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Early 1960s Baldwin L
#2555763 07/10/16 09:23 PM
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I'm in the market for my first grand piano (upgrading from an upright), and I've recently found an early 1960s Baldwin L with an asking price of $9300 + tax (dealer). The piano has had new strings, hammers, and key tops at some point. The piano was also at a university for at least part of its life. The case has some blemishes, but it's in decent condition considering its age. I do detect a little too much horizontal play in some of the keys, but I'm told this can be addressed with new key bushings.

The thing is, I really love the sound and action on this piano.

Am I crazy to consider purchasing this? I want to buy a piano that will last me. My main concerns are that it's just too old, has too little resale value, and isn't worth the cost of rebuilding. And yet, I really enjoy the sound and feel of this piano. Thoughts?

Re: Early 1960s Baldwin L
JazzyJamMan #2555782 07/10/16 10:50 PM
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That seems high to me. Offer 25% less and see where it goes. If you like it and a tech thinks it's OK, then why not. But I'd get the price down more.


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
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"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: Early 1960s Baldwin L
JazzyJamMan #2555789 07/10/16 11:06 PM
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Well I have to disagree with the above advice. You won't know the value of the piano until you know more about the condition. I wouldn't start price negotiations until you have your own technicians, (independent) report. Also, once the dealer knows you are serious about the piano, they are going to get more serious about closing the sale, which means they will divulge during the course of negotiations the real price they need. No salesperson wants to do the work of price negotiations until they are sure you are in a position to buy.


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Re: Early 1960s Baldwin L
JazzyJamMan #2555826 07/11/16 05:21 AM
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Just a thought,

First, Ed gave great advice.

An additional thought - The Baldwin pianos were really nicely made, but they tend to have lots of cracking bridges due to their design. This may have been dealt with when it was restrung, but perhaps not.


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Re: Early 1960s Baldwin L
JazzyJamMan #2555853 07/11/16 07:53 AM
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Agree with Ed.


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Re: Early 1960s Baldwin L
Ed McMorrow, RPT #2556034 07/11/16 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Well I have to disagree with the above advice. You won't know the value of the piano until you know more about the condition. I wouldn't start price negotiations until you have your own technicians, (independent) report. Also, once the dealer knows you are serious about the piano, they are going to get more serious about closing the sale, which means they will divulge during the course of negotiations the real price they need. No salesperson wants to do the work of price negotiations until they are sure you are in a position to buy.


Agreed. I was assuming a tech already looked at it and you were now considering the price.


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: Early 1960s Baldwin L
ebonykawai #2556061 07/11/16 10:04 PM
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Thanks for all the advice, Ed, ebonykawai, Rich, and terminaldegree. I'm now in the process of getting a tech to evaluate it.

Still, I'm wondering (especially to anyone who's owned a similar instrument): suppose the tech says, "Nothing's wrong with it." At that point, is it foolish to purchase such an old Baldwin L, even if I love the sound and feel? I'm most concerned about the potential longevity of the hard-to-service parts (i.e., the soundboard and the pin block). Is there any reason to believe that such a piano wouldn't hold up for another 15 years, assuming regular maintenance?

Re: Early 1960s Baldwin L
JazzyJamMan #2556136 07/12/16 09:17 AM
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It all depends on how well the piano was housed and how well made it was. If the housing conditions were climate controlled and the piano was kept clean and away from cooking fumes etc., it could still be good for many years of trouble free enjoyment with normal maintenance. If you can find a technician who is skilled in tone regulation you will have your best hope of great quality results over time.


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: Early 1960s Baldwin L
JazzyJamMan #2556234 07/12/16 02:23 PM
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Well, I actually was considering a 1911 Baldwin R for a while until the 1984 R came along that I bought. I'm not even sure it was called an R back then, but it was a 5'8" and looked the same. So no, I don't think your potential piano is too old, just get a good assessment, as others have said, and then you will know what you're looking at, for life of the instrument. Some things are easy fixes, some more expensive.


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: Early 1960s Baldwin L
JazzyJamMan #2556303 07/12/16 09:21 PM
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Some people think this is the era when Baldwin was really in its prime!

Pianos are made of organic materials. Things wear out, crack, break, etc. If it gets a clean bill of health, there's no specific reason it couldn't last another 15 years (with regular maintenance, etc). Be sure to ask your technician to assess it's condition and long-term prognosis.



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Re: Early 1960s Baldwin L
JazzyJamMan #2556484 07/13/16 05:18 PM
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You said the key words, that you love the sound and the action. All else is either fixable or not that big a deal. BTW, I own a 1936 Baldwin 7' Grand (rebuilt 2009). Fell in love with the sound and the action, paid a reasonable price for it, have never looked back.


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Re: Early 1960s Baldwin L
Jackie Hall #2556525 07/13/16 09:22 PM
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Thanks for all the advice, everyone! I hired an independent tech, and the results were illuminating to say the least (and confirmed for me the importance of getting an expert to check things out).

On the plus side, the piano had a new pin block and a flawless soundboard.

But the case and the harp had been refinished. This meant that the serial number was not readily visible. To make a long story short, the serial number stamps inside the piano revealed that this Baldwin was in fact from the 1920s...and not the 1960s, as originally thought!

(N.B.: I personally do not believe that there was any intention to mislead; without going into details, the dealer had good reasons to think that the piano was much newer.)

In any case, today I answered my initial query: that if a 1920s piano can be this nice, then I'll have no problem with one from the 1960s, should I be lucky enough to find one smile

Re: Early 1960s Baldwin L
JazzyJamMan #2556529 07/13/16 10:13 PM
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Well don't write it off if you still love it! Try to negotiate a lower price with the new age info.


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: Early 1960s Baldwin L
JazzyJamMan #2556531 07/13/16 10:23 PM
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If Baldwin serial numbers are painted over, I do not think you can accurately date it from any other number on the piano. A Baldwin C from the 1920s, the precursor of the L, would probably have a bifold fallboard, rather than the one-piece that is used on newer Baldwins. Another indication of age would be holes that line up the duplex scale aliquots, rather than the later ones which just sit on the plate. I would be interested in seeing a picture, to confirm its age.


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Re: Early 1960s Baldwin L
JazzyJamMan #2556534 07/13/16 10:42 PM
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Many of the Baldwin grands from prior to WW2 had the serial number stamped on the backside of the keyslip and on the lyre top.


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: Early 1960s Baldwin L
JazzyJamMan #2556603 07/14/16 09:17 AM
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OP said that "the serial number stamps inside the piano revealed that this Baldwin was in fact from the 1920s". Sounds like the serial number was already found.


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: Early 1960s Baldwin L
JazzyJamMan #2556605 07/14/16 09:22 AM
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Wasn't actually a stamp but an embossed number in front of the key slip. So, now I'm not sure. Conferred with the tech. He now says that the piano could in fact be from 1960. I believe we've yet to find an actual serial number.

Re: Early 1960s Baldwin L
JazzyJamMan #2556613 07/14/16 09:54 AM
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The actions in the 1920's had many differences from the ones in the 60's. I and others could probably tell if you post pictures.


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: Early 1960s Baldwin L
JazzyJamMan #2556664 07/14/16 03:42 PM
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Called the dealer and told them what you all have said. They looked and found the expected 1960 serial number stamped under the piano. Go figure!

Thanks all for the help!

Re: Early 1960s Baldwin L
JazzyJamMan #2556670 07/14/16 04:02 PM
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It just goes to show that it is difficult even for people in the business to ascertain information about an old piano. We should not be too harsh when they make mistakes.


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