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#247437 - 08/17/03 06:51 PM 1933 Haines Brothers Baby Grand
Karen D Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/17/03
Posts: 5
HELP!!!!!! I am new to this forum but, find it all very helpful and informative. I recently found a baby grand made by Haines Brothers was told it was from 1933? serial# on the piano is 80455. The piano has not been tuned in 15 years and has 6 keys that stick. All of the keys have sound. None of the strings are broken and the brass strings are not discolored. The main board appears in good shape as far as cracks go. Very dusty inside. I have always wanted to own a piano like this but have never found one in my price range. I am wondering if something in this condition is going to be playable with tuning and gradual restoration here and there. I know that it is difficult to asses this situation. I guess I'm wondering if it is even worth getting a tech out there to look at it? Anyone with info your help would be greatly appreciated.

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#247438 - 08/17/03 07:34 PM Re: 1933 Haines Brothers Baby Grand
David Burton Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1759
Loc: Coxsackie, New York
Haines Bros. #80455 dates from 1932. But that's not what is as important as the actual length of the piano. I have a fairly precise set of definitions which others on this forum are free to dispute. For me a genuine "baby grand" must be shorter than 5'5" and usually shorter than 5'3" in length. Brand new Chinese made baby grands can be quite inexpensive and apparently quite good whereas the proper restoration of a piano can get very expensive. Therefore I usually advise that only grand pianos of sufficient length should be completely restored. It just doesn't make much economic sense to do otherwise.

A Haines Bros. piano of this vintage is not strictly speaking "Golden Age" either. However there is another wrinkle here. This piano was probably made in Canada by Sherlock-Manning in which case it may be quite outstanding compared with similar products made in America at the same time. Are you in Canada?

Get the exact length of the piano from the front of the keyboard to the end of the tail with the lid open. If it is 5'5" or longer then you may have a piano good enough for a complete restoration. In the meantime get a piano technician to look it over. Especially have them look for any cracks in the plate as this is a "dead on arrival" piano which should be junked. The pinblock is probably shot by this time too. A new restringing and replacement of a pinblock can be upwards of $4K. You would also want a rescaling to be done to improve the tenor and bass break areas. If you do this much you might as well have a new belly (soundboard, ribs and bridge) made. That's another $3K at least. I'd specify Bolduc Canadian white spruce (soundboard and ribs) and hard rock maple (bridge). They might be able to keep the original aprons. I also like recovering the keyboard unless the ivories are in perfect condition. A refinishing job can also be quite expensive especially if you go in for French polish (hard gloss lacquer finish) which takes a lot of hard hand rubbing. But the result might be worth it. Then there's the action (replace with Renner as that's the world standard right now) and you can go with any number of fine hammers; Isaac (also Canadian), Renner, Abel or Steinway. In any case after all is said and done you'll have a piano that you have a lot of money into and could you buy something approximately like it brand new? Probably. Can you have all this work done in stages? Yes, but for the most part it means being without a piano for months. These are some of the things anyone in this situation needs to consider. Hope this helps.
David Burton's Blog

#247439 - 08/17/03 08:07 PM Re: 1933 Haines Brothers Baby Grand
Karen D Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/17/03
Posts: 5
Hi David, thanks for your reply. I'm not sure about the size of the piano.... I will check it out. I am not that far from Canada so I guess it could possibly be a dimond in the ruff? Thanks again for the info.

#247440 - 08/17/03 11:00 PM Re: 1933 Haines Brothers Baby Grand
Karen D Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/17/03
Posts: 5
David, I should have asked earlier...Do you think it is possible to get this piano up and running with out spending a ton of money right off the bat? I know it is hard to answer that with out striking a note. but, please take a guess based on the info I have given you.

#247441 - 08/17/03 11:52 PM Re: 1933 Haines Brothers Baby Grand
Penny Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2943
Loc: San Juan Capistrano, CA
The best way to answer your question is to know something about the pins and the pinblock. If they are still tight, then the piano can hold a tune and perhaps is what we call a "serviceable" instrument, nothing great but better than no piano at all. If it can't hold a tune, it's not worth anything until it is restored, and anyone wanting to do that part of the restoration has probably got a whole laundry list of other items that need to be done.

Yes, pianos can be restored little by little (although there is economy in getting certain items done at the same time). But first, make sure what you have here is an instrument and not a big piece of piano-shaped furniture: hire a tech to look at it and give you an evaluation BEFORE you buy. Could be the best $50-$75 you ever spend.

BTW, what IS your budget?


#247442 - 08/18/03 12:10 AM Re: 1933 Haines Brothers Baby Grand
Karen D Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/17/03
Posts: 5
Thank you Penny for the tip. I will look into getting someone out to have a look at it.


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