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Hello folks. I’m a new born member. I’ve been a drummer all my life (I’m 57) and just started learning piano.

I’m going to see a Baldwin M at a local store today. It’s circa 1958. Described as good shape with excellent sound board.

The price is under $2k which is much lower than any other I’ve seen listed. They say the cabinet is only in fair shape which doesn’t bother me.

Anything I should be particularly looking for here in terms of problems? On the face of it, it seems like a no-brainer.

Thanks in advance

Last edited by JS335; 04/23/21 01:26 PM.

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It definitely sounds like it's worth trying out!

Assuming that you enjoy playing it, and that it is indeed in good condition, cabinet notwithstanding (the action is even, the pedals work, no sticking keys, you like the feel and tone) I would strongly encourage you to hire a registered piano technician to evaluate it. It's usually about $100 for this service, and it might save you a fortune and a great deal of heartache down the road. You can find one here: https://portal.ptg.org/4dcgi/directory/rpt/person.html

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That’s really cheap for a Baldwin M in the Boston area. I think only a tech would be able give the rundown on what it’s condition is, but play it and see what it’s like. How is the action, any sticking keys, dead notes, buzzing sounds, etc. How worn are the hammers, is it really dirty/dusty/strings rusting, etc. You should be able to get a general idea of condition, then you can decide if you want to go forward, in which case I would absolutely get an independent tech to go over it. Good luck! 😊


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I appreciate the advice very much.


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In my area, an all original M of that age might drop below 2k from a private seller. If it's reasonably playable, they'd probably ask more. From a dealer, I'm surprised to see it so low (but dealers tend to clean them up, address issues, offer a warranty, etc). So, I might not expect much just based on those assumptions. But it can't hurt to look.

I always like to think about what words don't say as much as what they do. For example, "excellent soundboard" doesn't necessarily mean that the bridges don't have cracks.

Go check it out. If you like it, then, as others have noted, you'll want to have it inspected by a technician who represents your interests. An inspection will be money well spent.


BTW, my own Baldwin M is a 1950, so don't let the age worry you. Its condition is what matters (but, again, given the asking price, my gut tells me that it's condition may be lacking). OTOH, you may find and diamond in the rough...

I'm anxious to hear about it though, so be sure to return and report! thumb


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Originally Posted by JS335
Hello folks. I’m a new born member. I’ve been a drummer all my life (I’m 57) and just started learning piano.

I’m going to see a Baldwin M at a local store today. It’s circa 1958. Described as good shape with excellent sound board.

The price is under $2k which is much lower than any other I’ve seen listed. They say the cabinet is only in fair shape which doesn’t bother me.

Anything I should be particularly looking for here in terms of problems? On the face of it, it seems like a no-brainer.

Thanks in advance

Being a musician most of your life, you'll know pretty quickly whether or not you like the vintage Baldwin M. I agree that having a tech fully inspect the piano (before purchase) is a great idea, although it is being sold by a dealer.

As for what to look for in an older (or newer), used piano, my first instinct is to see how the keys look; are they level, spaced evenly? How good is the tuning? Way out, somewhat out, not too bad? How do the keys feel to your fingers when depressed, sticky keys? How do you like the tone? Lots of hammer wear, string groves, or no? Are the strings rusted badly, some, any at all? How do the wound bass strings look?

As Retsacnal mentioned, you can do a quick check of the bridges for small cracks at the bridge pins. Also, it would be good to know how tight the tuning pins are. If the piano won't hold a tuning at all, or for very long, you don't want that piano, unless you really like it and it is dirt cheap of free, and then you can decide what to refurbish and how extensively.

Just a few things to consider.

Good luck and keep us informed, and welcome to Piano World! smile

Rick


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Thanks again for the great insights. I saw the piano today. I have to say it seems to be in very good shape other than the cosmetics. No sticking keys no rattling or buzzing. No cracks in the bridges.

To my ears the tone sounded full and well rounded. Slightly mellow but not lifeless. I played a couple of the other pianos the guy had there, a used Yamaha 5‘8“ baby grand, a U1 and U3.
The tone certainly wasn’t as bright as those but didn’t pale in comparison. The action seemed good to me too. It didn’t have the immediacy of the Yamaha‘s but again not miles apart.

The guy struck me as a pretty straightforward no nonsense kind of guy. I didn’t get a salesman vibe from him. He said he and his daughter run the place and they like to turn over the inventory as quickly as possible. In his words, “we’re not running a museum “.

Seriously considering grabbing it.

Last edited by JS335; 04/23/21 08:12 PM.

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Welcome to the forum. Is the dealer covering anything in terms of warranty, or moving the piano to your home, or tuning it after it is moved?

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Good questions C++. I was thinking of offering $xx including delivery. I’ll ask about a warranty and tuning. I doubt he’ll offer much in the way of a warranty for 60-year-old piano but maybe I can at least get 30 days in case something drastic happens.


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Originally Posted by JS335
Thanks again for the great insights. I saw the piano today. I have to say it seems to be in very good shape other than the cosmetics. No sticking keys no rattling or buzzing. No cracks in the bridges.

To my ears the tone sounded full and well rounded. Slightly mellow but not lifeless. I played a couple of the other pianos the guy had there, a used Yamaha 5‘8“ baby grand, a U1 and U3.
The tone certainly wasn’t as bright as those but didn’t pale in comparison. The action seemed good to me too. It didn’t have the immediacy of the Yamaha‘s but again not miles apart.

The guy struck me as a pretty straightforward no nonsense kind of guy. I didn’t get a salesman vibe from him. He said he and his daughter run the place and they like to turn over the inventory as quickly as possible. In his words, “we’re not running a museum “.

Seriously considering grabbing it.

Sounds good! And, it sounds like you are not a complete piano novice, and know a bit about what you are looking at, particularly when comparing the Baldwin M to the newer Yamahas.

I've played some $150K Steinway concert grands, and, although they sounded and played fantastic, at the end of the day, although they sounded better than my pianos at home, they were not head and shoulders better than my pianos I had at home, which cost substantially less. Not sure you could call it the law of diminishing returns, but you know what I'm talking about (I hope:-). smile

Good luck, whatever you decide to do!

Rick


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Originally Posted by JS335
Seriously considering grabbing it.
Don’t wait if you really want it. At that price it will sell fast, if it’s really as playable as you say. Maybe put a deposit on it to buy you some time if you want a tech to look at it.

The tone sounds about right, Baldwins have a distinctly American sound. They are much more mellow than Asian pianos. 😊👍

Good luck, I hope you get it! I searched for years for a Baldwin M, just never came across one in my area.


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Originally Posted by ebonyk
Originally Posted by JS335
Seriously considering grabbing it.
Don’t wait if you really want it. At that price it will sell fast, if it’s really as playable as you say.

Yes, truly good deals tend to go fast.

But don't skip the inspection.


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Thanks Rick.


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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
But don't skip the inspection.
LOL I was editing, owe me a beer! 😂😂😂


Lisa
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Originally Posted by ebonyk
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
But don't skip the inspection.
LOL I was editing, owe me a beer! 😂😂😂

thumb ha


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A warranty on a 60 year old grand would be highly unusual.

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[Linked Image]

Possibly a very dumb question but I noticed the lid does not have a hinge and extension panel. Do you think this is the design or is it missing?


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Originally Posted by JS335
[Linked Image]

Possibly a very dumb question but I noticed the lid does not have a hinge and extension panel. Do you think this is the design or is it missing?

It is possible that is the original lid, front and rear (front lid is usually called the fly-lid) and the long hinge just got misplaced somewhere along the way. In the pic, the music desk does look like an original Baldwin music desk, even if it happens to be a different lid assembly.

If you really like the piano, I'm sure a long lid-hinge could be found and installed. Maybe that is why the price was so reasonable.

It'd probably be worth $100 or so to have a qualified tech look it over, especially with the odd lid assembly. But you will be playing the piano and not the lid... smile

Good luck!

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That is the original design of this piano. If you google “ Art Deco” Baldwin you’ll see other photos. They were produced during the late ‘50’s to early 60’s and black as well as a maple/light walnut finish. Otherwise the internal components are a typical Model M.


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Originally Posted by JS335
[Linked Image]

Possibly a very dumb question but I noticed the lid does not have a hinge and extension panel. Do you think this is the design or is it missing?

That's an Art Deco model of sorts (I forget the style name).
IIRC, it's got the M's internals but significantly stripped down casework.

It's the design, but some might say the design is "missing" something.

There was a thread a couple years back (+/-) in which someone found a playable one at the trash dump. As I recall, they took it home intending to fix it up. I don't remember any followup posts.

In that it's a Baldwin M, it's probably got some potential, but I suspect value is going to be nebulous, certainly lower.

Now it sort of makes sense at $1800 in a shop (because I'd think 1800 is too much). At the same time, if you're the person who loves the style, then all that doesn't matter.


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