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Dee102 Offline OP
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Hi Everyone! A complete newbie that decided to purchase a piano this weekend. I tried to do some research here about this piano. I've seen not the best reviews about the B/B1 model. Even some comments from the original designer Del Fandrich, super cool! But one of his comments confused me...(old thread from Jan 2006)

"The original idea was to design a fundamental concept that could be used to create at least two larger pianos, one around 5� 3� and another around 5� 6� or 5� 7�. Obviously they did not follow through with the larger pianos. Which, given the way they were building the Model B was probably a good thing. I still think the fundamental design is a good one and would really like to see what could be made of the concept of stretching the basic design to make the two larger pianos. "

Now, that got me curious as I just bought a 1994 5' 7" Baldwin Classic C made in the US. It was a reasonable price for how it sounds and I like that it has warmer tones. A good piano for my getting back into it level and something I hope my kid can learn on. Also understanding it is probably "flawed".

But more than anything, with the lack of information about this Classic Line C model on the internet, I thought I would stop lurking and get an account and ask you all if anyone knew the history of the C and if any improvements were made to the B/B1 model to build it, historically I'm just curious.

Also, if anyone has seen these pianos and do you have any opinions? To my untrained ear I like how it sounds and how it plays, but curious what you all think especially if you've seen/played/worked on one in the wild?

Any information is appreciated, even bad reviews so I know what problems to be on the look out for. Thanks! -Dee

Last edited by Dee102; 06/27/17 12:29 AM. Reason: Grammer
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Hello, Dee, and welcome to Piano World!

I'm surprised no one has responded to your thread yet. There are several Baldwin experts here on the forum (although I am not one of them smile ). Del Fandrich, as you mentioned, and Sally Phillips are two that come to mind; both or whom worked for Baldwin back in the day. There are others, whose forum name escapes me at the moment, as well. BDB is very knowledgeable about the Baldwins, as well as Rich Galassini (sp?). Maybe they will see this thread and chime in.

What I do know is, the Baldwin Classic series is a model just under the Artist series, which was pretty much the best piano Baldwin made. The 9' concert models as well as the SF10/7' and the Artist L (6'3") are very well respected Baldwin models. I have a Baldwin R from around 1999 that I like a lot.

I would think the Classic series would be nice pianos as well, but I don't know much about them. Not sure why you say your newly acquired Baldwin Classic series, 5'7" piano is probably "flawed". What makes you say that?

Anyway, I wish I could be of more assistance. It sounds like your Baldwin baby grand is likely a very decent piano for a first baby grand.

Good luck!

Rick


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Dee102 Offline OP
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Thanks for your reply Rick. I think it may be "flawed" based on the few comments here on Piano work regarding the way the Classic Line B was reviewed on the poor and inconsistent build quality. Now don't mind that as I bought the piano anyway since it sounded and felt the best in my very limited budget. But I have the ability to upgrade and it comes with a warranty. I was just hoping to get more history about it. Thanks and I hope I get more replays too!-Dee

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Hi Dee,

The Classic line in general was an attempt to keep an affordable American built piano in the marketplace. I totally applaud the efforts, but the results in this line were disappointing. Del has spoken about that before but I don't remember him commenting on this particular model before. I hope he sees this and adds his 2 cents (which are waaay more valuable than my 2 cents).

I will add that, although this will never be a great piano, it can most likely be improved dramatically by the right technician given a bit of time. In general, these did not arrive to dealers or homes in very condition technically. (Although your dealer may have done some of this work already?).



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Dee102 Offline OP
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Thanks for your reply Rich. The piano had been cleaned and worked on by my dealer. It got delivered just the other day and a technician came out to help reattach one of the pedal rods the movers couldn't. Turns out there was a shim that didn't stay put during the moving process. The tech was able to adjust and fix. He will be back in a few weeks to do the tune after the piano acclimated.

Im slowly practicing and remembering how to read music and I'm enjoying the piano so far...

I'm also hopeful that Del or Sally or any other experts see this and can add more insight about this piano. Thanks again Rich.

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I designed the original Model B. It was to be a piano of good quality that could be built in the U.S. at a price competitive with some of the many pianos coming into the country from Japan and Korea at the time. To achieve that goal I had to start from scratch. The Baldwin grand piano manufacturing process at the time was not much changed from what it had been a hundred years earlier. Good piano were build but there was so much hand-fitting involved the cost was high.

I started with thinking about how the piano was built and how it could be done faster and more accurately. I spent some time sketching out a new (for Baldwin) assembly line that eliminated much of the hand-fitting depending, instead, on careful dimensional controls over the various components. Then I designed a piano that could be assembled using this process.

We wanted an "entry-level" instrument that would serve families with children just starting piano and yet deliver performance that an intermediate-level pianist would find satisfactory. Of primary importance was the requirement that it should fit into smaller homes comfortably. A very short piano, it should still be aesthetically pleasing. And, as originally conceived, it should be easily and inexpensively built to a reasonable quality standard.

This resulted in a grand that was 4' 11" (150 cm) long and 53 3/4" (136.5 cm) wide which was ultimately named the Model B. This was quite narrow for a piano of this length. Future models in the same line were also to be relatively narrow.

And here things start to get muddy. Pressure started to grow to "cut the cost" of the piano. "Leave this out." "Leave that out." "Make that cheaper." After several frustrating discussions about just what it was that we were supposed to be building -- pianos or "units" -- I resigned and left the company. At this time the main drawings were completed and a single prototype had been built. Work on the assembly line had not yet begun.

The piano that was ultimately built was relatively close to the fundamental design. It was clear that the company did not have the assembly line working well as quality was erratic. In talking with people who still worked at the company it became evident that Baldwin's management never did grasp the concept that what had led low-cost manufacturing around the world was the tight dimensional controls on all the various components and parts that go into the product. It is imperative that as much "hand-fitting" as possible is eliminated. Baldwin got the part about eliminating the hand fitting but failed to provide parts that always met the specified tolerances. The result, at least initially, was a mess.

Judging strictly by my occasional encounter with one in the field they did seem to get a better handle on this as time went by and the quality of some of the later ones I saw was reasonable. As to whether this was a result of the factory doing better work or due to better dealer prep I can't answer. ((I'd love to get my hands on one of these just for "old-times-sake.")

The Model C came along later and I don't know how closely it fit the original scheme. I have not closely examined one and I've never serviced one.

In the case of the piano purchased by the OP none of this really matters much. Of more importance now is the condition of this specific piano. And it sounds like it does, so congratulations are in order on you new piano. I hope it serves you well.

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
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Dee102 Offline OP
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Del,

Thank you very much for your thoughtful and detailed reply. It's always interesting to learn about the history of instruments and a pleasure to hear from a designer of the first model. I had an old Sankyo flute that I had before the internet was really prevelant that I enjoyed finding out the history of as well.

I'm always curious and appreciate the time you took to provide some history and the intent of the line. I'm glad to hear that some of the later models of the Model B seemed to be of better build/prep and I hope that this model C built right before being discontinued, was also. So now I'm curious who did design the model C and how it was built and if it was based on the design you worked on. It was unfortunate that Baldwin didn't grasp those manufacturing techniques early on. Maybe that might have prevented some of their financial issues.

You're right that what really matters is that I enjoy it, and honestly over the last few days I've really been enjoying getting back into playing. Reading music is a skill that fortunately does eventually come back.

Thank you-Dee

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The smaller models I serviced had underlever /key alignment issues. Tone had a sharp attack with little sustain. Damper lift adjustment was poor. Overall build quality was not great. I serviced a couple of the larger models, and they were better. Still sharp attack and little sustain, though. Not Baldwin artist quality, but adequate build on those. Kind of Kimball like. A good tech could improve both models over the factory efforts. I couldn't get the dealers to pay for extra prep, so they got delivered with factory issues intact. It seemed as iff the Baldwin Chickerings were modeled off these, but I don't know......



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Originally Posted by Bob
The smaller models I serviced had underlever /key alignment issues. Tone had a sharp attack with little sustain. Damper lift adjustment was poor. Overall build quality was not great. I serviced a couple of the larger models, and they were better. Still sharp attack and little sustain, though. Not Baldwin artist quality, but adequate build on those. Kind of Kimball like. A good tech could improve both models over the factory efforts. I couldn't get the dealers to pay for extra prep, so they got delivered with factory issues intact. It seemed as iff the Baldwin Chickerings were modeled off these, but I don't know......

Most of those I saw had hammers that were some harder than were appropriate for the scale. I asked why and was told that the original hammers specified weren't "bright" enough. Apparently this was another casualty of a piano being made to sound loud on the showroom floor at the expense of how it was going to sound in its intended environment.

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
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Dee102 Offline OP
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Thanks again Bob and Del, I appreciate the build insight. I'll have the included tune done and For the next tune I will look up for a certified tech to come out to see what type of sound adjustments they think may improve the sharpness. They might also be able to check to sound pressure as well. I think I noticed one key that just sounds louder with the same pressure applied as others. -Dee

Last edited by Dee102; 07/02/17 10:25 AM.

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