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Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
#3046544 11/16/20 09:58 AM
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Hi there, I’m a first time piano buyer. There’s a 1997 Baldwin Model 227 being offered for $6000, satin walnut. This is from a reputable dealer with a 5-year warranty. I’m told it’s USA-made and the special model name is because of the case - was made as a limited edition throwback to their designs earlier in the century - but that other than the case it is the same as a Model R. I know very little and am looking for help in determining (1) whether this is a good piano regardless of the price, and if so then (2) is this a good price.

I have no experience with piano tuning or repair and want something that I can just play and enjoy for some years (10?) without the headache, and that feels good to play (tried a used 1991 Yamaha U1 same price and the grands just feel so much better). I’m just a hobbyist getting back to it after over 20 years with no room for a piano in my home. Thank you so much for all your help in advance!!

Re: Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
Elle789 #3046560 11/16/20 10:44 AM
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Hello, Elle789, and welcome to Piano World!

I own a Baldwin R 226 model from 1999, and I like it a lot, and play it a lot. Not sure what the difference would be between the 226 (Art case/Queen Ann style) and the 227 you are looking at. My Baldwin 226 has a satin cherry finish, and that may be the difference, I'm not sure.

I will say that my Baldwin R sounds good, plays well, and looks good to me. I've been told my Baldwin piano was most likely assembled at Baldwin's Juarez Mexico facility and the final prep and inspection done at the Baldwin Trumann/Conway (?) Arkansas plant, now closed.

I think the last US Baldwin made grands were made in the early 2000s and according to Wikipedia, officially stopped production in 2008.

However, I will say that the Baldwin R, 226, is a very nice baby grand piano, and I honestly do not think the price is too high, especially coming from a dealer.

But what matters is whether or not you like the Baldwin R. As for being able to enjoy the Baldwin R for 10 years without headache, that is an unknown, but probably so, although it will need tunings a couple of times a year, depending on your tolerance for twangy unisons. smile

The Baldwin R is likely more mellow sounding than the U1, and the action/keytouch on the Baldwin R is very nice, or at least the one I own is.

Good luck, and keep us informed of your decision!

Rick


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Re: Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
Elle789 #3046588 11/16/20 11:25 AM
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6k from a dealer is probably a decent price, assuming the piano is in good condition. To that end, I’d advise having it inspected by a 3rd party technician who represents your interests. I’d advise that with any second-hand purchase. A reputable dealer should not mind.


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Re: Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
Elle789 #3046877 11/17/20 11:31 AM
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+1 thumb to what Rickster and Retsacnal said. I’ve always loved the Baldwin sound. Best Wishes!


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Re: Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
Elle789 #3047038 11/17/20 09:36 PM
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Thank you!

Re: Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
Elle789 #3047114 11/18/20 07:42 AM
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The 227 is a fancier French Provincial case. They were pretty pianos.

I echo the advice to have it examined, but you may have a nice piano there.


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Re: Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
Elle789 #3047843 11/20/20 09:58 PM
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Had it inspected. My tech found a soundboard crack all along the front to back on the treble side, almost all the way at the right-most end (ie the highest notes). Dealer says this crack was intentional in the Model R. Anyone ever heard anything like this?

Re: Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
Elle789 #3047850 11/20/20 10:26 PM
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Makes no sense. No cracks of any kind on my 1995 Model R. Would be interested in seeing photos these cracks. Hard to believe a dealer would say this would be normal.


1995 Baldwin Model R / Past: Pearl River gp188a, Casio GP-300
Re: Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
Elle789 #3047861 11/21/20 12:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Elle789
Dealer says this crack was intentional in the Model R. Anyone ever heard anything like this?

That nearly made me spit out my drink! laugh


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Re: Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
Elle789 #3047862 11/21/20 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Elle789
Had it inspected. My tech found a soundboard crack all along the front to back on the treble side, almost all the way at the right-most end (ie the highest notes). Dealer says this crack was intentional in the Model R. Anyone ever heard anything like this?

So sorry to hear this, Elle789. I just went and looked at the soundboard on my Baldwin R 226, and I see nothing that remotely resembles a crack in the soundboard. I've seen a good many grands, and uprights, with cracks in the soundboard, so, I know what a cracked soundboard looks like whether big or small.

Keep in mind, the soundboard wood grain, where a crack would be, runs at about a 45degree angle or diagonal with the front of the soundboard. I'm trying to figure out how a crack would run front to back, when it would actually be more diagonal, or in the same direction as the grain in the soundboard.

If the dealer says all Baldwin Rs has that particular crack, like MAlex says, I can't seem to find it on my Baldwin R either. The only other possibility, from my observations of my own Baldwin R, is there is part of the soundboard under the cast iron plate and behind the bridges, that can't be seen from the top side (except partially through the sound holes in the plate).

So, I took a flashlight and crawled under the piano, and looked under the bottom side of the soundboard, on the treble (right) side, and still do not see any semblance of a crack in the soundboard.

Like MAlex, I'd like to see pictures of the crack in the soundboard your tech saw, and what the dealer is talking about when he says all Baldwin Rs have that crack.

Also, and this is just my logic, if the crack in the soundboard in that particular area was intentional, and all Baldwin Rs have it, it can't be a crack, it would be more of what I'd call a joint, seam or union.

What did your tech say about what the dealer said, that all Baldwin Rs have that came crack?

Best of luck to you, and keep us informed of your decision.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
Elle789 #3049301 11/25/20 09:15 AM
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Thanks so much to you all. A correction: the dealer didn’t say it was intentional, my tech thought of the idea and wanted to check if that could be true, because this dealer has a stellar reputation, acted surprised when we pointed out the crack and because it’s being offered with a 5 year warranty (doesn’t apply to soundboard and bridge) and 100% lifetime trade up. My tech went back to take another look, and found another tiny crack starting near the other soundboard crack at the high treble end and also cracks at the bridge pins also at the high treble end. Other than this, everything else is in good shape. We live in New England where the swings in temperature and humidity are severe so looking at pianos of this age it may be realistic that most of them will have some cracking. The dealers response after all of this is that they inspected the piano in May where the wood may have been more swollen than today in the dry winter heat. The piano has been in the showroom since July/August. Dealer also said that they inspected the day before my tech did last week and said they must have missed these. My tech did say that not everyone looks in these areas. My tech says if I love the piano go for it as those treble notes are not used that much and all that are impacted. Crack is not at a rib and no rib splitting. Tech says it’s the best place to have these problems if you’re going to have them. My techs helping me make a decision but says wouldn’t by foe herself. Would love to hear what this community says.

Last edited by Elle789; 11/25/20 09:16 AM.
Re: Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
Elle789 #3049315 11/25/20 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Elle789
Thanks so much to you all. A correction: the dealer didn’t say it was intentional, my tech thought of the idea and wanted to check if that could be true, because this dealer has a stellar reputation, acted surprised when we pointed out the crack and because it’s being offered with a 5 year warranty (doesn’t apply to soundboard and bridge) and 100% lifetime trade up. My tech went back to take another look, and found another tiny crack starting near the other soundboard crack at the high treble end and also cracks at the bridge pins also at the high treble end. Other than this, everything else is in good shape. We live in New England where the swings in temperature and humidity are severe so looking at pianos of this age it may be realistic that most of them will have some cracking. The dealers response after all of this is that they inspected the piano in May where the wood may have been more swollen than today in the dry winter heat. The piano has been in the showroom since July/August. Dealer also said that they inspected the day before my tech did last week and said they must have missed these. My tech did say that not everyone looks in these areas. My tech says if I love the piano go for it as those treble notes are not used that much and all that are impacted. Crack is not at a rib and no rib splitting. Tech says it’s the best place to have these problems if you’re going to have them. My techs helping me make a decision but says wouldn’t by foe herself. Would love to hear what this community says.

Soundboard cracks and bridge cracks at only a bit more than 20 years old? I would negotiate a lower price, as those do not bode well for the long-term life of the piano.

Re: Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
Elle789 #3049335 11/25/20 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by violarules
Soundboard cracks and bridge cracks at only a bit more than 20 years old? I would negotiate a lower price, as those do not bode well for the long-term life of the piano.

+1

In my own research of the Baldwin R, before I purchased the one I have, I read that cracks in the bridges, near the bridge pins, were not necessarily uncommon on the Baldwins. This can be repaired, usually. I also read that cracks in a soundboard may never cause issues with the sound or tone of an acoustic piano, but still an eyesore and a defect that would affect the value of the piano.

Good luck, and keep us informed!

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
Rickster #3049338 11/25/20 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by violarules
Soundboard cracks and bridge cracks at only a bit more than 20 years old? I would negotiate a lower price, as those do not bode well for the long-term life of the piano.

+1

In my own research of the Baldwin R, before I purchased the one I have, I read that cracks in the bridges, near the bridge pins, were not necessarily uncommon on the Baldwins. This can be repaired, usually. I also read that cracks in a soundboard may never cause issues with the sound or tone of an acoustic piano, but still an eyesore and a defect that would affect the value of the piano.

Good luck, and keep us informed!

Rick

Thanks for confirming Rick! I had heard of and seen those problems on Baldwin SF-10's, but didn't know they extended to smaller Baldwins as well. The bridges tend to crack along the vertical laminations.

Actually, come to think of it, I remember now seeing bridge cracks on a 1980's Baldwin R at one of the local "budget" piano dealers...

Re: Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
Elle789 #3049361 11/25/20 12:06 PM
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Do you have a picture of the bridge cracks?
There are bridge cracks...and there are bridge cracks. I'd want to listen to the tone in the affected area and make sure it tunes up well.

Also I'd consider your home's humidity environment-- if it's going to be a bit rough on the piano, those cracks that formed in just 20 years would likely continue to spread. Having said that, I did at one point have a grand piano that had tiny cracks forming at the bridge pins which would start to appear in the winter and visually disappear in the summer...in that case, I believe it was a materials selection problem, where in the case of Baldwins of that era I am told it is a design problem.


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Re: Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
Elle789 #3049423 11/25/20 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Elle789
A correction: the dealer didn’t say it was intentional, my tech thought of the idea and wanted to check if that could be true


When I first read your post I wondered if there had been some miscommunication, and/or if perhaps they simply meant that the crack doesn't effect the tone. Between the dealer, your tech, you and us, there's plenty of room for miscommunication, but...

If there's any truth at all to what I've quoted above, then you should probably find a more knowledgable tech.


Cracks are analogous to piano cancer. There's some probability that they'll get them. If they do, there's some probability that it will be "ok." But there's an increased probability that they will get worse.

A piano that already has cracks in the soundboard and bridges is not a piano you want, unless you're prepared to deal with those potentially expensive issues. If this was the piano you grew up playing, and you were attached to it, then it might be worth the risk and investment. Otherwise, it probably isn't. Cracks drive value down, because there are better options.

There are plenty of pianos that don't have cracks.


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Re: Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
terminaldegree #3049427 11/25/20 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
in the case of Baldwins of that era I am told it is a design problem.

Did Baldwin change the R's design in this era? I've heard that there were some material changes in the later years, but I don't recall hearing of design changes.


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Re: Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
Elle789 #3049521 11/25/20 08:46 PM
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I’ve been trying to figure out how to post the pictures. Hope this link works...

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/galleries/3049519/baldwin-cracks.html

Re: Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
Elle789 #3049524 11/25/20 08:58 PM
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If there are no buzzes from the soundboard, the bridge cracks are far more concerning to my eye.

Retsacnal, here’s a quote from Del. I assumed this was of a similar design— it looks exactly like the issue he describes:

“Baldwin grands do have a propensity for split bridges. When the SF-10 and SD-10 models were introduced they also started using vertically laminated bridges with no caps. Most of the time this worked but sometimes it didn’t. When it didn’t the bridges developed cracks in the areas where the bridge pins more-or-less paralleled the lamination lines. Usually these cracks are confined to the upper part of the top treble section.”


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Re: Baldwin 1997 Model 227 (Model R) advice please
terminaldegree #3049546 11/25/20 10:34 PM
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Ok, so the long-running design. Thanks, TD.


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