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Piano dilemma, repair or not to repair, that is the question.

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Re: Piano dilemma, repair or not to repair, that is the question.

Postby Arpangel » Mon Jun 08, 2020 8:02 am

Thanks, lots of interesting perspectives there.
The Bluthner specialist who came to our house to look at our piano seemed to think that it was worth restoring, this was a quote for a "complete restoration" around £15,000 give or take. He also said that after the job was done he’d value it at around £30,000
As far as the sound goes, I’m used to it, it’s difficult to say, but even in its present condition it’s a lovely instrument to play. It still feels nice, the upper octaves are so sweet, and have a purity to them, a bit like a Steinway, my favourite aspect of this piano. The bass is well controlled, not flabby, or boomy.
Faults are hammer bounce in the middle registers, bass sustain issue, and a slight crack in the sound-board in the higher octaves, but it’s very minor. The tone in some areas is a bit "honky" mainly in the middle, that’s aggravated by the hammer bounce.
Eddy, once we’re back to normal you’re welcome to come and play it, anytime at all.
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Re: Piano dilemma, repair or not to repair, that is the question.

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Jun 08, 2020 3:47 pm

Arpangel wrote:Eddy, once we’re back to normal you’re welcome to come and play it, anytime at all.

Thank you Tony - and I'd love to take you up on that at a later date when it's safe and sensible to do so :thumbup:
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Re: Piano dilemma, repair or not to repair, that is the question.

Postby Arpangel » Tue Jun 09, 2020 6:36 pm

Eddy Deegan wrote:
Arpangel wrote:Eddy, once we’re back to normal you’re welcome to come and play it, anytime at all.

Thank you Tony - and I'd love to take you up on that at a later date when it's safe and sensible to do so :thumbup:

Safe and sensible? hhhmmm? two words that don’t seem to apply at Angel Towers... :D
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Re: Piano dilemma, repair or not to repair, that is the question.

Postby Eddy Deegan » Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:27 pm

Arpangel wrote:
Eddy Deegan wrote:
Arpangel wrote:Eddy, once we’re back to normal you’re welcome to come and play it, anytime at all.

Thank you Tony - and I'd love to take you up on that at a later date when it's safe and sensible to do so :thumbup:

Safe and sensible? hhhmmm? two words that don’t seem to apply at Angel Towers... :D

I was sold already. You're making me want to come over even more now ;)
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Re: Piano dilemma, repair or not to repair, that is the question.

Postby Rich Hanson » Tue Jun 09, 2020 7:41 pm

Sensible? This is Tony we're talking about? :think: :D
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Re: Piano dilemma, repair or not to repair, that is the question.

Postby Arpangel » Wed Jun 10, 2020 8:23 am

Rich Hanson wrote:Sensible? This is Tony we're talking about? :think: :D

Oh dear..... :)

We’re 90% there in getting this chap to do the work, I’m not sure about the others, high valuations in my old and cynical mind indicate a desire to make us think that a complete restoration is a major investment, it’s probably not, and our piano isn’t "an investment"
Most piano technicians and restorers aren’t even accepting work on grand pianos, and shops aren’t buying them, most people don’t have the space, or the money these days, it’s a very small market.
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Re: Piano dilemma, repair or not to repair, that is the question.

Postby Rich Hanson » Wed Jun 10, 2020 10:32 am

A friend of mine trained as a piano technician, I can ask his opinion for you if you like.
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Re: Piano dilemma, repair or not to repair, that is the question.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Jun 10, 2020 10:53 am

There are investments, and there are nice things to have and enjoy on a daily basis that have personal significance. They are almost never one and the same... So spend money on it because it's important to, not as an investment! If it ends up as a real financial asset in ten or twenty years for your nearest and dearest that's a bonus... but it shouldn't be the driving force IMHO because it's too insecure as an 'investment'.

But there's no point at all in having a piano that doesn't work properly. It's just taking up space and providing a source of frustration and annoyance.

So the options are really very simple:

1. Replace the piano with something that works properly and that you will enjoy using.

...or...

2. Repair the piano so that you will enjoy using it.

This doesn't necessarily mean a total refurbishment -- for example, marks on the case may have personal significance as reminders of its life, so having the woodwork re-polished may be an unnecessary expense that would actually detract from the instrument's character and significance to you. You could leave that to a future owner to do as it won't affect the piano's playability.

For me it the decision would simply come down to whether the mechanics of the piano can be restored to a good enough condition to make it a joy to play for less money than a decent replacement. If it can, great; if not, I'd replace it.
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Re: Piano dilemma, repair or not to repair, that is the question.

Postby Wurlitzer » Wed Jun 10, 2020 11:53 am

Arpangel wrote:
Rich Hanson wrote:Sensible? This is Tony we're talking about? :think: :D

Oh dear..... :)

We’re 90% there in getting this chap to do the work, I’m not sure about the others, high valuations in my old and cynical mind indicate a desire to make us think that a complete restoration is a major investment, it’s probably not, and our piano isn’t "an investment"
Most piano technicians and restorers aren’t even accepting work on grand pianos, and shops aren’t buying them, most people don’t have the space, or the money these days, it’s a very small market.

Aye. Acoustic pianos as a whole are a small market to beging with, and then grands are an even smaller subset of that. I don't know, but I'd imagine there'd be especially few buyers for baby grands. I say that because the vast majority of people wanting a piano for their home will get an upright for space reasons, but professional studios and venues will get a concert grand or close to (and newer, so it's reliable).

I think Hugh's got it absolutely right. You might want to get only that part of the work done that is necessary for the piano's working and leave the cosmetics. Or just get it all done and be done with it - 3 grand is not that much in the scheme of things for something that's going to be beautiful and important to your lives on so many levels. But you'll be doing it for the joy of it, not the money.
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Re: Piano dilemma, repair or not to repair, that is the question.

Postby Arpangel » Wed Jun 10, 2020 4:56 pm

Wurlitzer wrote:
Arpangel wrote:
Rich Hanson wrote:Sensible? This is Tony we're talking about? :think: :D

Oh dear..... :)

We’re 90% there in getting this chap to do the work, I’m not sure about the others, high valuations in my old and cynical mind indicate a desire to make us think that a complete restoration is a major investment, it’s probably not, and our piano isn’t "an investment"
Most piano technicians and restorers aren’t even accepting work on grand pianos, and shops aren’t buying them, most people don’t have the space, or the money these days, it’s a very small market.

Aye. Acoustic pianos as a whole are a small market to beging with, and then grands are an even smaller subset of that. I don't know, but I'd imagine there'd be especially few buyers for baby grands. I say that because the vast majority of people wanting a piano for their home will get an upright for space reasons, but professional studios and venues will get a concert grand or close to (and newer, so it's reliable).

I think Hugh's got it absolutely right. You might want to get only that part of the work done that is necessary for the piano's working and leave the cosmetics. Or just get it all done and be done with it - 3 grand is not that much in the scheme of things for something that's going to be beautiful and important to your lives on so many levels. But you'll be doing it for the joy of it, not the money.

I agree, and there is absolutely no way my partner would sell this piano, it’s too special to her, I love it too, but not in the same way as she does, it’s part of her childhood, and family.
Even if we bought a new piano she’d still keep the Bluthner.
You’re also right on essential repairs, I just called the guy and left a message, asking him if we can discuss this again, I’ll keep you posted.
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Re: Piano dilemma, repair or not to repair, that is the question.

Postby JSC » Tue Feb 16, 2021 10:52 pm

Curious if you've been looking for parts for the action at all. I have an older Bluthner patent action and am having a devil of a time finding replacement springs.
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Re: Piano dilemma, repair or not to repair, that is the question.

Postby Arpangel » Wed Feb 17, 2021 8:04 am

JSC wrote:Curious if you've been looking for parts for the action at all. I have an older Bluthner patent action and am having a devil of a time finding replacement springs.

My Bluthner is 1937, some replacement parts are Bluthner, others are good quality generic replacements.
On completion of the refurbishment I’ll post a list of what was done.
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Re: Piano dilemma, repair or not to repair, that is the question.

Postby Tomás Mulcahy » Wed Feb 17, 2021 11:35 am

JSC wrote:Curious if you've been looking for parts for the action at all. I have an older Bluthner patent action and am having a devil of a time finding replacement springs.
It's common enough to have the springs made, you send the old ones off to be copied or you measure them and send in the specs. Ask your piano repair person!
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Re: Piano dilemma, repair or not to repair, that is the question.

Postby John Stafford » Wed Feb 17, 2021 1:03 pm

JSC wrote:Curious if you've been looking for parts for the action at all. I have an older Bluthner patent action and am having a devil of a time finding replacement springs.

The Abel Hammer Company make several parts for the Blüthner Patent action, including the abstract with the repetition springs. If you go to their online shop, look under action parts and then select Blüthner shanks. They make the entire repetitions, not just shanks, but that's how they list them.

As the patent action hasn't been made in nearly a century, supply of replacement parts can be tricky. Baumgaertel used to carry a good selection, but they closed last year.
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Re: Piano dilemma, repair or not to repair, that is the question.

Postby Arpangel » Wed Feb 17, 2021 7:45 pm

I’m leaving all this to the guy at the workshop, he’s already picked up on things that were bodged before, wrong screws, felts etc.
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