Gebruder Knake or Spencer?

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Monkey
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Gebruder Knake or Spencer?

Post by Monkey » 11 Nov 2008, 21:09

Hi,

I've been offered a baby grand, but there are two to choose from: a Spencer of London or a Gebruder Knake (both second hand and in need of a fair bit of TLC).

Does anyone know anything about these makes and which one would you go for??!!

Thank you!

Barney.

PianoGuy
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Post by PianoGuy » 11 Nov 2008, 22:07

You need to get a local tuner to check em out for you, so I suggest a prod in your Yellow Pages but in general:

Spencers tend to be 1920s/30s English fare with nothing complicated or special about them. their uprights rate far better than their small grands and most are nondescript mahogany. Actions more often than not are the poorly rated "Simplex" type offering the response of a poorish upright with the bulk of a small grand.

Gebr. Knakes are usually much older (1890s typical) and feature crap German metallurgy so expect a possible cracked iron frame; dodgy and obscure German actions which are nigh impossible to find parts for, difficult to regulate without breaking, and nice ornate walnut casework.

These are total generalisations, but are the most typical of each marque. Personally I'd avoid both and buy yourself a decent upright. Cost of renovation of either would be far in excess of final value and they'd still sound crap in all probability.
Last edited by PianoGuy on 11 Nov 2008, 22:10, edited 1 time in total.

mdw
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Post by mdw » 11 Nov 2008, 22:09

When they are of that age it depends on the condition of each piano. Pay your local tech a call out fee to inspect them.

Monkey
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Thanks

Post by Monkey » 11 Nov 2008, 23:12

Thanks very much for your responses. So, I'd probably be better off not taking either, even though they're free. They do need work and it sounds like I'd be better putting that money towards an upright.

Thanks again!

Barney

PianoGuy
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Post by PianoGuy » 11 Nov 2008, 23:16

I doubt they're bargains even for free, but you never know.

Grands take up space so they are occasionally discarded especially if someone's moving house or needs to vacate in a hurry. I can't stress the importance of getting a technician to look at them, or better still find out who has been tuning them and see what he/she thinks of them. A call out fee isn't likely to be much more than thirty quid or so, and could save you hundreds in moving costs.

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Post by pianotechman » 12 Nov 2008, 10:43

Could be a bit like pianos that tend to end up in church halls, they get donated because nobody wants them, and the owners don't want to have to pay the council to dump 'em!.....that's human nature for you. :roll:
David Hamilton Smith

Monkey
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Post by Monkey » 12 Nov 2008, 11:53

That's exactly the case!!!

Thanks for your advice everyone. I may be asking for it again, as I need to find out about decent (cheap!) uprights!

Thanks again,

Barney

mdw
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Post by mdw » 12 Nov 2008, 13:24

Monkey wrote:
to find out about decent (cheap!) uprights!
You can have one but not both together. :lol:

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Post by Monkey » 12 Nov 2008, 13:27

Ahhhh, I thought I was pushing my luck! :D

mdw
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Post by mdw » 12 Nov 2008, 18:04

If you buget is less than £1800 go for good 2nd hand 15-20 years old rather than new cheepie. The new ones look shiney but when you get into the detail you can see where they have been built down to a price. Plus once you have played other pianos you will realise how c**p the cheepies are and then want to get a better instrument. Also beware the polished up case on a 2nd hand piano with worn insides. Sadly there are lots of flash web sites making a big play on how their pianos are better than the next web sites. Some seem to be almost groveling to the customer at the moment. Ask your piano teacher and friends for a local reliable tech/ piano shop and take their advice.

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Post by PianoGuy » 12 Nov 2008, 21:56

mdw wrote:If you buget is less than £1800 go for good 2nd hand 15-20 years old rather than new cheepie.
Good point well made. In fact I think you really need to go above the 2k mark to get a good entry level Chinese piano. There are a few budget shockers around with untuneable ratchetty wrestpins and general flakiness.

Ask a local tuner if he/she knows of any clients flogging off decent cheapies if you're on a real budget. A tuner with a shed-load of pianos should be regarded as a dealer. Most dealers will charge a grand for the most basic of overstrung underdamper pianos. Some chancers will try and sting you for more, but private sale, the same instruments could be 30% of that price or less. If the tuner's been tuning them for a number of years he'll be able to assess condition and endorse any good ones. You'll probably have to add to the budget up to £100 for a local removal.

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Re: Gebruder Knake or Spencer?

Post by JOHNHNORFOLK » 13 May 2013, 22:23

I imagine that my reply is well past the time for being of any use to you but should the subject of Gebruder Knake come up again readers may like to know that there is an example of a "boudoir grand" which you can actually play.
Its in the National Trust property of "A La Ronde" which is near Exmouth in Devon.
I was there last week and played it. I felt the action lacked the "attack" which I favour although the tuning itself was faultless as it is clearly well maintained by the National Trust on a regular basis. This particular piano was made around 1870 - its no longer possible to trace the provenance of most Gebruder Knake pianos as their records were lost when the RAF bombed the piano works in the 2WW sadly.

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