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M&H from 1981
#3014373 08/15/20 07:19 PM
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Is there any odd reason to disqualify a Mason & Hamlin model A from 1981? It's one owner and looks to be in fine condition. Any manufacturing problems from that time or anything I should be aware of?

Muchas gracias.


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: M&H from 1981
ebonykawai #3014401 08/15/20 10:39 PM
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ebonykawai, I would think a M&H piano from the early 1980s could be a very nice instrument. I'm no pro, but I have read that M&H quality did suffer to some degree when they were bought out by Aeolian Piano Company. But I've also read that even the Aeolian era M&H pianos can be nice pianos. Not sure when the Aeolian era ended for M&H.

I would think it all boils down to three primary things... condition, condition and condition. smile

Wish I could be of more help.

Good luck!

Rick


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Re: M&H from 1981
ebonykawai #3014402 08/15/20 10:42 PM
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Looking to be in good condition may be different than actually being in good condition. If you are seriously considering this piano be sure to have it checked out by a competent piano tech.

Here's another PW thread on the same topic....
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/1681754/Mason%20&%20Hamlin:%20Late%20Aeolian%20E.html


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
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Kawai CA-65 Digital
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Re: M&H from 1981
Carey #3014492 08/16/20 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Carey
Looking to be in good condition may be different than actually being in good condition. If you are seriously considering this piano be sure to have it checked out by a competent piano tech.

Here's another PW thread on the same topic....
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/1681754/Mason%20&%20Hamlin:%20Late%20Aeolian%20E.html


Well, yes, that goes without saying. Of course a tech would look at it. It's just a couple hours away from me so I'm looking at any factors that would disqualify it before I put anything into it. Thanks for the link!


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: M&H from 1981
ebonykawai #3014522 08/16/20 10:22 AM
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It should be a fine instrument, subject to wear and tear and condition

Re: M&H from 1981
ebonykawai #3014529 08/16/20 10:39 AM
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Re: M&H from 1981
ebonykawai #3014562 08/16/20 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Originally Posted by Carey
Looking to be in good condition may be different than actually being in good condition. If you are seriously considering this piano be sure to have it checked out by a competent piano tech.

Here's another PW thread on the same topic....
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/1681754/Mason%20&%20Hamlin:%20Late%20Aeolian%20E.html
Well, yes, that goes without saying. Of course a tech would look at it. It's just a couple hours away from me so I'm looking at any factors that would disqualify it before I put anything into it. Thanks for the link!
Oops. Sorry Lisa. When I responded late last night I didn't catch the fact that you were Ebony Kawai. Had I realized that I wouldn't have suggested the tech, as I know that YOU already are on top of such things. smile


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai K-500 Upright
Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
Re: M&H from 1981
ebonykawai #3014564 08/16/20 12:14 PM
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Hi ebonykawai,

Here is the issue.

Although I was not yet in the industry in 1981, that was the time that Aeolian was crawling on it's very last legs. The very last pianos to leave the factory had lots of issues. Most of them could be corrected by a technician without spends thousands, like sloppy action work, glue residue where it should not be, hammers that were never prepped, etc. But a few that I have seen required more intrusive work because ribs had gaps in glue joints (causing vibrations), bridge capping sloppily notched, etc.

The scale was still tops and it is a famous model. By the way, I have seen lots of sloppiness in NY S&S pianos from that period as well, so Mason & Hamlin had not cornered the market.

My 2 cents,


Rich Galassini
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Re: M&H from 1981
Carey #3014565 08/16/20 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Originally Posted by Carey
Looking to be in good condition may be different than actually being in good condition. If you are seriously considering this piano be sure to have it checked out by a competent piano tech.

Here's another PW thread on the same topic....
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/1681754/Mason%20&%20Hamlin:%20Late%20Aeolian%20E.html
Well, yes, that goes without saying. Of course a tech would look at it. It's just a couple hours away from me so I'm looking at any factors that would disqualify it before I put anything into it. Thanks for the link!
Oops. Sorry Lisa. When I responded late last night I didn't catch the fact that you were Ebony Kawai. Had I realized that I wouldn't have suggested the tech, as I know that YOU already are on top of such things. smile

Oh, no worries, sheesh, I'm not that well known, here or anywhere, LOL!!


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: M&H from 1981
terminaldegree #3014568 08/16/20 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Hi ebonykawai,

Here is the issue.

Although I was not yet in the industry in 1981, that was the time that Aeolian was crawling on it's very last legs. The very last pianos to leave the factory had lots of issues. Most of them could be corrected by a technician without spends thousands, like sloppy action work, glue residue where it should not be, hammers that were never prepped, etc. But a few that I have seen required more intrusive work because ribs had gaps in glue joints (causing vibrations), bridge capping sloppily notched, etc.

The scale was still tops and it is a famous model. By the way, I have seen lots of sloppiness in NY S&S pianos from that period as well, so Mason & Hamlin had not cornered the market.

My 2 cents,

This is really helpful, I was hoping to narrow down what to look for! Thank you!



Thank you!!!


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: M&H from 1981
ebonykawai #3014573 08/16/20 12:29 PM
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I spoke to the owner this morning and got the piano's history. He lives near Rochester NY, and the M&H shop he bought if from was closing. He says this was one of the last pianos they sold. Was new at that time, and it was his wife's piano. She passed away in December and he is selling his home, so he's got it up for sale. The person helping him is Joseph Ross, I think the owner of Pianomart! He didn't say as much, but said Joe is a tech and his business is also helping people sell their used pianos. I googled him and found this: http://www.buzzfile.com/business/Pianomart-585-586-3310

Anyway, the owner is giving him my contact info, so we'll see where this goes. The price is, in my opinion, such that I should absolutely not pass this up if the piano checks out. I do have my Kawai upright to sell, however, so I'm looking at my options, but I can definitely pay for this piano without the proceeds from my Kawai. If this Joe is indeed the Pianomart gentleman, hopefully he will have some advice for me.

So....crossing my fingers everything works out!


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: M&H from 1981
ebonykawai #3014614 08/16/20 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
I spoke to the owner this morning and got the piano's history. He lives near Rochester NY, and the M&H shop he bought if from was closing. He says this was one of the last pianos they sold. Was new at that time, and it was his wife's piano. She passed away in December and he is selling his home, so he's got it up for sale. The person helping him is Joseph Ross, I think the owner of Pianomart! He didn't say as much, but said Joe is a tech and his business is also helping people sell their used pianos. I googled him and found this: http://www.buzzfile.com/business/Pianomart-585-586-3310

Anyway, the owner is giving him my contact info, so we'll see where this goes. The price is, in my opinion, such that I should absolutely not pass this up if the piano checks out. I do have my Kawai upright to sell, however, so I'm looking at my options, but I can definitely pay for this piano without the proceeds from my Kawai. If this Joe is indeed the Pianomart gentleman, hopefully he will have some advice for me.

So....crossing my fingers everything works out!
Sounds promising. At least the piano hasn't been moved in 39 years - and it has already acclimated to your part of the country. Hopefully the lady maintained and lovingly played it lightly over the years. smile


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai K-500 Upright
Kawai CA-65 Digital
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
Re: M&H from 1981
ebonykawai #3014617 08/16/20 03:36 PM
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I just spoke to Joe Ross, he is indeed the Pianomart guy!! Very nice gentleman, he's helping the owner sell this M&H. So more history, this piano was a special order, made for the owner's wife. It's made of burled oak, very unique case! The piano was manufactured in the Aeolian factory in East Rochester, which then closed down. This is one of the very last pianos made there. Interesting history.

The owner's wife was a teacher, however, so the piano has seen a lot of use. It's being looked at tomorrow by someone, and I'm doubting it's going to last very long on the market. But we'll see.


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: M&H from 1981
ebonykawai #3014618 08/16/20 03:38 PM
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Just curious - is this the M&H A with polished oak finish?


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
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Re: M&H from 1981
Carey #3014625 08/16/20 04:01 PM
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I'm doing more research and found this on the Piano Technicians Guild forums:

"I would say that "manufacturing issues" were quite likely. I restrung a BB here at SF State a few years ago - and when the strings were off, I found several agraffes in the tenor really loose. So I tightened them down (no, couldn't find matching replacement agraffes, so left the old ones in) proceeded to restring the beast, and when the strings were up to tension, it turned out that the strings that went through the loose agraffes were buzzing against the plate. It appears that the stringer at the factory instead of fixing the problem simply turned the agraffes up enough turns to get the strings up above the plate... I ended up grinding enough metal off that plate so that the strings could clear it with the agraffes fully tightened down...

I am never surprised any more by what I find in pianos that came out of East Rochester in the 70's and 80's... There was that AA in Sudbury, MA with a pinblock that... Never mind, I have to get some work done (I could fill up the rest of the day with Aeolian nightmares...)"

And...

"Mason & Hamlin has a long and checkered history of being sold and resold, acquired and re-acquired. Let's start in the 20's (by which time it has already gone through about 5 ownerships) American Piano Co. got control of it through some financial shenanigans in 1922, and then sold it to Aeolian just before Aeolian acquired American in 1932 - which is when the Boston factory was closed and the manufacture moved to the East Rochester, NY campus. From what I know, quality kept pretty good through the 30's and 40's, but then started sliding and by the 70's they were manufacturing crap that somewhat resembled Mason & Hamlin. In 1985 CitiBank seized the assets of Aeolian, and PrattReed/Sohmer ended up with M&H - moving manufacture to Ivoriton, CT. They actually built some M&H's there - but never finished them before Sohmer/PR went under in 1988 - Camilleri Rebuilders did, from what I hear. I saw a few of those in Boston when I was at North Bennet Street School - they were virtually unplayable. In 1989, Falcone acquired Sohmer/Mason & Hamlin, changed its name from "Falcone" to "Mason & Hamlin" and resumed production in Haverhill, MA (by then Bud Greer - who poured $18,000,000 into the venture - kicked Santi Falconi back to Sicily and took over himself). In 1995 Bud pulled the plug on the venture (they never did get any sort of systematic production going) and went into Chapter 7 (liquidation). A couple local piano hustlers playing at piano rebuilding - Pete Murphy and Wolf (forget his last name - he actually had a pet wolf) talked Bud into signing the assets over to them, successfully petitioned for chapter 11 (reorganization) moved their rebuilding operation into the factory building and restarted new M&H piano production on a shoestring. I actually worked there for 3 weeks as the action floor foreman (the regular foreman went on a cruise with one of their CC's) - which meant that I got to regulate and voice two BB's and one A. It was supposed to be my training for being their tech representative in California (I was in the process of moving there - so why not?) The pianos weren't all that bad - a bit sloppy in places, but sounded and played pretty well. They were using Renner action parts and Kluge keyboards. Soon after I got to California, PianoDisc offered some money to the bankruptcy court for creditors - and so ended the saga of a couple second-rate piano rebuilders from Watertown, MA playing at piano manufacturing (and my corporate piano career). The instruments PianoDisc have been putting out that I have seen are pretty decent, if you like very bright tone...

Anyway, that's a gross oversimplification - but just because it has the Mason & Hamlin name on it, and it has 88 keys, doesn't mean anything, really..."



This scares me. I think I'm going to reconsider. There can be issues that might not even be found during a regular checkover. Yeah, I SO do not want to step into a piano nightmare.

Originally Posted by Carey
Just curious - is this the M&H A with polished oak finish?

It looks like a satin oak finish.

Last edited by ebonykawai; 08/16/20 04:04 PM.

Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: M&H from 1981
ebonykawai #3014662 08/16/20 05:34 PM
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Go and see it


-Bill L. - former tuner-technician
Re: M&H from 1981
WBLynch #3014664 08/16/20 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by WBLynch
Go and see it

Please don’t rule this piano 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: M&H from 1981
ebonykawai #3014681 08/16/20 06:48 PM
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I'll leave it up to fate, LOL. It might be sold tomorrow anyway.


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: M&H from 1981
ebonykawai #3014704 08/16/20 08:03 PM
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Another vote to go and see it.

Rich


Retired at the beach

Anton Rubinstein said about the piano: "You think it is one instrument? It is a hundred instruments!"
Re: M&H from 1981
ebonykawai #3014812 08/17/20 08:16 AM
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I'm waiting on a call back to see if this piano sells today. If it doesn't, I'll go see it. smile


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
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