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Joined: Jan 2021
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Hello everyone. Thanks for letting me join!

I grew up with a piano in the house. My mom played an old Kimball upright that dad bought second hand in '49. Good thing I don't have perfect pitch because at one point a tuner decided the old girl (the piano, not mom) couldn't handle the stress of the strings tuned properly. It was tuned a semi tone down. Bb actually was A, etc.

At any rate I finally got around to buying my own piano. It was a Wurlitzer baby grand I found in a thrift shop for $300. All Ivory was intact and it was passable. The cabinet was beautiful. My non musician wife loved it. But the tech advised me to quit throwing $ at it. It was not that great of an instrument.

I spotted a Baldwin R on Craigslist last year for $1250. I called my tech and he said that this was a piano worth investing repairs in. My wife griped that it was expensive! No honey, that is a great price.

It was made in '67 and had been originally owned by a country club, and had been played a lot. The cabinet is banged up a bit, but it sounds so much better than the old Wurl.

I may invest in new hammers eventually. I am confident that it would be a worthy expense.

My question is this: What year was the model R first produced? Out of curiosity I googled the question. No luck.

Thanks again for adding me!

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Hello, Gregory Waits, and welcome to Piano World!

The Baldwin R has been discussed many times here on PW over the years. There was a recent discussion about when they stopped building the Baldwin E, and started building the R. I couldn't find that thread, but maybe someone else can.

I did, however, find this older thread that might help.

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/2293871/Its_a_1965_Baldwin_R!__Was:192.html

Maybe someone else will chime in and help answer your questions.

All the best!

Rick


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Thanks!

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Hi All,

I placed a call to a couple of people that would know more about the model R (one of them Del Fandrich, who says Hi!) and as far as we know, the R has been around since the 1950's, but it also evolved. The Accujust hitch pins, plate mounting system, Renner actions in the larger Artist Series pianos, etc. These things trickled in over time, mostly in the 1980's.

Gregory Waits, do you have a serial number? We can then share the year of manufacture.

I will also add one more thing. I have seen a lot of pianos at a lot of Country Clubs. Without judging this piano, of course, in general it is a fight to have a place like this put the right maintenance into a piano. I have seen a lot of pianos age beyond their years in a club/restaurant situation.

Good luck!


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
I placed a call to a couple of people that would know more about the model R (one of them Del Fandrich, who says Hi!) and as far as we know, the R has been around since the 1950's, but it also evolved. The Accujust hitch pins, plate mounting system, Renner actions in the larger Artist Series pianos, etc. These things trickled in over time, mostly in the 1980's.

Interesting, Rich! I'll be curious what info this may turn up. It seems much of Baldwin's history has been lost to the sands of time. And people with first-hand knowledge from that era are increasingly hard to find.


FWIW, my understanding is that the R is a post-war model, and has the "modern" casework. The longer artist models seem to have "lineages" that go farther back, and existed with older style cases. And they've all evolved coming forward. The G & E models seem to have preceded the R, in terms of a model of roughly that length.


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I agree re: country club pianos. But it turned out okay in this case.

Like I said the cabinet show wear. Fingernail marks at the back of the keys....heck there is a lot of DNA from players in town (Dallas) I probably know and have worked with over the years (on trombone)

Character. Not anywhere as cosmetically attractive as the Wurl I owned, but a heck of a lot higher quality!

Serial # is 179519

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Originally Posted by Gregory Waits
I agree re: country club pianos. But it turned out okay in this case.

Like I said the cabinet show wear. Fingernail marks at the back of the keys....heck there is a lot of DNA from players in town (Dallas) I probably know and have worked with over the years (on trombone)

Character. Not anywhere as cosmetically attractive as the Wurl I owned, but a heck of a lot higher quality!

Serial # is 179519

Thanks

I occasionally use the online site, Bluebook of Pianos to check the age of a piano based on the serial #; in this case, it appears that your Baldwin R is a 1967 model, (Re: http://www.bluebookofpianos.com/serial1.htm#BALDWIN); so your original information on the age of the piano is correct.

Some members here have a Pierce Piano Atlas, which has more info, and perhaps more accurate info, than the BB of Pianos. But we use what we have at our fingertips for quick reference. smile

As for your Baldwin R spending part of its life at a Country Club/Bar, I suppose that environment can be rough on a piano, as well as schools/colleges, and Churches. I have purchased a few pianos from Churches, including my current Yamaha C7, but I got a very nice piano, despite the wear, for a good price.

So, perhaps the Country Club is not the best place to buy a piano, but, as you say, a high quality piano like the Baldwin (or my C7) can take the abuse, to a certain extent.

I also have a later model Baldwin R (ca 1999) I bought from a private seller. It had some damage where the family dog chewed on the legs of the case, and the case in a couple of places, and the appearance of some slight damage from a previous move, but I got it at a very good price as well, and repaired the dog bites. smile

To be a 5'8" baby grand, it sounds and plays very nice to me.

Good luck!

Rick


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Originally Posted by Gregory Waits
I agree re: country club pianos. But it turned out okay in this case.

Like I said the cabinet show wear. Fingernail marks at the back of the keys....heck there is a lot of DNA from players in town (Dallas) I probably know and have worked with over the years (on trombone)

Character. Not anywhere as cosmetically attractive as the Wurl I owned, but a heck of a lot higher quality!

Serial # is 179519

Thanks

That piano was originally built in 1967 - 53 years old! If it plays pretty well, then it is in extraordinary condition for a country club piano, Gregory Waits. You do want to look carefully along the tops of the bridges. The Artist series (I believe in the late 1980's) went to vertically laminated bridges without solid caps. The reason given by marketing was that it would move the vibrations of the strings through the bridge to the soundboard better than if it were capped.

That might have been true, but it also meant that those laminations split very easily. This is not such a thing on older Artist Series pianos, but it is something to keep in mind.

Good luck,


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila Area
(215) 991-0834 direct
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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I believe I have seen R's from 1941. Definitely seen them from 1947.


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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
I believe I have seen R's from 1941. Definitely seen them from 1947.

I have also heard of the occasional pre-war M as well. I suspect Baldwin was gearing up for these "modern" designs right about the time WWII broke out.

Again, it's too bad that all this history has been lost. frown


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I once saw an R from the WWII era. Because brass and copper were part of the war effort (shell casings, and who knows what else) the wound strings were wound with steel wire.


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