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I came across a YouTube piano of Robert Estrin, the host of Living Pianos, talking about his personal pianos in his whole life. It’s a very interesting 20-minute videos. I can see his passion on pianos and it’s great to him have so many “dream pianos” in his life.


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The part where he discusses the buyer for his Baldwin concert grand who played only one piece before buying it was hilarious.

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I got to hang out with him for a long afternoon just before he moved out of California. I got to play my first Charles Walter grand with him. I will never forget it.


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Funny how people get identified with certain brands. When I was a kid, near New York City, it was made clear to me that Steinway was the one. The only Baldwins or Mason Hamlins I saw were kind of run down, so I had no way of comparing.
Obviously, Estrin had no such prejudices, and seems to have done well with Baldwins. His father's is very nice. Not at all the NY Steinway sound but speaks and sings beautifully.

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Estrin is definitely a Baldwin fan!
I’ll have to check it out when I have 20 minutes!
(I’ve spent too much time here today already!)


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Enjoyed watching this. Thanks for sharing!

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This video is wonderful, and Robert's enthusiasm in all his videos is as well. As to the choice of pianos, he mentioned several that did him just fine. Did I hear Gulbransen? Wurlitzer? And yes, Baldwin. There are many, many pianos that serve all of us well, from the Francis Bacon upright (converted player) I learned on as a child, to the Hamilton upright I worked on to get better, and to the Chickering grand I have today. I know that quality is quality, and you pay for it. But often, what speaks to you is what speaks to you.


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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
The part where he discusses the buyer for his Baldwin concert grand who played only one piece before buying it was hilarious.

Yes it was! But if Lang Lang can work that piece into his repertoire, then I suppose it's good enough for the guy from the desert! wink

What a charming video! Thanks for sharing, Harpuia.

Did you hear him raving about the M&H BB? I know he likes Baldwins, but he's certainly open minded about others.

And even a Baldwin M.

And so many Baldwin L's too.

So, did he end up with the right one? I'm biased, of course, since I think the SF10 is an awesome piano, but I'd say "yes." He's also got the best of both reasons to rebuild it too: it's a fabulous piano, and it's been in his family for a long time.


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When I clicked the video I thought he would talk about 3-4 pianos as his personal pianos, but I didn’t anticipate he had so many!


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I enjoyed That - Thanks for posting, Harpuia!


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Most enjoyable video, not the least part of which is Mr. Estrin's enthusiasm for pianos!

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I saw this several months ago when he 1st published it. He's had a very interesting piano journey. He does favor Baldwin. He grew up with them, because his father was a Baldwin artist. I've watched many of his videos about pianos, and he has always seem to give a fair assessment of all of them. Of course, for a long time his videos were focused toward selling the piano he was demonstrating. I have been wondering what's happened since his move to Arizona. He hasn't published any of his videos spotlighting pianos for sale in many months now. Somehow he struck a partnership of some type with Stillwell pianos. I just wonder if he has exited the piano rebuilding/selling business.

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His website now is just like any other piano dealer’s website. He went into business with someone else, and they seem to be a MH, Petrof, and Grotrian dealer, along with their assortment of used pianos. (He has Seiler, new, too, but only ED and GS from Indonesia.)

But gone seem to be the days of the incredibly unique rebuilds that were on his [old] site.


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Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp
His website now is just like any other piano dealer’s website. He went into business with someone else, and they seem to be a MH, Petrof, and Grotrian dealer, along with their assortment of used pianos. (He has Seiler, new, too, but only ED and GS from Indonesia.)

But gone seem to be the days of the incredibly unique rebuilds that were on his [old] site.
I believe Stillwell Pianos is handling the rebuilding aspect of the partnership now. They always had a few turn of the last century rebuilt/refurbished pianos in stock. Currently there is an 1898 Chickering Concert Grand available that they restored in house. I haven't been to Stillwell's since Estrin arrived there last spring, but am looking forward to visiting once the pandemic slows down.

I can't tell if Estrin actually has any M&H pianos in stock. I get the impression he orders them. We have another local dealer in the Phoenix area (AZ Piano) that sells M&H's with three new grands currently on the floor.

Edit: Perhaps I was wrong. Estrin appears to have two vintage rebuilt grands in his current inventory - a Steinway and Bluthner. Of course, Estrin's and Stillwell's showrooms are next door to each other with a connecting door.

Last edited by Carey; 02/23/21 10:41 PM.

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Hopefully he gets back into rebuilding and selling once he settles in there. He seemed to sell everything, and it was fun to see them come through. I’m not sure what the market is like in his new location for such a thing, though.

I wish I knew I was going to be buying a piano now, back when I saw him in CA. I could have had my pick of many pianos during that visit, and they would have shipped back home to me for free.

There were five or six I would have taken.


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Originally Posted by SonatainfSharp
Hopefully he gets back into rebuilding and selling once he settles in there. He seemed to sell everything, and it was fun to see them come through. I’m not sure what the market is like in his new location for such a thing, though. I wish I knew I was going to be buying a piano now, back when I saw him in CA. I could have had my pick of many pianos during that visit, and they would have shipped back home to me for free. There were five or six I would have taken.
I've been very intrigued by several of the pianos Estrin has listed in the past. Since he always has served a national market, I don't think his new location will be detrimental. The free shipping if very appealing. As for the Phoenix area (which includes Scottsdale) when the economy is good there always seems to be a market for high end pianos - and I don't believe high end rebuilt/refurbished would be any different.


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That is definitely hopefully information! Thank you!


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Originally Posted by Harpuia

Thanks for sharing.

Robert's hybrid invention is also interesting -- not to mention the fact that Pianoteq is his virtual piano of choice, thanks to its expressiveness.

That's really fascinating to ponder given his lifelong history of piano playing and ownership.


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