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Pease Piano?

Posted By: Michael Dugan

Pease Piano? - 06/19/08 12:36 PM

I have the chance to get a Pease baby grand for nothing. I'll be taking a look at it tonight. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, but is there anything I should be aware of regarding this brand.

I'm not worried about the cosmetics of the piano, as I'm in the custom cabinetry/furniture field. I'll probably wind up taking a tech to look at it, but I figured I'd pass it by you guys first.

[Linked Image]
Posted By: Michael Dugan

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/19/08 12:37 PM

another view

[Linked Image]
Posted By: ScottM

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/19/08 06:14 PM

Hi Michael,

That's a nice looking grand! The fallboard decal looks identical to my old upright. From the style I would say it dates from about 1885-1900.
Posted By: M&B

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/19/08 07:54 PM

It is reeeeally a Pease, Wow! What a Piese of art!
Posted By: kluurs

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/19/08 07:56 PM

It looks original...which is pretty scary. Have you played it?

It this is a 100+ year old piano, a tuning isn't going to make it sound like a new piano. It is not a name piano and thus, would not be worth restoring. Pease was supposedly a decent piano in its day. The company went out of business in 1949.
Posted By: kluurs

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/19/08 08:00 PM

pease excuse a duplicate post... wink
Posted By: ScottM

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/20/08 01:27 AM

Who knows if it's worth restoring? It depends on whether it's playable and other issues. If everyone had a "name" piano would the world be better? I doubt it. I have a Pease and I resent snide remarks about a piano you have not heard or played or anything. Yeah, it's old. So what? If your house was 100 years old and not designed by a big-name architect would you tear it down? I doubt it.
Posted By: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/20/08 01:31 AM

Atta boy Scott you go get em. And further you are absolutely correct. Every instrument is an individual case. Name or no-name is not relevant. Oh sure it is always good to restore a “name brand instrument “ but these are sometimes people who are thinking of re-sale value later.
Posted By: ScottM

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/20/08 02:19 PM

If it's free how wrong can you go?
Posted By: Bob Newbie

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/20/08 04:57 PM

Ah a free piano! if it sounds good I'd have Steinbuhler put a 7/8 keyboard in it for me..
it just needs a little TLC on the outside.. laugh
Posted By: kluurs

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/20/08 09:32 PM

Originally posted by ScottM:
If it's free how wrong can you go?
Severely cracked plate...piano would be worth less than nothing because you'd have to pay to have it taken away.

If it costs $20-$25,000 to restore the piano - is it worth it? Just because a piano is free doesn't make it a good deal. Some pianos aren't worth the cost of moving. This piano appears to be being used as furniture and not a musical instrument.

Pease was a good instrument in its day - but this piano looks to be well over 100 years old. Even to do a half hearted reconditioning of the piano will cost thousands of dollars.

I wouldn't recommend taking a "free" piano unless I'd played it and a tech evaluated it.

If I had a limited budget, I'd rather get a gently used Baldwin Hamilton upright. If I had a few thousand dollars, I might prefer to get a used grand - that wasn't that old - and hopefully which had been well cared for.

Everyone doesn't have to buy a Bosendorfer to have a good piano. If you've got a Pease in good working order, it very may well be a great piano for you - but this piano is not being used as a piano - rather as a dust collecting photo display - with a window next to it and a kitty litter box underneath...

So Michael, what did you think of the piano???
Posted By: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/20/08 10:23 PM


As you said at the start, find a technician to check this piano out. As you have been playing for only a year and a half, a free grand piano is a good thing for you to play on for now.
As for whether or not it is 20-25K to restore it is really not relevant at all as you have not stated any interest in doing this. Whether or not this instrument is being used as a dust collector or a picture display is nobody’s business, and is, well, presumptuous at best. How can anyone tell by a picture the rate of play on a piano? This is not a well thought out statement.

Have the instrument checked out and get back to us. Let us know if the plate is severely cracked (very unlikely). There will be a number inside that will give you the age. The technician you hire to look at this piece will give you all the information you need.

After all that, if you like the tone, then pay to have it transported to your home.

Posted By: ScottM

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/21/08 12:47 AM

From what I have read on this forum it seems most technicians have the opinion going in, that any piano over 20 years old is almost a gonner and if you're talking about 100+ years and an offbrand to boot, you would be an idiot to take the thing.

A cursory glance at almost any thread about old pianos on PW will bring the same statements every time. It's getting like a broken record (although I do agree that having a tech look at it is a good idea).

I wish there was a new forum here for piano restoration, where people are already into it and it's being done or about to be done. I'd like to see some enthusiasm for a change about restoring pianos instead of the doom and gloom of this forum. I have never seen so many pessimistic people in my life. Are all technicians like little grim reapers for old pianos?
Posted By: Marty in Minnesota

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/21/08 03:01 AM

I do hope that Michael gets back to us. I'm curious to know his reaction to playing it.

Michael - You still there?
Posted By: Michael Dugan

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/23/08 01:17 PM

Thanks to all who've commented on this thread, especially you, Scott, for the private messages.

I was supposed to check out the piano the day I created this thread, but the woman who owns it had to cancel. She didn't get back to me till yesterday when she thought there might have time for me to stop in after she was done with visiting family, but I guess she got in late.

When I spoke to her on the phone yesterday she said she'd be out of town today and tomorrow, so it looks like it'll be Wednesday at the earliest that I'll be able to see it.

Yes, the piano is being used as a picture display since no one in the house plays, but is that really a bad thing? I'll admit the cat box underneath was a bit of a turn off, but so long as there are no claw marks on the legs, I'll live with it.

Moving the piano will cost me nothing as I have my own box truck and plenty of man power for the task. Like I said above, I'm in the custom cabinet biz so bringing the the case back to it's former glory would be a fun project. As far as mechanical restoration goes, I'll probably give myself a 500-1000 budget and see how it goes.

If I upgrade to a newer instrument in the future, I'm sure that there are many organizations who would be thrilled to receive the piano as a donation.

I'll keep you guys posted.
Posted By: kluurs

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/23/08 02:47 PM

It sounds better if the moving if both the moving and the piano are free. I'll keep my fingers crossed - but I've gotten burned on a couple of great deal pianos - so a tech review is still a good idea.

One of the great deals did have a broken plate...yes, a rare occurance - but...there it was.
Posted By: Michael Dugan

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/27/08 12:35 PM

Quick update...

I finally got over to see the piano a couple of days ago. It was waaaaay beyond being out of tune. When I hit one key after another going up the piano, you’d think from the sound I was hitting random keys. About 5 of the keys don’t work, but I liked the action on those that did. I also appreciated how the fall board folded and tucked away. It seemed very precise. I’m hoping that same attention to detail carries through the rest of the instrument. Next step is to have my piano tech pay a visit to go over it more thoroughly.

This may sound like a joke, but I’m actually a bit concerned about the cat box. When I entered the house, I could smell it immediately. I just about lost my lunch when I summoned the courage to look under the piano so I could see how the legs were attached. Just how much of that cat smell has permanently permeated the piano I won’t know until I get it out of the house.

Don’t laugh, but the little spinet I now have used to be in my wife’s house when she was growing up. Whenever she walks by it she can still smell her old house (and it was NOT a pleasant smell).

The saga continues…
Posted By: ScottM

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/27/08 02:41 PM

Oh no. If you get it and refinish it I bet any smell will most likely be greatly diminished. I am more concerned about how the fumes may have caused some corrosion issues in the piano. Maybe it's not anything to worry about, but I'm not sure.

Being out of tune in itself may not indicate any real problem. If the piano has not been tuned in decades and has been moved around a few times or seen some temperature changes, it might account for most of it.

If you technician thinks the pinblock is in good shape, and there are no cracks in the plate it might still be worth getting it.

I hope it works out OK.
Posted By: Bob Newbie

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/27/08 02:54 PM

The person who had my house had dogs..and no matter what "trick" I tried I couldn't get rid of the urine smell..until I sanded the floors down..
and polyurethaned them...smell is gone! smile
Posted By: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/27/08 03:22 PM


Good update, sounds like this instrument has been neglected for some years. Yes by all means have your tech check this one out. Hopefully it has not deteriorated to the point of no return. You could have some fun with it, especially if you can get this one for nothing but a few costs like moving and such.

As Scott says you might rid the instrument of the unpleasant smell if you decide to refinish. However this will not cure any odor that would have attached itself to the inner workings of this instrument. The action and keyboard are made of wood too and not covered in any protective coating.

I picked up a piano once from a pub. I had to open up the instrument and leave the action out on a table for a few days to “air out” all the cigarette smoke and alcohol smell, the smell of a pub. In the end it turned out to be a good instrument although not a popular brand. But I did find someone to love it.

let us know what the tech says..........
Posted By: Bob Newbie

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/27/08 08:05 PM

or you could put an Airwick air fresher inside and keep the lid closed for a couple weeks..might get rid of any pet odor.. smile
Posted By: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Pease Piano? - 06/27/08 08:29 PM

or a charcoal filter of some type..... good one Bob.... something that will eat odors......
Posted By: Michael Dugan

Re: Pease Piano? - 07/22/08 11:38 AM


After nearly a month of telephone tag, my tech and the owner finally got together. He called me last night with his findings.

1. The action is in excellent shape. Just needs a little oiling.

2. The pin block is also looking pretty good. About 10 pins on the base side (where there’s the most tension) weren't as tight as they should be, but this can be remedied by substituting pins with a slightly larger diameter to take up the slack.

3. About 14 of the strings (mainly on the treble side) are rusted or broken. Again, not too big a deal.

4. It’s out of tune by about 2 full tones, so it will probably take 3 tunings to bring it up to concert pitch.

5. Total cost for all the above (including the tunings) is only about $400.

The verdict… TAKE THE PIANO!!! laugh

My tech advised me on how to go about moving the piano, and is even lending me his “piano board” to help with the effort.

The only downside is I’ll be bring the piano to my shop and will have to keep it here for almost a year before I can begin to refinish it. Building a new house while running a business = no time for piano restoration frown
Posted By: ScottM

Re: Pease Piano? - 07/22/08 02:48 PM

Sounds promising, Michael. I'm glad the mechanical problems aren't too severe. Maybe later on you can show a few more pictures. smile
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