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Advice: Schimmel v. Mason & Hamlin
#3039528 10/26/20 01:00 PM
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I have the opportunity to buy a 1999 Schimmel C213 or a 1976 Mason & Hamlin BB. They are both in great condition and I can get them for roughly the same price. I do not like bright-sounding pianos and based on what I've read, I'm afraid I may end up in a losing battle with the Schimmel, regardless of how it currently sounds. I generally like Mason & Hamlins very much but do not have any experience with Schimmels--and neither does anyone I know. What would you advise?

Re: Advice: Schimmel v. Mason & Hamlin
MozeP #3039532 10/26/20 01:16 PM
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I would advise you never buy a piano you haven’t played. Our tastes are all different and each piano is different, even if the same model you have played previously.


"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
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Re: Advice: Schimmel v. Mason & Hamlin
MozeP #3039534 10/26/20 01:22 PM
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I've played them both.

Re: Advice: Schimmel v. Mason & Hamlin
MozeP #3039546 10/26/20 01:38 PM
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What was your personal impression of both?

Yes, the Schimmel 213 tends to be pretty "bright", but there are certainly gradations within that word which may be fine for some and objectionable for others. For me, most BB's have been darker but with a very powerful bass...however at that age, how it's been maintained and what's been done to it since new is a major consideration (perhaps as much as the brand).

I would perceive the initial build quality of the 213 to be much higher in 1999 than a BB built in the mid 70s. If they were both 20 years old, it would be a different story.


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Re: Advice: Schimmel v. Mason & Hamlin
MozeP #3039549 10/26/20 01:43 PM
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I liked them both. They both have a nice bass. The Schimmel is a tad "fuzzy" in the mid-register but the dealer has done some work on it to make it more clear--and it's definitely better than it was a month ago. The Mason & Hamlin is a new acquisition to the store, transferred from a sister store in a neighboring state. They just got it last week. The sales rep here thinks it was possibly at a college, but not in a music building where it would be played often--perhaps somewhere where special events would occur once or twice a year. The dealer is going to do some some repairs needed based on its age, but it sounds great the way it is. (The Schimmel is definitely a prettier piano to look at, but I'm more concerned about the piano itself than its visual aesthetics.)

Re: Advice: Schimmel v. Mason & Hamlin
MozeP #3039684 10/26/20 08:12 PM
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Regardless of which piano you like better, and regardless of it being sold by a dealer and whatever claims they make about prepping the pianos, you should have your own technician thoroughly check the piano(s) before you make any decision to buy. A lot can be done to voice a piano brighter or warmer but it depends on the underlying condition of the hammers, which only your technician can determine. Similarly, your technician can identify all sorts of good & bad things that we lay people would miss.

That said, I have recently considered 3 Schimmels built between 1985-2000. All three were beautiful pianos. Two of them were much warmer toned than I expected or cared for. The one that was bright turned out to need a whole new set of hammers due to extensive use coupled with a lack of regular voicing & maintenance. As for a 1970's era Mason & Hamlin, I think it's very important to have a technician check it out; it wasn't the best era in M&H's history.

Last edited by Pianosearcher; 10/26/20 08:13 PM.

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