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Posted By: adp50 Bechstein Piano - Could this be mold? - 10/16/19 02:44 PM
Hi,

I'm currently interested in purchasing a used Bechsten model 9 upright. As of yet, I've only seen photos online, rather than in person.

However, although the owner has mentioned the piano is in good used condition, having been in the family since new, I'm a little concerned with the interior.

The external seems in good condition, but I can see what may look like mold on the hammers and dampers. Could anyone advise if this seems the same to them too, or looks like something else entirely?

I'm new to the word of purchasing pianos, so would really appreciate any insights. I'm looking for a nice used piano to play, for a reasonable cost, which the children can learn on too. I'm in the UK.

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Posted By: RayR3004 Re: Bechstein Piano - Could this be mold? - 10/16/19 02:51 PM
As always, you have to play the instrument and have a piano technician check it out. The soundboard is not shown. The tech will look for cracks among other things.
Posted By: WhoDwaldi Re: Bechstein Piano - Could this be mold? - 10/16/19 03:23 PM
I would LOVE to have an upright Bechstein piano like that, but the proof is in the playing. And the assessment of a technician. It may or may not have much music left in it without extensive work.

I can't speak to the mold issue beyond saying that spots on the hammers don't look good. They don't look misshaped and worn out, however, but the hammers could be too hard. Again, a technician will need to look at them.
Posted By: adp50 Re: Bechstein Piano - Could this be mold? - 10/16/19 04:10 PM
Thanks for the comments. Regarding the spots on the hammers, looking at the first photo again, I also notice that there are spots on the wood to the right underneath, so wondering if could be related.
Posted By: WhoDwaldi Re: Bechstein Piano - Could this be mold? - 10/16/19 04:27 PM
Originally Posted by adp50
Thanks for the comments. Regarding the spots on the hammers, looking at the first photo again, I also notice that there are spots on the wood to the right underneath, so wondering if could be related.


Might be. The felt of the dampers (which stop the strings from vibrating when the keys are released) is an issue, also.

You did notice (I didn't at first blush) that this piano has fewer than 88 keys? That's not necessarily bad, but it does indicate greater age.

Something similar:
The spots on the action could be anything and are nothing to worry about really. How much is that piano? It looks original and it is probably about 120 years old. The piano may well work fine but at that age everything in it will be very tired. The pinblock won't be in great condition, the action will be tired out and the strings will no longer sing properly. It might be ok for a few years but I'd say this piano is worth no more than 500 to 800 pounds sterling as a musical instrument. The mold or whatever that is, isn't the problem here.
Posted By: BDB Re: Bechstein Piano - Could this be mold? - 10/16/19 07:21 PM
It was made about 1910. I think you would be better off with something newer.
Posted By: MarkL Re: Bechstein Piano - Could this be mold? - 10/16/19 10:28 PM
If you decide to proceed with the purchase, I've used this mold testing lab. They're in the US but you send the sample in an envelope so if you can't find someone on your side of the pond you could send them a sample in the mail. Their analysis identifies the species present, tells you how dangerous it is to have in the house, and how to remediate it.
Originally Posted by BDB
It was made about 1910. I think you would be better off with something newer.


My thoughts exactly.
Posted By: Norbert Re: Bechstein Piano - Could this be mold? - 10/17/19 08:59 PM
Quote
I would LOVE to have an upright Bechstein piano like that, but the proof is in the playing.


Owning a famous brand often is an allure for buyers. However, to restore such piano to [near] original condition could easily exceed the cost of a VERY good, much newer instrument in today's market. I'm with Rich and those thinking to find a more recent piano of good quality is the preferred way to go here. Fully understanding the nostalgia, but it doesn't mean much if paying more means [quite possibly] getting less.

Norbert whistle
Completely OT but the price of that one when new was 68 Guineas.
Posted By: gwing Re: Bechstein Piano - Could this be mold? - 10/18/19 11:11 AM
"I'm new to the word of purchasing pianos, so would really appreciate any insights."

OK, I would suggest that you simply can't make your piano choice by looking at internet photos. The sensible starting point is to go out and play pianos, lots of pianos, until you have found one or more that you like. You simply can't tell how well a piano will feel and play by how it looks. You can't tell how it will sound from a recording and you can't tell if you will like what one of us here recommends - we all like different things and pianos are very personal items.

Only later once you have found one or three pianos you like and want to live with is it time to consider getting a tech inspection done, and only after the tech inspection has been done is it time to think about purchasing. Maybe, just maybe, if the purchase is for a pretty new piano in lightly used condition from a sort of trusted source, and you can afford the financial loss if it turns out to be a dud, maybe then yiu might skip the inspection. definitely don't skip it for the one you are considering here though!

There are *lots* of used pianos here in the UK and no rush to purchase one before it goes. Take your time and enjoy playing *many* so you get a really good one in the end.
Posted By: ando Re: Bechstein Piano - Could this be mold? - 10/18/19 01:58 PM
Yep, that's mold alright!
Posted By: j&j Re: Bechstein Piano - Could this be mold? - 10/18/19 07:15 PM
Originally Posted by ando
Yep, that's mold alright!


I think adp50 should keep shopping! Best wishes on looking at better piano candidates.
Posted By: adp50 Re: Bechstein Piano - Could this be mold? - 10/19/19 12:13 AM
Thanks for all the responses!

I passed on the piano, for all the reasons mentioned. I see it went for £500+ in the end.

I'll take the advice given and keep looking for a suitable piano, one likely considerably newer, or if not, properly restored, after playing and having checked out by a technician.

In some ways, I do love the idea of an older, fully restored piano, for the nostagia, rather than something new and shiny, but will see what turns up smile
An older fully restored piano can be a good instrument, and all pianos *can* be restored but probably not all pianos *should* be restored. Bechstein uprights make good restoration candidates because they were good to start with, but the full restoration will cost in the region of £10k to £15k if you want to do it properly. The instrument you end up with will not sound like any new piano due to the differences in design. That is a question of aesthetics and not quality. From the financial standpoint the instrument is unlikely to be worth the money you put into it. For the same money you can get a phenomenal new upright including a Yamaha YUS5 which is an outstanding instrument in every way, a Boston 132 which again is beautiful, a Kawai K800, and even a new lower end Bechstein Academy which in my opinion would be better than a restored Bechstein upright from 120 years ago. It's slightly different when talking about grand pianos as they tend to have more intrinsic and musical value.

For half of the money it would cost to restore the Bechstein upright properly you could get a Yamaha P121, you could get a higher end Feurich, an Irmler, all of which may meet your needs better than a restored Bechstein. I'm not saying a restored Bechstein won't be good, but the way things are these days, there are other places I'd put my money before restoring an upright - any upright - unless I had sentimental reasons or wanted a particular sound.

With old pianos like that, you'd definitely need a new pin block and strings, and you'd probably need a new action. The old action can be restored but often it costs as much to rebuild an old action as it does to install a new more reliable one. All of that is pricey. Note - I'm talking about the restoration it would require if the piano is going to be in service as a learning or practice instrument.
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