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Joined: Feb 2016
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I am looking for a nice piano to start my young granddaughter's voice and piano lessons, as well as pick up my rusty decades-old playing. My experience looking to date has been frustrating, including paying a tech who didn't seem to have my best interests in mind - as I am learning after paying him to evaluate. I recently stumbled onto a technician who has a 1947 Knabe baby grand. He maintained it for a client and 8 years ago replaced the tuning pins, pinblock, strings, hammers, hammer shanks and flanges. The case is in good not excellent condition. Keys are cellulite, not ivory. He seems reputable. The problem is that a year ago, I considered a 1926 Knabe, that had been even more completely rebuilt 11 years prior. The owner of the 1926 piano wanted a lot more than I wanted to pay and the finish was completely "alligatored". At the time, I had just started looking but loved the sound of the older piano. He had a newer Knabe (maybe 30s?) in the same room - I played both and definitely heard a difference but it also could have had more to do with the rebuild than the age. Now to my question: If I buy the 1947 Knabe, with the work done 8 years ago, will it be impossible to unload if I decide to "upgrade"? I see so many pianos for sale. On the other hand, maybe I'm just getting cold feet and the 1947 Knabe is a great buy for the near term. I plan to take delivery this week so any replies are sincerely appreciated. Thanks.

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I'm afraid that an acronym like "ASAP" is not a very good method to subscribe to when looking to purchase a piano; being in a hurry has the potential to lead only to disappointment, frustration, and regret.

You would be better served to purchase a less expensive digital piano to use in the interim, with 88 fullsize keyboard models (which I strongly suggest) available from names like Casio, Roland, Yamaha, etc. You could both enjoy it, and having it will allow you the proper and appropriate amount of time to dedicate towards searching and investigating an accoustic instrument that will be right for the both of you, instead of making a hurried choice between 2 pianos.

When you DO find that piano, the digital can go in your granddaughter's room where she can plug away to her hearts content with headphones soas not to disturb anyone, and you can be playing the piano in your living room, making everyone else in the household wish your piano had the ability to use headphones too ha

Just a little morning humor for ya' grin

Regards,
Andy


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I think a 1947 Knabe could be very dfficult to sell. If you wanted to get much money out of it, it becomes even more difficult.

So if I were considering this piano the purchase price would have to be very low.

By the way, you don't mention the bridges. The last Knabe I looked at from around this era (this was about a week ago) needed bridge work. There were cracks all over. Of course a technician would know more about this, but I just wanted to bring it to your attention. For some reason the bridges get overlooked sometimes, and they are critical.


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Thanks, Musicpassion. I feel like the Runaway bride with this purchase- I told my husband that until the seller pulls in the driveway, i will torture myself looking at other pianos. I just saw a 1928 Sohner available locally.

The technician wants $1800 delivered. Also, he will tune it upon delivery and once free after that. He guarantees his pianos for one year.

He maintained it for decades for a piano teacher and says the work he did 8 years ago would cost $4500 now. Most other pianos will cost $500 to have delivered so the effective price for this recently mostly-restored piano is more like $1300.

Thank you for the advice on the bridges - I will ask. Any other thoughts, after you read this, please let me know. If you buy a stock that was a mistake, it isn't sitting in the middle of your living room reminding you all the time!

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Thanks, Drewbone. I briefly considered a keyboard. Yours is a good idea but piano teachers don't want them using a keyboard for too long if they continue so I thought I'd rather bite the bullet and buy a piano from the get go. My guess is that I will know if this is a mistake within a few months and I promise to re-post. Appreciate you taking the time to offer your suggestion.

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For the price you are looking at, if you like how the piano looks, feels and sounds, and the work was done properly I'd consider it. Two tunings is worth a couple hundred dollars, and if the tech is reputable I'm sure that adds to your comfort level. With about any piano you buy you'll probably end up taking a hit in resale, if you knew you had to sell it in a few years and only would get a few hundred for it, would the difference be worth the enjoyment you got from it? Was $1,800 his starting price or a negotiated price? How did this tech come to acquire it from the teacher?

Last edited by Troy 125; 02/23/16 04:01 PM.
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsbZVDT4v_k

1947 Knabe Baby video (if you haven't already seen it)

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The $1800 was his price and he seemed firm - all his pianos had little cards with the price. I thought that he might get annoyed and refuse to sell it to me if I tried to negotiate - and believe me, I negotiate everything - I just had a feeling it would not work here. The piano teacher passed away, "in her sleep" as he added- he seems to have known most of his clients well, seems to take good care of their instruments and then purchased from their estates. I would hope that speaks well of his work that he wants to buy pianos he has maintained. He had two baby grands and a number of uprights. His other baby grand is an Ivers & Pond (from another client's estate) but it had not had any work done (he said it didn't need anything)- I didn't like it's sound as much (he agreed) but it did have ivory keys.

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Troy 125 - thanks, I have spent a lot of time searching online and don;t know how I missed this. Appreciate it. Funny, he says (in the video) it was built in Baltimore but I have read everywhere, and it was confirmed by Rich at Cunningham that they transitioned all manufacturing to East Rochester between 1929 and 1932. BTW, Cunningham's in Philadelphia seems like Nirvana for piano lovers- had I gone there a year and a half ago, I probably would have bought there.

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If you like the sound/touch of the piano, and trust the technician, I think at that price you have an excellent option.

By the way, you can just check the bridges yourself. Look for cracks eminating from the bridge pins. The pins are the metal pieces the strings pass by. If your vision isn't very good, bring a flashlight and a magnifying glass.


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Originally Posted by DrewBone
I'm afraid that an acronym like "ASAP" is not a very good method to subscribe to when looking to purchase a piano; being in a hurry has the potential to lead only to disappointment, frustration, and regret.

Great advice, DrewBone! However, there is an exception (as there are exceptions to almost every rule of thumb) and that is if a really good deal/buy on a piano comes up close by. It those cases, you have to be prepared to act quickly or someone else will. I've actually experienced that a time or two.

Originally Posted by musicpassion
By the way, you can just check the bridges yourself. Look for cracks eminating from the bridge pins. The pins are the metal pieces the strings pass by. If your vision isn't very good, bring a flashlight and a magnifying glass.

Great advice also! And, I'm at the point in life (age wise) where I need the flash-light and the magnifying glass! smile

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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