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1985 Mason and Hamlin BB
#3052013 12/02/20 12:06 PM
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I found a 1985 Mason and Hamlin BB listed for $16,775 (negotiable). I know this was a transition period for this company. What are your opinions of the M&H pianos of this era and specifically the BB? Is it worth looking at it?

Re: 1985 Mason and Hamlin BB
HeathH #3052021 12/02/20 12:28 PM
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Have you seen this?
https://www.chuppspianos.com/history-mason-hamlin-pianos/

From what I understand, the build quality during this era was hit and miss. If you look at the piano and like it, by all means have it thoroughly evaluated by a good tech.

Personally, I prefer Masons built post 1995.


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
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Re: 1985 Mason and Hamlin BB
HeathH #3052031 12/02/20 12:37 PM
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Thanks Carey. That is helpful and is pretty much what I was thinking. 1985 seems to be a particularly volatile year for them.

Re: 1985 Mason and Hamlin BB
HeathH #3052043 12/02/20 01:07 PM
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That said, there is not much to be said about any individual piano without trying it in person.


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Re: 1985 Mason and Hamlin BB
HeathH #3052049 12/02/20 01:33 PM
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A couple of other questions, if anyone is a M&H expert - the article suggests that the scale designs and manufacturing processes had at some point changed and starting in 1989, and more fully in 1995, they returned to the old ones.

Does this mean that the scale design of the BB in 1985 was inferior?

What about manufacturing materials during that time? With Baldwin grands, it is my understanding that, even though the consistency in assembly quality may have declined after it was moved out of Ohio, the quality of the designs and the materials used remained. Is that not true of M&H's during the pre-1989/1995 era?

Re: 1985 Mason and Hamlin BB
HeathH #3052054 12/02/20 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by HeathH
A couple of other questions, if anyone is a M&H expert - the article suggests that the scale designs and manufacturing processes had at some point changed and starting in 1989, and more fully in 1995, they returned to the old ones.

Does this mean that the scale design of the BB in 1985 was inferior?

What about manufacturing materials during that time? With Baldwin grands, it is my understanding that, even though the consistency in assembly quality may have declined after it was moved out of Ohio, the quality of the designs and the materials used remained. Is that not true of M&H's during the pre-1989/1995 era?
This might help a little......

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/78464/1.html


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Re: 1985 Mason and Hamlin BB
HeathH #3052078 12/02/20 02:51 PM
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If the piano sounds good and the action is the only problem per BDB's old post, you might look into replacing the old M&H action with the WNG composite action M&H is putting in its new pianos. You'd want to make sure everything else is solid on the piano first, though.


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Re: 1985 Mason and Hamlin BB
Emery Wang #3052081 12/02/20 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Emery Wang
If the piano sounds good and the action is the only problem per BDB's old post, you might look into replacing the old M&H action with the WNG composite action M&H is putting in its new pianos. You'd want to make sure everything else is solid on the piano first, though.

This sounds like a possible solution. But if that were what it needs, then the asking price is too high, IMO.

HeathH, do you happen to have a recording and some close up photos of the pianos to share?


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Re: 1985 Mason and Hamlin BB
HeathH #3052111 12/02/20 03:57 PM
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I haven't been to see the M&H yet and would be too embarrassed for any of you to hear me play. Here is the ad if I can copy the link correctly:

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/609027323126157/

Re: 1985 Mason and Hamlin BB
HeathH #3052129 12/02/20 04:29 PM
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The seller indicates they have videos of the piano being played, fwiw.


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Re: 1985 Mason and Hamlin BB
HeathH #3052140 12/02/20 05:19 PM
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This is something to keep in mind.

Peter Perez helped Aeolian limp along during the early 1980's but they were never able to get ahead of their creditors. Towards the end they had to buy everything cash because there their credit rating was so low. Their bank finally seized their assets in April of 1985, so this BB was one of the very last pianos they produced.

Cunningham Piano Company was a dealer at the time. I have also been told by a former staff member that, during the last year, they were using whatever was around to build pianos. The quality of raw materials, especially wood being used, was whatever was left in reserves. This is difficult to see but, after looking at the photo, there is a very different color of spruce running through the soundboard right at the decal. This type of mismatching is avoided like the plague in upper level pianos.

However, this does not mean that you should not explore this piano. Based on the photos, this is being sold by a piano technician at the least, and maybe a small used piano dealer. Have an independent tech. look over the piano. Play it.

Good luck - and please keep us posted.


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila., Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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Re: 1985 Mason and Hamlin BB
HeathH #3052177 12/02/20 07:14 PM
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Rich, that is what I was afraid of. The seller sent me a couple of video clips, but they are only a few seconds each. Plus, I don't know how to post videos. Do I have to post them somewhere else and then post links here?

Re: 1985 Mason and Hamlin BB
HeathH #3052182 12/02/20 07:20 PM
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You cannot tell much from a video in any case. If you are interested in the piano, go and try it. If you like it, you could have it inspected, but ultimately it is your decision to make.

The build quality may not matter much after 35 years. Depending on how well it has been taken care of since then, it could be better or worse now.


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Re: 1985 Mason and Hamlin BB
HeathH #3055388 12/11/20 01:07 AM
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I played a 1992 BB today at Baldassin Performance Pianos. It has had just one owner, who is now downsizing in his early 90s. The hammers and shanks were replaced. It sounded and felt very nice! They were asking $33,000, and unfortunately they sold it to a school before my dad and I got in to consider it. (We are considering getting new hammers/shanks/bushing, and possibly wippens replaced on out 1974 M&H Model A, but before committing $4,000-$6000 on that project, we wanted to consider upgrade to a longer model).

If that 1985 BB could be made to sound and feel like the 1992 one I played today, with $6,000 of action work and regulation, that would be a good deal IMHO.

Re: 1985 Mason and Hamlin BB
Corvus #3055462 12/11/20 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Corvus
If that 1985 BB could be made to sound and feel like the 1992 one I played today, with $6,000 of action work and regulation, that would be a good deal IMHO.

These pianos were built with different materials, slightly different designs, by different people. What you are asking for is unlikely.


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila., Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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