What model/year is my Kemble?

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DaViD
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What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by DaViD » 01 Jan 2016, 15:17

Hi, first post. I just bought this Kemble 85 key piano. Is it a classic or compact, and what year do you think? I see that the Kemble emblem on the front is a little different through the years. Eighties?

Thanks.
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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 02 Jan 2016, 11:18

Hi David

If this Kemble has a model name, it should be shown and printed on the front of the piano, or inside. If not, usually referred to as a 'console' piano. Some retailers refer to them as a "Kemble Classic", but I have never found any evidence of this wording. The 'compact' may refer to the Kemble Minx model (a short bureau style piano with a drop action & removal arced side panels) .... but again, never seen the writing on the piano.

Possibly dated 1970s to 1980s .... but if you open the top lid, the serial number is usually printed in location 3. Locations 1,2 and 3 can be viewed with just the top lid open; locations 4 - 7 require other panels to be removed. For my serial number location page, this is explained at >>

http://www.aatuners.com/serial-number.html

You are probably looking for a six digit number starting: 1 xxxxx (no gaps, no letters, numbers only); this is the unique serial number showing the amount of pianos built up to that number, the serial number is not in date format, and when we find the number, it is referred to another source/ piano serial number book etc.

Hope that helps

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by DaViD » 02 Jan 2016, 16:35

Colin,

Thanks very much for the comprehensive and informative reply to my query.

When I saw the piano I didn't notice any names other than the Kemble badge that is on the front. I wasn't looking for any but none were apparent. The shop salesman called it a compact but I hady doubts as I am aware of the minx being referred to as that.

The piano won't be delivered for two to three weeks it seems as I live quite a distance from the shop. I will look for serial numbers and will post them here to tie things up.

That style of piano seems similar to ones referred to as a classic I have seen online.

The salesman thought it was an eighties one and wasn't much help I have to say. Ultimately I liked the way it sounded and was put together so its for my own edification really.

Thanks.

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by Barrie Heaton » 02 Jan 2016, 23:50

its a Kemble Classic popular in the north of England as they fitted between the chimney Brest and outside wall of most ter houses, they stopped making them in the 90 when Herberger brooks stopped making the 85 mote action, as Kembles used Yamaha Actions and they did not do an 85 note action

Serial number should be on the right hand side above the tuning pins

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by DaViD » 03 Jan 2016, 01:12

Barrie Heaton wrote:its a Kemble Classic popular in the north of England as they fitted between the chimney Brest and outside wall of most ter houses, they stopped making them in the 90 when Herberger brooks stopped making the 85 mote action, as Kembles used Yamaha Actions and they did not do an 85 note action

Serial number should be on the right hand side above the tuning pins

Barrie
Thanks, Barrie.

Some interesting information there. I've seen something about HB/Yamaha action on other sites, will look into that.

So no older than '90 then? I didn't think it was anywhere near that, just guessed early to mid-eighties by sight. Maybe late seventies?

I'll know more when the piano comes of course. I mucked about years ago very half-heartedly with my technics piano but never learned to play. I knew I needed the soul of an upright. My aim is to start going through ABRSM grades. The Kemble seemed the brightest sounding of the similarly priced pianos I played in the showroom. I was actually looking for a more mellow sound but was struck by the quality of the piano. The Bentley's and Challen's etc. were not for me. Can't wait for it to arrive...

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 03 Jan 2016, 09:20

You may be interested in this.....

Here are the list of serial numbers matching their year dates for Kemble from 1930 to 2000.
Other information/ history also available here on the web >>

http://kemble-pianos.com/en/information/serials/

If you ring the shop, they should be able to tell you the serial number over the phone by opening the top lid.. or they may have a record of it in their office? .... then just match it to the nearest serial number without going over.
The serial number inside your piano may not be an exact match, might be between two sets of numbers, as these given are recorded at the end of each year. It is likely to be a six - digit number and only displayed in one place.

For example, if the serial number was #201000, this piano was built in 1980 as it falls between #197980 and #202385 (in the book). No one can know the exact number of pianos built each month - but this is a good guide.
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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by chrisw » 03 Jan 2016, 13:00

The original poster may also be interested in another post on this forum started in Feb 2011. It was titled;
"Kemble Classic 1981-1990"

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by DaViD » 03 Jan 2016, 16:15

Colin Nicholson wrote:You may be interested in this.....

Here are the list of serial numbers matching their year dates for Kemble from 1930 to 2000.
Other information/ history also available here on the web >>

http://kemble-pianos.com/en/information/serials/

If you ring the shop, they should be able to tell you the serial number over the phone by opening the top lid.. or they may have a record of it in their office? .... then just match it to the nearest serial number without going over.
The serial number inside your piano may not be an exact match, might be between two sets of numbers, as these given are recorded at the end of each year. It is likely to be a six - digit number and only displayed in one place.

For example, if the serial number was #201000, this piano was built in 1980 as it falls between #197980 and #202385 (in the book). No one can know the exact number of pianos built each month - but this is a good guide.
Lovely stuff, thanks Colin. I'll give them a bell tomorrow and ask for the serial number, shouldn't be a problem.

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by DaViD » 03 Jan 2016, 16:16

chrisw wrote:The original poster may also be interested in another post on this forum started in Feb 2011. It was titled;
"Kemble Classic 1981-1990"
Thanks, Colin. I'll search for that.

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 03 Jan 2016, 17:46

chrisw wrote that, not me! :)
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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by DaViD » 04 Jan 2016, 19:49

Colin Nicholson wrote:chrisw wrote that, not me! :)
Yes, apologies and thanks at the same time, chrisw!

I did know that, God knows why I typed your name?

Can't get serial number until piano arrives as its out of showroom. Not a problem. Really looking forward to it coming, looking forward to doing it justice when I'm half-decent!

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by chrisw » 04 Jan 2016, 23:39

I also made a mistake by saying the Kemble Classic 1981-1990 thread was started in Feb 2011 when I now think it was Feb 2012. These pianos seem to have a good reputation. During this year's tuning of my 1994 Kemble Classic I was advised that the pitch had not altered from the previous year and it only required some 'tidying' of a few unisons.

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 05 Jan 2016, 03:00

I think this may be the post from 2012 ....

http://www.piano-tuners.org/piano-forum ... f=3&t=9763
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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by DaViD » 05 Jan 2016, 23:03

chrisw wrote:I also made a mistake by saying the Kemble Classic 1981-1990 thread was started in Feb 2011 when I now think it was Feb 2012. These pianos seem to have a good reputation. During this year's tuning of my 1994 Kemble Classic I was advised that the pitch had not altered from the previous year and it only required some 'tidying' of a few unisons.
Impressive. Only one tune per year then?

I wonder, is there much difference between the Classic years/models? Were they made from seventies until nineties?

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by DaViD » 05 Jan 2016, 23:06

Colin Nicholson wrote:I think this may be the post from 2012 ....

http://www.piano-tuners.org/piano-forum ... f=3&t=9763

Cheers!

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by DaViD » 05 Jan 2016, 23:27

Good thread about the Kemble from '12.

I agree with your comments chrisw about buying British. It was something that I wanted too. I noticed over the festive period just how many things come from China in my household from kids toys to clothing to cheap ukeleles! I also like that you've had the piano so long, you've obviously enjoyed it.

I don't know a thing about keys and action etc. but it's good to read a bit about these Kembles.

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by DaViD » 05 Jan 2016, 23:45

...'Under Robert Kemble, in the 1950s Kemble Pianos moved to a factory in Bletchley, near Milton Keynes. It must have been around this time that the The Kemble ‘Classic’ was designed, built and launched - another small but full 7 octave piano - taller than the Minx, but a very slim, 47 cm from front to back.'

That was taken from theTunersblog online. So Classics from fifties then.

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by chrisw » 06 Jan 2016, 20:18

DaViD,

It is good to read your feedback. Please let us know when your piano is delivered and how you get on with it.

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by DaViD » 07 Jan 2016, 18:50

chrisw wrote:DaViD,

It is good to read your feedback. Please let us know when your piano is delivered and how you get on with it.

OK chrisw, will do. Probably a few weeks yet but will post on here when it comes.

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by DaViD » 04 Feb 2016, 00:24

1979...bloody hell.

I've had the old Johanna a couple of weeks and it's settling in my box room. A few keys were sticking for a day or two and I thought I'd bought a load of crap. The men that delivered it had been down in Coventry shifting pianos so it had been in the van with all sorts of temp changes. Anyway, no keys stick now.

I must say it's been very well cared for or left neglected in a corner. It's suffered more damage in two weeks from my kids than it has in 37 years. I've laid down the law now.

I really appreciate the pure sound of this thing it really is very nice and I'm loving playing it. However, I think it does need a little fettling. The notes immediately below middle C have a different timbre, almost metallic, and there's a faint whining or whistling sound I can hear around there when I'm playing scales.

The journey starts here. What a difference from years of digital pianos. It's hard to describe but it's almost like I have 'feel' now. Like I can express myself, even with just a few notes.

Thought I'd check back in with an update, so thanks everyone for,information and advice.

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by DaViD » 04 Feb 2016, 00:27

IMG_20160114_185323.jpg

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by chrisw » 04 Feb 2016, 09:08

DaViD,
Welcome to the Kemble Classic club.

I sometimes get little noises when the front vertical board (sorry don't know its proper name and don't have time this morning to look it up) when the retaining clips are not fully engaged. They are found just inside the piano lid, one on either side.

I asked my piano tuner whether I would affect the tuning by learning Grieg's March of the Trolls not so long ago and was advised the piano would take robust playing with no bother !

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 04 Feb 2016, 16:59

Good to hear you got the piano OK.... looks nice.
I am presently refurbishing a Kemble Minx (1951) .. with a drop action.... different ball game, but action similar.

Although the keys have stopped sticking, the wooden key chasings will have shrunk a tiny amount, enough for the action to lift them back up.... but they may still be tight and need re-easing at the key bases.... this is down to the cold weather and humidity higher than normal. I suggest you get the keys re-eased at some point.

Notes below Middle C - different timbre? could be....
1. Hammer felt compact/ grooves / dried out damp
2. Slight corrosion of strings lower down
3. Unisons slightly out of tune

Whining noise could be......
1. Loose or insecure hinge / hinge screws (there are 4 hinges on these)
2. Damper lifting too early / not muting string properly / felt may need replacing
3. Sustain pedal lift rod needs adjusting
4. An ornament / item of furniture vibrating in sympathy with piano strings

5. (Kid getting a clip around the ear for bashing piano!!!!)

Get your tuner to have a look next time you have it tuned.

Colin
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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by DaViD » 17 Feb 2016, 01:53

chrisw wrote:DaViD,
Welcome to the Kemble Classic club.

I sometimes get little noises when the front vertical board (sorry don't know its proper name and don't have time this morning to look it up) when the retaining clips are not fully engaged. They are found just inside the piano lid, one on either side.

I asked my piano tuner whether I would affect the tuning by learning Grieg's March of the Trolls not so long ago and was advised the piano would take robust playing with no bother !
Thanks, Chris.

The piano is due to be tuned in the next few weeks so I will be all over the tuner like a cheap suit!

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by DaViD » 17 Feb 2016, 02:06

Colin Nicholson wrote:Good to hear you got the piano OK.... looks nice.
I am presently refurbishing a Kemble Minx (1951) .. with a drop action.... different ball game, but action similar.

Although the keys have stopped sticking, the wooden key chasings will have shrunk a tiny amount, enough for the action to lift them back up.... but they may still be tight and need re-easing at the key bases.... this is down to the cold weather and humidity higher than normal. I suggest you get the keys re-eased at some point.

Notes below Middle C - different timbre? could be....
1. Hammer felt compact/ grooves / dried out damp
2. Slight corrosion of strings lower down
3. Unisons slightly out of tune

Whining noise could be......
1. Loose or insecure hinge / hinge screws (there are 4 hinges on these)
2. Damper lifting too early / not muting string properly / felt may need replacing
3. Sustain pedal lift rod needs adjusting
4. An ornament / item of furniture vibrating in sympathy with piano strings

5. (Kid getting a clip around the ear for bashing piano!!!!)

Get your tuner to have a look next time you have it tuned.

Colin
Colin, thank you for that. The notes around middle C seem now to be perfectly normal..I wonder if it's anything to do with the piano settling in the room as I've done bugger all to it except play! I will continue to monitor it of course.
There remains that metallic, whining noise for want of a better description though. It's almost imperceptible but you tune in to it when you're at the piano a while.
As I mentioned in my previous post, the piano is to be tuned in a few weeks time so I'll take it up with the tuner then.
What can I say though about my experience so far? It's been great. It may be only a student or school piano to some but after many years of owning a digital piano (a nice technics one alas) I find great pleasure in this machine. There's a certain simplistic beauty to an old upright Johanna.

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Re: What model/year is my Kemble?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 17 Feb 2016, 08:42

Let your piano tuner know when they arrive about unusual sounds.
The tuner will need to know exactly which note (or notes) is not right.... not "around Middle C" .... that's no good enough for a tuner. It is likely that one of the tri-chords has dropped in pitch a fraction.

Quick test: ...... open top lid, find the offending note, and in turn, mute two strings at a time with your fingers - to allow only one string to vibrate of the three. Each time, play the note as normal with the other hand so the hammer strikes all 3 strings, but only one of them should sound.

1. Mute LH + Middle strings .... sound RH string
2. Mute RH + Middle strings .... sound LH string
3. Mute LH + RH strings ...... sound middle string.

If any one string makes an unusual noise (false beats).... it may need replacing.... but other strings have to be replaced aswell in a series of 2 tri-chords so the strings are not mixed new & old.... ask your tuner.

Each time, listen for any unusual noises - if not, then one of the strings will be out of tune with another, so try muting one string (of the 3) to allow 2 strings to vibrate together.... if you hear that noise.... BINGO! .... it's out of tune.
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