1960's Mason and Hamlin

Posted by: dcb

1960's Mason and Hamlin - 01/30/13 08:23 AM

What do people think about various vintages of Mason & Hamlin model A and model AA's? I know the 1900-1930's vintage are well regarded, but how about a piano built in the 1960's?

I'm looking for a used piano and want to know more about the various years and the quality. Any years I should definitely stay away from. (I know Steinway had their issues with their Teflon pianos...any issues with M&H?)

Thanks!
Posted by: kpembrook

Re: 1960's Mason and Hamlin - 01/30/13 05:35 PM

That's the era when the people with sharp pencils were calling the shots. You can find hammers with 12lb felt on some of their grands. I suppose it was a way of getting the piano out the door of the factory . . .

They still had some of the "old hands" at the factory, as well, and construction quality was OK. If you are going to do any kind of restoration, there really isn't a problem because the basic structure should be OK.
Posted by: tds

Re: 1960's Mason and Hamlin - 01/30/13 05:54 PM

When I worked as a University technician, the SOM had 5 or 6 of these pianos, all with original parts, green monster hammers and all.

We replaced the hammers, shanks, flanges and backchecks with Renner parts and it made a considerable difference in the tone of the piano. It would have been even better if we had had the budget for new wippens, but alas, it was not to be.
Posted by: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: 1960's Mason and Hamlin - 01/30/13 11:16 PM

Some of the action parts were very roughly made. Bridge pinning and notching was usually sloppy. Key-sets were crudely cut and the BB and CC Mason do not like the 48" head scale Aeolian used. Case work was crude sometimes. I have done several where I recap bridges, (increase top treble speaking lengths in BB's) restring, and install new Hammers/shanks. The trap-work springs are always too strong and contribute to noise. Lots of problems BUT the soundboards are very good if they have lived in a benign atmosphere. They can be wonderful instruments when worked on by the correctly informed hands.