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#2834887 04/03/19 02:59 PM
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Hello,

It appears we will soon be reunited with our beloved 1899 Mason and Hamlin nine-foot grand (no screw-stringer nor spider). This instrument, in walnut, has been fabulous and reliable the last 24 years we have owned it (and played it pretty hard around five hours per day). Has required not a lot more than annual tuning and some string replacement. We have had it in Latin America for several years and it is now coming home to Houston but probably needs a thorough review. It definitely is ready for new hammer felt and probably restringing. I'm not sure on the action - it was rebuilt to a high standard in the 1960s or 70s. Could use some attention but could be salvaged perhaps. Same goes for pinblock. Case and soundboard are probably fine. The rim is as thick as my arm.

The problem is we no longer really need this piano as we have had to replace it with the long wait to repatriate it. Options are to sell/donate, lightly recondition it (maybe $5000) and then sell it, or completely rebuild it (replace action, etc, maybe $50,000) and see if it turns out good (which it could as it was already a pretty fabulous instrument before it deteriorated a bit to where it is today) and then perhaps keep it as a second piano. It would seem like a stretch for it to outperform the replacement piano, but I suppose that's possible. We have sentimental reasons to lean toward "saving" the piano but perhaps we can overcome those. Would be a shame for it to be junked, but I realize that may be reality.

I think I need to get it looked it right off the boat in Houston in order to make a decision. Any recommendations on who to ship it to for initial evaluation? Other advice???

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Are you saying you’d sell it for $5000 in its current condition? If so I might be interested, depending.

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Originally Posted by jsilva
Are you saying you’d sell it for $5000 in its current condition? If so I might be interested, depending.

I believe they are speaking of the cost to them for reconditioning it... I should think too that anyone would be highly interested in getting a 9' concert M&H grand for $5000! laugh


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I know they are fairly far away from Houston, but I would recommend Cunningham's of Philadelphia. They do excellent restoration work. I have recently serviced 2 pianos up here in northern Maine, which they rebuilt- a beautiful job. The S&Sons grand was especially nice work.
https://www.cunninghampiano.com/services/restorations/
Been doing high-quality restorations since 1891.

Edit: When I worked the DC/MD/PA areas years back, got to see many examples of the Cunningham craftsmanship- definitely amongst the top restorers.

Last edited by Rick_Parks; 04/03/19 06:32 PM.

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Unless there are no good rebuilders nearby I don't see why you have to ship it anywhere to get some quotes on what should/could be done and the cost. Don't rebuilders generally send someone to look at a piano in the owner's home if they are considering a rebuild? A knowledgeable tech not connected with a rebuilder would probably also be able to do an evaluation.

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Originally Posted by Rick_Parks
Originally Posted by jsilva
Are you saying you’d sell it for $5000 in its current condition? If so I might be interested, depending.

I believe they are speaking of the cost to them for reconditioning it... I should think too that anyone would be highly interested in getting a 9' concert M&H grand for $5000! laugh


Yes smile

I’d also recommend Cunningham. They do high quality rebuilding work.

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Left you a PM. Good Luck with your M&H. I bet it's a beauty. AK


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
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I Make Music that Lifts People Up & Brings Them Together
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As you can see, these guys have some experience in rebuilding a Mason&Hamlin concert grand:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=793twgEdcAY

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The thick rim adds a lot of mass that helps reflect the energy back into the board. Never thought the tension resonator was necessary, but oh well maybe it helped with sales after their bankruptcy due to the market having a negative reaction to the screw stringer ( which was a great idea just not accepted). Soundboard not ok if its 1890ish, I would consider the rim glue joint unreliable at this point. Iv'e popped out hundreds of boards and it amazes me how most will just fall out. Much better to start the 100 year cycle over again with a new board and modern glue. I wouldn't copy the engineering of the old board either, as there are many mistakes within that can be corrected and made better than before. After all, some of the same models sound better than the others.

I was talking to Cunningham awhile back and he seemed really interested in my soundboard research, and hopefully we can collaborate one day. Since the last time i talked to him i have gone into acoustic density research, vibrational modal analysis, and just added chladni testing on piano soundboards. None of which they were doing on pianos back then.
-chris

Last edited by Chernobieff Piano; 04/20/19 06:26 PM.

Chernobieff Piano Restorations
"Where Tone is Key"
Lenoir City, Tennessee U.S.A
www.chernobieffpiano.com
grandpianoman@protonmail.com

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