of the best features for an institutional piano. The back structures on 242 pianos are high quality and make for very stable tunings.

#2218841 - 01/22/14 02:36 PM Re: Baldwin Studio Upright, thoughts?? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
johnbarnesiii Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/08
Posts: 240
Thanks guys! How are they tone-wise? I love warmer, mellow and low tones over bright tones. Do the Baldwin studio uprights typically fit the bill?

#2219042 - 01/22/14 06:47 PM Re: Baldwin Studio Upright, thoughts?? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
Eric Gloo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1340
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
Most of the Baldwin Hamiltons I've serviced have been in schools or churches. I would not describe the tone of any of those as "warm" or "mellow"...more like "bright" and "powerful". But, this is OK in those settings as they are used with choirs or with an instrumental ensemble, where the piano sound needs to project much more than in a home.
Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York

#2219052 - 01/22/14 06:56 PM Re: Baldwin Studio Upright, thoughts?? [Re: johnbarnesiii]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 23776
Loc: Oakland
As with any piano, the voice will depend on the individual instrument. A skilled voicer may be able to make one sample sound more like another, but not always, and even if it can be done, it may not be cheap.
Semipro Tech


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