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#622210 - 07/14/06 09:05 AM First time poster *update*  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 8
Rougewave Offline
Junior Member
Rougewave  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 8
Texas Hill Country
Good morning,

Hopefully I an asking this in the right topic...

I just yesterday looked at an old piano that was for sale. The elderly lady has owned it for 40 years. I thought I would buy it and struggle to get the heavy rascal home. My 12 year old son and 13 year old daughter would love to learn how to play. It is very nice looking and possibly 80 to 90 years old. The brand is a C.E.Byrne upright grand piano. The question is can this old fella be tuned? or am I making a mistake buying it. She only wants 250 bucks for it.

Thank you for your input!


..."some gave all, KIA"...
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#622211 - 07/14/06 09:15 AM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,416
Cindysphinx Offline
Cindysphinx  Offline


Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,416
Washington D.C. Metro
FWIW, I started out on an old piano. I didn't pay anything, but I hired piano movers. I wrote the donor a nice thank you note enclosing a pic of the kid at the piano.

I wouldn't pay anything for it. Old uprights are not in short supply.

BTW, I'm not a tuner. Just a parent/piano student.

#622212 - 07/14/06 09:23 AM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 164
mrloaf77 Offline
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mrloaf77  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 164
Kansas
You may be getting into something that could cost a chunk of money to get into good playable condition. If it hasn't had much work done to it in the past, being 80 to 90 years old it probably needs it. Your best bet is to get a technician to check it out for you. Good Luck


Tuner/Tech www.moorepiano.com
#622213 - 07/14/06 09:44 AM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 3,458
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Cy Shuster, RPT  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 3,458
Albuquerque, NM
It's quite possible that you may be seriously injured trying to move an 800-lb piano, only to find that it's not tunable (because of insufficient torque in the tuning pins) and needs $2000 worth of work to get it playable. At this point, it may cost you $400 to move and dispose of it.

People learning to play need a piano that works reliably, with the same touch from key to key. Many stores offer the option to rent a brand-new piano very inexpensively. This will give your kids the best chance to enjoy the instrument and be successful in their lessons.

Any used piano should be checked out by a technician. And seriously, don't try to move a shoulder-high piano yourself. They're very top-heavy; many times they fall over on the keys!

--Cy--


Cy Shuster, RPT
www.shusterpiano.com
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Director, PTG Norfolk 2016 Technical Institute
http://convention.ptg.org
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#622214 - 07/14/06 09:47 AM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 8
Rougewave Offline
Junior Member
Rougewave  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 8
Texas Hill Country
Thank you for the info

She played it while I was there and it sounded fine to me but what do I know bout' pianos. I do know about cars, bikes and boats :>)

I opened all the access panels and it looked good inside, no rot or broken stuff.

Thanks again!


..."some gave all, KIA"...
#622215 - 07/14/06 09:47 AM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,416
Cindysphinx Offline
Cindysphinx  Offline


Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 6,416
Washington D.C. Metro
Let me add something. I didn't play piano at the time. I had a piano-playing friend come with me to check it out. She pronounced it adequate. And it wasn't 80 years old. More like 40.

#622216 - 07/14/06 09:59 AM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 251
Jim Puckett Offline
Full Member
Jim Puckett  Offline
Full Member

Joined: May 2006
Posts: 251
Mount Vernon, Ohio
Listen to Cy! You can get hurt and still end up with a piece of junk.

For a fraction of the $250 - you can have a piano tech do an appraisal or purchase evaluation. Granted - if you buy it - you're out a few more dollars. But if you buy it without the evaluation you may be out more money - or worse - your kids may not enjoy playing their piano because it is not working properly. They then can lose interest or get frustrated and miss out on a great thing in their lives.

If you insist on shopping for a local used piano - may I recommend Willard M. Leverett's book HOW TO BUY A GOOD USED PIANO. Call 541-382-5411 for more info.

Good luck!


Jim
#622217 - 07/14/06 12:02 PM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 292
piannaman Offline
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piannaman  Offline
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Joined: May 2004
Posts: 292
Santa Clara, CA
Something I always tell people when they tell me they are attempting to move their own pianos: doctors are alot more expensive than piano movers. And you only have one back.

Listen to the other techs here. You may be getting into a far larger can of worms than you're ready to deal with. But then, you may get lucky. Hiring a professional to assess the piano is the way to go.


Promote harmony in the universe...tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
http://dstahlpiano.net/
dstahlpiano@sbcglobal.net
#622218 - 07/14/06 01:23 PM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,367
Roger Ransom Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Roger Ransom  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,367
SouthWest Michigan
I know a lady who wanted to move an old ancient upright. She worked at the high school in the athletic department and she had the wrestling team move it for her. Maybe not the best option because even though they are young and strong, they have no idea how to handle a piano.

However, it turned out alright and I think it's pretty funny story.


Laugh More
Yamaha G7 - Roland FP7 - Roland FP80
[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
#622219 - 07/15/06 11:10 AM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 8
Rougewave Offline
Junior Member
Rougewave  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 8
Texas Hill Country
got a picture of it... [Linked Image]


..."some gave all, KIA"...
#622220 - 07/15/06 11:50 AM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 25,325
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
BDB  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 25,325
Oakland
A picture of the outside of the piano means about nothing to a tech. It might show that the keytops need replacing, but that is about all. It is the inside that concerns us, and even then, a picture does not show how well the pins hold, or how stiff the felt has become.


Semipro Tech
#622221 - 07/15/06 12:00 PM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 373
John Delmore Offline
Full Member
John Delmore  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 373
Shreveport, LA
"All keys in place"...I love it!!!


John Delmore
PTG Associate Member
"You don't have a Soul. You ARE a soul. You have a body."...C.S. Lewis
Bienvenue!: http://louisianaskyline.net/forums/index.php?
#622222 - 07/15/06 02:32 PM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 3,458
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Cy Shuster, RPT  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 3,458
Albuquerque, NM
This is my favorite example of hidden piano problems (Albuquerque, no less!):
http://www.chicagopianos.com/wanted.htm

--Cy--


Cy Shuster, RPT
www.shusterpiano.com
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Director, PTG Norfolk 2016 Technical Institute
http://convention.ptg.org
#622223 - 07/15/06 07:15 PM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 3,269
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member
ChickGrand  Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Joined: May 2003
Posts: 3,269
Midwest U.S.
Quote
Originally posted by Cy Shuster:
This is my favorite example of hidden piano problems (Albuquerque, no less!):
http://www.chicagopianos.com/wanted.htm
Quote
...Be assured, serial number #141213 has been fingered by our lab technicicans as a piano imposter...
laugh laugh laugh

I like that--"piano imposter". I think that should be permanently part of our lexicon around here. It can be very accurate and separates the erstwhile ersatz from the graceful ghosts that at least were pianos in a previous lifetime. Maybe Mr. Fine could create a new tier just for those. :p

#622224 - 07/15/06 07:38 PM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 2,365
ftp Offline
2000 Post Club Member
ftp  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 2,365
Philadelphia
Roguewave,

Listen to the advice here. First have a tech look at it. By definition you are going to pay money for tuning and repairs, you'll want to know how much. Second, get lots of help moving it, you're at an age now where a mistake to the body is permanent-don't learn the hard way, its not fair to your kids. Third, you could damage the piano by moving it yourself and you may never know if it was you or the piano.

Apparently your boldness has suited you well in the past. But look at things another way, if you get the tech to look at it, you are paying for consulting about the condition, nature of the piano and what to do next with the piano after its in your house- that's more valuable then paying for a tuning.

#622225 - 07/16/06 11:07 AM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 8
Rougewave Offline
Junior Member
Rougewave  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 8
Texas Hill Country
Thank you all once again for the insight. We live in a very small town. The nearest tuner/tech would be 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours and away. Hard to get em up this way so I guess I will pass on this ol feller.

Thanks again !

I am a very well rounded "hand skills" kinda guy. In the past I've been a carpenter, mechanic, home builder, entrepreneur etc... Is there any way I can do a cursory check myself ? prolly not, but I thought I would ask.


..."some gave all, KIA"...
#622226 - 07/16/06 01:31 PM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,156
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012
Monica K.  Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,156
Lexington, Kentucky
The Larry Fine Piano Book has a chapter on what to look for in a used piano, complete with well-drawn diagrams. Armed with that, you could probably spot some major problems (cracks in soundboard etc.), but without the tools and knowing what you're doing with respect to tuning you probably couldn't tell how well the pins hold.

Me personally, I would run away as fast as I could from any piano where the best thing the seller could say about it is that "all keys are in place." laugh


Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica
[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
#622227 - 07/16/06 02:07 PM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 25,325
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
BDB  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 25,325
Oakland
If the nearest tuner is over an hour away, you can bet that pianos in your area are either going to be serviced regularly or not serviced at all. The tech will be familiar with the former, and you probably do not want the latter.


Semipro Tech
#622228 - 07/16/06 05:17 PM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,556
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member
OperaTenor  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,556
Sandy Eggo, California
Hi Rougewave,

As talented as you seem to be, it's as much a matter of knowing what to look for, and having a good contextual reference of experience to draw on when assessing the condition of an old piano. That is where an experienced tech comes in.

If you live in a small out-of-the-way town, that piano probably isn't going anywhere fast. It will be vastly worth your while to spend the money to get a tech out to look it over.

As for moving it, there are a couple of tricks to minimize the chance of strain or injury, and dollies made specifically for moving pianos. It's cheaper, even if you don't get hurt, to pay a professional to move it if you get it.

One last bit: If this woman's had this piano for over forty years, she ought to be able to tell you if she's had it regularly tuned/maintained over the years. Ask her how often it's been serviced. If she's been taking adequate care of it, it should be at least once a year. Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions about this piano.


Happiness is a freshly tuned piano.
Jim Boydston, proprietor, No Piano Left Behind - technician
www.facebook.com/NoPianoLeftBehind
#622229 - 09/17/06 03:48 PM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 8
Rougewave Offline
Junior Member
Rougewave  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 8
Texas Hill Country
*update*

Yall were so nice giving me info I thought I would share......
I took a piano player friend over to look at the piano a couple of weeks ago. He just wanted to see it and play it, buying it was not an option for him. In short, when he started playing the ol feller the lady spoke up and said she has lowered the price to 100 bucks. She needed it gone...I promptly pulled a 100 dollor bill from my pocket and handed it to her. done deal.

One of my business ventures is owning and operating a small crane business, needless to say the crane loaded and unloaded the piano with very little effort cool

thanks again


..."some gave all, KIA"...
#622230 - 09/17/06 04:21 PM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,123
w_scott_iv@yahoo Offline
1000 Post Club Member
w_scott_iv@yahoo  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,123
West Virginia
Rouge,
Congratulations on you purchase. What did your piano player friend say about the piano. It certainly looks nice and well cared for. Walt

#622231 - 09/17/06 04:42 PM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 8
Rougewave Offline
Junior Member
Rougewave  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 8
Texas Hill Country
He said it sounded beautiful... all I know is, it looked beautiful too.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

taken this afternoon...


..."some gave all, KIA"...
#622232 - 09/18/06 10:53 AM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 373
Brick Offline
Full Member
Brick  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 373
Looks like around 1910-1915.

#622233 - 09/18/06 10:57 AM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,156
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012
Monica K.  Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,156
Lexington, Kentucky
Pretty piano, even more spectacular view! Congratulations!


Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica
[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
#622234 - 09/18/06 12:28 PM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,123
w_scott_iv@yahoo Offline
1000 Post Club Member
w_scott_iv@yahoo  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,123
West Virginia
The action and keyboard looks nice (although I realise, you can't really tell from a pic). Does it have it's original ivories? I'd switch benches though. How about a nice padded, adjustable stool. They sell them new and in a style that would compliment the piano. I like the finish, too. It looks original and in pretty good shape. Very often when people re-finish them, they don't get the grain properly filled, the wood sealed, or the color even. The result is a piano that looks like it should be in a carnival instead of a living room. I much prefer an original finish that has been preserved and 'restored' than a high gloss overly bright new finish that doesn't keep the antique look of the instrument. Best of all is that the piano is being played!!

#622235 - 09/18/06 05:10 PM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 8
Rougewave Offline
Junior Member
Rougewave  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 8
Texas Hill Country
hope yall don't mind the pics...

ivory I think,
[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


..."some gave all, KIA"...
#622236 - 09/19/06 02:20 PM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,123
w_scott_iv@yahoo Offline
1000 Post Club Member
w_scott_iv@yahoo  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,123
West Virginia
Yup - those are ivory. And I'm surprised at how good the action looks.

#622237 - 09/19/06 07:28 PM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 8
Rougewave Offline
Junior Member
Rougewave  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 8
Texas Hill Country
Walt, I thought it looked quite nice also, but what do I know about something so unique.

I'm gonna throw this out there.......

I have a neat deal for anyone/someone... I would like somebody to check it out and tune it for me if possible. I, in turn would give you like time in our waterfront vacation rental home on Lake Marble Falls. It rents for 225 a night, a beautiful spot in a very nice 2 bedroom 1 bath home. We live in the heart of the Texas hill country. 1 hour NW of Austin 1 hour N of San Antiono. Make it a tuning mini vacation cool

let me know,


..."some gave all, KIA"...
#622238 - 09/20/06 12:12 PM Re: First time poster *update*  
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,123
w_scott_iv@yahoo Offline
1000 Post Club Member
w_scott_iv@yahoo  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 1,123
West Virginia
I wish I was close. I'd love to check out your piano (especially in those surroundings).


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