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Schumann Small Grand #1951650
08/30/12 06:08 PM
08/30/12 06:08 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 91
Tampa, FL
M
MacDan Offline OP
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MacDan  Offline OP
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Joined: Apr 2006
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Tampa, FL
Long time lurker, hopefully a soon to be owner...

I have an opportunity to get for the cost of moving a Schumann small or possibly baby grand piano. As one might expect, I have a lot of questions, so I'll keep it to a minimum to start:

I am going to assume that this is a Asian Schumann, as I suspect it is no more than 20-30 years old at the most. It is white with (believe it or not) a custom made matching finish "drink rail" around the case.

It currently resides in it's original location, which is a hotel that is currently being renovated after being more or less abandoned for the last 5-6 years.

With that in mind, it has not been in a climate controlled environment, but it has not been exposed to the elements, either. From the people at the site I am told none of the strings appear to be damaged, and other than a thick layer of dust and a small amount of wear on the case, it is intact, playable, but out of tune.

I have seen a few pictures and the keys are level and undamaged. It also appears to have some sort of piano disc system on it as well.

I am not a piano restorer by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have many years of furniture and cabinet making experience. Dealing with the case and finish will be the easy part for me. I am also very mechanically inclined, and willing to take on whatever repairs might be necessary short of replacing major components, which would make this a deal breaker if necessary anyway.

I know to inspect major components like the soundboard and pin block, and can remove the action for inspection without damaging it.

Considering the items above, and that I can probably pick this up (figuratively) for the cost of moving it, which would be around $250 using a highly rated piano mover in the area, should I pursue this?

I am figuring that without any major issues that this could be a good instrument for me to begin my lessons on, considering the minimal amount I might have invested after a good tuning and adjustment. I know the Asian pianos of this vintage aren't the greatest, but considering what little I have in it, I'm think it's worth pursuing.

I am going to inspect the instrument tomorrow morning in detail, and will report my findings for further scrutiny.

Thanks to all in advance,

Dan

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Re: Schumann Small Grand [Re: MacDan] #1951652
08/30/12 06:11 PM
08/30/12 06:11 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 10,933
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Steve Cohen Offline
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Steve Cohen  Offline
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Run. Run fast. Run far.


Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
Re: Schumann Small Grand [Re: Steve Cohen] #1951673
08/30/12 07:02 PM
08/30/12 07:02 PM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 2,705
USA
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gnuboi Offline
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
Run. Run fast. Run far.


Away from it?

It's a free piano in decent shape... It's no Sauter baby grand (pretty!) but at least it's better than anything electronic or not for $1000 yea?

Re: Schumann Small Grand [Re: Steve Cohen] #1951674
08/30/12 07:02 PM
08/30/12 07:02 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,034
San Francisco Bay Area
master88er Offline
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master88er  Offline
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San Francisco Bay Area
Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
Run. Run fast. Run far.


Why should he run? Perhaps he is in desperate need of firewood!


Russell I. Kassman
R.KASSMAN, Purveyor of Fine Pianos
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Re: Schumann Small Grand [Re: master88er] #1951690
08/30/12 07:42 PM
08/30/12 07:42 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 91
Tampa, FL
M
MacDan Offline OP
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Joined: Apr 2006
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Tampa, FL
I expected this sort of response, but I also expected that people with experience in these areas would substantiate their comments with some sort of specific reasons, rather than vague generalizations.

That is the whole reason why I asked...sort of a waste of time to be asking if no one wants to back up the reasoning behind their statements. I expected a lot more from what I thought were professionals and/or people accomplished in this area.


Re: Schumann Small Grand [Re: MacDan] #1951717
08/30/12 08:42 PM
08/30/12 08:42 PM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 149
TX
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ventil Offline
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Originally Posted by MacDan
I am figuring that without any major issues that this could be a good instrument for me to begin my lessons on

Dan,

I am not a professional pianist or tech, but maybe I can help you think through this. It sounds like you are a beginner, so my comments are based on that assumption, and the assumption there are no major, deal-breaking problems with the Schumann.

Regardless, of the piano's original quality, it's history and poor environment the last few years, mean you should consider this only a temporary solution.

OTOH, if you are a more advanced player, or are planning on this purchase being a long-term solution, it might be best to pass.

So let's say you intend to keep it only two years. If you spend $1200 during that time for initial moving plus tunings and minor repairs, that's only $50/mo for a real piano action to learn on. You can use that time, and your developing piano skills to play good pianos to get a feel for what good pianos are, what you like, and can afford.

Hope this helps.


David M. Boothe, CAS
Re: Schumann Small Grand [Re: MacDan] #1951720
08/30/12 08:51 PM
08/30/12 08:51 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 7,439
Rochester MN
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014
Minnesota Marty  Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014

Joined: May 2012
Posts: 7,439
Rochester MN
MacDan,

Since you are new here, you probably haven't figured that you have just tossed off the opinions of two of the most respected professionals in the biz. This forum receives constant requests which are virtually the same as yours.

You clearly state that you are speculating on so many issues. How can anyone give any substantial advice on a "free" piano? Since you admit to lurking for a "long time," you got what you expected in your own words. Why should you expect or demand more?


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: Schumann Small Grand [Re: ventil] #1951724
08/30/12 08:57 PM
08/30/12 08:57 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 91
Tampa, FL
M
MacDan Offline OP
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MacDan  Offline OP
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Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 91
Tampa, FL
Originally Posted by ventil
Originally Posted by MacDan
I am figuring that without any major issues that this could be a good instrument for me to begin my lessons on

Dan,

I am not a professional pianist or tech, but maybe I can help you think through this. It sounds like you are a beginner, so my comments are based on that assumption, and the assumption there are no major, deal-breaking problems with the Schumann.

Regardless, of the piano's original quality, it's history and poor environment the last few years, mean you should consider this only a temporary solution.

OTOH, if you are a more advanced player, or are planning on this purchase being a long-term solution, it might be best to pass.

So let's say you intend to keep it only two years. If you spend $1200 during that time for initial moving plus tunings and minor repairs, that's only $50/mo for a real piano action to learn on. You can use that time, and your developing piano skills to play good pianos to get a feel for what good pianos are, what you like, and can afford.

Hope this helps.


Yes, it does, and I very much appreciate your response as opposed to the "run away as if your hair was on fire" folks that have commented so far.

Without going into a lengthy explanation, I was the youngest of three, and due to my older sibling's lack of persistence with anything remotely musical, when it was my turn the parents pretty much passed. I went through two different Magnus chord organs as a young child, but the parents just wouldn't let me make the jump to a "real" keyboard instrument.

I was a voice major in school, so I have a good foundational knowledge when it comes to reading music, etc.

After many years I finally have the time and limited resources to pursue this bucket list item. I have worked out a barter system for lessons from a very well respected teacher of adult students in the area, so now I am attempting to locate a decent instrument to play.

I work for a school district, so that may give you some idea of my budgetary limitations. As a result of this, and with the assistance of many music teachers in my district, I have been searching for an instrument that I can acquire for limited funds that may potentially need minor, ideally cosmetic, repairs.

I have had a copy of the Reblitz book on servicing, tuning and rebuilding for several years and have pretty much absorbed every bit of it. I have no unrealistic expectations - I fully plan on employing the services of a professional technician to tune and adjust whatever instrument I end up with. I am not about to undertake something like a restringing as neophyte.

Yes, this is an inexpensive acquisition if it works out, but even with some money spent to make it a passable instrument will go a long way in helping me to achieve what I have wanted for many years - to learn to play. Will it be ideal? I don't expect so. However, it will give me the opportunity to get started, use and work on an instrument I can potentially mess up or make mistakes with without fear of a significant loss or expense.

Again, thank you for your constructive comments.

Dan

Re: Schumann Small Grand [Re: Minnesota Marty] #1951731
08/30/12 09:04 PM
08/30/12 09:04 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 91
Tampa, FL
M
MacDan Offline OP
Full Member
MacDan  Offline OP
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Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 91
Tampa, FL
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
MacDan,

Since you are new here, you probably haven't figured that you have just tossed off the opinions of two of the most respected professionals in the biz. This forum receives constant requests which are virtually the same as yours.

You clearly state that you are speculating on so many issues. How can anyone give any substantial advice on a "free" piano? Since you admit to lurking for a "long time," you got what you expected in your own words. Why should you expect or demand more?


For what it's worth, I have been here for several years and am aware of who responded to my original post.

I am not demanding a thing - I was hoping for some constructive comments, positive or negative.

I wasn't expecting substantial advice, just some direction. If that is "avoid an instrument like this because...." it would have been far more helpful than suggestions that it is suitable for firewood, which may very well be the case.

I am a highly regarded professional in my line of work. If I was asked for general advice by someone who was truly interested in my professional opinion, I would do my best to offer that advice with some substance.

I was just taken aback a bit by their responses, that's all. Not what I would expect from a professional in any discipline. I guess I just have higher standards.

Re: Schumann Small Grand [Re: MacDan] #1951733
08/30/12 09:09 PM
08/30/12 09:09 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,623
Philadelphia area
D
Dave B Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Dave B  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,623
Philadelphia area
The fact that it's free should tell you enough. If you need more info, hire a tech to evaluate it's condition.


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
Re: Schumann Small Grand [Re: MacDan] #1951734
08/30/12 09:09 PM
08/30/12 09:09 PM
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 149
TX
V
ventil Offline
Full Member
ventil  Offline
Full Member
V
Joined: Dec 2011
Posts: 149
TX
Well, it sounds like you answered your own question.

IMHO, it is better to learn on a real piano action, even a less-than-ideal one, than on a DP. With the physicality of something like piano technique, it's better to move all those parts, overcoming the friction, learning the control, etc. Digitals, even good ones, just don't seem to respond the same.


David M. Boothe, CAS
Re: Schumann Small Grand [Re: Dave B] #1951741
08/30/12 09:19 PM
08/30/12 09:19 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 91
Tampa, FL
M
MacDan Offline OP
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Tampa, FL
Exactly.

It's free because I know the site superintendent, who has been charged with clearing the building of its contents before they begin demolition of the interior.

He has called around to some local piano stores and techs who showed little or no interest, then heard I was looking for a piano, so he called me. His employer has no interest in trying to profit from the contents of the building, so I am actually providing a service to them by removing it.

I will give it a thorough inspection with photos that a trusted technician will review before we decide to have him make the trip, as it's about 45 minutes away. Realizing that photographs won't go far to assess many aspects of the instrument's condition, if I don't find any significant problems I will probably have him go and inspect it, or someone in the immediate area he recommends.

Thank you!

Dan

Re: Schumann Small Grand [Re: MacDan] #1951981
08/31/12 09:42 AM
08/31/12 09:42 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 10,933
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Steve Cohen Offline
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Dan,

I'm sorry that I didn't give you a more detailed response but sometimes I just don't have time for lengthy posting. In this case, I didn't have much time but felt that you needed to be alerted to the overwhelming likelihood that acquiring this piano with the hope of its serving your stated needs would be a big mistake.

My thinking is based on a number of factors. The Asian-made Schumanns were horrible pianos when they came out of the crate. They were structurally unstable and built with the cheapest parts and poor workmanship. This particular pianos served as a piano bar which is probably the worst use a piano can have. It also sat in an abandoned building without any environmental control for 5 years.

In my experience getting a piano such as this into decent playing condition would likely take a good tech days . The fact that you are considering doing the work yourself made the scenaio bleaker. I see better values on Craigslist every day.

My advice is run, run fast, and run far.


Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
Re: Schumann Small Grand [Re: MacDan] #1951993
08/31/12 10:08 AM
08/31/12 10:08 AM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,042
Georgia, USA
Rickster Offline
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Well, Steve, at least it is not a Tokai... that's something positive, isn't it? grin

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Schumann Small Grand [Re: Steve Cohen] #1952176
08/31/12 04:54 PM
08/31/12 04:54 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 91
Tampa, FL
M
MacDan Offline OP
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MacDan  Offline OP
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Joined: Apr 2006
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Tampa, FL
Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
Dan,

I'm sorry that I didn't give you a more detailed response but sometimes I just don't have time for lengthy posting. In this case, I didn't have much time but felt that you needed to be alerted to the overwhelming likelihood that acquiring this piano with the hope of its serving your stated needs would be a big mistake.

My thinking is based on a number of factors. The Asian-made Schumanns were horrible pianos when they came out of the crate. They were structurally unstable and built with the cheapest parts and poor workmanship. This particular pianos served as a piano bar which is probably the worst use a piano can have. It also sat in an abandoned building without any environmental control for 5 years.

In my experience getting a piano such as this into decent playing condition would likely take a good tech days . The fact that you are considering doing the work yourself made the scenaio bleaker. I see better values on Craigslist every day.

My advice is run, run fast, and run far.


Steve, I applaud you for your response! That is exactly what I was looking for. My deepest thanks for your time and willingness to expound on the earlier comments.

For what it's worth, my expectations were very, very low, as I live in Florida, and knowing what the climate can do to anything made of wood (I am a furniture builder, among other things) I fully expected this instrument to be not much better than kindling.

And I was correct, as were others who commented thusly.

I saw the piano this morning, and within a few seconds was able to assess its condition. To suggest that it was suitable for firewood was an understatement.

The strings were rusted, the harp or plate was rusting to the point of flaking in large pieces, etc., etc.

While I didn't really expect to find something spectacular by any means, it was a sad sight to see even what was once a decent instrument in this sort of condition.

I told the contractor that is performing the restoration of this hotel that he might as well have his demolition crew take it out in pieces, as there was nothing salvageable. Its only value was in scrap, for sure.

<sigh>

I'll continue my search for a starter piano that needs some TLC - time is on my side.

I just missed a Harold Waters baby grand that was close to my home, but that might not have been much better based on the pictures....

Again, thank you for your time and effort. It is appreciated!

Dan


Re: Schumann Small Grand [Re: MacDan] #1952189
08/31/12 05:14 PM
08/31/12 05:14 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 349
TX
R
RickG1 Offline
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Mac Dan,
When Steve Cohen and Russell Kassman talk, most of us listen. Here is hoping you find something that will meet your needs in your price range.


Mason-Hamlin "A" and Schlicker 2 manual and pedal pipe organ
Re: Schumann Small Grand [Re: MacDan] #1952191
08/31/12 05:17 PM
08/31/12 05:17 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 7,439
Rochester MN
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014
Minnesota Marty  Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014

Joined: May 2012
Posts: 7,439
Rochester MN
Oops - Wrong Thread!

Sorry

Last edited by Minnesota Marty; 08/31/12 05:19 PM.

Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: Schumann Small Grand [Re: RickG1] #1952198
08/31/12 05:25 PM
08/31/12 05:25 PM
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 91
Tampa, FL
M
MacDan Offline OP
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Tampa, FL
Originally Posted by RickG1
Mac Dan,
When Steve Cohen and Russell Kassman talk, most of us listen. Here is hoping you find something that will meet your needs in your price range.


Understood. I already have a couple of additional prospects to look at tomorrow, both of which I will be posting about shortly.

Thank you,

Dan

Re: Schumann Small Grand [Re: MacDan] #1952226
08/31/12 06:02 PM
08/31/12 06:02 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,042
Georgia, USA
Rickster Offline
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Georgia, USA
Don't tell Steve Cohen he was right... his head is big enough already. grin (Just kidding, Steve smile )

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Schumann Small Grand [Re: MacDan] #1952250
08/31/12 06:35 PM
08/31/12 06:35 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 10,933
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Steve Cohen Offline
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I appreciate the expressions of confidence in my postings. It is my intention to help where I can, as it puts my experience to its highest and best use.




Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

Moderated by  Ken Knapp, Piano World 

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