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Wurlitzer Studio Upright (late 1970s)

Posted By: Artemis1853

Wurlitzer Studio Upright (late 1970s) - 12/01/12 12:44 AM

I searched the site and couldn't find anything about Wurlitzer Studio Uprights. Could any of you shed some light?

I just looked at one and though, as so many CL pianos do, it needs a tuning/pitch-raise. Structurally it seems incredibly robust and physically it is in great condition. Bridges all seem in tact, sound board is not cracked, the battens on the back of the sound board are all still well adhered, no rust on the pins or strings, no evidence of pin dope. Not being in the trade the only thing I couldn't do was put some load on the pins/strings. Since it is pretty far out of tune, I couldn't get a feel for the actual sound of the piano other than it's volume potential.

I would really appreciate any feedback on late 70's vintage Wurlitzer Studio Uprights.

Thanks in advance!
Posted By: Steve Cohen

Re: Wurlitzer Studio Upright (late 1970s) - 12/01/12 01:12 AM

Most are very near the end of thier usable life.

Before you buy, have a technician evaluate the piano.
Posted By: Artemis1853

Re: Wurlitzer Studio Upright (late 1970s) - 12/01/12 01:24 AM

Thanks Steve. What are the typical failure points? Tuning blocks? Action? all of the above? other parts?
Posted By: BDB

Re: Wurlitzer Studio Upright (late 1970s) - 12/01/12 01:40 AM

People use older pianos all the time. Studio uprights were designed for school use, and one that was used in a school is likely to be in sad shape after 35 years or so, but one used in the home may have quite a bit of use left in it. Typically what goes wrong with the worn ones are parts that are loose, so that keys and hammers may wobble side to side.

Wurlitzers of that period were not the best of the studios, but if it is in decent shape and at the right price, it may be worth considering.
Posted By: Artemis1853

Re: Wurlitzer Studio Upright (late 1970s) - 12/01/12 02:56 AM

Thanks BDB. That was my take. My families console piano is from the 40s, sounds incredible and holds tune really well. In fact I haven't played a piano at a dealer that I've liked nearly as much as it, but I guess that is also what I'm used to hearing. Funny for a small piano it sounds bigger (and fuller) than a lot of studios I've played in the last few weeks.

The Wurlitzer in question has been owned by a single family it's entire life and hasn't been played much at all. Definitely the right price and it seems to be built like a tank. I guess I'm wondering if being a tank does it have the potential of finesse? I like the studio piano concept with the rubberized casters and powerful voice. Just the out of tune voice is pretty harsh! I like the price as I've just bought my first home so although I want a piano, I am left with the budget of a "bottom feeder".

Posted By: Rickster

Re: Wurlitzer Studio Upright (late 1970s) - 12/01/12 12:35 PM

It sounds like that piano might be a good choice for your purposes, and budget. Be prepared to spend at least $100 on a tuning, maybe more if it needs a pitch raise (more than one tuning at the same time).

By-the-way, welcome to Piano World!

Good luck!

Posted By: Steve Cohen

Re: Wurlitzer Studio Upright (late 1970s) - 12/01/12 02:22 PM

Wurlizer never built a piano that would be consider a "tank". they only made entry-level instruments. Their studios were very rarly used in schools as they generally were not considered competitive in quality with the Baldwin 243s that dominated school use in the 60s-80s.
Posted By: Artemis1853

Re: Wurlitzer Studio Upright (late 1970s) - 12/01/12 02:46 PM

Thanks guys. I really appreciate the feedback. Steve, I was going to look at some 243s this weekend as they were recommended by the tech who services my family piano. He says they are typically quite stable tuning-wise and had long lives even in school settings. The only thing is they are all significantly more $ and pretty far to have moved thus stretching the budget even further.

I found the listing on this Wurlitzer and looked at it last night. Really the only question on it is its ultimate ability to hold a tune. Everything else seemed okay enough to take the gamble. Because of the price I'm considering it just that, a gamble. I'll wait for our guy to see it once I have it home. Worst case it has scrap metal value and can be turned into a couple nice tables:)

I really appreciate both the supportive and skeptical feedback, exactly what I was hoping to read as it all supports my impressions.

Posted By: tonedefreegan

Re: Wurlitzer Studio Upright (late 1970s) - 12/03/12 03:55 AM

compile a list of free pianos not more than 60 years old, in a 50km radius of your home. play every one of them and check out their innards to the best of your ability. one will be good out of ten, all being equal. take that one home, let it rest for a month, then have it tech/tuned. for the price of moving and tuning ($300 or thereabouts), you have a decent instrument smile
Posted By: Jeff Clef

Re: Wurlitzer Studio Upright (late 1970s) - 12/03/12 11:26 AM

You seem determined to have this instrument, Artemis, so it may not be possible to help you. It would be very hard to recommend this or any Wurlitzer. Piano fever can be very hard to resist, but I would suggest you at least look around more within the used piano market; it may well be possible for you to do better, and yet stay within your budget.

As with any used piano, it will be greatly to your advantage to have an experienced piano tech inspect it before you make any purchase commitment. The price tag is only the beginning of the expenses involved with acquiring, moving, repairing, maintaining, learning, and getting rid of a piano. A practicing technician may also know of other opportunities. Good luck with your search.
Posted By: Artemis1853

Re: Wurlitzer Studio Upright (late 1970s) - 12/03/12 11:47 AM

Thanks Jeff. Definitely not as determined as I may have presented myself. That is why I was thankful for the skepticism. My thick headed response earlier was really just trying to understand specifics but sometimes the whole is the sum of the parts, and it sounds like a brand reputation of inferiority. And as you noted getting rid of it can be a "final" challenge.

You may be right, even if it means holding off for some time so as to be able to afford a stronger budget. It does seem counter-intuitive to buy something that costs significantly less than its routine annual maintenance budget, or just moving it for that matter.

Seriously, this is why I asked. Much appreciated.
Posted By: Rickster

Re: Wurlitzer Studio Upright (late 1970s) - 12/03/12 12:35 PM

If you like the piano and it is really cheap, you don't have much to lose.

On the other hand, as you develop your piano playing skills and your appreciation for the instrument, you will learn to appreciate a good quality instrument vs a mediocre quality instrument.

I will say that the importance of a good tuning and regulation outweighs the initial quality of the instrument. I've played an out-of-tune Steinway before. smile

Good luck!

Posted By: Jeff Clef

Re: Wurlitzer Studio Upright (late 1970s) - 12/04/12 12:48 AM

You don't lack for charm in your writing, Artemis. Maybe this will serve you in your piano hunt.

If you really like this particular piano, see what the tech says--- the cost for an inspection is modest. It is very sensible to shop within your present means... though if you want to save up while you look around, that is sensible, too. After all, the sky is the limit when it comes to piano prices, and most of us don't start at the top of the piano food chain.

I confess, I'm wondering if Wurlitzer even made pianos as late as the high 1970's. I thought they were gone by the 1960's. They addressed a price point that means, you still see a lot of them around, but not often in service. People gave up on trying to get a sound or a feel out of the action, and parked them in the parlor or shoved them in the garage.

If you can get this to actually play, and can use it for awhile, the market for a low-price entry-level piano is still out there, and when you are ready to move up you will probably be able to sell it or trade it in.

Again, good luck with it.
Posted By: Artemis1853

Re: Wurlitzer Studio Upright (late 1970s) - 12/04/12 03:26 PM

After speaking with a bunch of piano movers, I found a guy who owns a small piano restoration shop and also does moves. He is giving me a nice package deal of an inspection, and if it passed the inspection, a move; pitch raise; and a tune. If it moves forward I will let you all know how it works out.

Jeff, that was basically thought... It's not going to be a forever piano, but something to keep me from watching too much television this winter.

The story is this family moved from down south in 1978 and their piano's soundboard was broken by the movers so they bought this piano new from the dealer in town at the time. Their daughters took lessons with it and has been idle since. The mother is now moving across the country to be closer to family.

We will see, it's a nice deal I worked with the guy doing the move as I only have to pay him for the inspection if I don't have him do the move.

Interesting, last night I was reading a thread about "starter pianos". My thing is sailboat racing, which is also very much a tuning sensitive performance base. We have similar discussions about starter boats (we race "one design" boats). Many of the arguments which were presented in that thread by (I'm pretty sure) each of you who have contributed here, are similar (almost identical) arguments to what I present when discussing growth/promotion within our sailboat racing community. It's almost uncanny that I am pretty much doing the opposite of what I preach. At least it's not directly competitive...

Thanks again for the support all around, you all support a nice community. It's a very intimidating process to look for a piano and you have all eased it a good bit.

I'll be sure to share how this all ends up, even if it ends humbly for me... It seems like a proper budget would be about $2k for a relatively gamble free, delivered and tuned piano so if it doesn't work out I'll just save up and visit my parents more!
Posted By: Artemis1853

Re: Wurlitzer Studio Upright (late 1970s) - 01/26/13 05:57 PM

So I've had the piano for a bit more than a month now. The technician who did the evaluation and move thought I got a great deal, said he could sell it for close to 3x what I paid for the piano itself, the move, and the tuning. He came back after the move to tune it and it's been holding the tune well. He said all of the pins were nice and tight.

Most importantly I've been playing a lot which is why I wanted it. Maybe someday I'll get something a little more fancy but for the time being, it's not my limiting factor by a long shot. The piano sounds nice (even if not overly 'rich'); I can play it loud or soft, fast or slow; it's doing well on holding tune (so far); and I like the keyboard height afforded by the casters... I've found knee clearance under consoles to make them uncomfortable.

Thank you all for your advice and caution. I'm glad I had a technician look at it first, and finding a technician who also does moves was a coup.

Overall I'm quite pleased.
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