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1913 Chase 5' grand
#606180 12/16/08 07:05 PM
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Today I purchased a 5'1" Chase grand made in 1913. It needs some work, specifically cosmetically, but otherwise it is in very good shape and I got it quite cheap (around a grand). My plan is to refurbish it and sell it.

I have tuned one other Chase; an upright that was extremely well-made. I'm wondering if anyone knows anything more about the company and products beyond what's in the Pierce.

Thanks!


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Jim Alfredson
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Re: 1913 Chase 5' grand
#606181 12/17/08 12:50 AM
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A. B. Chase? They are excellent quality some think on a par with Steinways. Many design features in common.

Re: 1913 Chase 5' grand
#606182 12/17/08 02:29 AM
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Yes, an A.B. Chase. There isn't too much on the web about them, but I did read a small snippet about the comparison to a Steinway.

All I know is that it has an absolutely beautiful tone. Full and rich with great bass. It will need some serious cosmetic work, but that's the fun part!


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Re: 1913 Chase 5' grand
#606183 12/17/08 10:00 AM
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Here's the auction; I wish I would've gotten it for the starting bid, but she drove a hard bargain! smile

I still think I got a good deal. I'm looking forward to restoring the cabinetry.

http://cgi.ebay.com/1913-GRAND-A.B.CHASE.PIANO~-WHAT-AN-INVESTMENT!!!-N%2FR_W0QQitemZ330293789108


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Jim Alfredson
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Re: 1913 Chase 5' grand
#606184 12/18/08 03:06 AM
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It looks like it is in pretty sad shape. The hinges on the music desk are not on correctly, and it looks like it has seen some institutional use, with those casters. Good luck with it. A. B. Chase made fine uprights, but their grands varied in quality.


Semipro Tech
Re: 1913 Chase 5' grand
#606185 12/18/08 10:54 PM
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Yep, and there are no hinges on the top and the top is very badly scratched. It will need some cosmetic TLC, which is fine. I can do that work.

I played it and even though it wasn't in tune (it was close), the tone was outstanding. It really surprised me. I usually don't like baby grands, but this one had an absolutely beautiful timbre in all registers.


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Re: 1913 Chase 5' grand
#606186 12/19/08 02:06 AM
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A rebuilder friend of mine LOVES A.B. Chase pianos. He currently has a 9' concert grand in his shop. Its a remarkable instrument. The bass is very powerful and it was designed with overdampers in the last octave.


Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
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Re: 1913 Chase 5' grand
#606187 12/19/08 09:12 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by rysowers:
.....
The bass is very powerful and it was designed with overdampers in the last octave.
Overdampers? Maybe I can learn something here.


Jeff Deutschle
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Re: 1913 Chase 5' grand
#606188 12/19/08 03:17 PM
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Yes, please explain!


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Re: 1913 Chase 5' grand
#606189 12/23/08 03:42 PM
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Well, she's in my living room today. The piano mover, when we was underneath her taking apart the pedal lyre, said "Is this a Steinway?" I guess the underside / support structure is very similar.

She has a beautiful tone. I'm looking forward to the restoration!


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Jim Alfredson
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Re: 1913 Chase 5' grand
#606190 12/23/08 04:06 PM
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Hi Jim, I've tuned a couple A.B. Chase uprights. Chase made some excellent pianos in their day. Probably the best resource for some history of American made pianos is "Pianos and their Makers" by Alfred Dolge. I think the book is now out of print, but may be available from Schaff. Also if you want a copy, search the web for used books. You can probably find a copy for under $20.

On page 374, here is what Dolge wrote about Chase around 1911.

"Another concern which has strongly assisted in establishing the reputation of the highest quality of western-made pianos is the A.B. Chase Company of Norwalk, Ohio. Starting in 1875 to manufacture organs, it began making pianos in 1885. A.B. Chase died in 1877 when Calvin Whitney assumed the management. Whitney was a strong character, who impressed his personality indelibly upon the enterprise. Born in Townsend Ohio on September 25, 1846, he started in business at the age of 19 with a capital of $400 which he had saved from his earnings as a store clerk. A man of lofty ideals, he aimed in whatever he undertook for the highest and purist.
With unfaltering faith he conquered all the difficulties which the western pioneer manufacturers had to encounter and had the satisfaction of seeing his company rank in the lead of high-class piano manufacturers. He was among the first to take up the player piano earnestly, and in 1905 produced the Aristano grand player piano. Whitney died on June 6, 1909, having lived a strenuous but very useful life. L.L. Doud has served the company as secretary since it started in 1875, and still fills his position with zeal and ability. W.C. Whitney, son of Calvin, educated in the factory and office of the Chase Company is preparing himself for greater work in the future, acting at present as vice-president of the company."


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Ron Alexander
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Re: 1913 Chase 5' grand
#606191 12/23/08 09:44 PM
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Thanks, Ron! I appreciate the info. I have tuned a Chase upright as well and it reminded me of a Knabe in regards to the engineering / action.

My wife and I polished up the finish as best we could. The piano will need refinishing, but it looks much better than it did and will have to do until the weather warms and I can take it out to the garage to work.


This is my first grand of any kind and I'm excited to study the mechanics. Brief question: I noticed today that when the scale goes from three strings to two, the first six or so sets of two strings, before the plate transitions into the bass region, those first six sets of dual-unisons sound almost like they are dampened. It isn't the dampers, they are lifting off just fine, but the strings sound almost muted. It's a stark contrast to the rest of the piano which has a rich, full, resonant tone. Perhaps the hammers are particularly bad there?


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Jim Alfredson
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Re: 1913 Chase 5' grand
#606192 12/23/08 10:58 PM
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Those are wound strings, right? They might be dead because they almost 100 years old.

Are they on the treble bridge or the bass bridge? What do the bridge pins look like? and are the strings up to tension?


Keith Roberts
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca
Re: 1913 Chase 5' grand
#606193 12/23/08 11:08 PM
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Strings are up to tension. They are on the treble bridge. Bridge pins look good.

I think you're right. They are dead because they are just plain old. I plucked on them while holding up the damper and they sounded just as bad as when hit by the hammer.


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Jim Alfredson
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Re: 1913 Chase 5' grand
#606194 12/24/08 06:17 AM
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It would be interesting to see some pictures of the strings and bridges, there weren't any on the ebay listing.

Re: 1913 Chase 5' grand
#606195 12/28/08 04:37 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by UnrightTooner:
Quote
Originally posted by rysowers:
.....
The bass is very powerful and it was designed with overdampers in the last octave.
Overdampers? Maybe I can learn something here.
Like these?

[Linked Image]

I read some people call them fly dampers??

Re: 1913 Chase 5' grand
#606196 12/29/08 02:19 PM
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I've never seen overdampers. Interesting.

David, I'll try to get some pics of the bridge pins and such soon.


Another issue: I tried tuning the piano yesterday and quickly abandoned it because there seems to be a lot of friction between the strings and agraffes. I didn't want to bust a string (or strings), so I just PUT DOWN THE HAMMER! smile

What should I use to lubricate the tension points?


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Jim Alfredson
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Re: 1913 Chase 5' grand
#606197 12/29/08 04:50 PM
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Well well. Today I tuned a Yamaha upright with the Disklavier system and it had exactly ONE overdamper, on the last dual-unison before the bass bridge.

I've never seen that before!

It was a joy to tune a nice piano for a change. I've been tuning ancient uprights and spinets for the past month. The Yamaha fell right into tune and I was done in 45 minutes. I spent the rest of the time chatting with the client about his impressive audiophile grade sound system! smile


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Jim Alfredson
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Re: 1913 Chase 5' grand
#606198 12/29/08 07:59 PM
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I would look at the string and see if you need to clean it. Slack off the tension enough to see the termination point and clean it. You could use 400grit paper or fine steel wool or a string eraser from the supply house. Use a tooth brush and the vacuum cleaner to do the felts and agraffes.
Some people just use protek to lubricate. A dry bonded spray lube such as the Dupont LP-1 can be used too. I get some electronic parts spray cleaner and blow off the years of gunk before I lubricate.


Keith Roberts
Keith's Piano Service
Hathaway Pines,Ca
Re: 1913 Chase 5' grand
#606199 01/08/09 09:31 PM
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Is ProTek CLP a good lube for agraffes?


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Jim Alfredson
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