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 Post subject: piano - good deal?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 6:35 am
Posts: 1418
Location: Gulfport, MS, USA
A friend of a friend is selling a piano:

http://bechstein4sale.blogspot.com/

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 Post subject: Re: piano - good deal?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:51 pm 
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Sure is a beauty!! I love the cabinetry. Seems like it is a very good deal, as long as it sounds good and doesn't make any noises like clunky pedals, etc...
Are you thinking of buying it, or have you played it?

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 Post subject: Re: piano - good deal?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:47 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 6:35 am
Posts: 1418
Location: Gulfport, MS, USA
Neither. I had just seen a couple of people mention that they were in the market for a piano, and this looked like a nice bargain, so I figured I'd pass it along.

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"Z Czernym poznałem się na panie brat—na dwa fortepiana często z nim u niego grywałem. Dobry człowiek, ale nic więcej..." - Fryderyk Chopin


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 Post subject: Re: piano - good deal?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 12:50 am 
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Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2008 4:17 pm
Posts: 418
Location: Boston
I see a sad side to this story...

If he's not happy with the results after the restoration, has a personal injury, no one plays anymore, has financial reasons, or his wife is nagging him to "sell that 8ft black coffin before the move," that's one thing. However, if he's truly enamored with sound the instrument then selling a beloved piano to downsize sounds more like he's divorcing the piano instead. My suggestion is for him to keep the piano (if it's truly a fine sounding restoration) and find the right house with a large enough room and less clutter so that he doesn't take the path to unhappiness. It can be done, hey, it took me 3 years to find the right house with a music salon. Besides, downsizing a piano from 8ft to 6ft or to an upright doesn't make much sense.

If he can't be persuaded, and still wants to sell, then in this economy, it's a deal, but not a steal. Bechsteins have a thinner treble, but perhaps at 8ft, size may account for more balance and sustain among the registers. Everything hinges on the quality of restoration - condition of soundboard, pinblock, bridge, wooden structures, any compromises taken, etc. If it is a great restoration, then he priced it too low. He could fetch more in NYC, Boston, Chicago, LA markets. Interestingly, there are non-musicians that might even pay $20k just for the cabinetry to make a statement in a large estate. You never know...

Personally, I steer away from pianos over 50 years old. I've yet to hear/play on an old clunker that sounded better than a more recent piano. Tension in a piano is what makes the sound full of its timbral, tonal, and resonant qualities. Once the wood loses its internal tension due to age, it loses vibrancy, sonority, and assumes flat timbre. However, as the timbral qualities become diminished, the tone of the instrument tends to stand out. Some people like the softer wooden tone, but I find it limiting for wide gamut of musical genres - good for Bach, but not Rachmaninov. I'd rather not get into a complex discussion on why instruments sound the way they do, but the secret to great sounding pianos is internal tension within... Think of it like stored potential energy, as one plays the piano, the energy is unleashed to kinetic vibrational energy. Pianos are not like violins in the sense that they don't age as gracefully. A lot of the myths behind old pianos sounding better is perpetuated by none other than piano restorers themselves, probably out of fear of obsolescence and business. Just look at all the old pianos, how can they sell them, and stay in business?...
Individual results and tastes will vary, but I'd honestly would encourage anyone to put that myth to the test by playing on an old and more recent piano of the same make, side by side, and decide for themselves...

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