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Posted By: Gabrielsyme Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic - 12/04/19 12:56 PM
Just a little background: we are a family of six and our piano is played for 2-3 hrs per day by people with a variety of skill levels. We currently have a 1950s Knabe spinnet. It’s exhausted and we need to replace it. Our youngest is two and it’s possible we’ll upgrade again when we’ve moved out of the little years so the next piano is not necessarily a “forever” piano. We do think however that we can take a big step up from the spinnet.

Now that I’ve set the stage I’ll ask my question. We have been looking at a 1988 Kimball Viennese Classic. My husband went and played it last night and he said it had a gorgeous sound and no obvious issues BUT it’s absolutely filthy and dinged up. It belonged to a church that is closing and it seems like maybe it has been sitting around (literally) gathering dust for quite a while. How concerned should we be about subtle issues he wasn’t able to hear or see last might? If we bought it we would probably have the cabinet cleaned and worked on by a professional and we’ll be talking to the technician who would go over it during that time as well. The piano in its current state (dirty and scratched but with a nice sound) is $500. How risky is this? Keep in mind it’s replacing a 60 year old spinnet that has been played to death.
Posted By: j&j Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic - 12/04/19 01:43 PM
The Kimball is 31 years old and at the very least needs to be thoroughly cleaned and examined by a piano technician. I don’t want to sound like Dr. Doom here but the Kimball could need a lot of work to serve a family with a number of different players for any length of time. At least your exhausted spinet still plays and can keep functioning until you find a replacement.

If your piano tech gives the Kimball the OK and you like the sound and action, it could be a wonderful replacement for your spinet. Best Wishes.
You are very fortunate to have a family that loves piano and plays regularly. Congratulations- that is rather rare these days. grin
Hi
You really need to have a tech inspection before you buy it not at the same time you are working on the cabinet, as there is a lot that can need repair that you can’t see. Unless the piano has had tech work done, parts are probably worn and need replacing. Being a church piano makes an instrument wear quickly.

Even if the piano needs no work now, it will need work in the next few years. It is unlikely that you would be able to recoup that cost when you upgrade.

I don’t know where you live or what your budget is, but if this were my decision, I would keep looking.
J&J- Why thank you! Music is a central part of family life here though none of us are professionals and likely never will be. We start the kids in lessons very young (4 or 5) and while there are all kinds of things to be said about preschoolers and music lessons I have no regrets. They have never known a time without daily music so we don’t hear the usual whining about practicing or quitting like their friends who have tried three different instruments. We do occasionally think about letting my son quit cello for piano because he spends about three times as long practicing piano (an instrument he doesn’t take lessons in) but so far he hasn’t wanted to and we don’t want to force him. I think it makes a huge difference that my husband plays daily and that the extended family values music.

dogperson- We are in the Pittsburgh area. There’s also an old Knabe grand on Facebook Marketplace but I don’t know. It’s significantly older than the Kimball and older than our current Knabe. We have such a limited budget that it’s hard for me to imagine we’re going to find something better.

And I know we should have our own tech look at it. He’s just kind of unpredictable (alcoholic) and I’m not sure I’d trust his opinion. Needless to say with a new piano will come a new tech but for the moment he’s the guy we have a relationship with. We are going to talk to the tech who has looked it over in the last month as it’s being sold by a dealer.
You don't need a new piano to get a new tech. Get recommendations from friends or music schools. If you get a RPT that usually means the person will be at a minimum pretty good and the RPT has a code of ethics.
Originally Posted by Gabrielsyme
The piano in its current state (dirty and scratched but with a nice sound) is $500. How risky is this?

How much of a risk? It depends on how much it cost you to have it moved and tuned. Let's say $500 for the piano, and $400 to have it moved, and another $150 for tuning. That is $1050. How much would a long weekend vacation cost, staying at a nice Hotel/Motel and eating out for every meal for 3 days? $800? $1000, maybe?

In my opinion, if it is indeed one of the Kimball Viennese Classic model grand pianos, one of which I owned for a while, yes, it would be worth the risk. The one I had also looked a little rough, but cleaned up nicely. The one I had also was purchased from a church. The one I had played well, and sounded good, to me, at least.

Will it be an upgrade from your current Knabe Spinet? Most likely, but I'm just guessing without actually seeing either piano. The Kimball Viennese models were well built, had a laminated soundboard, a Schwander action, and held a tuning like a rock. And, $500 is almost a giveaway price for a decent, serviceable baby grand piano of any make, in my opinion.

I've had a few "diamonds in the rough" and they cleaned up well and tuned up well, and played and sounded good to me. But that is my own personal experience. The only advice I can give you, having not seen or played the piano in person, is that, yes, it is a gamble of sorts. But I don't think you would be risking a lot of money if you bought the Kimball and it didn't turn out to be what you had hoped. It would be like risking what it might cost you for a long weekend vacation.

If you want a little "insurance" to minimize your risks, you can hire a qualified piano tech to inspect the piano before you buy it. That will cost you another $100 or so.

Just my .02, from a non-expert, which costs you nothing, and worth about what it cost. smile

Rick
I would you not just talk to a tech but that you hire your own tech to evaluate but then I am more cautious than Rick. I have bought three pre-owned pianos, two of which were under $500, but I had them inspected so I knew exactly what I was buying and what work they would need in the future.

You can search for a registered tech by zip code here
https://www.ptg.org/home
Posted By: j&j Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic - 12/04/19 04:59 PM
If you want your current tech’s opinion, perhaps schedule it for very early in the morning, when he is most likely to be sober. Then find a reliable tech for the long run.
J- Ha! Not a bad idea.

I’m dancing around this tech thing a little bit and I’ll try to explain why. It’s such an inexpensive piano. We’ll probably pay another $1,000 to have it regulated and the finish touched up. Even with that investment it’s still, as Rickster said, about the cost of a weekend trip to Bar Harbor. Given the low level of investment the extra $100 to have another tech look at it seems like a lot to my husband. Perhaps some of you have a partner who is less interested in spending money on pianos than you are. Sometimes it’s wise to compromise. With that said, once the piano is in the door, it’s part of the family and will be well cared for and maintained.
J- Ha! Not a bad idea.

As it turns out we’ve found an technician to look at it tonight. Sounds like he’s already jockeying to do the clean-up work. I haven’t talked to him myself but I wonder how we’ll decide whether it would be better to let him do it or use the person the dealer has a relationship with.
Originally Posted by Gabrielsyme
I’m dancing around this tech thing a little bit and I’ll try to explain why. It’s such an inexpensive piano. We’ll probably pay another $1,000 to have it regulated and the finish touched up.
Without an inspection the $1000 figure is very speculative. It could be much more or the piano could even be untunable in its present condition. If the piano is a disaster you have the problem of trying to sell it to an unsuspecting person or the cost of having it taken to the dump.
Posted By: BruceD Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic - 12/04/19 06:23 PM
Originally Posted by Gabrielsyme
J- Ha! Not a bad idea.

As it turns out we’ve found an technician to look at it tonight. Sounds like he’s already jockeying to do the clean-up work. I haven’t talked to him myself but I wonder how we’ll decide whether it would be better to let him do it or use the person the dealer has a relationship with.


The conventional wisdom is to hire a technician who is independent of the dealership.

Regards,
Thanks, this makes sense.
Originally Posted by Gabrielsyme
J- Ha! Not a bad idea.

As it turns out we’ve found an technician to look at it tonight. Sounds like he’s already jockeying to do the clean-up work. I haven’t talked to him myself but I wonder how we’ll decide whether it would be better to let him do it or use the person the dealer has a relationship with.

Sorry, I'm a little confused here... I thought you said the piano belonged to a Church? Are you all buying it from a dealer or the Church?

As far as the alcoholic tuner, I feel sorry for him/her and they need help, because that is a powerful and debilitating addiction; however, hiring them for any reason, piano related or not, is a heck of lot more of a risk than buying that Kimball Viennese Classic for $500 without a tech inspection, in my view.

Good luck, and Happy Holidays! smile

Rick
These were not great pianos to begin with. It will likely need more work than you have estimated. There is not much room for improvement on one of these. The actions were very poorly made.

Although your impression that it sounds lovely seems promising you are comparing it to a spinet of low quality. It would help if you go to a lot of dealers and play some really nice newer pianos so that you can establish a baseline of what a really good piano sounds like. You will find that your ears get more sharp on the critical elements of tone. This is necessary for you to have some basis for judgement. I realize that price is a compelling part of your decision but you don't want to waste money on a piano with little potential.
I find it puzzling it is bring sold by a dealer but the dealer did not clean the piano and tune it prior to making it available for sale. You would think they would try to make it presentable.
Rick-Yes, the tuner is a nice guy who used to tune the local college’s pianos which is how we found him. I think that relationship has since soured though. There was quite a bit of alcoholism in my grandparents generation and it is heartbreaking but a reason to be wary. The piano was bought from the church by a dealer who is now selling it.

S.Phillips- I’m not a connoisseur by any means but I have played a Bosendorfer, a couple of Steinways and most of the other better brands. I normally wouldn’t have picked up the phone for a Kimball even in my limited price range but it was my understanding that the Viennese Classic was a bit of a step out of kind for Kimball. It’s true that I wasn’t the one who actually went to the store and played it and my husband is far less picky about tone. In the other hand, it wouldn’t be hard to top our old Knabe which, though it has a solid pin block and stays in tune well, has a hard, bright sound that lacks depth and character.

Dogperson-YES. I find it extremely odd. He claims that he’s going out of business but even if that’s the case he must have had a plan when he acquired the piano. Why wasn’t it cleaned before it was put out on the floor. Which, unbelievably, is where it is. We live in a rural former industrial area where poorly run businesses often limp along for ages because rent is low and the low cost of living means you can get by. Still.

In any event. We’ll see what the tech says.
Yes, they were better than the regular Kimball line but the Kimball line was a very low end instrument. It is certainly not worth putting any money into as opposed to trying to find a better quality piano that could be improved incrementally over several years. Lots of better instruments sell for less than market because of case or action wear. In addition the technician will probably give a condition report and may not weigh in on the basic quality. I see in your profile that you also play stringed instruments. I would pass on this even if in good shape for the simple reason that it won't be great no matter what you do. If you can get a better instrument, it will pay to wait in the long run.
I’m going to push back a little bit here. Not because I’m contrary, though I am sometimes, but because I’m not sure I agree. When we bought our house, a six bedroom, center hall colonial, we got it for under market value because it had a terrible 50s kitchen. The rest of the house had been well maintained but generations of owners had passed over the kitchen. We were thrilled because we knew it was a deal. We saved for a couple of years and then gutted the kitchen. In the end the kitchen didn’t cost nearly what it added in equity and it paid to take the risk.

But here’s where it relates to pianos. The house was less expensive with a rotten kitchen but not exponentially less expensive. I have been looking at pianos for years off and on and seriously for about a month. If I had five or even two thousand dollars to spend I think it would be a lot more likely I could find a below market piano that needed relatively minor work and be happy. At the $500-$1000 mark however I’m looking at 70-100 year old pianos with all original parts that probably need to be completely rebuilt, or at least would after a year or two of the kind of wear and tear that happens in this house. This piano is absolutely the newest grand I have seen that I can afford and the model happens to have a cult following. Is it ever going to be as good as something of truly high quality? Perhaps not. But I’m just not in a stage of life where I’m ready to invest in a piano of that caliber.
Originally Posted by S. Phillips
Yes, they were better than the regular Kimball line but the Kimball line was a very low end instrument. It is certainly not worth putting any money into as opposed to trying to find a better quality piano that could be improved incrementally over several years. Lots of better instruments sell for less than market because of case or action wear. In addition the technician will probably give a condition report and may not weigh in on the basic quality. I see in your profile that you also play stringed instruments. I would pass on this even if in good shape for the simple reason that it won't be great no matter what you do. If you can get a better instrument, it will pay to wait in the long run.


Respectfully, I have to disagree with Sally on this one. A have a few of the Kimball Viennese grands that I service regularly. In my opinion, they are quite nice instruments, even if they do have the Kimball name on them. Of course, having only a few to work on isn't a real sample of what's out there, so take that into consideration, too.
Posted By: MarkL Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic - 12/04/19 10:56 PM
You might try watching this site for a free piano. I've looked at this site over the years just for curiosity, and if you're patient I think you'll find something nicer than what you're looking at. Much of what's on there is firewood, but every once in awhile something pretty decent comes along.
Gabrielsyme, I sent you a PM (private mail) of a music video of the Kimball Viennese baby grand piano I owned for a while. Not trying to influence your decision one way or the other, but I thought it might be another datapoint for you to evaluate.

You should see a little red flashing icon just to the left of your forum name at the top of the forum page. Keep in mind, my playing ain't all that good, but it shows a good view of the piano and a demonstration of the way it sounded; at least the one I owned.

Good luck!

Rick
Posted By: j&j Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic - 12/05/19 12:38 AM
Originally Posted by Gabrielsyme
I’m going to push back a little bit here. Not because I’m contrary, though I am sometimes, but because I’m not sure I agree. When we bought our house, a six bedroom, center hall colonial, we got it for under market value because it had a terrible 50s kitchen. The rest of the house had been well maintained but generations of owners had passed over the kitchen. We were thrilled because we knew it was a deal. We saved for a couple of years and then gutted the kitchen. In the end the kitchen didn’t cost nearly what it added in equity and it paid to take the risk.

But here’s where it relates to pianos. The house was less expensive with a rotten kitchen but not exponentially less expensive. I have been looking at pianos for years off and on and seriously for about a month. If I had five or even two thousand dollars to spend I think it would be a lot more likely I could find a below market piano that needed relatively minor work and be happy. At the $500-$1000 mark however I’m looking at 70-100 year old pianos with all original parts that probably need to be completely rebuilt, or at least would after a year or two of the kind of wear and tear that happens in this house. This piano is absolutely the newest grand I have seen that I can afford and the model happens to have a cult following. Is it ever going to be as good as something of truly high quality? Perhaps not. But I’m just not in a stage of life where I’m ready to invest in a piano of that caliber.


At worst you’ll have spent $500 + whatever else it costs to move to your house on a piano that needs more work and more money invested than you originally thought. It is a risk, but $500 isn’t a huge gamble. I wish you the best in your piano shopping.
Originally Posted by j&j
At worst you’ll have spent $500 + whatever else it costs to move to your house on a piano that needs more work and more money invested than you originally thought. It is a risk, but $500 isn’t a huge gamble.
The move could certainly cost another $500. Then there's the cost of getting rid of it if repairs are too costly.

It seems to me that the OP's low budget implies that for him the cost of the piano is a pretty big gamble. If the dealer is selling it for $500 my guess is they got it for free. And the fact they didn't even bother to try to clean it up raises a big red flag as if it wasn't worth a few hours to make it more presentable.
Posted By: GC13 Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic - 12/05/19 03:22 AM
Our church has a Kimball VC 5' 8" piano from that era in the French Provincial Walnut art case. We haven't used it in about 15 years. It desperately needs voicing and regulation. There are several keys and dampers that stick. I personally don't like the feel of the action at all, but I've never been a big fan of the European tone and feel. I know there are those who really enjoy the Kimball VC pianos. It's all about personal taste. In the case of ours, the cabinet is in excellent shape, and it looks like a lovely instrument cosmetically. It's hasn't been abused in any way, but it needs $2 - 3k of work to make it playable. Based on what I've seen, the instrument isn't really worth much more than that.

Having the piano looked at by a technician is key. It does concern me that the dealer hasn't even spent the time to clean it up a little. It sounds like the piano hasn't been cared for properly which sends up red flags. It's very enticing to jump on a piano that appears to be at a bargain basement price, when you've been shopping and looking at the prices of used higher-end instruments. But in the end the decision is yours. None of us here, pro or con, can really know what the condition of this particular piano is. All we can do is offer advice based upon our past experiences as piano owners or professional opinions as piano technicians.
Posted By: gwing Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic - 12/05/19 09:32 AM
Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by Gabrielsyme
I’m going to push back a little bit here. Not because I’m contrary, though I am sometimes, but because I’m not sure I agree. When we bought our house, a six bedroom, center hall colonial, we got it for under market value because it had a terrible 50s kitchen. The rest of the house had been well maintained but generations of owners had passed over the kitchen. We were thrilled because we knew it was a deal. We saved for a couple of years and then gutted the kitchen. In the end the kitchen didn’t cost nearly what it added in equity and it paid to take the risk.

But here’s where it relates to pianos. The house was less expensive with a rotten kitchen but not exponentially less expensive. I have been looking at pianos for years off and on and seriously for about a month. If I had five or even two thousand dollars to spend I think it would be a lot more likely I could find a below market piano that needed relatively minor work and be happy. At the $500-$1000 mark however I’m looking at 70-100 year old pianos with all original parts that probably need to be completely rebuilt, or at least would after a year or two of the kind of wear and tear that happens in this house. This piano is absolutely the newest grand I have seen that I can afford and the model happens to have a cult following. Is it ever going to be as good as something of truly high quality? Perhaps not. But I’m just not in a stage of life where I’m ready to invest in a piano of that caliber.


At worst you’ll have spent $500 + whatever else it costs to move to your house on a piano that needs more work and more money invested than you originally thought. It is a risk, but $500 isn’t a huge gamble. I wish you the best in your piano shopping.



I think I beg to differ here. $500 is a big gamble if the maximum you can afford for a piano is $1500. $50 is a lot for some folks.
Posted By: j&j Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic - 12/05/19 01:50 PM
Originally Posted by gwing
Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by Gabrielsyme
I’m going to push back a little bit here. Not because I’m contrary, though I am sometimes, but because I’m not sure I agree. When we bought our house, a six bedroom, center hall colonial, we got it for under market value because it had a terrible 50s kitchen. The rest of the house had been well maintained but generations of owners had passed over the kitchen. We were thrilled because we knew it was a deal. We saved for a couple of years and then gutted the kitchen. In the end the kitchen didn’t cost nearly what it added in equity and it paid to take the risk.

But here’s where it relates to pianos. The house was less expensive with a rotten kitchen but not exponentially less expensive. I have been looking at pianos for years off and on and seriously for about a month. If I had five or even two thousand dollars to spend I think it would be a lot more likely I could find a below market piano that needed relatively minor work and be happy. At the $500-$1000 mark however I’m looking at 70-100 year old pianos with all original parts that probably need to be completely rebuilt, or at least would after a year or two of the kind of wear and tear that happens in this house. This piano is absolutely the newest grand I have seen that I can afford and the model happens to have a cult following. Is it ever going to be as good as something of truly high quality? Perhaps not. But I’m just not in a stage of life where I’m ready to invest in a piano of that caliber.


At worst you’ll have spent $500 + whatever else it costs to move to your house on a piano that needs more work and more money invested than you originally thought. It is a risk, but $500 isn’t a huge gamble. I wish you the best in your piano shopping.



I think I beg to differ here. $500 is a big gamble if the maximum you can afford for a piano is $1500. $50 is a lot for some folks.


Yes you are right. See my first response to the OP. But Gabrielsyme seems rather fond of the Kimball VC and seems willing to take the gamble, even with the usual PW warnings about an independent tech. If that is indeed the case, then all I can say is Best Wishes and hope the gamble works out for the family. Sometimes, even through dust and grime, a piano “speaks” to someone. I myself would insist that the dealer clean it up at the very least before writing the check.
Gabriel:

I think that making a decision against Sally's advice is the height of folly.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY
I wouldn't go against Sally's advice either. Although a large percentage of Sally's work involves working on premium concert grands and keeping them in excellent condition, she understands all instruments and budgets, and understands the potential of pretty much every model out there better than many on this forum - certainly better than any of the pianists and amateur players on this forum.

It sounds to me that this Kimball is being punted on at a rock bottom price so whoever has it for sale can get it off their hands. To fix the case up properly you could be looking at a 4-figure sum, and and for the actual instrument you'll almost certainly be looking at another four figure sum, and this piano will have a maximum value in the low thousands if that.

GC13, I appreciate you're not a fan of the European sound and that's fine by me (the American sound is vastly different), but to be fair the Kimball isn't representative of the European sound. It has a Bösendorfer-shaped frame, but that by no means makes it a Bösendorfer. Wasn't it the case that the same owner owned both Kimball and Bösendorfer at that time? I'm not sure of the ins and outs of the arrangement, it all seems a little odd to me.

Gabrielsyme, it would probably be better if you look for a higher quality upright and spend your money on that. There really are no bargains out there on the piano market, unless you really know where to look *and* you have the money to invest in the instrument's repair after you buy it. I would also consider digital pianos from Kawai, Yamaha, and Roland, as these days they can provide a rewarding musical experience, they have cabinets that fit well into homes, and while they're not exactly heirloom quality instruments as it were, they are better than playing on a clapped out grand or upright with an action that possibly can't be regulated adequately. I've used a Roland HP-603 for a while now and I find no problem switching between it and a grand piano, and I rather enjoy the sound of it. There are models with a more luxurious cabinet which may fit your home better, but the concept is the same.

Also have a look at Hailun pianos if you want to buy something new, or if you can find a reputable dealer of used Yamaha and Kawai pianos then you might want to look in that direction. Sally actually had or has a Kawai 5'5 piano for sale at a very attractive price, and it looks less than 20 years old. I'd consider something like that for myself if I didn't live in a flimsy apartment at the moment.
Posted By: j&j Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic - 12/05/19 04:00 PM
Gabriel - from my heart I can say Sally is right. I know your spinet is shot and you need something now inexpensively. The Kimball VC will cost you more in the long run and at best it’s service record in your home will be very spotty and temperamental. You could rent a nice upright fairly inexpensively while you’re shopping for a used small grand in far better shape. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best and hope your family enjoys the gift of music family time around a piano.
Guys
I think most of us have said this is probably not a good idea enough times. To use an old Southern expression ‘don’t beat s dead horse’
Time to say ‘best wishes.... let us hear how it works out ‘
Thank you all,

I don’t want to be that OP who disappears after they get a lot of (solid) advice that isn’t exactly what they’d like to hear. I think a lot of people post questions on forums in areas where they’re not experts and feel overwhelmed if they get a negative response they weren’t expecting. We are leaning away from the Kimball but we’ll follow through with the tech before we make a final decision.

This is complicated for me because my husband and I are not absolutely on the same page about whether quality matters. This will probably seem unbelievable to some of you who live and breath the instrument but he’s just not sure it matters how good it is. He grew up playing a big Victorian upright that never stayed in tune. I see them all the time on Craigslist. “Works great! Just needs to be tuned!” “Works” often means a sound is produced when you depress a key. By no means do they actually “work.” All of his siblings learned to play well however and some of them are quite good indeed and now have much better pianos in their homes. He sort of feels that if they all learned on that old upright our kids are already ahead of the game because the Knabe holds a tuning well.

Anyway, the problem with our Knabe is that the hammers have become really brittle and started to snap off. I know we could replace the hammers but I’m not sure it’s worth it. Techs have always been pretty unenthusiastic about the instrument in general so we’ve fixed dead keys and kept in in tune but not done much more for it. A few years ago I did call a very good technician and talked to him about regulating and voicing it and he didn’t exactly laugh outright but he definitely didn’t think it would be worth the trouble.

I appreciate all of your advice so much and certainly don’t want to do anything foolish.
Posted By: Stubbie Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic - 12/05/19 10:18 PM
Originally Posted by Gabrielsyme
....whether quality matters. This will probably seem unbelievable to some of you who live and breath the instrument but he’s just not sure it matters how good it is. He grew up playing a big Victorian upright that never stayed in tune. I see them all the time on Craigslist. “Works great! Just needs to be tuned!” “Works” often means a sound is produced when you depress a key. By no means do they actually “work.” All of his siblings learned to play well however and some of them are quite good indeed and now have much better pianos in their homes. He sort of feels that if they all learned on that old upright our kids are already ahead of the game because the Knabe holds a tuning well.....
To me, this kind of argument ("learn to play on a bad piano--it builds character") seems analogous to, for example, feeding your children food that's on the edge of going bad. As long as they're not retching, it'll build character! laugh

That the dealer hasn't bothered to clean up the piano would worry me.

Someone above mentioned digitals. I love my acoustic, but a decent digital might tide you over until you build up your acoustic fund. Put the money you would spend on piano moving, tune-ups, and additional work on the piano into your acoustic piano fund.
Originally Posted by Stubbie
To me, this kind of argument ("learn to play on a bad piano--it builds character") seems analogous to, for example, feeding your children food that's on the edge of going bad. As long as they're not retching, it'll build character! laugh
Did the OP actually say what you put in quotes? It wasn't in the part you quoted.

A huge amount of time at PW is spent discussing the top tier pianos but that doesn't represent most piano buyers. I think that as long as a piano can be tuned and is in reasonable regulation many people are satisfied with it. And unless they have lots of experience playing very good pianos(which is not common...in fact, many people have little experience playing any pianos other than their home piano) they are not bothered by how their pianos might compare to top pianos.

I grew up playing a Baldwin Acrosonic spinet and never even thought how it compared to other pianos. I'm sure the piano was never regulated or voiced but it was fine for me. It was only after I turned around 55 that I upgraded to a Mason Hamlin BB. I can easily understand why many people are not particularly concerned about the tone and touch and are perfectly satisfied with a piano some PW members would be critical of. PW members don't in general represent the average piano buyer IMO.

None of the above means I don't think the OP shouldn't have the piano checked by a tech. I also think that in the OP's price range a nice digital might be a better choice.
Digitals depress me. I know that if I closed my eyes a digital would sound much much better than our spinet and I’ve seen the ones with the nicer cases but I still just prefer an acoustic. We open the lid often and the kids love to watch the action do its thing. Our piano is kind of the center of our home (the TV is in an upstairs room so we won’t be tempted to drift over to it without a plan) and even a very nice digital just wouldn’t have the same cultural significance. It is what it is.

We had an outside tech look at the Kimball VC today. He turned out to be very hard to communicate with. It seems like he liked what he saw generally speaking but he was a major rambler and it was very hard to get straight answers. We decided to pass. Just too many red flags and not enough solid information even after we had someone look at it.

Our current plan is to call a well-respected tech in the area and have him come out to tune our Knabe. While he’s here we’ll ask him what our best option would be for replacing it given our budget. Perhaps we should just do some work on our current piano and wait a couple of years.
PS-Thanks again!
The first piano on the piano adoption web site is offered by a well-respected forum member here, the owner of Cunningham Pianos. It is a long-shot, of course, but if you contact Rich he will honestly tell you what the piano needs or he may have something else come in as a trade in.

His contact info is here: http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/users/55/rich-galassini.html
Posted By: j&j Re: Should we buy it? ‘88 Viennese Classic - 12/06/19 02:27 AM
Originally Posted by Gabrielsyme
Digitals depress me. I know that if I closed my eyes a digital would sound much much better than our spinet and I’ve seen the ones with the nicer cases but I still just prefer an acoustic. We open the lid often and the kids love to watch the action do its thing. Our piano is kind of the center of our home (the TV is in an upstairs room so we won’t be tempted to drift over to it without a plan) and even a very nice digital just wouldn’t have the same cultural significance. It is what it is.

We had an outside tech look at the Kimball VC today. He turned out to be very hard to communicate with. It seems like he liked what he saw generally speaking but he was a major rambler and it was very hard to get straight answers. We decided to pass. Just too many red flags and not enough solid information even after we had someone look at it.

Our current plan is to call a well-respected tech in the area and have him come out to tune our Knabe. While he’s here we’ll ask him what our best option would be for replacing it given our budget. Perhaps we should just do some work on our current piano and wait a couple of years.


I like your current plan, for however much that matters. thumb Best of Luck!
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