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Re: My son needs a piano [Re: RJ's dad] #2845580 05/05/19 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by RJ's dad
Thanks all, great advise and appreciate the info. I am a newbie, and my son only being 8 it is hard to get his input that would help.

I will not buy any piano without an inspection and the owners are fine with that, and confidently encouraged me to do so. The piano was the owner's young adult son who has not lived in the home for quite some time and being in the city has no room for it.

I spoke with him in the phone about the piano which he loved, and didnt want his parents to take less than 10k for it but his story and my son's are similar, even their names ( TJ, RJ) and being a young aspiring pianist he seemed happy that he would be the one getting it, and being the parents who paid for it so he was ok with them accepting 5k for it.


RJ's dad, it appears that you've received a boat-load of info, advice and opinions here so far. That is what Piano World is all about! smile

That said, don't let some of the comment's you've received rattle you. It sounds to me like you're doing everything right in order to find a nice piano within your budget for your young son. I'm sure the tech inspection will answer a lot of unanswered questions for you about the older Baldwin L. I didn't see a crack in the sound-board in the pics, but maybe I didn't look that close. If it does have a small crack in the sound-board, that is certainly not an immediate death sentence for the piano. The tech can likely tell you if the sound-board was indeed replaced. I wouldn't worry too much about the crack just yet (if there is one).

What I saw in the pictures is everything that the current owners described, a piano well cared for and loved. And as far as being slightly out of tune, pianos start drifting out of tune immediately after they are tuned. That is why recording studios and concert venues tune their pianos daily, and sometimes between performances the same day.

I certainly hope that things turn out well for you regarding the older Baldwin L. If not, there are more pianos out there... smile

Good luck!

Rick


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Re: My son needs a piano [Re: Rickster] #2845590 05/05/19 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Rickster

I certainly hope that things turn out well for you regarding the older Baldwin L. If not, there are more pianos out there... smile

Good luck!

Rick


Thanks Rick, me too!

While being a piano newbie, I'm not a life newbie hehe, no need to rush a purchase of something that can be comparably found at a later date. Life is about opportunity which is why if this L checks out I can happily say I got my son an amazing piano that was bought right.

Keeping my fingers crossed..

Re: My son needs a piano [Re: RJ's dad] #2845596 05/05/19 09:31 PM
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I sure would have been a delighted 8 year old if my parents had bought me something like that Baldwin. I was stuck learning on a crappy little Winter console. Imagination was my pale substitute for a good sound. If your tech gives you the green light, your son is going really have something that will inspire him. Crossing my fingers for both of you.

Re: My son needs a piano [Re: RJ's dad] #2845605 05/05/19 10:01 PM
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@ BigIslandGuy, thanks for the kind words! My son is inspiring, if you haven't already seen his videos are in the link in my sig. With where he's at after only one year of lessons to date, the sky is the limit for him. I can hardly wait to see how much practicing on a real piano improves his playing.

The Baldwin honestly though is for all of us, as we will be able to listen to him play it every day. I've always loved live music, and sold audio equipment for many years when I was younger so I'm also spoiling myself...

Re: My son needs a piano [Re: RJ's dad] #2845617 05/05/19 10:40 PM
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Like I said a page or two back, your excitement for your son is awesome. He's lucky to have such a supportive dad. Let us know how the inspection goes.

Don't worry about whether or not it's an "artist" model. That designation originated when Baldwin started introducing price-point models, and when this one was produced they only produced their best effort.




"If it sounds good, it is good." - Duke Ellington
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Re: My son needs a piano [Re: RJ's dad] #2845744 05/06/19 10:16 AM
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Update:

I had received another set of pictures, specifically of the bottom of the soundboard (link below). To me they are clearly cracks. I sent the pics to my tech and believes they are unrepaired, meaning the board was NOT redone, or the cracks are new.

So the question is:


Do I negotiate a lower price or walk away? current agreed price is 5k contingent on a passing inspection.

Will an older restored soundboard, because of the aged wood, produce a better sound than a newer piano?

Will a restored piano with a repaired soundboard hold it's value?


https://www.icloud.com/photos/0ebtVvgacGENSUJGMZcQEwjgA#Manhasset, NY

Re: My son needs a piano [Re: RJ's dad] #2845764 05/06/19 11:45 AM
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I will defer to what your tech says, of course, but...

For me, cracks would be a showstopper. Why? Because you're looking for a good piano at a good price, and cracks are problems, or potential problems.

Some folks say that cracks aren't a problem if they aren't impacting the tone (buzzes, etc). And sometimes cracks are repairable, and sometimes they never get any worse. I would say all that is true if you already own the piano, but why bring those potential problems home when there are other pianos out there without cracked soundboards?

Again, I will defer to your tech, but if it were me, at 5k I'd pass on this piano. I'm not sure about negotiating a lower price. The problem from the buyer's POV is that there is no way to know about the cost of future repairs. Your tech can probably give you his opinion on how stable the soundboard is, and/or the quality of any existing repairs to it, but it's hard to know how it will respond to a move and adjust to the climate in your home.


btw, cracks are something you can look for yourself. Don't be afraid to look at the underside of the piano when you're checking them out.





"If it sounds good, it is good." - Duke Ellington
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Re: My son needs a piano [Re: RJ's dad] #2845775 05/06/19 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by RJ's dad
Update:

I had received another set of pictures, specifically of the bottom of the soundboard (link below). To me they are clearly cracks. I sent the pics to my tech and believes they are unrepaired, meaning the board was NOT redone, or the cracks are new.

So the question is:


Do I negotiate a lower price or walk away? current agreed price is 5k contingent on a passing inspection.

Will an older restored soundboard, because of the aged wood, produce a better sound than a newer piano?

Will a restored piano with a repaired soundboard hold it's value?


https://www.icloud.com/photos/0ebtVvgacGENSUJGMZcQEwjgA#Manhasset, NY

As we say here in the south, the plot thickens... smile

The piano mover I use (when needed) told me he drove a couple hundred miles to north Georgia to move a Yamaha grand piano for a buyer in a private party sale. When they got there, and the mover was looking over the piano for any pre-existing damage, (so he didn't get blamed for something that was already there) he saw a small crack in the sound-board of the piano. The buyer had met him there at the seller's home and mentioned it to the buyer. Evidently, the buyer didn't have the piano inspected, but I'm not sure. Anyway, when the mover and the buyer pointed out the crack to the seller, the seller lowered the price by $1000 on the spot. The buyer chose to buy the piano in spite of the cracked sound-board, and based on the additional sales incentive of the seller by reducing the price a $1000.

Like I said before, and some may disagree with me, but there are risks involved in buying any piano, whether from a private seller or dealer. There may be less risks buying from a dealer, but not zero risks, in spite of warranties. Again, this is just my opinion, which I'm sure some will disagree with, and that's okay.

My advice to you, RJ's dad? Based on your piano search and experience already, you know the pickings for nice baby grand pianos for +/- $5K are very slim. The woods are not full of them, as we say here in the south. I'd wait and see what the tech says about the older Baldwin L and go from there. Or, as Ret mentioned, you can pass on the older Baldwin L altogether or try and negotiate a lower price. Or, you can raise your budget a good bit and get something newer.

The sound-board on my Yamaha C7 has a couple of small compression ridges (kind of the opposite of a crack) but it doesn't seem to affect the sound or performance of the piano one bit.

Good luck to you!!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: My son needs a piano [Re: RJ's dad] #2845789 05/06/19 01:25 PM
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couple more thoughts occurred to me...

As Rickster mentioned, great deals don't grow on trees, but you know of two other potential options: the '48 and 80-something Baldwin M's. Go take a look at both of them. I say that because I think that you're so enthusiastic, and your hopes are so high, that you're "falling in love" with each one along the way. You need to detach from that emotion. You shouldn't necessarily get excited just because a piano is offered cheap. That's usually what they're worth (if that). Don't choose on impulse.



"If it sounds good, it is good." - Duke Ellington
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Re: My son needs a piano [Re: Retsacnal] #2845815 05/06/19 02:32 PM
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Yes, my enthusiasm was based on pricing of model L's and the one I was considering.

The soundboard situation is scaring me off because of the risks, I am awaiting my tech's response to a handful of additional pics and info I provided. The owners will just keep the piano than take less than 5k for it, and I don't blame them as they paid 15k for it just 7 years ago. We'll know by tomorrow if we will proceed with the in person inspection.

Re: My son needs a piano [Re: RJ's dad] #2845831 05/06/19 03:42 PM
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That's a sizable crack running in the vicinity of the bridge, plus at least another one closer to the middle of the soundboard. See what I mean about "completely rebuilt/redone" being a term that you really have to verify?

Looks like you're best bet is to move on. My original advice from the first post in the thread, however unpopular it is, stands. We look forward to part 3 of the search!


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Re: My son needs a piano [Re: RJ's dad] #2845884 05/06/19 07:32 PM
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Interesting update, the store that rebuilt and sold the piano to the current sellers is willing to guarantee after transport no damage to the soundboard and that the piano will get into and hold it's tune. I took that as a reputable business standing behind their product, but still not sure it's enough to still consider it?

Out of curiosity, with the rest of the guts essentially only 7 years old, what would it cost if I decided at some point in the next 5 or so years to completely replace just the soundboard? Thought process is, at 5k now, and the cost of a new board in the future would I have a piano that performs as good or better than at least half of any current used model L's on the market (assuming the average cost of one vs my investment)? And is the sound of a model L superior enough over a model M to justify rolling the dice on the need for a costly repair in the future? I know for the same price I can and will find a nice M so that's my baseline.

Re: My son needs a piano [Re: RJ's dad] #2845888 05/06/19 07:50 PM
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Originally Posted by RJ's dad
Yes, my enthusiasm was based on pricing of model L's and the one I was considering.

The soundboard situation is scaring me off because of the risks, I am awaiting my tech's response to a handful of additional pics and info I provided. The owners will just keep the piano than take less than 5k for it, and I don't blame them as they paid 15k for it just 7 years ago. We'll know by tomorrow if we will proceed with the in person inspection.

Go with the tech's inspection and opinion - I have known pianos with minor cracks which were fine and didn't affect the piano, went for years and they just forgot about them.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: My son needs a piano [Re: RJ's dad] #2845900 05/06/19 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by RJ's dad
Interesting update, the store that rebuilt and sold the piano to the current sellers is willing to guarantee after transport no damage to the soundboard and that the piano will get into and hold it's tune. I took that as a reputable business standing behind their product, but still not sure it's enough to still consider it?

Out of curiosity, with the rest of the guts essentially only 7 years old, what would it cost if I decided at some point in the next 5 or so years to completely replace just the soundboard? Thought process is, at 5k now, and the cost of a new board in the future would I have a piano that performs as good or better than at least half of any current used model L's on the market (assuming the average cost of one vs my investment)? And is the sound of a model L superior enough over a model M to justify rolling the dice on the need for a costly repair in the future? I know for the same price I can and will find a nice M so that's my baseline.
What does "no damage to the soundboard mean"? I thought it already had some cracks. Also, guaranteeing the piano will hold its tune just means the tuning pins are tight enough to accomplish that. It says nothing about everything else in the piano. It seems strange that the rebuilder who has already sold the piano would make any kind of guarantee to someone they are not selling the piano to.

A new soundboard is quite expensive, I think more than what you're paying for the piano now. There is no way of knowing how this piano with the soundboard replaced would compare to other used L's because you haven't had the piano inspected yet so we know nothing about the rest of the insides of the piano or how successful the soundboard replacing will be, Used L's could be 100 years old and not rebuilt or almost brand new. You don't know if the rest of the insides were replaced and, if so, how well that was done.

In addition, you would not know ahead of time how the piano would sound after the board is replaced. What if you don't like the sound?

Re: My son needs a piano [Re: RJ's dad] #2845907 05/06/19 08:50 PM
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I read through this pretty quickly, so apologies if the suggestion has already been made, but you might want to try renting first, and build up to a purchase.


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Re: My son needs a piano [Re: RJ's dad] #2845927 05/06/19 10:27 PM
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Don't mean to ramble on, but I do like to share my piano adventures, and, there are a good many of them. Some I've told over and over again here on PW. (A sign of getting old, telling the some old stories? smile ) But there is a lesson to be learned in all of them, at least it was for me.

When I was looking for a 7 footer (that I could afford), I drove to the north side of Atlanta and looked at a 7' Baldwin grand built in 1927. It was not an SF10, maybe just an F? Anyway, the owner said it had been rebuilt many years ago and he paid $3000 just to have the case refinished. He was asking $12K for the piano. The refinish job was nice, ebony satin, and it played okay, but it was just, well... old. The owner gave me a copy of an insurance appraisal that said the piano appraised at like $32,000. But for some reason, that written appraisal didn't impress me at all, and neither did the piano.

The owner, a church pianist/organist and piano teacher, was nice enough and the piano was so-so, but just didn't thrill me much at all for some reason. I told the owner I'd think about it and get back in touch with him if I was interested further. I thanked him for letting me look at the piano and audition it.

I initially saw the piano on Craigslist. Again, he was asking $12K. I noticed as time went on the ad remained on Craigslist and the price slowly came down in increments of a thousand dollars or so at a time; $10K, then $9K then $8K. Of course I had found my Yamaha C7 by then and was no longer interested in the 1927 model Baldwin.

To be honest, I have sort of come to the conclusion that newer is usually better when it comes to pianos. Old and rebuild just seems to have too many variables, depending on how old I guess.

Okay, wana hear another one? (just kidding smile ).

Wishing the best of luck to RJ and his dad in their piano search!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: My son needs a piano [Re: Rickster] #2845928 05/06/19 10:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Rickster


Okay, wana hear another one? (just kidding smile ).

Wishing the best of luck to RJ and his dad in their piano search!

Rick


Yep - any day, thanks!!!


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: My son needs a piano [Re: RJ's dad] #2845948 05/07/19 12:30 AM
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I also think that a 100 year old piano with cracks in the soundboard
Is a little scary.Pianos like people are not at there best physically when they are old.So unless the instrument has had a complete rebuild including replacing the soundboard, I say find a newer piano.
If the piano is just for the boy only and not yourself a reasonable upright will be fine.Choose a good brand make and again have it checked. Take your time.

Re: My son needs a piano [Re: RJ's dad] #2846043 05/07/19 08:50 AM
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A new day, a fresh start, and a good cup of coffee! smile

When I said earlier that I have come to the conclusion that newer is usually better when it comes to pianos, I meant it. But with that said, some well built pianos can last a very long time and still retain a good amount of playing life. I was thinking newer being 50 years old rather than 100 years old. smile

That said, (part II:-) there are also times then the old antique piano serves the purpose very well. My old saloon piano music video on YT is a testament to that; it has over 4,700,000 views and counting. It still astonishes and surprises me to this day that the video would get so many views. That old Schiller upright piano was over 100 years old, but it had a unique sound due to the oldness of it. So, old has value too. smile

Sometimes in the comments I've received on that video I'm referred to as an old man. On one hand that bothers me a bit, but on the other hand it doesn't because they are right; I am an old man. But that's okay too... reminds me of the lyrics of one of my original blues tunes; "you can call me an old man, but that's alright by me; I said you can call me an old man, but that's alright by me. Cause as long as I can play this old piano, I'm as young as I wana be". smile

Maybe I should have started a new thread for these comments. Didn't mean to horn in on RJ's dad's thread. But I hope there are a few thoughts/wisdom in there somewhere to help him along his piano journey.

Good luck, RJ's dad!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: My son needs a piano [Re: RJ's dad] #2846265 05/07/19 10:23 PM
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Do any of the rebuilders who post here offer transferable warranties? Would they transfer through an estate sale?

Anyway, if the OP is in communication with them about the sound board and pin block, then he ought to be able to ask about what work was done in the rebuild, and if the sound board was replaced or repaired or neither (i.e. do the cracks pre- or post-date the rebuild).

Did your technician have a chance to check it out yet?

Did you have a chance to look at any of the other pianos?



"If it sounds good, it is good." - Duke Ellington
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