PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R

Posted by: Sam Rose

PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/09/13 07:32 PM

Hey guys!

The disease is strong in me, and I bought another piano yesterday. It's a 1978 Baldwin R, all original in a walnut finish. I sat down to play it, expecting an old beat up piano with perhaps some potential. BOY was I wrong. I must say, I've never played a 5'8" piano that drew me in like this. The treble could be a bit brighter, but the bass was really awesome, and overall I just really loved the piano. The owners couldn't tell me when it had last been tuned (the last receipt in the bench said 2004) but it was very well tuned (and I'm fairly picky). It hasn't moved since it was originally purchased in 1978 (original invoice in the piano bench. Yup smile ) and must have an ideal climate in the room because it looks and plays fantastic. The best part: it was $3000, but it seems to my hands and ears to be worth far more than that.

I'll post some pictures and maybe even a recording in the next few days. laugh

P.S.
Shout out to Rickster, because he infected me with the disease and always responds to these posts.
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/09/13 08:22 PM

GOOD GOIN' !!!!!!!!
Posted by: RickG1

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/09/13 10:15 PM

Wow, you got a great deal!! Congrats
Posted by: Gatsbee13

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/09/13 10:21 PM

I must admit, I have "PAS" as well.. I remember you having a Yamaha g2, but it was newer.. how does the R compare to it? great deal btw..
Posted by: jdw

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/09/13 10:26 PM

Sounds great! congratulations!
Posted by: Rickster

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/09/13 10:37 PM

I know the feeling... smile

Congratulations!

Rick
Posted by: Sam Rose

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/09/13 11:44 PM

Originally Posted By: Gatsbee13
I must admit, I have "PAS" as well.. I remember you having a Yamaha g2, but it was newer.. how does the R compare to it? great deal btw..


The G2 was actually older than this one, but had had loads of work done to it. This seems to be one of those older pianos that was so well kept that it won't need much of anything.

As far as how it compares to the G2, I'd say I like this one better. I preferred the upper treble on the G2 (maybe the Baldwin could be voiced up there; I don't know), but everything else on this one is much nicer. I do also need to get some regulation done on the action, but other than that I have no complaints.
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/10/13 08:05 AM

Ya gotta be careful about that Rickster dude, he goes around infecting everyone and feels no guilt.

That's why I like him.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/10/13 08:56 AM

I have lots of guesses, but can anyone define exactly what is PAS? smile

On the teacher's forum we have PADS (post and disappear syndrome).
Posted by: woodog

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/10/13 09:17 AM

Piano Acquisition Syndrome.

It's where you have the following equation firmly established in your subconcious.

X=n+1

where x = the ideal number of pianos you should have in your possession at any time

and

n = the number of pianos you currently possess.

Forrest
Posted by: Rickster

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/10/13 09:35 AM

Originally Posted By: woodog
Piano Acquisition Syndrome.

It's where you have the following equation firmly established in your subconcious.

X=n+1

where x = the ideal number of pianos you should have in your possession at any time

and

n = the number of pianos you currently possess.

Forrest

I've always known anything can be expressed mathematically! Woodog, you've got it (PAS) down to a science; or should I say a mathematical formula. grin

Rick
Posted by: ClsscLib

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/10/13 09:42 AM

Congrats, Sam. You got a great piano and a great deal!

No better treatment for PAS...
Posted by: Sam Rose

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/12/13 08:08 PM

Hey guys! I haven't had it tuned or regulated yet, but as promised, here are some pictures of the piano, and some recordings. I recorded some scales and octaves (my rhythm stinks), and a couple bits of music (my friend playing Bach, I think anyway, and me butchering a little Chopin). Neither of us were in a very musical mood, so the playing is pretty bad, but you should still be able to get a sense of the piano's tone.

Scales and octaves, here: https://www.box.com/s/1wguaj5hwy7x2pysllku

Music (I'm using the term very loosely) here: https://www.box.com/s/0cwt8al8rbxcmfz8p873






Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/12/13 08:17 PM

WOW! 'You did good' is the biggest understatement of the year.

That is a very good sounding piano. The treble and top are particularly fine.

Enjoy - Enjoy - Enjoy ! ! !
Posted by: wouter79

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/13/13 12:31 PM

Looks really good!

Now you really don't have an excuse to not submit something to the recital :p 2 days left wink
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/13/13 01:05 PM

Hi Sam,

The more I listen to the short audio clip, especially the Chopin, the more impressed I have become with your new piano. It really speaks with the Baldwin voice, which I like very much.

Rereading your OP, I was surprised to note that you thought that the top could be "brighter." It was the top that so impressed me coming from a 5'8" piano. You might spend some time listening to your recording, as it might be a very different sound than at the keyboard. And yeah, the bass is lovely. You have quite a fine instrument.

It is surprising to hear someone else playing one of my own pianos or listening to a practice recording I have made of my own playing. It is all in the 'ear point' of view.
Posted by: Sam Rose

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/13/13 01:22 PM

I agree that the recording sound is often very different from the sound at the keyboard. I think my initial impression of the top was caused by a mix of many factors, and I'll try to explain them. The action needs regulation. This makes the action feel heavier. The bass is probably less in need of regulation, since it was probably played less. Basically, when I played the presto con fuoco section of that ballade (which I recorded but didn't include in the clip) I found the bass overpowering the treble, especially when compared to my Yamaha C3 (which is all regulated now) where the treble can get really loud if desired. The action on the Baldwin feels both responsive and sluggish (or "heavy") at the same time. This is mostly in sections, like the presto section, where the repetition needs to be used. Since the repetition probably doesn't work as it should when out of regulation, I start to miss notes and get bogged down (especially in the right hand, which has twice the notes), making me feel like the top isn't loud enough.
Did that make any sense?
Posted by: Del

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/13/13 01:31 PM

Originally Posted By: Sam Rose
As far as how it compares to the G2, I'd say I like this one better. I preferred the upper treble on the G2 (maybe the Baldwin could be voiced up there; I don't know), but everything else on this one is much nicer. I do also need to get some regulation done on the action, but other than that I have no complaints.

Obviously I have not heard the piano so what I'm about to say is based on generalities (along with some rather extensive experience with Baldwin):

Baldwins are not Yamahas. Much as Baldwin's misguided management wanted them to, Baldwin grands did not—and should not—sound like similarly-sized Yamaha grands. When fitted with appropriate hammers—and the old “Renner Blue” hammers Baldwin insisted on using were not appropriate to their scaling—should have a big, rich and warm sound that is well-balanced across the compass of the keyboard.

After Baldwin stopped pressing its own hammers they switched to a hammer type that was too dense and too heavy for the scaling of the smaller pianos. Heavy hammers are counter-productive in the upper tenor and treble. They produce a lot of hammer knock but less real “tone” than is usually desirable. So someone comes along and tries to brighten them up; usually by chemically hardening them. This doesn’t change the hammer knock problem but it might make the voice “brighter” by virtue of generating a little more energy in the higher partials. But it won’t be a pleasant sound and so, when the next voicer comes along they try to improve the tone by needling the hammers down some. And back and forth we go and where we stop nobody knows!

Bring in someone who really understands hammers. You might be able to improve the performance of the hammers you have simply by removing some of their mass. I can assure you with reasonable confidence that if you try to brighten things up by chemically hardening the hammers that are there now the resulting sounds will become increasingly unpleasant.

ddf
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/13/13 01:31 PM

Yep, sure did.

Knowing the piece, I understand exactly what you are saying. Once it has been regulated, it would be great to hear your evaluation of both voice and touch.

One question, however. Is is the the basic sound which you notice on top, or is it a matter of some judicious voicing to make it more even?
Posted by: Sam Rose

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/13/13 01:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Del
Originally Posted By: Sam Rose
As far as how it compares to the G2, I'd say I like this one better. I preferred the upper treble on the G2 (maybe the Baldwin could be voiced up there; I don't know), but everything else on this one is much nicer. I do also need to get some regulation done on the action, but other than that I have no complaints.

Obviously I have not heard the piano so what I'm about to say is based on generalities (along with some rather extensive experience with Baldwin):

Baldwins are not Yamahas. Much as Baldwin's misguided management wanted them to, Baldwin grands did not—and should not—sound like similarly-sized Yamaha grands. When fitted with appropriate hammers—and the old “Renner Blue” hammers Baldwin insisted on using were not appropriate to their scaling—should have a big, rich and warm sound that is well-balanced across the compass of the keyboard.

After Baldwin stopped pressing its own hammers they switched to a hammer type that was too dense and too heavy for the scaling of the smaller pianos. Heavy hammers are counter-productive in the upper tenor and treble. They produce a lot of hammer knock but less real “tone” than is usually desirable. So someone comes along and tries to brighten them up; usually by chemically hardening them. This doesn’t change the hammer knock problem but it might make the voice “brighter” by virtue of generating a little more energy in the higher partials. But it won’t be a pleasant sound and so, when the next voicer comes along they try to improve the tone by needling the hammers down some. And back and forth we go and where we stop nobody knows!

Bring in someone who really understands hammers. You might be able to improve the performance of the hammers you have simply by removing some of their mass. I can assure you with reasonable confidence that if you try to brighten things up by chemically hardening the hammers that are there now the resulting sounds will become increasingly unpleasant.

ddf


Thanks for that information Del! I don't think I'm going to have anything done to the hammers. I think they are the original hammers that were put in in 1978, and they have very little wear. As far as you not having heard the piano, since you're already here, you CAN listen to it! I posted a couple recordings a couple posts up (the one with the pictures). I'd love to hear your professional opinion after listening to those. I've never interacted with you directly on this forum, but I love reading your posts, so thanks for coming here to this thread and posting (a pleasant and unexpected surprise!).

Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Yep, sure did.

Knowing the piece, I understand exactly what you are saying. Once it has been regulated, it would be great to hear your evaluation of both voice and touch.

One question, however. Is is the the basic sound which you notice on top, or is it a matter of some judicious voicing to make it more even?


It was just an issue of how I felt that I couldn't get as much out of the top as I wanted at times, but as I said, that probably boils down to action regulation and / or me adjusting to the piano. Playing the notes at the top by themselves, I have no complaints. I think it sounds great, and I don't even know when the piano was last tuned.
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/13/13 01:46 PM

Sam, trust your skill as a pianist. In the clip, the big R.H. chords were beautifully voiced, and I mean that from the pianistic definition and not the technical term. The 'sparkle' on top is beautifully executed.
Posted by: Sam Rose

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/13/13 02:00 PM

Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Sam, trust your skill as a pianist. In the clip, the big R.H. chords were beautifully voiced, and I mean that from the pianistic definition and not the technical term. The 'sparkle' on top is beautifully executed.


Ah, yes. Voicing. Something I didn't even know existed until about a year ago. I remember feeling angry when I found out about the concept. "You mean I have to play ALL these blasted notes, AND I have to play some of them louder??!! What the *&$%!!"

I don't think I played them all that well in this clip, but I appreciate the compliments anyway. I'm trying to get my playing up to a level that I'm satisfied with, but, alas, it has not happened yet.
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/13/13 02:07 PM

Your new piano will help you get there. Trust me!
Posted by: Del

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/13/13 03:11 PM

Originally Posted By: Sam Rose
Thanks for that information Del! I don't think I'm going to have anything done to the hammers. I think they are the original hammers that were put in in 1978, and they have very little wear. As far as you not having heard the piano, since you're already here, you CAN listen to it! I posted a couple recordings a couple posts up (the one with the pictures). I'd love to hear your professional opinion after listening to those. I've never interacted with you directly on this forum, but I love reading your posts, so thanks for coming here to this thread and posting (a pleasant and unexpected surprise!).

It’s pretty hard to tell from a recording. But from the sound of it they probably are original hammers. In 1978 they would have been pressed by Baldwin and you may have lucked out and avoided the worst of the chemical days. The certainly don't sound over-cooked! Again, having a technician who knows his/her way around hammers will be critical. A light sanding, some careful string fitting, etc., should improve things quite a bit. You may have lucked out.

This piano would also have had Pratt, Read or Pratt, Win (both equally bad) wippens. Whoever is regulating the action needs to pay attention to the friction at the repetition lever center—making sure it is high enough. If this friction at this center is too low it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to regulate hammer drop and rise.

If you have the opportunity to replace the wippens the newer, single-spring wippens by Renner or Wessel, Nickel & Gross (my current favorite) should be a noticeable improvement over the original.

ddf
Posted by: ChatNoir

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/13/13 03:22 PM

Quote:
I don't think I played them all that well in this clip, but I appreciate the compliments anyway. I'm trying to get my playing up to a level that I'm satisfied with, but, alas, it has not happened yet.


Well, if my playing had been that good, I would have been very satisfied with myself. VERY satisfied!
Posted by: BDB

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/13/13 05:54 PM

Originally Posted By: Del
This piano would also have had Pratt, Read or Pratt, Win (both equally bad) wippens. Whoever is regulating the action needs to pay attention to the friction at the repetition lever center—making sure it is high enough. If this friction at this center is too low it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to regulate hammer drop and rise.

If you have the opportunity to replace the wippens the newer, single-spring wippens by Renner or Wessel, Nickel & Gross (my current favorite) should be a noticeable improvement over the original.

ddf



In 1978, they would have been wippens of the Baldwin design, with the single spring with a loop in the middle going from the repetition lever to jack. Baldwin did not buy Pratt Read from Sohmer until at least the mid-1980s. Pratt Read may have made the parts for Baldwin earlier than the buyout.
Posted by: Del

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/13/13 06:04 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
In 1978, they would have been wippens of the Baldwin design, with the single spring with a loop in the middle going from the repetition lever to jack. Baldwin did not buy Pratt Read from Sohmer until at least the mid-1980s. Pratt Read may have made the parts for Baldwin earlier than the buyout.

If memory serves, the geometry for each was similar and they both had the same problem. Through the 1970s it was common to purchase two sets of PR parts in the hope of being able to come up with enough good ones to make a full, working set.

When I went to work at Baldwin in early 1985 the so-called Pratt, Win action plant had been in production in Juarez for several years. I don't remember when Juarez actually began building actions.

ddf
Posted by: Gatsbee13

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/13/13 07:30 PM

I get jealous the more I read this thread.. If you bought this in socal, then I totally missed out.. Unless it was not a public sale.oh well, ill be on the lookout.
Posted by: miscrms

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/13/13 08:02 PM

very cool smile
Posted by: Sam Rose

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/13/13 09:23 PM

Originally Posted By: Gatsbee13
I get jealous the more I read this thread.. If you bought this in socal, then I totally missed out.. Unless it was not a public sale.oh well, ill be on the lookout.


Happy birthday! Maybe I should give you the piano for your birthday. Or maybe not wink
It was a public sale, but it was an estate sale (advertised on craigslist and elsewhere) and I got there 5 minutes after they opened. I was so pleasantly surprised by the instrument, and we all know that happens far too rarely. You win some, you lose some. I usually lose on the good ones (probably to you, and the dealers), so it was nice to win one!
Posted by: Gatsbee13

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/13/13 10:03 PM

thx!! this probably wont be your last piano.. so it will be a battle between us all.. lol
Posted by: Gatsbee13

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/14/13 01:41 PM

Hey.. Maybe if I'm ever around your area, I can swing by and check out the piano.. Are you in LA/Hollywood?
Posted by: Sam Rose

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/14/13 01:52 PM

Yes I am smile

PM me your phone number or something and we can set something up. I'm always down for meeting up with PW members!
Posted by: hawgdriver

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/19/13 04:58 PM

Well played, sir.
Posted by: Little_Blue_Engine

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/19/13 05:31 PM

I've been vacinated for PAS...you can't aquire a piano if you have no place to put it. If I had somewhere to put more, I would probably be infected.
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/19/13 05:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Little_Blue_Engine
I've been vacinated for PAS
There's an antidote!
Posted by: Sam Rose

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/19/13 10:17 PM

Originally Posted By: Little_Blue_Engine
I've been vacinated for PAS...you can't aquire a piano if you have no place to put it. If I had somewhere to put more, I would probably be infected.


I had that vaccination, but the disease developed immunity. I found another place to put pianos, and now I have full blown PAS again...
Posted by: Steve in Cincy

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/20/13 12:38 PM

I definitely have had PAS for some time now. The first time I found a second piano that I wanted, it was an upright Steinway in very nice cosmetic condition---and it was free. Sadly, my wife stopped me from getting it.
The good news is that apparently even my wife may have symptoms now! :-)
Just last month I found a 1937 Baldwin L for only a couple hundred dollar and I was on my way to picking it up when the niece to whom I was going to give it (she was interested in rebuilding it with me) got a Steinway upright as a surprise wedding gift while she was on her honeymoon, and suddenly didn't have room to put this grand, too. Two days later, my wife had an idea about giving it to the school where our children attend (the school loved the idea!), but by that time the owners found a school in their neighborhood which agreed to take it. I couldn't believe how disappointed my wife was---even though she fully realized I was going to be working nights and weekends to restore that piano *at the school*.

I would say that qualifies her for the condition, don't you think?


(edit 2/21)
P.S. Couldn't help adding a picture or two. Boy, sure hope it has found a wonderful home.


Posted by: Gatsbee13

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/21/13 01:59 AM

You know you have PAS when you just purchased a piano and are still looking at piano sale listings afterwards.
Posted by: Sam Rose

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/21/13 03:34 AM

Steve in Cincy, that's awesome! Your wife is really cool.

Gatsbee, that's how I know I have a really severe case of the disease. I've been known to look at piano listings on my phone while purchasing a piano and while watching the movers move it.
Posted by: Rickster

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/21/13 07:45 AM

Some people read the newspaper first thing in the mornings… I check out the Piano World Forum and then surf Craigslist and eBay for any Piano bargains nearby.

Guess my prognosis is not good… smile

Rick
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: PAS strikes again! This time: 1978 Baldwin R - 02/21/13 10:35 AM

Rick - I hate to tell you this, but all of your friends at PW are well aware that you are suffering in Stage IV of PAS.

Enjoy and relish the symptoms.