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Posted By: Retsacnal My piano is home! (and thanks, everyone) - 10/04/13 05:24 AM
[Linked Image]
It's here!
The picture on the right shows the new-to-me 1950 Baldwin M sitting in its new home, my home! It was delivered yesterday, and I've exhausted my limited repertoire of simple stuff, several times. I'll need to migrate to the Adult Learners forum now...

And get my daughter's lessons going, of course!

Why a Baldwin M ?
Initially, Baldwin wasn't a name that resonated with me, although I didn't have any particular reasons, pro or con. Not knowing much when I started, Steinway and Yamaha were the only "names" on my radar. So, I was looking at Yamaha G1s and G2s, and wondering about Steinways, which I noticed were available pretty regularly on the Rick Jones Piano website for under $20,000. Not wanting to fall for the mystique of the Steinway brand, though, I made this post to see what $20K could otherwise buy.

Visiting the Rick Jones web site frequently, and dreaming, I came across this Baldwin, and it intrigued me. It was priced at about $9800, which put it in the range of the Yamahas I'd seen there. So I did a little searching on the model and came across a number of positive posts about it, like this Pianoworld post in which Apple and Rich Galassini praised it. In fact, Rich posted more than once that he preferred it to the Steinway S, and that made an impression on me!

The Hunt!
Given the positive stuff I read about the Baldwin, I decided to dig in a bit more and see if people still felt that way about it. I posted "Baldwin M" and people by-and-large seemed to still feel very positive about it, so I was sold on it! After a couple of road trips to see some, I started to wonder if I'd become obsessed with that particular model: "Baldwin M, take two" (I was tempted to title this "Baldwin M, take three").

There was some "discussion" in "take two" about whether I could actually find a specimen in the range I was aiming for (3 to 4 thousand). I looked at several, and made an eight-hour round-trip to see this one for which the sellers were asking $4500. It was in great shape, save for a few chips and scratches, and I considered making an offer, but just before I went to look at it another M came up on Craigslist for only $2000, and I thought I owed it to myself to check it out. I was entertaining thoughts of driving a hard bargain on the $4500 offering (the owner said they'd "negotiate") and haggling on the $2000 one for "parts" and to learn to work on it for fun. The $4500 piano was by far the best I'd seen in a private home, but surprisingly the $2000 piano was in very nearly as good condition, and I much preferred its darker and aged finish!

The Deal
So, my persistence and patience paid off! After haggling a bit on price and shipping, I spent just a hair over $2100. Of course, I put a lot of time into it as well, but I enjoyed doing the research and hunting it down. I think I got a pretty good piano for a pretty good price.

Thanks
On top of enjoying the hunt, I've enjoyed the time I've spent on Pianoworld, learning and getting to "know" some folks. I'd be remiss if I didn't offer thanks to a lot people, so in roughly chronological order:
  • BDB, who was the first to reply to my very first post, suggested that my money could buy something better than a Steinway, and offered continued feedback and questions answered along the way. As an aside, and as an engineer, I like his take on physics and other things too.
  • Minnesota Marty, also replying to my very first post, and many along the way, including advocating for the Baldwin M. Always positive and always offering pragmatic advice.
  • Rich Galassini, who initially convinced me the Baldwin M was a good piano, and was supportive and offered up other advice and recommendations for technicians and movers in this area.
  • Apple, who also praised the Baldwin M.
  • Ed McMorrow, RPT, who was encouraging and offered up some good inspection tips (I'm a tenacious do-it-yourselfer, and the more I learned, the less I needed to hire a tech to rule out any given piano). I also was intrigued by his discussion on physics.
  • Jolly, who was encouraging and also asked some provocative questions. I'm a contrarian by nature, so I appreciate hearing the stuff that others might consider "negative."
  • Rickster, who convincingly leads the way on finding a bargain!
  • Steve Cohen, for lots of general advice, agreeing that a reasonable piano can be had for a good price, and for recommending D&E Movers--those guys were awesome. Responsive, on time, in and out in a flash--they made it look easy.
Thanks everybody!
Very nice piano! Enjoy playing it.
Nice hunt as well and sounds like a very good deal.

Having recently bought my first piano I should also "move" to the Adult beginner forum (though I like watching all these nice piano's and reading about them very much).
I'm having my first lesson next Monday. Having played 20 years ago (stopped when I was 10) I didn't think I would pick it up very easy. I have however advanced through the first three books before the teacher has arrived smile Hope I didn't learn myself to much bad things.
Enjoy! and think about piano lessons for YOURSELF as well as for your daughter.
Congratulations, and enjoy your new piano!!!!
Congratulations! Next time I'm in the market for a piano, can I hire you? I recently bought my first grand piano as well, but I don't think I had near the energy to have the same 'hunt' as you did. Great photo and great job!
Congratulations on your new piano!

Bravo on the way you conducted your search!

It is so nice to hear back on a successful piano quest and the way you outlined your whole process is a lesson for all newcomers to Piano World. You did well!

Your piano looks lovely in its new home. There is no doubt that your entire family will enjoy it for years to come, and even though you will be exploring the 'playing' threads, don't forget to visit your friends at Piano Forum.

Cheers,
Congratulations on acquiring a fine piano. I like the wood finish so much better than the usual black.

As a way of thanking PW-why not make a donation as a token of appreciation. Say $200?

Hire the most skilled and professional piano tech you are comfortable with-and treat your piano to regular professional care.
Cheers ED
Nice piano, well done. I do like the brown finish smile yes, can we employ you for our next purchase. I did play a Baldwin baby grand at a piano shop recently and it was by far the most interesting. Enjoy your new piano.
Congratulations, Retsacnal!

I'll bet it sounds as good as it looks!

I hope you and your family enjoy it for many years to come!

Rick
Posted By: Andy K Re: My piano is home! (and thanks, everyone) - 10/05/13 10:25 PM
Congratulations! Play her in good health.
Andy
Retsacnal,

You have a nice instrument. I am happy you found the piano of your dreams. You can't go wrong with Baldwin! You will have a lifetime of piano playing pleasure.
Congrats!

Gary
Originally Posted by wimpiano
Very nice piano! Enjoy playing it.
Nice hunt as well and sounds like a very good deal.
...<snip>...
I'm having my first lesson next Monday. Having played 20 years ago (stopped when I was 10) I didn't think I would pick it up very easy. I have however advanced through the first three books before the teacher has arrived smile Hope I didn't learn myself to much bad things.

Thanks, wimpiano! I'm in a similar situation: took lessons for for a few years when I was a kid, but quit in the 5th grade. I'm hoping it's like riding the proverbial bike... ;-)
Originally Posted by lilylady
Enjoy! and think about piano lessons for YOURSELF as well as for your daughter.

Thanks. I'm considering lessons too, but our lives are so hectic. I teach half time and am working on a PhD on top of a little consulting. My daughters are pretty active--lots of drop offs and pick ups. I seldom have two weeks with the same schedule... :-(

When I was a kid, my piano teacher came to the house--I'm hoping to find someone that will come to ours to work with my daughter, because it will impact my schedule a bit less that way since I wouldn't necessarily have to be home).

For myself, I'm wondering if I can work on a self-study sort of program, and get periodic coaching/critiquing to keep myself on track.

I keep saying "me," "I," "my piano" above--and believe me I'm excited about it, but the main driver is to support my daughter's musical growth.
Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Congratulations on your new piano!

Bravo on the way you conducted your search!

It is so nice to hear back on a successful piano quest and the way you outlined your whole process is a lesson for all newcomers to Piano World. You did well!

Your piano looks lovely in its new home. There is no doubt that your entire family will enjoy it for years to come, and even though you will be exploring the 'playing' threads, don't forget to visit your friends at Piano Forum.

Cheers,

Thanks again, Marty, for all the kind words and the support along the way!
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Congratulations on acquiring a fine piano.
...<snip>...
As a way of thanking PW-why not make a donation as a token of appreciation. Say $200?

Thanks, Ed. I'm giving some thought as to how I can support Pianoworld beyond my own "traffic" and morale support.

<--- In fact, it should say "platinum" over there now! wink
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
I like the wood finish so much better than the usual black.

Originally Posted by Mrs Rabbit
I do like the brown finish smile

I like a nice wood finish too. I know with guitars, if you want to expose the wood grain, more care must be taken with construction, and the selection of pieces. It's also more difficult to conceal flaws in the wood, etc, than it is with an opaque finish. Consequently, those guitars tend to have higher values. I think I've seen comments to that effect regarding pianos too. It's strange to me then that black pianos seem to command a higher price, but I guess when people think of a grand piano they think "black." Black pianos certainly look nice, but we wanted something a little less stark in the house, and I think it looks pretty nice. In fact, maybe the dark brown is a nice compromise.
Originally Posted by Rickster
Congratulations, Retsacnal!
I'll bet it sounds as good as it looks!

Thanks, Rick! I'm not going to claim it's "perfect." It sounds great to me, but I'm sure in time as our ears improve it'll probably need some TLC.

In fact, it seems to have survived the move in tune. There are a couple iffy sounding notes, so I pulled out a chromatic tuner to check. I was also curious if maybe it was in relative tune, but drifted away from A=440. Most of the keys turned out to be right on the money! Some a cent or two off. And it seems to be adjusted (stretched?) moving up and down the keyboard.

The notes that are off are all sharp--which seemed strange to me--I don't think I saw a single flat pitch.

Originally Posted by Rickster
I hope you and your family enjoy it for many years to come!

Originally Posted by Gary Fowler
You will have a lifetime of piano playing pleasure.
Congrats!

I hope so too. One of the reasons we went with a smaller piano is that we'll likely be downsizing at some point in the future. When our girls finish high school we may move closer in than our current suburban location, so we'll likely end up in a smaller place.
Mr. McMorrow,

Your suggestion of a donation to Piano World is an excellent one.

Would you care to follow suit? Or, perchance purchase a listing in the professional classifieds?
Congratulations, Retsacnal, on your new piano! Some years ago I got to play a Baldwin M that was near a classroom I taught in on a regular basis, and I was impressed by its warm sound. Sounds to me that you got quite the bargain at $2100! smile

Please do come join us in AB forum, but it's okay to keep a foot over here, too. grin

Congrats, lovely piano there!
And how courteous to take the trouble to thank, by name, all those who had helped you.

I have been a member of the forum for only a few weeks. I have, howver, been struck by the manners of most of the frequent posters. I know there are stas but most of it is genuinely helpful and harmonious as befits the subject.
Posted By: Jolly Re: My piano is home! (and thanks, everyone) - 12/22/13 01:24 PM
A good piano will let you play better than you think you can.

Enjoy!
Posted By: guyl Re: My piano is home! (and thanks, everyone) - 12/22/13 05:55 PM
Originally Posted by Jolly
A good piano will let you play better than you think you can.


There is truth to that! Nothing like a grand piano action to get that reliability and speed.
Posted By: BrianDX Re: My piano is home! (and thanks, everyone) - 11/28/15 11:52 AM
Just found this link (from another active one) on the Piano forum. I find these posts both interesting and touching. Interesting to see some of the things that were going on here a few months before I got into this fascinating pastime.

Just curious; How have things gone with this instrument the last several years?
I couldn't spell back then either.
Posted By: Norbert Re: My piano is home! (and thanks, everyone) - 11/28/15 10:28 PM
I shall rest my "best piano for dollars spent" mantra.
Thinking you've doe very well - enjoy!

Norbert thumb
Originally Posted by BrianDX
Just found this link (from another active one) on the Piano forum. I find these posts both interesting and touching. Interesting to see some of the things that were going on here a few months before I got into this fascinating pastime.

Just curious; How have things gone with this instrument the last several years?



I didn't realize that this old thread was one of those revived the other day until someone emailed to point it out to me.


Ok, so...
Two Year Update!

Well, first let me say that it may be time to retire the link in my signature. wink


My daughter

Sadly, my daughter opted not to restart her piano lessons. In her defense, high school kept her very busy. Plus, she played in the marching band, which was another time consumer. So, we didn't push her about piano. She did take AP Music Theory for the whole year, and the piano came in handy for a lot of her assignments, especially ear training.

In an admin snafu, they lost part of the AP exam, and students could accept an estimated passing grade w/o college credit, or retest. This was kind of irritating, but we didn't think she'd "need" music theory in college anyway, because she wasn't planning on majoring in music. Fast forward to now, when she's a Freshman in college, and, ironically, has decided to take music theory next semester in order to satisfy a Humanties sort of requirement. Who knew? Maybe she should have retested. But, she's still only 17 and has plenty of time to accumulate credits.

I'm glad to see her enjoy her time there. She's at a great school, with great faculty, and making good friends and having a great time!


Me

When the piano arrived, I picked up the Alfred's book everyone in the Adult Learners forum recommends (all in one?). I wanted to see what I remembered from my youth. I worked my way through it pretty quickly. Within a month or so, though, I was diagnosed with cancer. Surgery to remove a tumor from my leg in January, and radiation treatment between February and April, and it took me the better part of a year to recover (fatigue, needing to sleep 10 hours a day, being in a funk, etc). Had a second tumor removed from my neck last January, but it was very early an no radiation needed!

So, to be honest, I haven't gotten into formal lessons. My wife keeps telling me that I should, and I'm thinking that I will, but for the time being I experiment and improvise a lot (not like I'm a jazz virtuoso--I just mean that I make things up).

When it comes to theory, I have a varied musical background. I had lessons when I was a kid, but primiarly been a chorister and singer most of my life, so I can read music and understand quite a bit. And then have quite a bit of informal knowledge from the guitar. For the most part, what I do is try to translate what I know about guitar to the piano, and play like I'm comping on the piano. Again, I'm not a jazz pianist by any stretch. I just enjoy playing.

Anyway, I think it's time for lessons!

Actually, when it comes to learning, I spend a lot of time in the technicians forum (although I seldom post there). I'm really intrigued by the technical side of the piano. I've read the Reblitz book cover-to-cover, and read a lot of things I encounter on line, including here at PW. I'm seriously considering finding a decent upright to start poking around on. In my weaker moments, I consider getting an L or SF-10, and learning to work on my M! And I'm feeling weak a lot lately... wink


The Piano

The piano is awesome, but it gets it's best usage when others are playing it. Everyone who plays it loves it.

My brother-in-law is a choir director in Jakarta. He leads a kids choir, and an adult choir, and both are top-notch, award winning groups. Needless to say, he's a pretty good pianist too. He visits a few times a year, and I can sit and listen to him play for hours. He really makes it sing!

We enjoy entertaining, and throw a few parties a year. I think I've shared this before, but after we got the piano I was worried about people putting drinks on it. I figured the best way to stop that is to have someone playing it. So we hired a pianist to play for the duration, and he was such a big hit that we have him back everytime now. Many of my friends are musicians, or musically inclined, or amateur musicologists, so he really appreciates their interest. After last year's Christmas party, he stuck around an extra 90 minutes or so and basically delivered a jazz master class.
Have you been able to start lessons?
Great story at the top of this thread!
Always odd to see this old thread re-surface!

Originally Posted by Conniephoto
Have you been able to start lessons?

Unfortunately, no. Mrs. Retsacnal has been pretty sick since December. Things got very bad between March and May, including 20 days in the hospital, but took a turn for the better in late May and she's been improving steadily ever since. There are still ongoing issues, but the worst of the complications seem to be behind us now!

Her mom was here to help for six months, and the piano sits directly above our guest room, so for the duration of her visit I didn't play much at all (played my guitar some in quiet moments). I didn't want to disturb her. My brother-in-law (her son) is a phenomenal player, and we all love to hear him play, so he played quite a bit during the times he visited.

My daughter is home from college for the summer now, and she's been playing a bit too, which inspires our youngest to do the same. They've reached that point of mid-summer boredom where they've even ventured into the basement to dig out the old Wii... wink

Anyway, things are looking up, and Mrs. Retsacnal's even reminded me about lessons since I've been playing a bit lately.
Congrats again, Randy!

As far as tinkering with old (and newer? smile ) pianos, I've had as much fun learning about piano technology as I have learning to play!

And, as far as lessons, yes, I should have had lessons years ago, but I didn't. I took what I knew about music theory from my guitar-playing days (that go way back) and tried to apply that to the piano, and I've made some progress. Rockett88, and well-known boogie-woogie and blues artist, and piano teacher, here on the forums told me that a lot of his students would be happy to be where I am with their piano playing. I took that as a real complement coming from a pro. Of course, we all learn from each other.

Nevertheless, I do realize my weaknesses and limitations. But what I do know how to play, and the kind of music I love makes for a nice blend of fun and entertainment, for me at least.

So, hang in there, enjoy your piano, and have fun!!!

Best wishes to you and Mrs. Retsacnal. smile

Rick

Posted By: nancyde Re: My piano is home! (and thanks, everyone) - 07/18/16 09:05 PM
I am so glad to hear your wife is better. I am sure you will love your lessons.
Posted By: Norbert Re: My piano is home! (and thanks, everyone) - 07/19/16 12:41 AM
It's nice to see one showing appreciation to all those who stepped forward to help - an act of class! thumb
Many here seem to disappear into the great unknown once 'goods' received..
Congratulations to your piano Randy, hope you'll enjoy for long time!!
Norbert smile
Thanks for the kind words, everyone. Und vielen Dank, Norbert!

Regarding lessons, sometimes I wonder if I really want the accountability. I also wonder if Mrs. Retsacnal's reminders about lessons are an indication of what she thinks of my playing! wink
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