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Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? #2847917
05/13/19 09:45 PM
05/13/19 09:45 PM
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Posts: 61
Vancouver, WA
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texasdiver Offline OP
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Vancouver, WA
Came across this listing in my neighborhood. Wondering if it is worth it to go check out and play.

https://portland.craigslist.org/clk/msg/d/vancouver-price-drop-charles-walter/6886965778.html

I understand it is not a very common brand. And pretty old-school still made here in the US. The Larry Fine book seems to speak highly of them. The Fall 2018 piano buyer supplement has the 6'4" grand priced in the $80,000 range which seems absurdly high. I'm wondering if that can be correct.

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Re: Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? [Re: texasdiver] #2847924
05/13/19 10:14 PM
05/13/19 10:14 PM
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All it will cost you to look is your time and travel. Walter makes fine pianos, so if it is something you might be interested in buying, by all means go and try it.


Semipro Tech
Re: Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? [Re: texasdiver] #2847937
05/13/19 11:42 PM
05/13/19 11:42 PM
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Phoenix, Arizona
Carey Offline
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If the piano is in good shape, $11.7K would be an exceptional price.


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai K-500 Upright
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Re: Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? [Re: Carey] #2847950
05/14/19 12:40 AM
05/14/19 12:40 AM
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Posts: 61
Vancouver, WA
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texasdiver Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Carey
If the piano is in good shape, $11.7K would be an exceptional price.


That's what I was sort of thinking based on the two Larry Fine books I have and what else is out there. I can only find two pianos of the same model for sale nationwide. One for $24,900 at a dealer that is 2-years newer and one for $19-something on ebay that is 3 years older.

Going to take the girls out to see it Friday and see what they think. Piano shopping has been an adventure with my two kids. The younger one has been extremely indoctrinated by her teacher and is now super-fussy. She wants a piano with a light action like a Yamaha but with a richer less bright tone like a Bosendorfer and that has a lot of dynamic range. She has vetoed a lot of pianos that have actions she doesn't like or don't have the range that she likes (down to ppp) or that are much to bright like the old heavily used Yamahas. And in the $10k range that Dad can afford.

I'm in no hurry to buy something. But this seems a probable time of year to find a good Craigslist deal as lots of people, especially those with kids, move this time of year so they aren't breaking up their kids school years. Luckily we are in a large enough metro area that something is sure to eventually pop up that works for us.

If it meets their approval and checks out by the tech that I've already used to inspect another piano, it might be a keeper. Wasn't a brand I was first looking for as I don't think any local dealers sell these. But now after reading about these I'm curious about it.

Re: Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? [Re: texasdiver] #2848005
05/14/19 08:00 AM
05/14/19 08:00 AM
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Rehoboth Beach De. USA
Rich D. Offline
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Don’t know how quickly pianos sell for in your area, but that quality piano at the asking price should not last long if it is in good condition. Good luck.

Rich


Retired at the beach

Anton Rubinstein said about the piano: "You think it is one instrument? It is a hundred instruments!"
Re: Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? [Re: texasdiver] #2848006
05/14/19 08:08 AM
05/14/19 08:08 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,369
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Offline
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Go and play it. This is a piano that is quite well made and is a very good value at that price.

I assume you are in Vancouver near Portland? Well, the man who designed that piano lives in Hoquiam, Wa. and, although he is in retirement age, he could likely be coaxed to visit and make that piano sing the best it can. His name is Del Fandrich and he is a member here on PW. Hopefully, he will see this thread.
His fee will not be cheap, but at the asking price, you have plenty of elbow room.

...there is also the real possibility that Del is just too busy to make that drive. I hope I am not building up unrealistic expectations.

Please come back here and tell us what you think.


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Subscribe to our YouTube channel for great content every week:
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Re: Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? [Re: texasdiver] #2848053
05/14/19 11:11 AM
05/14/19 11:11 AM
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Posts: 61
Vancouver, WA
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texasdiver Offline OP
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Vancouver, WA
Thanks guys. Yes, the Vancouver across the river from Portland. I already found a good tech in the Vancouver area who already inspected another piano for me that we decided against (a Young Chang with a player installed) and who I'll be using for future tunings of whatever I buy. So I don't think I really need someone from 3 hours away to do an inspection. I assume anyone who's been in the business for a few decades can do a competent piano inspection regardless of the brand.

I've been watching Craigslist for a few months now and nothing is really selling fast around here. I see some of the same pianos relisted again and again. The only stuff that seems to sell reasonably fast are late model Yamaha pianos priced well. Anything more eclectic than a newish Yamaha grand seems to sit a lot longer. One piano salesman told me that reflects a bias of all the local Chinese families who like to only buy Yamaha or Steinway (or maybe Kawai). When you go to recitals and competions around here seems like half the families and kids are Asian so I guess that is a large component of the local market.

So I think the best deals are pretty much anything not Yamaha or Steinway.

Last edited by texasdiver; 05/14/19 11:17 AM.
Re: Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? [Re: texasdiver] #2848126
05/14/19 04:20 PM
05/14/19 04:20 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
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Southwest
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Yeah for that price it’s certainly worth a drive to check it out. The first person it has to please is the buyer. I don’t remember if you play or just your kids. But you’ll be listening to all the practice so get a piano you want to hear.


J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
Pianos - the reason God made trees!
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Re: Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? [Re: texasdiver] #2848132
05/14/19 04:34 PM
05/14/19 04:34 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 1,882
Massachusetts
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Roy123 Offline
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Massachusetts
If the piano is in good shape, that price is incredible. I played one of these once and thought it beat the pants off either an M or O.

Re: Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? [Re: texasdiver] #2848150
05/14/19 06:05 PM
05/14/19 06:05 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 1,455
Richfield Springs, New York
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Eric Gloo Offline
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I have only encountered one Charles Walter 6'4" grand, and it was outstanding! When I think of the top 5 best pianos I've ever played, that Charles Walter grand makes the list.


Eric Gloo
Piano Technician
Certified Dampp-Chaser Installer
Richfield Springs, New York
Re: Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? [Re: texasdiver] #2848249
05/15/19 12:24 AM
05/15/19 12:24 AM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 156
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dli4sU_4HKg

this might be very similar to the piano in question. Might help you decide whether or not to investigate further.

Re: Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? [Re: texasdiver] #2848259
05/15/19 12:50 AM
05/15/19 12:50 AM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,276
Phoenix, Arizona
Carey Offline
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Carey  Offline
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Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,276
Phoenix, Arizona
Another video - highlighting a 2004 CW 190 - with Classical repertoire..

https://youtu.be/bFUSSi_Kp5Q

Beautiful instrument..

Last edited by Carey; 05/15/19 12:52 AM.

Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai K-500 Upright
Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
Re: Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? [Re: texasdiver] #2848262
05/15/19 01:08 AM
05/15/19 01:08 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,369
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Offline
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Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted by texasdiver
I already found a good tech in the Vancouver area who already inspected another piano for me that we decided against (a Young Chang with a player installed) and who I'll be using for future tunings of whatever I buy. So I don't think I really need someone from 3 hours away to do an inspection.
.


You misunderstand me texasdiver. Of course you would not want Del Fandrich to drive 3 hours to inspect a piano. He would not do that either. He is in demand and still travels all over the world.

However, Del could be the finest person in the world to get the most out of a Walter grand as he designed it. I am referring to fine regulation, voicing, and prep. of a fine piano that this Walter might benefit a lot from. He might have interest in visiting a Walter grand as well.

To make an analogy, that would be like having Chopin himself coach you to get the most out of playing one of his etudes... but you can also take a lesson from the lady down the street. smile

Seriously, good luck and keep us posted,


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Subscribe to our YouTube channel for great content every week:
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Re: Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? [Re: texasdiver] #2848432
05/15/19 10:40 AM
05/15/19 10:40 AM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 61
Vancouver, WA
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texasdiver Offline OP
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Vancouver, WA
Thanks guys. I'll keep you all posted.

Re: Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? [Re: texasdiver] #2848945
05/16/19 06:17 PM
05/16/19 06:17 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 646
Plano, Texas
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jdsher Offline
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Plano, Texas
I purchased my Charles Walter W-190 new after playing dozens of different grand pianos all over the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. Both of the piano techs I've used over the years love to work on it. They say it's built like a tank.
If the piano you're considering has been well taken care of, that is a steal of a price. I hope you get a chance to play it, because if you do you will definitely want to stretch your budget to get it.
If you have any specific questions about the quality and sound, please feel free to PM and I would be happy to give you some feedback.
Jon


"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Albert Einstein
Charles Walter W190 Ebony
Re: Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? [Re: texasdiver] #2849119
05/17/19 06:31 AM
05/17/19 06:31 AM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,567
Florida
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Florida
When I came across this thread, I too was going to mention that Del Fandrich designed this piano. I have never played one, but Del rebuilt my current piano. His reputation is outstanding, and it is said he put his years of knowledge and expertise into designing the CW grands, and I have heard it said that they are excellent.

I personally spoke with Del about my grand twice before buying it preowned (someone else initially bought it from him after the rebuild). Even though it was 10 years later, he remembered every detail of my piano. My tuner, who has worked for Steinway for 30 years, was blown away about the quality and attention to detail that was put into the rebuild.

I’d definitely jump on this CW, provided it has been well maintained. Don’t be shocked if it needs a tune or regulation. However, provided it checks out, it would be well worth it.


Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

Working On
Debussy Clair De Lune

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? [Re: texasdiver] #2849431
05/17/19 11:01 PM
05/17/19 11:01 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 61
Vancouver, WA
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texasdiver Offline OP
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Vancouver, WA
Update from the OP here:

Went out and looked at it tonight with the girls. They played around on it for about a half an hour and gave a thumbs up on both the action and the tone. I don't think it was necessarily a super enthusiastic thumbs up but it was a Friday evening and they were tired. But they liked playing on it. It seemed a pretty nice piano. It is the first in about 10 pianos that we've looked at that they both agreed was nice.

I was surprised to find it somewhat battered. Lots of little nicks and scraches on all sides. Not the sort of thing you'd expect to find on a piano sitting on someone's living room. Especially an older single woman. I asked her about it and she said it was like that when she bought it. She bought it from a Portland dealer used and apparently it was used previously as a practice piano at a university which would explain the relatively battered state of the piano.

She has the original receipts of the piano. She paid $26,900 for it in 2007 which seems rather high for a used and somewhat battered Charles Walter W190. Says the piano is a 2002 model. I kind of don't think they sold for much more than that new. The serial number is 529329 if anyone has a book and can check. I guess that might make sense if a college uses pianos for 5 years and then turns them over. Her price of 11,750 is quite a price drop and seems like a reasonable price. I'm just kind of fussy and wonder about paying that much money for a piano that is somewhat nicked up.

I think it is worth getting my tech out to inspect it which I'm going to do and see what he has to say.

I have no idea whether it is even possible to polish up and refinish a piano like this that has a satin lacquer finish. It would probably require a complete refinishing to erase all the little dings. So probably not worth it and just consider that part of the "patina" I guess.

Re: Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? [Re: texasdiver] #2849435
05/17/19 11:18 PM
05/17/19 11:18 PM
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Oakland
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The date is correct. The finish could probably be repaired fairly well by a good finish repair specialist.


Semipro Tech
Re: Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? [Re: BDB] #2849480
05/18/19 04:55 AM
05/18/19 04:55 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,369
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Offline
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Originally Posted by BDB
The date is correct. The finish could probably be repaired fairly well by a good finish repair specialist.



Yep, it is 2002. Also confirming that the right finish technician can do wonders. Complete refinishing is likely unnecessary. (Of course, I haven't seen the piano).


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Subscribe to our YouTube channel for great content every week:
https://www.youtube.com/user/CunninghamPiano
Re: Opinions on Charles Walter Grands? [Re: texasdiver] #2849498
05/18/19 06:50 AM
05/18/19 06:50 AM
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Posts: 25,158
New York City
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If you can post some pictures of the scratches and dings, some members will probably be able to say with a good degree of certainty how well they could be fixed by a good finish expert.

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