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Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic [Re: Gabrielsyme] #2919828 12/04/19 05:56 PM
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You might try watching this site for a free piano. I've looked at this site over the years just for curiosity, and if you're patient I think you'll find something nicer than what you're looking at. Much of what's on there is firewood, but every once in awhile something pretty decent comes along.


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Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic [Re: Gabrielsyme] #2919834 12/04/19 06:11 PM
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Gabrielsyme, I sent you a PM (private mail) of a music video of the Kimball Viennese baby grand piano I owned for a while. Not trying to influence your decision one way or the other, but I thought it might be another datapoint for you to evaluate.

You should see a little red flashing icon just to the left of your forum name at the top of the forum page. Keep in mind, my playing ain't all that good, but it shows a good view of the piano and a demonstration of the way it sounded; at least the one I owned.

Good luck!

Rick


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Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic [Re: Gabrielsyme] #2919871 12/04/19 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Gabrielsyme
I’m going to push back a little bit here. Not because I’m contrary, though I am sometimes, but because I’m not sure I agree. When we bought our house, a six bedroom, center hall colonial, we got it for under market value because it had a terrible 50s kitchen. The rest of the house had been well maintained but generations of owners had passed over the kitchen. We were thrilled because we knew it was a deal. We saved for a couple of years and then gutted the kitchen. In the end the kitchen didn’t cost nearly what it added in equity and it paid to take the risk.

But here’s where it relates to pianos. The house was less expensive with a rotten kitchen but not exponentially less expensive. I have been looking at pianos for years off and on and seriously for about a month. If I had five or even two thousand dollars to spend I think it would be a lot more likely I could find a below market piano that needed relatively minor work and be happy. At the $500-$1000 mark however I’m looking at 70-100 year old pianos with all original parts that probably need to be completely rebuilt, or at least would after a year or two of the kind of wear and tear that happens in this house. This piano is absolutely the newest grand I have seen that I can afford and the model happens to have a cult following. Is it ever going to be as good as something of truly high quality? Perhaps not. But I’m just not in a stage of life where I’m ready to invest in a piano of that caliber.


At worst you’ll have spent $500 + whatever else it costs to move to your house on a piano that needs more work and more money invested than you originally thought. It is a risk, but $500 isn’t a huge gamble. I wish you the best in your piano shopping.


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Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic [Re: j&j] #2919886 12/04/19 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by j&j
At worst you’ll have spent $500 + whatever else it costs to move to your house on a piano that needs more work and more money invested than you originally thought. It is a risk, but $500 isn’t a huge gamble.
The move could certainly cost another $500. Then there's the cost of getting rid of it if repairs are too costly.

It seems to me that the OP's low budget implies that for him the cost of the piano is a pretty big gamble. If the dealer is selling it for $500 my guess is they got it for free. And the fact they didn't even bother to try to clean it up raises a big red flag as if it wasn't worth a few hours to make it more presentable.

Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic [Re: Gabrielsyme] #2919911 12/04/19 10:22 PM
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Our church has a Kimball VC 5' 8" piano from that era in the French Provincial Walnut art case. We haven't used it in about 15 years. It desperately needs voicing and regulation. There are several keys and dampers that stick. I personally don't like the feel of the action at all, but I've never been a big fan of the European tone and feel. I know there are those who really enjoy the Kimball VC pianos. It's all about personal taste. In the case of ours, the cabinet is in excellent shape, and it looks like a lovely instrument cosmetically. It's hasn't been abused in any way, but it needs $2 - 3k of work to make it playable. Based on what I've seen, the instrument isn't really worth much more than that.

Having the piano looked at by a technician is key. It does concern me that the dealer hasn't even spent the time to clean it up a little. It sounds like the piano hasn't been cared for properly which sends up red flags. It's very enticing to jump on a piano that appears to be at a bargain basement price, when you've been shopping and looking at the prices of used higher-end instruments. But in the end the decision is yours. None of us here, pro or con, can really know what the condition of this particular piano is. All we can do is offer advice based upon our past experiences as piano owners or professional opinions as piano technicians.

Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic [Re: j&j] #2920002 12/05/19 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by Gabrielsyme
I’m going to push back a little bit here. Not because I’m contrary, though I am sometimes, but because I’m not sure I agree. When we bought our house, a six bedroom, center hall colonial, we got it for under market value because it had a terrible 50s kitchen. The rest of the house had been well maintained but generations of owners had passed over the kitchen. We were thrilled because we knew it was a deal. We saved for a couple of years and then gutted the kitchen. In the end the kitchen didn’t cost nearly what it added in equity and it paid to take the risk.

But here’s where it relates to pianos. The house was less expensive with a rotten kitchen but not exponentially less expensive. I have been looking at pianos for years off and on and seriously for about a month. If I had five or even two thousand dollars to spend I think it would be a lot more likely I could find a below market piano that needed relatively minor work and be happy. At the $500-$1000 mark however I’m looking at 70-100 year old pianos with all original parts that probably need to be completely rebuilt, or at least would after a year or two of the kind of wear and tear that happens in this house. This piano is absolutely the newest grand I have seen that I can afford and the model happens to have a cult following. Is it ever going to be as good as something of truly high quality? Perhaps not. But I’m just not in a stage of life where I’m ready to invest in a piano of that caliber.


At worst you’ll have spent $500 + whatever else it costs to move to your house on a piano that needs more work and more money invested than you originally thought. It is a risk, but $500 isn’t a huge gamble. I wish you the best in your piano shopping.



I think I beg to differ here. $500 is a big gamble if the maximum you can afford for a piano is $1500. $50 is a lot for some folks.

Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic [Re: gwing] #2920081 12/05/19 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by gwing
Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by Gabrielsyme
I’m going to push back a little bit here. Not because I’m contrary, though I am sometimes, but because I’m not sure I agree. When we bought our house, a six bedroom, center hall colonial, we got it for under market value because it had a terrible 50s kitchen. The rest of the house had been well maintained but generations of owners had passed over the kitchen. We were thrilled because we knew it was a deal. We saved for a couple of years and then gutted the kitchen. In the end the kitchen didn’t cost nearly what it added in equity and it paid to take the risk.

But here’s where it relates to pianos. The house was less expensive with a rotten kitchen but not exponentially less expensive. I have been looking at pianos for years off and on and seriously for about a month. If I had five or even two thousand dollars to spend I think it would be a lot more likely I could find a below market piano that needed relatively minor work and be happy. At the $500-$1000 mark however I’m looking at 70-100 year old pianos with all original parts that probably need to be completely rebuilt, or at least would after a year or two of the kind of wear and tear that happens in this house. This piano is absolutely the newest grand I have seen that I can afford and the model happens to have a cult following. Is it ever going to be as good as something of truly high quality? Perhaps not. But I’m just not in a stage of life where I’m ready to invest in a piano of that caliber.


At worst you’ll have spent $500 + whatever else it costs to move to your house on a piano that needs more work and more money invested than you originally thought. It is a risk, but $500 isn’t a huge gamble. I wish you the best in your piano shopping.



I think I beg to differ here. $500 is a big gamble if the maximum you can afford for a piano is $1500. $50 is a lot for some folks.


Yes you are right. See my first response to the OP. But Gabrielsyme seems rather fond of the Kimball VC and seems willing to take the gamble, even with the usual PW warnings about an independent tech. If that is indeed the case, then all I can say is Best Wishes and hope the gamble works out for the family. Sometimes, even through dust and grime, a piano “speaks” to someone. I myself would insist that the dealer clean it up at the very least before writing the check.


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Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic [Re: Gabrielsyme] #2920092 12/05/19 09:11 AM
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Gabriel:

I think that making a decision against Sally's advice is the height of folly.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic [Re: Gabrielsyme] #2920137 12/05/19 10:38 AM
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I wouldn't go against Sally's advice either. Although a large percentage of Sally's work involves working on premium concert grands and keeping them in excellent condition, she understands all instruments and budgets, and understands the potential of pretty much every model out there better than many on this forum - certainly better than any of the pianists and amateur players on this forum.

It sounds to me that this Kimball is being punted on at a rock bottom price so whoever has it for sale can get it off their hands. To fix the case up properly you could be looking at a 4-figure sum, and and for the actual instrument you'll almost certainly be looking at another four figure sum, and this piano will have a maximum value in the low thousands if that.

GC13, I appreciate you're not a fan of the European sound and that's fine by me (the American sound is vastly different), but to be fair the Kimball isn't representative of the European sound. It has a Bösendorfer-shaped frame, but that by no means makes it a Bösendorfer. Wasn't it the case that the same owner owned both Kimball and Bösendorfer at that time? I'm not sure of the ins and outs of the arrangement, it all seems a little odd to me.

Gabrielsyme, it would probably be better if you look for a higher quality upright and spend your money on that. There really are no bargains out there on the piano market, unless you really know where to look *and* you have the money to invest in the instrument's repair after you buy it. I would also consider digital pianos from Kawai, Yamaha, and Roland, as these days they can provide a rewarding musical experience, they have cabinets that fit well into homes, and while they're not exactly heirloom quality instruments as it were, they are better than playing on a clapped out grand or upright with an action that possibly can't be regulated adequately. I've used a Roland HP-603 for a while now and I find no problem switching between it and a grand piano, and I rather enjoy the sound of it. There are models with a more luxurious cabinet which may fit your home better, but the concept is the same.

Also have a look at Hailun pianos if you want to buy something new, or if you can find a reputable dealer of used Yamaha and Kawai pianos then you might want to look in that direction. Sally actually had or has a Kawai 5'5 piano for sale at a very attractive price, and it looks less than 20 years old. I'd consider something like that for myself if I didn't live in a flimsy apartment at the moment.

Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic [Re: Gabrielsyme] #2920142 12/05/19 11:00 AM
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Gabriel - from my heart I can say Sally is right. I know your spinet is shot and you need something now inexpensively. The Kimball VC will cost you more in the long run and at best it’s service record in your home will be very spotty and temperamental. You could rent a nice upright fairly inexpensively while you’re shopping for a used small grand in far better shape. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best and hope your family enjoys the gift of music family time around a piano.


J & J
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Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic [Re: Gabrielsyme] #2920148 12/05/19 11:21 AM
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Guys
I think most of us have said this is probably not a good idea enough times. To use an old Southern expression ‘don’t beat s dead horse’
Time to say ‘best wishes.... let us hear how it works out ‘


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic [Re: Gabrielsyme] #2920166 12/05/19 12:00 PM
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Thank you all,

I don’t want to be that OP who disappears after they get a lot of (solid) advice that isn’t exactly what they’d like to hear. I think a lot of people post questions on forums in areas where they’re not experts and feel overwhelmed if they get a negative response they weren’t expecting. We are leaning away from the Kimball but we’ll follow through with the tech before we make a final decision.

This is complicated for me because my husband and I are not absolutely on the same page about whether quality matters. This will probably seem unbelievable to some of you who live and breath the instrument but he’s just not sure it matters how good it is. He grew up playing a big Victorian upright that never stayed in tune. I see them all the time on Craigslist. “Works great! Just needs to be tuned!” “Works” often means a sound is produced when you depress a key. By no means do they actually “work.” All of his siblings learned to play well however and some of them are quite good indeed and now have much better pianos in their homes. He sort of feels that if they all learned on that old upright our kids are already ahead of the game because the Knabe holds a tuning well.

Anyway, the problem with our Knabe is that the hammers have become really brittle and started to snap off. I know we could replace the hammers but I’m not sure it’s worth it. Techs have always been pretty unenthusiastic about the instrument in general so we’ve fixed dead keys and kept in in tune but not done much more for it. A few years ago I did call a very good technician and talked to him about regulating and voicing it and he didn’t exactly laugh outright but he definitely didn’t think it would be worth the trouble.

I appreciate all of your advice so much and certainly don’t want to do anything foolish.

Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic [Re: Gabrielsyme] #2920267 12/05/19 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Gabrielsyme
....whether quality matters. This will probably seem unbelievable to some of you who live and breath the instrument but he’s just not sure it matters how good it is. He grew up playing a big Victorian upright that never stayed in tune. I see them all the time on Craigslist. “Works great! Just needs to be tuned!” “Works” often means a sound is produced when you depress a key. By no means do they actually “work.” All of his siblings learned to play well however and some of them are quite good indeed and now have much better pianos in their homes. He sort of feels that if they all learned on that old upright our kids are already ahead of the game because the Knabe holds a tuning well.....
To me, this kind of argument ("learn to play on a bad piano--it builds character") seems analogous to, for example, feeding your children food that's on the edge of going bad. As long as they're not retching, it'll build character! laugh

That the dealer hasn't bothered to clean up the piano would worry me.

Someone above mentioned digitals. I love my acoustic, but a decent digital might tide you over until you build up your acoustic fund. Put the money you would spend on piano moving, tune-ups, and additional work on the piano into your acoustic piano fund.


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Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic [Re: Stubbie] #2920284 12/05/19 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Stubbie
To me, this kind of argument ("learn to play on a bad piano--it builds character") seems analogous to, for example, feeding your children food that's on the edge of going bad. As long as they're not retching, it'll build character! laugh
Did the OP actually say what you put in quotes? It wasn't in the part you quoted.

A huge amount of time at PW is spent discussing the top tier pianos but that doesn't represent most piano buyers. I think that as long as a piano can be tuned and is in reasonable regulation many people are satisfied with it. And unless they have lots of experience playing very good pianos(which is not common...in fact, many people have little experience playing any pianos other than their home piano) they are not bothered by how their pianos might compare to top pianos.

I grew up playing a Baldwin Acrosonic spinet and never even thought how it compared to other pianos. I'm sure the piano was never regulated or voiced but it was fine for me. It was only after I turned around 55 that I upgraded to a Mason Hamlin BB. I can easily understand why many people are not particularly concerned about the tone and touch and are perfectly satisfied with a piano some PW members would be critical of. PW members don't in general represent the average piano buyer IMO.

None of the above means I don't think the OP shouldn't have the piano checked by a tech. I also think that in the OP's price range a nice digital might be a better choice.

Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic [Re: Gabrielsyme] #2920289 12/05/19 06:54 PM
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Digitals depress me. I know that if I closed my eyes a digital would sound much much better than our spinet and I’ve seen the ones with the nicer cases but I still just prefer an acoustic. We open the lid often and the kids love to watch the action do its thing. Our piano is kind of the center of our home (the TV is in an upstairs room so we won’t be tempted to drift over to it without a plan) and even a very nice digital just wouldn’t have the same cultural significance. It is what it is.

We had an outside tech look at the Kimball VC today. He turned out to be very hard to communicate with. It seems like he liked what he saw generally speaking but he was a major rambler and it was very hard to get straight answers. We decided to pass. Just too many red flags and not enough solid information even after we had someone look at it.

Our current plan is to call a well-respected tech in the area and have him come out to tune our Knabe. While he’s here we’ll ask him what our best option would be for replacing it given our budget. Perhaps we should just do some work on our current piano and wait a couple of years.

Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic [Re: Gabrielsyme] #2920290 12/05/19 06:55 PM
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PS-Thanks again!

Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic [Re: Gabrielsyme] #2920294 12/05/19 07:14 PM
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The first piano on the piano adoption web site is offered by a well-respected forum member here, the owner of Cunningham Pianos. It is a long-shot, of course, but if you contact Rich he will honestly tell you what the piano needs or he may have something else come in as a trade in.

His contact info is here: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/users/55/rich-galassini.html

Last edited by dogperson; 12/05/19 07:15 PM.

"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic [Re: Gabrielsyme] #2920317 12/05/19 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Gabrielsyme
Digitals depress me. I know that if I closed my eyes a digital would sound much much better than our spinet and I’ve seen the ones with the nicer cases but I still just prefer an acoustic. We open the lid often and the kids love to watch the action do its thing. Our piano is kind of the center of our home (the TV is in an upstairs room so we won’t be tempted to drift over to it without a plan) and even a very nice digital just wouldn’t have the same cultural significance. It is what it is.

We had an outside tech look at the Kimball VC today. He turned out to be very hard to communicate with. It seems like he liked what he saw generally speaking but he was a major rambler and it was very hard to get straight answers. We decided to pass. Just too many red flags and not enough solid information even after we had someone look at it.

Our current plan is to call a well-respected tech in the area and have him come out to tune our Knabe. While he’s here we’ll ask him what our best option would be for replacing it given our budget. Perhaps we should just do some work on our current piano and wait a couple of years.


I like your current plan, for however much that matters. thumb Best of Luck!


J & J
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