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The grand dames of the 1800s and early 1900s #2511775
02/17/16 02:22 PM
02/17/16 02:22 PM
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Posts: 461
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Coyotewoods Offline OP
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There's a beauitful old Ludwig for sale on Craigslist. Asking price: $75. But I'm sure I could get it for free, and then what? There's also a 1906 Ellington.

The Ludwig really, really REALLY wants to come home with me. I'd love to turn the spare room into a piano rehab studio. I'm likely to get it nice and clean and eventually learn how to rehab the exterior. But I'm sure rehabbing the interior would cost me thousands, and that's not an option.

So, she's likely to end up at a landfill, which really saddens me.

Have you ever pined for one of those old dames but resisted bringing them home? Or better (or worse) yet, did you talk yourself into adopting one and now there she sits, discarded in your garage or a spare room, unplayed and in sore need of repairs and love?

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Re: The grand dames of the 1800s and early 1900s [Re: Coyotewoods] #2511830
02/17/16 04:31 PM
02/17/16 04:31 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 4,442
Florida
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The waY I look at bringing vintage pianos home is the same way I look at bringing home one more dog or cat that needs love: can I give it what it needs? Can I afford the repair and the maintenance?

If I can't answer yes, I am not the right person. I have a warm heart for vintage pianos. I rescued my Stieff from a garage where the owner was considering turning it into furniture... but I had it inspected and therefore knew what was right about the piano, what was wrong, and how much it would cost.

My advice: There will always be pianos that need to be rescued. Wait to get one more when you have the skills and/or money to do it properly. You already have one you need to tackle. ... and keep in mind the size and weight of these early pianos. It took four people to move mine ... at a cost




Last edited by dogperson; 02/17/16 04:49 PM. Reason: added moving

"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Re: The grand dames of the 1800s and early 1900s [Re: Coyotewoods] #2511862
02/17/16 05:45 PM
02/17/16 05:45 PM
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Coyotewoods Offline OP
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The weight, yikes. I've been wondering if our floors can even handle a 700lb piano. Before kitchen granite is installed, some people need to have their floors reinforced. Could the same hold true for a piano?

Bringing home the Ludwig isn't an option, but I sure love it, and I've been haunting Craigslist pianos for years. This one feels special.

Re: The grand dames of the 1800s and early 1900s [Re: Coyotewoods] #2511932
02/17/16 09:46 PM
02/17/16 09:46 PM
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Posts: 54
Connecticut USA
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Keep looking. Learn as much as you can from whatever pianos you can see and of course play.
Talk to a contractor if you are really worried about your floor taking the weight. I have heard of getting floors reinforced but have no idea what is involved....Luckily my house is solidly constructed. My 1904 Mason & Hamlin weighs about 800 pounds, and took 3 people to move. l also happen to have a handicapped ramp and a wide door.It is hard to walk away from these magnificent old uprights, but you want to find one in the best shape possible. Realize this is a project that may take years and you will be fine. There are a lot of pianos out there! For me, out of 10 maybe 2 would be worth examining, maybe l saw 30 in the last 4 or 5 years of looking. This with limited funds.
I never thought l would be able to find a piano like mine for minimal, but it just happened.
Remember too, you can often get a smaller upright in decent shape until you find your dream instrument.
Good luck!


Last edited by BethRH; 02/17/16 09:59 PM.
Re: The grand dames of the 1800s and early 1900s [Re: BethRH] #2511949
02/17/16 10:26 PM
02/17/16 10:26 PM
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Coyotewoods Offline OP
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I just read about Xena yesterday. Beautiful piano. What a comfort it must be to have found the perfect piano for you!

Re: The grand dames of the 1800s and early 1900s [Re: Coyotewoods] #2511954
02/17/16 10:39 PM
02/17/16 10:39 PM
Joined: Jan 2013
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Upstate New York, USA
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Originally Posted by MooseNotes
The weight, yikes. I've been wondering if our floors can even handle a 700lb piano.....


Yup. Weight is certainly a consideration.

Last year, I picked up a 1904 JC Fischer upright. It weighs about 700 lbs. My house was originally built in 1889 (completely redone in 2008), and I was concerned about the weight. So, I bought two of those adjustable metal columns that are sometimes used to prop up a ceiling when removing a wall (I'm not sure exactly what they are called), and placed them in my (unfinished) basement under the beam nearest the location of the piano. Works great.


Bert
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Re: The grand dames of the 1800s and early 1900s [Re: newbert] #2511960
02/17/16 10:54 PM
02/17/16 10:54 PM
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Posts: 484
Montreal, Canada
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Originally Posted by newbert
So, I bought two of those adjustable metal columns that are sometimes used to prop up a ceiling when removing a wall (I'm not sure exactly what they are called)


Jack posts.


What do snowflakes and Chickerings have in common? There are no two exactly alike!
Re: The grand dames of the 1800s and early 1900s [Re: dogperson] #2512009
02/18/16 04:52 AM
02/18/16 04:52 AM
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Coyotewoods Offline OP
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I've been thinking about what you said.

I have four dogs and six cats. When a vacancy opens up, I can justify bringing home a new critter. But when something unexpected comes along, like the kitten threesome we trapped at the train tracks and decided to keep last year, it's not that we can suddenly afford more mouths to feed but more a matter of not being able to turn them away. It's not easy for us, but Ezra, Turtle and their very young mama Apple are now part of our family and we adore them.

I'm wondering if the financial aspect of bringing home a piano shouldn't always be a primary consideration with these beautiful 19 century and early 1900s pianos. I'm sure for a lot of folks something that size is furniture before it's a musical instrument. Does it make sense aesthetically and is there room for it?

I can't bring home a 700 pound pot bellied pig; too expensive to feed. But if it weren't for the weight and not knowing if my house can handle it, I'd be more serious about the Ludwig. The owner is pitching it as an art project. I'd love to put stacks of books on top of the cabinet and a cat bed on the bench and let it live as both a piano in a perpetual state of repair and artful furniture.

Maybe if we didn't have rattlesnakes under the house, I'd check the support beams and consult with a contractor and see if the floor can handle that kind of weight.

:o))


Re: The grand dames of the 1800s and early 1900s [Re: Coyotewoods] #2512050
02/18/16 09:31 AM
02/18/16 09:31 AM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 12,623
Georgia, USA
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If your house is of standard construction and you have no termite damage or rotting or other issues that would cause an abnormal weakness in the structure, your living room floor should handle an old, 700 pounder of an upright piano.

I've had several and they are behemoths and very heavy, but the weight is distributed over several square feet and not concentrated all in one place. And, being located close to a wall would add additional support since most weight-bearing walls have cinder-block or concrete pillars and seal beams for support.

The goal is to find an old upright with enough "goodie" left in it that it would be worth the space it needs in your home; and, one that you would enjoy looking at often and playing often.

Good luck!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: The grand dames of the 1800s and early 1900s [Re: Coyotewoods] #2512107
02/18/16 12:56 PM
02/18/16 12:56 PM
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Posts: 54
Connecticut USA
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Xena thanks your kind words!It is a relief. And l am learning everything l can about the piano in general. Its funny, but it makes you play better!

What i find very interesting on this site is all the info about how different the piano has sounded through time. How heavier hammers,more tension in the strings have changed it.

There is so much love and knowledge of the instrument on this site!

Re: The grand dames of the 1800s and early 1900s [Re: Coyotewoods] #2512132
02/18/16 02:42 PM
02/18/16 02:42 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 27,669
Oakland
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Most old uprights are in the range of 450-550 pounds, unless they are players with the mechanism still in them.


Semipro Tech
Re: The grand dames of the 1800s and early 1900s [Re: Coyotewoods] #2512326
02/19/16 12:02 AM
02/19/16 12:02 AM
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Posts: 461
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Coyotewoods Offline OP
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We live on a couple of acres in an oak woodland. It's termite heaven out here, and our house was treated not long before we bought it a few years ago. The wall where I would keep a heavier piano used to be an outside wall, so there's a foundation under there. The porch was turned into a nice sunroom years ago. So wouldn't an outside wall have stronger supports underneath and be more likely to comfortably hold a 700+ pound piano?

Not that I'm planning on bringing home TWO pianos this weekend, of course. I'm just curious.

But since we take our trash and recycling to the landfill, if I ever see a big beauty on a trailer there, I'm likely to throw a fit and direct them to my home.

Re: The grand dames of the 1800s and early 1900s [Re: Coyotewoods] #2512348
02/19/16 02:03 AM
02/19/16 02:03 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,879
Victoria, BC
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An outside wall may indeed have stronger support for a heavy, upright piano, but depending upon the insulation in the walls and the climate, an outside wall is often not the optimum placement for an upright piano.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: The grand dames of the 1800s and early 1900s [Re: BruceD] #2512354
02/19/16 02:44 AM
02/19/16 02:44 AM
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Coyotewoods Offline OP
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It's no longer an outside wall. The porch on that side of the house was enclosed and turned into a sunroom, so now it's part of the interior of our home. But structurally it was built as an exterior wall. I only just today realized this.

:o)

Re: The grand dames of the 1800s and early 1900s [Re: Coyotewoods] #2512963
02/20/16 05:14 PM
02/20/16 05:14 PM
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Coyotewoods Offline OP
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Here's a video of someone dismantling a 1908 Ludwig.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baau5YYiIXk

It's sad but understandable, and one commenter said it helped him restore (not take apart) an old piano he had been working on. I like the different sounds in this video and the very minimal narration.


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