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if the piano has been well cared for, eighty years old in itself, for that manufacturer and model, is not excessive.

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Originally Posted by dynamobt
No. Did not play it. Tech scared me off due to piano age. At least 75 to 80 years old.
Huh. Did you happen to notice if your technician was walked towards his piano moving gear while still on the phone with you? This is seriously bad advice from your technician. Mason and Hamlins have value even as a core to be rebuilt (althought probably not a lot for an upright). We're talking about free, here, right? I didn't misunderstand something?

It's owned by the original family, and it looks great in the picture. You're right to go audition the piano. If you like it and want to bring it home, at free I wouldn't even be too concerned about a technician evaluation.

RE the screw stringers - I've only seen these on grands. Did they ever try that on uprights?


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Yeah I wouldn't be surprised if your tech was making the trip before you got there, LOL. I think it's always wise to at least try the piano before saying no -- you never know how it sounds until you play it yourself.

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I think I would risk a journey to take a look and have a play.


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I have an 1889 M&H screwstringer grand, with it's original soundboard, and I couldn't be happier.

Sure wish that deal was out here in CA, I'd take it in a heartbeat, even knowing it probably needs some work.

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Of course, in looking at free pianos, I have one big advantage over most of the other contributors here.


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Originally Posted by musicpassion
[quote=dynamobt].

RE the screw stringers - I've only seen these on grands. Did they ever try that on uprights?


Yes.


Learning to play the piano, very happy with my 1907 Ivers Pond uprights, and ready to part with my Yamha C7 - not the sound I like.
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Originally Posted by musicpassion
This is seriously bad advice from your technician. Mason and Hamlins have value even as a core to be rebuilt (although probably not a lot for an upright). We're talking about free, here, right? I didn't misunderstand something?
If the piano requires a lot of rebuilding then this would cost many thousands of dollars and not something I think the OP is interested in. It's also generally a mistake to buy a core with the intention of having it rebuilt since the touch and tone of the rebuild may not please the owner. A Mason upright core may not be worth much more than the cost of shipping the piano to the owner's home and there is always the possibility that the owner can't sell the piano at all.

Without knowing the cost(if any) to bring the piano to decent condition, I think bringing the piano home without a tech inspection is a huge mistake.

Finally, saying that the OP's tech may want to get the piano himself and is telling the OP not to try it for that reason is a huge insult to the integrity of the tech.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 12/13/17 02:30 PM.
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Finally, saying that the OP's tech may want to get the piano himself and is telling the OP not to try it for that reason is a huge insult to the integrity of the tech.

Yea, I thought the same thing...

But it is not an insult if the tech recommends that the OP not take the free M&H upright due to its age, and then rush out and get it himself. If he doesn't, then the comment would be an insult.

Of course, when it comes to all things pianos, stranger things have happened.

Rick


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Seen and played the piano. Looked up the serial number when I got home. It was built in 1906.

All keys play. Pedals work. Ivory keys totally intact. I liked the sound and feel of the piano a lot. As I was playing I asked myself if I could be happy playing this piano as my only instrument. ( which some day when we downsize could be the case) And, I could. The piano felt great under my fingers. Very inviting to play. And though sounding “old” it sounded quite rich and full. Let’s face it. I’m a big fan of Mason & Hamlins. And this piano sounded very much like a Mason.

Husband not for spending money on a tech to go over it. Well, no matter what they might say I would play it as is for a while. Fix minor things as they happen. And if something major needed doing, we’d either do it or not depending on what I could live with at the time. And since I could be quite happy playing this piano as is for quite a while, we’re just going to get it!! I played Bach and Beethoven today on it. The piano handled it all well.


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Congratulations!!! thumb

I wish you many years of enjoyment, and fulfillment playing the older M&H upright!!! (Kind of makes me want another oldie but goodie... smile )

All the best!

Rick


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Congratulations!

What a happy ending. Dynamobt, I assume it's safe to believe the piano is in tune the keyboard is level and the action is responsive. Those are all very good signs.

Once you get the piano home, I'd love to see some photos of the insides, and close-ups of the keyboard. The one old upright Mason Hamlin I've played was a beautiful instrument, a deep rich sound of its own, but the piano tech/re-builder wanted several thousand dollars for it with the promise that a dozen obvious issues would be repaired. Sounds like you got a gem!

The other Rick


Learning to play the piano, very happy with my 1907 Ivers Pond uprights, and ready to part with my Yamha C7 - not the sound I like.
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Inside was dirtier than I would have liked. Hammers quite grooved. But yes, keyboard level, and action responsive. Handled my trills and ornaments in the Bach. Considering it was tuned about a year ago, the tuning was quite pleasant to my ear.


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Originally Posted by dynamobt
..., we’re just going to get it!! ....
.

Good, I'm glad to hear it. You'll get at least a few months or years out of it, and all it'll cost you is moving and disposal if it totally fails.


-- J.S.

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Found a Mason & Hamlin catalogue from 1906 online at The Antique Piano. Sure enough, the soon to be mine upright is pictured. Model Es. One of three upright models for that year. Es probably the “budget model” of the three. But the exact piano! Kind of cool!!


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Congrats on your ‘new to you’ piano! Hope it gives you many years of wonderful music,


"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
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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mason & hamlins like that, partially restored, fully playable, are sometimes in our market for around $10 k. very important you engage the right person who understands pianos from that era to do the work, if and when you want it done, but done right it's $$ well expended.

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Wow, I just came across this thread today - glad you jumped on it. I would have! It's a classic!


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Mason & Hamlin uprights of that vintage have double repetition actions, similar to a grand piano. The springs have probably fatigued and that feature no longer works, but it is a very good system that makes for a nice, sure touch. I restored one once by replacing the springs, so I know about them, but I do not think I would do it again.


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That is really exciting-- congratulations!


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