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Joined: Jan 2022
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AnnaF Offline OP
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Hi everyone,

I currently reside in France and came across a beautiful Pleyel baby grand piano that I would like to purchase, but feel that my level of technical knowledge is insufficient to evaluate if it’s worth the hassle. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
First a bit of information on the current condition:
- All the keys are in a good condition- no chips, just slight discolouration due to it’s age
- The piano has a woodworm as per photo attached, but the pine structure seems sound(here first question arises, is this structure original or does it look like it’s been replaced?)
- It has a couple of small chips in veneer, some watermarks on top. Could someone clarify- is it mahogany or rosewood?
- I played each note and the 6 highest notes sound very faint, the rest sounded like it simply needed tuning
- When I referenced the serial number, there was also a letter L with it, does anyone know what that stands for?

Link to photos available here:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/E3VwLs9hJsf61ZGt8

Thank you!

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There is a colour difference between the pine beams on the left of the photographs and those to the right of the crossbeam. The crossbeam itself looks original. I would venture a guess that the lighter pine beams on the left have been replaced.

From the colour of the casing I imagine a mahogany veneer. Underneath the timber used for the casing sides looks to be oak.

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Is this going to be a furniture/display piece or something you will practice on daily?


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AnnaF Offline OP
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I intend to play, so does my 10 year old daughter. I would have no problem restoring the shell, treating the woodworm issue ( I have experience with furniture restoration) but is it feasible to take on such project?

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Advice to anybody thinking of buying an 1846 Pleyel with woodworm......don't!


Sauter Alpha 160, Yamaha N3 Avant Grand, Sauter Studio Upright (1974)
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AnnaF Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Jean Claude
Advice to anybody thinking of buying an 1846 Pleyel with woodworm......don't!
The woodworm infestation is very recent and therefore superficial.
I would hate to see it neglected further and therefore it’s a bit of a rescue mission.
You seem to know a lot about these, any idea how much it’s worth in current condition?

Any additional feedback is greatly appreciated.

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I've tuned dozens of old Pleyels, the vast majority of them elderly and the vast majority of them hardly worth the cost of tuning them. Seriously, if you want a grand to play - and for your daughter to play - get something newer, much newer.

By the time that woodworm have got into the structural parts of a piano, there is every likelihood that the keys and action have already been attacked and this can effectively leave the piano devoid of any value as a playable instrument.

I'm not touting for trade, but whereabouts are you?


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Try posting in the Facebook Group - "Piano Historique - Fan d'Erard". There are people there knowledgeable about French pianos of that period.

Only think of getting this if you have a particular enthusiasm for early pianos.

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AnnaF - I can’t say I know very much about 19th century pianos, but I think that an 1846 pleyel would be a very different instrument from a modern piano, even if the Pleyel is in exceptional condition (which it sounds like this one is not). It sounds like this will be a practice instrument for both you and your daughter. So unless both of you have a particular interest in historic performance and historical instruments, I really think a modern instrument would be a much better way to go.

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I love the idea of an old Erard or Pleyel but not as a practice or learning instrument. A new digital piano would be better than this for that purpose.

If the piano is playable or can be made playable it might be worthwhile as a historical instrument, or it could be used for parts on another instrument, etc etc

This is at best a research piano, not a teaching and learning piano.


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I have only one comment. If you want this for your piano, it's going to cost. Big time


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