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Joined: Dec 2008
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I Have a Hypothetical for Everyone, in order to better understand what I am getting myself into!

I have 3 Pianos in front of me:

A) A Schomacker 6' 1" Grand Built in 1912 - having been rebuilt in 1985ish and then rebuilt again in 2009 (by one of the best piano restorers in the country)- needing some adjustments (Voicing, Tuning, Regulating, etc etc)


B) A Mason & Hamlin Model AA1 (6'1") Grand Built in 1912 - having been rebuilt 10 -20 yrs ago and needing some adjustments.


C) A Steinway & Sons Model A Grand Built in 1912 - having been rebuilt 10 - 20 yrs ago and also needing some adjs.


DO I 'Refurb' my Schomacker which I like, but is too bright for my living quarters?

DO I look for a M&H or Steinway rebuilt needing some work?

Would I be trading up significantly to the M&H/Steinway from the Schomacker?
I am reading more and more that the Schomacker, tho not well known, is a very very good piano and I have always felt that way or would the M&H and/or Steinway be a significant upgrade?

HENCE, is it not worth trading the Schomacker, unless I could afford a NEW M&H or Steinway or a new REBUILT M&H/STEINWAY?
Would the Schomacker be able to play as beautiful as the M&H or Steinway.

FYI - I DO UNDERSTAND that each individual piano must be tried out and played for their own worth and feel.

My eventual budget is around 20k - 28k
but I am now beginning to wonder if I would be better off spending a few thousand on bringing my current piano up to
the playing quality of a M&H/Steinway? OR IS THAT NOT POSSIBLE?


Would love to hear many of your opinions:
Rich
Carey
GC13
Del Vento
and any others!


thanks so much for the advice
brdwyguy
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If you like the Schomacker, I’d just have it voiced and regulated to your liking.


“If it sounds good, it IS good.”
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So all three need some adjustments. The Schomacker has a big advantage - you have it already, and you like it. It is not clear that you would prefer an M&H or Steinway, or that they might not also be too bright for your living quarters. Why not start by getting advice from a technician as to whether your Schomacker could be voiced to be less bright. I agree with Retsacnal's advice.

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Have you tried the M&H and Steinway you mentioned?

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If it were me, (and I already own a Steinway), since you do like the Schomacker, I'd try to have it voiced and regulated. That way you can see if you like it, and it will be in the best shape it can be if you do choose to sell/trade it and purchase another piano increasing it's value to a dealer/buyer.

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I only echo the thoughts of others here. Bottom line - do you like these particular Mason and Steinway pianos better than your own Schomacker?

In any case, 11 years of use mean that your present piano could use a voicing and regulation. After that is done you may be as happy as you were in 2009.

My quick thoughts,


Rich Galassini
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rich@cunninghampiano.com
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Thanks All, especially you Rich - as you know 1st hand LOL

I believe I need to voice and regulate my Schomacker and see where that takes me,
THEN, if I'm still not pleased with where the piano is, I need to try out the M&H A or even AA
tho that would probably be too big.

The goal now is to find a truly expert technician in my area (Asheville NC area)
Anyone give me a 'guesstimate' of a expert voicing & regulation?

After that is completed, then I will need to venture out - hopefully after COVID is under some control (this summer)
and begin to try out M&H Model A's to compare.

We shall see - will let you all know - thank you so much!

brdwyguy


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Originally Posted by brdwyguy
Thanks All, especially you Rich - as you know 1st hand LOL

I believe I need to voice and regulate my Schomacker and see where that takes me,
THEN, if I'm still not pleased with where the piano is, I need to try out the M&H A or even AA
tho that would probably be too big.

The goal now is to find a truly expert technician in my area (Asheville NC area)
Anyone give me a 'guesstimate' of a expert voicing & regulation?

After that is completed, then I will need to venture out - hopefully after COVID is under some control (this summer)
and begin to try out M&H Model A's to compare.

We shall see - will let you all know - thank you so much!

brdwyguy

I think most techs are reluctant to give prices on the forum, but as a ball-park estimate, most techs charge about $100 to $125 an hour, plus travel expenses, to do miscellaneous work. Some may give you a flat rate price to do the regulation/voicing, which would likely include tuning. But they would probably want to look at it first.

If you can't find anyone nearby, Sally Phillips and her team are willing to travel, and she is a well regarded/renowned concert piano tech. She has a Facebook page, and the name of her company is Piano Perfect, LLC. (They are located in Columbus, Ga.)

Good luck!

Rick


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Thanks Rickster for the info!


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Originally Posted by brdwyguy
Thanks All, especially you Rich - as you know 1st hand LOL

I believe I need to voice and regulate my Schomacker and see where that takes me,
THEN, if I'm still not pleased with where the piano is, I need to try out the M&H A or even AA
tho that would probably be too big.

The goal now is to find a truly expert technician in my area (Asheville NC area)
Anyone give me a 'guesstimate' of a expert voicing & regulation?

After that is completed, then I will need to venture out - hopefully after COVID is under some control (this summer)
and begin to try out M&H Model A's to compare.

We shall see - will let you all know - thank you so much!

brdwyguy
Sounds like a good plan - although I must ask....is the M&H Artist Series 6'2" grand no longer a contender?

After looking at your profile again, I finally figured out the meaning of your monikor. Guess I'm not the brightest bear in the woods. ha

Quite frankly, I'd never herd of Schomacker pianos. Found this old PW thread.

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/1663907/1916_Schomacker_Quality.html

Cheers -


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Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by brdwyguy
Thanks All, especially you Rich - as you know 1st hand LOL

I believe I need to voice and regulate my Schomacker and see where that takes me,
THEN, if I'm still not pleased with where the piano is, I need to try out the M&H A or even AA
tho that would probably be too big.

The goal now is to find a truly expert technician in my area (Asheville NC area)
Anyone give me a 'guesstimate' of a expert voicing & regulation?

After that is completed, then I will need to venture out - hopefully after COVID is under some control (this summer)
and begin to try out M&H Model A's to compare.

We shall see - will let you all know - thank you so much!

brdwyguy

I think most techs are reluctant to give prices on the forum, but as a ball-park estimate, most techs charge about $100 to $125 an hour, plus travel expenses, to do miscellaneous work. Some may give you a flat rate price to do the regulation/voicing, which would likely include tuning. But they would probably want to look at it first.

If you can't find anyone nearby, Sally Phillips and her team are willing to travel, and she is a well regarded/renowned concert piano tech. She has a Facebook page, and the name of her company is Piano Perfect, LLC. (They are located in Columbus, Ga.)

Good luck!

Rick

I was thinking the same about travel before I even got to Rickster's post. For a relatively large job, I think many tech's would be willing to travel, and there are many active tech's in North Carolina. Some PTG chapters in NC are very active with training events, even holding them as far away as Atlanta and Maryland (that I know of--perhaps further). I live in Virginia, but ironically encountered them in Atlanta when I was home for a visit (just noticed the event on the PTG calendar, and drove over to Atlanta to attend.


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Carey
the Artist Series will be considered but will definitely need to play
to see how it would feel.

I'm up in the air about the Model AA because it's bigger than my Schomacker (6'1") and the AA is 6' 4"

The Schomacker was considered a very very good piano.
It was the 'Gold' String Piano when 1st built.

My tuner told me - The Wanamaker's stole a Steinway builder to come down
and build their pianos for them. They had a section in their store, in Philadelphia, for Piano Sales.
I found this piano in Jacob's Music in the Philadelphia Burbs, someone had just traded-it in and they didnt' do anything
to it yet. I bought the piano practically, on the spot because I fell in love with it.
in 1988ish - i paid $4600, probably way too much - but I had just gotten a sizable tax refund and was on my own for the 1st time.

My Schomaker is basically the same as the Steinway A Model.
I truly hope an 'expert' technician make is sound great again.
I had a piano tuner who only got to tune the thing 2x, and he was sick and passed away - I never heard the piano sound so great
after he tuned it. wink

anyway
thanks for all the info & advice
brdwyguy


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I went searching, but too late to edit the above...

I would recommend John Parham (piano88.com). Looks like he's only about 100 miles away. Awesome guy. Good communicator. Prominent in the PTG training stuff I mentioned above. This would probably be an easy day-trip for him.

I'd say all the same about Ed Sutton (about the same distance in Charlotte), but his website says he's currently retired due to Covid.


Anyway, I'd trust John's judgment. If it's not work he wants to do, or too far, then I'm sure he could also recommend someone else. (the PTG site lists some RPTs in the Asheville area).


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Thanks Retsacnal
I have a couple of 'feelers' out and appreciate the referral
always like to use someone that other people know.

I will be amassing a few names
and also want to wait til I can get my COVID Vaccine until I will
allow someone in my house for the day or two. wink

but thanks again
brdwyguy


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Here is a link from the Antique Piano Shop about the history of the Schomacker Piano

https://antiquepianoshop.com/online-museum/schomacker/#:~:text=Schomacker%20%2D%20Antique%20Piano%20Shop,Lahr%2C%20Bavaria%2C%20in%201830.

I may contact them to see if they can give me any further information on Schomacker's!

Last edited by brdwyguy; 01/19/21 03:03 PM.

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Originally Posted by Carey
After looking at your profile again, I finally figured out the meaning of your monikor. Guess I'm not the brightest bear in the woods. ha

Funny you mentioned that, because it just clicked for me last night! I have a good friend who's an avid birder, so kept thinking Bird Guy? Wyoming? wink


So... when I say it "clicked," I'm now assuming Broadway Guy. ???


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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Originally Posted by Carey
After looking at your profile again, I finally figured out the meaning of your monikor. Guess I'm not the brightest bear in the woods. ha

Funny you mentioned that, because it just clicked for me last night! I have a good friend who's an avid birder, so kept thinking Bird Guy? Wyoming? wink


So... when I say it "clicked," I'm now assuming Broadway Guy. ???
At least I'm not the only one.
smile


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HAHAHAHA
I just 'got' that part of the discussion - duh!

Yes it's BROADWAY GUY!
My specialty is Broadway Music!
I taught Choral Music in HS
and then taught at a University for Musical Theater Majors! (great job)

and now Carey - I understand what you were saying ------ Birdy Guy NOPE! sorry LOL

brdwyguy


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I have a few clients with Schomacker's. They are very respectable. One was in pretty deplorable shape (action) and the owner felt it was a POJ. I spent about 15 hours on it and he said he couldn't believe it was the same piano. I replied: "And that's what just a little work can do, imagine what a lot of work could do..."

As long as it is still structurally sound, it should be quite nice with reconditioning.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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BTW, Schomacker gets three stars on
David Burton's list of rebuild candidates


“If it sounds good, it IS good.”
― Duke Ellington
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