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#133585 - 04/27/05 08:56 AM Wheelock Pianos?
klavierspielerin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/09/04
Posts: 420
Loc: Virginia
I have never, ever heard of this make, but I just came across an ad for a 1915 Wheelock baby grand (4'10") in my local paper, and was astounded by the price listed. It's probably all original based on the wording, and 13 years younger and 1 inch shorter than mine.

So what gives? Was this an astounding piano maker back in the day, or is this just another case of someone hoping that a prospective buyer will not know what to look for and will willingly overpay for an "antique"?
_________________________
"Music, when soft voices die, vibrates in the memory."

"A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become." --W.H. Auden

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#133586 - 04/27/05 09:07 AM Re: Wheelock Pianos?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20766
Loc: Oakland
Wheelock was one of the better Aeolian brands. But people have no idea of what pianos are worth.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#133587 - 04/27/05 11:00 AM Re: Wheelock Pianos?
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 3202
Loc: Midwest U.S.
I read somewhere, in PTG I believe, that they were quite mediocre to very poor. I took note because I was curious about the brand name as it is the name of an old friend. I think that rating of mediocre to poor may have been apt as the only one I've actually seen--one just about the size mentioned here--had no rim braces at all underneath, like the worst of those small Brambachs. I haven't seen anything larger to know if other models might have been better. Even the best names *have* built some really small and really mediocre pianos. So I accept that may have been the case here, too.

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#133588 - 04/28/05 06:16 AM Re: Wheelock Pianos?
klavierspielerin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/09/04
Posts: 420
Loc: Virginia
Hmph. That's what I figured.
_________________________
"Music, when soft voices die, vibrates in the memory."

"A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become." --W.H. Auden

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#133589 - 04/28/05 08:31 AM Re: Wheelock Pianos?
Eric Gloo Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1187
Loc: Richfield Springs, New York
I tend to try to get people to stay away from NEW 4'10" grands. But, one that's 90 years old, in original condition.....well, that's a different story -- and a very scary story. \:\)
_________________________
Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York

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#133590 - 04/28/05 05:35 PM Re: Wheelock Pianos?
klavierspielerin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/09/04
Posts: 420
Loc: Virginia
Ha! That's very similar to what my new tuner said about mine. The "let's just keep it alive for awhile" line. \:\)
_________________________
"Music, when soft voices die, vibrates in the memory."

"A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become." --W.H. Auden

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#133591 - 04/28/05 06:54 PM Re: Wheelock Pianos?
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1700
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
Not too long ago I took a Wheelock piano as a "trade in". It was a larger piano, around 6' if I remember right.
Now, since I know how much pianos like this worth I did the only thing I could do with this piano. It cost me a move to the dumpster and an extra $65 "dumpster fee".
There is no point in debating really how good, or how bad this piano was 90 years ago.
A dead horse is a dead horse.
_________________________
Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - New York City and Stamford CT showrooms.

Authorized dealer representing:

Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Haessler, Kawai.

Restored Steinway pianos.

www.allegropianos.com

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#133592 - 04/28/05 07:21 PM Re: Wheelock Pianos?
Rich Galassini Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 8977
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Ori said:
 Quote:
There is no point in debating really how good, or how bad this piano was 90 years ago.
A dead horse is a dead horse.[/b]
Ori states the truth, of course, but there are pleasant surprises as well. We have had several families restore "no name" pianos and, against our advice, wind up with a truly wonderful instrument.

They may not be able to sell them for the same premium they would if they had began with a Bosie, or a Mason, or a Steinway, but the pianos still perform.
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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#133593 - 04/28/05 07:53 PM Re: Wheelock Pianos?
Ori Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/20/04
Posts: 1700
Loc: Stamford CT, New York City .
Rich my friend,
The pianos may perform...but to what level?
We both know that pianos like this don't justify the investment needed for REAL restoration and usually( as in 99% of the time) get a "patch up job". When doing so, it's just another version of "the money pit" and the results can be grim since the piano players (especially if they are young beginners) get discouraged and stop playing the piano.

Now yes, it's true that sometimes (rarely) people do restore pianos like these for SENTIMENTAL reasons, and some of the pianos restored can be fairly nice...but not for the amount spent.
Take that same amount of money and you could get a better new, or used (up to 20 years old) piano of a much higher quality (if you shop carefully and check all the options).
Also, "investing" the money in restoring these pianos is akin to taking $100 bills and flushing them down the toilet.
When it's time to sell, the piano will bring maybe 10%-20% of the amount "invested" in the restoration (adjusted to inflation), and that's the good scenario.
If it was a patch up job...well, the dumpster fee is still $65.

And after all that...Rich is right. We also restored pianos like these for people because of sentimental reasons, and although I wouldn't call the results wonderful, they can turn out to be surprisingly good. I also ALWAYS recommend against it and I'm glad that Rich does the same.
But sometimes reason can't win over the emotion of keeping "grandma's piano" in the family and out of the dumpster.
_________________________
Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - New York City and Stamford CT showrooms.

Authorized dealer representing:

Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Haessler, Kawai.

Restored Steinway pianos.

www.allegropianos.com

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#133594 - 04/29/05 07:20 AM Re: Wheelock Pianos?
klavierspielerin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/09/04
Posts: 420
Loc: Virginia
Well stated, Ori. Those are all the things I've had to take into account.
_________________________
"Music, when soft voices die, vibrates in the memory."

"A verbal art like poetry is reflective; it stops to think. Music is immediate, it goes on to become." --W.H. Auden

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#133595 - 04/29/05 08:54 AM Re: Wheelock Pianos?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20766
Loc: Oakland
An average piano with a little bit of restoration well done will out-perform a great piano with complete restoration done indifferently, or a new piano indifferently set up or maintained.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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