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new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright

Posted By: BethRH

new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/09/15 04:57 PM

My name is Beth. I work as an art librarian and am a serious amateur pianist. I took 10 years til l was about 18, still play couple of hours a day when l can: classical, jazz, blues.
Hello and thank you to all on these forums,
I have been avidly reading all l can on your great site for 4 5 years now.
Because of advertising on your site l have found my dream upright (between bad ears and small house upright best for me): Say hi to Xena. She is 54 inches tall serial # 14243.

She was well taken care of, last tuned 15 years ago but sounded less off than my Baldwin acrosonic spinet tuned last July which she replaced.
Saving funds and looking for a good tech to work with me over time to get her back to glory.
She needs more cleaning, tuning, regulation, bridle straps, l assume hammer work and a lot else eventually,
but her sound is stunning, and super nice feel to play.
Just wanted to thank everyone on this site for their input, knowledge, and love for pianos.
Beth smile
[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

More pics to come.These were sellers'.
When l played her, her sound chose me.
Very clear in bass,I am lefty, so e.g. Steinways sound sometimes muddy to me. Not to denigrate Steinway, l have only had chance to play 2 of their uprights and 3 rebuilt grands over the years. The uppermost treble octaves sing. Lots of sustain. A bit of a dark but mellow at same time sound. Very expressive when playing pp and a plain middle c chord sounds like a hammond b in church!Excuse imprecise words to describe sounds....always woefully inaccurate....
Posted By: Just Steven

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/10/15 04:20 AM

Nice looking. I like the wood and the fine carpentry.

Very glad that you are happy with it.

Nice trophy.
Congratulations

Posted By: PhilipInChina

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/10/15 12:38 PM

I wonder if I will be in such god condition when I am over 110 years old.
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/10/15 03:54 PM

Thank you Steven...what is really wonderful is l just payed for moving costs.
l have been looking for about 4 years.
There are wonderful instruments out there, but
you have to be patient ... especially if you can not afford to do new .Play as many pianos as you can like everyone says here, besides whatever is yours !!
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/10/15 03:57 PM

Philip in China:
I doubt l will be in that shape,
I am not sure if l want to be here if l am 110 !!

Beth
Posted By: Just Steven

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/11/15 05:13 AM

Originally Posted by BethRH

There are wonderful instruments out there, but
you have to be patient ... especially if you can not afford to do new .Play as many pianos as you can like everyone says here, besides whatever is yours !!

The poorest in the world can't pull themselves out of poverty. While we have no money, we can find the spilled over crumbs abundantly in this country. What's money if one does not have a fulfilling life? Music is for everyone.

If dogs have a special axle at a supermarket, people must not be left without crumbs.

I have more than crumbs now. I have dry bread. It's a step higher on the ladder.
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/11/15 02:25 PM

Steven:
Couldn't agree with you more.
All the arts are for everyone and it makes me angry that they are the first thing to be cut in so many levels of public and private education or in any municipal funding battles in the usa ....l gave my Baldwin spinet to a student at my school who wants to learn how to play.
I try and help where l can. I see people struggling everywhere.
Transportation, housing .....1/4 of world without clean water, food ...
and of course except for greed it does not have to be this way.

The arts are what help all of us enjoy life!

Posted By: dogperson

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/13/15 07:34 AM

Hi Beth
Congrats on the 1904 M %H... I bought a 1900 stieff upright, and love the silly thing. You will find it will maintain a A440 pitch much better than a new piano. My tech told me it is because the soundboard is 'cured' where there is less expansion and contraction in the soundboard. I would suggesr you look for an RPT in your area that has done restoration work

http://www.ptg.org/Scripts/4Disapi.dll/4DCGI/directory/RPT/person.html

Emotionally, I love the idea of the long history of the piano, and the number of families that surely played on it.
Enjoy!
Posted By: BDB

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/13/15 08:36 AM

Mason & Hamlin uprights of that period have repetition actions, not quite as good as a grand. Unfortunately, the repetition springs have usually fatigued and no longer work. They are difficult to replace, but the action will work like usual upright actions without them.
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/13/15 02:51 PM

Dear "dog person":
I think l have heard of Stieff, is it Charles? With approx. 300 piano makers back then l keep hearing of new makes all the time. Is your piano in good shape? Everything ultimately depends on care your particular instrument had ....thank you for your kind words, pics to follow in the next week when l have time, to take them in good daylight. Keep playing!

My fav.is Chopin, but l also play a lot of Bach, Mozart, Hadyn, Beethoven, Debussy. Just getting into Schubert, Schumann, Rachmaninoff.
Love Joplin, Gershwin, Tatum, Powell and the blues. Fav. modern musicians Jimi Hendrix, Laurie Anderson, Margie Adams ....
I am looking for a tech, thanks for the post...
Beth.
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/13/15 03:33 PM

Dear BDB:
I will keep that in mind. Doesn't the lost motion compensation assembly in a good upright help? I know in an upright you are always fighting gravity. My trills seem right on and l can play e.g. the minute waltz by F. Chopin just as fast as on my cousin's 1980s baldwin baby grand.
Obviously l am no tech but l am trying to learn everything l can about the instrument. Where are those repetition springs located? I know there are jack springs and damper ( oops i meant hammer) springs
Beth
Posted By: dogperson

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/13/15 03:38 PM

Originally Posted by BethRH
Dear "dog person":
I think l have heard of Stieff, is it Charles? With approx. 300 piano makers back then l keep hearing of new makes all the time. Is your piano in good shape? Everything ultimately depends on care your particular instrument had ....thank you for your kind words, pics to follow. Keep playing!

My fav.is Chopin, but l also play a lot of Bach, Mozart, Hadyn, Beethoven, Debussy. Just getting into Schubert, Schumann, Rachmaninoff.
Love Joplin, Gershwin, Tatum, Powell and the blues. Fav. modern musicians Jimi Hendrix, Laurie Anderson, Margie Adams ....
I am looking for a tech, thanks for the post...
Beth.


Yes, it is a Chas m. Stieff.. and was in reasonably good condition, although it had not been cared for recently and was living in a garage. . Good soundboard, strings had been replaced at some point.

I have replaced the springs and felt. It was horribly out of tune, but that was easily remedied.

Please know that you may need to tune yours a couple of times in order for the strings to develop a memory of where to retain the pitch. I tune mine every three months, but that is only because I am compulsive.

I will replace the hammers in late spring-early summer and then regulate it. The hammers are rounded but still function well-- I just can't regulate it without replacing them and I really want it done.

There is such an emotional connection with owning such an old piano, and the dark tone is what I love. It was love at first sight.

BTW: also a Debussy and Gershwin fan! Love the blues,and jazz but don't play it (yet)

Ennjoy your new piano-- and of course, the music
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/13/15 03:52 PM

Omg you must have been so glad to get that piano out of the garage ...hope you can get the hammers done soon!Sounds like you have a great piano.
I understand about the memory with the tuning ...
Somewhere on this site Rickster had a great poem about the emotional relationships with an old piano ....
I imagine whisperings from the old pianos in different voices at night talking of the past while the winds blow through the tree leaves in the windows behind them...
Posted By: Rickster

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/13/15 04:06 PM

Originally Posted by BethRH
Somewhere on this site Rickster had a great poem about the emotional relationships with an old piano ....
I imagine whisperings from the old pianos in different voices at night talking of the past while the winds blow through the tree leaves in the windows behind them...


Hi Beth, and congratulations on your new-to-you Mason & Hamlin piano!

When I read your post I thought about the poem you may have been referring to so I went back in the archives and found this one; actually, I've written and posted several poems "off the cuff", if you will, on Piano World.

Maybe this is it... smile

“The poet in me”

The poet in me has been suppressed of late
Yet the thoughts still come, though I hesitate
I do enjoy the expression of reality in its totality
To make some sense of joy and malady

I have a tendency to read between the lines
I’ve been told to stop it, that it’s asinine
Yet, I still see and hear
Things that are not obvious to the eye and ear

As time goes on and as I live and learn
I’ve come to enjoy the simple things at every turn
Wisdom is not granted or given away
It’s learned through experience day by day

I don’t know if it’s wise or not
But I’ve learned to love the piano a lot
It’s an instrument that’s intriguing and mathematical
With 88 keys and notes that are chromatical

It sounds so nice when in tune and on par
When we play the written music bar after bar
Or play by ear and use our intuition
Either way, it’s not just a premonition

Pianos are wonderful, of that I’m quite sure
There’s so much to know and much to endure
Whether we read music or play by ear
It’s just another example of things we hold dear

So, with that I’ll close, and end this writing
For now my piano is so inviting
I’ve had my morning coffee and even a double
Now it’s time to play to ease my trouble

Have a wonderful day all!!

Rick
Posted By: Troy 125

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/13/15 04:26 PM

The ivories look to be in really nice shape, congrats and enjoy bringing her back to full speed!
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/13/15 04:55 PM

Rick, thats it! Thank you!!! 😇 Beth
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/13/15 05:02 PM

Troy:Thanks !! Actually one has popped off and 6 have minor chips. I have built models so l think when the time comes with proper adhesive ivory filler and polish l can fix them. The sharps are ok but may need 0000 steel wool. I love the feel of the keys ... next l need very carefully to use compressed air to clean out the dust in her ....
Posted By: Just Steven

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/13/15 07:33 PM

Originally Posted by BethRH
I have built models

What do you use for the models if you don't mind sharing?
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/13/15 07:52 PM

I meant model car and plane models, different plastics, paints, resins, glues etc. Have made metal car models. Lots of delicate cutting filing gluing work.Need to learn painting with an airbrush...
So l have a work area and understand good tools etc.And don 't rush things
Posted By: Just Steven

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/13/15 08:02 PM

Is it a good idea to use liquid rubber for molding? --if you know about it; that is.
Posted By: BDB

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/13/15 08:51 PM

Lost motion compensation is something else. It only works with the soft pedal.

The repetition springs on a Mason & Hamlin upright are the brass leaf springs on the fronts of the jacks.
Posted By: look_alive

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/13/15 09:42 PM

That's a mighty handsome piano. Case is gorgeous. Share a video with us so we can hear her!

Congrats!!

Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/16/15 06:22 PM

Steven: lt depends on what your material is. Plastic traditional styrene kits use huge tooled metal molds. Rubber is used for resin .... detail kits etc. All l know is that mold making can get really complicated because you have to think about how to get pieces out of the mold ..
Beth.

I have seen pvc , soho's, or silicon ge adhesive recommended for ivory key repair...
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/16/15 06:25 PM

BDB :Thank you for your clarification and correction .When l get a tech l will certainly have it looked into. I am going to be cleaning this weekend so hopefully can see for myself ..Beth. ps, l found your orig. posting with pictures # 2346609.
Did all Mason & Hamlin uprights have these?
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/16/15 06:27 PM

Dear look alive: thanks!Eventually l will do that ...
Posted By: Just Steven

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/17/15 02:12 AM

Originally Posted by BethRH
Steven:
I have seen pvc , soho's, or silicon ge adhesive recommended for ivory key repair...

Great to know. Thanks.
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/17/15 04:05 AM

Steven: you are welcome.The techs all say Don't use old style model airplane glue. That stuff actually eats the plastic surfaces away to form a bond. I would be afraid it would damage the ivory. And after 10 years or so that old glue just does not hold.
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/17/15 04:16 AM

BDB: I checked tonight. Will post some pics after l take them this weekend. I have the brass leaf springs and from what ones l can see they look ok, but I know l need bridle straps. I find it fascinating, did other makes have equivalent ways to do the same thing? I know there were some other really great quality large uprights. E.g. l heard
a tech really praise the quality of A.B.Chase.
I think they also used WNG actions ...
Thanks again. Beth
Posted By: Craig Hair

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/17/15 03:35 PM

Beth,
From what I can see, you've landed yourself a fine example of one of the best uprights ever produced. Good for you! If you take care of it, it should last another lifetime or two.

Craig
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/17/15 04:21 PM

Craig: Thanks much. Also thank you for your videos on string cleaning! your piano with corrrugated sound board looks really wild.. I just havn't had the time to post some interior shots will do this weekend. The more l examine my new instrument l am blown away by the quality ...
Posted By: PhilipInChina

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/18/15 01:14 PM

Originally Posted by BethRH
Craig: Thanks much. Also thank you for your videos on string cleaning! your piano with corrrugated sound board looks really wild.. I just havn't had the time to post some interior shots will do this weekend. The more l examine my new instrument l am blown away by the quality ...


A lot of people put real pride into their products at that time.
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/18/15 04:20 PM

That is really true. Many pianos from this time are well built. I saw a 1913 Cadillac at a local car show, the woodwork was spectacular. The car ran so quiet you could barely hear it ... Beth
Posted By: Craig Hair

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/20/15 04:49 PM

Beth,
I just noticed that you hail from a neighboring state. Anywhere near us? We have worked on quite a few of those pianos. Pictures of the bass string ends after tuning would be interesting.

Craig
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/28/15 10:05 PM

Hello everyone. Finally got some more pics of my piano.Cleaned keys with steel wool (0000) and reattached 1 ivory key with ge silicon white . I have the pics on my phone. How do l get them here ????
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/28/15 10:23 PM

Craig l am in Middletown, CT. Halfway between Hartford and New Haven.
Posted By: PhilipInChina

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/29/15 09:52 AM

I simply load them onto tinypic.com It works like a charm.
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/29/15 07:11 PM

Tinypic.com is not compatable with my phone.
Posted By: Erchoukyrie

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/30/15 05:52 PM

Beth,

Looks great, and count me in for those wanting to see internal pictures and hear a sound clip or two. Having just completed a 4-month shop rebuild of a 54" Steinway R, I also wanted to welcome you to the tall vintage upright "club" (as Withindale did for me) I am interested in hearing what would have been one of my instrument's--or rather, its NY equivalent, the Model I--main American competitors for the top of the upright market back in the early 1900s.
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/30/15 06:11 PM

Erchoukyrie: thanks for the welcome.... l have heard of course about the superior quality of the Hamburg Steinways, is the "I" what would be earlier in the u.s. an x? Or was the x 60 inches ? I don't recollect the x after 1900, I know the v is 49 inches, the k 52 of course)
The R was just made in Germany, correct?
Beth
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/30/15 09:57 PM

hello all I cannot get images on here. I have them on my computer in dropbox and this site will not accept png suffixes. I have spent 3 hours on this in the last two days and I just want to put pics of my piano on this site.
Why is this so complicated, it is not user friendly!!Beth
Posted By: Erchoukyrie

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 11/30/15 11:58 PM

Originally Posted by BethRH
Erchoukyrie: thanks for the welcome.... l have heard of course about the superior quality of the Hamburg Steinways, is the "I" what would be earlier in the u.s. an x? Or was the x 60 inches ? I don't recollect the x after 1900, I know the v is 49 inches, the k 52 of course)
The R was just made in Germany, correct?
Beth


Beth, I think there were actually two different (and seemingly unrelated) model Rs; the NY Model R was in the 1880s and featured a double frame (soundboard in between like a sandwich) in the 1880s. NY started making the Model I starting in 1894 (based on a Nov 1893 patent for an "upright grand string frame") and produced it concurrently with the nearly identical Hamburg Model R starting in 1897. NY seems to have stopping making the "I" by the late teens but Hamburg kept producing the R until later (one German source claims as late as 1956, but I find that unlikely. In any case, I have never seen or heard of one newer than the one I have). I actually think the "I" was preceded in NY at that size by the model F (here is an 1889 in action https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pz5TBNFuM3Y ) but I could be wrong.

Sorry you are having trouble loading pictures on the site. You could try putting them on google docs and just insert links to them here.
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 12/03/15 04:12 PM

If you look at my profile at bromanharris@gmail.com piano pics are there
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 12/03/15 04:17 PM

I didn't know that the european r was made as late as yours. You must be ecstatic after the rebuild ...does it have the original soundboard , or did that have to be replaced?
Posted By: Erchoukyrie

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 12/05/15 01:22 AM

Originally Posted by BethRH
I didn't know that the european r was made as late as yours. You must be ecstatic after the rebuild ...does it have the original soundboard , or did that have to be replaced?


First of all, thanks very much for posting all those pictures. I have never seen a M&H O (I suppose few have), and this is great. You have a real keeper. What I saw also confirmed my suspicion that our pianos (with the caveat mentioned above about the Model I) were indeed direct competitors. Mine says "Upright Grand" and your's says "Grand Upright." Mine has the the cast-in capo bar in frame color with three stress supports, your's has a single-piece, bolt-on capo bar in frame color with three stress supports. I would say there are even some basic similarities in the case design (the layered design that allows for a wider soundboard relative to the width of the keyboard).

On the rebuild, yes I am really happy with it. I may eventually post something more thorough, but here are a couple of pictures.
The case (with the new lid prop open): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bwatv5hkpa-aTE1YLU94akRqTW8/view?usp=sharing
The instrument: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bwatv5hkpa-aYWgyTllXZFFuVzA/view?usp=sharing

It is the original soundboard, repaired with shims and refinished. I am glad to have kept the original. This is not because I think everything original was always perfect; note the three wound bi-chord conversions after the break done just because I was convinced this would be an improvement.

And yes, I understand the Hamburg R was produced until the Great Depression but I do have that one report that it went until 1956; here is the link http://classicpianos.de/index.php/klaviere-aeltere-Klavier_Steinway__

Did you find out how long the O was produced?
Posted By: DrewBone

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 12/05/15 04:46 PM

Originally Posted by BethRH
If you look at my profile at bromanharris@gmail.com piano pics are there


Beth,

*edit: I searched and can't locate your profile on gmail to view the pics...is your profile public?

Could you post a link to your profile, thanks :^)

Regards,
Andy
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 12/06/15 01:16 AM

Andy :I think you may have to go through google plus,says Beth Harris
It is public ... 12 pics

Sorry for the difficulty
Beth
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 12/06/15 02:06 AM

I love your pictures, you have a gorgeous upright! The inside looks brand new... I have never seen a Steinway with the moldings on the front panel making blocks exactly like yours. Shape of case looks more like Emerson or Chickering,
looks much more elegant than the usual Steinway to me ...
I recently found out from Craig Hair here that l have a true sostenuto middle pedal , which isn't that common on uprights made today.
I have only seen 3 other Os. I know they were made into the 20s but l don't know when this model stopped. Most of the older Mason & Hamlin uprights l have seen have been Es or Gs, 50 or 52 inches. I have seen 42 inch console spinets from the 1940s, and the later 50 inch style from the 50s. I have never seen photos of Mason uprights from the 30s ...
I also find it interesting that mine has 42 base strings, lst 10 single string, next 16 double strings, all wrapped. The treble notes all have 3 strings. 228 strings, total.
The plate is stamped 30. Scale size? Plate size? The smaller upright plates are stamped 25, at least the ones l have seen in the early 1900s.
Around 1900? I know the "screwstringer" uprights ceased.
Beth
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 12/06/15 06:28 PM

Frame is stamped 31 not 30.Beth
Posted By: DrewBone

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 12/07/15 03:29 AM

Hi Beth :^)

Success!! For future reference please note that "Bromanharris@gmail.com" was no help in locating your images or profile on Google+, but I did eventually find the images of your 1904 M & A upright there under your user name, "Beth Harris".

What a nice example of turn of the century piano manufacture you have there! I love the case! As I looked at the images, especially of its well used hammers, I could hear its soft tone, but then imagined its increased breath of life with new hammers, and its action returned to optimal with some regulation work, etc. I predict that it's going make quite a bold statement in the sheer amount of power and sound it creates when called upon, after its been returned to its former glory :^)

It may be sacrilege, but if I may, I would suggest having the keytops replaced. Why? Because if one becomes an issue, chances are that there will soon be another, then another, and before too long, you'll be chasing loose, cracked and lifting keytops all across the keyboard, which may be an evolving issue, or if you're not an absolute perfectionist, may surface as a problem with uneven key height, misaligned keys, etc.

I recently had reason to consider keytop replacement. The Yamaha C7D I purchased this past September, although nowhere near your uprights age nor with real ivory keys, had numerous chips in the bass keys, which caused my fingers to be caught on them as I played it for the first time. I didn't now what had caused these chips, but I figured that if several of these "Ivorite" (Yamaha's version of simulated ivory keytops) imitation keys had already been chipped, but the rest of the pianon was in almost immaculate shape, that it didn't take too far a stretch of the imagination to deduce that more chips would be imminent, so I had my tech replace the white keytops with factory Yamaha "non Ivorite" replacements to avoid any future worry or need for individual replacements down the road. As I contracted him to perform a complete action regulation/rebuild as necessary, it seemed a no brainer to have him perform the keytop replacements, and what a wonderful job he did:

[Linked Image]

That said, please do keep us updated with any progress! Best wishes and enjoy it!

Regards,
Andy
Posted By: Erchoukyrie

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 12/07/15 04:51 PM

Thanks very much, Beth. They did put more into the case styles of the taller ones. I also have regular access to a 1924 Steinway K, and while there is an instantly recognisable common brand identity for the 1920s, the 1926 R has some subtle features on the edges to point out that it is taller and wider and worth the extra money (I have never gotten the exact figures for the mid 1920s, but judging from earlier figures it would have been significantly more, perhaps almost double). I am sure the same is true for Mason, although I have less to go on.

I should say that the 26 note bass section (first 10 single, next 16 bi-chords) is fairly standard. In Steinway, all the uprights and the lower half of the grands (S, M, O, and L) have the 26 note bass section, whereas the upper half (A, B, C, and D) have the 20 note bass section. The general rule is that the smaller the scale, the more wound strings are needed. So today's Model K actually has four wound bi-chords after the break. The R being larger, my tech's software suggested three. The transition between bass and tenor is now much smoother, but not undetectable (the string tensions are now almost the same but the bridges are of course on different parts of the soundboard).

If you decide to go for the rebuild, I would be glad to offer any info I have.
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 12/08/15 05:51 PM

Andy thank you for your comments and pic of your gorgeous Yamaha. I don't want to replace my ivories unless l absolutely have to. I am getting some fil material and will fix the chips, if more keys do pop off or crack l will of course seriously think about doing it. I just love the look and feel, of course the chips are a pain....literally😇
I have to practice a couple of things a bit more and a friend will help me with a video.
Believe me, worn hammers and all, Xena sounds pretty powerful now...
Will keep you posted ...
Thanks too for the techie connection help.l have had a good phone for about 6 months and am learning constantly ......
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 12/08/15 06:25 PM

Erchoukyrie: Thank you for your knowledge about Steinway in general and of your upright in particular, especially the scale information.Even with my old hearing aides (soon to be replaced) l can hear major differrences at the break and at the highest 2 octaves. The base is amazing .The action, worn as it is, allows in particular preciseness in rhythm and subtleties l feel in tone color that l just could not produce on my spinet. But that old 1947 Baldwin acrosonic had a pretty good tone for a spinet. Will keep you posted, will try and make a sound video soon ...

I know Mason & Hamlin production has always been low. The serial # range l found gave 700 pianos for 1904. I assume that not too many people (just as now) bought the high end uprights. But what the actual production numbers were, l don't know.

I am going to replace front and center felts and bushings and pins myself, also bridle straps, fix the key chips. Then l need to find a good tech to go through everything else and of course tune.
Things for me have to go in slow stages because
I don't have the funds to do it all at once.
Posted By: Erchoukyrie

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 02/02/16 10:48 PM

Beth,

I came across a pair of videos that might be of interest to you. One is of an unrestored Mason & Hamlin Model O like yours (although in rougher condition, it looks) and another of an unrestored 1909 Steinway Model I almost like mine, both played by the same man and probably recorded using the same equipment.

Mason and Hamlin Model O https://vimeo.com/95673428
Steinway Model I https://vimeo.com/97048176

I can say that the Model I sounds very much like my R before it was rebuilt. Would you say the same for the M&H? If so, we have perhaps the only extant side-by-side comparison of unrestored examples of the uprights at the top of the food chain in turn of the century America.
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 02/12/16 10:57 PM

Erchoukyrie:
Thanks for the videos! There are also some on you tube of a wonderful boogie and blues player named Carl Sunny Leland who is playing a model o like mine, amazing ...
Your video of the Mason sounds a lot like mine..but l am not sure if it is an o. The cabinet does not look as tall as mine, at least to me. The Steinway has a great sound also, but different of course ....
Mine will need a lot more work. I am slowly rebushing the keys. It takes a while when you don't have all the specialist tools, but what a difference .... fixed my chipped keys and replaced the front and center pins , added felts, put new bridle straps on. Of course l have to adjust lost motion and check key dip / level keys....then it is more money to save and get a good tech here, tune, talk about priorities , evaluate, etc....I will post some more pics eventually, and also get a video so you can hear me play. I may just wind up purchasing some old ivories and replace the chipped key heads. It is very difficult to match the color exactly.
Thanks again for the posts!
Keep playing !!Beth
Posted By: Erchoukyrie

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 02/20/16 04:05 PM

Well done doing all that work. I just had to send back one of the hammer assemblies (the A440 no less) to have the center pin redone; the friction for that note was way higher than any other. So even experienced rebuilders don't always make it through all 88 keys without any mistakes. Anyhow, it was a job just to re-install the double flange assembly with damper onto the action rail.

The piano is now 98% there. Having weakened the damper springs, there are now a few areas that are underdamped (they leave a vague ringing) to deal with somehow. The hammers are sounding pretty good these days, but I would like to get a single needle voicing tool and do some side needling Ari Isaac recommends. Not to make it more mellow but to open up the palette a little.

And yes, I have actually been playing a little more these days.
Posted By: Erchoukyrie

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 02/25/16 04:57 PM

Finally took a look at a couple of these Carl Sonny Leland videos. I think I have a feel for the characteristic sound of the M&H O now.

Also neat to see big uprights being used as concert instruments; one was duelling a grand on stage and more than held its own. They are no doubt the weapon of choice for that genre.
Posted By: BethRH

Re: new to me 1904 Mason & Hamlin Model O upright - 02/25/16 05:46 PM

I suspect there was a big upright in every bar and club in this country at one time.l can remember seeing them even in used bookstores when l was a kid. So many of those instruments were played literally to death. I'm sure someone could and has taught a history of American popular music just using all piano sheet music....written for those uprights.
And how many classically trained people practiced on them!
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