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Hello All,
I have an opportunity to get a 1953 Baldwin Acrosonic free, for the cost of moving.With bench. 36" high. The move will be about $350.00.
Is it worth it?? This would be a second piano for me.
I am a player and a teacher, so it would get used.
Thoughts?
Thanks guys!

Last edited by Infinity; 06/04/14 10:51 AM. Reason: left info out

Infinity
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Geez, not to be crabby, but every time I tune one of these things I come home in a bad mood. Are you sure you want this thing.

Jim Ialeggio


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Originally Posted by Infinity
Hello All,
I have an opportunity to get a 1953 Baldwin Acrosonic free, for the cost of moving.With bench. 36" high. The move will be about $350.00.
Is it worth it?? This would be a second piano for me.
I am a player and a teacher, so it would get used.
Thoughts?
Thanks guys!



$350 just to move it???

I moved my spinet for $45. Not a professional, but
he got the job done. If I had a piano dolly, it would have been easier.

Get a piano dolly, and hire some people off Craigslist....

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If this is the second piano, what is the first? If the first instrument is something of quality getting something else of lesser quality compromises the standard, in my view. I suppose it could be used as an object lesson to older students, what not to get if they are serious about playing. Learning on instruments of quality not only teaches technique and musicality, but knowing when you are in a situation where an instrument isn't up to par and something should be done.


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Can you get a picture of it? Some of these earlier models have beautiful cases. No pun intended but they have to be taken on a case by case basis. Some are complete toast while others are beautiful. Since you are getting it free, it would be worthwhile to have a technician check it out.

The most important consideration is how difficult they are to take apart and put back together for what would be 1 1/2 to 2 hours work on a Yamaha, it could take up to a full day for one of these. If it has loose tuning pins, a cracked up soundboard and split bridges, forget it. If it does not and it has an appealing case in good condition, the right technician can make it play and sound quite nicely.

Most of all, find a technician who sees the value in it, not one who scoffs at it over the phone without even seeing it. Not all technicians have the same expertise or kinds of pianos that they normally work on. You would not take a Volkswagon Beetle to a Jaguar technician and vice-versa. So, if you get a Steinway rebuilder on the phone and he starts saying negative type things, ask him if he knows of a technician who is better suited to that kind of instrument.

I would also agree that $350 seems excessive for a move unless it is quite a long distance or there are many steps involved, etc. A general moving company should be able to handle it if it is not too complicated.

Last edited by Bill Bremmer RPT; 06/04/14 05:09 PM. Reason: added comments

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Originally Posted by jim ialeggio
Geez, not to be crabby, but every time I tune one of these things I come home in a bad mood. Are you sure you want this thing.

Jim Ialeggio


Interesting - there seems to be a divide among piano technicians. Some like Acrosonics, some hate them. I'm on the liker end of the spectrum -- thinking that in the spinet department that they were way ahead of whatever was in 2nd place and better in tone and touch than many of the lower-to-middle consoles. I always found them quick and easy to tune.

What don't you like about them? (Not to start a "merits of Acrosonics debate" but just curious.)



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Originally Posted by SMHaley
If this is the second piano, what is the first? If the first instrument is something of quality getting something else of lesser quality compromises the standard, in my view. I suppose it could be used as an object lesson to older students, what not to get if they are serious about playing. Learning on instruments of quality not only teaches technique and musicality, but knowing when you are in a situation where an instrument isn't up to par and something should be done.

I think I see where you are going with this. But ...

My mother was a piano teacher and we had an Acro spinet and an S&S-M. Beginning students always started out on the Baldy (me too!) and after a few years, and some acquired skills, a student was invited to switch to the Steinway. It was a major occasion and was even announced at the subsequent recital. It was a graduation of sorts.

So, there are two sides to the coin.


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Originally Posted by kpembrook
Interesting - there seems to be a divide among piano technicians. Some like Acrosonics, some hate them...What don't you like about them?


Its visceral. Though it tunes relatively easily, everything is so inconvenient, the sound, even when freshly tuned such an unpleasant jangly mess that I think this(these) pianos were made for Calvinists...no fear of un-wanted sensual pleasure here...just play it and get it over with.

Part of my take comes from having played these things for so long that I forgot that the sensual part of experiencing tone even existed. Stopped playing for a while too, until I became a tone junkie, and started creating my own sounds.

I respect your opinion differing from mine on this. I'll just send the next customer with one of these your way. smile
I'm thinking of making an addition to the tuning page of my website..."Sorry, spinets are not in my service area".

Really, a cheap digital keyboard has it heads and heels over these things, and when they need work, or rather, they all need work, but when the customer finally realizes they need work, I try hard to convince them that it would be way more fun to play a digital instrument.

Jim Ialeggio


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Of course if you're wanting to make a $4,200 coffee table (now on sale for just $3,800 -- hurry, they are probably flying out the door! So to speak.) this might be a bargain.

http://www.calvines.com/product_p/ws-obc-piano.htm

ddf

Last edited by Del; 06/04/14 11:59 PM.

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But Del, we all know that the Acro would be a much better coffee table than a Jesse French!

(I love the curved legs - très chic.)


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Is that a "bong" I see on that table top. Everything is becoming clear now...


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Wonder whether it's tuned in quarter cuppa meantone or Espresso Temperament...


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Then place a piano tech journal on the coffee table for casual reading, that has the headline:
"The Current State of Acoustic Piano Values"

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Hello all, this is the OP.
Thank you all for all your advice. I think the jury is in that the Acrosonic is not a big friend of piano technicians.
In light of all this negative feedback, I probably won't spring for the moving of this free piano into my home. But I still want a second piano!!
Decisions!!


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An Acrosonic, a Kimball and a Wurlitzer are all pianos that piano technicians love to hate. But there are a few of us who are like the kind person at a veterinarian's office who tend to treat any piano with kindness. That being said, we all have our limits. There was a period in American piano manufacturing, principally the 1970's and up to about the mid 1980's when manufacturers built pianos, if you could call them that, which were only expected to last 15-20 years. All but a few of the better examples of them are even left now.

I have seen some Acrosonics that are completely toast. They all had the same scale design from beginning to end (as far as I know) that left much to be desired and could have been improved but never was. They require a great deal of effort to provide the most basic of action service such as tightening of flanges, hammer reshaping, capstan and let off adjustment. Damper spoons? Are you kidding?

Nevertheless, there are people who can and will do that. If done properly, the spoons probably won't need adjustment anyway. If done by the Reblitz book, watch out because the most common mistake made in regulation of a vertical action will be made that is the equivalent to the most common mistake made in tuning and that is to actually follow those directions all too literally.

You don't measure the blow distance with a ruler and set it they way that any book says to do! You do what the wiser people in the business tell you to do and that is to "Let the piano tell you".

Many years ago, a local colleague of mine told me that he never measured anything and I took that to heart. He referenced the many blind technicians for whom a ruler would never do any good but they somehow seemed to produce actions that played remarkably well. I saw the same problem come up in another topic but I have not had a chance to weigh in on that yet.

I knew immediately from what I had read, however that the person had dutifully followed the instructions, just as all those who tune in Reverse Well and call it ET have done, measured the blow distance, set it by shimming up the rest rail, turned up the capstans several cranks and now is faced with dampers that lift too early and gobs of after touch, the jack flying out miles from the hammer butt and keys that will not repeat because of it. Not to mention having to also move the back checks way back to keep them from jamming the hammers into the strings.

But that person had followed the directions and did what it said to to in a BOOK! So, it MUST be right! Then is born the concept that "You don't regulate spinets". You just let them die of natural causes.

So now, we have 50 and 60 year old Acrosonics and some dating back to the 1930's that are true gems of American craftsmanship that nobody will touch with a ten foot pole!

Here are two images that I took with my smart phone (as bad of a camera that it may be), of a 1937 Baldwin Acrosonic that actually does when closed up and look like some kind of table. I personally believe that this instrument does not deserve to be sent to a landfill!

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

If you think that the later versions of the Acrosonic with the giant fallboard are difficult to work on, then try this one!

To the original poster,we don't have enough information about the piano you have in mind to have a fair estimate of what the piano is worth or whether it has any kind of potential.


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I will cheerfully tune and work on spinets; I probably have 40+ clients that own them. And they are quite ubiquitous in NYC, especially popular with young musicians who have crazy rents to worry about. Piano moves cost $350-600 in NYC, so once someone gets a "free" spinet or pays $250 plus the cost of the move, they want it to work out, at least until the next apartment.

I had a Baldwin Acrosonic growing up, so I can relate, and it would not be an insignificant amount of income if I had turned those clients away.

The first thing I do - before I open up the toolkit - is explain how the design of the piano necessitates extra time for everything, including normally simple repairs of action parts and string replacement. And that, when possible, an upgrade would be of benefit in many ways. I have found that when I tell the client beforehand that a broken wire replacement might take an hour (and not 15 minutes on a console or grand) there is much less stress involved, and if a wire does break on a 100 cent pitch raise, there is no drama or income loss on my part. It's not our fault that the designs are insanely inconvenient for servicing.

95% of the spinets I see for the first time have loose action screws, especially loose wippen flange screws, because no one has ever taken the time to pull the action for this maintenance. I explain this too, and when it's both easy and annoying to hear clicks from the loose screws, most clients opt to pay the extra labor rate to have me pull the action and fix these issues before I begin tuning. And it is much easier to tighten the hammer flange and damper screws when the action is out.

I have a few of these spinets that actually sound and feel very good!

So, to the OP, I would say "maybe", but if possible, have a good tech evaluate before the move.



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@ Bill Bremmer RPT - just ran into your old post here and the picture of the 1950's Acrosonic Spinet. Coincidentally, I just received as a gift - from a very old person - this exact model / style of the Acrosonic Spinet. I believe the one I received a 1953 to 1955 based upon serial number look up. Despite being out of tune (it's not been tuned for probably decades, I believe), this Acrosonic still has amazing action, smooth and responsive, and it has a tone way superior than the some newer and larger uprights from Asian imports or from lesser quality brands. Good tone, good touch, and adding the beauty of its cabinet, I agree with you that this 1950's Acrosonic was an American Gem of the past! Something that will never be built again!

I've called several local piano techs who - snobbishly - told me to just ditch it instead of a pitch raise and tuning. Yet, I'm determined to find the right tech person who knows what to do with it!


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It takes more time and effort to work on an Acrosonic than it does on a larger vertical piano with a direct blow action. In times past, few owners were willing to pay the fee that it would make it worthwhile for a technician but that mindset has largely changed. For some years now, what it costs to have a small piano, either grand or upright properly cared for exceeds its market value (in the "as is" condition).

It certainly is true that many piano technicians have and will continue to scoff at working on an Accrosonic. If you will reveal your general location, perhaps I will know of the right person to recommend. I sincerely believe that the earlier Acrosonic models were examples of fine, American craftsmanship that will far outlast in value and performance of anything out of China today.


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Originally Posted by Infinity
Hello all, this is the OP.
Thank you all for all your advice. I think the jury is in that the Acrosonic is not a big friend of piano technicians.
In light of all this negative feedback, I probably won't spring for the moving of this free piano into my home. But I still want a second piano!!
Decisions!!


Infinity
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Thank you the post is 7 years old, I found a different piano!


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