VALUE OF HOBART M CABLE PIANO

Posted by: Piano Q & A

VALUE OF HOBART M CABLE PIANO - 04/20/10 12:52 PM

I have a Hobart M. Cable upright piano that I think is quite old. Does anyone know the value? Here are the details.
Serial number is 142304 (I think). There is a seal on the inside of the lid that says: Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition 1909 Seattle. Gold Medal Hobart M. Cable Piano. Guaranteed. Then, Manufactured by the Hobart M. Cable Company, La Port, Indiana.
The condition is: finish shows signs of wear. One foot pedal is broken. Some of the ivory on the keys needs to be replaced and it is out of tune.
Thanks for any help.
Posted by: manofsong

Re: VALUE OF HOBART M CABLE PIANO - 04/20/10 04:53 PM

Looks like it was built at the end of 1936, if that is the Serial Number.

C
Posted by: Chuck Behm

Re: VALUE OF HOBART M CABLE PIANO - 04/20/10 10:34 PM

Quote:
I have a Hobart M. Cable upright piano that I think is quite old.


The Achilles Heel of the old Hobart Cable uprights was the wooden upper bass bridge. Open the lid and look inside above and in back of the bass hammers. If it has a wooden bridge, it's fairly likely that the bridge pins have begun to split the wood, allowing the bass strings to migrate to the right. Often this is severe enough of a problem that many of the bass hammers will be not be centered on the set of strings that they should be hitting, and will in fact hitting one of the strings of the set to the left.

This is not what you would call the "kiss of death." It's just a serious problem that often needs to be dealt with before the piano is made playable.

In my area (Iowa) even good upright pianos with relatively few problems rarely bring over $100 or so. Sadly. Therefore, a piano with this type of problem would be more likely than not to be offered free for the hauling. Chuck Behm
Posted by: AJB

Re: VALUE OF HOBART M CABLE PIANO - 04/21/10 06:30 AM

$0
Posted by: Chuck Behm

Re: VALUE OF HOBART M CABLE PIANO - 04/21/10 07:56 AM

Quote:
I have a Hobart M. Cable upright piano that I think is quite old. Does anyone know the value? - Piano Q & A


But wait just a sec. If you're talking about commercial value, which I assumed you were, then AJB is spot on as far as his evaluation. Zero dollars. If you're looking to sell and someone offers you say $50 (or even less) take it.

However, if you're thinking of keeping the piano and are looking for an assessment of its value as a usable instrument, my answer might be of a much more positive nature. If the aforementioned bass bridge has held up well, or if you have it recapped or replaced (not a hugely expensive repair) then you just might have a very playable instrument. I tune a number of Hobart Cable every year, and find them to be good, solid workhorses of an older piano.

Some people would much rather have a newer instrument to play on, but many people enjoy the sound and touch of older pianos. I know, because a good percentage of my customers fall into that category.

So, I guess the question of whether the piano has any value depends on you. Are you looking to sell or to use the instrument? Chuck
Posted by: Piano Q & A

Re: VALUE OF HOBART M CABLE PIANO - 05/04/10 12:57 AM

Thank you all for your input. I am looking to sell as I bought the Piano years ago for my Son to learn on. He is now in college and has long since giving up playing, although now he wishes he had stuck with it (see, sometime Mom is right!) Sadly the old gal just sits there gathering dust and I would like to see another aspire to learn the art on it. Your information has been a great help.
Posted by: lshuffman83

Re: VALUE OF HOBART M CABLE PIANO - 06/06/12 09:00 PM

I have a Hobart M. Cable piano with the serial number 27634. It is in fair condition though has not been tuned in some time. My husband and I are pondering the idea of selling the piano and were curios to know it's age and worth.
Any information/ suggestions would be wonderful.
Thank you!
Posted by: ZegaPrime

Re: VALUE OF HOBART M CABLE PIANO - 12/06/12 01:03 PM

Quote:

However, if you're thinking of keeping the piano and are looking for an assessment of its value as a usable instrument, my answer might be of a much more positive nature. If the aforementioned bass bridge has held up well, or if you have it recapped or replaced (not a hugely expensive repair) then you just might have a very playable instrument. I tune a number of Hobart Cable every year, and find them to be good, solid workhorses of an older piano.

Some people would much rather have a newer instrument to play on, but many people enjoy the sound and touch of older pianos. I know, because a good percentage of my customers fall into that category.


I want to have a Hobart piano fixed to play...however I am finding it difficult to find a PTG.org tuner that wants to do it without suggesting I should go with a newer piano and trying to convince me otherwise....is it just to much work/bang for the buck for tuners to do? I just dont get it?...it seems throwing money at the tuner doesnt work? any ideas?
Posted by: TigerRad

Re: VALUE OF HOBART M CABLE PIANO - 12/06/12 01:19 PM

I had a similar situation with an older Hallet Davis small upright. The piano sounded terrible and techs didnt really care to bother with it. They are really doing you a favor. You could easily spend hundreds of dollars for them to take the time to attempt to tune an untuneable instrument with zero market value. It doesnt make sense when serviceable instruments that play and sound much better can be had for the price of a pointless attempt to resurrect an old clunker.

I loved my little piano anyway, since I had bought it (used) with my own money as a teenager and learned and practiced on it for years and kept it with me well into adulthood. Fortunately when I moved across country, one of the movers wanted it so he took it off my hands. It would have been very hard for me to just throw it away.
Posted by: BDB

Re: VALUE OF HOBART M CABLE PIANO - 12/06/12 01:23 PM

If someone engages me to tune a piano, I feel I am obliged to do it, unless the piano is so far gone that I cannot without tons of work. Nevertheless, I will point out if there are problems with the piano, and that it might be better to consider a newer one.
Posted by: Supply

Re: VALUE OF HOBART M CABLE PIANO - 12/06/12 10:35 PM

Wow, this thread has been viewed over 11,000 times. That is insane. There must be huge interest in Hobart Cable pianos.... wink

But that does not change the situation:
Originally Posted By: ZegaPrime
...it seems throwing money at the tuner doesnt work? any ideas?
You would not be throwing money at the tuner, you would probably be throwing your money away. The tuner is trying to help you to not do that.
Posted by: ZegaPrime

Re: VALUE OF HOBART M CABLE PIANO - 12/18/12 09:21 PM

so I guess the question was I WANT it to play not SHOULD I have it fixed to play..my money my decision...question is was there anyone out there that is willing to do the work for the money....I contacted 5 PTG.org tuners before the 6th understood my desire and accepted the job.

So here is the rest of the story....I finally got a ptg.org tuner to come out for a price. I considered this OK and equated this to paying for his years of experience and knowledge to evaluate the Hobart Cable piano. You would do this for an old house..pay for an inspector to tell you what is wrong with it and what it would take to fix it. He did one thing that was really eye opening for me..the wires are over 100 years old he took a set off and somehow twisted the wires to remove the dust, put it back and demonstrated the sound difference..wow! big difference in sound w/o the 100 yrs of dust on the wires! This is an example of many things he did as he took his time to show me, explain things and answer my many questions. Answering my questions was the best value and made me feel great about purchasing his services.

The restoration quote he provided was much much less like 70% less then expected considering such sites as theantiquepianoshop.com prices to get the instrument restored.

I am happy with the $50 dollar piano purchase, $70 evaluation and the idea that I will be having an a working antique piano soon after the work is done...I nor anyone in my family plays...I just want it...not to mention the great conversation piece it would carry in any room during any event...
Posted by: Mark...

Re: VALUE OF HOBART M CABLE PIANO - 12/18/12 09:50 PM

wow...
Posted by: Nash. Piano Rescue

Re: VALUE OF HOBART M CABLE PIANO - 01/07/13 10:52 AM

You would fall over in your chair if you saw how many people just give up on perfectly good instruments because one person said it was no good. I would say out of the number of pianos that I have in the shop and warehouse which is over 500 that 95% came in on the premise that they were no good or told by someone they were no longer any good or worthless. When in reality with a little sweat equity over 80% of those are fine. People today seem to want instant results period and that is where the trouble begins

One example was a restored 1871 Steinweg - Grotian 7 foot grand piano, very ornate. The owners were told on multiple visits that the piano had a cracked soundboard and was junk. It had a buzz and it needed to go to the dump... NOW !

I got the call and drove 800 something miles to pick it up, looked at the invoices for the inspections when I got back. There were 6 inspections over a two year spanse of time and each one said cracked soundboard. Kind of hard to swallow after they spent 20 grand on a total restoration. I got it off the board and on it's legs put the lights on it and nothing, no cracks.

It did have a nasty buzz though so we blew it out with compressed air and when we did that I noticed a shiny thing back stuck under the plate, what was it? Why it was a large paperclip, like the office type with the two pointy ears. So that was it, the cause was corrected and now that piano that was dump bound is now sitting in Patrick Carneys living room, drummer and producer for the Black Keys band.

I'm not saying that this happens every time but everyone seems to be heck bent these days on steering people towards new, dust and dirt free pianos and not just pianos but everything in general. Perhaps take a little more time and relax more is the answer.

If you want to see another one of those Hobart Cable pianos I have one on my website that was restored. Its book matched Cherry 1914 year model, should give you greater inspiration to keep yours.

J Christie
Nashville Piano Rescue
Since 1918
www.NashvillePianoRescue.com
Lascassas,Murfreesboro TN