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#1489437 - 08/06/10 11:23 AM Winter & Co. NY piano - I need a 2nd opinion  
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 1
KMPianist Offline
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KMPianist  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2010
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I recently inherited a Winter & Company NY piano from my mother-in-law. The serial number dates it somewhere between 1946 & 1953. It's a beautiful piano, but not in the best shape on the inside. Numerous keys are broken & won't play and others stick. I had someone out to fix & tune it and they told me that the repairs would cost far more than purchasing a new piano. They said that if I fixed it, it would probably end up breaking again because the plastic used in this model was poor plastic. I'm not sure what to do. I love to play the piano, but the broken keys are driving me crazy.

Should I invest the money to fix it? Any advice?

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#1489453 - 08/06/10 11:50 AM Re: Winter & Co. NY piano - I need a 2nd opinion [Re: KMPianist]  
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It is likely that there are flanges to be replaced. There could also be jacks, and if it is a spinet, elbows as well. To replace them all is not that much bigger a job than replacing just a few of them. It is likely that you could buy a used comparable piano without these issues for less than it would cost to replace the parts. A new piano, well, that is not so certain.

No matter what, you will need to get someone to do it. So call up some other techs and ask them. They should be able to give you a ballpark estimate.


Semipro Tech
#1489524 - 08/06/10 01:37 PM Re: Winter & Co. NY piano - I need a 2nd opinion [Re: BDB]  
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Toronto, Ontario
A lot of people unfamiliar with pianos in general simply aren't aware of the vast amount of old pianos there are out there.
I would take the tuner's advice and put your money into purchasing a new piano.
You can spend much more on repairs on your piano than a new piano would cost and you would still have a piano that wouldn't be as good.
Unfortunately too many people have learned this in the past after they have spent large amounts of money for "sentimental" reasons.

#1489574 - 08/06/10 02:55 PM Re: Winter & Co. NY piano - I need a 2nd opinion [Re: Sparky McBiff]  
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I have a Winter spinet piano from around the same time as yours. Mine is in good shape, but I don't like its sound. It's a good piano though. All the technicians that come and tune it say it was well made. I don't like that I can't really play "piano" on it (everything sounds louder than I want), the higher notes are not bright and pretty like a better brand has, they sound low and dull... maybe these things are fixable, but in the 13 years I've had it, no technician was able to bring it to "life". Before making a decision, you could find another Winter piano in an used store and play it to see if you like it. Play other pianos as well, and then you'll be better able to make a decision. Good luck!

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#1489599 - 08/06/10 03:23 PM Re: Winter & Co. NY piano - I need a 2nd opinion [Re: KMPianist]  
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beasleylou Offline
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beasleylou  Offline
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I was in a near identical situation. Different piano, but there were plastic parts and a mother in law involved.

After checking around, I came to the conclusion that the only economical way it could be saved was if I did the work myself.

In my case, the only concern was crystallized plastic hammer butt flanges and whippen flanges. The rest of it was in decent shape. If I had found plastic jacks or jack flanges, the piano would most likely be at the dump right now.

So, if you are serious about saving this, you should probably take an inventory of the plastic parts. Then if it's not too bad (i.e. only flanges) and you are mechanically inclined and extremely patient, you could buy some parts and give it a try.

In my case I spent around $300 on two sets of flanges, pins and the tools required to do the work. The flanges come with pins, but they will most likely be too small. I started with one set of flanges, replacing the broken and sticky ones and most of those in the middle section to see how it would go. I then played it hard for about 6 weeks to make sure it was worth putting any more money into it. It was working and sounding good, so I recently completed the job and put some additional money into replacing felts, etc.

There is a very good book by Reblitz that you will want to read if you are serious about doing this work yourself. The learning curve is a steep, but there is so much repetition involved that by the end you actually get pretty efficient.

#1489661 - 08/06/10 04:19 PM Re: Winter & Co. NY piano - I need a 2nd opinion [Re: KMPianist]  
Joined: Jun 2004
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Rockville, MD
Originally Posted by KMPianist
I recently inherited a Winter & Company NY piano from my mother-in-law. The serial number dates it somewhere between 1946 & 1953. It's a beautiful piano, but not in the best shape on the inside. Numerous keys are broken & won't play and others stick. I had someone out to fix & tune it and they told me that the repairs would cost far more than purchasing a new piano. They said that if I fixed it, it would probably end up breaking again because the plastic used in this model was poor plastic. I'm not sure what to do. I love to play the piano, but the broken keys are driving me crazy.

Should I invest the money to fix it? Any advice?

If your inherited piano were a car, it would be a Ford Pinto or a Chevy Vega, not a vintage Cadillac or Lincoln Continental. Assume the cost of restoration to be about the same price as a new Hyundai Accent or similar vehicle - or even a used car in good condition of higher quality than the Accent.

What would you do?

I believe that the same logic applies to your Winter piano decision, at least the rational part of it.

And then there's the emotional side of the decision. All this rational advice goes out the window if the piano has special meaning for you or your significant other, because you inherited it from your mother-in-law, presumably deceased.

I suggest paying your technician, or possibly a different technician, for a detailed estimate to restore the instrument. Get some options: from repairs to make the instrument usable up through a complete restoration. Once you have those numbers you can make an informed decision.


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
Rockville, MD USA
www.AndrewKraus.com
www.YouTube.com/RockvillePianoGuy
Twitter at @IAmAPianist

1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")

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