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#2038420 - 02/24/13 01:42 PM Small cracks in soundboard  
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Miguel Rey Offline
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Well after a 3 month journey researching the best action possible for a DP i've come to the realization that It may be better to just get an actual grand piano, especially after factoring in the costs of some of the high end DPs and that never ending search for that true acoustic GP sound. I figure whatever DP I get now will never satisfy me and will end up paying more on DP's over my lifetime.

Looking at a 1907 Mason Hamlin AA ($5,700 USD) and the dealer states there are "a couple small cracks on sound bard " & refurbished in 2013. They say that the cracks do not affect the sound. Will these cracks get larger ? Any long term issues I should be aware of?




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#2038423 - 02/24/13 01:52 PM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Supply Offline
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What is the history of the piano? If the piano moved from a more humid area than where you live (which I take it is very dry?), it is quite likely that the cracks will get larger.

#2038436 - 02/24/13 02:17 PM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Miguel Rey Offline
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Piano is in Wisconsin and I live close to the Ocean, Southern California type climate. Average temp 64F w/humidity 68%. Given the low cost of the piano would it be worth replacing sound board?




#2038462 - 02/24/13 03:02 PM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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The cracks may or may not get larger, but they probably do not and will not affect the sound any time in the immediate future. But for $5700, you can bet that there was not much "refurbishment" done.


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#2038586 - 02/24/13 06:30 PM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Supply Offline
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Quote
Piano is in Wisconsin and I live close to the Ocean, Southern California
Are you seriously considering buying this piano sight unseen? Would you do that with a "refurbished" used car? I wouldn't.

#2038601 - 02/24/13 06:50 PM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: Supply]  
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Blues beater Offline
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Austin, Texas USA
Originally Posted by Supply
Quote
Piano is in Wisconsin and I live close to the Ocean, Southern California
Are you seriously considering buying this piano sight unseen? Would you do that with a "refurbished" used car? I wouldn't.


Well I am an amateur blues piano player, an amateur repairer of old upright pianos and a professional in the automotive repair business for 35 years -- have my own shop. I got a "free" piano and after $180 to get it moved and a trip charge from an excellent tuner/tech, the piano tech gave me quite an education on what was wrong with it. Separated pinblock, rib/soundboard separations, gap on the bass bridge, etc. etc. I felt just like one of my customers who proudly brings in a used car for a checkup AFTER the title is transferred! smile smile Yes, that happens on a regular basis and typically results in awkward and painful discussions. In the case of this piano it worked out because I salvaged a lot of working pieces from the action to use in two other pianos and gave the remains to a hippie artist who "deconstructs" old pianos. He was impressed with the beautiful tiger oak panels. But for $5700?? I would hop on a plane and meet a well-respected local tech before handing over a nickel!


Don, playing the blues in Austin, Texas on a 48" family heirloom Steinway upright, 100 year old 54" Weber upright, unknown make turn of the century 54" upright -- says "Whittier NY" on the plate, Starr, ca. 100 years old full size upright.
#2038640 - 02/24/13 08:01 PM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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RPD Offline
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You could find somebody you trust and save the plane fare...if in WI I'd try for Bill Bremmer out of Madison or ask him to refer you to somebody. We do appraisals all the time for clients before they write a big check...especially regarding cracks or value questions...

If price works for you but for the crack issue, coming to the piano won't cause you to be any better informed since the cracks were already disclosed. My advice: hire a tech for a good look.


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#2038645 - 02/24/13 08:15 PM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Contacting Bill Bremmer is an excellent idea. He hasn't been around PW in awhile, so you might contact him through his website.

http://www.billbremmer.com/


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2038701 - 02/24/13 10:56 PM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: Supply]  
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Miguel Rey Offline
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unfortunately I have no choice to do my location. There is also a huge selection of pianos to choose from throughout the country as opposed to just one city. Fortunately I have found a piano technician through a referral from the local symphony who does work cross border and has plenty of references just in case I do need to have some work done and for regular tunings.

Thank you the rest of you guys for the advice.

Last edited by Miguel Rey; 02/25/13 12:07 AM.



#2038706 - 02/24/13 11:06 PM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: RPD]  
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Austin, Texas USA
Originally Posted by RPD
You could find somebody you trust and save the plane fare...


However good the piano, purpose of the plane fare would be to make sure it is to the purchaser's taste.

I own an automotive repair shop. I tell somebody buying a car it doesn't make a rat's ass what I have to say about the condition or known reliability of the model, etc. etc., if the prospective buyer don't feel comfortable sitting in it.

What do the piano professionals think? Can you feel confident someone will like the feel and sound of a piano based only on model and condition reported from afar however expert the appraiser? I would subject the piano to my meager blues-beating talent before spending $5700 on it.


Don, playing the blues in Austin, Texas on a 48" family heirloom Steinway upright, 100 year old 54" Weber upright, unknown make turn of the century 54" upright -- says "Whittier NY" on the plate, Starr, ca. 100 years old full size upright.
#2038729 - 02/24/13 11:59 PM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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I think what folks are basically trying to say is if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. It seems like $5700 would be a phenomenal prices for a restored M&H AA. Since the restoration itself would probably cost $10-20,000, and a rebuildable core probably has a value of $6-10k, prices on rebuilt AAs seem to run $20-30,000+.

Based on that you can probably assume that at that price the value of the "refurbishment" is probably negligible. They probably got a good deal on a (hopefully) solid unrestored piano and probably just mostly cleaned it up hoping to turn it around for a quick profit. It may be playable, but at that age pretty much everything is going to need major work to play/sound like it should. In other words, the small cracks in the sound board are probably the least of your worries.

If you are serious I would certainly get a good tech out there to check it out, and give you an estimate on what it needs to be brought up to spec. Given the potential cost of the purchase, shipping, plus whatever work its going to need I would definitely think the cost of a plane ticket to check it out in person and see if you actually like the way it sounds and feels (or at least see the potential for what it could play/sounds like) would be a small price to pay. Another consideration is whether you are confident there is someone local capable of doing whatever work it will need vs. having it done in the US before you ship it south.

Best of Luck,
Rob

Last edited by miscrms; 02/25/13 12:00 AM.
#2038864 - 02/25/13 07:39 AM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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I strangely see more and more second hand German vertical (mostly) sold via Internet from professional to some buyer.

this is due to the relatively rare German piano on the local market.

Most "less than 10-12 years" reputable model are limiting a little the risk, it also works because the buyer does not always know the cost of a prep on a recent piano. (6-12 hours)

For an older piano, a visit from a tech is necessary at last.

Last edited by Olek; 02/25/13 07:39 AM.

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#2039020 - 02/25/13 02:23 PM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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daniokeeper Offline
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You might want to ask the seller for some photos (which you may want to post here) of the piano. Maybe some shots of the soundboard/strings, bridges, action with the hammers up, action with the hammers down, etc.

Since it was rebuilt or refurbished, ask for an itemized list of exactly what was done. Maybe ask for the contact info for the tech that did the job, too.

Edit: Ask if the dealer or the tech has any sort of warranty on either the instrument or the work done.

Also, ask if the piano is currently tuned to A = 440.

Edit: One other thing... You will be buying this piano without playing it at all. It may be a great instrument, but it may be a great instrument for someone else. Not all pianos speak to all pianists.

I always advise folks to not worry so much about brands; buy the piano that speaks to you. You don't want to buy a piano that is technically perfect, but that just doesn't reach you for whatever reason.

Best of luck! smile

Last edited by daniokeeper; 02/25/13 02:33 PM.

Joe Gumbosky
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#2039047 - 02/25/13 03:09 PM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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RPD Offline
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Yeah, tech first...then plane ride of it passes muster technically.


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#2039055 - 02/25/13 03:22 PM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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If restoring a piano will make it sound great, then why not "restore" any junky piano and it will be great. What I am getting at is this, is a restored piano really as good as the original? So much work has been done it might as well be a new piano from a different maker. I see people "restoring" Steinway pianos, I don't consider those to be real Steinways. Only a factory restoration could satisfy me. I feel you are better off using the money you would have spent on a restored piano to buy a new piano.


Casio Privia PX-150

#2039073 - 02/25/13 03:46 PM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Miguel Rey Offline
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Asked the dealer for specifics which they didnt send or even address in my first email so I dont think I will chance it based on their lack of detailed response.

I have found a model A , actually the model that really fits perfectly but also has a single crack that was repaired. I have attached a link

pics

1913 model A - asking 9K
"refurbished in 08"
pinblock, pins, strings, felts, Renner action, trap work, satin finish, hardware polishing, plate refinished, original refinished keytops




#2039294 - 02/25/13 10:08 PM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Supply Offline
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The damper felts look a bit wonky, but who knows? It could be an amazing instrument. You just don't know until you play it in person. At least I wouldn't be able to tell from some internet pictures.

#2039863 - 02/26/13 10:06 PM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Miguel, nobody can tell you what to do, in the end, you're the one spending the money so you get to decide what's best for you. I will give you a little scenario, hope this will help you. Last year I purchased an older piano from across the country, never saw it, never played it, however, the seller was always willing to send me as many pictures and videos as I requested. The first thing I did was team up with a piano tech, he's a good friend and was able to give me insights on what I should ask, look for, etc. He also suggested for me to have a local (to that area) piano tech go and inspect the instrument and provide a report. In the end, it was a really good deal and I decided to buy the piano, fortunately for me, I'm in love with my piano and very happy I decided to buy it. Do whatever feels right for you.

#2040059 - 02/27/13 10:42 AM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Miguel Rey Offline
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Thanks Jorge for that advice. I'm checking all my options including contacting a couple more ocal techs in the Southern California area with my requirements and what I'm willing to pay, hopefully something from a local tech will pop up. That would help with shipping costs. As it seems now I'm looking at an additional 2500 dlls just for shipping if I buy one across the country, but who knows in the end that may still be the best option.




#2040841 - 02/28/13 04:10 PM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: Miguel Rey]  
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Are you importing the piano from USA to Mexico? Your profile says "Baja California", if so, you may need to include duties on your price, you might be better off buying inside of Mexico, even if the price is slightly higher.

#2041083 - 03/01/13 12:01 AM Re: Small cracks in soundboard [Re: Jorge Andrade]  
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Yes I am but fortunately I am in the business of import/export so those extra cost will be minimal.






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