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Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? #2349783
11/13/14 08:45 PM
11/13/14 08:45 PM
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Paul678 Offline OP
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Ok, I tried to move my beater piano assessments to the
Piano Forum, but they don't know as much as you guys do! So...

What do you folks think of this one:

http://tucson.craigslist.org/msg/4757291826.html

Tried calling them, but no answer, and no serial #,
so hard to tell what year it is.

But were the Weber baby grands any good, quality wise?

I'm a part-time tuner, learning regulation, basic repairs, and voicing.

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Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: Paul678] #2349813
11/13/14 09:51 PM
11/13/14 09:51 PM
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N.E Pennsylvania
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From the Ebook of pianos: You can be the judge,

A piano of international renown, manufactured by the Weber Piano Co., of New York. The house of Weber was established in 1852. The pianos of this make have been held in high esteem by artists and the musical public. In 1904 the Weber Piano Co. received from His Majesty, Alfonso XIII, a royal warrant of appointment as piano manufacturers to the court of Spain. His Holiness, Pope Pius X, also honored this distinguished concern by appointing it his personal purveyor and also for the apostolic palaces.

The Weber, when introduced in 1852, won immediate response due to its tone quality, power and sympathy. It was awarded distinguished honors at the Philadelphia Centennial in 1876; at the American Exhibition in London, in 1887, and at the Paris Exposition in 1889. Albert Weber, who supervised the manufacture, was a powerful figure in the music world of his day furthering the development of musical knowledge. The Weber Piano Company continued to produce fine pianos after his death and Aeolian carried on the tradition when they acquired the company.

The Weber piano, one of the oldest names in American-made pianos, made it a fourth top-of-the-line piano produced in the East Rochester plant, sharing that position with Knabe, Chickering and Mason & Hamlin.

A division of Aeolian American. The house of Weber was founded in 1852 by the late Albert Weber, a Skilled musician, a piano maker of the highest distinction and a business man of rare enterprise and consummate ability Almost from the start he won for his instruments general recognition for artistic merit and a leading Position in the musical world. Weber gave to his pianos that distinct individuality of tone quality, power and sympathy which is today and has always been characteristic of them. He was for many years one of the most prominent figures in the musical and artistic world of this country, and did much to further the developmen~ of musical knowledge and culture. He was closely identified with the musical undertaking of his time and wielded a powerful influence. The business was afterward conducted by his estate until 1897, when the Weber Piano Co., with William E. Wheelock as president, was formed.

The "Weber" Pianos won distinguished honors at the Philadelphia Centennial in 1876. In 1887 they were exhIbited at the American Exhibition in London, where they attracted the admiration of the most distinguished musicians and critics. Two years later they were exhibited at the Paris Exposition, where they secured an enthusiastic indorsement from the press and the musical public and obtained medal of highest award. The "Weber" Instruments, obtainable in grands and verticals, have always been favorites with the most distinguished musicians and artists and with singers of the highest renown. The international standing and artistic excellence of the "Weber" Pianos are shown by its selection by His Holiness Pope Pius X for his personal use and for the use of the Apostolic Court. A further compliment of like nature was paid the "Weber" piano when it was selected by His Majesty Alfonso XIII for his own personal use.

Last edited by kennyz; 11/13/14 09:51 PM.

Ken Zaleski
Once upon a tune...old world piano tuning and restoration
Friendsville, PA
Dampp Chaser certified installer
Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: Paul678] #2349842
11/13/14 10:57 PM
11/13/14 10:57 PM
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Paul678 Offline OP
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Thanks KennyZ. Are you related to KennyG, by any chance?

grin ha

It looks like most of the accolades given to Weber were
awarded before 1900. And as we all know, piano companies
change ownership like chips at the poker table! So
no guarantee the company was run the same way it was
originally.

And this particular model looks to be not too old...

Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: Paul678] #2349875
11/14/14 01:05 AM
11/14/14 01:05 AM
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kennyz Offline
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Originally Posted by Paul678
Thanks KennyZ. Are you related to KennyG, by any chance?

grin ha


Nope....but if I had a nickel for every time I get asked I might be half as rich as him.....lol
Good luck with the weber.


Ken Zaleski
Once upon a tune...old world piano tuning and restoration
Friendsville, PA
Dampp Chaser certified installer
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Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: Paul678] #2350325
11/14/14 10:26 PM
11/14/14 10:26 PM
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The Weber pianos were probably in the category of a little above average, but it all depends on how the piano was cared for over the years. From the appearance and style of this piano it looks like it could be from the 50's or 60's. Are you going to be doing work on it for the purpose of gaining experience. This is a great way to get some practice on things you're learning as a new technician. It's probably best that you don't have expectations that you'll make very much money from the work that you do on the piano though if you were to sell it when you were done. It's difficult to sell an older piano for very much money unless it is a make that people are willing to pay for such as Steinway or Mason & Hamlin. Again, if you're just wanting to get some experience, this will provide you with that. I did that on a few pianos starting out. Though I did find that if it was a better quality piano originally it sure was easier to make something of the work I put into it. If you could find an old Chickering, these were pretty decent pianos.


Steve Howard
Piano Technician
Owner of Howard Piano Industries
www.howardpianoindustries.com
Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: showard] #2350408
11/14/14 11:42 PM
11/14/14 11:42 PM
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Paul678 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by showard
The Weber pianos were probably in the category of a little above average, but it all depends on how the piano was cared for over the years. From the appearance and style of this piano it looks like it could be from the 50's or 60's. Are you going to be doing work on it for the purpose of gaining experience. This is a great way to get some practice on things you're learning as a new technician. It's probably best that you don't have expectations that you'll make very much money from the work that you do on the piano though if you were to sell it when you were done. It's difficult to sell an older piano for very much money unless it is a make that people are willing to pay for such as Steinway or Mason & Hamlin. Again, if you're just wanting to get some experience, this will provide you with that. I did that on a few pianos starting out. Though I did find that if it was a better quality piano originally it sure was easier to make something of the work I put into it. If you could find an old Chickering, these were pretty decent pianos.


Thanks Steve.

Yes, this would be just for learning, so even if I just break
even, or lose a bit of money, I would consider it all the
price of an education. It would be my first grand ever.

I talked to the owner, and even though he couldn't find the
serial number, he thought it was from the 60's-70's or so.
He said it was 5'4" long.

Unfortunately, the old Chickerings I have tried were not
impressive instruments, tonally. And people know they
were good pianos, and so charge quite a bit more, like this
one:

http://tucson.craigslist.org/msg/4758745369.html

I'll keep looking at them, though.


Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: Paul678] #2350544
11/15/14 11:33 AM
11/15/14 11:33 AM
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You could get it and teach yourself installing a soundboard and tell us how it goes. There are plenty of youtube videos.

Last edited by bobgeorge; 11/15/14 11:34 AM.
Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: Paul678] #2350571
11/15/14 12:50 PM
11/15/14 12:50 PM
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Chickerings have a different sound philosophy, tonally (i.e., it is a completely different approach to sound). From the modern american piano soundpoint (e.g., aggressive and punchy attacks, with less follow-through, and sustaining presence), these older generation pianos can, indeed, seem somewhat unimpressive. However, it is simply a different approach to musical sound. Once the pianos are all spruced up, and in like-new condition again, the pianos have a very beautiful sound and colourful texture for musicians to play with.

This approach to construction is further enhanced by wider unisons--as apposed to highly compressed boards, which require tighter sounds--in general.

The Weber could be similar in approach, but please consider giving that sound a fighting chance. Grands, are the way to go...


Masters degree in piano technology, +factory(s) training, etc., blah, blah, yada, yada, yada...[uncensored break-out in song]..."it don't mean a thing, if you aint got that swing."
--Klavierbaukuenstler des Erwachens--
Email: klavierbaukuenstler@gmail.com
Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: Paul678] #2350758
11/15/14 09:32 PM
11/15/14 09:32 PM
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Online content
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Paul678,
If your present skill level does not have you capable of fully regulating a grand action including dampers. You are in no logical position to take on rebuilding. Especially if you plan on "selling" your "experiment". I am aware of your engineering background but there is no substitute for having the judgement and chops to get an already assembled piano into a great playing and musical condition.

Learn how to re-pin action centers, shape hammers for tone and touch, reshape V-bars that have a too wide string contact area. And of course, tuning solidly.

I sincerely suggest you spend a little more on something like a Baldwin grand from the 1940's or 50's. Then build on those piano skills as your interests and opportunities allow.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2350804
11/15/14 11:32 PM
11/15/14 11:32 PM
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Just as a quick start to gain experience, actually going to look at and play pianos will teach anyone more than whatever someone who has not seen them can say about them.


Semipro Tech
Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: BDB] #2350815
11/16/14 12:13 AM
11/16/14 12:13 AM
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Paul678 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by BDB
Just as a quick start to gain experience, actually going to look at and play pianos will teach anyone more than whatever someone who has not seen them can say about them.


Oh agreed.

I have no idea how someone could think I was planning
on replacing a soundboard!?!

When I say "fixer-upper", I mean basic things like replacing
missing hammers or strings, basic bridge, key, and action repairs,
regulating and tuning, etc. Not making a new pinblock!

And what fool would want to spend more money on a beater/experimental
piano?

It's best to put people on your "ignore" list, than risk a
flame war and getting kicked off PW!.

PW still Rules!!! grin ha

Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: Paul678] #2350826
11/16/14 01:19 AM
11/16/14 01:19 AM
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woodfab Offline
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I went on a quest to fix up a baby grand about eight years ago and ended up getting 14 baby grands off Craigslist.

Ten out of the 14 I picked up 10 had basically a dead soundboard and without a properly installed soundboard would never sound any good.

Most of the pianos I got were free and it's been great learning about piano repair on them.

I would say if you not ready to make and install a soundboard, learn how to determine if the sound has any life in it.

The 1st grand I picked up had bass that sounded like a Banjo.

I turned out that the soundboard had lost all of it's crown.

I would say before spending $600 make sure the soundboard is still in usable condition.
Have fun.


Dan (Piano Tinkerer)
Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: woodfab] #2350830
11/16/14 01:28 AM
11/16/14 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by woodfab
I went on a quest to fix up a baby grand about eight years ago and ended up getting 14 baby grands off Craigslist.

Ten out of the 14 I picked up 10 had basically a dead soundboard and without a properly installed soundboard would never sound any good.

Most of the pianos I got were free and it's been great learning about piano repair on them.

I would say if you not ready to make and install a soundboard, learn how to determine if the sound has any life in it.

The 1st grand I picked up had bass that sounded like a Banjo.

I turned out that the soundboard had lost all of it's crown.

I would say before spending $600 make sure the soundboard is still in usable condition.
Have fun.


Why only 14?

I would to love to gear a bit more about this story. What was the time period involved? Did they all get sold? etc.


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: woodfab] #2350837
11/16/14 01:47 AM
11/16/14 01:47 AM
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Paul678 Offline OP
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Originally Posted by woodfab
I went on a quest to fix up a baby grand about eight years ago and ended up getting 14 baby grands off Craigslist.

Ten out of the 14 I picked up 10 had basically a dead soundboard and without a properly installed soundboard would never sound any good.

Most of the pianos I got were free and it's been great learning about piano repair on them.

I would say if you not ready to make and install a soundboard, learn how to determine if the sound has any life in it.

The 1st grand I picked up had bass that sounded like a Banjo.

I turned out that the soundboard had lost all of it's crown.

I would say before spending $600 make sure the soundboard is still in usable condition.
Have fun.



Yeah, I pretty much only get the pianos that have decent tone.

So what did you do with the ones with the bad soundboards? Did
you make and install new ones?

I've been to Ley's Pianos, and I've seen videos of how they are restored, and I'm not ready to go that far yet! Perhaps never
unless one of these piano shops hire me!

grin


Last edited by Paul678; 11/16/14 01:48 AM.
Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: Paul678] #2350986
11/16/14 12:18 PM
11/16/14 12:18 PM
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woodfab Offline
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Ten of them got the Saws-All treatment.
[Linked Image]
And thanks to the great techs that share their knowledge.
On this 1920's Kimball I've done quite a bit of work.
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
And as the techs say
"there's allot more to it than making it look pretty"
This Kimball is is starting to look fair but feel and tone needs a lot work.



Dan (Piano Tinkerer)
Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: Paul678] #2350989
11/16/14 12:26 PM
11/16/14 12:26 PM
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Online content
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Paul678,
I must admit you baffle me. In some posts you ridicule rebuilders who do a poor job rebuilding Steinway's. You make statements that you have never played a rebuilt Steinway that you liked as much or better than new. And yet you seem to want to take a shot grand, rebuild it, and then sell it. This seems to be a glaring inconsistency in standards on your part.

So in some of your posts you try to present your opinion as representative of the market. Yet you ask the real pro's to explain what they have learned about the market in others. You can't have it both ways.

What am I missing?


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2351016
11/16/14 01:56 PM
11/16/14 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Paul678,
I must admit you baffle me. In some posts you ridicule rebuilders who do a poor job rebuilding Steinway's. You make statements that you have never played a rebuilt Steinway that you liked as much or better than new. And yet you seem to want to take a shot grand, rebuild it, and then sell it. This seems to be a glaring inconsistency in standards on your part.

So in some of your posts you try to present your opinion as representative of the market. Yet you ask the real pro's to explain what they have learned about the market in others. You can't have it both ways.

What am I missing?


What you're missing, Ed, is that Paul, with his engineering background, has skills superior to any of the pros who have ever posted here. Therefore, he can transform any piece of junk into a better-than-new musical instrument.



Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind
Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: woodfab] #2351039
11/16/14 03:21 PM
11/16/14 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by woodfab
Ten of them got the Saws-All treatment.
[Linked Image]
And thanks to the great techs that share their knowledge.
On this 1920's Kimball I've done quite a bit of work.
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
And as the techs say
"there's allot more to it than making it look pretty"
This Kimball is is starting to look fair but feel and tone needs a lot work.



Wow, the last two pics are of the same piano? Not bad
for a DIYer! Did you repaint the plate, or just clean it well?
Tell me more about that one.

Sorry to hear about the saws-all pianos.

So how do you assess the soundboards now? By sound/tone
alone, or do you measure the crown? What is your method
to measure the crown?


Last edited by Paul678; 11/16/14 03:23 PM.
Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: Paul678] #2351114
11/16/14 06:24 PM
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I was confused as well. He was discussing soundboards in another thread in a way that I thought he was an expert on the matter. And in another thread proposed learning tuning through videos. I am simply seeking professional advice on learning this trade on these forums. I wish him well.

Last edited by bobgeorge; 11/16/14 06:28 PM.
Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: Paul678] #2351179
11/16/14 09:11 PM
11/16/14 09:11 PM
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woodfab Offline
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I not the right person to ask how assess the soundboards, I've got a lot to learn.
I have found some obvious things to avoid.
I've seen boards where the soundboard ribs have broken loose and the bass bridge has pushed down through the soundboard.
I attempted to fix one but after being like that for who knows haw many years it resisted being pushed back into place even with the string removed.
If it's flat or gone inverted it's most likely one to pass on. But I also heard that some soundboards checkout as being flat but still sound great.
I would search the forum and web for more info.


Dan (Piano Tinkerer)
Re: Weber Baby Grand Piano - $600, My Next Fixer-upper? [Re: Paul678] #2354696
11/25/14 05:00 PM
11/25/14 05:00 PM
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Ok, just took a look at this one.

Only one white key had a small chip in it, the rest were
in good shape. To be honest, I wasn't sure if it was real
ivory or the fake ivory with simulated grain. It seemed
too uniform to be real ivory.

I could not fit a business card between the ribs and soundboard,
and there were minimal, very fine cracks in the board. Didn't
look serious.

Since I'm new to grands, I didn't know the specifics to look for with the action, although the hammer knuckles seemed to be in good shape. The C8 hammer was taped on with masking tape! It had broken where shank meets hammer, and the last few high note hammers need replacing because the felt was too close to bare wood, but should be an easy fix. The rest of the hammers could use re-shaping.

The owner claims it has not been tuned for about 4 years, yet
it was in surprisingly good tune! There was only one unison that
was off, which I quickly tuned up, and which seemed to hold tune.
I thought I saw some evidence of pin doping, but now I'm not sure.

Unfortunately, although the piano was in decent working order, the
tone left much to be desired, at least for me. It didn't help that the bench was a bit too high for me! Also, the pedals were a bit
too close to the carpet, so they seemed to be stopped by the carpet.
Additionally, the keydip seemed a bit shallow for my taste, but I know
that can be adjusted.

It seems like it would be a good first grand minor fixer-upper. I would only have to replace a few hammers, reshape the other ones, regulate and tune the piano, and repair the one small chip in that one white key. The key bushings seemed fine, and were not loose.

So, the piano doesn't really need any major work done to it...but the problem is that the tone just wasn't that good! The owner thought this piano was made sometime in the 60's or 70's. I know it's standard practice to replace the bass strings, which is the area most deficient in this piano as well.

Do you all think that this piano's strings may be old enough, that using new bass strings (and re-shaping hammers) would make a huge difference in tone?

Maybe just replace all the strings?

The owner needs to sell this pretty quick, so I know I can talk him down.....

grin



Last edited by Paul678; 11/25/14 05:08 PM.

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