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Re: Old Conover 77 baby grand [Re: cleverusername] #2226365
02/05/14 03:16 PM
02/05/14 03:16 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,203
Georgia, USA
Rickster Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Rickster  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,203
Georgia, USA
Not to drift too far OT, but I had an old, 1909, 54" Conover upright that had a fabulous tone, to be so old and warn-out. I refinsihed the cabinet and did some repairs to it... I sold it to my sister-in-law for half of what I had invested in it. She absolutely loves the piano.

Of course, I liked it too, but I had to make room for more piano projects. smile

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
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Re: Old Conover 77 baby grand [Re: Davepost] #2227509
02/07/14 04:25 PM
02/07/14 04:25 PM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 127
Oregon
N
nwpiano Offline
Full Member
nwpiano  Offline
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N

Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 127
Oregon
Dave, you missed one model, the Conover 88 (6'2"). I will say that I concur with everyones' opinion of Conover. I have a 1919 Conover 88 with refinished soundboard (there were no cracks, and still good crown), new delignit pinblock, and grandt bass strings from Canada. These piano's have amazing music potential (the depth, color, shading, etc. is far better than my larger Young Chang grand at church). When I describe the sound to people I tell them to imagine if a Steinway A and Mason Hamlin AA were to have a child. There is SO much similarity to the Mason Hamlin AA. If you love the deep rich sound of a well built golden era American piano, the Conover is for you. Enjoy!
Craig

Last edited by nwpiano; 02/07/14 04:26 PM.

Craig
2010 Young Chang YP-208 (Church)
Rebuilt 1919 6'2" Conover 88 (Home)
Re: Old Conover 77 baby grand [Re: Rickster] #2227590
02/07/14 07:25 PM
02/07/14 07:25 PM
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 170
Hudsonville, Western Michigan,...
D
Davepost Offline
Full Member
Davepost  Offline
Full Member
D

Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 170
Hudsonville, Western Michigan,...
I reconditioned a Conover upright for a customer last summer. It had not been tuned in 60 years. Built in 1906. The last tuner was listed as having an address on Randolf Street, downtown Chicago. The piano turned out so rich sounding, it was a shock! Beautiful to make a grown man cry.


David Postma, Associate Member, PTG Lansing, Michigan
Re: Old Conover 77 baby grand [Re: nwpiano] #2227591
02/07/14 07:26 PM
02/07/14 07:26 PM
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 170
Hudsonville, Western Michigan,...
D
Davepost Offline
Full Member
Davepost  Offline
Full Member
D

Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 170
Hudsonville, Western Michigan,...
Do you find many Conovers in the Northwest?


David Postma, Associate Member, PTG Lansing, Michigan
Re: Old Conover 77 baby grand [Re: cleverusername] #2227855
02/08/14 11:31 AM
02/08/14 11:31 AM
Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
O
oldiebutnewbie Offline
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oldiebutnewbie  Offline
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O

Joined: Jun 2010
Posts: 65
Originally Posted by cleverusername
Well, folks, thanks for all the excellent feedback. I made a boo boo. It looks like it might be a 55. I looked for the serial number and saw a 55 next to it. Is this still a quality piano? It does say "crown stay" on the gold paint. Is it still worth rebuilding?


If it is 60 inches long, then you have a 55. Does it have a semi-circular rim piece under the soundboard with an iron bar through it? That's the "crownstay" feature.

I acquired a 1929 model 55 (or "Style 55" as the old Conover marketing collateral refers to it) a few years ago. I think it is a great piano, if you can live with a grand that small. The bass has a surprisingly strong presence for a 5 footer. Tone is rich like a MH B. I prefer its overall tone to that of the Steinway S.

When I bought it, the piano had been restrung, but with oversized pins in the original block (I know some frown on this). I then worked with a good tech, who installed a new composite action built around the original brackets. I chose Abel natural felt hammers, but would really like to know what Ronsens with cold-pressed felt sound like. Back action was also thoroughly reconditioned. Except for front action and strings, most other components are original.

I play a couple of hours a day and this thing is stable and beautiful. One of these days, I'll have the richly figured San Domingo mahogany case refinished. My only (minor) gripe is that the first B note in the tenor register, after the bass/tenor break, is a little "thuddy". Some minor re-scaling would probably fix this, if you have a complete rebuild.

You might also consider a modern size keyset, if you go the rebuild route. Performing is scary enough, but when you've been practicing on an early American keyset with those comfortably fat black keys, the look of those razor-thin sharps and flats on a different instrument at performance time can be downright terrifying.

Oh, and another thing I like about this piano is the two-stage lid prop.

You guys with the 88 and 99 and 100 models - wow!! Bet those are incredible.

So, is a 55 still worth rebuilding? Heck yeah!! Find somebody who knows what they are doing. I can't stress enough the value of an experienced and skilled piano tech. Don't forget to figure in extra $$ for more frequent tunings and settling-in tweaks for a couple of years, if you rebuild.

These older pianos are so cool!!

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