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Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
#2753138 07/22/18 01:35 PM
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molgra Offline OP
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Hi, I have been looking for a while for a good quality upright to replace my digital piano. I'm at grade 7 level and want to get a piano that will serve me for a long time (hopefully forever), however, my budget is only 4-5k euro. I've done the rounds of the local dealers and wanted to get a Yamaha or Kawai but the ones in my budget are either 50 yr old Yamaha's or 30/40 yr old Kawais. I'm worried these are past their best years, am I wrong?

Just to confuse matters, I have come across a 100 yr old Bluthner which is underdamped and in working condition and being sold privately for a very low price as it needs work. I have had the piano checked by a technician and he said that the piano is definitely worth restoring because of the quality of the action and other parts. However, he found some evidence of woodworm but it was not possible to know if the woodworm is still active. He thoroughly investigated and only found woodworm holes in legs and under keyboard. No sign of woodworm in any working parts. The technician said that normally woodworm is an automatic no, but as the infestation on this piano was so small and the piano so good in other regards it was less clear cut. His final opinion was that the piano was worth taking the chance on. Restoring this (including treating the woodworm) will cost 4k, am I mad to spend that amount on a piano that potentially may have further infestations which cannot be seen at the moment? At the same time, I love the warm tone and my search to date has made me realise that I prefer the feel and warmth of older pianos and keyboards. Is this too good an opportunity to miss?

Finally (just to fully confuse me) there is a 15 yr old Petrof also being sold privately and it is half the price (2k). It hasn't been played much (which I know isn't necessarily a good thing with pianos) and looks as new. I love the warm tone of the Petrof and understand that they are usually good quality. This is the smaller model 115.

Any advice would be welcome as this may be the only time I get to spend this amount on a piano so I want to make sure I make the right decision.

Many thanks in advance.

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Re: Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
molgra #2753145 07/22/18 02:09 PM
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Anything is possible, but I think it would be very rare for a 100-year-old piano to still have high-quality action and other parts. Do you a high level of trust in the knowledge of the tech you hired to inspect it? Based on the age of the other two pianos I would choose the Petrof if it passes an inspection.

Re: Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
pianoloverus #2753150 07/22/18 02:31 PM
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I think it is because of the make, Bluthner made high quality handcrafted pianos, which seem to stand the test of time (I saw one for sale for 13k at one of the piano dealers I visited and the piano was 10 yrs older than the one I'm looking at! And it still played beautifully) if it wasn't for the woodworm, I would definitely go for the Bluthner it's the uncertainty of what might happen that is worrying me. To answer your question, I trust the opinion of the piano technician who has a lot of experience of these types of pianos.

My only concern with the Petrof is that it may have been neglected for a long time (not played or tuned regularly) I know this can be damaging to a piano.

Thanks for your input, good to hear other opinions. 🙂

Re: Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
molgra #2753154 07/22/18 02:38 PM
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Some would say that woodwork in any house that is centrally heated must be historic as the bugs can't live in centrally heated houses. If so whether the Bluthner's owner has central heating would be good to know.

Re: Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
molgra #2753166 07/22/18 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by molgra
I think it is because of the make, Bluthner made high quality handcrafted pianos, which seem to stand the test of time (I saw one for sale for 13k at one of the piano dealers I visited and the piano was 10 yrs older than the one I'm looking at! And it still played beautifully) if it wasn't for the woodworm, I would definitely go for the Bluthner it's the uncertainty of what might happen that is worrying me. To answer your question, I trust the opinion of the piano technician who has a lot of experience of these types of pianos.

My only concern with the Petrof is that it may have been neglected for a long time (not played or tuned regularly) I know this can be damaging to a piano.

Thanks for your input, good to hear other opinions. 🙂
But maybe the other Bluthner you saw for sale had some rebuilding done on it or had a particularly beautiful case that added to its value. My thinking is that no matter how high the quality of the original, after 100 years most pianos need most of their parts replaced. But maybe some far more knowledgeable members will offer an opinion.

Re: Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
pianoloverus #2753177 07/22/18 04:15 PM
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The other 13k had been totally rebuilt and had a beautiful case, but I'm not expecting to achieve the same for 4k (if only it were possible 😉) the person restoring it knows I'm on a tight budget and was going to do only what was necessary for the sound quality (ignoring the case). Playing the expensive one did have the same feel as keys were indentical (only cleaner!)

Re: Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
Jack Knuckle #2753180 07/22/18 04:22 PM
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Thanks, that's reassuring to hear. The piano was in storage for 5 yrs as owners abroad, it was in a proper lock up with other furniture but maybe they could have got in then. There are signs of water having been spilled around keyboard area so that may have caused the dampness which attracted the woodworm. There is no dampness now. Does this mean that as the piano will now be kept in a room with central heating they are unlikely to want to stay/return? The restorer will treat the piano twice for woodworm, just can't offer a guarantee that they won't return.

Re: Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
molgra #2753196 07/22/18 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by molgra
I think it is because of the make, Bluthner made high quality handcrafted pianos, which seem to stand the test of time (I saw one for sale for 13k at one of the piano dealers I visited and the piano was 10 yrs older than the one I'm looking at! And it still played beautifully) if it wasn't for the woodworm, I would definitely go for the Bluthner it's the uncertainty of what might happen that is worrying me. To answer your question, I trust the opinion of the piano technician who has a lot of experience of these types of pianos.

My only concern with the Petrof is that it may have been neglected for a long time (not played or tuned regularly) I know this can be damaging to a piano.


Well, not THAT damaging unless it was in an extremely damp, dry or seriously fluctuating home environment all those years. . Certainly nothing that a good going over and a couple of tunings by a tech couldn't fix - and it sure beats a 100 year old instrument with an unknown background other than the 5 years it storage and woodworm problem. You say you love the warm tone of the Petrof - and it looks new. I would encourage you to have a tech evaluate the Petrof, and if it checks out......well, with a limited budget, I know what I'd probably do. crazy

Last edited by Carey; 07/22/18 06:11 PM.

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Re: Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
Carey #2753201 07/22/18 06:12 PM
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Thanks for your input, you make a good point and I didn't realise that any issues due to lack of use could be so easily fixed. At the price of the Petrof I guess I could always change the piano in the future if I felt the need to. Thanks, you've given me more to think about.

Re: Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
molgra #2753207 07/22/18 06:54 PM
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If you're on budget then get the best sounding and in very important best condition piano you can. What may seem like something in descent shape now may turn out to be a money pit shortly down the road if you are a heavy player.

Last edited by Miguel Rey; 07/22/18 06:54 PM.



Re: Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
molgra #2753233 07/22/18 09:01 PM
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I second Miguel on that! Tight budget does NOT square with a piano needing any kind of restoration. You must have the capital available to tackle it properly

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Re: Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
molgra #2753278 07/23/18 04:56 AM
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I would get the Petrof too! I think any ambitious pianist would want to practice on a modern instrument.

Re: Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
willpianist #2753286 07/23/18 05:46 AM
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Originally Posted by willpianist
I would get the Petrof too! I think any ambitious pianist would want to practice on a modern instrument.


Hi
I can not agree with your conclusion that ambitious pianists would want to have a modern piano, as there are serious pianists here that own vintage ones as a preference. We also have skilled restores on this website that restore vintage for serious/ambitious pianists, the choice is based on touch, tone and condition not modern versus vintage.


"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
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Re: Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
dogperson #2753300 07/23/18 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by willpianist
I would get the Petrof too! I think any ambitious pianist would want to practice on a modern instrument.


Hi
I can not agree with your conclusion that ambitious pianists would want to have a modern piano, as there are serious pianists here that own vintage ones as a preference. We also have skilled restores on this website that restore vintage for serious/ambitious pianists, the choice is based on touch, tone and condition not modern versus vintage.


Sorry I was too narrow minded. My thinking at the time was that all vintage 100 year + pianos that haven't been rebuilt would not be in a good condition and therefore would sound dead and have really uneven touch. This is certainly what I have experienced so far and I admit that I haven't played on any rebuilt pianos (rebuilt pianos are rare where I am).

Re: Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
molgra #2753314 07/23/18 10:01 AM
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The Bluthner could doubtlessly be restored to its original (nearly) glory. It just takes time, talent, and money. Not a budget project.

Pwg


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Re: Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
molgra #2753387 07/23/18 03:22 PM
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Are those your only options? In the used private market there should be other brands as well, such as Schimmel, Grotrian, Sauter to name a few. If you do not care about the looks, you should be able to find good, not too old examples of those pianos at a good price.

You should also be able to get a new, or almost new Feurich 122 (125) for that price. They are well built, use wooden parts, where others use plastic.

Re: Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
Skjalg #2753402 07/23/18 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Skjalg
Are those your only options? In the used private market there should be other brands as well, such as Schimmel, Grotrian, Sauter to name a few. If you do not care about the looks, you should be able to find good, not too old examples of those pianos at a good price.

You should also be able to get a new, or almost new Feurich 122 (125) for that price. They are well built, use wooden parts, where others use plastic.


Others use plastic???? That's a rather broad generalization - and not necessarily true. Then again, what is your definition of plastic?


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Re: Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
molgra #2753426 07/23/18 06:37 PM
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Get the Petrof.

Re: Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
Carey #2753520 07/24/18 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Carey

Others use plastic???? That's a rather broad generalization - and not necessarily true. Then again, what is your definition of plastic?


I agree, that was unintentionally unclear. I did not mean to claim that all or most manufactures use plastic parts. Some however, do use some plastic or metal parts where the tradional approach to building a piano would use wooden parts. I suspect in part to be more cost effective.

If you have a look at the following video comparing a Feurich 122 and a Yamaha U3H, you will get an idea of what I had in mind.


Last edited by Skjalg; 07/24/18 08:46 AM.
Re: Antique Bluthner or 15 yr old Petrof?
Skjalg #2753531 07/24/18 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Skjalg
Originally Posted by Carey

Others use plastic???? That's a rather broad generalization - and not necessarily true. Then again, what is your definition of plastic?


I agree, that was unintentionally unclear. I did not mean to claim that all or most manufacturers use plastic parts. Some however, do use some plastic or metal parts where the traditional approach to building a piano would use wooden parts. I suspect in part to be more cost effective.

If you have a look at the following video comparing a Feurich 122 and a Yamaha U3H, you will get an idea of what I had in mind.

THe video is an obvious ad by a Feurich dealer! The Yamaha model he compares with the Feurich has been around forever, and I have never read/heard of anyone thinking its parts were inferior or complaining about what the dealer in that video says about the Yamaha.

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