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Looking at Pianos

Posted By: RosieP

Looking at Pianos - 03/11/13 09:02 PM

Hi,

I am starting my search for a grand, knowing that it could be a long process. I have identified 3 interesting used pianos and I wondered about everyone's opinion:

1. Baldwin SF-10 1985 - well maintained from new, but not rebuilt $11,750

2.C Bechstein Model A 1902 - rebuilt in 1998. $7,000

3. Heintzman & Co 5' 4" baby grand 1940 - some work done(hammers and keytops replaced) and refinished 25 years ago. $8,000

All 3 pianos look to be in good condition and are from private owners. I would get my tech to check them all out, but I would value your comments on price etc.

I have also been thinking about new and have considered Kawai, Ritmuller, Brodmann, and Hailun.

I know that most people on this forum suggest buying new, but something keeps drawing me back to these older pianos.

Many thanks for your help

Rosie
Posted By: Jonathan Alford

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/11/13 10:03 PM

Rosie,

Have you played them? Do play as many as you can - one will be the perfect piano for you - maybe new - maybe used.

Have fun!
Jonathan
Posted By: RosieP

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/11/13 10:07 PM

Hi Jonathan,

I haven't played them yet. Because of the distance involved I was going to get a tech to check out a couple of favourites and then make the final decision. It will probably be a weekend full of piano playing!

Thanks,
Wendy
Posted By: Jonathan Alford

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/11/13 10:32 PM

Wendy,

Not sure how much your tech charges, but it could get expensive having him/her check them out first.

When I was shopping, I played maybe 15-20 pianos and then had my tech check out the one used piano I was considering. Cost about $100 for that one. (I ended up going with a new Ritmuller instead.)

Jonathan
Posted By: Mark...

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/11/13 11:18 PM

1. Baldwin SF-10 1985 - well maintained from new, but not rebuilt $11,750

I like!
Posted By: RosieP

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/12/13 12:05 AM

Hi Mark,

That's the one I favour too! Now I just have to persuade my better half that 7 feet is "not that big"!

Cheers,
Rosie
Posted By: RosieP

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/12/13 12:06 AM

Thanks for the advice Jonathan - I will bear that in mind.

Rosie
Posted By: dsch

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/12/13 01:37 AM

Not knowing anything else, I'd choose #1. It has way more potential for giving you pleasure. I'd probably go with that over a new Brodmann or Ritmuller. But you may have to put more money into it to get it in tip top shape.

Bechsteins from that era are usually just for looks.

With #3 you are paying $KK for the looks rather than the touch and tone.
Posted By: Minnesota Marty

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/12/13 01:48 AM

If it passes a thorough inspection, without a doubt, I would go for No. 1.
Posted By: Guapo Gabacho

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/12/13 02:12 AM

I, obviously, would favor the Baldwin SF-10.
Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/12/13 02:19 AM

Prestonscan,
On the SF-10, be sure to the tech evaluates the soundboard to rim glue joints. I have seen several where this is failing, seemingly from the factory. Also the bridge can split where the capo bar section ends and the agraffe section begins.

The other two listed I would not consider until I have eliminated the SF-10. But with old used pianos each one is an individual case and general statements have many caveats and exceptions.
Posted By: Scout

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/12/13 08:52 PM

7 feet really is "not that big"! I find that a grand piano always looks smaller once it's in the home than it does in one's imagination beforehand. My non-pianist husband agrees on this experience. (We're not at 7 feet, but bigger than ever before.)
Posted By: RosieP

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/13/13 01:55 AM

Thanks for the advice Ed. I will certainly pass that info on to the tech.
Posted By: RosieP

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/13/13 01:57 AM

Guapo,

I notice that your Baldwin is a similar vintage to the one I am considering. Have you had any work done on yours since you bought it? Anything I should know?

Thanks!
Posted By: ahhsmurf

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/13/13 02:41 AM

It has way more potential for giving you pleasure.
Posted By: Plowboy

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/13/13 12:33 PM

Originally Posted by Scout
7 feet really is "not that big"! I find that a grand piano always looks smaller once it's in the home than it does in one's imagination beforehand. My non-pianist husband agrees on this experience. (We're not at 7 feet, but bigger than ever before.)


Maybe because my condo is quite small, but my 5'2" grand looks much bigger here than at the dealer's.

If I was a rational person, I'd trade it in on a higher quality upright.
Posted By: Scout

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/14/13 12:16 AM

Oh yes, of course, always bigger at home than at the dealer's--but not always bigger than what the imagination does with it before it gets home.
Posted By: Miguel Rey

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/14/13 12:31 AM

Originally Posted by dsch
Not knowing anything else, I'd choose #1. It has way more potential for giving you pleasure. I'd probably go with that over a new Brodmann or Ritmuller. But you may have to put more money into it to get it in tip top shape.

Bechsteins from that era are usually just for looks.

With #3 you are paying $KK for the looks rather than the touch and tone.


Far from the truth, if the Bechstein has been rebuilt in 98 then is definitely worth a second look from a qualified tech. Also double check the year on the Bech, most often people confuse the case# from the serial#. The case# is etched underneath the piano in the wood and the serial would be on metal plate looking down from the top. Most old Bechs no longer have that plate. I just bought what was first believed a 1889 Bech that turned out to be a 1905, definite plus for me.

I think first you should narrow down the sound and feel you are looking for then go from there. You will find no shortage of pianos to choose from.
Posted By: mikeheel

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/14/13 05:59 PM

I like your list and the combination of new and used you're looking at. Like folks above, I'd encourage you to try as many as you can, narrow your list, and then pick a favorite. If one of the used ones, make sure to have it checked out with a fine tooth comb. If one of the new, be sure you're working with a good dealer.

Looking forward to hearing how this adventure turns out.

Mike
Posted By: love my baldwin

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/16/13 03:51 PM

I was in the same boat you are in just 6 short weeks ago. I started out perusing the craiglist ads hoping to save some money but actually never went to a private home. The first dealer I went to was a Steinway dealer. Obviously Steinways are out of my price range but they also sold Kawai and Kohler Campbell. Kohler Campbells were not for me so I was leaning towards a new baby grand Kawai. The next dealer was a Yamaha dealer and I discovered I didn't care for Yamaha's but I played a Baldwin L (6'3") built in 1950. The Baldwin had been redone. The sound was exquisite, unlike anything I had heard before or since. After thinking it over for a few days I had it delivered and couldn't be happier. It all comes down to what sounds good to you.

Jerry
Posted By: Minnesota Marty

Re: Looking at Pianos - 03/16/13 04:08 PM

Originally Posted by love my baldwin
It all comes down to what sounds good to you.
Truer words have never been spoken.
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