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So when someone offers you a free piano you........ #2355857
11/28/14 04:29 PM
11/28/14 04:29 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 44
Spokane
Dennis R in WA Offline OP
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Well, if your me, out of work the last three years and just beginning piano lessons, you jump on it. Yesterday during our Thanksgiving day fun I was offered a free piano. The couple that lives across the street from my mother knows another couple who are moving to house on a nearby lake and are downsizing their household in the process.

The piano is a Kimball Console purchased new in either the late eighties or early nineties. I will have to pay to have it moved and eventually a tune when I can afford it. While it is clearly not beauty queen, I have been told that it was played sparingly at best and there is no need to move it to the new lake house.

Here is a picture they emailed me.


[Linked Image]


When I decided I wanted to learn how to play the piano four months ago I had nothing to learn on. Now I have both an acoustic and digital pianos!


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Re: So when someone offers you a free piano you........ [Re: Dennis R in WA] #2355866
11/28/14 05:07 PM
11/28/14 05:07 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,393
Australia
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earlofmar Online content
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Joined: Mar 2013
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Australia
I wish you luck with your new piano although the sad fact is there are many neglected acoustics that people are convinced were once great and just need a tune or a little work. I have two pianos in my garage as a result of people giving them to me and I was offered another one this week. Sadly none of them are fixable and although I have enjoyed tinkering with them to understand the mechanics I will have to cut them down (so heavy) and dump them at our local rubbish tip. You will have to be cautious as you would not want to pay to have the piano moved only for a tuner to tell you he can't tune it.


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

Kawai K8 & Kawai Novus NV10


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Re: So when someone offers you a free piano you........ [Re: Dennis R in WA] #2355880
11/28/14 05:36 PM
11/28/14 05:36 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,542
Pennsylvania
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dmd Offline
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Pennsylvania
It is best to find someone to look at it and determine if it is worth keeping.

If it was me, I would just say no thank you. Too much of a hassle to move in to my house and move around once it is in there.

Good Luck


Don

Kawai MP11SE, Edifier R1850DB Active Bookshelf Speakers, Yamaha HS8S Powered Subwoofer, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs
Re: So when someone offers you a free piano you........ [Re: Dennis R in WA] #2355907
11/28/14 06:39 PM
11/28/14 06:39 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,418
Owen Sound, Ontario
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Greener Offline

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Owen Sound, Ontario
This sounds like a good deal for you as you know the folks and it is unlikely they are trying to offload garbage on you. At least not knowingly. I'm not sure how well you know or get along with your neighbours, but if I were in a similar situation, I'd have likely done the same. Take the Piano and get it checked out after. Rather then possibly offending them by saying you need to have it checked first. It is a gift. Take it.

Normally, for any free piano I would proceed cautiously, have a tech check it out and all that before I move it. And, agree with everything that has been advised previous. But, in this case you should not even have to pay for a move. Just get a flat bed trolly and wheel it across the road with a bud.

Unless you have a problem with the pins not holding a tune, or a severely cracked sound board ... you got yourself a great deal. I doubt either, but even if it turns out to be rubbish, you just need to worry about disposal, or advertise a free piano for pick up.

It also looks pretty good to me. Just give it a polish and it will look as good as new. Good score. I look forward to hearing it.

Edit: Sorry. I was dashing out the door when I read and wrote, and missed about the move all together and the fact that you likely no longer live with Mom smile . Anyways, even with the move I would still take it.

My Mom (who knew nothing about Pianos) picked up a Full Size Upright at a Flea Market for $50. If she had to pay for the move (I wasn't around) I am sure she would have borrowed a friends truck and done it herself with a couple of friends. It is the way she was.

She bought it for me when I was a teenager and out west at the time. It had multiple coats of finish on it. I think it may have even been painted. Anyway it looked terrible. She refinished it and it ended up looking like a beautiful antique. Everyone commented on how great it looked. It was also not a bad instrument. It was a Nordheimer, which is a 2nd line Heintzman. It had a cracked soundboard and so had a bit of a buzz in it, but otherwise it was a decent piano. I loved it and played it for years, and took with me years later. So, you can get lucky.


Re: So when someone offers you a free piano you........ [Re: Dennis R in WA] #2355940
11/28/14 08:06 PM
11/28/14 08:06 PM
Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 9
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UBB Offline
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Joined: Nov 2014
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It would be best to try before you acquire.
What do the keys look like?
[Linked Image]
or
[Linked Image] ???

Good luck!

Re: So when someone offers you a free piano you........ [Re: Dennis R in WA] #2355950
11/28/14 08:46 PM
11/28/14 08:46 PM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 100
British Columbia
Donzo Offline
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In my opinion, it would be absolutely insane to move it before you've played it and checked that all the keys work, that it doesn't horribly buzz, etc. At the minimum bring along a friend who plays piano (or your teacher?)

The right thing to do is have a technician evaluate it first.


I got a free piano. Its a massive 110 years old upright. A friend of a friend of my teacher was getting rid of it. He got it for free and was passing on the karma. My teacher checked it out and said as far as she could tell it was ok. I got it moved to my place ($300 for a 10 block move). The tuner ($100) said it was ok - had some problems, was not worth reconditioning, but as long as I liked how it sounded, I didn't do too bad. He said he would value it at $100. He warned me that the bass strings might go out of tune sooner than the rest due to the ... hitch-rail? The other end of the strings from the pinblock, which is pulling away from the soundboard in the bass range. But hopefully it won't fail catastrophically with a massive BOING for a while.

Anyway... I've had it for about 9 months and its been good for me. The sound is so much more rich than my digital. The lowest octave is really muddy and the highest octave is pretty tinny. But as a newbie, I don't play there anyway.


But... now that I'm gaining confidence that I will stick to this hobby I can't help thinking that at some point I'll want a better piano and how will I ever get rid of this white elephant!?! And I'd feel pretty bad just chopping it up and throwing it out... plus it is in my living room and there is no way I can move it so I'd have to dismantle it in location. And it isn't worth paying money to get moved again. And plus the previous owner gave me that whole "karma" debt and I feel obliged to find it a good home when I do get rid of it....

I can see it becoming an albatross around my neck. I kind of wish now that rather than taking the first free piano that I came across, that I had been more careful and critical.

So... love it till you hate it smile






Piano: 1905 Heintzman Upright
Time in: 3 years! Wow!
Re: So when someone offers you a free piano you........ [Re: earlofmar] #2356018
11/29/14 12:11 AM
11/29/14 12:11 AM
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 1,139
Nashville, TN
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Brian Lucas Offline
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Brian Lucas  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 1,139
Nashville, TN
Originally Posted by earlofmar
I wish you luck with your new piano although the sad fact is there are many neglected acoustics that people are convinced were once great and just need a tune or a little work. I have two pianos in my garage as a result of people giving them to me and I was offered another one this week. Sadly none of them are fixable and although I have enjoyed tinkering with them to understand the mechanics I will have to cut them down (so heavy) and dump them at our local rubbish tip. You will have to be cautious as you would not want to pay to have the piano moved only for a tuner to tell you he can't tune it.

Very true. Unlike most used things, a piano that has been "barely used" is usually a big negative and a red flag that it may be in terrible condition. Not only for the instrument itself, but for the strings as well. I'd definitely check it out first before going through the hassle of moving it. Or at the very least, have them open it up and film a video of someone playing it so you can observe the mechanics and hear it being played.


-Brian
BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 23+ year teacher and touring musician
My Downloadable Video Piano Lessons
My Sight Reading eBook
My Music
Update [Re: Dennis R in WA] #2358538
12/05/14 02:02 PM
12/05/14 02:02 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 44
Spokane
Dennis R in WA Offline OP
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Dennis R in WA  Offline OP
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Spokane
First of all thank you for all the thoughtful replies. After reading through them I did a little detective work. The couple who owns the piano was on vacation in AZ until yesterday so I had time to arrange for a pseudo inspection. I did speak with the owners on Tuesday and learned about the history of the piano.

One of the couples good friends had previously owned the piano and her daughter learned how to play on it. She ended being a music major and went to a college in the mid west. (I should mention here that the owner cannot remember if they bought the piano new or used) The piano sat unused for about five or six years before the current owners bought it about ten years ago. It was tuned by the current owners when first purchased and re-tuned again about three years ago.

Unfortunately I was not able to have a piano tech inspect the piano for anything less than $250, (that's got to be a racket) way out of my price range. But I was able to have someone who has played professionally and taught for a few years spend a few minutes with it.

She called me after playing it and said that as far as she could tell the piano was in fine condition, however it will need a new tune within the next few months. (apparently every time a piano is moved to a new location it should be tuned after acclimating for a month or so) It was not badly out of tune according to her and she said that she was surprised with its low end volume. Apparently the shorter the piano the quieter (sorry she used a term here that I cannot remember) the low end is.

At any rate her recommendation was to get the piano moved, play it for a month or so have it tuned, and then have it tuned again in about another six months. After that she said I should probably have it tuned every couple of years. As an interesting aside she explained to me that as a piano gradually goes out of tune (and apparently no piano is ever perfectly tuned - kind of weird) the player usually does not notice. She compared having your piano tuned to the smell of a new car.

So all of that to say the piano is being moved Tuesday. Sadly it will not come to my apartment but to my mother's house. Happily she lives less than a mile away and I will be able to bicycle there most of the time (I might even lose a few pounds practicing my piano). I will likely go over every other day for awhile however because "baby it's cold outside" at the moment.

Have to admit I am over the top excited and looking forward to the prospect of playing an acoustic on a regular basis along with my DP here at the apt.


Re: So when someone offers you a free piano you........ [Re: Dennis R in WA] #2358548
12/05/14 02:36 PM
12/05/14 02:36 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 7,645
Northern England.
peterws Offline
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peterws  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 7,645
Northern England.
That is a gorgeous piano, and so recent! When you talk "free pianos" usually this means "Early 20th C . . ." which may be an antique delight, complete with candelabras (no electricity in those days) And a pedal which sounded permanently down! Wish I had the space . .


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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Re: So when someone offers you a free piano you........ [Re: peterws] #2358651
12/05/14 07:06 PM
12/05/14 07:06 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 44
Spokane
Dennis R in WA Offline OP
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Dennis R in WA  Offline OP
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Posts: 44
Spokane
I have to admit when David starting talking to me about his two buddies who were giving away a piano I was a bit suspicious. In the past I have seen several pianos setting outside either an apartment complex or rental property many, many times. They are, as you said, usually late 1800's to maybe the early 20's. Gigantic six foot tall pieces of crumbling instrument quickly decaying in the great outdoors. I have from time to time considered picking one of those up for their wood panels. I know a guy who made a very cool hallway table from one he found in his alley a few years ago.

Thankfully this is likely no older than 30 - 35 years old. A veritable babe in the free piano universe.

Re: So when someone offers you a free piano you........ [Re: Dennis R in WA] #2358815
12/06/14 10:13 AM
12/06/14 10:13 AM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 2,418
Owen Sound, Ontario
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Greener Offline

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Joined: May 2012
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Owen Sound, Ontario
Originally Posted by Dennis R in WA

...
I have from time to time considered picking one of those up for their wood panels. I know a guy who made a very cool hallway table from one he found in his alley a few years ago.
...

Further to the Piano my Mom acquired at the Flea Market; When we had a tuner around to inspect and tune, of course he told us about the crack in the sound board, but had no issues with this for still being a fine home practice piano. He estimated the piano would not be worth much in resale, because of this. He then went on to estimate the stool was worth about $800 (antique spinner and original claw feet). That was 35 years ago. I still have the stool grin

Delivery delay [Re: Dennis R in WA] #2360053
12/09/14 10:07 PM
12/09/14 10:07 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 44
Spokane
Dennis R in WA Offline OP
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Dennis R in WA  Offline OP
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Posts: 44
Spokane
I had arranged to have the piano delivered today unfortunately the mover called this morning asking if I could reschedule the move. The fuel pump on his truck broke yesterday and was being repaired today. Since this was an afternoon delivery he said he could still move it today, but it would likely be close to seven o'clock. I agreed to reschedule for Thursday and he is giving me a $20 of the delivery fee.

So early Thursday afternoon it is!

Re: Delivery delay [Re: Dennis R in WA] #2360054
12/09/14 10:17 PM
12/09/14 10:17 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 5,298
*sigh* Salt Lake City
malkin Offline
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*sigh* Salt Lake City
Well, you've waited your whole life for it, I suppose you can wait a couple more days...


Learner
Update: It's here and already had its first looksee [Re: Dennis R in WA] #2362131
12/15/14 11:21 PM
12/15/14 11:21 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 44
Spokane
Dennis R in WA Offline OP
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Posts: 44
Spokane
So last Thursday the piano arrived close to the prescribed hour. When the movers took off the padding I noticed that the board that sits underneath and in front of the keys looked ajar. The board had been moved upward enough that it was preventing the keys from being fully pushed down.

I showed the movers the picture of the piano from the donor and it clearly showed the board was in a different position compared to what it looked like now. Clearly the straps used to hold the piano to the sled had been tightened to the point of pulling that board out of place.

The movers alas, claimed otherwise. So I paid the bill and wished them luck in future explaining as I did this my plan to bad mouth them as much as possible in said future.

Today a local tech arrived to assess the damage. Turns out the board was easily moved back into the correct position and the non striking keys were now cheerfully plinking away.

While he was there he removed the front pieces of the piano and searched for any foreign objects. There were none and he asked if I wanted to vacuum the keys and action. "Why of course" I said. While we (I helped: time is money) he pointed out both the bad and good points to my piano.

Apparently these tiny consoles were developed in the late 60's for shopping mall retailers. In fact he called it a "mall" piano. It is only 39 inches tall which is more in line with a spinet's height. The key tops were a single piece of plastic that were both the top and sides of the key. The keys themselves were not the full width of the key tops and made from pine. Very typical of Mall piano's he told me.

He also recognized the hammer material and told me they were quite hard. Manufacturers used these hard hammers to make the tiny piano's sound larger.

He very carefully inspected the soundboard and said he could not find even the tiniest of cracks. The pin block is actually a combination of 1 1/2 inches of plywood backed with 3 inch piece of solid wood. He told me that this was not all that uncommon and more a sign of the times than a quality issue.

Before he left he suggested the last week of January for its first tune. I kind of winced at that since it is so clearly out of tune. He explained that it takes a piano a good six weeks to adjust to a new environment and that tuning any earlier would be a waste of time. He also requested that it be played every day for at least 10 minutes to help the strings, keys, action and whippens(?) acclimate.

So there you have it my "free" piano will end up costing about $320 after moving, check-up, and first tuning costs are added together. The tuner estimated its value between 600 and 800 dollars in our current market. According to him I got a great deal.

It may be a tiny "mall" piano, but it's MY tiny mall piano!

Re: Update: It's here and already had its first looksee [Re: Dennis R in WA] #2362134
12/15/14 11:25 PM
12/15/14 11:25 PM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 1,640
Hernando, MS
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fizikisto Offline
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Hernando, MS
Dennis, that's fantastic. Glad that the story had a happy ending. I also hope that your piano gives you much joy in the months and years to come.

smile


Nord Stage 2 HA88
Roland RD800
I Forgot the pics [Re: Dennis R in WA] #2362140
12/15/14 11:53 PM
12/15/14 11:53 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 44
Spokane
Dennis R in WA Offline OP
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Spokane
See it really is all cleaned up and ready to go.

[Linked Image]


[Linked Image]

Re: I Forgot the pics [Re: Dennis R in WA] #2362142
12/15/14 11:59 PM
12/15/14 11:59 PM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 25
Toronto, ON
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jazzpig Offline
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Toronto, ON
This thread made for a great read.

Re: I Forgot the pics [Re: Dennis R in WA] #2362168
12/16/14 02:13 AM
12/16/14 02:13 AM
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 1,139
Nashville, TN
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Brian Lucas Offline
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Nashville, TN
So glad to hear the happy ending, as you could tell from previous posts that these things often don't end well. But you seemed to get an honest donor, an ok mover and a great technician. Now it's time to start playing! Enjoy!


-Brian
BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 23+ year teacher and touring musician
My Downloadable Video Piano Lessons
My Sight Reading eBook
My Music
Re: I Forgot the pics [Re: Dennis R in WA] #2362808
12/17/14 03:06 PM
12/17/14 03:06 PM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 16
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Jusca Offline
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Wow, fantastic deal. I'd love to hear what it sounds like when it's all tuned up.

Re: I Forgot the pics [Re: Dennis R in WA] #2362815
12/17/14 03:28 PM
12/17/14 03:28 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 579
Spanish living in UK
evamar Offline
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Spanish living in UK
Congratulations, you got yourself a great Christmas present, even if it cost you some money. You must have been good this year...


Serious since Dec 2013. March 2014, Kawai CA95!

Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted

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