My piano is home! (and thanks, everyone) - 10/04/13 05:24 AM
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!
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!
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.
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.