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Joined: Jul 2001
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What was your first piano, and what are your memories about it? My first piano at the age of 7 was a Francis Bacon upright, with the player mechanism removed. My mother bought it for me, and I learned a great deal on it, but when my parents moved to their retirement home it "somehow" didn't go with them, and presumably was junked. What's your fondest memories of your starter instrument? Little spinets or uprights, or granny's old grand from the old days? That junker in the school auditorium? Or even some digital thing? I'd love to know views about pianos lost and remembered, and perhaps regretted at their loss.

Last edited by cfhosford; 06/13/21 04:25 PM.

1978 Chickering Patrician
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In my family, we had a Lyon-Healy upright. I don't know the model or size, maybe 45 inches tall, or something like that. I thought it was fine, though I'm not an audiophile. As a kid, I took lessons for several years, but got to a point where I wasn't enjoying it, and then I stopped taking lessons, and didn't play much. Later, when I was a teenager, I started playing again and enjoyed it more, though I never resumed lessons. Maybe I enjoyed it more because I didn't "have" to do it? Or maybe I had gotten older and wiser by then?

My grandmother had an upright piano as well. I have a vague memory that it was a Chickering, and that it was always polished. I also remember not liking the tone as much as the piano at home. It seemed muffled or muddy or too rich, not sure how to describe it.

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I learned on an old Story and Clark upright — I don’t know the year of manufacture but I suspect sometime around the 30s. I don’t have any idea how it would be rated, but I thought it was wonderful and moved that piano whenever I moved; until one day my tech told me he could no longer tune it. 😥


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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My folks divorced when I was four. When I visited my Dad in Connecticut during the summers I had access to a 1952 Baldwin Acrosonic. Played that one off and on from 1954 to 1971. Back in California during the remainder of the year our first home piano was purchased used in 1956 - a console with only 64 keys - which I quickly outgrew. Unfortunately I have no recollection of the specific brand. We sold it in 1959 for $100 - and then purchased a tall McPhail upright from (I'm guessing) the 1920s for $350. That one got me through high school and into college. Fortunately, the McPhail worked just fine in my bedroom - but when the family moved into another house, the old upright did not fit the new family room "decor" so (without consulting with me) around 1967 it was sold it and replaced by a nice looking but mediocre piano shaped object (either a Kimball or Jansen spinet). At that point, I was out on my own, so it really didn't matter. smile


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
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It's funny how the $300 threshold seems to be normal for pianos and cars. For years after college I kept buying various used cars for $300 (Austin, Nash, Olds, etc.), until I got a little flush with a full time job. Is $300 the standard piano threshold for used/junk pianos?

Last edited by cfhosford; 06/13/21 05:08 PM.

1978 Chickering Patrician
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Right before I was born, my Mom and Dad purchased a new, 1965 Baldwin Acrosonic. I absolutely loved that piano! It was well cared for and got me through college as a music major. Then, in a moment of stupidity that I regret to this day, I traded it in on a Roland DP in the early 1990s.

There are so many wonderful memories tied to that little Baldwin spinet. I was taught from a very early age to treat it well and began learning how to play around 4 years old. Mom was an accomplished pianist and played very well “by ear”, a skill that I unfortunately didn’t inherit.

I just recently purchased a new Yamaha U1 and am very thankful to again have a quality acoustic piano in the house.


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Welcome to PW and congrats on the. U1


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Like quite a few others on this thread, I learned on a Baldwin Arsenic.

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When I was five or six, I really wanted to be a ballerina. My parents eventually put me in a ballet class. At some point, they asked if I wanted to continue ballet or try piano. I said I’d like to try piano. It was implied that if I wanted to go back to ballet in the future, I could. They got a cheap keyboard (it was the early 90s), and I took lessons for maybe 6 months or a year, until we moved from Bangkok to the DC metro area. I was 9 years old, and I guess it was clear to my parents that I was pretty interested in continuing with the piano. My new teacher was very adamant that I needed a real piano and not a keyboard. My parents got me a new Yamaha M306 console. It was never a great piano, but it saw me through many years and never gave any problems, despite the fact that we put it through some pretty big moves. It went with us to Mexico City, and then when my parents moved to Bogota Colombia, it moved with them. I went to live with my aunt and uncle, where I played their (much better) U1. When I went to college and my parents were about to move to Ottawa, they decided to sell the piano. I wasn’t consulted. They had bought some furniture in Colombia, and they were going to be above the weight allowance for the move. Selling the piano put them back within the allowance. I had probably outgrown the console, but I was still quite disappointed to learn that it wasn’t going to stay with our family. I have many happy memories of that piano.

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Pianoloverus- I hope that was an acrosonic and that there was nothing arsenical about the piano!

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Originally Posted by cfhosford
It's funny how the $300 threshold seems to be normal for pianos and cars. For years after college I kept buying various used cars for $300 (Austin, Nash, Olds, etc.), until I got a little flush with a full time job. Is $300 the standard piano threshold for used/junk pianos?
Good point. In 1967 I paid $375 for my first car - a 1954 Chevy Bel Air. ha


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Originally Posted by KSCardinal
Right before I was born, my Mom and Dad purchased a new, 1965 Baldwin Acrosonic. I absolutely loved that piano! It was well cared for and got me through college as a music major. Then, in a moment of stupidity that I regret to this day, I traded it in on a Roland DP in the early 1990s.

There are so many wonderful memories tied to that little Baldwin spinet. I was taught from a very early age to treat it well and began learning how to play around 4 years old. Mom was an accomplished pianist and played very well “by ear”, a skill that I unfortunately didn’t inherit.

I just recently purchased a new Yamaha U1 and am very thankful to again have a quality acoustic piano in the house.
Welcome to PW !! Did you major in piano in college?


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We had a Story & Clark studio. My sister still has it.


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I learned on a Baldwin console piano purchased brand new circa 1981/2 by my parents as I started lessons. I remember the payment coupon book and my mother sending off the check each month to pay it off. Lol.
Although I was lucky to have a decent new upright piano, the piano that really inspired me to learn and to continue lessons was my piano teacher’s 1930’s Steinway M. I was obsessed by that piano, how it looked, how it sounded, and to my untrained ears the powerful base etc. At that point my biggest wish was for my parents to upgrade to a grand piano. Unfortunately the grand piano never came and I had to make do with the Baldwin upright.


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I cannot remember what our first piano was....the more I try and remember the more confused I become....!
What I remember is that it was tall and rather old (I was also much smaller) It had a big booming bass and singing treble that seemed unique, from my meagre experience with pianos at that time.
The only ones I remember playing were my teachers petite grand, and her nasty upright with an awfull sound.Others that come to mind were the school piano,and the piano in the church hall.These not being really memorable.

This huge Gothic looking piano of my childhood remains both a mystery and joyous memory, so nothing like pianoloverus's Arsenic, thank goodness! Many today had digital pianos they learned on. I wonder if they also have warm memories about their first pianos?

Last edited by tre corda; 06/13/21 07:26 PM.

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My first piano was a Thayer upright - one of those long forgotten American makes from the early 1900s. Thing was a beast that withstood a ton of abuse. It was my mom's piano as a child and when I was 7, she moved it from her parents' house in Portland to our house 450 miles away. In the back of a pickup. In winter. But it still played pretty well and I spent many a happy hour with it. And then one year she lent it to an outdoor summer theatre when I was in college. That summer outside was the beginning of the end for it. When it was returned, it was still playable, but barely. I graduated and moved out shortly after and took it with me since I was the only one who still played. And it moved back to Portland with me a year later, but I hated trying to play it at that point. I soon traded it in on my first grand - the store gave me a $200 credit for it, which was probably $400 more than it was worth. I loved that piano and I advanced pretty far with it, but when it was time to part with it, I had no regrets.


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Originally Posted by Carey
Originally Posted by KSCardinal
Right before I was born, my Mom and Dad purchased a new, 1965 Baldwin Acrosonic. I absolutely loved that piano! It was well cared for and got me through college as a music major. Then, in a moment of stupidity that I regret to this day, I traded it in on a Roland DP in the early 1990s.

There are so many wonderful memories tied to that little Baldwin spinet. I was taught from a very early age to treat it well and began learning how to play around 4 years old. Mom was an accomplished pianist and played very well “by ear”, a skill that I unfortunately didn’t inherit.

I just recently purchased a new Yamaha U1 and am very thankful to again have a quality acoustic piano in the house.
Welcome to PW !! Did you major in piano in college?

No, I was a trumpet performance major. Ended up in the IT industry and haven’t played my trumpet in ages. I still play the piano regularly however. Getting me a good start and instilling a love of music was one of the greatest gift my Mom ever “gave” me! Playing the piano forces me to concentrate on the music and I completely forget my worries and stresses. It’s truly therapeutic.


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1965 Baldwin Acrosonic (1966-1993)
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AB Chase Model Model W 1920-1921. Bought after restoring done in the 70's. Not touched since the 80's.

Sampled it before it got junked this year:

https://www.pianobook.co.uk/library/ab-chase/

Seen better days.


1928 Mason & Hamlin Model A
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We had a Cable spinet from the early 1950's at home. Starting in 9th grade, I was given a key to let myself into a nearby church off-hours where I could play a 3-manual Aeolian-Skinner electro-pneumatic pipe organ for up to a couple of hours/day.

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A Kawai studio piano. I loved it and sold it when I left China in 2016.

As a boy we had a Fahr parlour grand, but that was not mine.


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
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