Baldwin grand models - history?

Posted by: charleslang

Baldwin grand models - history? - 11/21/08 05:19 PM

There are some Baldwin grands in my area that I'm thinking of taking a look at and I'm trying to figure out what all the models of sub-6' grands Baldwin made.

I know the following:

R - 5'8"
M - 5'2"

But one of the grands I will look at is 5'6-1/2" from the '20's; it's here: http://www.hardyspiano.com/sales.html

And here's one listed as 5'6" (just for reference since this is too far away for me):
http://pianocenter.com/used-detail.asp?CATID=12286

In another thread, Rich Galassini says the best Baldwin was the G, which is discontinued -- I guess this was ALSO 5'8" judging by this link:
http://www.cincypiano.com/baldg.html

Amazingly I've also seen ads for a 5'8" Baldwin model A, and here's a 5'8" model E:
http://pittsburgh.craigslist.org/msg/925797413.html

Did they really make so many different 5'8" grands (R, G, and E, plus some other 5'6" model)? Anyone know any history? Anyone know which are the best ones, or which to avoid?
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: Baldwin grand models - history? - 11/23/08 01:22 PM

Posted by: curry

Re: Baldwin grand models - history? - 11/23/08 02:09 PM

Older models. E 5'8". G, R-ST 5'6"-5'8".
The R 5'8"
The M, SA 5'2"
The C 5'7".
The B,B1 4'10".
Posted by: charleslang

Re: Baldwin grand models - history? - 11/23/08 09:34 PM

Thanks. I just looked up the C and someone here has it as 5'4":

http://cleveland.craigslist.org/msg/884024181.html

If I take a look at the 5'6-1/2" I'll post what it turns out to be here.
Posted by: John Pels

Re: Baldwin grand models - history? - 11/23/08 10:44 PM

We have had a model A in the family for 45 years. It is 5'6" or thereabouts. I rebuilt a model H which was 5'8". I rebuilt a model C (6'2") that was a predecessor to the model L and has the same stringing scale.
Posted by: charleslang

Re: Baldwin grand models - history? - 11/23/08 11:19 PM

Summary (taking John Pels' word for the C since he rebuilt one) :

A - about 5'6"
H - 5'8"
R - 5'8" (still production)
R-ST - 5'6-8"
E - 5'8" (very old model)
G - 5'8"

M - 5'2" (still production)
C - 6'2"
B - 4'10"
L - 6'3" (still production)
Posted by: NoctuGranes

Re: Baldwin grand models - history? - 11/24/08 10:50 AM

Yep, the 'C' I'm having rebuilt is 6'2".

There's also the F, which became the SF around 1970-72 range (7-footer).

I never heard much about 'avoiding' any model until the mid 80's or even 90's. But I don't hear much of _anything_ about Baldwin on here. I like them (obviously, I'm having one rebuilt). I'd love to hear. But skip anything bad about the C for the time being :-)
Posted by: BDB

Re: Baldwin grand models - history? - 11/24/08 02:34 PM

One thing that can be confusing is that scale designations are sometimes different from model designations. For instance, the model D had a scale designation of SD or SD-6, while for the SD-10, the scale and model coincided.

From Baldwin, I have:
B - 4'-10" (This would be the recent model. I have seen an early one, similar to an R)*
C - 5'-7" *
M - 5'-2" scale SA
M - 5'-2" scale SA*
M-2 - 5'-2" *
G - 5'-6" scale ST
R - 5'-8" scale ST
R - 5'-8" scale ST*
E - 5'-8" (20 bass notes, vs. 26 for the R)
C - 6'-3" scale SC
L - 6'-3" scale SC
L - 6'-3" scale SC*
F - 7'-0" scale SF
SF-10 - 7'-0"*
D - 9'-0" scale SD, SD-6
SD-10 - 9'-0"*
SD-10A - 9'-0"*

The scales marked with an * have vertical hitch pins, which would make them recent models. There are probably other models, some of which Baldwin may not even know about any more.
Posted by: Randy Karasik

Re: Baldwin grand models - history? - 12/10/09 08:08 AM

Originally Posted By: charleslang
Summary (taking John Pels' word for the C since he rebuilt one) :

A - about 5'6"
H - 5'8"
R - 5'8" (still production)
R-ST - 5'6-8"
E - 5'8" (very old model)
G - 5'8"

M - 5'2" (still production)
C - 6'2"
B - 4'10"
L - 6'3" (still production)


I just tuned a Baldwin C, 6'2" yesterday for my first time. This poor piano is really showing its age at this point. It is owned by a 90 year old gentlemen who loves to play it for hours a day. His favorite composer is Schubert.

The piano amazed me in some respects. It has a killer soundboard with no weak spots anywhere - a huge sound, much like an L. The pin block is still good with all tuning pins tight. The strings look to be original, with iron-wrapped doubles in the lower tenor section.

The action was all beat to heck. Key bushings are shot, a hole in the sustain pedal from wear, etc. The hammers had been partially replaced, and all were in great need of shaping and voicing. The current sound is very bright and harsh in some areas and soft and muddled in others. The newer hammers actually had loose flange bushings and loose heads.

The only complaint the owner had was with the repetition on two notes. I adjusted the rep springs and he was totally happy with the piano after the tuning. He sat down and played with the most amazing touch - each note was soft and sweet and the piano sounded like a new instrument.

It was an astonishing moment for me to watch and listen to this man play that particular piano. Just amazing.

Someday, that piano will get rebuilt and the new owner will have a fantastic piano. There's something to the older Baldwin grands that most pianos simply don't come close to having.

Posted by: NoctuGranes

Re: Baldwin grand models - history? - 12/10/09 09:03 AM

Update (on this slow-moving thread).
I've had my newly rebuilt PianoCraft 1906 Baldwin C for almost a year now.
Just yesterday I was speaking to my tech (does all the Steinways for the local university system) about some normal settling-in tweaks in voicing, etc. and he keeps telling me to just completely chill because it's the best Baldwin he's ever seen and a fantastic instrument.
The "C" is very powerful for its size. "huge sound" is accurate. My PianoCraft version (new soundboard and tweaks to action weighting and geometry and cold-pressed hammers) is also very expressive. A nice combo.