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#2038237 - 02/24/13 01:22 AM Baldwin "B" Grand info request  
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This is not the horrible 4'-whatever from the 80s. In the plate "v" it simply has the letter B and then the serial number which is from 1936. I hadn't seen one before to my recollection. Looks similar to the Baldwin "E".

Anyone know the official size? With my miniature tool case tape, it looked like ~5'6". When did they stop making them? Any other comments? Seems like it has rebuilding potential . . .

Thanks!


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
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#2039771 - 02/26/13 06:38 PM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: kpembrook]  
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Just wanted to bump this one up. No one here knows about a Baldwin "B" from 1936??

I have info about one from the '20s, but it is 6'3".

Any takers??


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
#2039781 - 02/26/13 06:58 PM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: kpembrook]  
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Keith,

You might try a PM to Del Fandrich. I would bet that his knowledge of Baldwin history is extensive, or he could find out.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2039808 - 02/26/13 08:02 PM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
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Del Offline
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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Keith,

You might try a PM to Del Fandrich. I would bet that his knowledge of Baldwin history is extensive, or he could find out.

Nope. I don't know anything about this piano. And, since most, if not all, of the historical records were destroyed decades ago I know of no way to find out. Other than to find someone whose memory is better than mine

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

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#2039853 - 02/26/13 09:49 PM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: kpembrook]  
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I suspect that some of these models referred more to case styles than to anything else. I have seen one of these Bs, but I do not recall much about it. There are also Gs and Hs, and they are all about the same size. Some of them have 26 bass notes like the R, and some have 20 like the E.


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#2039858 - 02/26/13 09:52 PM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: kpembrook]  
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Originally Posted by kpembrook
This is not the horrible 4'-whatever from the 80s....

In defense of that "horrible 4' -whatever from the '80s...." It was a 4' 10" (148 cm) grand. The design brief was to develop a short grand piano that could be built on an assembly line much like Baldwin vertical pianos were built at the time (mid- to late-1980s). It had a target manufacturing cost of under $3,000 (which, if memory serves, was about half that of the Model M at the time.) I realized early on that it would not be possible to reach this target without designing an entirely new piano but an entirely new assembly process (for Baldwin) as well. So I ended up designing a new grand piano that was completely unlike anything Baldwin had ever built in the past. I also sketched out a new grand piano assembly process that was also unlike anything Baldwin had ever done in the past.

This was my first attempt at designing and developing a truly small grand piano. It was not only a very short piano, it was also quite narrow. In my opinion it is still one of the best looking small grand pianos out there. At the time I was just beginning to explore ideas of how to extract better performance out of very short scales and, when it was built correctly, it was a very nice little instrument.

It was rarely built correctly, however. The problems were two-fold; first marketing greatly underestimated the potential demand for the piano so the initial equipment developed had been planned for a production of about half what they ended up with. At least some of the equipment was not intended to process the production quantities initially required. Hence everything was rushed; not conducive to maintaining good quality control. Second, when I left the company the proposed assembly line had only been developed in brief, outline sketches. The new people coming in had to set up an assembly process no one was familiar with or understood and without really understanding how the piano was supposed to go together. A lot got lost in the translation.

Of all the pianos of this model I saw in dealer's showrooms and in people's homes I don't recall ever seeing one that, in my opinion, had really been as intended. In the end the company never did get its quality control act together with this piano.

I still consider this to be a good overall design for a very small piano. Were I to do design another piano of this size and type there are a few things I would change but not all that much. I'd put the bellybraces back in; they were removed for cost reasons. When I learned that I would not be using bellybracing I made the casting a bit heavier but that’s not really the same thing. I’d refine the scaling a little bit and I’d like to spend a little more time with the soundboard design. The piano was supposed to have a high-performance laminated soundboard panel—and the prototypes did—but I think that got changed somewhere along the line. I’d go back to the narrow-angle laminated panel; it sounded better. I didn’t think any of the hammers I saw on the piano really fit the scale so I’d want to do a little more work on that. But, overall, the changes would not be all that extensive.

I've serviced a couple of them over the years and, when the basic construction flaws were worked out and the little things were reasonably regulated and voiced they are quite nice little pianos. With an emphasis on "little."

ddf

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
#2039893 - 02/26/13 11:02 PM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: kpembrook]  
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Originally Posted by kpembrook
This is not the horrible 4'-whatever from the 80s....

In defense of that "horrible 4' -whatever from the '80s...." It was a 4' 10" (148 cm) grand. The design brief was to develop a short grand piano that could be built on an assembly line much like Baldwin vertical pianos were built at the time (mid- to late-1980s). It had a target manufacturing cost of under $3,000 (about half that of the Model M at the time.) I realized early on that it would not be possible to reach this target without designing an entirely new piano but an entirely new assembly process (for Baldwin) as well. So I ended up designing a new grand piano that was completely unlike anything Baldwin had ever built in the past. I also sketched out a new grand piano assembly process that was also unlike anything Baldwin had ever done in the past.

This was my first attempt at designing and developing a truly small grand piano. It was not only a very short piano, it was also quite narrow. In my opinion it is still one of the best looking small grand pianos out there. At the time I was just beginning to explore ideas of how to extract better performance out of very short scales and, when it was built correctly, it was a very nice little instrument.

It was rarely built correctly, however. The problems were two-fold; first marketing greatly underestimated the potential demand for the piano so the initial equipment developed had been planned for a production of about half what they ended up with. At least some of the equipment was not intended to process the production quantities initially required. Hence everything was rushed; not conducive to maintaining good quality control. Second, when I left the company the proposed assembly line had only been developed in brief, outline sketches. The new people coming in had to set up an assembly process no one was familiar with or understood and without really understanding how the piano was supposed to go together. A lot got lost in the translation.

Of all the pianos of this model I saw in dealer's showrooms and in people's homes I don't recall ever seeing one that, in my opinion, had really been as intended. In the end the company never did get its quality control act together with this piano.

I still consider this to be a good overall design for a very small piano. Were I to do design another piano of this size and type there are a few things I would change but not all that much. I'd put the bellybraces back in; they were removed for cost reasons. When I learned that I would not be using bellybracing I made the casting a bit heavier but that’s not really the same thing. I’d refine the scaling a little bit and I’d like to spend a little more time with the soundboard design. The piano was supposed to have a high-performance laminated soundboard panel—and the prototypes did—but I think that got changed somewhere along the line. I’d go back to the narrow-angle laminated panel; it sounded better. I didn’t think any of the hammers I saw on the piano really fit the scale so I’d want to do a little more work on that. But, overall, the changes would not be all that extensive.

I've serviced a couple of them over the years and, when the basic construction flaws were worked out and the little things were reasonably regulated and voiced they are quite nice little pianos. With an emphasis on "little."

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
#2041658 - 03/02/13 01:35 AM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: Del]  
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Originally Posted by Del
Originally Posted by kpembrook
This is not the horrible 4'-whatever from the 80s....

In defense of that "horrible 4' -whatever from the '80s...." It was a 4' 10" (148 cm) grand. The design brief was to develop a short grand piano that could be built on an assembly line much like Baldwin vertical pianos were built at the time (mid- to late-1980s). It had a target manufacturing cost of under $3,000 (about half that of the Model M at the time.) I realized early on that it would not be possible to reach this target without designing an entirely new piano but an entirely new assembly process (for Baldwin) as well. So I ended up designing a new grand piano that was completely unlike anything Baldwin had ever built in the past. I also sketched out a new grand piano assembly process that was also unlike anything Baldwin had ever done in the past.
ddf


Yes, I remember you're telling me this story. Certainly, it is superior to the Kimball Whitney grand or some of the cheap Aeolian or Wurlitzer efforts. I do like the idea of a more "classic" grand piano profile -- also achieved by the Chickering "Princess" grands with either no cheekblocks or very skinny ones. I tune a '90s era Baldwin "B" periodically. Could be worse . . .

My main source of consternation is "If you're going to the expense of building/buying a piano, why not add just a very few more inches and get a significant improvement and closer approach to legitimacy for not much more cost or effort?" How much more content is there in a 5'2" than a 4' 10"? Engineering costs, fixturing, tooling, etc. should be the same.

Nicest short piano I ever saw was the one Alfie Knight exhibited at NAMM a couple years. Don't know if he ever got into production with it. I think it was about 4'7" or so. Despite the fact that it was by far the most refined piano of that size I have ever seen, the big question that remains for me is, "Why?"


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
#2041659 - 03/02/13 01:37 AM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: kpembrook]  
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Originally Posted by kpembrook
Anyone know the official size? With my miniature tool case tape, it looked like ~5'6". When did they stop making them? Any other comments? Seems like it has rebuilding potential . . .


Just got additional measurements. It is indeed 5'6" for the case or 5' 6-3/4" with the lip of the lid. I'm not aware of any Baldwin scale of that size. Any other comments?


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
#2041663 - 03/02/13 01:50 AM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: kpembrook]  
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The G scale was that size, but case size can be deceiving. Is there a scale designation cast into the plate? That would be a large letter or letters near the hitch pins for the lowest tenor and bass strings. How many bass notes?

In the long run, it hardly matters. You have to deal with the piano as you find it.


Semipro Tech
#2041695 - 03/02/13 04:17 AM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: kpembrook]  
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Del Offline
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Originally Posted by kpembrook
My main source of consternation is "If you're going to the expense of building/buying a piano, why not add just a very few more inches and get a significant improvement and closer approach to legitimacy for not much more cost or effort?" How much more content is there in a 5'2" than a 4' 10"? Engineering costs, fixturing, tooling, etc. should be the same.

In principle I agree. But piano makers are funny about things like that: they tend to want to build what people want to buy. And, despite being told repeatedly to avoid pianos shorter than some length or other, people go right on buying really short pianos. More of them than any other size grand on the market.

I’ve long ago given up arguing about this with marketing people. It’s not one I’m going to win. So given the reality that these things are going to remain in the product line I can at least do what I can to make them play and sound as much like real pianos as possible.

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
#2046066 - 03/10/13 05:15 PM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: BDB]  
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Originally Posted by BDB
The G scale was that size, but case size can be deceiving. Is there a scale designation cast into the plate? That would be a large letter or letters near the hitch pins for the lowest tenor and bass strings. How many bass notes?


As it turns out, the letters in the back corner of the plate are "SG". Good call!
I had seen G or maybe even SG on the plate, but never the model designation "B" before.


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
#2046393 - 03/11/13 09:03 AM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: kpembrook]  
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Originally Posted by kpembrook
Originally Posted by kpembrook
Anyone know the official size? With my miniature tool case tape, it looked like ~5'6". When did they stop making them? Any other comments? Seems like it has rebuilding potential . . .


Just got additional measurements. It is indeed 5'6" for the case or 5' 6-3/4" with the lip of the lid. I'm not aware of any Baldwin scale of that size. Any other comments?


The Baldwin Service Manual lists the G scale as being 5'6" to 5'8". So it's the right size for a G. I have seen plenty of G's, but don't remember an SG. I guess it's not that surprising. The C scale became an SC, the D became SD, etc. The M is an SA scale. Was there an A? I have a friend with a model A, but I'm not sure of the scale.

We should have some sort of Wiki, where users could post data about different piano models like this.


Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com
#2046526 - 03/11/13 03:14 PM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: RoyP]  
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Roy,
Thanks for the info. I of course am familiar with the 5'8" scales. I didn't get where the 5'6" came from. The question becomes, "Where does the extra 2" come from?" Extra key length, maybe? I'd like to have a sense of how much of a Baldwin "R" is this? Pretty close except for action difference? Quirked up scale?? Hmm??


I know you can do that kind of thing with consoles quite easily -- turning a 40" scale into a 42", but with a grand there are more potential consequences.


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
#2046588 - 03/11/13 05:39 PM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: kpembrook]  
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The G and R-ST are the same scale, and are listed on the same line. I assume that it says 5'6"-5'8" because the G was 5'6" and the R was 5'8". Both entries for the R (regular and Accu-just hitchpins) are listed as R-ST. The Accu-just version is slightly different. I can post the scale if you want.


Roy Peters, RPT
Cincinnati, Ohio
www.cincypiano.com
#2046769 - 03/12/13 12:36 AM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: RoyP]  
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Originally Posted by RoyP
The Accu-just version is slightly different. I can post the scale if you want.


Yes, I would be glad to get your scaling info.
Thanks.


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
#2046777 - 03/12/13 01:06 AM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: kpembrook]  
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In any case, it is not the E scale, which has 20 bass notes and wound strings in the tenor. The G scale has 26.


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#2046779 - 03/12/13 01:14 AM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: kpembrook]  
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Scale G and ST are the same: 13-4, 13-1/2-4, 14-4, 14-1/2-5, 15-6, 15-1/2-6, 16-4, 16-1/2-4, 17-10. 18-8, 19-2, 20-2.

With Acu-just pins, there is one less #13 wire and one less #14-1/2 wire, and 2 more #15 wires.


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#2047361 - 03/12/13 11:45 PM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: BDB]  
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That's the same as what I have.


Roy Peters, RPT
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#2047393 - 03/13/13 12:48 AM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: BDB]  
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Thanks for the wire size information. "Scale" is a slippery term and it can refer to wire sizes , but also to other factors such as speaking length or amount of backscale, for example.

Does anyone have any sense of these other scaling factors comparing the "B" with the other pianos using the SG plate casting such as the "R"? I'm still trying to puzzle out where the extra 2" is happening.


Keith Akins, RPT
Piano Technologist
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
#2047675 - 03/13/13 01:28 PM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: Del]  
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Originally Posted by Del
Originally Posted by kpembrook
This is not the horrible 4'-whatever from the 80s....

In defense of that "horrible 4' -whatever from the '80s...." It was a 4' 10" (148 cm) grand. The design brief was to develop a short grand piano that could be built on an assembly line much like Baldwin vertical pianos were built at the time (mid- to late-1980s). It had a target manufacturing cost of under $3,000 (about half that of the Model M at the time.) I realized early on that it would not be possible to reach this target without designing an entirely new piano but an entirely new assembly process (for Baldwin) as well. So I ended up designing a new grand piano that was completely unlike anything Baldwin had ever built in the past. I also sketched out a new grand piano assembly process that was also unlike anything Baldwin had ever done in the past.

This was my first attempt at designing and developing a truly small grand piano. It was not only a very short piano, it was also quite narrow. In my opinion it is still one of the best looking small grand pianos out there. At the time I was just beginning to explore ideas of how to extract better performance out of very short scales and, when it was built correctly, it was a very nice little instrument.

It was rarely built correctly, however. The problems were two-fold; first marketing greatly underestimated the potential demand for the piano so the initial equipment developed had been planned for a production of about half what they ended up with. At least some of the equipment was not intended to process the production quantities initially required. Hence everything was rushed; not conducive to maintaining good quality control. Second, when I left the company the proposed assembly line had only been developed in brief, outline sketches. The new people coming in had to set up an assembly process no one was familiar with or understood and without really understanding how the piano was supposed to go together. A lot got lost in the translation.

Of all the pianos of this model I saw in dealer's showrooms and in people's homes I don't recall ever seeing one that, in my opinion, had really been as intended. In the end the company never did get its quality control act together with this piano.

I still consider this to be a good overall design for a very small piano. Were I to do design another piano of this size and type there are a few things I would change but not all that much. I'd put the bellybraces back in; they were removed for cost reasons. When I learned that I would not be using bellybracing I made the casting a bit heavier but that’s not really the same thing. I’d refine the scaling a little bit and I’d like to spend a little more time with the soundboard design. The piano was supposed to have a high-performance laminated soundboard panel—and the prototypes did—but I think that got changed somewhere along the line. I’d go back to the narrow-angle laminated panel; it sounded better. I didn’t think any of the hammers I saw on the piano really fit the scale so I’d want to do a little more work on that. But, overall, the changes would not be all that extensive.

I've serviced a couple of them over the years and, when the basic construction flaws were worked out and the little things were reasonably regulated and voiced they are quite nice little pianos. With an emphasis on "little."

ddf


Thanks, Del. It is good to hear "the rest of the story" behind the oft denigrated Baldwin grand under discussion. It did present the appearance of a good plan, but one that failed in various ways during the implementation thereof. Don sold tons of these at his annual armory sales in Little Rock. Almost immediately came the complaints and the service calls. In due course warranty service requests came to us from the factory and even corporate to repair units sold in the region. Everything about the instrument indicated a good plan on paper, but a hurried, almost reckless abandon of sound workmanship. No doubt to keep costs in line. Warranty calls were typically all day affairs. Most, we were able to take care of, but few were returned to the factory as unserviceable. However, Del, you will be please to know that a really good one managed to find its way into a piano teacher's studio in Little Rock. Very atypical. It only required the usual prep. How it managed to survive the process is a mystery.


Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Conway, Arkansas
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com
#2047855 - 03/13/13 08:07 PM Re: Baldwin "B" Grand info request [Re: kpembrook]  
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The Baldwin literature lists the scale for the R as ST, not SG. I do not have any of these pianos handy.


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