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Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: rhawke] #2797883
01/02/19 05:04 PM
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Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: rhawke] #2797898
01/02/19 06:27 PM
01/02/19 06:27 PM
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The main problem with that is that I can't stand to play an out of tune piano for even 2 minutes.


Tuning a piano is kinda like giving birth, because as soon as either process ends, entropy immediately follows. Different pianos in different circumstances hold tune to varying degrees, but no acoustic piano holds perfect tune over any length of time. If you've developed a set of "bat ears" (for lack of a better term) dialed in to the perfect tune of the digital, be prepared for some adjustment and even a little disappointment, especially in the first year as your new piano is dialing in. But that's part of the fun of having a living, breathing piano. smile

Since I seem to have a story for everything, a tale of two pianists...

On Christmas Eve with my wife's family, one of her first cousins decided to knock out a few old standards and some Christmas songs on the old Baldwin Acrosonic that was in the "cook house" where we were all gathered. He can't read a note of music, plays strictly by ear, and can run rings around half of you - and I don't care who you are. He can play any genre of music, swapping over in midstream while he's holding a conversation, without any visible effort. He has had more than one offer from folks in Nashville, but piano is fun for him, not work. Playing on that semi-out-of-tune piano, he had a ball and so did everyone around him.

Several of my wife's cousins play (I think nine of them learned on their grandma's old upright) and one did obtain a Master's in performance from a good East Coast school. She even was a featured performer with some of the second tier orchestras around the country when she was younger and taught piano to help pay the bills when she lived in Boston. I thought she might want to play when James (not his real name) took a break and asked her to play for us, but A) She didn't have her music, B)She doesn't play up to her standards anymore and C) the piano isn't a grand and it's out of tune.

Now folks, to me at least, music is about having fun and seeing others enjoy the music. When I think about a true musician, it's all about taking what you have and doing the best with it that you can. True talent and ability is making even an old Acrosonic generate a joy and smiles. It's not about playing perfectly or playing on a perfect instrument...It's about the personal satisfaction and fun of bringing music to life and giving that gift to other people.


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Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: rhawke] #2797922
01/02/19 07:57 PM
01/02/19 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by rhawke
Another sales consultant at the same dealer was being honest and told me "We have around 100 pianos here, we don't prep and tune the pianos all the time, that would drive up the cost too much and everybody wants a low price. Most people that come here still buy the pianos and don't hear anything wrong with them even when they are a bit out of tune or not voiced consistently. Tell us if you really like a particular piano and we can have it tuned for you before you buy it"


And this is perfectly fine. I totally understand and appreciate this, and I think that speaks a lot about that dealer's honesty and business practices.

I just couldn't believe that the one I visited had told me it was "concert ready." I'll definitely not be visiting them again.

Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: Jolly] #2797943
01/02/19 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Jolly
Quote
The main problem with that is that I can't stand to play an out of tune piano for even 2 minutes.


Tuning a piano is kinda like giving birth, because as soon as either process ends, entropy immediately follows. Different pianos in different circumstances hold tune to varying degrees, but no acoustic piano holds perfect tune over any length of time. If you've developed a set of "bat ears" (for lack of a better term) dialed in to the perfect tune of the digital, be prepared for some adjustment and even a little disappointment, especially in the first year as your new piano is dialing in. But that's part of the fun of having a living, breathing piano. smile


I'm actually used to accoustics, my last digital is 10 years in the past. I should have completed my sentence. I cannot stand playing an out of tune piano for 2 minutes when I'm supposed to evaluate whether I want to spend 10-15k on it. I absolutely agree with you that there is a lot of fun aspect to playing and I can actually identify with "James" quite a bit. I suck at sight reading, love to play by ear and improvise and have had great times making a lot of fun (while not necessarily the most beautiful or perfect) music while others are singing, adding their instruments, etc.. When I'm in a room with a super out of tune piano then it's time to bring out the rag time or play some honky tonk western music grin grin grin grin

But I really would have no fun playing Chopin Nocturnes on it. So I guess it's all about the type of music and the occasion and again my perfectionist personality that wants to make sure the $15,000 are spent the best way possible.

Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: KurtZ] #2797978
01/03/19 03:45 AM
01/03/19 03:45 AM
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Originally Posted by KurtZ
Originally Posted by S. Phillips
The section that you quoted from Piano Buyer was written long after other management took over and quality issues were addressed. I have often spoken about the issues with the 80's Baldwin product. I have opinions about other brands as well but do not voice them because I have never been an employee nor do I have first hand information about their production. In the case of Baldwin, I was there in their factories and traveled among the dealers on their behalf. I saw first hand the issues, having been sent to the factory to identify the problems.


He's no longer active here but noted piano designer Del Fandrich, also a Baldwin ex-employee, also commented on the quality problems with the Mexican built actions. Sally is not alone.


No, Sally is not alone in commenting on quality problems. Even I acknowledge that there were quality problems. But no one else offers up such hyperbolic criticism of the Brand. No one else condemns decades of Baldwin production.

My recollection of Del's posts is that he generally says something to the effect of "have it inspected; you might find a good one."

Check out this post:

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...-of-1980-baldwin-model-l.html#Post196005

In it his response to a poster's concern "about the usual Baldwin quality issues" is to point out that the "Baldwin 'quality issues' generally have more to do with cosmetic detailing than with anything structural."

He also says "the Model L is one of my favorite Baldwin pianos."

If the L is one of Del's favorites, then it ought to be given a fair and objective chance by the rest of us.

As I said above, the L is a very nice piano. I think I'm in good company.


"If it sounds good, it is good." - Duke Ellington
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Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: S. Phillips] #2797988
01/03/19 06:10 AM
01/03/19 06:10 AM
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Originally Posted by S. Phillips
The section that you quoted from Piano Buyer was written long after other management took over and quality issues were addressed.

In a recent thread you gave this advice:

Originally Posted by S. Phillips
Having worked for Baldwin in the 80's, I would recommend avoiding the production during that time forward.

So, you worked for Baldwin in the 80s, but you suggest avoiding the production from the 80s, 90s and all the way through 2008. Larry Fine rated those same Baldwins as "High Performance Pianos," and their subcategory as "wonderful instruments, and some of the best values in the piano world."

The OP in that thread was specifically looking for a Baldwin SF-10. In spite of that, you gave him this advice:

Originally Posted by S. Phillips
Look for a good used Steinway B ( just under 7 ft.) instead.

He could reasonably expect to find a nice SF-10 under his stated budget of 15k (and I believe he has found one), but a playable Steinway B in original condition would cost at least double, and probably closer to triple his budget.

My understanding is that the SF-10 was rated equal to the Steinway B.

It simply doesn't make any sense to advise someone who is looking for a specific piano that falls within his budget to look for a different one that's going to cost 2 or 3 times his budget and apparently wasn't even rated any better.


Above you add:

Originally Posted by S. Phillips
I have opinions about other brands as well but do not voice them because I have never been an employee nor do I have first hand information about their production.

That is simply disingenuous. You worked at Baldwin in the 80s, but you criticize their production right through the end. Per your LinkedIn page, you have 43 years experience as a piano technician. You have undoubtedly been exposed to thousands of pianos. One need not work in the factory to form an opinion on a piano brand's general level of quality.

It seems clear to me that you are biased against Baldwin. Fair enough. You have a right to your opinion. You may even believe it. But your perspective simply is not consistent with reality.

I supported manufacturing systems for ten years early in my career. I've been in production facilities all over the US and Europe. Every production facility produces defects. Maybe 2 or 3% is acceptable. When it hits 5% people get uptight. At 10% it can significantly impact profit margins and tarnish reputations, but even then, 90% of product is shipping without defects. You give the impression that virtually every Baldwin produced after 1980 was infected with some of the defects and problems from your litany of issues. That simply can't be true. They couldn't possibly have continued to produce for 28 years if everything was defective.


Going back to Fine's market description in that 2008 supplement, there are really only three players in his two top tiers when it comes to mass produced pianos widely available in North America: Baldwin, Steinway and Yamaha.

The Baldwin Artist models occupy a magical space in the market today, where they hold relatively little monetary value, but have lots of musical potential. For someone who wants an American made, high-quality piano for a bargain basement price, these are obvious picks. And there are thousands of them out there in peoples' homes.


"If it sounds good, it is good." - Duke Ellington
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Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: Retsacnal] #2798040
01/03/19 09:42 AM
01/03/19 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Going back to Fine's market description in that 2008 supplement, there are really only three players in his two top tiers when it comes to mass produced pianos widely available in North America: Baldwin, Steinway and Yamaha.


Why was Mason & Hamlin not included in that list? I was under the impression that they revamped things and became top-notch again in the early 2000s.

Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: rhawke] #2800343
01/10/19 12:34 AM
01/10/19 12:34 AM
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Baldwin had such a checkered history; you should have it inspected by a qualified, independent piano tech. From the period ca1988-1998 it may still be possible to find a good Baldwin Artist Series grand. Things to especially focus on: prematurely worn action, cracks in the treble bridge, split arm. In the late 1990s, a few left the factory with anomalies in the harp. That's about the best my old memory can afford at the moment. Best wishes.
:


Bob W.
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Conway, Arkansas
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com
Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: bkw58] #2800371
01/10/19 04:56 AM
01/10/19 04:56 AM
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Originally Posted by bkw58
Baldwin had such a checkered history; you should have it inspected by a qualified, independent piano tech. From the period ca1988-1998 it may still be possible to find a good Baldwin Artist Series grand. Things to especially focus on: prematurely worn action, cracks in the treble bridge, split arm. In the late 1990s, a few left the factory with anomalies in the harp. That's about the best my old memory can afford at the moment. Best wishes.
:

thumb

Nice objective post. It's reasonable to acknowledge the quality problems while also acknowledging that there were good pianos produced too.

Like any second hand piano purchase--of any brand or production year--if a Baldwin speaks to you, have it inspected. If it turns out to be the horrendous train-wreck that some would have you believe, then no reputable technician is going to recommend it.


"If it sounds good, it is good." - Duke Ellington
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Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: Piano90X] #2800381
01/10/19 05:28 AM
01/10/19 05:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Piano90X
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Going back to Fine's market description in that 2008 supplement, there are really only three players in his two top tiers when it comes to mass produced pianos widely available in North America: Baldwin, Steinway and Yamaha.


Why was Mason & Hamlin not included in that list? I was under the impression that they revamped things and became top-notch again in the early 2000s.

Well, I spelled out the criteria I used, and you copied it! wink But, in particular, I don't think M&H is a mass produced brand. It's not a knock against their quality. For the record, there are probably a lot of nice old Masons out there too.

All the pianos in those two tiers are good quality, but AFAIK only those three were sold in large numbers in the U.S., and were household names at that time. To the extent that other high quality used pianos exist in the marketplace, they pose a threat to new sales too.

It's well known that a certain American maker doesn't like competing against their own used and rebuilt pianos. It's well known that a certain Japanese maker doesn't like competing against their own used pianos sold through the "gray market." And retail dealers of virtually every brand are slinging FUD at their competition (I'm not saying every dealer--some rise above this). Lots of people love Baldwins. Robert Estrin apparently loves Baldwins, and it looks like he sells the heck out of them. Is it really so hard to believe that some dealers may be slinging FUD at used Baldwins too?

Maybe it's just this simple: when someone who'd like you to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a brand new piano bashes your other options, it's reasonable to wonder if they're offering self-serving advice.


"If it sounds good, it is good." - Duke Ellington
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Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: rhawke] #2800921
01/11/19 04:25 PM
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Thanks again for all the answers. This weekend I will go and play the Baldwin again. In the meanwhile I found a local piano tech that came highly recommended. He had a good opinion of the store that sells the used Baldwin and said that if they claim their tech already inspected it, I could most likely trust them, but he is still happy to come out and inspect it for me for a regular tuning fee.

That being said, he told me that if the action is too heavy for me, that most likely it would not be worth it for me to pay him to adjust that. So he suggested I try it one more time by myself and if I like the action this time around (with warm fingers unlike last time) I should give him a call to inspect it. Should I not like the action he recommends to keep looking.

Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: rhawke] #2800930
01/11/19 04:38 PM
01/11/19 04:38 PM
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Sounds like a good tech. Keep his number for whatever piano you think you may buy!


Semipro Tech
Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: rhawke] #2801727
01/13/19 11:45 PM
01/13/19 11:45 PM
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I tried the Baldwin again this weekend. It didn't feel as bad as the first time, just a little bit heavier than what I would prefer, but my first impression must have been off from my hands not being warmed up yet when I played it. So I am somewhat thinking about having a tech come out and test it. That being said, a competing dealer today warned me that a used Baldwin would be difficult to repair because "they don't make parts for it anymore". Any truth to that?

I also found a used 2004 Boston GP 178 at the local Steinway dealer. I really liked this piano, sound as well as action. Surprisingly, I preferred the sound of the used 2004 model compared to the brand new GP 178 that was sitting right next to it. The dealer told me that it is a bit warmer in sound and that she feels that the newer pianos are made to sound brighter. Asking price is $14,800 and in Steinway dealer fashion there is not a lot of wiggle room.

The piano was bought at their store by a church 15 years ago and now the church traded up for a Steinway. It has some very minor cosmetic damage, but nothing that bothers me. They told me the piano has been regularly serviced by their own technicians so they feel confident that it is in great shape and can offer a 3 year parts and labor warranty.

Any thoughts on this? Any concerns with buying a church instrument? I read that Bostons used to come in a "regular version vs PE version" in the past, but could not find any details when all Pianos became PEs. In comparison after taxes and delivery this piano would be about $5000 more than the Baldwin.


Last edited by rhawke; 01/13/19 11:49 PM.
Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: rhawke] #2801757
01/14/19 03:16 AM
01/14/19 03:16 AM
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I'd suggest you stop listening to what any dealer says about their competition.

This guy manages to get parts for Baldwins:

https://livingpianos.com/

When I say "manages," I don't mean to imply that it's difficult. I just mean that he rebuilds them and he loves them. Even in the thin stream of over-the=top criticism, I don't think that I've ever parts being unavailable as one of them.

Also, if you're going to increase your budget, don't do so for a single piano. Check out everything you can find in the same price range.


"If it sounds good, it is good." - Duke Ellington
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Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: rhawke] #2801920
01/14/19 01:54 PM
01/14/19 01:54 PM
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Thanks, yeah I have been looking for anything that I can get for around 14,000 all in (so including the 8.25 % sales tax and the typical $300-$400 delivery fee) which leaves a price before tax of around $12,500. It's not been that easy. There are not many new quality grand pianos in that price range, especially not when I'm really hoping to get something of at least 5'7". A 5'4" Ritmuller is the closest in price and per this forum I should love it, but the one at the dealer had not been prepped well and I actually didn't love it. They will have it looked at next week and I will go back and see if that made a big difference.

And for used inventory, the only dealer that has a lot of used inventory does not appear to have it well presented (many out of tune) so that makes it difficult to identify an instrument that might sound great. The only two used options that are not at that dealer that meet my budget and size requirement are the Baldwin and the Boston. I like the sound and touch of the Boston better and would be willing to pay that price if I knew for sure that it would last me a good 10-20 years without needing anything extremely expensive. The dealer will apply the standard Boston/Steinway trade-up policy, but I don't think I will ever own a piano that expensive, so I'm not really making that a big part of my decision.

Any thoughts on the previous owner being a church for 15 years? Is that a red flag or nothing to worry about since they claim their own Steinway techs have been servicing it all these years?

Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: rhawke] #2801930
01/14/19 02:16 PM
01/14/19 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by rhawke
Any thoughts on the previous owner being a church for 15 years? Is that a red flag or nothing to worry about since they claim their own Steinway techs have been servicing it all these years?

Churches can be rough on pianos, but I have purchased a few pianos from Churches. I purchased my 1978 Yamaha C7 semi-concert grand (7'4") from a large Church that built a new building and went to all digital pianos. It was in very good condition, despite a couple of broken bass strings. In fact, I used that as leverage to negotiate a lower price than they were asking. Turns out, the C7 was actually in excellent original condition, though it did need some work.

Now, that being said, if the dealer got the Baldwin from a Church, he probably doesn't have much invested in it to begin with. So, you will have to make a choice on whether to take a chance on the Baldwin L, the Boston or keep looking. I will say this... and keep in mind I am not an expert like some who have posted to your thread; chances are, you are going to have to pay a piano technician to inspect, and possibly service/tune any pre-owned (or even new) piano you buy. In other words, you are going to have to pay extra to get the piano in really good playing condition either way.

My advice? If you remotely like the way the Baldwin L sounds and plays, look for one from a private seller and then pay a good technician to inspect it and get it in good condition for you. It sounds like the dealer you are dealing with is focused on profit more than anything else, which is what they are in business for... that is not a criticism of the dealer. He/she is not going to invest any more in the Baldwin L than absolutely necessary.

Oh yea, one more thing... the way I see it (which is likely very different than most others here) you are taking a certain amount of risk whether you buy new or used, or from a dealer or a Church. Less risk with new, and the dealer perhaps, but that depends entirely on the dealer. If you buy directly from a private owner or a Church, you are taking on more responsibility and risk yourself. But the initial cost will likely be much less than buying from the dealer, and you will have more funds left over to pay a really good tech to service and tune it for you.

Just my .02, and worth what it cost, which is $0. smile

Good luck!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: Rickster] #2801941
01/14/19 02:44 PM
01/14/19 02:44 PM
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Thanks Rick, I think I wasn't clear in my questions and things got a bit mixed up:

1) 1989 Baldwin L - from a dealer with 1 year warranty - $9,500 including delivery and tax. - one private hobby pianist owner per the dealer
2) 2004 Boston 178 - from the Steinway store with 3 year warranty and Steinway Promise (trade up), was traded in by a church for a Steinway, $14,800 including delivery and tax - regularly serviced by Steinway dealer

I like the Boston better (action and sound), but am not sure if it even though it is newer has more "miles" on it due to being a church piano. If I didn't know it was from a church and didn't know the age, just from playing it and hearing it I would have also believed that it is just a few years old. I guess the Steinway store put it in it's best condition to show it off on the floor.

I haven't been able to find anything suitable on private sales. Not on pianomart, not on ebay, not even on craigslist. Any other ideas?

Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: rhawke] #2801950
01/14/19 03:13 PM
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I'm talking as someone who doesn't know Baldwin pianos at all.

Boston pianos can be really nice, and that seems a fairly sensible price for a 15 year old instrument. The Boston is well made, well designed, feels good, holds its tuning etc etc, and obviously these things are subject to the condition of the instrument.

Churches can be rough on pianos, but equally some of the best cared for pianos are in churches. I wouldn't worry too much about the fact it was in a church and I'd just focus on the condition, sound and touch of the piano in question.

Since you like the Boston better than the Baldwin, and these are the only two pianos currently on your radar, then perhaps the Boston is the one to buy. The Baldwin is a lot cheaper, and that's something to take in to consideration - is the Boston $5000 better than the Baldwin, and would you be willing to live with the Baldwin at the price it's being offered at?

I know people who adore Baldwin pianos and would say that Baldwin compares to Steinway, while Boston is always going to be a lower-class line of pianos, but pianos are so individual that generalisations about makes are rarely helpful on the used market.

Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: rhawke] #2801976
01/14/19 04:12 PM
01/14/19 04:12 PM
Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 211
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dhull100 Offline
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dhull100  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 211
North Tx
If you prefer the Boston, make an offer you can stomach and see if they will accept it. I'd still have a tech check it out. Houston and the Dallas area Steinway Halls are affiliated. Don't accept first answer that they don't negotiate. Maybe they won't, but i was able to have discount from new stock, more than enough to cover the 8.25% TX sales tax. If you determine that it's the right piano for you, perhaps convey the number you are comfortable with out the door, and tell them to contact you if it is acceptable. It will or won't be.

Re: Used 1989 Baldwin Model L (6'3") - "good" year? [Re: rhawke] #2801984
01/14/19 04:48 PM
01/14/19 04:48 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,268
Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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BruceD  Offline
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Joined: May 2001
Posts: 22,268
Victoria, BC
Originally Posted by rhawke
[...]
I like the Boston better (action and sound), but am not sure if it even though it is newer has more "miles" on it due to being a church piano. If I didn't know it was from a church and didn't know the age, just from playing it and hearing it I would have also believed[...]


I am not sure that "being a church piano" necessarily means that the piano "has more 'miles'" on it. Do you have proof that it has? Many church pianos are used very little; primarily for choir rehearsal (once a week?) and Sunday service(s), once or twice a week. More important would be the effect on the piano's condition based on the overall ambient "climate" of the church from one day to the next, from one week to the next, from one season to the next.

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
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