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Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? #2858485
06/14/19 10:04 AM
06/14/19 10:04 AM
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PianoWVBob Offline OP
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I ran across this piano for sale for $50.00. It's a Hamilton and it appears to be in a school setting and in good (exterior) shape.

I'm wondering if at this point, you see a problem investigating it further?

I've asked for the serial number, the date of purchase, and the maintenance history. (they haven't gotten back to me yet) I want to get the show stoppers out of the way before I invest any time in looking at it.

I've looked at Hamilton pianos online and found that they seem pretty reliable, built for abuse and generally sell for a few thousand dollars if the are in good shape.

I couldn't find a serial number look up for Hamilton Pianos online, does someone have a source?

I'll add information as it becomes available.

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Re: Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? [Re: PianoWVBob] #2858497
06/14/19 10:58 AM
06/14/19 10:58 AM
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WV Bob
For $50 sale, you will not likely get any additional information. I know I wouldn’t provide all of that for a $50. sale.
If you are interested, go play it.... and then have a tech examine.

If it worthwhile, it will not last long. Go play it 😊

Re: Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? [Re: dogperson] #2858501
06/14/19 11:01 AM
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PianoWVBob Offline OP
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Hi,
The only more information I got from him was that it was in a Christian school and it was in good shape, still being used.

He said the same thing, come by and take a look at it.

I'll ponder that, it's almost an hour away from me by car.

Re: Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? [Re: PianoWVBob] #2858506
06/14/19 11:26 AM
06/14/19 11:26 AM
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Why are they getting rid of it, if it’s still in good shape?


Pianist, teacher, apprentice technician, internet addict.
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Re: Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? [Re: terminaldegree] #2858512
06/14/19 11:47 AM
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PianoWVBob Offline OP
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I haven't gotten ahold of anyone to ask that except for the one guy who had little info.

As it is, I realize that I won't be able to move it without hiring movers, I'll have to get a tuner to check it and being that I'll be moving within the year, I think I'll pass on this one.

I only got excited because it seemed like a real deal and I thought that I could take it with me when I move but I'm starting to think that I should just wait until I get settled in the new place and then shop.

Re: Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? [Re: PianoWVBob] #2858534
06/14/19 01:20 PM
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They might not know much about it. It may have been a donation to the school/church without any questions asked.


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Re: Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? [Re: PianoWVBob] #2858563
06/14/19 02:49 PM
06/14/19 02:49 PM
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Heck that duet bench that comes with it looks like it's worth $50. smile

I'm a fan of the Baldwin/Hamilton 243 studio uprights. They are tough, hold up to hard playing and have a decent touch and tone, as a general rule.

In terms of whether or not it is worth investing more money, that would be something a qualified piano technician would need to advise you on... But a tech inspection would cost more than the piano. smile

But, who knows, it may be in decent enough shape that it doesn't need a lot of work.

Good luck!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? [Re: PianoWVBob] #2858826
06/15/19 01:03 PM
06/15/19 01:03 PM
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Southwest
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For $50 bucks, just go play it and see it. If it’s terrible, just leave. Wait until you move. If you like it then decide if you want to go further. Nothing ventured nothing gained.


J & J
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Re: Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? [Re: PianoWVBob] #2858897
06/15/19 05:38 PM
06/15/19 05:38 PM
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If it was in my neighborhood, it would only take me 5 minutes to know if it was worth it. It most probably is.


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Re: Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? [Re: PianoWVBob] #2858920
06/15/19 07:16 PM
06/15/19 07:16 PM
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I had a Baldwin Hamilton upright for a while, it wasn't mine, but I was its caretaker for a year or two. Based on my experience with that piano, and another Hamilton I looked at before getting my current upright, I would definitely go and look at it! Especially if you don't currently have an acoustic piano. I am one of those people who would rather play an out of tune, beat up old upright than a nice digital. There's just something about an acoustic instrument that can't be replaced IMO.

Keep us posted!


Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u

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Re: Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? [Re: PianoWVBob] #2859055
06/16/19 07:34 AM
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I’m going to try and check it out this week. If I do I’ll report back

Re: Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? [Re: PianoWVBob] #2859080
06/16/19 08:53 AM
06/16/19 08:53 AM
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As a beginner, there are some simple but effective things you can do to determine if it is worth getting a technician involved. Of course there are videos on the subject. What I did is just take my method book and play whatever I was working on or already knew. Even I could quickly tell if liked the action or not (If you have not played many acoustics go to retailer and play 5 different pianos to have some reference). If I liked the feel I would then play all the keys in order to see if it was consistent and listen for weird noises (like clicking or buzz). If that was good I would open the top and remove the front cover to look inside to see how much use this piano has had - you can do this by looking closely at the hammers in the middle range of keys (see videos). You can also look at the general condition of strings, pins, felt, dirt, watermarks, etc. You can also look on the outside at the cabinet, and if you access to the back you can look at the soundboard.

I have the console version of this piano and to me it is very nice for this beginner. These pianos have been in production for many decades and still are in production - so there are lots of them around. In my area, there are a lot of 20 years old plus Hamiltons for less than $1K.....even less than $500 is not unusual. Best to find one that has not been used much. I think new these pianos are $5-6K, and I occasionally see less than 20 year old versions in the $2-3K range. Good Luck!


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Re: Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? [Re: PianoWVBob] #2859200
06/16/19 02:45 PM
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Well, I went to the only piano store in my half of the state; a mall music shop.

They "seemed" to have a few baby grands and an upright.

Nope.

What they had was all digital pianos, even the upright was a digital and ONE really old trade in piano that looked like it was beat up during the war. It was a trade in and not for sale.

Oh well....the salesman hovered over me the whole time anyway, I couldn't wait to get out of there.

I'll go see the upright for sale some time this week. The piano tuner that I was able to get ahold of said that he charges $50.00 for an appraisal but he won't be available until next week.

I have yet to find a mover.

Re: Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? [Re: PianoWVBob] #2859590
06/17/19 01:42 PM
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Looks like I'll be driving up tomorrow morning to look at it. Still not a lot of information from the guy smile

The moving company said $450.00 to $500.00 for moving into my house from there. (I have 3 porch steps.)

I'll take a tape measure and a checklist of things to look for. Unfortunately the tuner that I contacted (and the only one that I know of anywhere near me in this state) is out of the state this week so I'll be buying it and hoping for the best; at the very least, if it's in tune and it seems to not have any severe structural issues, it would suffice until I move in the next year or two and get my "until I die after retirement" piano.

I'll keep everyone updated as the story unfolds...

Last edited by PianoWVBob; 06/17/19 01:42 PM.
Re: Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? [Re: PianoWVBob] #2859604
06/17/19 02:15 PM
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Also, do you think that the fact that this is a decal instead of a fancy name plate that's a bad indicator?

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Re: Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? [Re: PianoWVBob] #2859610
06/17/19 02:28 PM
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No, the decal means almost nothing. Various things were done depending when it was made.

What to look for:

To open the top, open the key cover, and lift the entire front and top. On the left side, there is a prop that swings down and it will hold everything up when you put the slot in the end over the top side of the piano.

Once it is open, you can check the serial number, which will give the age of the piano.

Inspect the leather on the inside of the piano. It will be on the backchecks, and at the base of the hammer butt, where the jack hits it. If it is white with a black layer, or black with a white layer, it will probably be powdery, and may be coming unglued in some places. This is very bad! You should reject the piano if that is the case.


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Re: Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? [Re: PianoWVBob] #2859613
06/17/19 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by PianoWVBob
Also, do you think that the fact that this is a decal instead of a fancy name plate that's a bad indicator?

I agree with BDB.... I don't think the decal vs. a brass embossed emblem makes a difference. The insides should be the same as any other Baldwin 243 studio upright. The moving costs do not seem out of reason if the piano is a pretty good distance away, especially for professional movers.

Good luck!

Rick


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Re: Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? [Re: PianoWVBob] #2859619
06/17/19 02:57 PM
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Also, if this hasn't already been mentioned, when you inspect the piano, take off the front panels not just above the keyboard, but also below. You can really see everything that way. And if it's on a hardwood or otherwise flat surface, you should be able to roll it out from the wall and look at the back of it as well. If you haven't already, read the Piano Buyer's article about how to inspect a used piano. Good luck!


Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
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Re: Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? [Re: PianoWVBob] #2859624
06/17/19 03:33 PM
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Thanks everyone!

I'll check out that guide. I have the checklist that I got off of Youtube also. I should be able to see any real show stoppers.

Re: Hamilton Upright...worth investigating for 50.00? [Re: PianoWVBob] #2859625
06/17/19 03:33 PM
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$50 is pretty reasonable for an appraisal (assuming that means inspection). An inspection around here is 3 to 4 times that much.

Also, don't be afraid to wait for the technician next week. Old uprights aren't flying off the shelves (See the recent "decline of piano" thread).



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