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#2292801 - 06/20/14 11:49 PM Buying vintage vs new 1927 Baldwin; 1959 yamaha baby grands
luckylindy42 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/20/14
Posts: 15
Got a lead on a few vintage pianos. Also working with a local dealer. Looking for a suitable piano for our family. My husband and I do not play. My 8.5 year old just started lessons and is musical and very interested right now. We also have 3 other young children.

I want something that sounds as good as I can afford and is inspiring for my son to practice on and will be here for the next 10 years or so for my family to pursue should they want to.

Probably the only new appropriate piano in our budget is a Kawai k-2 upright at $4500 ish. And that's at the top of what we'd like to spend. I did also find a listing for a two year old k-2 for $3100.

But here are a couple of interesting vintage options. For sale by a very reputable piano tuner. All of these prices are negotiable. Just not which if any would be a good choice.

- A 1927 Baldwin baby grand. Rebuilt. walnut cabinet. $5000.00
Well maintained walnut 5'7" Baldwin piano. Asking price includes original bench, delivery, tuning, prep and warranty! Was rebuilt and refinished several years ago

- 1959 Yamaha baby grand piano - $5500
Rebuilt Yamaha originally built in 1959. I have just replaced the strings, pin block, hammers and damper felt. Unusual case with some slightly modern/deco lines. Delivery, tuning, warranty and new bench included.

There are a few used baby grands - right a 5' to 5'3 - from Chinese manufacturers locally, in the 3000-3500 range, but from what I'm reading I don't think that's our best direction. We want more than just a furniture piece.

I've spent long hours researching, listening to pianos; used and new at the dealer, reading here and also Larry Fine's book. I have not been to see the two vintage baby grands mentioned above but I have no reason to believe they won't be well prepped. I do plan to get to his shop in the next few days. And again I know those prices are negotiable.

Then problem is, when I go to listen to these vintage baby grands I'm not sure i will know the difference between that and what I heard in the showroom? Since I don't play I rely on the person pshowing me the piano to play something for me. Or I'm not sure i will know that these particular oldies are better quality than a new upright?

Im looking for advice of what to get if none of these choices are desirable or what would be the benefit of getting old, but reconditioned, rebuilt ect. I know it depends on what era too and that's when it all starts getting a little fuzzy. wink. And add to that I'm Confused as to whether getting a baby grabd is better than some upright or vise versa. The k-2 is only 45" i think but anything taller gets more expensive (obviously).

We have the room for a large piano just not the budget to get a new grand. Any thoughts on this as well?

Thank you for your time and help!
Karen




Edited by luckylindy42 (06/21/14 12:18 AM)

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#2292843 - 06/21/14 04:07 AM Re: Buying vintage vs new 1927 Baldwin; 1959 yamaha baby grands [Re: luckylindy42]
wimpiano Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/13
Posts: 1385
Loc: The Netherlands
For the used instruments you might consider bringing an independent tech with you to assess the instruments. He will be able to tell you in what condition they are. It's common practice.
_________________________
Schimmel 116 S ..

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#2292884 - 06/21/14 08:45 AM Re: Buying vintage vs new 1927 Baldwin; 1959 yamaha baby grands [Re: luckylindy42]
luckylindy42 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/20/14
Posts: 15
So do you think they are worth considering? Just trying to figure out what's too old and not comparable anymore to what I can get in that price range new or a couple of years old?

And also, is there any reason to try to get an older baby grand vs a larger upright when budgeting around 4000.00?

Thnank you.
Karen

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#2292901 - 06/21/14 09:14 AM Re: Buying vintage vs new 1927 Baldwin; 1959 yamaha baby grands [Re: luckylindy42]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


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

It is hard to get shopping and for a non-player, it is very confusing.

Something I would like to mention is commonly used terminology. "Baby grand" is a term without any exact meaning. Usually, people use the term for a grand that is about 5'. The Baldwin would be out of the "baby" size, and if in great shape, a strong possibility. The 1959 Yamaha, I would avoid. If memory serves, this would have been built before Yamahas were imported into the US. They don't have the reputation of being a very high quality piano, like they are now.

The vertical vs. grand is always a difficult decision when purchasing a piano for young students. There are many advantages to a grand and I personally feel that it is better for a student to grow into a piano, rather than grow out of it. This is especially true when there are more youngsters who are potential piano students.

How quickly you need to purchase is also another factor. If you have some time, you might do some further looking. With some careful shopping, you should be able to find a smaller grand in your price range. But, I wouldn't rule out the 1927 Baldwin because of its age. It all depends on it's condition as it is presented. I agree that having an inspection performed by a qualified and independent tech is worth the effort and investment.

Have fun shopping,
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2292907 - 06/21/14 09:36 AM Re: Buying vintage vs new 1927 Baldwin; 1959 yamaha baby grands [Re: luckylindy42]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 995
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
The Baldwin, if in good shape, is something a musical player might love forever. The others, not so much. With an older piano, though, you want to be sure that the action is responsive enough, not worn out. So a lot depends on the quality of the rebuilding.
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2292922 - 06/21/14 10:25 AM Re: Buying vintage vs new 1927 Baldwin; 1959 yamaha baby grands [Re: luckylindy42]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2187
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
The Yamaha's from the vintage of the one you are considering are in my experience mediocre pianos.

The advice to hire your own independent technician to evaluate condition and state is advice I second.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2293020 - 06/21/14 02:28 PM Re: Buying vintage vs new 1927 Baldwin; 1959 yamaha baby grands [Re: luckylindy42]
Retsacnal Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Feb 18  2015


Registered: 10/11/12
Posts: 595
Loc: Northern Virgina
I'm with Marty and jdw regarding the Baldwin. Don't be afraid of its age. If it was rebuilt a few years ago, then someone thought enough of it to invest in it. And as jdw pointed out, it's of a quality that could satisfy players for a long, long time. If you buy an upright, or lesser quality grand, and your children keep playing and developing, you may quickly find yourself looking to upgrade again anyway.

Have it checked out by a third-party, objective technician of your choosing. This will cost around $100 (depending on where you love), but should give you the assurance that its in good condition and has no hidden problems.
_________________________
1950 Baldwin M

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#2293022 - 06/21/14 02:34 PM Re: Buying vintage vs new 1927 Baldwin; 1959 yamaha baby grands [Re: Retsacnal]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


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

shocked
Originally Posted By: Retsacnal
Have it checked out by a third-party, objective technician of your choosing. This will cost around $100 (depending on where you love), but should give you the assurance that its in good condition and has no hidden problems.

But, some people don't love where they live.

grin
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2293038 - 06/21/14 03:25 PM Re: Buying vintage vs new 1927 Baldwin; 1959 yamaha baby grands [Re: luckylindy42]
luckylindy42 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/20/14
Posts: 15
Thank you everyone! I wasn't sure if I was clear enough in my questions and what I am seeking, but you all zeroed in on exactly what I was hoping for! I was looking for confirmation that the yamaha was *before* importing in US and therefore probably not of the same caliber as the Baldwin, and I was also looking for confirmation that the Baldwin was worth considering. I wasn't sure when to use baby vs. small or just grand. wink. I thought anything under 6' was baby or aka small. So thanks for that clarification.

Yeah, I'm a total newbie. And also a research junkie and that can be a bad mix. Lol. I end up more dangerous with information but not "knowledge". wink

I'm not sure how rushed we need to be. It would help to wait another week or two as we are currently working on a refinance. I don't know if that will increase our budget (likely not) it is how we are paying cash for the Kano. My boy, Oscar, just started lessons and wants to practice at home so that is what is driving my time frame right now.

In terms of getting something to grow into, seems like a smaller grand (5'5 or bigger) is the advised direction vs. a K-2? There are many for sale right now and if the Baldwin doesn't work out at least I know I can come back here for further advice on the Craigslist listings. Just to make sure I'm still getting something musical, sturdy, and inspiring for my boys not just furniture. wink

Thanks again. Have a nice day!
Karen

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#2293120 - 06/21/14 06:06 PM Re: Buying vintage vs new 1927 Baldwin; 1959 yamaha baby grands [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Retsacnal Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Feb 18  2015


Registered: 10/11/12
Posts: 595
Loc: Northern Virgina
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty

shocked
Originally Posted By: Retsacnal
Have it checked out by a third-party, objective technician of your choosing. This will cost around $100 (depending on where you love), but should give you the assurance that its in good condition and has no hidden problems.

But, some people don't love where they live.

grin

Whoops! Must be a spell-check typo... wink
I was on my iPad this morning.
_________________________
1950 Baldwin M

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#2293327 - 06/22/14 08:47 AM Re: Buying vintage vs new 1927 Baldwin; 1959 yamaha baby grands [Re: Retsacnal]
BillJZ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/14/14
Posts: 20
I am in a similar situation (kids starting to play but I myself not playing yet). I just spent $75 to have a RPT look at a piano I was considering. Definitely do this. It is a great education if you are just starting out and will allow you to go into your purchase with eyes wide open. Piano repairs can be VERY expensive in addition to regular maintanence which isn't cheap to begin with.

Also "rebuilt" has many different meanings depending on the seller. If this was really a full rebuild (pin block, strings, soundboard, actions, hammers, regulation,and refinishing)any time in the recent past by a qualified professional, that Baldwin could be a screaming deal. I would be very suspicious of that actually being the case.
_________________________
Looking for a piano

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#2293642 - 06/23/14 12:00 AM Re: Buying vintage vs new 1927 Baldwin; 1959 yamaha baby grands [Re: luckylindy42]
luckylindy42 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/20/14
Posts: 15
Working on getting an independent tech to inspect the 1927 Baldwin, but in the meantime, I am trying to find out more about it. More out of curiosity and to also collect more info. I could ask the owner/tech/seller but it's late, so I'm asking here. wink Wondering what model this is? It's listed as a Walnut 1927 Grand 5'7. And I can't find anything to tell me what model this might be from that decade? Any ideas? Anyone own or played one?

Thanks!
Karen

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#2293661 - 06/23/14 01:26 AM Re: Buying vintage vs new 1927 Baldwin; 1959 yamaha baby grands [Re: luckylindy42]
Ed A. Hall Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/23/01
Posts: 264
Probably a Baldwin E.

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#2293762 - 06/23/14 07:59 AM Re: Buying vintage vs new 1927 Baldwin; 1959 yamaha baby grands [Re: Minnesota Marty]
BrianDX Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/14/14
Posts: 747
Loc: Lewes DE
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
The 1959 Yamaha, I would avoid. If memory serves, this would have been built before Yamahas were imported into the US. They don't have the reputation of being a very high quality piano, like they are now.

I agree with the premise to avoid a Yamaha of that vintage. However I don't quite agree with the reason. Based on my research and second-hand experiences the main reason to avoid a piano of that vintage is that before 1970 Yamaha grands were not designed and built for placement in some U.S climates. Yamaha itself warns potential buyers of this issue, which I think is pretty decent of them (for a large heartless corporation smile ). Also their serial number search website will alert potential buyers of this fact.

According to several folks that I know who own pre-1980 Yamaha grands, anything before 1971-72 should be avoided if possible, My $.02.
_________________________
Groucho Marx: "Now we're getting somewhere"
2013 Yamaha C2X | 2001 Yamaha M500-F .
Current: Schein - Allemande | Faber - Vivace, Lunar Eclipse

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#2293783 - 06/23/14 09:09 AM Re: Buying vintage vs new 1927 Baldwin; 1959 yamaha baby grands [Re: Ed A. Hall]
luckylindy42 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/20/14
Posts: 15
Originally Posted By: Ed A. Hall
Probably a Baldwin E.


Thanks Ed. I wonder if it could be an R? The music desk is plain, without the edging I see on pictures of the E. It has Baldwin in gold block letters (as opposed to script) on the center of the fallboard, in case that helps.

Does anyone know when Baldwin began making model R?

Thanks!


Edited by luckylindy42 (06/23/14 09:48 AM)

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