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Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
#2891410 09/17/19 04:11 PM
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My parents' friends have a Steinway B (built in 1928) that they are selling because they are moving to the city where it won't fit in their apartment. They got it appraised for $25000. I talked to the appraiser and he said that it's a fine instrument with a couple minor problems, such as the pinblocks aren't the perfect specifications. They are willing to sell it to me for $20000. I know that's probably not enough information for you guys to weigh in, but was wondering if this seems ok. I played it and it sounded great to my relatively inexperienced ears, but I'm a novice when it comes to buying a piano. Currently play a Yamaha U1. Thanks in advance.

Last edited by bonedoctor; 09/17/19 04:13 PM.
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Re: Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
bonedoctor #2891422 09/17/19 04:57 PM
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My first reaction: I'm not sure where you're located, but pretty much anywhere in the US, $20,000 could buy a very nice, much newer piano.....

Now, a few questions:
1. Who is the "appraiser" you spoke with? Is he a certified piano technician? Or some other kind of appraiser? If he's not a piano tech, then throw his comments out the window. If he's a piano tech, next question is, who does he work for? You? Or the sellers? You need someone independent of the sellers to evaluate the piano and give you a detailed and thorough assessment of its current condition. Is it up to pitch and in tune? Is there rust on the strings? How do the hammers look? Does it need regulation? (I'll let someone else add to this list of all the things that need to be checked...)

Re the person who told you it had "minor problems" -- minor problems as defined by what? Minor problems for someone who wants a grand piano to fill out their decor? Or minor problems from the the point of view of someone who wants to practice and play seriously?

Which is all to say, unless the piano has had work on it in recent years, I find it hard to believe that a 90 y/o instrument does not need significant work.

2. What is your goal? If your goal is to own a Steinway, then, maybe yes, you should buy it? If your goal is to have a decent grand piano in your house to replace your (most likely very nice) upright, then the jury is out.

3. Were you in the market for a grand at the time this opportunity arose? If you've already been test-playing grand pianos, and like the way this one sounds compared to other similarly-priced grands you've played recently, then it may be a good option. If not, perhaps you should go to the nearest piano dealer and play a few grand pianos. Your ear will tell you a lot about this Steinway when you have something to compare it to.

Don't be fooled by the name. A 90 y/o Steinway is still a 90 y/o piano.

(sorry, I probably sound very cranky. I need a snack. whome

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 09/17/19 04:59 PM.

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Re: Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
bonedoctor #2891423 09/17/19 05:01 PM
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I'd suggest having it inspected by an excellent tech you hire who is willing to explain things in detail to you. And read up on pianos so you can better understand what the tech may say. 20K is an extremely high price for a Steinway of that vintage unless it has had a lot of rebuilding done on it sometime in the past. But if it had work done on it, the appraiser should definitely have mentioned that to you even if you didn't ask about it.

If the appraiser actually used the phrase "pinblocks aren't the perfect specifications", I wouldn't trust what he said at all. Most pianos from 1928 with no prior work on them need a lot of very costly work(as in tens of thousands of dollars) to put them in good condition. If the piano has a fancy case the appraised value, if correct, might be related to the case and not the condition of the rest of the piano.

Don't just buy it because it says Steinway on the fallboard.

Re: Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
bonedoctor #2891425 09/17/19 05:10 PM
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If it's original, that price is insane. Especially if it has pinblock problems.


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Re: Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
bonedoctor #2891428 09/17/19 05:18 PM
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For comparison, a fairly honest piano tech here in Indiana bought an original, unrestored 1915 Steinway B for $6,000 (from an estate sale) and quoted me $20,000 total for the instrument after restoration.
Other shops will ask $20K for a "carcass" that needs restoration, but I don't think they actually get it; it's just a ploy to up the price for their restoration work.
Look around (online) for prices on restored instruments. Keep in mind they usually don't go for the asking price.

Re: Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
bonedoctor #2891451 09/17/19 06:28 PM
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Some just say PINBLOCK in a negative way and I would say no!
On such an old piano, I would not pay half that price!
Get a proper unbiased asessment by a technician RTP(qualified)Even
if the pinblock is fine ! I would NEVER pay that price for a Steinway fallboard!
NEVER !

Last edited by Lady Bird; 09/17/19 06:29 PM. Reason: Missing word
Re: Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
bonedoctor #2891458 09/17/19 06:46 PM
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Well, at least I'm not the only one who needs a snack. grin


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Re: Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
bonedoctor #2891460 09/17/19 06:54 PM
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20k for a piano that has pinblock problems? Pinblock problems renders the piano a core. If it needs a new pinblock it will need to be restrung, it will almost certainly need bridge work and some kind of soundboard work.

At 10k this wouldn't be a stellar deal. At 20k its way too much. You could find a much younger and more beautiful piano for that money

Re: Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
bonedoctor #2891463 09/17/19 07:10 PM
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The Piano Forum should be re-named to "The Voice of Reason Forum" ....
whome


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Re: Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
ShiroKuro #2891465 09/17/19 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Well, at least I'm not the only one who needs a snack. grin

I shall not worry about what the forum should be called.
ShiroKuro I think some tea may just save me !
Perhaps the OP's parents always felt the Steinway piano was thier" treasure " so they
are "bringing the price down" for thier son.
People(even we PW members )are often a little "Frothy" when it comes to perceived value of our pianos.
Let us all breath out gently.

Last edited by Lady Bird; 09/17/19 07:35 PM. Reason: Spelling
Re: Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
pianoloverus #2891470 09/17/19 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I'd suggest having it inspected by an excellent tech you hire who is willing to explain things in detail to you. And read up on pianos so you can better understand what the tech may say. 20K is an extremely high price for a Steinway of that vintage unless it has had a lot of rebuilding done on it sometime in the past. But if it had work done on it, the appraiser should definitely have mentioned that to you even if you didn't ask about it.

If the appraiser actually used the phrase "pinblocks aren't the perfect specifications", I wouldn't trust what he said at all. Most pianos from 1928 with no prior work on them need a lot of very costly work(as in tens of thousands of dollars) to put them in good condition. If the piano has a fancy case the appraised value, if correct, might be related to the case and not the condition of the rest of the piano.

Don't just buy it because it says Steinway on the fallboard.



+1. You need your own tech to inspect it thoroughly! And the price is waaay too high, imo.



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Re: Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
bonedoctor #2891481 09/17/19 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by bonedoctor
My parents' friends have a Steinway B (built in 1928) that they are selling because they are moving to the city where it won't fit in their apartment. They got it appraised for $25000. I talked to the appraiser and he said that it's a fine instrument with a couple minor problems, such as the pinblocks aren't the perfect specifications. They are willing to sell it to me for $20000. I know that's probably not enough information for you guys to weigh in, but was wondering if this seems ok. I played it and it sounded great to my relatively inexperienced ears, but I'm a novice when it comes to buying a piano. Currently play a Yamaha U1. Thanks in advance.

Oh No !I have to say ,sorry again "parents friends piano" I now need some chocolate cake ShiroKuro!
I do not have any ! What to do !
Sorry bonedoctor !

Last edited by Lady Bird; 09/17/19 08:45 PM. Reason: Missing word
Re: Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
bonedoctor #2891494 09/17/19 09:37 PM
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No, do not buy that Piano for that much money.

If you really want it, get a RPT to look at it. Get an honest opinion what is wrong with the piano.

Contact a reputable restorer and see how much it is to bring the piano back to playable condition for daily use.

Subtract that from $20K, there is your number.

That is if you want a Steinway. There is many good piano's out there.

Last edited by Learux; 09/17/19 09:43 PM.

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Re: Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
bonedoctor #2891510 09/17/19 11:00 PM
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Thank you everyone for your comments. What an eye-opener as I was pretty much ready to write them a check. I'm going to have my own RPT inspect the piano and will report back.

Re: Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
bonedoctor #2891513 09/17/19 11:12 PM
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This is not a good site to get Steinway advice. Look at your responses. People who post hundreds or thousands of long posts. The (mostly) silent crowd is ignoring the internet and enjoying our Steinways smile

Re: Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
bonedoctor #2891516 09/17/19 11:27 PM
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If you like it and $20k comes somewhat easily to you, then why not? You've found a piano that you enjoy. Go hog wild.

My objectively esteemed tech urged I pass up a 1939 B with serious pinblock problems...a year later, and I have yet to play a B that comes anywhere near the one I passed up. In the meantime, I continue to eschew my acoustic piano. Value is in the eye of the beholder, and it's easy for people whose names aren't on the checks to say what is or isn't a good deal.

Know your priorities, know the risks, and be comfortable with them before you enter a deal.

Re: Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
George Smith #2891517 09/17/19 11:27 PM
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One need not be biased against Steinway to not recommend one that is very likely overpriced given its condition. I agree with pretty much everyone above, especially re. the pin block.

What does "the pinblocks aren't the perfect specifications" even mean? The only thing I can think of that might relate to a specification is pin torque, and if that's off, so is the block. Or if it were cut to the wrong size, for example, then that would certainly be indicative of poor workmanship at some point in the past.

The OP indicated that he's gonna have it inspected, and that's the wise course of action. Ideally he'll get bonafide feedback that uses meaningful vocabulary.



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Re: Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
bonedoctor #2891518 09/17/19 11:32 PM
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That is great George but you have to agree that a 1928 Steinway needs to be checked out.

Depending on condition it is a either a gem(unlikely with pin block issues) or a money pit.

I like Steinways very much but $20K will buy you a very nice piano.

Maybe a Steinway forum will give him more unbiased advice??


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Re: Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
George Smith #2891523 09/17/19 11:55 PM
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Originally Posted by George Smith
This is not a good site to get Steinway advice. Look at your responses. People who post hundreds or thousands of long posts. The (mostly) silent crowd is ignoring the internet and enjoying our Steinways smile


I stand by my advice, thank you very much. And I teach at an All-Steinway school, with a newer and and older Steinway A and B in my office at the university, and have done some tech work for the local S&S dealer. Yeah, it's not the most pro-S&S site out there, but don't paint with a broad brush-- some of us do know a little bit about these things...


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Re: Should I buy this Steinway Model B 1928
George Smith #2891534 09/18/19 01:21 AM
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Originally Posted by George Smith
This is not a good site to get Steinway advice. Look at your responses. People who post hundreds or thousands of long posts. The (mostly) silent crowd is ignoring the internet and enjoying our Steinways smile


Sadly, you'll get this fanboy nonsense whether you ask about pianos of phones.

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