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Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 129
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More specific continuation of a previous thread.
There are a number of Knabe grand and concert grand pianos I can pick between as a project piano.
I'm finding in particular, a choice between rosewood knabe pianos. I love rosewood, I grew up in Baltimore, there are multiple full size grands to choose from (not just 5' baby grands) and inexpensive, and I enjoy the carving too. So I might well end up with Knabe. I see a number of chickerings too, most in the 5-6' range.
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Umm imagine I'm someone who knows nothing about cars and I just sent you a bunch of craigslist screenshots of sub-$2000 old toyotas, VWs, volvos, hondas, and the like that are in my budget. The car guys would be able to immediately advise, "no! don't get an old Volvo, the repair costs will eat you alive, no matter how low the purchase price" or "watch out for the transmission on that generation of chrysler." I'm the car guy in real life so I have an idea with what I'm cool with doing, where the skill level is medium to DIY and the normal labor cost is high (suspension, 'peripherals' like an alternator, brakes, and what's a serious issue (rust so bad we need an acetylene torch, bad transmission that HAS to be handled by a specialist for $5000).
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For old grands I'm getting the idea that I should be fine with refinishing and varnishing, replacing felts throughout, fine tuning the action (skilled but learnable); while things like a soundboard or pinblock I simply don't have the facilities for even if I thought I could acquire the skill.
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I'm also wary of getting an antique so old that none of the parts can be substituted with a modern replacement, so instead of happily ordering compatible $30 whippens online, I now have to break out the scrollsaw and lathe and crafting my own from scratch. But I don't know where those break-out years are for Knabe (or possibly Chickering). e.g., maybe I can order whippens for 1902 and newer but not prior. Mmm things like the tuning pins or agraffes aren't a problem, right? Whatever isn't standard, can be drilled to match the new standard.
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I'm asking specifically about this 6'4" Knabe, which I'll be seeing in person on Sunday but I'm not entirely sure what I should be checking for; something like a cracked pinblock would be hidden until I tried to get it tuned, for example.
The strings DO cross, so I'm confused why the bracing seems to be missing an entire leg (the usual triangle of support by the bass strings), and I'm worried if it's an older design that would be weaker. It appears to be a rosewood case, but oak fitted on top, another oddity. On the other hand, it's close to me and it's free, leaving me with plenty of funds to start restoring (I've got $3000 now, and budgeting $6000 for the whole project, estimating 2 yrs before wholly playable since this is to be my two-weekends-a-month hobby).

http://forum.pianoworld.com//gallery/42/medium/15222.png
http://forum.pianoworld.com//gallery/42/medium/15223.png
http://forum.pianoworld.com//gallery/42/medium/15224.png
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This is another immediately available option, but the seller wants $3000 (then it'll be $600 to move the dang thing) so that's emptying my pockets right off. that said, it's an entire foot longer, and appears in better shape. I know the 7'4" knabes come up for $500, $400 every now and then too so I could just hold my horses and keep watching.

http://forum.pianoworld.com//gallery/42/medium/15219.jpg
http://forum.pianoworld.com//gallery/42/full/15220.jpg
http://forum.pianoworld.com//gallery/42/medium/15221.jpg

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From what I saw on the last Knabe Grand I looked at, the pinblock was exposed and painted gold. The iron frame also looked like it was built into the front of the piano case thus possibly making removing it difficult. The tuning pin field was also at an angle and not flat, or at least it looked that way to me.


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