Too good to be true: Steingraeber??

Posted by: JeanieA

Too good to be true: Steingraeber?? - 03/04/13 08:11 PM

This piano has been showing up on the local Craigslist often for the last couple months with a dropping price; it's at a downtown pawnshop. From what I can tell, price-wise, if this is what they say it is it could be an unbelievable deal.

I know NOTHING about Steingraeber & Söhne pianos; ARE there imitations/fakes? How would you know this was a knock off? And in the last photo - is it me or is that lid not shaped the same as the tail of the piano indicating something interesting is going on?

I am really tempted just to go look.... this business looks like they're just trying to dump the piano. Like I really NEED a second piano. But...
Posted by: ChatNoir

Re: Too good to be true: Steingraeber?? - 03/04/13 08:25 PM

By all means, go have a look. Then give us a report on your findings.
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: Too good to be true: Steingraeber?? - 03/04/13 08:40 PM

It's an oldie! That is an optical/lighting illusion of the lid not matching the body. Compare the tail shot with the interior photo.

If you look at it, write down the serial number and then the age can be researched.

Now that it's hit PW, I doubt that it will be there for long!
Posted by: JeanieA

Re: Too good to be true: Steingraeber?? - 03/04/13 08:45 PM

I just emailed them for the serial number.

And, if anyone off PW buys it, I want a finders fee!
Posted by: Mark...

Re: Too good to be true: Steingraeber?? - 03/04/13 10:06 PM

you should move fast Jean...
Posted by: JeanieA

Re: Too good to be true: Steingraeber?? - 03/04/13 10:11 PM

Mark... really?

Dear husband works a block from there, I'm going to show him what to out look for on my piano; I'm going to go look after work tomorrow. If this checks out, I might be cashing in my life insurance policy!
Posted by: BDB

Re: Too good to be true: Steingraeber?? - 03/04/13 10:16 PM

I think the ad was posted in the Tech area. It looks like one I have worked on, which is nothing special. I would not pay their asking price. Moral: Buy the piano, not the name!
Posted by: JeanieA

Re: Too good to be true: Steingraeber?? - 03/04/13 10:30 PM

Thanks for that, BDB, excellent advice; the fever is cooling here - thank goodness.

Would you have seen it here in the Reno area, or has it migrated from the Bay Area? I have to think that is this was so terrific, one of the local piano dealers would have already picked up on it for their used inventory.

I was wondering about what looks like a puddle of glue under the (I don't have the terminology - bass? tenor?) back bridge.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Too good to be true: Steingraeber?? - 03/05/13 01:16 AM

I am pretty sure the one I have seen is not the same as the one in Reno, but it has similar characteristics.
Posted by: musicpassion

Re: Too good to be true: Steingraeber?? - 03/05/13 01:20 AM

Originally Posted By: Mark...
you should move fast Jean...


I disagree. It could be a moneypit.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Too good to be true: Steingraeber?? - 03/05/13 01:35 AM

It depends on which way one moves fast!
Posted by: musicpassion

Re: Too good to be true: Steingraeber?? - 03/05/13 03:08 AM

Originally Posted By: BDB
It depends on which way one moves fast!


Right! Sometimes running - fast - in the opposite direction is best.
Posted by: Chris H.

Re: Too good to be true: Steingraeber?? - 03/05/13 03:35 AM

I once found an old steingraeber in a shop at what seemed an incredible price. But when I sat down to play it was clear that it wasn't really anything to do with the steingraeber of today. Just like many old pianos it was tired and needed a lot of work to bring it up to standard.
Posted by: Mark...

Re: Too good to be true: Steingraeber?? - 03/05/13 10:21 AM

Originally Posted By: musicpassion
Originally Posted By: Mark...
you should move fast Jean...


I disagree. It could be a moneypit.


Move fast to evaluate it...
Posted by: JeanieA

Re: Too good to be true: Steingraeber?? - 03/06/13 08:31 PM

Well now, that was interesting. Just got home from viewing the piano.

Imagine a downtown Reno pawn shop. Yup you got it, only you're not allowed to smoke in stores any more.

Ok. We crawled all over, under, and around the piano and could not find a serial number anywhere. Not on the plate, not by the tuning pins, not on a plate strut, not under the piano, nowhere.

Here's what I saw, perhaps it might give someone who knows about these things an idea of the age:

-It's 5' 7" long.
-Only two pedals (both worked).
-There were no agraffes (maybe that's not important) but the treble strings actually passed through holes in the plate! (That seemed weird.)
-The half-prop stick was brass, full prop was wood.
-It needed tuning desperately, but on playing octaves it was in tune with itself.
-A good number of the tuning pins had been replaced, several strings as well.
-A couple of obvious soundboard cracks; one must have been buzzing as there was a glue/epoxy repair to it on the underside of the board, not visible from the top.
-Keytops were plastic and had a rather sharp front edge to them, I suspect they'd been replaced...I bet the piano's old enough to have originally had ivory.
-The veneer was cracked and lifting in two small places.
-Where the strings leave the tuning pins and travel over the plate, there was a felt strip per normal, but the felt was wrapped around a thin strip of wood. Imagine a felt sandwich under the strings with the raw edges left hanging. Not very well done.
-The action was even but very light; keys were all level.
-The case was a bit on the rough side, although a good rub out would likely improve it considerably.
-The hammers were only slightly grooved and still had a ton of felt on them.
-They have already dropped the price to us to $800, and said they'd entertain any offer we'd care to make.

I came home with my curiosity satisfied and have decided I am VERY pleased with my own little Chickering! I've almost got enough saved for the full regulation and hammer reshaping which, I think, will keep me happy for a long while yet. smile This Steingraber is way more of a project than I want or could afford to fix.

Always fun to look, though!
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Too good to be true: Steingraeber?? - 03/06/13 08:38 PM

Well, you know what they say... every thing that glitters ain't gold. smile

Interesting piano adverture, though. smile

Rick