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#627749 - 06/25/07 09:28 PM To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Laura M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/25/07
Posts: 42
Loc: Santa Barbara
Newbie here to "pianoworld" and a "renewbie" to the piano world at large. Began taking lessons a few months ago after a 40 year hiatus and am sure glad to be doing so. Rented digital for a few months - until I felt committed to continuing. Recently purchased a 1929 Steinway Upright; $1,500; Model V;48" ht; keys had been replaced; mahogany case in fairly good condition. After 1 month acclimation in my condo, tuner tuned, lubed pins of sticking keys and installed damper.

Unfortunately, several notes (the number is increasing), have begun to "twang". Additionally, action and tone are very uneven.

A reputable PTG performed a thorough evaluation and indicates the poor piano needs all new dampers ("twang" solution), new hammers, lubing all pins, voicing, and regulation with an estimated cost of betw. 4k and 5k., to truly bring piano to its potential.

Caveat: The top 15 treble notes have very short sustain and will remain so after spending big bucks. I had not noticed[/b] the "quick decay" of these notes until the technician alerted me.

For me this is big bucks and currently beyond budget, but is doable over time.

The dealer I purchased from is willing to trade back the Steinway for a used Yamaha U1 or U3, but I've already tried several and they are not at all to my liking. He might even fully refund the Steinway, but then I'm back to renting until I find a decent used upright.

I would be sad to part with the sound of the Steinway and am not concerned about resale value, but don't want to foolishly throw money at the instrument either. (To keep things in perspective, I'm learning Mozart's Sonata in A Major and those octave scales are no piece of cake for me.)

Thanks in advance for any helpful thoughts/suggestions.

Laura M

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#627750 - 06/26/07 12:35 AM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21286
Loc: Oakland
The V is my favorite Steinway upright, but it is a lot of work to restore them properly. Much of the work is finding someone who can do it properly, rather than just adapting the action to available parts.

Twanging usually means poor tuning. Dampers will only be the problem if it happens upon releasing the key or damper pedal, or very rarely, as the key or pedal is pressed, but before the hammer hits the string. It is not something that comes and goes. The dampers may make noise when they are lifted or lowered, or they may allow sound to escape after they are on the string (which may not be correct, but usually is something you can live with). If this is not what is happening, you need another opinion. Incidentally, old Steinway dampers and felts are not standard items, and are difficult to duplicate properly. Even their springs are wound backwards from everyone else's, another problem.

Old Steinway uprights are a mixed blessing. They were wonderful pianos. In the right set of circumstances they may be again, but it takes the right person and a lot of money to get it there.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#627751 - 06/26/07 12:52 AM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Laura M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/25/07
Posts: 42
Loc: Santa Barbara
Thanks BDB. As I rarely see the V Model mentioned, I'm glad to hear you like it. The twanging is upon release of keys and depends upon how quickly the key is released. The tuner (PTG) actually came twice as the problem was not resolved. More keys are beginning to do the same. I happenned upon another tech in my area who says she just rebuilt a Steinway K upright and she will be coming this wknd to give a 2nd opinion.

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#627752 - 06/26/07 12:55 AM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Laura M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/25/07
Posts: 42
Loc: Santa Barbara
PS, would you say I'm in the right forum for this topic?

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#627753 - 06/26/07 01:23 AM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
bruceee Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/04/05
Posts: 317
Loc: Wellington, New Zealand
I'm sure you're in the right forum.

As your dealer is prepared to offer a trade, or even a full refund, I think you have a very clear choice. Send it back!

Instead of costing $1500, your piano is now going to cost $5000 when you factor in the repairs -- assuming you can find someone to do them.

I think it would be much less hassle to find another piano -- extending your budget up to $5000 if you need to.

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#627754 - 06/26/07 02:55 AM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Artisan Piano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/07/07
Posts: 338
Laura, I would tend to agree with Bruce. 4-5k is a lot for a partial action rebuild. If the center pins are corroded, vertigris, which is common in Steinways, lubrication won't fix them and there are over 225 center pins and bushings. Not to mention over 225 springs that are 80 years old, tuning pins, strings etc. Often I've found that if you repair the obvious problems, less obvious one's reveal themselves. Once you're that far in, sooner or later you'll be restringing it. Really, it's kind of like restoring an old house.
Unless you want to take this on as a project, you'd be better off with a more functional piano and you could start a fund to buy a better instrument later.
_________________________
Steven
RPT

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#627755 - 06/26/07 03:17 AM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
R Barber Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/12/05
Posts: 141
Loc: Morgan Hill, CA
I had this conversation with an RPT from my local university today- his opinion was the V is something worth working on, whereas Steinway's old consoles were not...
The U1 or U3 are not comparable to the Steinway V--- however you might want to look around for a used Yamaha U7, they are rare and valuable, but I have a few customers who were able to find them for under $2000 in perfect condition.
_________________________
Richard Barber, piano technician
Santa Clara Valley, CA
tune@pianoregulation.com

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#627756 - 06/26/07 03:17 PM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Laura M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/25/07
Posts: 42
Loc: Santa Barbara
Thanks all. Brucee & Artisan - your assessments were very clear-cut and my reaction to reading them is very revealing: I was disappointed! I don't know where to find a piano with as warm & rich a sound for
Richard, funny how small the world seems thru the web! You were conversing on the Steinway V and I found an ad on Craig's list yesterday for a fully rebuilt Steinway K. It was 8.5K - way over my budget, but curiosity led me to call. I was upfront with seller and it turns out she's an RPT since 1984 and rebuilt this K herself. She'll be giving me an onsite 2nd opinion on my V this Saturday.

Meanwhile, I'll remember your suggestion re: U7.

Hope you all will reply again when I get further info. Thanks so much! Laura

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#627757 - 06/26/07 03:52 PM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3184
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Laura,

I understand your attachment to the Steinway sound, even in its deteriorated condition. I believe that you would be truly heartsick if you traded it for another piano such as a Yamaha or other brand priced the same as what you paid for the Steinway. Just imagine how one of those would sound at 78 years!

Technicians who do complete restorations (I do not) often think in terms of "all or nothing at all (half a job never appealed to me"... ((to paraphrase the old song)), ). So, take that into account as you evaluate the various opinions you are offered, both on this forum and from the people to whom you talk directly.

What people have said about the verdigris problem is true. Verdigris is the corrosion that brass and copper produce (brass being part copper). Rust on iron is red but oxidation of copper is green. If you've ever seen the green roofs of old buildings in Europe or Quebec City, that is what you are seeing. There are various opinions as to why, but whatever the reasons are, both Steinway uprights and grands from the early part of the 20th Century are well known for having this problem. The verdigris has a volume of its own and it also increases the friction because it is sticky. Therefore, these old piano actions tend to freeze up, especially if they go for long periods without being played.

It is like a chronic disease which is incurable but often can be treated symptomatically. In the mid to late 1980's, a designer lubricant was developed called Protek® which temporarily dissolves verdigris and is used by many piano technicians for other lubricating applications as well. In some marginal cases, it is all an action needs to get going again. In others, yearly reapplication is needed but in some severe cases, it won't help much at all, if any.

There is, however another treatment for the more severe cases which will often work called a shrinking solution. Most technicians use alcohol and water but a more effective treatment is to first apply pure acetone to all of the action centers (the joints between any moving parts). This is best done on a warm, sunny day in the sunlight if possible, out on the porch or patio. Apply pure acetone from a "hypo-oiler" such as Schaff Piano Supply and other piano supply houses sell. Work all of the moving parts firmly by hand to dissolve and break up the oxidation. Then, fill the bottle half full of acetone and fill it the rest of the way with distilled water. Shake the bottle vigorously to mix the acetone and water. Then, reapply to all of the action centers and work them again firmly by hand. Allow it to dry in the hot sun and breeze if possible. If not, a hair dryer will also work. A heat gun may also be used.

The way this works is completely different from a lubricant. The acetone will dissolve and break up the sticky consistency and volume of the verdigris but it is the water itself which will provide effective loosening of the tight joints. The acetone carries the water into the surrounding wood and temporarily swells it. During the swelling, it compresses the felt but as the wetness evaporates, especially with heat, the felt shrinks even more so, leaving the action center freely moving. Since the acetone and water evaporate completely in a short period of time, there is no contaminating residue. If there is any lingering sluggishness, the Protek® lubricant may be applied or it may be applied in any case to leave the lubricating polymers it contains which will help keep the centers moving freely long after the treatment.

Considering your attachment to the piano but without the funds to replace action parts which are VERY expensive and quite difficult to replace and provide good alignment, I would suggest the reconditioning route at this point while you perhaps build a savings fund for restoration in the future. The hammers may be reshaped to provide a good, even tone. This will make them smaller, of course but a technician who knows how to regulate a vertical action well will know how to compensate for the smaller size. If the hammers are really thoroughly spent, it is possible to replace just the hammer heads but you really have to have confidence that the person doing it knows how to do that well and make a nice, even appearing job of it.

I suspect that the "twang" you hear as the dampers close against the strings is caused by a "crust" which has formed on them. Dampers can be "voiced" just as hammers can. Each surface can be gently scraped with the same tool as is used to reshape hammers. The block dampers are fairly easy to treat but the wedges take more time and careful attention so as not to tear or deform them.

Unless the springs are so brittle that they are breaking, they can be re-tensioned. It is not difficult to do. Simply disengage the spring, and bend it at the fulcrum out fully 90 degrees opposite the direction it normally resists then put them back into place. A technician should know how to do this with a spring hook. After voicing the damper felts and re-tensioning the springs, the dampers will often work well again and with no noise of their own. If the damper felts really are very hard and compacted, replacing them can be considered but as BDB said, you have to find special and expensive replacement material and regulating after replacement can also be time consuming and costly.

The keys should all be removed from the keybed and all of the dust and debris vacuumed out. If the felts are deteriorated, they can all be replaced at a cost that is not at all prohibitive. In the case of replacement however, the keys will all have to be thoroughly leveled and dip reestablished, not just the normal touch up level and dip which would otherwise be required. The keypins can be polished or also lubricated with Protek®. If the key bushings are severely worn, key rebushing is not a very costly service, nor is keytop replacement if necessary but you'll lose the precious character of the original ivory.

I am not sure what the short sustain problem is in the high treble but I suspect that it is the bridge cap splitting. It is a common problem but it is easily remedied without going to the expense of recapping the bridge which is more in line with rebuilding and complete restoration. It can be repaired with epoxy or even better and easier with applications of low viscosity, followed by high viscosity CA glue (commonly known as "Super" glue). I wrote a detailed post a while back on this that you can find by searching the Forum's archives.

All of these techniques, except for the replacement of the hammers and dampers should only cost hundreds of dollars as opposed to thousands or tens of thousands. They'll give your piano a decade or more of useful life. My opinion is that a 78 year old Steinway is not all that old. Most of those instruments can last up to and over 100 years before requiring complete restoration. Only very heavily played instruments and/or those which have been damaged by very adverse conditions may need replacement of fundamentals such as the soundboard, bridges and pinblock any sooner than that.

Good luck finding the right technician for your needs and budget!
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#627758 - 06/27/07 07:01 PM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Laura M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/25/07
Posts: 42
Loc: Santa Barbara
Wow Bill, Lots of info - thanks - and you're right, I might be heartsick.

RPT did explain the verdigris issue and used Protech on a test key. If I pursue recondition/restoration options he will evaluate more extensively to determine if Protech would be effective. At that time we can discuss the acetone method you describe.

Re: hammers, many have been reshaped before and RPT indicated hammer replacement is warranted.

Hammer Heads w/Shanks & Butts $2,500
Hammer Heads only $1,000

Re: dampers, he did not mention crusting, but I can look. Some need replacement now, but perhaps others could be just cleaned for now.

All Dampers Rplcmt $1,000
Spring Retensioning 1 hour
Spring Rplcmt $ 400

Keys had been replaced prior to purchase and RPT thought job was well done. Hurrah!

Last, but not of least import is the short sustain of upper register. RPT plucked strings, but don't recall him saying anything about condition of bridge. Also, someone else suggested checking strikepoints. So....prior to proceeding with reviving V, I will raise these points w/RPT.

RPT seems to understand my feelings about V, and knows I dislike the Yamahas. However, he did suggest trying a Schimmel upright as an alternative, so I will need to schedule a trip to LA to do so. Will also peruse existing posts about Schimmel.

It's so helpful to get such thoughtful and intelligent feedback from all of you! Looking forward to Saturday's 2nd opinion and will get back to you

Laura (on behalf of V)

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#627759 - 06/28/07 12:34 AM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
McLaughlin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/24/07
Posts: 271
Loc: Ohio
I think the piano is worth it only if you love it. A piano can be a money hole, so be prepared. Trust your gut not your logic, a piano is an instrument. Maybe think on it for a couple of weeks, as there's no need to rush to a decision.

I also think those prices are high. I had all new hammers (Isaac) put on my shanks, and I did the install then had a tech do a regulation.

$650 new hammers + hung + $200 regulation in home. $850.

I measured my own bass strings and ordered them $350 + installation $300. I did the tuning touch ups to save there (tuning hammer $50). Total $700 My tech had quoted me $1300 for strings including measurement and installation and 3-4 touch up tunings over a month.
_________________________
Brian Lucey - M&H BB 1930
the day job: Magic Garden Mastering
"the economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the ecology" - unknown

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#627760 - 06/30/07 04:16 AM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
jackg Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 3
Loc: South GLoucestershire, UK
oops

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#627761 - 07/02/07 04:38 PM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/06
Posts: 1981
Hi Laura,
Given the fact that you might be entertaining the idea of checking out other uprights, as opposed to going the "restoration" route on this V, I would suggest trying a new or used Mason and Hamlin upright as an excellent alternative. They are built like tanks and have tonal characteristics that are closer to the Steinway than a German brand would typically be, although they are still quite unique unto themselves. It costs nothing to try one, and, who knows?? ;\)
Dan
_________________________
Piano Technician/Tuner

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#627762 - 07/03/07 10:36 PM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Colin Dunn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/05
Posts: 479
Loc: Arvada, CO
Restoration of a piano rarely makes sense from a resale perspective, but it can when compared to the cost of purchasing a new piano.

A new Steinway upright is >$15K. A good restoration should result in a piano of comparable quality. (Some people actually prefer rebuilt old Steinways to new ones!)

Spending $1,500 for a fixer-upper Steinway piano + $5,000 for restoration work is still less than half the price of a brand-new Steinway upright. Also, it may be possible to do the repairs in stages to avoid a $5,000 hit all at once.

What did the piano tech say about the "quick decay" of the top octave? Did he/she suspect soundboard or bridge problems? Or would new hammers, strings, and a tuning improve the sustain?
_________________________
Colin Dunn

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#627763 - 07/07/07 03:48 PM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Laura M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/25/07
Posts: 42
Loc: Santa Barbara
Brian, Dan, Colin,
Your thoughts and suggestions have been added to my decision-making process - thanks.

Re: high pricing for repairs, I am getting another estimate. Pricing of hammers - with or w/o shanks and butts - are for Steinway parts and include labor. Thankfully, the strings and keytops had been replaced by previous owner.

I will be heading to Keyboard Concepts soon to experience the sound/feel of lots of other pianos, and will look particularly for Mason & Hamlins and Schimmels, as suggested. Who knows, perhaps Goldilocks will find the one that's "just right". If I find "the one", I would have a tech check it out before puchasing.

Before buying I also need to make sure my dealer is agreeable to refunding the Steinway. He's hinted at this, but I don't need to broach that topic until I know I'd prefer to take that route.

Re: "quick decay" of V's two upper octaves, the consensus seems to be that it's the soundboard, the bridge, or just the nature of V. Both techs said they'd look at the bridge while working on other parts. But in my decision-making process, I'm going with the assumption that the "quick decay" of the upper register will remain as is.
Thus far this aberance doesn't bother me. However, it may seem more pronouced once other problems are resolved. I am not concerned about re-sale value. Just want a piano I can really enjoy now and in the future. Meanwhile, it's back to those octave stretches in Mozart Sonata K331! Does anyone else like this piece as much as I do?

Thanks again, Laura

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#627764 - 07/07/07 04:18 PM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
Get all your money back from the person
who sold you this piece of junk. This
belongs in a landfill or the woodpile. Note
how strong the power of suggestion is:
after all this you still hesitate to part
with its "great" sound because of
the Steinway decal on it.

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#627765 - 07/07/07 04:23 PM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hey-she's had some fun and happiness from it. Or perhaps you will be willing to pay for her next piano?

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#627766 - 07/07/07 05:39 PM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2315
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hi Laura,

Sent you a private message. GP

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#627767 - 07/07/07 09:30 PM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Laura M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/25/07
Posts: 42
Loc: Santa Barbara
Gee Gyro,

Easy now. I did ask for "thoughtful" suggestions. At the outset of my post I made it clear that I am not a Steinway loyalist. Otherwise I wouldn't be bothering to try other manufacturer's pianos.

Do note however, that I could easily have had my eyes closed and still selected this piano. ;\)

Laura

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#627768 - 07/08/07 03:40 PM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
jackg Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 3
Loc: South GLoucestershire, UK
Re: "quick decay" of V's two upper octaves, the consensus seems to be that it's the soundboard, the bridge, or just the nature of V. Both techs said they'd look at the bridge while working on other parts. But in my decision-making process, I'm going with the assumption that the "quick decay" of the upper register will remain as is.

So has the soundboard lost its crown I wonder. It would be worthwhile to check.

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#627769 - 07/09/07 12:30 AM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Laura M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/25/07
Posts: 42
Loc: Santa Barbara
Jack,

Could be. Is there a way to check the crown myself? Thanks.

Laura

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#627770 - 07/09/07 01:07 AM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21286
Loc: Oakland
The top two octaves will not depend much on any crown in the soundboard. The soundboard is not wide enough there for any crown to have an effect.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#627771 - 07/09/07 02:43 AM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3184
Loc: Madison, WI USA
I agree that Gyro's comment was rude and uncalled for. There would have been a better way to express the same opinion and have it give far more weight. One person's "junk" is another's treasure.

I think the dealer who sold it to you knew that it wouldn't be right for everyone and therefore offered to trade it back. You have to realize that he also would incur costs to do so, therefore he might not offer you the full amount you paid to trade it or if he does, he will have built in his costs to the price of a new or other used one.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#627772 - 07/12/07 02:20 AM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Sam Casey Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/05
Posts: 1135
Loc: SW Missouri
None of us here know what the action looks like and how much the piano has been played. In my experiance those old Steinway uprights were almost indestructable unless seriously abused with extreme heat or cold. It is not unusual to find them 100 plus years old with pinblocks feeling just broke in. On the other hand the people who bought Steinway orignially were usually serious players. It's hard to find one with an action not beat up. Bill has some good suggestions. The treble "tonal decay" is a bit strange but a competent tech should be able to check board, bridge, bearing, plate etc., in short order. A new set of hammers can work wonders. Don't be too quick to give up and give yourself some time to ferret out different opinions before letting the old fellow go.

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#627773 - 07/13/07 05:07 AM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Laura M Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/25/07
Posts: 42
Loc: Santa Barbara
Bill - You're right on about the dealer.

Sam - Yes, after I've tried some other pianos, I'll be in a better position to decide if I'd like the tech to look over V's "backbone".

Et alia - Next weekend I'm off on a piano sampling marathon to try as many pianos as I can. My last stop will be to see a 1982 Mason & Hamlin 50 (upright) that I'm told is nearly virgin and well-cared for. A fellow poster here was nice enough to provide the M&H connection.

Before discovering this addictive and fabulous "pianoworld" I'd never heard of M&H. Ok, ok, but it's been nearly 40 years since I've played. And now I can't wait to try some grands too just for fun. Hopefully I won't get jealous of so many of you in the process! Then again, I'd rather possess the talent warranting a grand than the grand itself!

So...it's back to the other keyboard, as "the play's the thing".

Laura

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#627774 - 07/14/07 11:51 PM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Colin Dunn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/11/05
Posts: 479
Loc: Arvada, CO
Laura -

If you like the M&H, it checks out well with an independent tech, and you can still trade the old Steinway upright, that may be a good option. M&H makes some very well-regarded pianos, and aside from Steinway, might be the only other American piano manufacturer.
_________________________
Colin Dunn

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#627775 - 07/15/07 10:36 PM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Colin,

Steinway and Mason & Hamlin are not the only U.S. Manufactured pianos.

Charles R. Walter's are manufactured in Elkhart, Indiana.
_________________________
Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

Exclusive Dealer For Charles R. Walter Pianos
www.pianoman.ca
Verhnjak Pianos Facebook


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#627776 - 07/15/07 10:58 PM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21286
Loc: Oakland
Baldwin and Astin Weight also make pianos in the US.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#627777 - 07/25/07 10:33 AM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1099
Loc: Tennessee
Greetings,
A properly restored Steinway upright is hard to beat. I am presently in the middle of restoring my own, having done several others for my rental fleet. The players all feel that these uprights are in a class by themselves. One has been in a jazz club for a long time and has its own reputation as a killer instrument!
that said, there is no way to get there cheaply. One of the weak points in these actions, (other than the verdigris), is the damper levers. They have a weak spot right where the screw attaches the anchoring plate, so take a holistic view the damper system before just replacing felt and/or springs. I always replace all the flanges, which carry the damper springs. This removes the spring problems as well as the verdigris.
If Steinway work is done properly,(and that is operative word here), the money is invested, not spent. If done poorly, it is wasted. Before having anybody do this kind of work, take a look at previous jobs on Steinway uprights they have done. If they haven't done any, stay away, since Steinways have particular ideosyncrasies and require brand-specific knowledge, parts, and experience to be properly cared for.
Regards,

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#627778 - 07/25/07 03:38 PM Re: To Repair or Not to Repair - 1929 Steinway Upright
Rickster Online   content


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8412
Loc: Georgia, USA
Hi Laura,

I have read your thread with interest and intrigue. Although not in the same league as your Steinway, I recently purchased a 100 year old Conover upright (52”). It was for sale close by and I had been casually looking for an antique upright to tinker around with and improve my piano tech skills and generally have fun with it. I refinished the cabinet and it has a nice style and appearance. As it stands now, the old Conover has won my heart (and ear). The tone is deep and warm and rich. It has had some work done in the past as the dampers and key tops have been replaced. There are a couple of notes in the top octave that have a weak sustain but the bridge in this area had some small cracks at the bridge pins that I repaired with epoxy. I posted a question about the sustain in another post on this forum recently. Also, from what I have read, the consensus is that there is not a lot of sustain in these upper notes anyway, since there are no dampers in this octave (Per BDB). The hammers do have some ware and some moth damage and I deduct that they have never been replaced. I am contemplating replacing the hammers myself but it sounds pretty nice in their worn condition. I also treated the action joints and key pins with Proteck and it loosened it up pretty good. I have also found that just playing the heck out of it has done a lot to loosen up the sticky notes.

Although new/newer may be better/nicer, there is something unique and special about an old relic of a piano from the golden era being brought back to new life.

Best regards and best wishes regarding your Steinway V48.

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

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