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#2928702 12/31/19 01:41 PM
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Greetings Everyone,

I'm caught in a dilemna, I have a very old BLUTHNER (circa 1955-1965). It has been through the wars. It didn't come with the sympathetic 4th string, like some models did; but in its time, it sounded beautifully. It does have the old ivory / wood(black) keys. It has now a few cracks in the soundboard (repaired), and most assuredly a crack or 2 in the pin block. I was trying for years to keep it up. But the technician I had tuning it, retired. On average it takes 4 tunings a year to keep it sounding "ok". The biggest problem is the humidity bouncing from 25% in winter (-20 outside), to +40(summer) and humidity in the 80's. Even with the a/c on (window) I can't get humidity down under 55%.

As well all know pianos love the humidity between 45% & 55% . I do have a P105 (Yamaha) that I've wired into my computer. There is nothing that can duplicate a real piano for playing and practising on; but that said, is it time to let this one go? I doubt its worth anything to anyone, except the keys. So I'd probably remove the keys and hammers and then junk the rest...

What your thoughts?


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My thought: control the humidity so you can control the tuning stability. . The AC will not be enough; you need a dehumidifier.
This is, of course, if you feel like there is nothing like playing an acoustic.
You will need to decide if you want to provide the care the piano needs.

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With the retirement of your technician, I would recommend finding a new and reliable technician and have him/her assess the condition of the piano to determine whether or not, under the conditions the piano has to live in, it is worth keeping or replacing. Keeping may involve extensive work and that has to be factored into the decision.

Regards,


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Originally Posted by BruceD
With the retirement of your technician, I would recommend finding a new and reliable technician and have him/her assess the condition of the piano to determine whether or not, under the conditions the piano has to live in, it is worth keeping or replacing. Keeping may involve extensive work and that has to be factored into the decision.
Yes. You need to find out what repairs are needed to make it sound better and hold a tune better and what you need to do to stabilize the ambient conditions. You don't seem to have all this information.

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Ivory is not terribly valuable, and trading in it can be problematic. Be careful not to run afoul of any new regulations!

A room dehumidifier may help augment the AC when humidity runs high.

Did your technician tell you that the pin block was cracked? As PLU noted, you don't seem to have all the information you need to make these decisions.


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I'd probably give up on it- and because of the cracked pin block and constant tunings. Even with sentimental value, it may not be worth sacrificing a better piano experience.

You might even learn some things with a replacement- even another older piano. The experience could very well be beneficial.

Maybe not great pianos, but good pianos can be found between $500 and $1000, and even baby grands, whose actions are superior given everything else, and if you have the space. If you aren't in financial straits, finding a new piano can be fun.

Find something better if you still can.

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A mid-twentieth century piano is not that old. Is that the right age? What is the serial number?

I assume this is a grand, since you are talking about the aliquot strings. It could be worth restoring. Blüthner pin blocks are easy enough to rout out around the pin field and stick new wood in.


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I would try and give the piano away if you can't sell it for a reasonable amount.
Some rebuilders of pianos may be interested even if it was made in the DDR
because of the name .I was actually told that by one rebuilder of pianos.
I went through this with a Kawai piano I owned for over 50 years.That piano
held perfect tuning right to the end .There were other problems.It badly needed
to be restrung for a start. I sold it to a Kawai dealer where it is used as a practice
piano for young students .I hope she is still going !
It was sold for about $2,500CAD
The tone of that piano was gorgeous and I think.that was the reason they were
interested in still buying it for that price.

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Originally Posted by BDB
A mid-twentieth century piano is not that old. Is that the right age? What is the serial number?

I assume this is a grand, since you are talking about the aliquot strings. It could be worth restoring. Blüthner pin blocks are easy enough to rout out around the pin field and stick new wood in.

This sounds good !

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Originally Posted by BDB
A mid-twentieth century piano is not that old. Is that the right age? What is the serial number?

I assume this is a grand, since you are talking about the aliquot strings. It could be worth restoring. Blüthner pin blocks are easy enough to rout out around the pin field and stick new wood in.

I was thinking the same thing, BDB, but didn't want to say anything.

Originally Posted by Boots
I have a very old BLUTHNER (circa 1955-1965). It has been through the wars.

The only war(s) I can think of between 1955 and 1965 is the Vietnam war. But I have heard and read good things about the Bluthner brand pianos.

Also, I have a couple of pianos from 1969, and they are not anywhere close to needing rebuilding, and in quite good, playable condition, in my view (a Howard/Kawai 550 grand and a Kawai K48A upright).

But when a piano reaches the point of not being enjoyable or pleasant to play, it may well be time for moving on to something else. As much as I like older pianos, and own a couple of very old uprights, that are old and worn, but still tunable and enjoyable to play, I've come to the conclusion that newer is better, usually; or perhaps completely rebuilt by a skilled rebuilder/tech.

Good luck, and Happy New Year! smile

Rick



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Excuse my saying so, but your reasoning does not sound logical. You have not actually said that the piano does not hold its tune. If the ambient humidity is bouncing up and down in the way you describe, ANY piano is going to require frequent retuning. You should try to control the humidity. Maybe get a Dampp Chaser and an undercover?

How do you know the pinblock is cracked? Maybe with humidity control the piano would hold its tune?

By the way, many Bluthners do not have aliquot strings. (Mine does not.)


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I’m curious if the tech ever mentioned the humidity should be controlled in order to reduce the frequency of tunings? INHO, he should have.


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Is it definitely circa 1960? I've seen plenty of old Bluthners of that vintage and none of them have deteriorated as much as yours seems to have. Confirmation of the age might affect what action you and your tech decide on.

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OP, do you wish to keep the piano if you didn't have to tune it as much? If you truly believe the humidity swing is the root cause, I would look into making the piano room insulated so that you can control the humidity better.

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Originally Posted by jamesly
OP, do you wish to keep the piano if you didn't have to tune it as much? If you truly believe the humidity swing is the root cause, I would look into making the piano room insulated so that you can control the humidity better.


Severe humidity swings do cause a piano to go out of tune. Root cause of the instability is not known but the humidity needs controlling, as even a new piano in perfect condition will go out of tune with wild, uncontrolled swings in humidity. The piano then needs to be evaluated by a tech for other issues.


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Have you found the serial no of this piano? Someone here will be able to help
in finding out how old this piano is ! If you share it with us .

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Rickster, I'm pretty sure he meant "through the wars" figuratively to mean having seen hard use and or little care.

KZ


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Quote
What your thoughts?


That we don't have enough information to have many, as others have noted.

We don't know that the pin block is cracked. We don't know if you've ever invested in the normal humidity controls that are easily available (like Dampp-Chaser, room humidifier/dehumidifier, soundboard cloth underneath), and we don't know the maintenance history of the piano. How often has it been regulated? Did it suffer from insufficient care before you owned it? Real thoughts require real information! smile

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Originally Posted by KurtZ
Rickster, I'm pretty sure he meant "through the wars" figuratively to mean having seen hard use and or little care.

KZ

Kurt, that could well have been what Boots meant, but I don't know that I have ever heard that particular figure of speech/metaphor/euphemism. And, with the piano being a well known European brand, I assumed he literally meant the World Wars.

Here in the south, there is a saying, "been through the mill", or "road hard and put up wet"... to mean having had a hard life. smile

But I'm always looking to learn something new and broaden my vocabulary. smile

Thanks,

Rick


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Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by KurtZ
Rickster, I'm pretty sure he meant "through the wars" figuratively to mean having seen hard use and or little care.

KZ

Kurt, that could well have been what Boots meant, but I don't know that I have ever heard that particular figure of speech/metaphor/euphemism.

But I'm always looking to learn something new and broaden my vocabulary. smile

Thanks,

Rick

It’s used quite a lot in the UK at least.

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