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Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
#1221467 06/23/09 09:53 AM
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Hi,

Got a few questions as we have a decision to make. So here goes:

Facts:
1) There is a 29 year old Baldwin console piano that my parents have, at their house.
2) We/They've owned it for all 29 years.
3) It has been tuned maybe once or twice and that was 25+ years ago.

Questions:
1) In everyone's opinion, is it tunable to correct tune?
2) Can it be "re-pitched" to proper pitch?
3) We want to move it over to our house, about 6 miles from their house so our children can take lessons/practice. Is it worth it?
4) If it's worth attempting, are the steps tune piano at parents house, move, and retune at our house?

Our other option is to purchase a new piano, probably either a Yamaha or Boston.

Any help is appreciated.

Re: Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
geronimomoe #1221489 06/23/09 10:44 AM
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Not a tech here answering, but if I were going to get it, I would realize that since it hasn't been tuned in 25 years, it will need a double tuning to help bring up the pitch and then to help stabilize the pitch once the piano has acclimated to your home.

So, since you really should have a local tech evaluate the piano for you to answer your questions, why not have the tech first tune the piano at your parents house and give an evaluation and then if you decide to go ahead and move it, have him tune it again within a month of it being in your house.

He might suggest some regulation or voicing as well as the tuning to get it up to snuff.

Which Baldwin console is it? (acrosonic?)


If you decide to purchase a piano, Yamaha's are very good stable uprights without too much expense. I would recommend that over a Boston, but then if you want to spend a little more, you could have fun exploring other uprights as well.

The taller the better, usually, the better the piano.

New is better than old.

Use the search feature here for lots of forum comments on uprights!

Hope this helps.


"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."
Re: Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
lilylady #1221507 06/23/09 11:29 AM
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It should be adequate to get you started. As long as you are getting it for free, splurge on moving and tuning costs.


Semipro Tech
Re: Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
lilylady #1221521 06/23/09 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by lilylady
Not a tech here answering, but if I were going to get it, I would realize that since it hasn't been tuned in 25 years, it will need a double tuning to help bring up the pitch and then to help stabilize the pitch once the piano has acclimated to your home.

So, since you really should have a local tech evaluate the piano for you to answer your questions, why not have the tech first tune the piano at your parents house and give an evaluation and then if you decide to go ahead and move it, have him tune it again within a month of it being in your house.

He might suggest some regulation or voicing as well as the tuning to get it up to snuff.

Which Baldwin console is it? (acrosonic?)


If you decide to purchase a piano, Yamaha's are very good stable uprights without too much expense. I would recommend that over a Boston, but then if you want to spend a little more, you could have fun exploring other uprights as well.

The taller the better, usually, the better the piano.

New is better than old.

Use the search feature here for lots of forum comments on uprights!

Hope this helps.


Yep, I've scheduled a tech to come do an eval/tune. I just want to make sure that I can get proper tune/pitch/sound with minimal outlay of money. I understand it will cost money.

It's just a question of whether spending roughly $500+, pre-move tune, move, post move tune is sufficient to get me a properly tuned/pitched piano. We don't want to be on a wild goose chase throwing money at the 25+ year old piano which can never sound "right".

If it's a wild goose chase and I only get best effort, short of spending thousands of dollars, I know we'd prefer to buy new.

As for the piano, I don't believe it's the Acrosonic, though. I'll have to check.

As for the new piano, comparing the Boston to Yamaha, which sounds better for classical music?

Last edited by geronimomoe; 06/23/09 11:55 AM.
Re: Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
BDB #1221524 06/23/09 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by BDB
It should be adequate to get you started. As long as you are getting it for free, splurge on moving and tuning costs.


The key concern of ours is whether it will have proper tune/pitch after 2-3 tunings? I don't think we want to spend thousands on the work if buying a new piano just about guarantee's a proper piano..

Re: Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
geronimomoe #1221526 06/23/09 12:05 PM
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We had almost the exact situation, only it was my brother's family that wanted the piano from parents' home. A Baldwin console, probably 40 years old and rarely tuned. In that case, we paid for moving the piano, and then had it tuned. The pitch is correct, and although it doesn't hold a perfect tune, it's adequate. In our area, the entire cost for moving and tuning was far less than $500, which seems excessive to me. The piano is far from a great piano, but the parents and child are very happy with it as a starter piano. If the kids are beginning students, I would just go for it with minimal expense, and see how it goes.

Re: Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
frida11 #1221529 06/23/09 12:15 PM
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I tune lots of old neglected pianos and it is very rare than one won't hold a tune. The reality is that no piano holds a tune. In my experience, once an older piano has been tuned and stabilized by a competent technician, it may stay in tune better than a newer instrument. Get it tuned again in a few months and think about putting a humidity control system in the piano if you want the tuning to be as stable as possible. Also, the more you can control the temperature and especially the humidity in the room where the piano is the better it will stay in tune.


Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net
Re: Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
frida11 #1221532 06/23/09 12:17 PM
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"As for the piano, I don't believe it's the Acrosonic, though. I'll have to check.

As for the new piano, comparing the Boston to Yamaha, which sounds better for classical music?"
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

Acrosonic was the better of the Baldwin consoles. Not sure if the Howard was just a spinet or whether they also did consoles.

Both Boston and Yamaha are fine for Classical.

New uprights are going to cost from $6 - 20,000.

Once you GET your piano in tune, it should be tuned at least twice a year and the area should be stabilized for TEMP AND HUMIDITY.

Swings in both result in a piano that does not stay in tune long.

This is normal for ALL pianos!

Frida, I disagree about a piano being OK as a starter piano for minimal expense for beginner students.

The reward in learning to play a piano is the sound and satisfaction of playing on a nice piano!

Would you want your children to have 50 yr old used books in school or the latest of technology with computers, a well stocked library and science labs? Just mentioned for an educational comparison!!!





"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."
Re: Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
frida11 #1221533 06/23/09 12:19 PM
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"...comparing the Boston to Yamaha, which sounds better for classical music?"

I can hardly substitute my opinion for the only one that matters: your own... though a lot of folks who post here won't hesitate. Between those two choices, well, I bought a Kawai. But the only way to know is to get out and try instruments. Getting the books and reading up could help you. And the tech evaluation you are getting for the Baldwin will tell you whether it's worth trying to breathe life back into it.

It sounds to me like you're moving in the right direction, and you have a good chance of having it work out


Clef

Re: Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
Jeff Clef #1221555 06/23/09 12:54 PM
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can't hurt to have it tuned but I would check for more serious damage - base bridge in particular. If it's cracked then the piano probably needs more serious work.


Justin
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Bach English Suite #5
Scarlatti Sonata K141 . L422
Mozart Sonata K333
Schubert Impromptu opus 90 D899
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Re: Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
jnod #1221568 06/23/09 01:15 PM
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Twenty five years old is not so terribly old for a piano -- especially one that hasn't been played a lot and has been kept in a good environment (as it sounds like this one has). If you go out and buy a new piano, you will need to have it tuned several times before it stabilizes and holds a tune well. The same is likely to be true of this used piano, so basically it's a wash. Assuming the tech finds nothing major wrong with the piano, I would say it is fine for your kids to learn on. Old pianos that have been played a lot and have worn-out action are not so good, but this one sounds like it has a lot of life in it. 25-year-old textbooks are likely to be out of date, but a piano does not go out of date. It just wears out with use when it is played a lot but not maintained. (It's kind of like a car that way. Some used cars are good deals, some not-so-much, depending on mileage and maintenance and price.) There are used pianos out there that have been sitting in someone's livingroom unplayed and are well worth investing a little money in.

Re: Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
lilylady #1221569 06/23/09 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by lilylady

Would you want your children to have 50 yr old used books in school or the latest of technology with computers, a well stocked library and science labs? Just mentioned for an educational comparison!!!


There are 50 year and older books that children should read. For some things, age makes a difference, but not everything. A child would be much better off with my 86 year old piano than most of what you can get new.


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Re: Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
BDB #1221595 06/23/09 01:59 PM
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Geeze!

Textbooks was the reference BDB!

Of course 50 year old books are worth reading! But text books get outdated rather fast. Think of Africa's current countries as compared to a 50 yr old textbook!

And of course your well cared for 86 yr old piano would be mucho better than most 86 yr old cast aways! Your signature says that you are a tech!

I think most understand what I was suggesting though and it was in response to someone suggesting that any old cheap piano would do 'for beginners'.
;-)

And I am suggesting that the O P gets the piano checked and tuned and use it, or did you miss that part?



"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."
Re: Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
lilylady #1221635 06/23/09 02:51 PM
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Geronimomoe,

I'm betting the old Baldwin will be just fine. Baldwins of that era were solid. When your tech comes to tune/evaluate, you'll get a lot better opinion than anyone here can give you without seeing the instrument. So if the tech likes the piano, tune it, move it to your house, and a few months later, have it retuned. And Frida's right; it shouldn't cost $500.

You haven't said, but I'm assuming it hasn't been played much and still looks good cosmetically. If you'll get us the serial number, I'm sure somebody here will find the model for you.

Charles




Re: Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
ChasT #1221701 06/23/09 04:28 PM
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Geronimomoe,

Is it a gift to the grandchildren or would it be a purchase from your parents?

That would put it all in a different light. The assumption is being made that the piano is a gift, but, you have never stated that.


Marty in Minnesota
Re: Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
lilylady #1221705 06/23/09 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by lilylady

Textbooks was the reference BDB!



Lilylady,

Actually, it wasn't. It was "50 yr old used books." Does it matter from what edition someone first reads Catcher in the Rye ? Like pianos, books can wear out. Others are loved and cared for throughout a lifetime.

Like BDB, I found your statement to be odd. We don't know what you were thinking. We read what you wrote.


Marty in Minnesota
Re: Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
frida11 #1221721 06/23/09 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by frida11
In our area, the entire cost for moving and tuning was far less than $500, which seems excessive to me. The piano is far from a great piano, but the parents and child are very happy with it as a starter piano. If the kids are beginning students, I would just go for it with minimal expense, and see how it goes.


We've been quoted a flat rate of 2 tunes at $135 each (total $270). The cost goes up from there if substantial work on top of a tune is required. I've been quoted between $200-$300 for moving, hence roughly $500. In northern NJ, that appears to be the going rate..

The children will be beginning students hence the hope to use the Baldwin. Thing is her soon to be teacher prefer's Steinway or Boston.... She doesn't care much for Yamaha...

Re: Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
lilylady #1221724 06/23/09 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by lilylady

Both Boston and Yamaha are fine for Classical.


Thanks for the info!

Originally Posted by lilylady

Frida, I disagree about a piano being OK as a starter piano for minimal expense for beginner students.

The reward in learning to play a piano is the sound and satisfaction of playing on a nice piano!


Hence my dilemma. If the piano is going to be tuneable and have the correct pitch and sound, I think we may stay with it. If not, we may shell out money for a new piano.

Originally Posted by jnod
can't hurt to have it tuned but I would check for more serious damage - base bridge in particular. If it's cracked then the piano probably needs more serious work.


Thanks for the heads up!

Last edited by geronimomoe; 06/23/09 05:23 PM.
Re: Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
Jeff Clef #1221726 06/23/09 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Jeff Clef

It sounds to me like you're moving in the right direction, and you have a good chance of having it work out


I'm thinking that but since I'm a newbie relative to piano's, I'm here for expert opinion.

Thx!

Re: Rarely Tuned Piano Worth Tuning? - New Player
Vonette #1221727 06/23/09 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Vonette
Twenty five years old is not so terribly old for a piano -- especially one that hasn't been played a lot and has been kept in a good environment (as it sounds like this one has). If you go out and buy a new piano, you will need to have it tuned several times before it stabilizes and holds a tune well. The same is likely to be true of this used piano, so basically it's a wash. Assuming the tech finds nothing major wrong with the piano, I would say it is fine for your kids to learn on. Old pianos that have been played a lot and have worn-out action are not so good, but this one sounds like it has a lot of life in it. 25-year-old textbooks are likely to be out of date, but a piano does not go out of date. It just wears out with use when it is played a lot but not maintained. (It's kind of like a car that way. Some used cars are good deals, some not-so-much, depending on mileage and maintenance and price.) There are used pianos out there that have been sitting in someone's livingroom unplayed and are well worth investing a little money in.


It hasn't been played since 1983 so basically unused, so it's like a garage queen!

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