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Vintage Steinways for pre college student #2949325 02/20/20 12:36 AM
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Forest_Hills_Daddy Offline OP
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My 13yo daughter is a pre college piano student and we're looking to replace the old Young Chang that shes been using since she was 8. I noticed that some used piano dealers in the New York City tri state area have been selling "restored" Steinways dating from the 1920s and even the 1890s for around $5,000 range. What could be the pitfalls with Steinways of this age, especially for a serious student?

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Re: Vintage Steinways for pre college student [Re: Forest_Hills_Daddy] #2949330 02/20/20 12:59 AM
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This is a bad idea.
The retail cost of replacing most any single item (times at least 88, because it’s a piano) would equal or exceed the $5,000 asking price.
So, you’re probably getting an unrestored, 100+ year old piano. A 5-6 foot Steinway, clapped out and in need of complete restoration, is probably worth $4-5k in much of the US.

On the other hand, $5k would buy a decent new 45”+ vertical piano, or a much newer (less than 20 year old) used 48” one from a popular brand. That is how I would advise a precollege student and their family, if that was your budget. It’s going to stand up to intensive use for a longer period of time.


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Re: Vintage Steinways for pre college student [Re: Forest_Hills_Daddy] #2949346 02/20/20 02:53 AM
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I agree with terminaldegree. A properly, fully restored 1890's or 1920's Steinway of any size would sell for much more than $5,000.00. If $5,000.00 is your budget limit, my recommendation what be to simply copy and paste what terminaldegree has written.

Regards,


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Re: Vintage Steinways for pre college student [Re: Forest_Hills_Daddy] #2949445 02/20/20 10:07 AM
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Thank you terminaldegree and BruceD! That was very helpful.

Re: Vintage Steinways for pre college student [Re: Forest_Hills_Daddy] #2949461 02/20/20 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Forest_Hills_Daddy
My 13yo daughter is a pre college piano student and we're looking to replace the old Young Chang that shes been using since she was 8. I noticed that some used piano dealers in the New York City tri state area have been selling "restored" Steinways dating from the 1920s and even the 1890s for around $5,000 range. What could be the pitfalls with Steinways of this age, especially for a serious student?

Just curious... What does "restored" mean in this context?

Re: Vintage Steinways for pre college student [Re: Forest_Hills_Daddy] #2949464 02/20/20 11:26 AM
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I would venture a guess if I may:

They wiped down the keyboard with a damp cloth


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Re: Vintage Steinways for pre college student [Re: Forest_Hills_Daddy] #2949516 02/20/20 02:40 PM
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Restored in 1970?

Re: Vintage Steinways for pre college student [Re: Furtwangler] #2949543 02/20/20 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Furtwangler
I would venture a guess if I may:

They wiped down the keyboard with a damp cloth


laugh


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Re: Vintage Steinways for pre college student [Re: Forest_Hills_Daddy] #2949566 02/20/20 05:10 PM
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No not for a serious music student. She does need a a grand in as good position as possible.
If the Young Chang is no longer in good condition .I would ecourage you to get a Registered
Piano Technician who can advise what it would cost to get your piano in good condition.
The alternative is to perhaps find a Kawai or Yamaha piano which is not that old and most of all
in good condition.So before buying any used piano have it checked by a technician.
An old piano like the Steinways you found is really just for someone who may play only occasionally
not for a student who will be doing some hard practice on the instrument.
Best wishes !

Re: Vintage Steinways for pre college student [Re: Forest_Hills_Daddy] #2949589 02/20/20 07:33 PM
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As terminaldegree suggests a good upright would be far better than an aging grand which has not
really been properly rebuilt or restored.

Re: Vintage Steinways for pre college student [Re: Forest_Hills_Daddy] #2949594 02/20/20 07:52 PM
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If you have a good technician that you trust to inspect pianos and give you good advice, you might be able to find a bargain among those Steinways. But you might have to spend some time, and be willing to pay some money beyond the purchase price. Pianos do not necessarily just fall apart with age. Even new pianos need maintenance, so you should be ready to pay for that to accommodate a good pianist, no matter what you do.


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Re: Vintage Steinways for pre college student [Re: Forest_Hills_Daddy] #2949597 02/20/20 08:01 PM
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You should be looking for the best action possible at this stage. I mean best action according to your budget and space restrictions. In your case if you can find a good Yamaha upright it would be better than a vintage Steinway grand that hasn't been rebuilt.

Of course, sometimes you can find a Steinway that has had the top action replaced and that might need the rest of it rebuilt, but it'll play well enough and hold well enough for those pre-college years.

BDB is right that there are sometimes bargains out there, but they're very very rare. If I was you I'd play safe and go with the upright for now, or maybe even a top of the line digital, but some teachers aren't so keen on their students playing on digitals but we're all using them now.

Re: Vintage Steinways for pre college student [Re: joe80] #2949614 02/20/20 08:55 PM
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The age of the action affects how it plays much less than the maintenance, and a 30 year old Yamaha upright is more likely to have problems with its action than a 50 year old Steinway, as any technician who has replace spring loops knows.


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Re: Vintage Steinways for pre college student [Re: BDB] #2949623 02/20/20 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
The age of the action affects how it plays much less than the maintenance, and a 30 year old Yamaha upright is more likely to have problems with its action than a 50 year old Steinway, as any technician who has replace spring loops knows.

BDB those Steinways the OP mentioned are older than 50 year, would not a newer Yamaha
be better ?

Re: Vintage Steinways for pre college student [Re: Lady Bird] #2949625 02/20/20 09:16 PM
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Re: Vintage Steinways for pre college student [Re: David-G] #2949805 02/21/20 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by David-G

Just curious... What does "restored" mean in this context?


They also repaired broken/worn parts like the strings, pedals and keys. If you tried it out in the showroom, it actually sounds good. Of course, without technical skills, it's hard to say how well a job they did. It might possibly break down in less than a year.

Re: Vintage Steinways for pre college student [Re: Lady Bird] #2949813 02/21/20 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
No not for a serious music student. She does need a a grand in as good position as possible.


Lady Bird, Ironically, there is a much larger inventory of used grands and baby grands among the used piano dealers in our region. There is much of them to choose from. The problem with buying them is lack of space since they are hard to fit into apartments. Good second hand uprights from the modern era (1970s and later) sell very fast which makes it challenging to hunt for.

Re: Vintage Steinways for pre college student [Re: Forest_Hills_Daddy] #2949816 02/21/20 01:26 PM
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If a dealer advertises a 100 year old Steinway selling for 5K as "restored", that in itself would tell me not to buy from the dealer. To me that seems plain dishonest even though there is no precise definition of "restored". Saying the piano has new strings or whatever is an honest way to describe a piano.

Re: Vintage Steinways for pre college student [Re: Forest_Hills_Daddy] #2949819 02/21/20 01:28 PM
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Quote
They also repaired broken/worn parts like the strings, pedals and keys.


This is the equivalent of what Furtwangler said about "wiping the keys with a cloth." Repairing a few broken strings or making pedal adjustments is regular maintenance. Calling this "restoration" is deceptive. It's dishonest enough that I would probably walk away from that dealership.

Restoration involves much more work on pin block, sound board, hammers, bushings, whippens, knuckles, blah, blah, blah. Full restoration often involves brand new sound board, strings, and action to Steinway specs. That's 30K to 40K.

Re: Vintage Steinways for pre college student [Re: Forest_Hills_Daddy] #2949823 02/21/20 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Forest_Hills_Daddy
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
No not for a serious music student. She does need a a grand in as good position as possible.


Lady Bird, Ironically, there is a much larger inventory of used grands and baby grands among the used piano dealers in our region. There is much of them to choose from. The problem with buying them is lack of space since they are hard to fit into apartments. Good second hand uprights from the modern era (1970s and later) sell very fast which makes it challenging to hunt for.

You need to look at other dealers and even Craigslist. Do not buy anything without having it checked.
A new Yamaha P22 may do very well if you cannot get a not more than 20 year old U1 .A new b series will be better than a worn out piano. A Kawai K200 or ideally K300 would be fine .

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