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Hammer wear on Kawai console circa 1968
#2862546 06/24/19 11:46 PM
Joined: Jun 2019
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Hi all!

I’m on the lookout for a decent piano that costs next to nothing (or nothing!), so I’ve been scouring craigslist, facebook marketplace, etc. for a few months. Of course, the best deals get swept up fast, and because my budget is so small I’ve had to pass on some very nice pianos at low prices that are just not low enough for me. Seriously considered an old Baldwin Hamilton (like my piano growing up), but the RPT I paid to inspect it said the sound board was falling apart.

Anyway, I’m currently looking at a Kawai upright for $300 OBO. The owner told me it’s from 1971 and gave me the serial number rather than the model number when I asked—324492. As far as I can tell, it’s a Kawai console piano from the Yorkdale line, 1968. Reportedly in good condition. Any thoughts on this model?

He posted some photos showing the hammers and pin block. There are some grooves in the hammers. I’m wondering if it would be possible/cost effective to have them reshaped. Before I go out to see the piano, are there any red flags obvious in these photos?

Kawai piano

Given the investment of moving (23 steps to my apartment), tuning, and any repairs, I want to get a piano whose sound I really like, that would be a good instrument for my kids to learn on, and that could potentially stay in my home for years to come.

Thanks for any helpful feedback!

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Re: Hammer wear on Kawai console circa 1968
extravagrant #2862566 06/25/19 01:45 AM
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My parents bought a new KAWAI upright about then - it's still going well. They kept it for 20 years and then gave it to my brother. Any piano of that age will have grooves in the hammers - a piano a year old will have noticeable marks - at 51 years, unless it hasn't been played it will have grooves - but don't generally impair the playability.

It is best to have it inspected by a Technician - they can advise you if there are any technical problems - or is worn out.

But for $300, it could well be a good piano for the $300. They were solid, good pianos. Just bear in mind that it's 51 years old - and won't be like a new piano which KAWAI have improved incrementally over the years. It'll cost you for a service after it settles in your apartment (leave it maybe 4-6 weeks) - and any repairs or adjustment needed. Note any issues in that settling down time, for your technician to adjust.

You need to play it first and see if you enjoy it too.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: Hammer wear on Kawai console circa 1968
extravagrant #2862595 06/25/19 07:44 AM
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Hello, extravagrant, and Welcome to Piano World!

As backto_study_piano mentioned, even though the Kawai console has some age on it, they were good pianos back then, and still have some life left in them now.

I have a Kawai K48A 48" upright model from 1969 and I really like it, and play it often. It still plays well and sounds good.

On the hammers and the string groves in the felt, that means the piano was played and did not sit idol. Yes, a competent piano tech can resurface the hammers and remate them to the strings. Make sure the tunings pins are tight, which they should be.

The piano looks nice too. I'm no pro, but I would say it's a decent prospect judging from the pics...

Good luck!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Hammer wear on Kawai console circa 1968
extravagrant #2862620 06/25/19 09:15 AM
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I agree with Rick that, before you do anything, you need to make sure the piano is tunable, which you can’t tell from a picture of the tuning pins. I’ve tuned a few older Japanese pianos from this era, and I remember one being perfectly fine, one with a few noticeably loose pins but still tunable, and another from the upper Midwest where the extreme weather changes took a toll on the pinblock, making for poor tuning stability that was evident to the owners quickly after it was serviced.

Reshaping hammers will probably also involve mating them to the strings, doing some voicing, and then touching up the regulation. This might be a half day job for a technician, so I’d budget for that in addition to the purchase price, assuming the rest of the piano checks out okay.


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