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purchased: 1985 s400b #2674315
09/10/17 05:50 PM
09/10/17 05:50 PM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 40
A
ashertob Offline OP
Full Member
ashertob  Offline OP
Full Member
A
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 40
Hi all,

I read somewhere that people like to post their shopping experiences to this forum? I wanted to share mine. I decided last year to make my first big piano investment. My budget was in the 10-20 range. I shopped for about 6 months, trying pianos on craigslist every weekend. I narrowed it down to yamaha pretty early, since I've always loved the clarity of the yamaha sound and the smoothness of the action.

I tried a lot of the C series from the mid 1990s and late 80s, in the 10-15 range, and found many good instruments. I found one 1999 S6 that was absolutely incredible, but the seller got rid of it for 25k...more than I could afford.

I almost purchased a 1986 C5, but chose not to after spotting a small split in the rim (many members of this community weighed in on this issue).

In the end I found a seller with a 1985 s400b. It had been owned by one owner and never moved in all its life. The seller was asking 23k, and we settled on 16k. A technician evaluated the piano and gave it an excellent rating. I have subsequently had it evaluated by a more experienced tech, who pointed out some friction in the action that I hadn't noticed. He voiced it and regulated it, and now it's playing absolutely perfectly.

The tech also points out that the strings are a little old, and the piano is not sounding as clear and resonant as it could. Ideally, he says, I'd invest another 3k in it and get all new strings, and eventually new hammers as well. I plan to do this when I can afford it. For now it's an absolutely wonderful piano and I'm very happy with the purchase.

For shoppers out there looking to get a sense of what a good price is, my tech says even with the aging strings the price of 16k was a bargain. He would have bought it too, he says. This is in southern california (prices vary considerably from market to market).

thanks to everyone in this community that helped me educate myself during this process. I'm really happy with how it turned out and grateful to the community for its support. This is truly what the internet was really supposed to be all about.

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Re: purchased: 1985 s400b [Re: ashertob] #2674328
09/10/17 07:04 PM
09/10/17 07:04 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 11,875
Georgia, USA
Rickster Online content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Rickster  Online Content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 11,875
Georgia, USA
Congratulations on your new-to-you grand piano! thumb

Post pictures (and a recording:-) when you can.

All the best,

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: purchased: 1985 s400b [Re: ashertob] #2674333
09/10/17 07:40 PM
09/10/17 07:40 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 21,259
Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
Gold Subscriber
BruceD  Offline
Gold Subscriber
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 21,259
Victoria, BC
Yes, congratulations! There's hardly anything like the feeling of owning a new-to-me/you piano, is there?

Wishing you great enjoyment from this instrument.

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
Re: purchased: 1985 s400b [Re: ashertob] #2674362
09/10/17 11:24 PM
09/10/17 11:24 PM
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,276
Nashville, TN
P
Pianolance Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Pianolance  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,276
Nashville, TN
The S series Yamaha pianos are awesome instruments. Congrats!


Knabe 5'2" Louis XV Walnut circa 1927
Very part time piano broker.
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Re: purchased: 1985 s400b [Re: ashertob] #2674365
09/10/17 11:40 PM
09/10/17 11:40 PM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 1,788
Tennessee
E
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Ed Foote  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
E
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 1,788
Tennessee
Originally Posted by ashertob


The tech also points out that the strings are a little old, and the piano is not sounding as clear and resonant as it could. Ideally, he says, I'd invest another 3k in it and get all new strings, and eventually new hammers as well. I plan to do this when I can afford it.


Greetings,
Do the hammers first. Strings, unless abused, will often sound the same after 80 years as they sound after 10. The tightness of the bridge pins, and the possible deterioration of the notch's edge are more influential than the age of the wire. There may. be some deformity at the capo, but that is less often the case than bridge damage. I have often replaced a broken string in an old piano,and there is rarely any difference in the sound between the originals and that new one I just installed, so age is not the only criteria for strings. Wound strings can certainly lose their tone with age, but the plain wire. not so surely.
Regards,

Re: purchased: 1985 s400b [Re: ashertob] #2674422
09/11/17 09:29 AM
09/11/17 09:29 AM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 401
G
GC13 Offline
Full Member
GC13  Offline
Full Member
G
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 401
Congratulations! I know you're overjoyed with you're new instrument. Enjoy!

Re: purchased: 1985 s400b [Re: Ed Foote] #2674444
09/11/17 10:49 AM
09/11/17 10:49 AM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 5,163
Reseda, California
J
JohnSprung Offline
Unobtanium Subscriber
JohnSprung  Offline
Unobtanium Subscriber
J
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 5,163
Reseda, California
Originally Posted by Ed Foote
Strings, unless abused, will often sound the same after 80 years as they sound after 10.


+1. Mine are like that. The thing about replacing strings is that when you have them all off, you have access to the bridges, sound board and pin block. So, if the strings are OK, keep them for a while. When you do replace them, make sure the rest of the instrument is as good as the new strings will be.


-- J.S.

[Linked Image] [Linked Image]

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690
Re: purchased: 1985 s400b [Re: ashertob] #2674480
09/11/17 01:43 PM
09/11/17 01:43 PM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 111
Indonesia
T
tirta Online content
Full Member
tirta  Online Content
Full Member
T
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 111
Indonesia
Hi ashertob,

Thanks for sharing the experience.
I want to ask you about the action of your s400b,
is it a lot heavier compared to the new cx series?

Last edited by tirta; 09/11/17 01:43 PM.
Re: purchased: 1985 s400b [Re: tirta] #2674482
09/11/17 01:56 PM
09/11/17 01:56 PM
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 40
A
ashertob Offline OP
Full Member
ashertob  Offline OP
Full Member
A
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 40
The action was a little on the heavy side when it arrived -- not much, but I did notice it after several hours of practice. My tech explained that this was due to exposure to humidity most likely. Ed Foote has an explanation for heavy action in s400b that he's offered elsewhere on this forum. I'm not sure that was what was going on in piano. But in any case after the tech spent a day with my action it feels really good.


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