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#2101012 - 06/11/13 04:05 PM Yamaha piano lifespan  
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Gesualdo Offline
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Hello all,

I keep reading that Yamaha pianos only have about a 30 year life span. What does that mean exactly? Does it mean they are completely trashed after that, or does it mean they'll need some major work and part replacement? I know a well maintained Steinway can last for many generations. What is so different about the manufacture of Yamaha pianos that makes them age so differently?

Last question: do you agree with the idea that they only have a 30 year lifespan?

Thanks,

Mike


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#2101028 - 06/11/13 04:40 PM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Gesualdo]  
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Many of us have played Yamaha's in college practice rooms and other places. Those are old pianos and they have been rode hard and put up wet, for a long time. I think any piano is going to be end-of-life after 30 years of that, unless it gets really consistent expert maintenance.

#2101058 - 06/11/13 05:21 PM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Gesualdo]  
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Don't know if this helps or not, but I honestly thought my 1978 model Yamaha C7 had been rebuilt at some point in its life when I bought it from a church about 3 years ago. The officials at the church did not know a lot about the history of it, other than it was acquired pre-owned back in the early 1990's. I figured they had bought it freshly rebuild.

What made me think this? The paint on the plate looked vibrant and bold, like it was not that old. The red string felt under the strings looked bright and newish. The strings were not rusty and were shiny. The varnish on the sound board looked good and fresh. The hammers had some wear, but not that bad. However, the piano did have a few broken bass strings from use and neglect.

My amateurish opinion was that it had indeed been rebuilt in the past.

I was totally shocked when a well known concert piano tech looked at it recently and said it was all original and had not been rebuilt.

So, do Yamaha’s last more than 30 years? Well it depends on a lot of variables, but I would say so...

Good luck,

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#2101152 - 06/11/13 08:13 PM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Gesualdo]  
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musicpassion Offline
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Any piano's lifespan is very related to the workload and maintenance it receives.

I certainly don't agree with a blanket statement that a Yamaha can only last 30 years. I've played a Yamaha piano older than 30 years that was fine. So the statement is proved false quite easily.

But is there any underlying truth? In my experience Yamaha does not endure heavy use for prolonged periods as well as a higher end piano, such as a Mason and Hamlin or Steinway.

By the way, the whole "Steinway is a piano for future generations" sounds like marketing hype. Don't get caught up in Steinway marketing hype. They make a quality piano, but I've played 10 year old Steinways in music departments that were very beat up.


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#2101158 - 06/11/13 08:24 PM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Gesualdo]  
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It would be interesting to know the wear and tear on the four S&S-D's used at the Cliburn Competition. Some of the contestants seem to think it was the Clobber Competition.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2101168 - 06/11/13 08:32 PM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
It would be interesting to know the wear and tear on the four S&S-D's used at the Cliburn Competition. Some of the contestants seem to think it was the Clobber Competition.

Great one - thanks! I wonder if the pianos did suffer... shouldn't there be some kind of Piano Humane Society or something...


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#2101171 - 06/11/13 08:35 PM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: musicpassion]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Originally Posted by musicpassion
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
It would be interesting to know the wear and tear on the four S&S-D's used at the Cliburn Competition. Some of the contestants seem to think it was the Clobber Competition.

Great one - thanks! I wonder if the pianos did suffer... shouldn't there be some kind of Piano Humane Society or something...

There was a large fleet of piano technicians, but there certainly was no time for anything major.

Yes, a Yamaha can live well past 30 years. It all depends on its usage, care, and environment.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2101215 - 06/11/13 09:46 PM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Gesualdo]  
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I think any new piano today, if not abused, kept in a good environment, and regularly maintained will last for 30 years without significant problems. These same pianos could also "last for generations" with replacement of parts and eventual rebuilding, but the economics of investing significant repair dollars would preclude that from happening in most cases.

By the same token, I've seen a "built for generations" type piano that needed pinblock replacement, action replacement, and restringing at just 15 years old. It was used regularly as the only piano in a small concert hall for dress rehearsals and performances, and kept in an environment with substandard temperature and humidity control.


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#2101247 - 06/11/13 11:08 PM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Gesualdo]  
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Any piano, including Steinway, will require extensive work at 30 years old. Yamahas can be rebuilt just as well as any other quality piano.

#2101262 - 06/12/13 12:09 AM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: beethoven986]  
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Originally Posted by beethoven986
Any piano, including Steinway, will require extensive work at 30 years old. Yamahas can be rebuilt just as well as any other quality piano.


Perhaps not, if the piano has received appropriate service during those 30 years.


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#2101263 - 06/12/13 12:21 AM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Gesualdo]  
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Thinking best to answer such question is the dealer for the make as well as technicians/rebuilders in area.

Chances are dealer saying "no" trying to sell you a new piano, rebuilder ????

Brace yourself for very different answers.

Instead of asking "how long piano will last" you may be more interested to concern yourself how you will enjoy it after work is actually done. Plus the cost of things..

Thinking another 30 years cycle being somewhat on the short, not exactly ideal side...

Norbert

Last edited by Norbert; 06/12/13 12:25 AM.

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#2101277 - 06/12/13 12:49 AM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Gesualdo]  
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It also depends on the model. If we are talking about a Yamaha U1, throwing a bunch of money at it would not be a wise venture. Same goes for a 30 year old Steinway 1098.

If we were to consider a Yamaha C7 C6 C5 that is beginning to show its age you can get another life out of them without breaking the bank.
We do many of these with fantastic results with customers spending far less than replacing them with the equivalent product by the same manufacture.

Resurface, re-pin and re-notch the bridges
Polish the soundboard or refinish the board
Clean/polish the plate and hardware
Agraffe work
Resurface the v'bar
Change the plate bushings
Change the under string cloth/felt
Install new strings and tuning pins


New dampers
New key bushings
New hammers and shanks
Some work to the key frame
Re & Re the pedal system
Regulation of the action
Reweigh the keys for a spectacular touch.





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#2101286 - 06/12/13 01:21 AM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: BDB]  
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Originally Posted by BDB
Originally Posted by beethoven986
Any piano, including Steinway, will require extensive work at 30 years old. Yamahas can be rebuilt just as well as any other quality piano.


Perhaps not, if the piano has received appropriate service during those 30 years.


Hello, BDB, or anyone who knows -

Can you give key examples of 'appropriate service', if not done, which would lead to extensive (vague term, I know) work at 30 years old? Assume for the sake of argument, that if any notes became unplayable for any reason, they would not be beat on, and that the temperature and relative humidity were ideal.

And, if the 'appropriate service' was not done over the course of the 30 years, would the cost of the alternative 'extensive work' after those 30 years be more or less than the cost of the 'appropriate service' done distributed over the course of the 30 years (assume zero inflation)?

Thank you!


Last edited by phacke; 06/12/13 01:24 AM.

phacke

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#2101299 - 06/12/13 02:25 AM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: phacke]  
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Originally Posted by phacke
Originally Posted by BDB
Originally Posted by beethoven986
Any piano, including Steinway, will require extensive work at 30 years old. Yamahas can be rebuilt just as well as any other quality piano.


Perhaps not, if the piano has received appropriate service during those 30 years.


Hello, BDB, or anyone who knows -

Can you give key examples of 'appropriate service', if not done, which would lead to extensive (vague term, I know) work at 30 years old? Assume for the sake of argument, that if any notes became unplayable for any reason, they would not be beat on, and that the temperature and relative humidity were ideal.

And, if the 'appropriate service' was not done over the course of the 30 years, would the cost of the alternative 'extensive work' after those 30 years be more or less than the cost of the 'appropriate service' done distributed over the course of the 30 years (assume zero inflation)?

Thank you!



New hammers are more or less certain if the piano was played regularly. Most action parts could probably be retained, but not without reconditioning (i.e. shank repining and knuckle replacement, etc.). Restringing with bridge, agraffe, and capo bar work would probably be beneficial, or even necessary, depending on the demands placed upon the piano. Depending on various factors, a new pin block, too, but maybe not. Soundboards would almost certainly be retained.

#2101311 - 06/12/13 03:00 AM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Gesualdo]  
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Hammers last a lot longer with appropriate voicing. Regulation gets better and better if it is touched up regularly. In general, you can adjust for the things that get older, but things that get worn, well, once you lose material, it does not come back. It needs to be replaced.

How long a piano lasts depends on a lot of things. When I got my piano, it was about 55 years old, having spent all that time mostly sitting in someone's living room. I spent a few days rebuilding the action, mostly by replacing all the felt in it, except the hammers. Then it was about 15 years before I had saved up enough money to have it refinished, at which time I replaced the strings. But in the interim, it played wonderfully and sounded very good. It sounds a bit better since it has been restrung and the hammers have been replaced.


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#2103031 - 06/15/13 07:43 PM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Gesualdo]  
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I have a 1984 C7 that has been in private hands with regular professional maintenance its entire life. While I enjoy playing it has had a pretty pampered life since 1995, I usually only play a few hours a week. Lack of maintenance, poor environment, and wear and tear are the real enemies of long piano life, like everything else mechanical. My Houston RPT with 40+ years experience told my wife "Don't ever sell it, it is magnificent", no guarantees I won't but it is pretty hard to beat. I have heard and believe the Yamaha C series and up are as well built for durability as any pianos made. Some people may not like the tone, but they are workhorses and properly maintained without abuse can definitely last more than 30 years.

#2103042 - 06/15/13 08:38 PM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Rod Verhnjak]  
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Originally Posted by Rod Verhnjak
It also depends on the model. If we are talking about a Yamaha U1, throwing a bunch of money at it would not be a wise venture. Same goes for a 30 year old Steinway 1098.

If we were to consider a Yamaha C7 C6 C5 that is beginning to show its age you can get another life out of them without breaking the bank.
We do many of these with fantastic results with customers spending far less than replacing them with the equivalent product by the same manufacture.

Resurface, re-pin and re-notch the bridges
Polish the soundboard or refinish the board
Clean/polish the plate and hardware
Agraffe work
Resurface the v'bar
Change the plate bushings
Change the under string cloth/felt
Install new strings and tuning pins


New dampers
New key bushings
New hammers and shanks
Some work to the key frame
Re & Re the pedal system
Regulation of the action
Reweigh the keys for a spectacular touch.


We have had the same work many times with the same results. (Although we rarely reweight the keys.)


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#2103219 - 06/16/13 08:52 AM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: phacke]  
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Originally Posted by phacke


And, if the 'appropriate service' was not done over the course of the 30 years, would the cost of the alternative 'extensive work' after those 30 years be more or less than the cost of the 'appropriate service' done distributed over the course of the 30 years (assume zero inflation)?


I don't think cost can be evaluated this way, unless you want to put a monetary figure on the "cost" of playing an unmaintained piano for 30 years.


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#2103258 - 06/16/13 10:46 AM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Gesualdo]  
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Hope you don't mind me weighing in with a related question.

I just tried out a 1964 G2. It has been owned by a piano teacher since new. She had the hammers, bass strings and pin block replaced 10 years ago. There was a couple of keys that stick. Something tells me that after reading these posts, this piano probably needs a lot more work to make it work really well. Am I right? Roughly what does it costs to start replacing bushings etc? Asking price is 6,000.00. There is an '87 G2 down the road for 8,000.00. Opinions?

Thanks

Wilf


#2103270 - 06/16/13 11:09 AM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Gesualdo]  
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Originally Posted by Wilf
Hope you don't mind me weighing in with a related question.

I just tried out a 1964 G2. It has been owned by a piano teacher since new. She had the hammers, bass strings and pin block replaced 10 years ago. There was a couple of keys that stick. Something tells me that after reading these posts, this piano probably needs a lot more work to make it work really well. Am I right? Roughly what does it costs to start replacing bushings etc? Asking price is 6,000.00. There is an '87 G2 down the road for 8,000.00. Opinions?

Thanks

Wilf

As I’ve learned a little about pianos, learning to play and to tune and service them, I’ve come to the conclusion that newer is usually better. I’ve also come to the conclusion that it is best to stick with the well-known, more reputable brands.

With that said, I’d take a closer look at the newer G2 and try to negotiate the price some. I’d also suggest having a qualified piano tech check out which ever one you decide to buy (before you buy).

Regarding the older G2, if they did indeed replace the pin-block, they should have replaced all the strings and not just the bass. Also, a sticky key is not a major issue, usually. Brand new pianos have problems with sticky keys… of all makes.

The Yamaha make is a solid brand, in my view; though there are other well-known, high quality makes out there that are just as solid (if not more so).

Good luck and keep us informed. smile

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
#2103309 - 06/16/13 12:38 PM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Gesualdo]  
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Pianos do not have an expiration date, just tendencies, anecdotal evidence and common concerns. I always think of Yamaha's G-series instruments as mid-level which makes the economics of rebuilding them questionable. Their C-series are worth(y of) a moderate amount of rebuilding. Why would that G2, an older, averaged sized instrument capture your attention over other choices? Even then, Yamaha was a fairly mass produced instrument, with many competitors.

We have an older Yamaha C7 (1969) that is largely original. The action is astoundingly good despite the age and life it lived (after a thorough round of servicing). It was recently restrung for the first time, and (after cleaning up the stringing job) it tunes beautifully. The satin black cabinet has a lot of amateur touch up. The piano has "character" and it was "loved" but dang it, it still performs.



This piano is doing better than most at its age, and because it is big, it has some value. The fame of the C7 model for its use in halls and in recordings adds to that.

Consider why you are looking at certain brands, what that means for the value of your dollars spent. Is it helping you or is it limiting you?


Sam Bennett
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#2103537 - 06/16/13 09:10 PM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Gesualdo]  
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I have a Yamaha G7 built in 1961. It has been played a couple hours a day at least and it's still an awesome piano.

I had some work done on it a few years ago - pin block, pins, hammers etc and regulation. I can provide the list. The wippens were still fine and needed nothing.

Who ever told you they only last 30 years was dead wrong.


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#2103539 - 06/16/13 09:15 PM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: wilf]  
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Originally Posted by wilf
Hope you don't mind me weighing in with a related question.

I just tried out a 1964 G2. It has been owned by a piano teacher since new. She had the hammers, bass strings and pin block replaced 10 years ago. There was a couple of keys that stick. Something tells me that after reading these posts, this piano probably needs a lot more work to make it work really well. Am I right? Roughly what does it costs to start replacing bushings etc? Asking price is 6,000.00. There is an '87 G2 down the road for 8,000.00. Opinions?

It is likely there are parts in the action with significant wear, if the piano was ready for new strings, pin block, and hammers. It might be perfectly playable, however.
But here's the bigger question: why are you looking at old Yamaha G series pianos with a significant price tag? Not a direction I would go.
A few suggestsions of where I'd go: Yamaha C series, Kawai, Baldwin.


Pianist and Piano Teacher
#2103587 - 06/16/13 11:21 PM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Gesualdo]  
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I am trying to stay within a budget of 6-7,000.00. So far I haven't seen any c series in that price range. I am also not informed as to the differences between the series. So, because of budgetary concerns I may have to settle for the lower end product. I am still considering a number of other pianos including a Baldwin (25 years old) a Yamaha (also 25) and a twelve year old Kawai. All are shorter (5' to 5'3") and all in the same price range. It's hard when your budget is limited to decide what to compromise on. There aren't a large number of choices in this part of Canada. I am making a trip to Vancouver to look at several others in ten days. I am hoping the newer Yamaha will still be available.

Thanks for any additional input.

Wilf

#2103596 - 06/16/13 11:50 PM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Gesualdo]  
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I doubt you are going to find what you want in your budget here in our area.
If you do it would be a worn out grey market instrument. Those piano don't do well in the Alberta climate. Add the shipping cost and your even in a tougher situation.

Perhaps take a look at the Chinese manufactured instruments Norbert carries.


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#2103605 - 06/17/13 12:18 AM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Gesualdo]  
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One of the pianos I referred to is in Norberts shop. I have already talked with him regarding shipping, humidity etc. There are over 100 pianos listed on Craigs list in Vancouver.Only four in Alberta. We'll see what turns up. It will be fun shopping either way. If I have to spend a couple thousand more I will find a way.

Thanks,

#2103613 - 06/17/13 12:32 AM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: Gesualdo]  
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Since we're on the topic, is a G7 from the early 60's worth $15k if the action is decent and sound is OK? Strings don't look original but not brand new either.

(not buying it anytime soon, just wondering)


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#2103652 - 06/17/13 02:49 AM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: wilf]  
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Originally Posted by wilf
There aren't a large number of choices in this part of Canada.

Ok - disregard my previous post then. This goes to show how huge geographic factors are for piano purchases. Piano market here is different.


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#2103655 - 06/17/13 02:59 AM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: wilf]  
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Rod Verhnjak Offline
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Rod Verhnjak  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 3,715
Vancouver B.C. Canada
Originally Posted by wilf
One of the pianos I referred to is in Norberts shop. I have already talked with him regarding shipping, humidity etc. There are over 100 pianos listed on Craigs list in Vancouver.Only four in Alberta. We'll see what turns up. It will be fun shopping either way. If I have to spend a couple thousand more I will find a way.

Thanks,


Wow I never thought there would be so few grand pianos in Calgary/Edmonton on Craigslist. I checked it out. I even saw a ad or two that are also on our local CL. Wounder were those pianos are?

Enjoy your time here smile


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#2103796 - 06/17/13 11:30 AM Re: Yamaha piano lifespan [Re: PianoWorksATL]  
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Entheo Offline
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Entheo  Offline
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chicago, il
Originally Posted by PianoWorksATL
Pianos do not have an expiration date, just tendencies, anecdotal evidence and common concerns. I always think of Yamaha's G-series instruments as mid-level which makes the economics of rebuilding them questionable. Their C-series are worth(y of) a moderate amount of rebuilding. Why would that G2, an older, averaged sized instrument capture your attention over other choices? Even then, Yamaha was a fairly mass produced instrument, with many competitors.

We have an older Yamaha C7 (1969) that is largely original. The action is astoundingly good despite the age and life it lived (after a thorough round of servicing). It was recently restrung for the first time, and (after cleaning up the stringing job) it tunes beautifully. The satin black cabinet has a lot of amateur touch up. The piano has "character" and it was "loved" but dang it, it still performs.



This piano is doing better than most at its age, and because it is big, it has some value. The fame of the C7 model for its use in halls and in recordings adds to that.

Consider why you are looking at certain brands, what that means for the value of your dollars spent. Is it helping you or is it limiting you?


nice post as usual sam; and nice video... it does still indeed perform.

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