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#22633 - 10/10/06 01:56 AM Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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imunggoy Offline
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Manila, Philippines
Hello,

About 65 years ago, my mother got from her dad a grand piano gift for her graduation recital. Being a gift, I had always assumed that the piano was custom-made because it had a brass nameplate containing the dedication to my mother's musical debut. This was located at the center of the inside face of the keyboad's cover lid. Also, if the top cover is opened, on the right corner beneath the sliding frame that holds the music sheets, is again a big nameplate containing my mother's name.

Towards the left of that big nameplate, there were 2 distinct markings:
1. A big embossed letter "C" at the center;
2. To its right are the numbers: 22111

The piano's rough measurements are:
Length: 106 inches
Width: 63 inches

My question is would the above information be sufficient to determine the brand and its approximate age?

Any help or advice from other forum members would be much appreciated.

Thanks.

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#22634 - 10/10/06 09:29 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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Monica K. Offline

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Lexington, Kentucky
Very intriguing! Is there any chance you could post a couple of pictures of the piano?


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#22635 - 10/10/06 03:52 PM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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imunggoy Offline
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Manila, Philippines
Surely. Give me a day or two.

#22636 - 10/10/06 04:29 PM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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When you take pictures, remove the music desk and show as much of the plate and strings as possible.


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#22637 - 10/11/06 05:26 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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imunggoy Offline
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Manila, Philippines

#22638 - 10/11/06 07:48 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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VGrantano Offline
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New Jersey
Other then guessing that it's a very early piano from Japan it's stumping me.As you know there was a strong influence from Japan in the 30's and 40's
in the Philippines.
The piano looks beautiful and well cared for. I wonder if thats the origional finish? Hard to believe theres no name on it. I wonder if somehow it's under your Grandmothers name.

#22639 - 10/11/06 08:20 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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Piano*Dad Offline
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This is an interesting problem. Most pianos have the maker's seal embossed on the plate. Is that nameplate screwed down to the plate? I agree with Vince. If that nameplate, or the one on the fallboard, could be unscrewed you might solve your mystery without harming the piano.

Could it be a Knabe or some other American brand. The Philippines were a US territory in 1940, and world trade had seriously broken down during the Depression.

Regards,

DF

#22640 - 10/11/06 08:34 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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VGrantano Offline
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The fact that it's high gloss (if it's origional)
makes me think it's not U.S. Europe and Asia did the "shiney" stuff back then.Remember all of the WW2 GI's coming home with Blaupunct(SP)Radios with a gloss finish.
Japan was trying to get a foothold there. I think they kept up as much trade there as they could.
Good grief, were into world politics.
DID NOT WANT TO GO THERE!

#22641 - 10/11/06 09:27 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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DavidB Offline
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The plate looks nearly identical to a Bechstein E.

Single-strung, open pinblock, agraffes all the way to the top, same brace pattern, same tone holes...

Did Bechstein supply any stencil pianos for other makers? Or is this just a good copy?

Thanks,
David

#22642 - 10/11/06 09:45 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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Dale Fox Offline
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The agraffes all the way to the top and the lid lock suggest late 19th century European. I know i've seen the plate before but can't put my finger on it right now.

Dale Fox


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#22643 - 10/11/06 10:14 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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BDB Offline
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It looks like a Bechstein. Probably a model C.


Semipro Tech
#22644 - 10/11/06 10:44 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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Piano*Dad Offline
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It does indeed look like a Bechstein plate. On the other hand, a model C is roughly 7'4". This piano is 8'10". Also, the serial number would put it around 1889. imunggoy didn't say the piano was new when it was given to his or her mother, so the 1940 date on the placque doesn't tell us about the age of the piano.

#22645 - 10/11/06 10:58 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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curry Offline
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Note that the engraving is in French. A lot of the Swiss( who also include French as primary language) piano manufactururers copied the German scales, and used many of the same foundries(Czech) who supplied the Germans.


G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
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Bösendorfer 214 # 47,299 214-358
#22646 - 10/11/06 11:11 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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accordeur Offline
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I'm french and hat engraving is not in French. I'm not sure, but it looks like spanish to me.


Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca
#22647 - 10/11/06 11:12 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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BDB Offline
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It also has the Bechstein hockeystick bridge.


Semipro Tech
#22648 - 10/11/06 11:13 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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Piano*Dad Offline
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Curry,

Which engraving? The nameplate on the fallboard is written in Spanish, not French.

BDB,

Was the Bechstein model C an 8'10" piano back in 1889?

#22649 - 10/11/06 11:19 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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curry Offline
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Ah yes PD, I see that now. I looked at it first thing when I got up this afternoon after my pharmaceutically induced night of sleep, and thought I was seeing french.
It does look like Bechstein, but if that's a serial#, the piano would be a very early model C. It could have been rebuilt and given as a gift.


G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
Dampp-Chaser installations, piano appraisals. PTG S.Jersey Chapter 080.
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#22650 - 10/11/06 11:21 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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DavidB Offline
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Richardson, TX
Quote
Originally posted by Piano*Dad:

Was the Bechstein model C an 8'10" piano back in 1889?
The A/B/C/D/E nomenclature started sometime after 1900, the previous models were roman numerals, I II III IV, etc.

The C was always a 7-foot something. There was also a D, which was just over 8 feet, and the E, which was made up until the year 2000 or so.

The earlier pianos (numbered models) also had a constructed case, with sharp points.

Thanks,
David

#22651 - 10/11/06 11:30 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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Piano*Dad Offline
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Thanks David. I had just found the same thing a few minutes ago. The earlier model I and the E are about 9'. Perhaps imunggoy didn't include the key area in his measurement and the piano really is a model E. Why then would there be a C stamped on it? And if it's a Bechstein and that number is a serial number, that puts it back in the 1880s, which would be a model I, not an E.

#22652 - 10/11/06 11:42 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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West Virginia
It is ornate enough to be much older than 1940.
IMUNGOY, you said the piano was a gift for your mother's graduation recital/debut. Was she a concert pianist? What kind of condition is the piano in now?

#22653 - 10/11/06 11:43 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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The fold-down lip on the fallboard is also a Bechstein characteristic. I cannot reconcile the model designation nor the serial number, but everything says Bechstein to me.


Semipro Tech
#22654 - 10/11/06 03:25 PM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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Ron Overs Offline
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Sydney Australia
I agree its a Bechstein. When Mark Allen was building his piano some years ago he was using Mason plates. This looks to be an early example of badge engineering.

Ron O.


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Grand Piano manufacturers.
Sydney, Australia
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#22655 - 10/11/06 03:39 PM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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whippen boy Offline
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Since this piano seems to be a one-off customized for a special occasion, doesn't it seem likely that the original name would be under the badges?

If it were a whole line of stencil pianos, I can see re-engineering the plate badge or the inlaid fallboard name.

But in this case, I bet the answer simply lies underneath a set of screws... wink

#22656 - 10/11/06 03:58 PM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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Giacomo Offline
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But if it were an 1888 Bechstein, shouldn't the original inscription on the fallboard be a lot wider than the dedication plate?
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#22657 - 10/11/06 04:17 PM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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Indeed, this is why it might be important to know whether the piano has ever been refinished, as Vince suggested a while ago.

To summarize so far.

- Most of the experts here think Bechstein. The plate certainly looks like it.

- There is a C stamp on the plate, but the piano is concert grand length. It's not a model C. That points to it being a model E, or the earlier model I (numeral). If so, what does the C refer to? How did Bechstein mark their pianos?

- If that number on the plate is a serial number it suggests 1889

- David B argues that the Model I from that period had a constructed rim with sharp points. This one doesn't.

- if the piano has been refinished, the fallboard marking may have been eliminated, so what lies beneath the dedication placque may not tell us much.

Perhaps imunggoy can unearth a little more family history and shed a bit more light on the piano's origins.

#22658 - 10/11/06 05:40 PM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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DavidB Offline
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I'd also add that a Model I had a slightly different plate. There is an additional brace running along the width of the plate just behind the dampers, which I believe the earlier pianos did not have.

The Bechstein fallboard lettering should be solid brass recessed into the wood, not an easily-removed decal. But separate case parts like the fallboard are easily fabricated, duplicated, or replaced.

Bechstein was also making these somewhat ornate plates probably through the 1950's. After the war, they weren't exactly in a position to make big changes to their piano designs.

Which brings up another point. Why go through all the effort to hide who made this particular piano? Bechstein is hardly a second-rate brand that needs another name slapped on it.

Just maybe, like in the other recent thread here about a WW2-era Hamburg Steinway, a piano coming from Germany was not politically correct to own?

Thanks,
David

#22659 - 10/11/06 07:07 PM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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On other thing: Those numbers are not where Bechstein puts serial numbers.

I stopped in to take care of a problem on a Bechstein M grand today. That is not a designation that would fall into a series anyone has mentioned. Bechstein had a number of different model designations, and I doubt that there are many experts outside of the factory.


Semipro Tech
#22660 - 10/12/06 07:15 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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imunggoy Offline
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Manila, Philippines
Thank you everyone for all your contributions. I've gathered the points raised and I'll fill in the blanks the best I can.

1. Yes, my mother was a concert pianist.

2. I've re-measured the dimensions again. The links below show my methodolgy, which of course could be erroneous.
Length: ~ (97 + 6)=103 inches (not 106 as originally posted - mea culpa)
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v417/sabshernandez/piano/DSC01400.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v417/sabshernandez/piano/DSC01402.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v417/sabshernandez/piano/DSC01403.jpg

Width: ~ 60-1/2 inches
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v417/sabshernandez/piano/DSC01404.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v417/sabshernandez/piano/DSC01405.jpg


3. Yes, it was re-finished about 10 years ago, but to my knowledge only the body finish was re-touched.

4. I took VGrantano's advice (thank you) and looked under my mother's name. Voila!... the name is finally revealed.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v417/sabshernandez/piano/DSC01407.jpg


5. Now that I know its maker, I can't find any sites about this maker. Has this maker gone under? It's still as mysterious as when I started out. Perhaps there's someone out there who has some information on it. Thanks again.

#22661 - 10/12/06 07:37 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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curry Offline
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M.F. Rachals and CO. Hamburg Germany, made Kolski and Lohman. Went out of business in 1957. A Bechstein copy.


G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
Dampp-Chaser installations, piano appraisals. PTG S.Jersey Chapter 080.
Bösendorfer 214 # 47,299 214-358
#22662 - 10/12/06 07:37 AM Re: Concert grand piano - unknown brand  
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I discovered just a few tantalizing references on the web. Some mention of Kolski being German. As an interesting side note, a number of sites that referred to Kolski are in the Philippines!

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