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Am I going to regret this piano purchase???

Posted By: KenBinNC

Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 10/15/08 06:25 PM

I am looking to purchase a grand for my wife and am wondering about value range and quality.

DH Baldwin C172 Serial # 58573

Reviews of postings show this to be manufactured in Korea to specifications of Baldwin, but this does not mean it's a "Baldwin" (quality, sound, etc.)

My questions are whether the soundboard is laminate or solid wood, and whether the asking price of $6,500 (looking to offer near $5,500 if sound and feel fits the wifes ears and fingers).

Details of the piano: "I do not have the original receipt but I believe our Pastor said he recalls it being something like 13 to 15,000.00 when we purchased it new. We have always had it serviced from the same man [looked him up and he is a registered piano tech.] since purchased in January of 1997." It currently resides in a church and is stated to have been used infrequently, then less and less, yet always properly maintained and in "immaculate" condition. I have yet to lay eyes on it, and she has yet to lay her fingers on it -- hopefully tonight. I am curious as to whether this is a good piano. She grew up on a Young Chang if it matters. We also do not like to buy something that is not of lasting quality, but still want to get a "deal of the century".
Sorry about the ramblings but I think the more info provided, the better the feedback! Thank you to whomever is willing to reply!!!
Posted By: Rickster

Re: Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 10/15/08 06:39 PM

Hi Ken, and welcome to the PW forum!

I looked at a D.H. Baldwin C172 once and it seemed like a nice piano to me. However, in my own humble opinion, even your projected offer of $5500 seems high to me for that particular piano. If it checks out by a piano tech, I think $4000 to $5000 would be a more reasonable price range.

Of course, if your wife really likes it, you could consider some of the price as a love offering to the church laugh .

Best regards,

Rickster
Posted By: Norbert

Re: Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 10/15/08 07:35 PM

Same here, thinking this could be a good buy.

Make sure to have it checked out though...

Norbert
Posted By: KenBinNC

Re: Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 10/15/08 08:14 PM

Thank you both! As sparse a selection I will have on finding a qualified piano technician in my now rural area, would anyone recommend I use the same person who tuned/maintained it over the years to do the inspection? My gut says no, but to consult him anyway on his opinion of the care of the piece...
Posted By: Rickster

Re: Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 10/15/08 08:28 PM

Well, Ken, the way I see it, the tech who has maintained it thus far would be better than no inspection at all.

On the other hand, if it sounds good and plays good you could just take a chance and gamble that everything is good to go. Of course, gambling on a church piano seems to have some irony laugh .

Check here http://www.ptg.org/findATechnician.php and see if you find another tech in your area.

Hope this helps,

Rick
Posted By: KenBinNC

Re: Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 10/15/08 08:41 PM

Rickster,

As unwantingly expected, I searched with your tool and found one tech...the maintainer of the instrument...lol
Anyone have the Vegas odds for gambling on a church piano??? smile
Posted By: kentm

Re: Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 10/15/08 09:06 PM

Ken:

I've been a church worship leader for 13 years or so now. I will say that with an instrument that is played every week (or more), it would have to have some decent level of maintenance to keep it in shape....

If you don't have it, Larry Fines's "Piano Book" has a great chapter on buying a used piano, and what to look for....at least you could check for soundboard/structural deficiencies, hammer condition, bridge condition etc.

Quote
the tech who has maintained it thus far would be better than no inspection at all.
Ditto that...he might have difficulty being totally objective about it, but by doing a little homework yourself, you may be able to verify what he does or doesn't tell you.

One thought comes to mind: Does this church climate control their sanctuary at all times? The temperature and humidity fluctuation may have taken a toll on it over the years.

let us know how it goes....
Posted By: KenBinNC

Re: Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 10/16/08 01:24 AM

So here goes...

We went to the church to see the piano and were pleasantly surprised, but still surprised. The piano is actually a C152 not a C172 as stated by the staff.(the smaller size would fit better in the room...only reason for the pleasant surprise) When played with the damper (right word??) pressed there were two keys which did not react --don't remember where I heard the damper thing, but it yielded results!!! It is in good condition visually with minimal knicks/scratches. It has NOT been played nor tuned in nearly three years, prior to that it was played "once or twice in the previous two years" and prior to that was played minimally.
When my wife played she was not overly thrilled nor disappointed, stated the keys felt "broken in, yet not loose".
Is this a MAJOR difference from where we were originally looking in price point? [4-5k]
Thank you all!
Posted By: curry

Re: Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 10/16/08 01:44 AM

The 152 is a very poor product. Del mentioned the design of this piano while he was still with Baldwin, which was good, but Baldwin cut corners when it went into production after Del left their employ.
Posted By: Rickster

Re: Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 10/16/08 11:51 AM

Hi Ken,

I’m almost afraid to give advice here on the PW forums because so many more members know so much more than I do about pianos. However, here is my honest opinion regarding your situation.

First of all, the availability of pre-owned grand pianos is not always ideal, meaning the selection may be limited in your area. To overcome this problem you either have to choose from what is available or extend the geographical area of your search, which is not always necessarily easy.

Secondly, since the D.H. Baldwin is, in fact, the next size smaller than the selling authorities originally said, I think that is grounds for a smaller asking price (but that is just me). I’ve learned that when it comes to the size of grand pianos, a few inches difference can be thousands of dollars difference. So, you will have to judge for yourself on this one.

Have you done much looking else ware? Have you ever checked out Craigslist online in your area? Lately I have seen what I feel are some very good deals on pre-owned grand pianos on Craigslist. Of course, I already have a pretty nice grand, but the pseudo shopping is fun. laugh

Best of luck with your search for a baby grand, and let us know how you all come out.

Take care,

Rickster
Posted By: Bear 1

Re: Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 10/16/08 08:38 PM

Greetings Ken,

The D.H. Baldwin C152 and C172 were mediocre pianos when I last sold them.{1992} Laminated sound boards, uneven and somewhat sloppy actions. They improved as time went on, but musically were never much to write home about. I tried not to sell very many of those puppies. shocked Most sales were "Furniture" PSO sales for those folks that wanted something that looked like a nice grand piano, but could care less how it performed, since they weren't ever going to play it themselves.
Well to each his own I guess.

In my opinion, for $5000 - $6000, you can do much better than a C152 or C172.

Anyway, best of luck with whatever your choice of pianos turns out to be. smile

Cordially,

Bear
Posted By: flyboy01

Re: Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 10/17/08 07:00 PM

Hi Ken,

Have you considered buying in your price range from the stores online?

I have listed several below that you might want to take a look at. One is right outside of DC. Nice weekend trip.

Good luck in your selection.

http://rickjonespianos.com/grands.htm

http://www.pianobuy.com/servlet/Detail?no=1

http://www.pianocenter.com/about.html
Posted By: KenBinNC

Re: Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 10/17/08 08:56 PM

Thank you all for your input! At this time the wife and I are going to look in a different direction as we feel we are no longer ignorant buyers purchasing something shiny!

We are leaning towards a newer Yamaha or Young Chang (for sentimental reasons) but will undoubtedly purchase something alltogether different once we play and hear the right one smile

Any additional information is appreciated, and we will keep you posted on our decision
Posted By: kentm

Re: Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 10/17/08 09:05 PM

Ken:
You might also find some very nice Kawais in your price range as well.

It's good that you're going to take a bit of time now and look around. Something very nice might just drop into your lap!
Posted By: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 10/18/08 03:06 AM

I've serviced a lot of these particular instruments over the years and I have never thought much of the DH Baldwins.
Posted By: flyboy01

Re: Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 11/19/08 12:46 AM

Ken,

Did you and your wife ever buy a piano?
Posted By: Gyro

Re: Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 11/19/08 09:20 PM

Baldwins are solid, competent pianos, and
you generally can't go wrong with one.
But you're offering too much, in my opinion.
Pianos are difficult to sell, because the number
of players in the population is small.
And even fewer people would be looking
for something like this, and so you're
likely the only potential buyers. A
good rule when shopping for used pianos
is to offer half the asking price, and
the seller should grab for that, because
there will be few offers. And if someone else
should buy it, so what? There are plenty
of other used grands around.

With the mechanical problem, that puts
things even more to your negotiating advantage,
and you might be able to get it for around $1000,
or even less, since something's broken.
The problem sounds like it should not be
hard to fix, and so this could be a great
bargain.
Posted By: verania5

Re: Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 11/20/08 03:04 PM

Gyro, have you ever bought anything where you offered half the price and the seller springs on it? Why would a piano dealer do the same?
Posted By: Horowitzian

Re: Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 11/20/08 03:10 PM

Quote
Originally posted by verania5:
Gyro, have you ever bought anything where you offered half the price and the seller springs on it? Why would a piano dealer do the same?
laugh

Gyro has only bought digital pianos
recently. He claims to have learned
on a vertical, but that was, apparently,
years ago before he "saw the light"
on how hideous acoustic pianos
really sound. They require tuners, who are
almost all rude and inconsiderate. And
they are heavy. In my view, Gyro does
not have the proper qualifications
to pontificate about acoustic pianos
since he hasn't played them for years
and spends all his time deriding them
in other forums. He also appears to have
mistaken D.H. Baldwin pianos for actual
Baldwin pianos.

whome
Posted By: Keys Geek

Re: Am I going to regret this piano purchase??? - 11/20/08 03:34 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Gyro:
Baldwins are solid, competent pianos, and
you generally can't go wrong with one.

A good rule when shopping for used pianos
is to offer half the asking price, and
the seller should grab for that...

With the mechanical problem, that puts
things even more to your negotiating advantage,
and you might be able to get it for around $1000,
or even less
First, the piano in question is not a Baldwin. As I understand, they contracted with Sammick to build it and then wnted it "cheapened" even further during their days of financial duress.

Second, "offer half"? Usually will serve to just tick people off. A reasonable offer will at least have them listening and not shut you off.

Lastly,$1,000 even on a C152 is crazy. I have neverseen such stupid advice.

This piano is worth 3-4K most likely. The problems you doccumented are an easy fix. This Gyro cat is way off his nut.
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