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#1654281 - 04/04/11 12:33 PM 1976 Era Kimball  
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 127
nwpiano Offline
Full Member
nwpiano  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 127
Oregon
There is a 1976 era 6'7" Kimball in my area being sold by an original owner. I am not shopping for myself, but was asked to provide a friend with some suggestions on purchasing a piano for her grand daughter. She knows nothing about pianos. I of course would never purchase an instrument without having the grand daughter play the instrument, but am simply trying to provide this individual with a good list of prospective instruments as they don't know the difference between a Bosendorfer and Suzuki. Are Kimball's of that era built well? If this is an instrument worth considering I would have a technician go over the piano thoroughly. Would this instrument have the Shwanger (sorry probably mispelled) action? The piano is listed for $4995.

Thanks,
Craig


Craig
2010 Young Chang YP-208 (Church)
Rebuilt 1919 6'2" Conover 88 (Home)
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#1654330 - 04/04/11 01:49 PM Re: 1976 Era Kimball [Re: nwpiano]  
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 81
TGG Offline
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TGG  Offline
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Joined: May 2004
Posts: 81
Houston
Dear NW Piano,

It dates me, but I bought one of the smaller Kimball grands when I was in college in 1975. It had a, I think it is spelled "Schwander," action, and played very nicely. Nice tone, and very basic cabinet. It was all I could ask for for quite a long time. Think I kept it and carried it around the country, until 2001. Tough little bugger. My buddies and I used to wrap it in blankets, take the legs and pedals off and move it around Billings, Mont., in the back of my pickup.

Ah, but I wax nostalgic. I believe that, in those days, Kimball was being made in the USA, the materials were good. It was never more than a mass produced consumer instrument, but it certainly was a pleasure to play for a long time.

Because it was never no Steinway, the Kimball you're talking about could be quite nice, or junk, depending on how it has been maintained. I would think that a 35 year old Kimball would be near the end of its productive life if it has been played a lot, and not really a candidate for very extensive rebuilding work. If it has truly been sitting in one living room for those 35 years, got tuned at least annually, wasn't played much and hasn't been moved around, it could be a diamond in the rough. Best of luck with it. TGG

#1654724 - 04/04/11 11:36 PM Re: 1976 Era Kimball [Re: nwpiano]  
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,521
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member
Del  Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,521
Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted by nwpiano
There is a 1976 era 6'7" Kimball in my area being sold by an original owner. I am not shopping for myself, but was asked to provide a friend with some suggestions on purchasing a piano for her granddaughter. She knows nothing about pianos. I of course would never purchase an instrument without having the granddaughter play the instrument, but am simply trying to provide this individual with a good list of prospective instruments as they don't know the difference between a Bosendorfer and Suzuki. Are Kimball's of that era built well? If this is an instrument worth considering I would have a technician go over the piano thoroughly. Would this instrument have the Shwanger (sorry probably mispelled) action? The piano is listed for $4995.

Kimball pianos of that period were structurally well-made. Their cosmetics and detailing were a bit rough. They used a variety of different soundboard designs. I have a similar piano for sale—1979 “Art-case” oak cabinet—with a laminated soundboard. No matter what the weather nothing is going to happen to that board! I’ve seen others from around the same period with solid spruce boards. A technician can tell. I wouldn’t worry about either one; especially if the piano has been in the NW throughout its life.

A good technician can also tell you what the action is like. I just recently wrote this about a similar piano:
The Kimball might be a decent piano but find out what, if anything, has been done to the action. Kimball’s used English-built Schwander actions which can be quite nice but Kimball tended to use the version with wippen assist springs and very little—sometimes no—key leading. These actions worked well but did feel a bit odd if one was used to a more typical amount of key inertia. When we get one of these pianos in that we are going to resell we reduce the tension of this spring to just balance the wippen and then add key leads to the front of the keys to give the action an averaged downweight of 52—48 grams (bass to treble). This gives the action a more normal touch and feel. It’s not essential that this work be done—the action will be reliable without it—but it does feel some better to most pianists.

If the piano is as described—and a competent technician gives it a clean bill of health—the price is fair for this area.

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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