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#622210 - 07/14/06 09:05 AM First time poster *update*
Rougewave Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/12/06
Posts: 8
Loc: Texas Hill Country
Good morning,

Hopefully I an asking this in the right topic...

I just yesterday looked at an old piano that was for sale. The elderly lady has owned it for 40 years. I thought I would buy it and struggle to get the heavy rascal home. My 12 year old son and 13 year old daughter would love to learn how to play. It is very nice looking and possibly 80 to 90 years old. The brand is a C.E.Byrne upright grand piano. The question is can this old fella be tuned? or am I making a mistake buying it. She only wants 250 bucks for it.

Thank you for your input!
_________________________
..."some gave all, KIA"...

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#622211 - 07/14/06 09:15 AM Re: First time poster *update*
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
FWIW, I started out on an old piano. I didn't pay anything, but I hired piano movers. I wrote the donor a nice thank you note enclosing a pic of the kid at the piano.

I wouldn't pay anything for it. Old uprights are not in short supply.

BTW, I'm not a tuner. Just a parent/piano student.
_________________________
Vote For Cindy!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post...QvjrL_blog.html

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#622212 - 07/14/06 09:23 AM Re: First time poster *update*
mrloaf77 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/30/05
Posts: 164
Loc: Kansas
You may be getting into something that could cost a chunk of money to get into good playable condition. If it hasn't had much work done to it in the past, being 80 to 90 years old it probably needs it. Your best bet is to get a technician to check it out for you. Good Luck
_________________________
Tuner/Tech www.moorepiano.com

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#622213 - 07/14/06 09:44 AM Re: First time poster *update*
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3448
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
It's quite possible that you may be seriously injured trying to move an 800-lb piano, only to find that it's not tunable (because of insufficient torque in the tuning pins) and needs $2000 worth of work to get it playable. At this point, it may cost you $400 to move and dispose of it.

People learning to play need a piano that works reliably, with the same touch from key to key. Many stores offer the option to rent a brand-new piano very inexpensively. This will give your kids the best chance to enjoy the instrument and be successful in their lessons.

Any used piano should be checked out by a technician. And seriously, don't try to move a shoulder-high piano yourself. They're very top-heavy; many times they fall over on the keys!

--Cy--
_________________________
Cy Shuster, RPT
505-265-4234
www.shusterpiano.com
www.facebook.com/shusterpiano
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Registered Piano Technician
Dampp-Chaser Certified Installer
PianoDisc Certified Service Technician

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#622214 - 07/14/06 09:47 AM Re: First time poster *update*
Rougewave Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/12/06
Posts: 8
Loc: Texas Hill Country
Thank you for the info

She played it while I was there and it sounded fine to me but what do I know bout' pianos. I do know about cars, bikes and boats :>)

I opened all the access panels and it looked good inside, no rot or broken stuff.

Thanks again!
_________________________
..."some gave all, KIA"...

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#622215 - 07/14/06 09:47 AM Re: First time poster *update*
Cindysphinx Offline


Registered: 02/14/03
Posts: 6416
Loc: Washington D.C. Metro
Let me add something. I didn't play piano at the time. I had a piano-playing friend come with me to check it out. She pronounced it adequate. And it wasn't 80 years old. More like 40.
_________________________
Vote For Cindy!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post...QvjrL_blog.html

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#622216 - 07/14/06 09:59 AM Re: First time poster *update*
Jim Puckett Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/19/06
Posts: 251
Loc: Mount Vernon, Ohio
Listen to Cy! You can get hurt and still end up with a piece of junk.

For a fraction of the $250 - you can have a piano tech do an appraisal or purchase evaluation. Granted - if you buy it - you're out a few more dollars. But if you buy it without the evaluation you may be out more money - or worse - your kids may not enjoy playing their piano because it is not working properly. They then can lose interest or get frustrated and miss out on a great thing in their lives.

If you insist on shopping for a local used piano - may I recommend Willard M. Leverett's book HOW TO BUY A GOOD USED PIANO. Call 541-382-5411 for more info.

Good luck!
_________________________
Jim

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#622217 - 07/14/06 12:02 PM Re: First time poster *update*
piannaman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/05/04
Posts: 292
Loc: Santa Clara, CA
Something I always tell people when they tell me they are attempting to move their own pianos: doctors are alot more expensive than piano movers. And you only have one back.

Listen to the other techs here. You may be getting into a far larger can of worms than you're ready to deal with. But then, you may get lucky. Hiring a professional to assess the piano is the way to go.
_________________________
Promote harmony in the universe...tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
http://dstahlpiano.net/
dstahlpiano@sbcglobal.net

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#622218 - 07/14/06 01:23 PM Re: First time poster *update*
Roger Ransom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/05
Posts: 1290
Loc: SouthWest Michigan
I know a lady who wanted to move an old ancient upright. She worked at the high school in the athletic department and she had the wrestling team move it for her. Maybe not the best option because even though they are young and strong, they have no idea how to handle a piano.

However, it turned out alright and I think it's pretty funny story.
_________________________
Laugh More
Yamaha G7 - Roland FP7

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#622219 - 07/15/06 11:10 AM Re: First time poster *update*
Rougewave Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/12/06
Posts: 8
Loc: Texas Hill Country
got a picture of it...
_________________________
..."some gave all, KIA"...

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#622220 - 07/15/06 11:50 AM Re: First time poster *update*
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21925
Loc: Oakland
A picture of the outside of the piano means about nothing to a tech. It might show that the keytops need replacing, but that is about all. It is the inside that concerns us, and even then, a picture does not show how well the pins hold, or how stiff the felt has become.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#622221 - 07/15/06 12:00 PM Re: First time poster *update*
John Delmore Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/12/05
Posts: 373
Loc: Shreveport, LA
"All keys in place"...I love it!!!
_________________________
John Delmore
PTG Associate Member
"You don't have a Soul. You ARE a soul. You have a body."...C.S. Lewis
Bienvenue!: http://louisianaskyline.net/forums/index.php?

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#622222 - 07/15/06 02:32 PM Re: First time poster *update*
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3448
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
This is my favorite example of hidden piano problems (Albuquerque, no less!):
http://www.chicagopianos.com/wanted.htm

--Cy--
_________________________
Cy Shuster, RPT
505-265-4234
www.shusterpiano.com
www.facebook.com/shusterpiano
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Registered Piano Technician
Dampp-Chaser Certified Installer
PianoDisc Certified Service Technician

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#622223 - 07/15/06 07:15 PM Re: First time poster *update*
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 3251
Loc: Midwest U.S.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Cy Shuster:
This is my favorite example of hidden piano problems (Albuquerque, no less!):
http://www.chicagopianos.com/wanted.htm
[/b]
 Quote:
...Be assured, serial number #141213 has been fingered by our lab technicicans as a piano imposter...
:D \:D \:D

I like that--"piano imposter". I think that should be permanently part of our lexicon around here. It can be very accurate and separates the erstwhile ersatz from the graceful ghosts that at least were pianos in a previous lifetime. Maybe Mr. Fine could create a new tier just for those. :p

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#622224 - 07/15/06 07:38 PM Re: First time poster *update*
ftp Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/05
Posts: 2365
Loc: Philadelphia
Roguewave,

Listen to the advice here. First have a tech look at it. By definition you are going to pay money for tuning and repairs, you'll want to know how much. Second, get lots of help moving it, you're at an age now where a mistake to the body is permanent-don't learn the hard way, its not fair to your kids. Third, you could damage the piano by moving it yourself and you may never know if it was you or the piano.

Apparently your boldness has suited you well in the past. But look at things another way, if you get the tech to look at it, you are paying for consulting about the condition, nature of the piano and what to do next with the piano after its in your house- that's more valuable then paying for a tuning.

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#622225 - 07/16/06 11:07 AM Re: First time poster *update*
Rougewave Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/12/06
Posts: 8
Loc: Texas Hill Country
Thank you all once again for the insight. We live in a very small town. The nearest tuner/tech would be 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours and away. Hard to get em up this way so I guess I will pass on this ol feller.

Thanks again !

I am a very well rounded "hand skills" kinda guy. In the past I've been a carpenter, mechanic, home builder, entrepreneur etc... Is there any way I can do a cursory check myself ? prolly not, but I thought I would ask.
_________________________
..."some gave all, KIA"...

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#622226 - 07/16/06 01:31 PM Re: First time poster *update*
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17815
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
The Larry Fine Piano Book has a chapter on what to look for in a used piano, complete with well-drawn diagrams. Armed with that, you could probably spot some major problems (cracks in soundboard etc.), but without the tools and knowing what you're doing with respect to tuning you probably couldn't tell how well the pins hold.

Me personally, I would run away as fast as I could from any piano where the best thing the seller could say about it is that "all keys are in place." \:D
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#622227 - 07/16/06 02:07 PM Re: First time poster *update*
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21925
Loc: Oakland
If the nearest tuner is over an hour away, you can bet that pianos in your area are either going to be serviced regularly or not serviced at all. The tech will be familiar with the former, and you probably do not want the latter.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#622228 - 07/16/06 05:17 PM Re: First time poster *update*
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2468
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Hi Rougewave,

As talented as you seem to be, it's as much a matter of knowing what to look for, and having a good contextual reference of experience to draw on when assessing the condition of an old piano. That is where an experienced tech comes in.

If you live in a small out-of-the-way town, that piano probably isn't going anywhere fast. It will be vastly worth your while to spend the money to get a tech out to look it over.

As for moving it, there are a couple of tricks to minimize the chance of strain or injury, and dollies made specifically for moving pianos. It's cheaper, even if you don't get hurt, to pay a professional to move it if you get it.

One last bit: If this woman's had this piano for over forty years, she ought to be able to tell you if she's had it regularly tuned/maintained over the years. Ask her how often it's been serviced. If she's been taking adequate care of it, it should be at least once a year. Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions about this piano.
_________________________
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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#622229 - 09/17/06 03:48 PM Re: First time poster *update*
Rougewave Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/12/06
Posts: 8
Loc: Texas Hill Country
*update*

Yall were so nice giving me info I thought I would share......
I took a piano player friend over to look at the piano a couple of weeks ago. He just wanted to see it and play it, buying it was not an option for him. In short, when he started playing the ol feller the lady spoke up and said she has lowered the price to 100 bucks. She needed it gone...I promptly pulled a 100 dollor bill from my pocket and handed it to her. done deal.

One of my business ventures is owning and operating a small crane business, needless to say the crane loaded and unloaded the piano with very little effort

thanks again
_________________________
..."some gave all, KIA"...

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#622230 - 09/17/06 04:21 PM Re: First time poster *update*
w_scott_iv@yahoo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 1120
Loc: West Virginia
Rouge,
Congratulations on you purchase. What did your piano player friend say about the piano. It certainly looks nice and well cared for. Walt

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#622231 - 09/17/06 04:42 PM Re: First time poster *update*
Rougewave Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/12/06
Posts: 8
Loc: Texas Hill Country
He said it sounded beautiful... all I know is, it looked beautiful too.







taken this afternoon...
_________________________
..."some gave all, KIA"...

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#622232 - 09/18/06 10:53 AM Re: First time poster *update*
Brick Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/06
Posts: 373
Looks like around 1910-1915.

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#622233 - 09/18/06 10:57 AM Re: First time poster *update*
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17815
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Pretty piano, even more spectacular view! Congratulations!
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#622234 - 09/18/06 12:28 PM Re: First time poster *update*
w_scott_iv@yahoo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 1120
Loc: West Virginia
The action and keyboard looks nice (although I realise, you can't really tell from a pic). Does it have it's original ivories? I'd switch benches though. How about a nice padded, adjustable stool. They sell them new and in a style that would compliment the piano. I like the finish, too. It looks original and in pretty good shape. Very often when people re-finish them, they don't get the grain properly filled, the wood sealed, or the color even. The result is a piano that looks like it should be in a carnival instead of a living room. I much prefer an original finish that has been preserved and 'restored' than a high gloss overly bright new finish that doesn't keep the antique look of the instrument. Best of all is that the piano is being played!!

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#622235 - 09/18/06 05:10 PM Re: First time poster *update*
Rougewave Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/12/06
Posts: 8
Loc: Texas Hill Country
hope yall don't mind the pics...

ivory I think,


_________________________
..."some gave all, KIA"...

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#622236 - 09/19/06 02:20 PM Re: First time poster *update*
w_scott_iv@yahoo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 1120
Loc: West Virginia
Yup - those are ivory. And I'm surprised at how good the action looks.

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#622237 - 09/19/06 07:28 PM Re: First time poster *update*
Rougewave Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/12/06
Posts: 8
Loc: Texas Hill Country
Walt, I thought it looked quite nice also, but what do I know about something so unique.

I'm gonna throw this out there.......

I have a neat deal for anyone/someone... I would like somebody to check it out and tune it for me if possible. I, in turn would give you like time in our waterfront vacation rental home on Lake Marble Falls. It rents for 225 a night, a beautiful spot in a very nice 2 bedroom 1 bath home. We live in the heart of the Texas hill country. 1 hour NW of Austin 1 hour N of San Antiono. Make it a tuning mini vacation

let me know,
_________________________
..."some gave all, KIA"...

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#622238 - 09/20/06 12:12 PM Re: First time poster *update*
w_scott_iv@yahoo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/29/05
Posts: 1120
Loc: West Virginia
I wish I was close. I'd love to check out your piano (especially in those surroundings).

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