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Incredible deal #1221111
06/22/09 02:39 PM
06/22/09 02:39 PM
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Posts: 64
Mexico City
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Hi everyone, I'm new to this forum and to piano in general. Actually I had lessons and played for 2 years and 6 months give or take (I never followed any course or anything, it was more like going there and playing whatever I wanted with the teacher correcting minor technique flaws, plus the Hanon), but I just had a Yamaha keyboard to play and of course it isn't anywhere like a piano, from the number of octaves to the key weight, sound, lack of pedals, etc. Recently my father agreed to buying me a piano, and first we thought about a $2000 or so electronic piano, but to our surprise we found a deal for a Baldwin grand piano for $2400. Since it wasn't in my city (Mexico City), we had an uncle of mine go check it out, and then ordered it. Here are some pics of the piano, which supposedly has an age of 40-50 years and the serial number is 236693 (click the thumbnails to enlarge):
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What I wanted is help on determining what the original price of the piano was and other info as well, and also what do you think would be its value today. It has been tuned and the pedals now work (the middle one sustains only the bass notes). The finish is good, with some details, and the mechanism can't be removed just by pulling, it can from the right but when pulling the left side it doesn't move like it was nailed or something. The size is about 5' long btw.

Also now that I'm into this I have to say I plan on practicing myself without a teacher, so apart from playing my favorite songs what can I do to improve? I have the Hanon and hope that is enough. Another thing is what do you think of learning the songs by memory? I use the sheet music first but just to learn the song, and then I never look into the sheets again, and it would be nice to also get something to improve my musical memory. The Simon Game works great for improving memory, but any other suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for any help and also another question I have is this: Should I close the piano every time I finish playing? I like playing with the lid opened and I don't know if I can leave it open always or should I close it to protect the piano?

Any other comments/suggestions welcomed.

Last edited by r1card0; 06/22/09 02:43 PM.
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Re: Incredible deal [Re: r1card0] #1221124
06/22/09 03:38 PM
06/22/09 03:38 PM
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Mexico
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Hola, es bueno ver otro mexicano de vez en cuando por estos lares :P

Closing the piano could help you keeping it clean (it has to be cleaned anyways), other than that I think it won't make a big difference if it is in an good environment and it is serviced regularly (for what I've seen, people just don't care about pianos and think they can be just there and be perfectly fine without any kind of attention for decades... I hope it's better in Mexico City than it is in the north).

I think you did well (as in normal), for mexican standards... Pianos seem to be soooooooo much cheaper in the US. People in these forums will tell you it's complete madness to buy a 50 years old baby grand. In Mexico, I think that's (sadly) not crazy at all.

Where I live, you can get a new tiny Yamaha console for $30K pesos, and the cheapest new Yamaha baby grand would be about $90K pesos. I don't know the age of your piano, but I'm sure somebody will be able to tell you how old it is by looking at the serial (6th pic).

I know of several persons and companies in Mexico (specially the centre of the country) that import pianos from the US (specially small uprights and baby grands), and do some minor work to make them "playable".

I can send you a few links so you can compare prices but that wouldn't make sense, you already have a piano!

I'm pretty sure your piano could use some work, as most pianos do... 50 years is A LOT. Did you check your piano with an independent technician before buying it? If not, well, do that next time... And have it checked as soon as possible, before your warranty expires: It's not normal to not be able to extract the action, that just doesn't sound good to me. Seriously, have it checked as soon as possible with an independent tech in case there's some major thing to run away from.

You might consider having a humidity control system installed on your piano.

In case you are looking for a piano technician (you DO need to have one, and pianos need some work done once in a while), Rafael Melo posts in the piano tech's forums (his screen name is Gadzar). He's in Mexico City and could help you evaluate your piano and keep it in shape.

As for not having a teacher... I've seen too many people with seriously bad playing habits, and some of those habits aren't healthy at all. I can't help mentioning that, I am a piano teacher.

Having a teacher might not only help you being more comfortable while you play, but also help you get in contact with different musical ideas... Just a thought (not even an ad because I am very far away).

Enjoy your piano, and take care of it and yourself smile

Re: Incredible deal [Re: Erus] #1221131
06/22/09 03:55 PM
06/22/09 03:55 PM
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Mexico City
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Thanks for the response smile btw what a small world, Rafael Melo just came to my home on Saturday to tune the piano and fix the pedals, and he was the one that told me it was weird that the action didn't come out, but that I had gotten a magnificent deal. Looking at some sites I can't find the exact serial number of my piano, but something like 236654 instead of 236693, and if that's my piano then it is not 50 years old, but more like 29. About the teacher I don't really have the time (right now I do but I enter Med School in UNAM on August, and with that, tennis playing, gym, etc. I won't get too much time to go to a teacher, so I'll probably just practice when I have time.

Re: Incredible deal [Re: Erus] #1221138
06/22/09 04:16 PM
06/22/09 04:16 PM
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Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
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Ricardo,

According to the online database at Bluebook of Pianos, the manufacture date would have been 1980. The logo on the fallboard doesn't match that year, though; that older style was only used through the 1950s before being changed to a more modern one. Of course, it's entirely possible that the piano was repainted white and a new (and historically incorrect) fallboard logo was reapplied to it. Another incongruity is that the keytops appear (from the faint lines visible between the heads and tails) to be ivory, which was also phased out in the late 1950s.

In any event, the model isn't familiar to me and doesn't appear to be a Baldwin Artist Grand. The Baldwin M (the shortest of the series) is exactly 5'2" long and differs in a number of details (e.g., pedals, music desk, prop stick, location of serial number and even the design of the plate). I don't wish to alarm you or dampen the enthusiasm that naturally accompanies acquiring a new piano, but is it possible that an unscrupulous seller could have passed this piano off as a Baldwin when it really is not? Such scams are, unfortunately, not unheard of.

By the way, I have a Baldwin M made in the early 1950s; I'm more familiar with Baldwin than many other makes, but am far from an expert. I hope that others here with greater knowledge than mine will offer their comments, opinions and advice.

Steven

Re: Incredible deal [Re: r1card0] #1221146
06/22/09 04:25 PM
06/22/09 04:25 PM
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In the Pierce Piano Atlas your serial number for Baldwin shows as being built in 1980. I have some problems with this piano perhaps not being a Baldwin. The fallboard decal on your piano is not comtemporary with its serial number age. Some cabinet parts don't look right for that brand and age. The scale design and plate casting don't match up with what I remember. You may have another piano with just a Baldwin sticker on the front.

Does your piano show the Baldwin name anywhere else on or in the piano? Any other numbers or letters in or on the piano?


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Re: Incredible deal [Re: Marty Flinn] #1221151
06/22/09 04:30 PM
06/22/09 04:30 PM
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San Francisco
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For self-learning, try Alfred's Adult All-In-One, Level 1, Book/CD package.

The book does teach posture and fingering, and introduces theory in the context of learning a tune. I've done a fair amount of teachng. This series is well thought out.


Re: Incredible deal [Re: FogVilleLad] #1221186
06/22/09 05:22 PM
06/22/09 05:22 PM
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Mexico City
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There is no other number or letter on the piano apart from the Baldwin up front and the serial number. The keys are indeed ivory, and I was told it was like 50 years old. That's all I know. The seller is an actual store which sells used pianos.

Re: Incredible deal [Re: r1card0] #1221194
06/22/09 05:46 PM
06/22/09 05:46 PM
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Mexico
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A small world, indeed. You are in good hands then smile

Good luck with med school.

Now, about the piano not being a Baldwin... That could certainly be true.

The piano might have been refurbished some time ago, and somebody might have just decided to put a Baldwin stencil there, without trying to do anything unethical (just wanted some name on their piano). It could also might have been a scam, who knows where or when the original victim bought it.

I seriously doubt any company importing pianos in Mexico would do that kind of thing intentionally. I have not heard of such scams, and their business would probably not do any better by doing that. They sell used pianos at accessible prices (perhaps high for the US market, but it's different here), and most of their clients have no reference about brands or conditions of the instrument AT ALL.

I don't know if the name on the fallboard would make a difference in the price of the piano in our market. The price you paid is, as far as I know, normal for used baby grands in good/acceptable condition... for ANY BRAND.

You can find used Baldwin, Chickering, Knabe, Kimball, Vose & sons, Marshall & Wendell, Melville Clark, Kohler & Campbell, Armstrong, H.C. Bay, Behr bros, Harrington, Starr, Schumann, Nelson, and what not. All baby grands, at the same price (give or take a couple hundred dollars). Most of them will be in similar condition, of course, some might be better pianos than the rest, and you can certainly find a very good deal.

The people who sold that piano to you might be completely unaware of this situation, because of lack of experience with Baldwins. They are probably buying batches of used pianos from the US, and then reselling them in Mexico (each piano requiring a different amount of work).


Re: Incredible deal [Re: Erus] #1221676
06/23/09 02:48 PM
06/23/09 02:48 PM
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Mexico City
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Yeah probably the sellers didn't know if it indeed is a fake Baldwin. One question though, what else can I do to determine if it is a fake and if so what does it look like? Any help on determining the brand of my piano greatly appreciated.

Re: Incredible deal [Re: r1card0] #1221691
06/23/09 03:09 PM
06/23/09 03:09 PM
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Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
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I would suggest contacting Mr. Melo again and sharing your concerns (and the information and observations others have made here about the serial number and details of the design).

A question has occurred to me about the action being unremovable at present. Is your left-most pedal, the una corda, functional? It shifts the action so that the strings are struck at a different point by the hammers; if the action is immobile, the pedal wouldn't work as intended (or at all).

Steven

Re: Incredible deal [Re: sotto voce] #1221743
06/23/09 04:39 PM
06/23/09 04:39 PM
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That is not a Baldwin, but it is a product of Baldwin, probably a Howard. I have tuned a couple of similar pianos recently. It would date from the early 1930s.

I would not pay $2400 for it. Half that, at the most.

Last edited by BDB; 06/23/09 04:49 PM.

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Re: Incredible deal [Re: BDB] #1221762
06/23/09 05:15 PM
06/23/09 05:15 PM
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Mexico City
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The una corda pedal moves the action like a mm to the right and works as intended I guess. If it is a Howard why does it say Baldwin on the front? Also they told me it was like 40 years old, but that might not be true

Re: Incredible deal [Re: r1card0] #1221772
06/23/09 05:39 PM
06/23/09 05:39 PM
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If you mean, literally, just one millimeter, then that's probably an indication that it's not working correctly.

"Real" Baldwins are significantly better quality than Baldwin's lesser lines, which have included names like Ellington, Howard and Monarch. If it were either a Howard or a Monarch, the serial number would be consistent with BDB's guess that it's from the early 1930s:

http://www.bluebookofpianos.com/pianoage.htm#HOWARD

http://www.bluebookofpianos.com/pianoage.htm#MONARCH

It's impossible to know why someone would have put a Baldwin logo on it instead of the correct one; it may have been innocuous wishful thinking, or it may have been intentionally to defraud.

Anyone can pretend that a lowly brand is a Steinway because replacement decals are commercially available from a number of sources. This is just one of them:

http://www.pianodecals.com/store/home.php

Also, assuming the piano was manufactured in the U.S., it is definitely at least 50 years old. Ivory was no longer used for keytops after approximately 1960.

Steven

Re: Incredible deal [Re: sotto voce] #1221783
06/23/09 06:07 PM
06/23/09 06:07 PM
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It would have said House of Baldwin somewhere on the plate, but Baldwin made many different grades of piano that said that. A true Baldwin always has Baldwin cast on the plate. The lesser makes may or may not have the name cast on the plate. Some people may put the decal on to deceive, while some may not know any better, as they might have seen the House of Baldwin label on it.

This is definitely not a Baldwin, and it is not an incredible deal. If the serial number were a Baldwin number, it would have been new enough to have vertical hitch pins, which it does not. It does not even have duplex aliquots, which are a sign of a Baldwin.


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Re: Incredible deal [Re: sotto voce] #1221820
06/23/09 07:34 PM
06/23/09 07:34 PM
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That's not a Baldwin.It's not even a product of Baldwin as in Hamilton,Howard,Monarch,Ellington or ?.It's a generic turn of the century American made ?.No casting on the plate whatsoever. That's the strangest looking plate I've ever seen. The music desk looks remotely like a lower classic, product of Baldwin but it's not. My piano movers every six months or so take a tractor trailer load of pianos into Mexico similar to the pic. wink


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Re: Incredible deal [Re: pianobroker] #1221828
06/23/09 07:48 PM
06/23/09 07:48 PM
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Mexico City
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But it sounds really good and the technician said it sounded really good... does my piano suck? :'(

Re: Incredible deal [Re: r1card0] #1221858
06/23/09 09:51 PM
06/23/09 09:51 PM
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Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
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Originally Posted by r1card0
But it sounds really good and the technician said it sounded really good... does my piano suck? :'(

I don't think anyone would want to go so far as to say that or to attempt to decide that for you. Also, a couple of unknowns remain that make the situation difficult to address, at least for me.

First, I don't know why it didn't occur to your technician that something was amiss under the circumstances. I think it would have been fairly obvious to most American techs, but perhaps Baldwins are unusual in Mexico. (They're very common in the U.S., but almost unknown in many other countries.)

Further, I have no idea if you have any recourse in this situation under Mexican law. Common sense tells me that a private party could claim ignorance that anything was awry and refuse to give you a refund, but a retailer possibly should have known that the instrument was misrepresented. In fact, it was misrepresented in any case, and you should be entitled to a refund if the store is ethical and concerned about goodwill and reputation.

What matters is that you're happy—and whether or not knowing that you really didn't get what you thought you paid for (and that you may have been intentionally deceived) is something you can happily live with. I really sympathize with you, because an occasion that should be celebrated is tainted with uncertainty instead. I urge you to contact Mr. Melo again as a first step toward what I hope will be a favorable outcome here for you.

Steven

Re: Incredible deal [Re: sotto voce] #1221905
06/24/09 12:48 AM
06/24/09 12:48 AM
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That's the strangest looking plate I've ever seen.


That is what gave it away. I tuned two Howards with that plate recently, although one did have lettering cast into it.


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Re: Incredible deal [Re: BDB] #1221913
06/24/09 01:11 AM
06/24/09 01:11 AM
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Whatever the pianos is - or is *not* - wishing you well!

White pianos are the toughest ones to sell and often impossible to resell.

So count your blessings if you like it and that it will hopefully work out for you.

The seller can also count his blessings - so everybody should really be happy here....

happy cheers,

Norbert wink


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Re: Incredible deal [Re: Norbert] #1222039
06/24/09 08:20 AM
06/24/09 08:20 AM
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I don't really share Norbert's cheer, as it overlooks the fact that the buyer was deceived by a misrepresentation. We don't know if it was innocent or malicious, but there was misrepresentation nonetheless.

Perhaps there would be less contention if a mediocre brand were rebranded as another mediocre brand, but then what would be the motivation to do that? Let's remember that a Baldwin Artist Grand is anything but mediocre, and the assumption that this was a "real" Baldwin is what defined this deal as "incredible"; surely no one would suggest that the buyer should be happy if the deception had involved a fake Steinway label instead.

Steven

Re: Incredible deal [Re: sotto voce] #1222075
06/24/09 09:41 AM
06/24/09 09:41 AM
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I don't know what to think, in one side I really like the sound of the piano and the color, but in the other I don't know if the seller deceived me or didn't know (which I think is what happened), since they buy batches from the USA. Also why do white pianos become harder to sell? I thought white pianos were the nicest looking maybe just after black ones

Re: Incredible deal [Re: r1card0] #1222094
06/24/09 10:16 AM
06/24/09 10:16 AM
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I didn't know about the general unpopularity of white pianos until reading about it here, but it's been mentioned numerous times. In the U.S., they've apparently sold better in certain geographic areas like Florida where they complement pastel colors often used in interior decorating.

It's just a matter of economics and consumer taste. Many people consider a black finish essential, others prefer the natural look of mahogany or walnut, and relatively few people find white appealing (or compatible with the rest of their furnishings). And just about everybody draws the line at the kinds of outlandish colors that makers occasionally introduce (like Gibson did since taking control of Baldwin).

Steven

Re: Incredible deal [Re: sotto voce] #1222102
06/24/09 10:28 AM
06/24/09 10:28 AM
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Hmm I WANTED a white piano even before buying, I just thought it looked more elegant like the Elton John one or John Lennon's piano

Re: Incredible deal [Re: r1card0] #1222243
06/24/09 03:07 PM
06/24/09 03:07 PM
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In regards to the color and general outward appearance of the piano, all that is really important is that the owner likes it. And you do, so be happy! I think most people just don't think the white will look as good in their home, even though they don't dislike the look of a white piano in general. I think pianos look nice in white, myself.

In regards to the brand of the piano, I was once advised on this forum that brand isn't everything when dealing with vintage pianos. It's better to have a Howard that has been maintained and has a lot of life left in it than a worn-out and/or abused Baldwin Artist. Besides, Howards are good instruments and are made by Baldwin. I have owned two of them myself. One was a studio from the early 40's. The "Howard" stencil was so faded as to be nearly unreadable, but the "product of Baldwin" stencil was very clear. Something similar may have been the case with this piano. When it was painted white (since that was certainly not the original color) the painter may have only been able to make out that it was made by Baldwin and assumed that the unreadable stencil in the center had also said "Baldwin." Furthermore, I also at one time owned a 1969 upright which had the Baldwin nameplate in the center and a smaller nameplate off to the side which said Howard. Even the iron plate inside was stamped simply "Baldwin" (not product of Baldwin or Howard by Baldwin). I always thought of it as a Baldwin piano (and it was a very good piano). What I HAVE noticed about vintage Howards is that the cases are always very plain. I think much of the reason they were cheaper pianos has to do with the plain case. Some will argue with me on that, I'm sure. Bottom line, if the tech says it's in good condition and sounds good, and you like the sound and feel of it, I think you can be happy with your purchase. I would love to own a grand myself, but have to be happy with a studio upright.

Re: Incredible deal [Re: sotto voce] #1222323
06/24/09 06:40 PM
06/24/09 06:40 PM
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San Mateo, CA
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Hi r1cardo,

It seems like must of the forum members posting in this thread were very sensitive to your feelings or to make random assumptions about the piano.
Nevertheless I guess you came here looking for a straight forward answer. In my opinion and using a bit of common sense, I want to say that if you purchased that piano for a couple thousand from a "Store" I got bad news for you. That is not a good sign. In my opinion and by my standards as piano dealer; you have a really limited musical instrument.
I hope that you can get your money back or sell it. Hopefully you'll be able to put your money on a better piano instead of throwing good after bad.
I'm sorry but looks like you got the short-end of the stick on this deal.



San Mateo Piano
Kawai Piano Dealer San Francisco Bay Area
www.sanmateopiano.com
Re: Incredible deal [Re: Kurtmen] #1222331
06/24/09 07:05 PM
06/24/09 07:05 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,288
Cincinnati
mikhailoh Offline
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mikhailoh  Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,288
Cincinnati
r1cardo, it may be that your tech simply saw no reason to make you aware that what you were told was untrue. It could be a kindness on his part.

In any event, I would like to echo the sentiment that a well-maintained and lightly used older piano of lower original quality may be better than one that was originally very fine but was heavily used or not maintained. If you have bought a piano you like playing and listening to for a reasonable price, you did OK. Enjoy it.


Michael

====

He is so solemn, detached and uninvolved he makes Mr. Spock look like Hunter S. Thompson at closing time.'
Re: Incredible deal [Re: mikhailoh] #1222364
06/24/09 08:37 PM
06/24/09 08:37 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 4,126
Texas
TX-Dennis Offline
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TX-Dennis  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 4,126
Texas
Ricardo, I second what mikhailoh said. Regardless of what the seller did or did not know about the piano, YOU like the sound of it; YOU like the color of it; and YOU paid what you considered a fair price for it. It sounds like you bought a piano you like and shouldn't really worry about its brand or lack thereof. In an older piano condition is much more important than pedigree. Enjoy your piano, make music, and be happy. Not everyone can afford or wants a top tier new piano. Many of us can be or must be happy with lesser instruments.


Dennis
[Linked Image]
flickr

Re: Incredible deal [Re: TX-Dennis] #1222393
06/24/09 09:42 PM
06/24/09 09:42 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 26,820
Oakland
B
BDB Offline
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BDB  Offline
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B

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 26,820
Oakland
If you like the piano and want to keep it, you might contact the seller and say that it was misrepresented and ask for an adjustment to the price. You can be clear that you understand that it was a mistake on his part, and not intentional deception.


Semipro Tech
Re: Incredible deal [Re: BDB] #1222564
06/25/09 10:12 AM
06/25/09 10:12 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 64
Mexico City
R
r1card0 Offline OP
Full Member
r1card0  Offline OP
Full Member
R

Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 64
Mexico City
I'll have to talk to the seller and see what he has to say. Overall I'm happy with the piano, but I think I should ask for some money back as the seller sold it to me as a Baldwin and the price was based on the assumption that it was indeed a Baldwin


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