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Joined: Apr 2021
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Hi Everyone,
I've been reading this forum for a little bit and finally getting ready to buy a piano.

I came across this Hazelton Bros Piano from a private seller.
[Linked Image]

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[Linked Image]

The seller mentioned it was tuned for a year and then fell out of tune, so it needs tuning, but otherwise that everything works just fine.

I am just learning to play, so for that purpose, I don't really need any great piano, but I also have a home recording studio and I plan to record other musicians. Therefore, I'd only be interested in the Piano if anyone can let me know if this is known to be a great sounding model. I understand that it will depend on the actual piano to hear if it has a good sound. I plan to hire a professional tuner to come out and inspect it. But I would only go through the expense if this could possibly be a great sounding piano?
The other reasons why I'm looking at this are: I like the look, it seems pretty tall (so I'm hopping it has long strings and a large sound board), the company name, from what I read is supposed to be good (I could be wrong on this one), and finally, it's being offered to me for $200.

I'm waiting on the serial number to determine the year, but I'd like to see if it's even worth investigating further.

Thank you so much in advance to anyone that can shed some light into this model.


Thank you.

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It looks to be about 120 years or more old. It likely has a bunch of things wrong with it, besides the problem with the music desk. I suspect it would cost at least $5000 to get to the point where the sound and touch could be assessed properly.

I think it is at least $200 overpriced.


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Hello, and welcome to Piano World!

Having owned a few 100 + year old upright pianos, and still own two of them, BDB is probably right in that it probably needs work to probably play well, probably. smile

On the other hand, it could have had some work done on it in the past. If it is over 100 years old, the cabinet finish looks nice in the photos, which means it was probably refinished at some point in time.

The most important factor in older pianos is tunability and the ability to hold a tuning for a reasonable period of time; plus, you want the action to be playable. On the other hand, there is the "honky-tonk" piano sound, which more people like than you would think, which might be fun, or not.

My best suggestion? Take a look at it, and play it and see what you think. Remember, the really old upright pianos from yesteryear are extremely heavy and usually wider and deeper (front to back) than modern uprights. So, the footprint it will make in your home will be a size 13 wide, at least, probably. smile

Also, I agree with BDB in that the piano will remain unsold, likely, even at $200, and would probably ("there I go again", Ronald Reagan:-) be better if it were free.

On the other hand, sometimes you can find an old upright piano really cheap or free that plays and sounds better than most new upright pianos.

Not to sound silly or cynical, but I had my second COVID-19 vaccine shot yesterday and I think it has made me silly and cynical this morning. smile

Good luck

Rick


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This piano should be free.
If you’re going to try and use it for recording, it’s really important that whatever you choose can be tuned to concert pitch, stably, so it can be played with other instruments.

If your budget is under $750, try and find a used 45” studio that is tunable, like a Baldwin Hamilton, or get a $600 digital and then spend $150 on a few software piano VSTs you can plug in and choose from. They can sound pretty great, if you take the time to get them set up properly and have a fast enough computer.


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Siniarch, I will join Rick in welcoming you to Piano World.

With a piano like this, it is all about condition now, much less about whether Hazelton was a good brand when it was made. As BDB says, old pianos like this generally have lots of things wrong with them, and are not worth the cost of restoring. On the other hand, you might just be lucky - it is highly unlikely to be in excellent condition, but it is just possible that the pinblock might be ok so that it will hold a tuning, that the hammers are not too worn, etc, so that it sounds acceptable when you play it. It seems that you have not yet tried playing it. So, the first thing to do is go and inspect it, and try it out - and then decide whether it meets your approval sufficiently that it might be worth getting a tech to come and look at it. But bear in mind that the expense of the latter might be money down the drain.

Rick - snap! I had my 2nd jab yesterday too.

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You have Probably already thought of this: you need to ask exactly when it was last tuned. The longer it was, the more difficult it will be to tune and the more it will cost. There is certainly a possibility that it will never keep a tune

I love these old upright pianos. I owned one that was absolutely wonderful, but I recognize they’re not all the same. Be prepared to pay a lot of money to have it moved because they are incredibly heavy


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Originally Posted by David-G
Rick - snap! I had my 2nd jab yesterday too.

A bit OT, but Congratulations to us both! smile

The first shot I didn't feel at all, not even a pinch, and not even any arm soreness or other side affects. This one stung a bit, but still no side affects. And the arm soreness is so minimal it's not worth mentioning.

I think I'll go out and play a tune on Ol' Bessie, my 100 year old unrestored Wellington upright piano. Believe it or not, the action is as slick and fast as any piano I've ever played, despite the age and wear. smile

Rick


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It looks beautiful, but if I had to make assumptions based on experience, then it should be free, and they should be paying you to take it away! In other words, it probably isn't worth anything and will cost way more than you realize to make it playable. I think I need to add a line to my signature that says "Old pianos are just that--old pianos."

BUT, we could all be wrong and it's a gem worth thousands and the seller doesn't realize what they are sitting on. Extremely unlikely, but you never know. Go check it out, and it if seems okay, pay to have a tech look at it, but the cost of a tech to look at it will surely be more than the piano is worth.

Just the tuning costs alone to see if it can even be stable and hold a tuning aren't likely worth it.


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We owned a 1918 Hazleton brothers grand piano for about 20 years. Before that, I owned an upright similar to the one that you’re looking at. Hazleton was an excellent maker, but that was more than 100 years ago. Unless you are a piano technician, you should look elsewhere. If you go to a reputable piano store, they will have good used instruments that will play well and probably not give you too much trouble.

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Originally Posted by Rickster
Not to sound silly or cynical, but I had my second COVID-19 vaccine shot yesterday and I think it has made me silly and cynical this morning. smile

Rick

And just how do you distinguish that from your every day life????

laugh


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I want to thank everyone for their time and knowledge. I guess I am always searching for that diamond in the rough, but everyone here has much more experience than myself and are correct that this might not be a good solution for me. I think I'm going to keep looking and try and save up for a better opportunity. I love the idea of buying a 100 year old piano and restoring it, but I neither have the knowledge, time, nor money to do that at the time, so I will pass.

Again, all your help and wise words are much appreciated it.

SiniArch.

Last edited by siniarch; 04/14/21 11:49 AM.
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A piano like this will definitely inspire. If the action feels good, hire a technician to check it out, but of course as the others have said the price is deceptive.

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Look for a studio upright made since about 1960. That is your best deal these days. Baldwin Hamilton, Everett, Story & Clark school pianos are good sturdy makes.


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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
Originally Posted by Rickster
Not to sound silly or cynical, but I had my second COVID-19 vaccine shot yesterday and I think it has made me silly and cynical this morning. smile

Rick

And just how do you distinguish that from your every day life????

laugh

Sometimes it's hard to tell, Steve.

Maybe the second COVID-19 vaccine shot brings out the best in us, the worst, or the same ole' same ole'. smile

Wrote a new blues song a week ago with the lyrics "It's the same ole' same ole' baby, as far as I can see; I said it's the same ole' same ole' baby, when it comes to you and me". Okay, I'll spare you the agony of the rest of it...

Yep, still silly and cynical, but I did enjoy playing and singing my new blues song. smile

All the best!

Rick


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Hi Everyone,

Again, thanks so much for all the info.

I tried searching the forum for info about Young Chang pianos but couldn't find anything. Specifically the U121 (similar to the Yamaha U1) or U-3 (Yamaha U3). I see in my area I can get either one of these for about $1800. The U121 is a 2010 model that seems well kept, and the U3 does not mention year and has no serial number? Also, I see that the Young Chang model numbers are now U131 instead of U-3. I'm assuming they first came out with the U-3 models and then decided to rename them to U131 for fear of a lawsuit by Yamaha. So I'm guessing it's an older model?

So, just wondering if these are good prices for these pianos? Whether I should be saving up for something similar. I'd love to get a Yamaha, but even a used U1 cannot be had for less than about $3500 in my area. I'm thinking those $1800 prices could be brought down to $1600 or so.

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Originally Posted by siniarch
Hi Everyone,

Again, thanks so much for all the info.

I tried searching the forum for info about Young Chang pianos but couldn't find anything. Specifically the U121 (similar to the Yamaha U1) or U-3 (Yamaha U3). I see in my area I can get either one of these for about $1800. The U121 is a 2010 model that seems well kept, and the U3 does not mention year and has no serial number? Also, I see that the Young Chang model numbers are now U131 instead of U-3. I'm assuming they first came out with the U-3 models and then decided to rename them to U131 for fear of a lawsuit by Yamaha. So I'm guessing it's an older model?

So, just wondering if these are good prices for these pianos? Whether I should be saving up for something similar. I'd love to get a Yamaha, but even a used U1 cannot be had for less than about $3500 in my area. I'm thinking those $1800 prices could be brought down to $1600 or so.

Hello, siniarch,

Sorry for the bit of OT (off topic) banter earlier, but it does happen on occasion.

Back to your piano search, I'm thinking the Young Chang U121 is equivalent to 48 inches tall, which is a nice size upright piano. The U131 would be right at 52 inches tall. Not sure the "U" on the YC is related to the U model Yamaha. And, I'm not familiar with any YC/Yamaha law suit, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Some here speak well of the Young Chang brand and some do not. I've played some Young Chang pianos that sounded nice to me, except one older 48" YC upright. But that one experience is not enough to draw any conclusions.

As for buying an acoustic piano you like and can afford now, and then upgrading later, as you learn to play better and appreciate the nuances of an acoustic piano, (which I think most here would fit that group) I do think that is likely the most common approach to acoustic piano ownership, although some people buy a high-end, expensive piano right out of the gate (if they can afford it).

If the YC you are looking at is in good condition, and you like the way it sounds and plays, and it checks out by a piano tech, I don't think $1800 is too much to pay; $1500 or $1600 would be even better. When it comes to pianos there are three things that matter the most, condition, condition, and condition. smile

Good luck and keep us informed of your decision!

Rick


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Hi Rick,

Thank you so much for your reply and no worries about the OT, it's quite nice seeing such comradery amongst the members here.

As for the Young Chang, it's good to know that for $1600-1700 they could be a good buy if they are in good condition. I'm worried about the U-3 not having a serial and not knowing how old it is, but the U121 model is only 11 years old. I would think that it still has many many years left on it since it's so new. Also, I would assume that the newer the piano, the better the quality coming out of Young Chang as they are getting a better name now a days from what I can gather.

I might be more inclined to have a piano tech inspect the 2010 U121 than the U3 just for age reasons.

Again, thank you so much for being so generous with your time and knowledge.

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Originally Posted by siniarch
Hi Rick,

Thank you so much for your reply and no worries about the OT, it's quite nice seeing such comradery amongst the members here.

As for the Young Chang, it's good to know that for $1600-1700 they could be a good buy if they are in good condition. I'm worried about the U-3 not having a serial and not knowing how old it is, but the U121 model is only 11 years old. I would think that it still has many many years left on it since it's so new. Also, I would assume that the newer the piano, the better the quality coming out of Young Chang as they are getting a better name now a days from what I can gather.

I might be more inclined to have a piano tech inspect the 2010 U121 than the U3 just for age reasons.

Again, thank you so much for being so generous with your time and knowledge.

I'm no pro, but generally speaking, the serial number on most pianos is printed/stamped in ink on the cast iron plate. If the taller YC has no serial number on the plate, where it usually is, near the top front of the plate (center or right), usually near the embossed model number, if equipped so. However, there are reasons, I suppose, a serial number might be missing on a piano, like if the plate had been repainted and the serial number not re-printed or stamped. If that is the case, that is not a professional practice, because the serial number is important.

I too would be Leary of any piano without a serial number, if nothing else, just to identify/verify the age, as you say. If the U121 is from 2010, that is pretty new in my book. My newest piano is from 1999.

The taller U3/U131 might sound a little richer in the lower bass section. But the fact it has no legible serial number is a big red flag.

Good luck, and keep us informed of your piano search!

Rick


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