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#2570982 09/13/16 02:45 PM
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I spotted a free piano and am waiting to check it out. All I know is that it is a Kohler & Campbell (probably from the 70s) and it looks to be a spinet. I know spinets are not the greatest, but wondering where this one might rate.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

I notice they have wood nailed to the bottom of the legs! Not sure if that was for shipping or if the legs are falling off.

I already have a digital stage piano that I love, but thought it would be fun to get a real acoustic for a different room and free is about the only price I can afford right now.

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Get it tuned, and if you like the sound, and all the keys are working, then take it.


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most spinet actions are significantly compromised. see if you think its touch and response will be better for your technique, relative to the digital. make sure it needs no repairs, because technicians will charge you the same if it were a concert instrument, some jobs can actually take longer for a spinet, depending on the variations of construction (the technicians will usually tell you if they don't think it's worth the cost of repair/part replacement). a decent student instrument is better than having no acoustic alternative to play.

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Thanks for the replies. I'm waiting on a phone call back to check it out.

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I have no idea why the legs are screwed to a post like that. That does not add strength, prevent damage, or help in shipping.

Good luck in your choice. Remember, when something is free... it may be worth what you pay.


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Thanks. I see so many pop up I'm going to try to be picky. I've been watching a lot of videos on what to look for.

We had floods a few years back in some lower lying areas. I think they may be in one of those areas, I'm wondering if it got wet.

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I think the legs were reinforced so the piano could be moved around without breaking the legs. This is an indication that the piano was likely in strenuous use.

The are many better pianos available for free on craigslist.


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Makes sense, thanks.

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It does not look like a spinet to me. It looks like a small console with regular action. A tuner will tell you for sure if this is drop action. It may be, I doubt it.

It looks well worn and if has been lugged around a lot, that will explain the weak legs. They are built for staying put. Unlike the bigger studio types.

If it holds a tune and tuner says it is not utter garbage and since you want an acoustic, good deal. You may be able to clean up.

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Thanks. I'm checking it out in about 45 minutes. I'm going to try to take some more detailed pictures and will post them later. I'm a little wary of irritating the owner by looking it over as if I'm paying for it, but hopefully they won't mind.

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I'm going to get it. I posted some more pictures here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/17948214@N00/29680909665/in/dateposted-public/

Here's what I found:
1. It's definitely a spinet.

2. It sounded surprisingly close to being in tune.

3. All the keys work, none of them stick.

4. Two or three keys have issues with the dampers and they ring out a bit after you lift up. I'm guessing that might be easy to fix. If I press on the damper with my finger a little it would stop.

5. I didn't see any cracks in the bridge.

6. It looks way better inside than the pics from Craigslist led me to believe. It doesn't seem to have much rust on the strings or pins,
and the hammers look decent to me. There are some grooves in them from the strings but they didn't look very deep to me. I'm saying all this with zero acoustic piano experience however.

7. The action is very different than my Roland RD-800, which I guess is to be expected. It feels way easier to play because the action seems very light, but I'm guessing that trade off makes it less expressive?

8. It sounds OK to me. Doesn't sound amazing by any stretch, but its certainly fun playing an acoustic for a change. This will just be another piano for me to mess with but won't be my main one.

9. I think they put wood on the legs because they were worried they would break. The girl's boyfriend moved the piano by himself from one room to a porch and he damaged one of the legs a bit. Should be easy to fix.

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Just a reminder that spinet actions are very difficult and expensive to work on. I'm not saying don't take it, just have an exit plan for when action problems start.


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
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Sure, thanks. Makes a lot of sense. From what I've read they can be a real pain. This one is free and its going to be an extra piano to mess with so if it goes south in the future I may just give it to someone else and look for another one.

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If you want a starter piano this will work. Something for the kids to start learning on, perhaps. It's not a good piano for someone who plays well. The scaling is awful making it interesting and fun to tune. The action can range from lousy to not bad.



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Thanks for all the help. Here's an update. I picked it up Sunday. I leaned it back a bit and propped it up with a 2x4 and removed the wood strapping that was attached to the legs and sides. It became clear they did that because the legs were very wobbly. They should have just tightened them. They had broken a small piece of wood of each leg which they saved. I took the legs off, glued the broken parts and put it back together. It's solid now.

The action is not so great but to be expected. I'm used to my Roland RD-800. This is very different. It needs tuning and some adjustments. Here's what it sounds like:
[video:youtube]0Mj3eJlij0s[/video]

Last edited by Piano Tipping; 09/20/16 10:37 PM.
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Sounds like you already got your money's worth! Classic honky tonk piano sound!


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Nice. Did you play it for the people you took it from?


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Well it maybe a classic honky tonk piano sound or it maybe ear-splittingly out of tune; these things are rather a matter of taste but the good news is that the instrument is broadly up to pitch so ought to be capable of being tuned without too much trauma.

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Post another one after you tune it! I'd love to hear the difference (and it should be huge, because it's awfully out of tune at the moment smile )

Congrats on the new piano!


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