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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??!!
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.
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.
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.mdw wrote:If you buget is less than £1800 go for good 2nd hand 15-20 years old rather than new cheepie.
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.
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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