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Mason & Hamlin 1981 #2699028 12/22/17 05:59 PM
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Osho Offline OP
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I am considering a Mason & Hamlin 1981 Piano. I have heard that they have a 'bad rep' from the Aeolin period. So, my question is how bad is this rep and should that be a deal breaker if the price is pretty good and the technician checks it out OK (and I liked it of course)?

Thanks,
Osho


Mason & Hamlin BB
Kawai Novus NV10 + VST. Current VST favorites (in the order of preference): VSL Synchron Concert D//Garritan CFX/Pianoteq 6/Embertone Walker D Full

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Re: Mason & Hamlin 1981 [Re: Osho] #2699038 12/22/17 06:43 PM
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Upright or grand ??

What do you know about the piano's history"


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YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
Re: Mason & Hamlin 1981 [Re: Osho] #2699040 12/22/17 06:47 PM
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It is a grand. It was in a church previously. It is in a private owner's home for last 20 years. I spoke to the tuner - have been regularly tuned every 6 months for last 4 years and holds the tuning very well. It has been well taken care off in last several years.

Osho


Mason & Hamlin BB
Kawai Novus NV10 + VST. Current VST favorites (in the order of preference): VSL Synchron Concert D//Garritan CFX/Pianoteq 6/Embertone Walker D Full

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Re: Mason & Hamlin 1981 [Re: Osho] #2699050 12/22/17 08:12 PM
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P W Grey Offline
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If you have confidence in your tech, and the price is attractive, seems reasonable. Is the tuner your normal tuner/tech? If not, you might want to get an independent appraisal by someone you know and trust. Not all are the same in experience or depth of inspection.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
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Re: Mason & Hamlin 1981 [Re: Osho] #2699056 12/22/17 08:58 PM
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In my own grand search from about 6 years ago, I was considering a fine, used grand that was about 15 years old. The owner’s husband provided the name of their regular piano technician, who I called to ask about the piano. He gave it a glowing recommendation, so I drove a good distance to see and evaluate it myself. The piano ended up being extremely well-worn (hammers and key bushings, especially) and it was quite dirty with pet hair inside...overall, a frustrating waste of my time, and the piano bore no resemblance to new examples of the same model.

Long story short: trust the references that have YOUR best interests in mind. Especially with a piano that was cast off from institutional service decades ago.

The search function is your friend here, as there have been a lot of threads about M&H pianos from this era by knowledgeable retailers, pianists, and technicians. It will save you the trouble of needing to start a new thread for every piano listing you find interesting online...


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Re: Mason & Hamlin 1981 [Re: Osho] #2699117 12/23/17 11:34 AM
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I can think of two clear instances where (due to location and time) I had other techs check out pianos. I know these guys very well. In both cases I was somewhat dismayed at what I found when I got the pianos, comparing their report with what I actually found. One, I specifically said: "Check for ........". "Not a trace...clean". Well, it wasnt clean.

Point is as terminaldegree said, the person you hire needs to have YOUR interests in mind. I might add that it is useful to ask if he/she will stand behind their assessment. Of course no one can see everything but they are being PAID for expertise.

Pwg

Last edited by P W Grey; 12/23/17 11:35 AM.

Peter W. Grey, RPT
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: Mason & Hamlin 1981 [Re: P W Grey] #2699390 12/24/17 09:17 PM
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musicpassion Offline
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Originally Posted by P W Grey
Point is as terminaldegree said, the person you hire needs to have YOUR interests in mind. I might add that it is useful to ask if he/she will stand behind their assessment. Of course no one can see everything but they are being PAID for expertise.

Pwg
I think you need to hire someone with rebuilding expertise on Mason Hamlin pianos. Unfortunately too many technicians look at a piano and say "Yeah. Basically works." What we're looking for is actually a much more in-depth understanding. What will it take for this piano to outperform most brand new pianos?

I don't know what model you're looking at, but the DNA is there in these instruments (Aeolian era). In my experience they generally need some work to realize their potential. For example, I know a BB from this general era, and it had a basically clean bill of health at purchase (from original owner who had it for 30 years). But the technician understood what was being asked of this instrument (concert level performance). He suggested and completed $15,000 of work on the piano. Now it is an excellent instrument. Even with the work, it wound up an outstanding bargain: less than 30k for a first class instrument.


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Re: Mason & Hamlin 1981 [Re: Osho] #2699391 12/24/17 09:20 PM
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Hard to beat a good BB.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: Mason & Hamlin 1981 [Re: P W Grey] #2699392 12/24/17 09:27 PM
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musicpassion Offline
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Originally Posted by P W Grey
Hard to beat a good BB.

Pwg
For sure!


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Re: Mason & Hamlin 1981 [Re: Osho] #2699410 12/25/17 01:51 AM
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I play frequently on the 1974 Mason & Hamlin model A that my dad bought new when I was five years old. The action is on the heavy side, but even (we did have it regulated about four years ago). The tuning stability is fantastic! It has a rich, mellow tone, which some people used to brighter pianos may not care for, but I am fond of.

If the piano you are interested in was decently cared for, it could be a great piano. What model is it? How much are they asking?

Re: Mason & Hamlin 1981 [Re: Corvus] #2699414 12/25/17 02:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Corvus

If the piano you are interested in was decently cared for, it could be a great piano. What model is it? How much are they asking?


It is a BB model from a private party through a personal contact. I negotiated it to 8500. It is on east coast and I am on west coast - so, with delivery, it will be close to 11000.

It was in church for a while. Last 20 years, it is in private home. I spoke to the tuner and he says it has been regularly tuned and keeping the tune fine. I won't be able to see the piano in person - but I am having a local well-reputed tuner/tech check it out for me soon.

My piano technician is absolutely against this piano - he thinks all Aeolin Mason Hamlin are not worth the trouble and shouldn't get one if I get it for free! But the price is really good - so confused smile

Osho


Mason & Hamlin BB
Kawai Novus NV10 + VST. Current VST favorites (in the order of preference): VSL Synchron Concert D//Garritan CFX/Pianoteq 6/Embertone Walker D Full

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Re: Mason & Hamlin 1981 [Re: Osho] #2699426 12/25/17 03:54 AM
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Osho
What did you think when you played the Piano?


"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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Re: Mason & Hamlin 1981 [Re: dogperson] #2699434 12/25/17 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Osho
What did you think when you played the Piano?

I haven't played the piano - it is quite far from me. And I will have to rely on the technician that I hired to judge that. I do like the sound though but can't tell the feel of course.

Osho


Mason & Hamlin BB
Kawai Novus NV10 + VST. Current VST favorites (in the order of preference): VSL Synchron Concert D//Garritan CFX/Pianoteq 6/Embertone Walker D Full

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Re: Mason & Hamlin 1981 [Re: Osho] #2699439 12/25/17 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Osho
Originally Posted by dogperson
Osho
What did you think when you played the Piano?

I haven't played the piano - it is quite far from me. And I will have to rely on the technician that I hired to judge that. I do like the sound though but can't tell the feel of course.

Osho


Osho,
My advice, and the same advice I think you will receive from many here, Is that you should play the piano you are Considering buying. Buying a piano is not like buying a car where two models will be the same, But each piano will be different In the response that you personally have for it. A technician Should only speak for you in regards to whether the piano is sound, not whether you would like it. If you have only heard the sound from recording, you have not heard the piano. Don’t rush to make a decision, But take your time to find one that you want to play every day.

Of course, this advice totally changes, if you’re not afraid to buy piano you don’t like when you get it home, and then sell it for a loss to buy a new one.


"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

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: Mason & Hamlin 1981 [Re: Osho] #2699443 12/25/17 06:23 AM
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musicpassion Offline
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Originally Posted by Osho
Originally Posted by dogperson
Osho
What did you think when you played the Piano?

I haven't played the piano - it is quite far from me. And I will have to rely on the technician that I hired to judge that. I do like the sound though but can't tell the feel of course.

Osho
I think this scenario has a very high probability of unsatisactory results. Forget for a moment the model, brand and age of the piano, because this scenerio could go wrong with any brand of piano. You might never like the instrument regardless of how many technicians declare it solid.

I'd suggest you not shop for a piano like you would a car or a refrigerator. You are considering the purchase of a musical instrument, and every musical instrument must be evaluated on it's own merits.


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Re: Mason & Hamlin 1981 [Re: Osho] #2699444 12/25/17 06:32 AM
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musicpassion Offline
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Originally Posted by Osho
But the price is really good - so confused smile
Actually I don't think we know yet if the price is "really good". It depends on the condition and musical quality of the instrument. In my opinion the musical capability of a Mason and Hamlin impacts the price more than it does for a Steinway. The right people will pay pretty good money for really good BB, but those same people can tell the diffference between a great one and and a lousy one. Someone will fork over big bucks for an iffy Steinway B because of the nameplate. An iffy BB gets picked up by a rebuilder who might do it on spec or someone really bargain shopping.... in other words core price isn't that high.

So to recap my thoughts on the thread: the OP asked if it was ok to consider purchasing an Aeolian M&H. Sure it is. It is completely possible to get great results out of an Aeolian era instrument. While I don't think consistency or craftsmanship was as good through those years, most things can be fixed and your rebuilder/technician can give you the whole story. If you love a piano as it is, it will only get better with attention from a skilled technician.

But now we realize you've never heard or played or seen the instrument (recordings don't count), and it's all the way across the country. No, don't buy a piano under these conditions. The whole "Aeolian era" was a red herring. That's not the relevant issue. The relevant issue is: 30+ year old piano you've never played/seen/heard all the way across the nation. Nope. Pass.

Last edited by musicpassion; 12/25/17 06:47 AM. Reason: added recap

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Re: Mason & Hamlin 1981 [Re: Osho] #2699468 12/25/17 10:49 AM
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P W Grey Offline
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Osho,

Everything happens for a reason (I'm not talking about a mystical preordained "reason"). What I am talking about is there is a REASON the piano is for sale, and there is a REASON why the price is what it is. If you were buying a car at a "fantastically good price", chances are you would find out soon the REASON it was being sold at such a price...usually because the seller knew something he/she did not want to disclose and simply wanted it to 'disappear'. Now you're stuck with it. Know what I mean?

As you have been advised, you should personally see and play this piano AND meet the technician you have hired to inspect it before seriously considering buying it. The cost of doing so is small in comparison to your overall investment.

HOWEVER, if you are a risk taker, then it's different. But it doesn't sound to me like you're a risk taker, otherwise you wouldn't be asking for our collective advice. Right?

If your home tech is against it in principle, it may be difficult to get him/her to satisfy you if it is not great. That could spoil the relationship.

Be careful.

Pwg

Last edited by P W Grey; 12/25/17 10:51 AM.

Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Re: Mason & Hamlin 1981 [Re: Osho] #2699519 12/25/17 04:02 PM
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Osho Offline OP
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Thank you guys for all the input - I have been warned smile

Osho


Mason & Hamlin BB
Kawai Novus NV10 + VST. Current VST favorites (in the order of preference): VSL Synchron Concert D//Garritan CFX/Pianoteq 6/Embertone Walker D Full

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