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#2303892 - 07/18/14 11:54 PM My introduction, and search for a grand piano
sopranojam85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/14
Posts: 36
Loc: Austin, TX
Hello everyone,

I just wanted to introduce myself. I've played piano just about all my life, and grew up learning by the Suzuki method. My daughter is now taking piano lessons (also the Suzuki method), and it's all very rewarding. She's learning SO fast, and is off to a great start.

Regarding instruments, I currently have a Yamaha P-155. I love it. It's got the closest look and feel of a real piano for the price, and met the needs of my apartment lifestyle. Now that I've settled down a bit and she's taking lessons, I've had my eyes out for a real piano.

Because of the type of room it's in, I'd much prefer a grand piano. However, my number one limiting factor is budget. If I had my way, I'd drop the 20 grand or more for a gently used Steinway or Yamaha grand... but that's a dream that is not going to become a reality any time soon.

Funny story... when I was in Junior High school, my mom actually surprised us all with a Steinway M. It was our piano growing up while I was in high school, but a few years after I moved out attending college, she sold that piano. So... it's water under the bridge. My point is, I really loved the Steinway M.

My piano teacher growing up purchased a brand new Steinway B at about the same time I started high school. It sounded fantastic, but whether it was the room it was in or not.. sounded a bit on the sterile side. It was also brand new, and I'm sure needed a bit of breaking in.

My favorite pianos were the Yamaha grands in the concert halls at school. My equal favorite was an old Kawai grand piano in the recording studio. The former being best suited for classical, the latter best suited for contemporary material.

For sound, I want a middle of the road piano. Somewhere between the clean/pristine sound of a concert grand, to the warm/gutsy/soulful sound of a grand that may have seen better days, but still packs the punch, and can put out the warmth that a soulful song needs to have.

This is all flying in the face of my currently-pathetic budget. I don't want to buy a beater, unless it's something that I'm confident can be restored. I have found a few local sales for grand pianos under $1000, and my most recent visit was a 1930 Schiller grand piano. It was a gorgeous piano, but the sound was not so. I could not tell if the piano had ever been rebuilt. If it had been rebuilt, it must have been at least 30 years ago. The hammers did not have very deep grooves in them, but the action was very rough. Perhaps the most frustrating part of this visit was that, although the seller said the piano was in "excellent condition", it actually had non-functional pedals. The pedal assembly was dangling by one screw, where the other one was stripped out, not engaging the pedal mechanism.
The notes that WERE decently in tune, had a very harsh quality to them. That soul I was looking for in the sound either never existed, or had dried up over time.

Schiller seems to be a run-of-the-mill brand from what I have read, and my visit with the one yesterday shows. Perhaps if I found a much younger one in better internal shape, I'd have a different opinion.

Anyway, I'm hopeful that the right piano will find me eventually. I will keep looking from time to time, and I'm willing to spend a little bit to restore, or partially restore a piano if needed. I may never have a Steinway, but I know if I keep looking, I can come close.

I'd like to gain some experience tuning the piano, and doing my own maintenance. I'm cursed with perfect pitch, so with the right tools and research, I'm sure I can figure out the tuning bit! Anyway, take care everyone.

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#2303897 - 07/19/14 12:17 AM Re: My introduction, and search for a grand piano [Re: sopranojam85]
Retsacnal Online   content

Platinum Supporter until Feb 18  2015


Registered: 10/11/12
Posts: 659
Loc: Northern Virgina
Welcome to pianoWorld!

If you take your time to find what you're looking for you might just be surprised what you can find. I hunted down what I think is a nice grand last Fall. Click on my signature below if you want to know the details. I came across a number of nice Yamahas in my search, and they cost much less than Steinways. This is not a great time to be selling a second hand piano, but it is a good time to buy. There are real deals out there if you're patient and persistent. Good luck with your search.
_________________________
1950 Baldwin M

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#2303899 - 07/19/14 12:30 AM Re: My introduction, and search for a grand piano [Re: sopranojam85]
terminaldegree Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2779
Loc: western Wisconsin
Hello (from a former Austinite),

Finding a "good" grand piano for < $1000 is probably not realistic. Having said that, what Retasacnal said about being patient and persistent is a good idea when your budget is on the small side. $1000 might find you a decent used upright piano, but you need to set aside for moving and regular maintenance as part of your budget.

You live in a town with a bunch of good piano technicians. The best thing to do (besides read a few books) is to get a mentor to work with you before you (pardon if this sounds harsh) mess things up on your own. Having perfect pitch does nothing for one's skills in tuning a piano. We don't hear in beat rates and "wide" or "narrow" intervals as part of simply identifying pitches by memory (perfect pitch), which is rather important to the theoretical part of tuning (not to mention the mechanics of actually doing the tuning and getting it to be stable).

I've read advice from several technicians that it is useful to have a piano to practice on that will hold tune, during the learning process. I don't know if I'd be comfortable also using that piano as a primary practicing tool during that time...
_________________________
Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200, Bechstein A190 #192939 @ home
Steinway A #585209, B #416809 @ work
Schimmel 130T #339100, on loan

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#2303905 - 07/19/14 01:02 AM Re: My introduction, and search for a grand piano [Re: terminaldegree]
sopranojam85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/14
Posts: 36
Loc: Austin, TX
Originally Posted By: terminaldegree
Hello (from a former Austinite),

Finding a "good" grand piano for < $1000 is probably not realistic. Having said that, what Retasacnal said about being patient and persistent is a good idea when your budget is on the small side. $1000 might find you a decent used upright piano, but you need to set aside for moving and regular maintenance as part of your budget.


For-sure. I'm well aware that pianos (no matter how good shape) require care and maintenance, and dollars for that matter.

Originally Posted By: terminaldegree

You live in a town with a bunch of good piano technicians. The best thing to do (besides read a few books) is to get a mentor to work with you before you (pardon if this sounds harsh) mess things up on your own.


You don't have to worry about sounding harsh. I'm actually a technician myself, but for different instruments. Hammond organs, tube and solid state amps, etc. I've been doing that sort of work for almost 20 years as a hobby, and for about 2 years professionally in the area. I'm well aware that experience can't be learned overnight, and I've made my fair share of mistakes in my current line of work, which I've applied to current/future jobs to do it better. I don't want to get into acoustic piano repair cold turkey without at least consulting some professionals first. I also will keep the P-155 "in service". It's a good backup plan, and piano that my daughter is familiar with.

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#2303911 - 07/19/14 01:50 AM Re: My introduction, and search for a grand piano [Re: sopranojam85]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8583
Loc: Georgia, USA
Welcome to Piano World!

Piano shopping can be time consuming and frustrating... but, it (the hunt) can be the more fun part of the process. That is why there are so many perpetual piano shoppers on Piano World (including myself)! 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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#2304500 - 07/20/14 05:47 PM Re: My introduction, and search for a grand piano [Re: sopranojam85]
sopranojam85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/14
Posts: 36
Loc: Austin, TX
I saw a Hardman baby grand today. I couldn't find a serial number, but the patents said dates up to 1903. It's also a player piano, which kind of scares me.

I actually liked the action and tone. It needs cleaning up, and the key caps need to be re-glued. Needs new hinges on the lid and some repairs to the music stand. All things I am comfortable doing.

What worries me is the player. Can I remove the entire player mechanism? What are the pros and cons of doing that?

Some of the bass sounded dull, and some of it didn't. No doubt some amount of rebuild will be required here.

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#2304554 - 07/20/14 09:18 PM Re: My introduction, and search for a grand piano [Re: sopranojam85]
sopranojam85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/14
Posts: 36
Loc: Austin, TX
I spoke to a couple local piano techs who said the player system can be removed without harm, or visible holes (save the holes and gaps in the underside of the body.) I'm going for this piano. Price is right, and it "speaks" to me tone wise.

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#2304571 - 07/20/14 10:01 PM Re: My introduction, and search for a grand piano [Re: sopranojam85]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8583
Loc: Georgia, USA
Congratulations, and let us know how it all turns out!

And, we like to see pictures of new/new-to-you pianos!

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

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#2304916 - 07/21/14 03:37 PM Re: My introduction, and search for a grand piano [Re: Rickster]
sopranojam85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/14
Posts: 36
Loc: Austin, TX
I've done a bit of reading on player piano mechanisms, and as I understand it, there's a chance that there's lead tubing present in there. I only remember seeing rubber tubing, but there might be hard lead tubing as well. Is that the main cause of danger? (oxidation in the lead tubing making its way to other tubes, and/or through the air?)

I have no interest in keeping the player mechanism so I may resell it after removing it.

I can't seem to attach images.. they upload fine, but it's unclear how to embed them into posts. Something's not working as intended, as when I go through the tutorial, I don't see the same options as what's present in the tutorial.

Anyhow..

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#2307116 - 07/25/14 06:44 PM Re: My introduction, and search for a grand piano [Re: sopranojam85]
sopranojam85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/14
Posts: 36
Loc: Austin, TX
Despite having agreed on the sales price for this piano 6 days ago, and agreeing on picking it up in 2 days from now, I received notice from the seller that the piano was appraised as-is for a price much higher than what I offered.

I asked if there had been other offers, didn't get a very clear answer. So rather than take my offer, the seller wished to increase the asking price and wait for additional offers.

Such is life. Maybe the seller will come back to me, maybe not.

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#2307118 - 07/25/14 06:57 PM Re: My introduction, and search for a grand piano [Re: sopranojam85]
A454.7 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/12
Posts: 1560
Loc: Manywheres
The seller made an agreement with you, found out the the piano is worth more, and then backed out of the deal? That's not cool: mad
_________________________
Masters degree in piano technology, +factory(s) training, etc., blah, blah, yada, yada, yada...[uncensored break-out in song]..."it don't mean a thing, if you aint got that swing."
--Klavierbaukuenstler des Erwachens--
Email: klavierbaukuenstler@gmail.com

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#2307131 - 07/25/14 07:28 PM Re: My introduction, and search for a grand piano [Re: sopranojam85]
sopranojam85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/14
Posts: 36
Loc: Austin, TX
I get that you have to look out for your bottom line and not sell yourself short. But, the seller ought to have considered that before listing it, before agreeing to my offer, and ESPECIALLY more than 2 days before the piano mover was scheduled to come. (This, I'm sure, messes with the piano mover's schedule and pay)

Anyway, it's water under the bridge. My search continues, just will be patient.

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#2307562 - 07/26/14 10:49 PM Re: My introduction, and search for a grand piano [Re: sopranojam85]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1974
Loc: Philadelphia area
The seller may be doing you a favor. Have patience and keep looking.

Enjoy

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#2315955 - 08/15/14 02:40 PM Re: My introduction, and search for a grand piano [Re: sopranojam85]
sopranojam85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/14
Posts: 36
Loc: Austin, TX
As luck would have it, the seller called me back to accept my original offer. Very few other offers came in, which were not much better than mine, so I'm glad the "reality check" happened, and that the seller was kind enough to respect my original offer.

I'll begin a new thread for this piano once the dust settles. It's a bit of a basket case but hey - it'll be a rewarding learning experience for me.

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#2315967 - 08/15/14 03:08 PM Re: My introduction, and search for a grand piano [Re: sopranojam85]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8583
Loc: Georgia, USA
Wow, congratulations!!

I guess the seller realized that used pianos are not flying off the shelves and crowds are not rushing in to buy at inflated prices.

Please keep us informed and post pictures of your new-to-you piano when you get it!! smile

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

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#2316425 - 08/17/14 12:47 AM Re: My introduction, and search for a grand piano [Re: sopranojam85]
sopranojam85 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/14
Posts: 36
Loc: Austin, TX
Since most of my future posts about this piano are technical in nature, I started a new thread in the Technicians forum:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...tml#Post2316420

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