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Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: Nelson Muntz] #2462539
09/23/15 10:07 AM
09/23/15 10:07 AM
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Chesterfield. MA
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Craig Hair Offline
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Chesterfield. MA
The lyre looks correct.


Craig Hair
Hampshire Piano
Chesterfield, MA
Conservative Piano Restoration
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Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: Craig Hair] #2462616
09/23/15 01:56 PM
09/23/15 01:56 PM
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Karl Watson Offline
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Pedal Lyre is good but those legs are unspeakable on a Mason.
Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: Nelson Muntz] #2462903
09/24/15 08:25 AM
09/24/15 08:25 AM
Joined: Feb 2014
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Nelson Muntz Offline OP
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Dang, my normally extremely calm schedule appears to have been run through a mix-master lately. I'm very much under the gun completing this house remodel to rent Oct 1st and every day I'm facing a larger caliber. After that I have one day to prepare my race bike for 4 days at Jennings GP getting back on a Tuesday. The next day I travel to Toronto for Thanksgiving and to visit my brother who's not well. The day I return from there I promised to work a powersports trade show in Orlando.

This may seem like business as usual for some folks but for me it is highly unusual. As a result I'll post to this thread as available. My intention is not to describe the rebuild process in some disjointed, all over the map way but to kinda lay it out as a story. That is how I'd prefer to read it so that's what I'll try to do.

Regarding the latest posts by Karl and Craig, the lyre appears to be original Mason but has been hacked up because of the legs. The inappropriate legs are too short causing the lyre to be sitting on the floor so the top was sliced off to allow the pedals to be in something approximating the correct position, at least that's my best conjecture. The lyre is also split but that's of no matter since it will be replaced. It functioned fine but will become history.

Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: Nelson Muntz] #2486973
12/02/15 08:34 PM
12/02/15 08:34 PM
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Nelson Muntz Offline OP
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I kinda fell off the world for a while but now I'm able to resurrect the rebuild story of my 1915 Mason & Hamlin BB.

This all started 2 years ago when I decided to learn to play the piano but knew virtually nothing about playing or pianos in general. I began on a decent digital grand but soon realized I wouldn't be satisfied with it for long but didn't know where I might go from there. Piano World was more influential than any single source of info and after much reading I thought it might be cool to own a vintage piano and came to learn that masons have always been magnificent instruments with the bb being perhaps their greatest product. In due course I happened across this 1915 b from what I understood to be their "golden age" of production and grabbed it. I didn't really know much of what I was doing but figured it would be sufficient for some years to come and then perhaps I'd spend a few bucks to put it in nicer shape.

It was mostly original with replaced legs and lyre, the most recent of many paint jobs was terrible and the action was clearly worn out. However it sounded great to me and the sustain was better than anything I'd heard. I played it for maybe 7 months during my very slow learning curve and since some things had gotten in the way of my sitting at the piano I decided to investigate a rebuild. I'd read on the forum of so many rebuild horror stories and knew I'd need to take the time necessary to find the right facility to do the job. During this period I became convinced the WNG products were superior to the traditional wood action components and decided my b would have a total replacement wng action.

Most impressive is wing's solid bushing technology along with the fact their parts, in capable hands, can allow for custom refinements in action geometry. Dynamics, speed and articulation are all brought to a higher level. That being said I also see the value and have respect for the original "classic" action design. That is why I'm having my rebuilder make 2 totally new actions for this bitchin b. One will be a totally original mason classic action from 1915. The second will be a totally new wng top action along with new keyframe, key levers and some special adornments. The 2 actions will interchange faster than you can pour a cup of coffee. I can hardly wait...the best of both worlds.

After much consideration I contacted a couple of the most widely known and respected rebuild shops and began discussions but it didn't take long to know they wouldn't be getting their hands on my b. They have long histories of rebuilding fine pianos and very slick advertising and what seemed to be reasonable prices for the work they claimed to perform. After speaking with some very professional technicians across the country I learned those claims of excellence were too frequently false and the owners of rebuilt pianos ended up with worse instruments than when they started and big holes in their wallets to boot.

For example, I asked one rebuilder about entry heights and action ratios and he didn't seem too familiar with those terms. I was discussing my rebuild with another of the best known shops and they assured me they could build a full wng action. When I asked who at their company would be building the action they admitted they had never worked on a wng and when I asked some technical questions about how they planned to do the job they stopped all communication.

More in the next, and soon to come, installment.

http://s1168.photobucket.com/user/MrMuntz/library/BB%20public?sort=3&page=1

Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: Nelson Muntz] #2487979
12/05/15 09:18 PM
12/05/15 09:18 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,037
London
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David-G Offline
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Joined: Jan 2006
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London
I clicked on the photobucket link in the last post; there proved to be something bad in this link, and this considerably upset my computer. I think I have now managed to sort this out, but I shall not be clicking on any more of these links. Could I urge you to use the PW photo uploader instead.

Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: Nelson Muntz] #2488015
12/05/15 11:09 PM
12/05/15 11:09 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 54
Connecticut USA
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Connecticut USA
We are all interested in learning as much as we can about pianos on this site l think.
Please post-
Beth.

Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: David-G] #2488118
12/06/15 10:34 AM
12/06/15 10:34 AM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 2,511
Suffolk, England
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Withindale Offline
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Suffolk, England
Originally Posted by David-G
I clicked on the photobucket link in the last post; there proved to be something bad in this link, and this considerably upset my computer. I think I have now managed to sort this out, but I shall not be clicking on any more of these links. Could I urge you to use the PW photo uploader instead.

David, I have never heard of photobucket but the link worked fine for me. Maybe your computer was already upset and the link appeared bad as a result. As your computer OK now I suggest you try again!

Interesting shots.


Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm
Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: Nelson Muntz] #2488120
12/06/15 10:44 AM
12/06/15 10:44 AM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 5,247
*sigh* Salt Lake City
malkin Offline
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*sigh* Salt Lake City
Photobucket is an oldie but goodie. Much used by ebayers since the 1990s.


Learner
Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: Nelson Muntz] #2488123
12/06/15 10:53 AM
12/06/15 10:53 AM
Joined: Nov 2013
Posts: 4,468
Southwestern Ontario
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prout Offline
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Southwestern Ontario
Photobucket worked well for me just now.

Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: Withindale] #2488209
12/06/15 04:04 PM
12/06/15 04:04 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 2,037
London
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David-G Offline
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Joined: Jan 2006
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London
Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by David-G
I clicked on the photobucket link in the last post; there proved to be something bad in this link, and this considerably upset my computer. I think I have now managed to sort this out, but I shall not be clicking on any more of these links. Could I urge you to use the PW photo uploader instead.

David, I have never heard of photobucket but the link worked fine for me. Maybe your computer was already upset and the link appeared bad as a result. As your computer OK now I suggest you try again!

IE reported the link as suspect. The page kept flashing on and off. The only way to stop this was to reboot. When I rebooted I had curious behaviour from my Kaspersky antivirus software. I had never seen anything like this before. The whole thing was very worrying and I am not going to risk it again, even though I would love to see the pictures.

Originally Posted by malkin
Photobucket is an oldie but goodie. Much used by ebayers since the 1990s.

That's what I had thought, and why I had no compunction clicking on the link. However, this time it was not a goodie.

Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: Nelson Muntz] #2488889
12/08/15 07:42 PM
12/08/15 07:42 PM
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 73
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Nelson Muntz Offline OP
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Ok, just got home from 5 days at the race track and see there are/might be issues with photobucket. I'll look into it tonight and see if I can find the problem.

Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: Nelson Muntz] #2488904
12/08/15 08:26 PM
12/08/15 08:26 PM
Joined: Sep 2011
Posts: 125
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Raindrops Offline
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Nelson,

May I know what you mean by fully rebuild? Does that include refinishing or just action rebuild? I'll be more interested in the process steps/technical part than photos. almost like a handbook of rebuilding a Mason, as I wouldn't be able to tell a thing by just looking at the photos.

Which state are you in? And how much does the rebuild cost? Does the contract say anything about what if you are not satisfied with the sound after rebuild?

Thanks


1915 Mason & Hamlin AA (Rebuilt)
Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: Nelson Muntz] #2488953
12/08/15 11:01 PM
12/08/15 11:01 PM
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 73
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Nelson Muntz Offline OP
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Hey, Raindrops, I'll be going into much detail about the complete rebuilding process as that's what I'm working on laying out before posting. I have hundreds of photos and it's a bit of a challenge determining the best way to present them and the work being done that the pics represent.

As far as a full rebuild is concerned, this is about as complete as it gets. A complete new wng action along with a total rebuild of the mason action that was in the piano when I bought it. New sound board, new legs, lyre and pedals, completely stripped and refinished plate, completely stripped and refinished cabinet, the list is very long.

I'm in Florida. I'm not prepared, at least at this time, to discuss the contract or costs but may provide some insight into that area in the future.

Regarding the photo links and Photobucket, I've had no problem whatever accessing the pics on any of my 3 computers and I've asked several people to check the link and all have said it works fine. Only one of the posters on this thread appears to have had a problem so I'm confident it was an isolated issue with his computer. I've no idea what software he's running but there's plenty of security programs available. My experience with them has been they report most sites they haven't visited before as suspicious or a potential risk even if no risk whatever is present. Beyond that I won't offer an opinion based on no facts so I hope he's got his computer running smoothly and I'll continue to post pics and provide links.

My intention is to describe in detail exactly how this piano is being reborn. I hope the narrative is entertaining, that it will educate anyone interested in how it's done and help anyone who might be in the position I was in. I didn't know much about what it takes to fully, professionally and competently rebuild a classic piano and if it aids someone in avoiding nasty pitfalls I'll consider my time well spent.

Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: Nelson Muntz] #2489119
12/09/15 01:48 PM
12/09/15 01:48 PM
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Thanks Nelson. Do you know how long the process will take? I might be in a similar process for a different Mason model. But worried doesn't worth the trouble as it's not a good investment. Mason doesn't sell like Steinway. And a good rebuilder is very expensive.


1915 Mason & Hamlin AA (Rebuilt)
Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: Nelson Muntz] #2489120
12/09/15 01:49 PM
12/09/15 01:49 PM
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Also worried the sound will be different after rebuilding


1915 Mason & Hamlin AA (Rebuilt)
Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: Raindrops] #2489126
12/09/15 02:17 PM
12/09/15 02:17 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 27,419
Oakland
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Originally Posted by Raindrops
Also worried the sound will be different after rebuilding


There is not much point to rebuilding unless you want the sound to be different.


Semipro Tech
Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: Nelson Muntz] #2489256
12/09/15 09:52 PM
12/09/15 09:52 PM
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BDB, Can you elaborate? The tech here told me the original sound will be preserved and will be better in the sense that there will be bigger dynamics and touch sensitivity. Is that not true? What's involved is changing of action parts including hammers and maybe some strings too.


1915 Mason & Hamlin AA (Rebuilt)
Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: Raindrops] #2489295
12/10/15 02:47 AM
12/10/15 02:47 AM
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You cannot have the original sound and have it be better. That is self-contradictory.

It probably will be better, but then, the quality of sound is subjective, and what is better for one person may not be better for another, although most people usually agree at least to some extent.

Hammers change the sound. It is very difficult to get the same sound from different sets of hammers, and one person may voice them differently anyway.

Strings change the way they sound with age. Plain strings tend to become less vibrant with age. That affects the core of overwound strings, but they are more affected by the change in the relationship of the winding to the core.

People claim other things can affect the sound, but that is difficult to confirm, because the changes from new hammers and strings are so profound. Lately, I have been pleasing owners just by regulation and voicing, and although I know I could do more with new strings and hammers, that can make quite a change just in itself.


Semipro Tech
Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: Nelson Muntz] #2489371
12/10/15 10:16 AM
12/10/15 10:16 AM
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Nelson Muntz Offline OP
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Raindrops, you can expect a full rebuild to take in the neighborhood of 6 months by someone who isn't rushing the job to get paid quicker.

Yes, masons don't sell as well as Steinways to people who want Steinways but a quality mason, not simply an everyday mason, can be worth a lot of money. There are plenty of people who consider masons to be the best pianos made.

Everything BDB is telling you is correct. If you like how your piano sounds now then it is highly unlikely you wouldn't be pleased with new components as BDB describes. Of course that is only the case if the new components are installed and adjusted correctly and to your taste. There are many, many incompetent techs and rebuilders who shouldn't be allowed to touch any piano but, sadly, the customer doesn't find that out until the damage is done.


Re: 1915 Mason BB Now Being Restored. [Re: BDB] #2489482
12/10/15 03:15 PM
12/10/15 03:15 PM
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BDB, if the hammers have worn out, will regulate still do much good? The piano right now sounds nice even though not much dynamics. The tech here says the hammers have worn out. Regulation only takes couple thousand $s. They also say regulation won't do a thing to it.

I heard some people purposefully seek out 100 year old M&H and restore them. So there has to be something original still there after the restoration. Otherwise why do they bother?

The one I was talking about also doesn't look good. I heard the paint job is not cheap either.


1915 Mason & Hamlin AA (Rebuilt)
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