Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

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malphonse
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Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by malphonse » 01 Feb 2012, 05:10

My wife and I are trying to determine the make, model and serial number of her piano. Rubenstein is on the soundboard and the fall, but the sticker inside says Yamaha Piano.

We also need help getting the manufacturer's sticker translated, which appears to be in Japanese; see the attached image. Google Translate has partially helped with a reverse translation, but we need a better approach.

Can someone shed some light on this?
Thanks!
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 01 Feb 2012, 15:15

Is this an upright or grand piano?

I think the best way would be to send a photo or 2 of the piano itself, showing the name on the fallboard & soundboard. Yamaha usually distinctively add their name to the inside of their pianos aswell (uprights) - on the cast iron frame near the tuning pins, and will be near the serial number. We would also need to see a photo of the FULL mechanism inside - with the top panel/ music rest section of wood completely removed. This applies mainly to upright pianos.

In most cases.... the soundboard decal will probably be original.

The photo of the sticker does not tell us where on the piano it is located?

Anyone can put a sticker on a piano.... even a child! - but it doesnt always mean that's the name of the piano - so photos of the piano please..... and any numbers you see, names (exactly what you've said in your post) - we need the photographic equivalent of your words....

(Added text) .... I have managed to translate the Japanese writing on this label - please see Piano Advice section for the translation.... its looks genuine enough, but I guess this could have been stuck on from another piano?

Hope that helps

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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 02 Feb 2012, 11:13

I've seen stickers like that. The phone number is sometimes different which makes me thing it is just the sticker from the original Yamaha dealer who sold the piano when it was brand new.
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by malphonse » 03 Feb 2012, 04:51

I've removed the front panels - they were much easier to take off than I thought... :)

This picture has the fall closed:
SDC15800v2.jpg
One should be able to zoom into it for more details.

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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by malphonse » 03 Feb 2012, 04:53

I forgot to mention earlier - this is a full upright piano.
This picture has the fall open, with the panels off:
SDC15801v2.jpg

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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 03 Feb 2012, 14:06

Based on zero research I'd take a wild stab in the dark and say that the piano has nothing to do with Yamaha but the dealer who originally sold it stuck their standard shop sticker on which they got from Yamaha because they were authorised Yamaha dealers.

I could be way off
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 03 Feb 2012, 15:06

I think you are not far out there Mark
Definitely Rubinstein....

However - its looks no different to a "London" piano - square tapered legs with a square plinth adjoining each leg at the top.... and looks typically an English exported piano with a German movement from the 1920's - 1930's.... but not Yamaha I think. Action materials/ back check formation etc also can help.

The ends of the rest rail are usually a give-away - instead of flanges throughout, they often use a metal rod to insert into the sides of the rest rail where it pivots - and the German action frame standards are often "rounded" and convex at each end.... thats my view anyway.

I restored a movement just like this about 13 years ago, and it was a Rubinstein - identical. Also the celeste rail doesnt look right.... looks similar to a F&N kit, but without the lever under the keyboard.
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by malphonse » 03 Feb 2012, 15:47

Thanks Colin!

Is there a diagram that shows all the parts of the piano? I'd like to know where are the celeste rail, flanges and rest rail are.
I pulled one from Google to determine the soundboard and fall, but I'm unable to find one specifically for this piano.
The good news is that I've learnt a lot so far, but I have a long way to go...

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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by malphonse » 03 Feb 2012, 15:58

A couple more questions:
  • how can we determine its age?
  • what is it's value? I want to make sure it is properly insured
  • I'd like to estimate the cost to tune it. Is it possible to do this online?

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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 03 Feb 2012, 16:32

There is no "User Manual" as such for pianos when you buy a piano, you need to buy the "Haynes Piano Manual" by John Bishop (Amazon sell it) - which shows these parts generally on any piano.

The hammer rest rail is the silver rail in the middle, running horizontal - all the hammers are resting on it. If you push the left pedal down, the whole rail should move forward with the hammers. The hammers will also be sandwiched between 7mm green or cream baize to cushion their return.

The flanges are the small square(ish) pieces of wood - about 5 of them, situated underneath the hammer rail. Each one has a centre pin - so they are just like hinges on a door. See photo below showing flanges from a lever part).

The celeste rail is the metal/wooden rail at the back - running across the tuning pins - and hanging from it is white felt - note that it is cut in various places where the hammer & string sections end. If you press or release the middle pedal, this should activate the celeste rail. The white felt is also graded in thickness - thick in the bass, then gradually tapering thin in the treble. This pedal is used for quiet practise - and muffles the sound; the felt drops in front of the hammers, so the hammers hit the felt before the strings. Release the pedal - and the celeste rail should pop back up (spring assisted) - and the piano plays as normal. I think this pedal is down? so just slide it to the right, and it will pop up!

In a piano mechanism - wherever there is a moving part, or when something pivots - there must be a flange with a bushed pin. There are approx. nearly 300 flanges on a piano mechanism.

Cant really give value here - piano needs to be tuned & tested first. Unrestored & with the veneer missing/ damage etc.... lucky to fetch £100 at auction.

Here is the photo >>>> note the left flange moves around the body of the lever, however the middle flange (red circle) is fixed & glued (well it should be - but this photo shows the flange loose) and with this flange being fixed, the jack moves around the flange. So on every hammer & damper - there is a flange.

Tuning (at the pitch is is settled) would cost around £45 - £60, but prices vary a little according to the area, and how badly out of tune it is.

For insurance purposes - not sure, but maybe slightly more than its worth - about £100 - £300 - but sometimes a receipt is needed?
How much did you pay for the piano?
Usually what you paid for it is its value - just like a flat screen TV.
loosejackflange.JPG
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 03 Feb 2012, 16:58

Here is a diagram similar to your piano mechanism (cross section)

The red letters show the main parts, the (numbers) show various other parts within a main part.

You have the best design of piano - this is over-strung & under-damped.

Just to give you an idea, if fitted, the hammer rail flanges (yellow part) lie directly under the hammer rest rail. In most cases, the rail is split into two.

A = Hammer rest rail (No 11).... red part = flangeB = Damper assembly
C = Hammer (head not shown)
D = Lever (No 39)
E = Jack (No 27)
F = Pedal rod (activates the dampers when press the right pedal)

Nos 15,25, 35 and 38 show the flanges for each component. Usually 4 flanges per note. On larger pianos, sometimes up to 6 flanges.
action02numbered.jpg
Upright piano action cross section
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 06 Feb 2012, 10:00

Rubenstein is on the soundboard and the fall, ..... (quote)....

I was just re-reading this post & realised something from the above quoted, and after the new member wishing to know about pianos and their parts (and maybe for other new members?) .... just to clarify that IF you were referring to the gold lettering near the tuning pins - this is not the soundboard - this is the cast iron frame.
The soundboard is the large expanse of wood behind the strings - as shown in the lower part of the piano. However, sometimes the name does appear here - usually in decal form, and occasionally, the serial number is stamped here - though near the top of the soundboard. The soundboard reaches from the bottom of the piano, up as far as approx. the top of the mechanism.

Then you will see more wood - where the tuning pins are.... here the cast frame has been left open (like a window) .... this is the wrest plank - (not a continuation of the soundboard either).... and usually made of laminated maple. The soundboard will be made of spruce.

Piano terminology can also be like "Chinese whispers" !!!!.... the term "Full Piano" doesn't mean anything.... perhaps you heard the term "Full iron frame" ?.... so the word 'Full' is usually referring to the design & structure of the cast iron frame. This is a full iron frame, as opposed to some of the "deadly sinned" pianos with only a 3/4 frame.

Hope that explains things better....
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by malphonse » 08 Feb 2012, 18:03

For a while, it was as clear as mud... :)
But, you're right: I mixed up the cast iron frame and the soundboard.

However, the serial number still eludes me. I saw a six digit hand-written number on the top right of the cast iron frame (which did not show up on the pictures I attached) - and it looks like it was written in pencil :? - it is 325687.

On the bottom left-hand side of the cast iron frame (the black area underneath the keys) is stamped A1. That may be referring to the type of frame rather than any part of the serial number.

It appears now that I'll have to look at the back of the piano. Hopefully there's some sort of number there.

I'm also wondering if the era of it's German movement (1920's-1930's) indicates the age of the piano itself. If so, could the 6-digit number I found actually be the serial number re-written for ease of reference?

Additionally, are there any library archives that may help to confirm the number?

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Re: Rubinstein? or Rubenstein?

Post by Bill Kibby » 08 Feb 2012, 19:40

F. Rubinstein, Berlin claimed to have received an exhibition medal in 1829, very early for such things. Some of the Rubinstein pianos were sold by Samuel Walker, of Leeds, and although they appear to be genuine German-made pianos, the name is one that I have been unable to trace as a real maker so far. The Pierce Piano Atlas suggests that "Rubenstein" (probably incorrect spelling) was made by Walker, but I imagine they were probably bought in from a German wholesaler.

If the action is marked with the action makers' name and number, I may be able to date it. Have you looked under the keys for a date?
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 08 Feb 2012, 23:45

A date might be on the first key - bottom A, but you need to remove the fallboard first - half open the lid, and with both hands just lift the fallboard vertically - watch your fingers on the bridle wires, they are sharp!

You will now be left with the keyslip rail resting on the keys, just behind the black keys - the long narrow piece of wood...... just lift this off - most German pianos have the rail secured by a sloping pin at either end, or check if there is a screw at each end. Remove this rail.... picture below shows roughly what it will look like
fallremoved.jpg
The red circle is sometimes where the serial number might be. Right behind the mechanism - but you must remove the fallboard. With the fallboard & keyslip rail removed, just slowly lift up the bottom key so the bottom of the key clears the area - and look on either side. A date might be there.....
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by malphonse » 15 Feb 2012, 02:40

I continue to be impressed with how pianos are built (more specifically, the one my wife and I have) and how simple it is to remove panels.

Alas, my searching efforts have come to naught. There is no serial number on the back. I lifted up and looked at the sides of all the keys but saw no date (or anything else). This makes me quite concerned, but I'm still hoping this is not simply a knock off piano.

An interesting point, for the circular pieces of felt under the keys; some of them had one or more circular pieces of paper under them. Most of these pieces of paper had Japanese characters, but I saw one that had roman numerals - this one seemed to be a cut-out of an appendix of some long-doomed book.

The more I look, the less I find... :(

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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 15 Feb 2012, 07:09

Have a read of this.... I have copied/pasted this from my files - some of it edited from the Pierce Piano Atlas. .......

"IDENTIFY YOUR PIANO?

Check that your piano manufacturing name appears both on the fallboard (lid that covers the keys) and somewhere else inside the piano such as the cast iron frame or soundboard. If the name is “set in stone” on the cast iron frame alone (raised iron lettering on the gold section) – this is more likely to bear the original name of the piano. Never rely purely on the fallboard name alone, as it may be just a decal, produced by a different manufacturing name; and also don’t just rely on sticky labels or hand-written names. Remember that fallboard names do not guarantee the name of the manufacturer. If there is no name on your piano, either on the fallboard or anywhere inside, then it is virtually impossible to know the manufacturing name of your piano. Sometimes names are removed during re-polishing, or the cast frame may have been re-sprayed, so any trace of the name may be lost forever. This also applies to serial numbers.

SERIAL NUMBER

The serial number is unique to every piano – and is needed to date your piano – however, they are not always accurate, and may be located in one of the following places: Gold cast frame near tuning pins/ soundboard/ behind the mechanism/ rear of the piano/ wrest plank. The numbers will be printed in black and each number around 2cm in height. They will be printed in ink, etched, or punched into the wrest plank or soundboard – however never rely on hand-written numbers, especially those written in pencil. Some pianos may have several numbers inside – some of these may be stock or part numbers/ patent numbers/ exhibition dates/ date of establishment.... however many of these numbers cannot be traced and therefore will be irrelevant, though just for general interest. Numbers/ letters punched onto the top of piano keys, or on the top edge of the top lid – facing the ceiling are not normally serial numbers.

Some pianos may have two different manufacturers within the same year and two different serial numbers; these are sometimes indicated by a wide variety of numbers, or skipping large blocks of numbers. This is generally due to a piano being a stencil or a piano made for a dealer who used his own trade name on pianos manufactured by different builders. In other instances, the new manufacturer may continue the original serial number sequence.

Where a piano name is listed in a serial number book, where possible it will show the manufacturers name, address, telephone number, year of establishment and other information such as a well-known trade name, or affiliation and general history of ownership. Where possible, a list of serial numbers will be given showing their relevant dates. However in some instances, the book may not list any serial numbers under that name (or it may detour you to another name for their serial numbers) – so even if you find the serial number, it may not be traced. On the other hand, serial numbers may be listed in the book, but there may be no traces of these numbers on your piano. Where a piano name is appended with the symbol (*), this identifies some thousands of piano names designated as “stencil” pianos prior to World War I. If a census book merely just mentions a piano name alone – and none of the above is shown, it only proves that the name was in existence. In some cases misspelling was very common and deliberately used to create names that look and sound similar to well known names, and even with the prefix “Stein” – they purposefully tried to make the client believe they were a German make of piano when they were not. Also names of well-known composers or concert performers (usually German) were shared with piano names, however some of these names are purely fictitious and cannot be traced. To date, continuous research has failed to disclose some manufacturer’s names.

VALUATION/ APPRAISALS

Antique pianos or pianos with sentimental value are very individual and do not convert readily into realistic market value. Unlike coins, stamps, cars and other collectables there are no established central markets or blue book evaluations of pianos. There are also no specific “User Manuals” for a specific piano labelling all the parts inside, like there are with cars. Auction values may vary greatly – depending on the country of residence, location, bidding interest and generally knowing what kind of “trade” will turn up on the day. Pianos do deteriorate and maybe 100 years old. Their condition for musical purposes may vary wildly. Generally speaking, some pianos will sell better than others – and just like a piece of furniture, the general shape, design, colour and look of the piano may appeal to one kind of client rather than another. If the piano bears an original name that can be researched, and ticks all the boxes, it is likely to sell better than any piano with an unknown history or unknown name – regardless of it having a serial number or not. Many may think that if the piano can be dated accurately with its serial number, this will be worth more money – but this is not so. It may help to sell your piano, but will not guarantee an early retirement.

In any event to date and value a piano, a careful personal examination by an expert is required. The specific viewing of serial numbers/ font shape & size/ other information can only be expertly casted from a qualified piano tuner or technician. They will immediately know where to look, and rule out irrelevant text, numbers – and even a fictitious name.

Remember that many piano manufacturers did not keep records,nor any lists of dates or serial numbers."
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 16 Feb 2012, 00:37

malphonse wrote:IAn interesting point, for the circular pieces of felt under the keys; some of them had one or more circular pieces of paper under them. Most of these pieces of paper had Japanese characters, but I saw one that had roman numerals - this one seemed to be a cut-out of an appendix of some long-doomed book.

The more I look, the less I find... :(
Thats a good bit of detective work!!
Now then - dont be confused about Japanese text on paper washers. As we now know, we think the piano has been previously kept/ for sale or sold in a "Japanese environment" - alongside Yamaha pianos. It is quite common for the keyboard to have been re-regulated by a Japanese technician - but nothing to do with thew make of the piano. Sometimes the original paper washers may still be there, written in German? or sometimes they are thrown away, and fresh washers used.

Some technicians make their own paper/card washers with a wadding punch kit - I have one aswell. So finding "Japanese washers" and a sticker with Yamaha all over your piano is not a surprise.

I usually use the punch kit for other parts of a piano, that are not easily obtainable - such as felt pads for strings to rest on near the hitch pins - cant order these, so they have to be made by hand. >>>> see photo >>>
String trebleSchiedmayer.jpg
So this will explain the washers under your piano keys, and maybe the odd few German ones cut out from the Financial Times!!
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by malphonse » 17 Feb 2012, 19:13

Check that your piano manufacturing name appears both on the fallboard (lid that covers the keys) and somewhere else inside the piano such as the cast iron frame or soundboard...
From the picture I added earlier in this post (http://www.piano-tuners.org/piano-forum ... id=464&t=1) there are 3 places where Rubinstein appears: [1] the cast iron frame, [2] the fallboard and [3] the 'rail'. There are no asterisks after the name in any of the 3 locations so, thus far, the piano might not be a stencil. Here's a magnified image:
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by malphonse » 17 Feb 2012, 19:24

...to date and value a piano, a careful personal examination by an expert is required
Hopefully, it's worth more than the cost to get it valued :). If not, then I'll have an interesting do-it-yourself project to get it tuned. I think that will be a fun challenge 8) ... but would I be going off the deep end here?

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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 17 Feb 2012, 20:33

Considering all this info is free - we dont do bad!!
If you try to contact http://www.piercepianoatlas.com - they may be able to help further they will charge you in advance before even looking at your piano - and no refund if they cant find any info .... and I suspect they wont find anything new, and certainly wont provide as much info as me.

Please note that stencil markings are in the census books only - for the trade - not publically shown on pianos - sorry if that was not clear.

There are absolutely NO RECORDS of a "Rubinstein" (with an 'i') - but there are 2 references to RUBENSTEIN - different spelling, and at the start of the next page there is no Rubinstein - just "Ruby" (which is also a stencil name). See below >>

There is nothing wrong with the names/ markings on your piano - it is a Rubinstein piano - thats obvious, but I am a little susceptible about the name printed on the hammer rest rail? Usually the action makers name here - - however Steinway have their name on their tubular action rails, so I suppose its OK.

You will also see that there are good references to other pianos eg ROYAL.... giving some dates, names & serial numbers with dates...... but sorry, nothing for your piano. The reference "Probably made by Samuel Walker" is vague.... they made pianos near me - 96 Leeds Road, Bradford - but even Pierce are unsure!!
So this is taken from page 293 (of 448) from the Pierce Piano Atlas.

Feel free to contact them, and they may be able to help further.....
But note in the book, stencil marking/ no dates/ no serial numbers/ no history/ nothing...... just like the millions of other pianos in this book & RUBICON has less info that Rubenstein! .... but no Rubinstein, could be there US spelling? >>>>

"What the eye dont see, the heart dont greave over" ...... remember that!
There are many instances of a piano having & clearly showing their serial number inside a piano.... then when we turn to the book.... NOTHING! thats how frustrating it gets...... anyway - see below ----
Rubenstein Nos.jpg
ps.. then when find Samuel Walker, it just gives the address 96 Leeds Rd, Bradford, then says "See Rubenstein" ......
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 18 Feb 2012, 00:35

malphonse wrote:
...to date and value a piano, a careful personal examination by an expert is required
Hopefully, it's worth more than the cost to get it valued :). If not, then I'll have an interesting do-it-yourself project to get it tuned. I think that will be a fun challenge 8) ... but would I be going off the deep end here?
I think I have already told you its approximate value - around £200 max sold privately, depending on its condition, the pitch it has settled at, and the condition of the strings & wrest pins. Whatever you spend on "services" for your piano will only be as valuable as how you want the piano to sound, and play nicely. Personally, I wouldnt really think about its value - afterall, (with respect) - ebonised black is out of fashion (not to be confused with polyester black), the action & hammers need attention - some of the shanks are twisted & need casting - the overall look of the mechanism is unrestored, and without seeing the hammer heads, I would guess they need refacing. Also missing veneer, and maybe several scratches & blemishes. Any repairs/ tuning/ servicing to a high degree would be uneconomical. I've tuned loads of these pianos - some sound very nice & tune well. A similar German piano I partly restored was a Bogs & Viogt (and had an English name on the fallboard!!!) - however after the customers spent well over £500 to have it working nicely - they'll never get that money back - mainly because of the labour charges.

I have also stripped to small pieces several of these mechanisms - repinned them, new tapes, leathers - the usual - then assembled & regulated. All the guys on here know their true value - and without sounding pedantic - we are aware of all the markings of pianos, without anyone re- circling words inside the piano.

If I was my piano - I would do the following:-

1. Take all the keys out - in order.
2. Remove the mechanism
3. Scratch the plating on the name on the cast iron frame.
4. Look up the name in various piano auction books for comparisons
5. Check out the pitch of the piano/ regulation etc
6. Make a note of the damage/ missing veneer/ scratches/ crazed French polish
7. Examine closely the hammer head striking points/ leather wear etc

the list goes on ......
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 19 Feb 2012, 14:53

Hi Malphonse.... (if you are still there?)

You will probably have learnt by now that this forum has some very specialised "girls & guys" on here (and well qualified with various letters after their name) - all willing to offer free info - and of course, we dont get paid for this - this is all done from the bottom of our hearts. However, our main objective is to just provide you with a basis or overview of your piano, maybe steer you in the right direction - for you to take it one step further, and pay someone to visit your home and offer you a full appraisal on your piano.

Not every piece of advice here is 100% concrete, nor is this forum the "main headquarters" for information. Much of what you may have read you may know already - or perhaps if someone cant offer every conceivable aspect of information, its easy to think .... "oh, is that all he knows? " ...... and your thirst & hunger for more info is apparent.

I like to think that among all of us here, I generally "bust a gut" to help out. I will regularly adapt my archive photos, along with adaptions of your own photos to enhance a subject clearly - this of course takes time...... and I dont mind - however, hopefully this has given you an insight into the dreaded "stencil" piano - a bit like Foot & Mouth of 2001!!!!.... and I trust you will let us know how you get on with your piano - re: value/ tuning/ assessment. However, as many is the case - we dont hear from anyone again!!!!!
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by Bill Kibby » 19 Feb 2012, 17:37

Please note that we are not licensed valuers, and in Britain, as in America, the law does not permit us to quote values. This forum cannot accept legal responsibility for outside people who quote values here. Anyone who quotes values needs to be prepared to face the legal consequences.
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by malphonse » 23 Feb 2012, 18:28

I must say that before I posted my initial question, I knew absolutely nothing about the piano, which my wife received as a gift.

I truly appreciate all the help and feedback I've received - and I've learned quite a lot; many thanks to you Colin and Bill for all your invaluable inputs!

By the way, I see the "quotes" as just that and will not seek any sort of legal action whatsoever :D . I'm fully aware that the expert valuation I get could be very different from the "quotes", and I don't have a problem with that. I saw a catch-22 (which, I admit, could be rather bone-headed on my part :roll: ): have an idea of the possible value to determine if it is worth getting a proper valuation in order to see the extent to which I should invest funds to get it tuned. Maybe I need to get my head examined... :wink:

At any rate, I feel this post exemplifies what online forums are about: getting replies to one's question from others across the world who are more knowledgeable, including those who will go the extra mile to give a much more informative answer that may have been expected (another tip of the hat to you, Colin :mrgreen:. I also go above and beyond and know all too well what it means to give just for the love of it; in the case of pianos though, I'm the budding student rather than the experienced teacher).

I live in the U.S. and have found a few piano tuners a few short miles from my home. I'm evaluating their fees and hope to have one of them come around soon to do the needful.

I will continue to check and update this post until I get the piano tuned up and will let you know how it turned out.

Many thanks to all of you again!

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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 23 Feb 2012, 23:41

I hope you and your wife enjoys the piano - and by the way, dont forget to get rid of that Yamaha sticker!!

Having your piano tuned is not really an investment as such, more of a "to do" list for a piano - like having the car MOT done, or a lick of paint on the front door. If you had every single receipt for the tunings & servicing since the piano was new, maybe might be worth a bit more - but only from a selling aspect to show it has been well looked after. Most piano tunings last around 4-6 months, and each time it is tuned, it gets better & stays in tune for longer - so it matures like wine.

If you ring around for tunings, dont just fall for the cheapest quote. In the UK, tuning a neglected piano would probably need 2 visits if you wanted concert pitch. The price isn't that bad compared to a gas engineer or plumber calling! - around £50 - £60 per visit on average. That would be charged at the pitch it has settled at.

Check with your tuner about pitch raising costs - its worth doing.

It may also transpire that your mechanism may need some adjustments done aswell prior to tuning. For a successful tuning, each hammer must strike all three strings evenly - however, on old pianos, the shanks sometimes twist and only strike 1 or 2 of the 3 strings in the treble (which I noticed on your piano) - so any faults with the hammer strike, they usually need to be sorted first.

Also dont overlook piano "regulation" - this is the adjustment of the mechanism, and should be done every 2-3 years..... a separate job to tuning, and looks good on old invoices if ever you sell the piano. Also a general service includes cleaning, removing the keys and removing the huge amounts of build up of dust - also bellowing out the mechanism so it is free from dust. In the near future, you may consider a general mechanism overhaul.

There's a few pointers and some things to consider.... but remember, the tuning is only as good as the piano - if the mechanism needs adjusting, and if its just left, it will affect the overall tuning stability of the strings. Strings are also "pounded" loudly during tuning - this helps to "set the string" - and keep it in tune; however if the hammer veers off and misses a string - that single string will come back and haunt you in a few weeks time - just takes one single string for a note to sound completely out of tune!


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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 25 Feb 2012, 17:53

Thought that Malphonse might find this interesting, or anyone else!
Out on my tuning round, and last one of the day was a Yamaha U3 piano.
I hadn't really took much notice of those Yamaha stickers before, but since this post cropped up - I noticed one on this piano. (Sorry the photo quality is not good - was taken with my iPod).

The Yamaha sticker is also a proper brass plate - highly polished, - but someone stuck as paper label over it "C10" ?? - I tried to remove it, but it was very sticky. Not sure what the C10 means - could be a batch code or something.

However, main thing to note that the Yam sticker is on the right make of piano.
Also note the model of piano 'U3' and serial number clearly displayed - and its duplicated inside that section of inlaid brass on the top lid - (sorry its not clear, but its the same number).

Been tuning this piano for around 2 years now - dated c.1986 I think - and had new hammers, and in excellent condition & plays beautifully.
Yamaha U3 001.jpg
Yamaha U3
.... and the correct Yamaha emblem - with 3 tuning forks ......
Yamaha U3 002.jpg
Yamaha U3
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by nuwang » 05 Mar 2012, 20:19

Hi All,

I'm from Sri Lanka, and I'm about to buy a Rubinstein Piano from a local vendor. I was told by the salesman that the piano is about 20~30 years old. But after reading the earlier posts, I'm really confused about the age of the piano. According to some forum posts, it could've been manufactured in 1920 - 1930. That makes the piano more than 80 years old.

The piano I saw had the following markings - Rubninstein, 200A, 247104. I assumed that 200A was the model and the serial number was 247104. All the letters were either embossed or printed in black ink.

From what I remember (I was at the shop for about 15 mins only) the markings on the iron frame and fall board are similar if not identical to the image that Colin has uploaded.

The price quoted was Rs. 150,000 (= USD 1250). I guess the price could be higher in SL since the import tax is high as well. But don't want to buy a 100 year old piano - i.e. I was told by a friend to buy a piano about 20-30 years, but not one that was more than 50 years old.

I would be really grateful if someone could just give an idea as to the age of the piano and if it's worth buying it.

Thanks in Advance
Nuwan Gajaweera

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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 06 Mar 2012, 01:27

Nuwan

To save alot of hassle & confusion & lengthy writing - please read my first post - dated 1st February - and follow the instructions there regarding sending photos - and also note the KIND of photos you need to send. 'Rubinstein' or Rubenstein' - however it is spelt is originally an 'OLD' name - whether seen on a piano from the 1900's or 2012. Some companies revive the name and just apply it to a blank piano with no name.

Also read about 'stencil pianos' - this also applies to your piano.

Numbers/ decals/ prints EITHER OR IF BUT are no good to us.... need to see them - just like examining a fine piece of silver or gold jewellery...... all pianos have their own individual markings, numbers, letters, etc.... without photos - how can any one Know? I doubt if the numbers will mean anything - as it was already stated before that Rubinstein did not appear as a manufacturer's name.

You will also see the list of serial numbers that other pianos offer - re Pierce Atlas.... this is no different to your piano - still no history, no serial numbers.

If the piano is in a shop, you are best contacting a piano tuner to check it over.
Also this is UK! - so prices you give need to be converted into the UK Pound Sterling - not Sri Lanka currency. No one here can say if the piano is worth buying - for the money asked, you'll need to book an independent piano tuner to check it over. I wouldn't worry too much about the name & numbers - its a piano! - and if it plays & sounds good - buy it.

Hope that helps.
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by Bill Kibby » 06 Mar 2012, 13:16

Sorry Colin, but what does

"Numbers/ decals/ prints EITHER OR IF BUT are no good to us.... need to see them"

mean?
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 06 Mar 2012, 13:23

nuwang wrote:
The piano I saw had the following markings - Rubninstein, 200A, 247104. I assumed that 200A was the model and the serial number was 247104. All the letters were either embossed or printed in black ink.
Same meaning as the above......
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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by nuwang » 06 Mar 2012, 16:29

Hi Colin,

Thanks for your quick feedback. I plan to visit the shop during the weekend. Once I take a photo of the piano, I'll upload it. I've also arranged to take a friend who's a musician along with me.

Regards
Nuwan

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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by mitasbakeshop » 06 Mar 2012, 17:05

What if the serial number of a Yamaha U3 is not on the metal frame but etched in the inside right cabinet? Does this etched serial number the true serial number. See picture with etched no.543826. Also see picture of metal frame with logo only and no serial number. How do I determine the real serial number? Or is it located somewhere else? Please advise.
Image
Image

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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 06 Mar 2012, 20:56

This looks fine - and is the serial number. On older models of any piano (not just Yamaha), the serial number was occasionally somewhere else, and on the same-named piano! - side inside panel/ soundboard/ cast frame / inside of top lid - inlaid in brass,,,, wherever.., when this number is checked and having the correct number of digits, and starting with the correct first number (or thereabouts) - we can usually confirm this is the serial number.
Other numbers may appear, and depending on their 'appearance'/ style/ the way they are applied etc.... do not always conform to being a serial number.

The date for this U3 suggests 1966. Numbers punched into the wood. Some pianos have numbers punched on the 'lip' - top edge of the side panel (facing the ceiling) - usually this is a part or stock number.

The U3 also has a 60's look - celeste rail is wooden (modern ones are metal)/ colour of the hammer rest rail spray paint is slightly darker..... so things you wont know - we can see and this usually confirms the approx. date.

Later, Yamaha put their serial numbers at the right side of the cast frame AND on the top lid - as per my photo.... but some models vary, and by no means is this configuration exhaustive. Alot is also from experience - and alot of comparisons may be very subtle - and often we also dont know!

However - you are wasting your time & efforts doing the same for the serial number for Rubinstein - there AINT any in the book! - so please dont send a photo of the serial number alone. However, a general photo (a bit clearer & closer please) of the piano with all panels on & off will give us some clues.

Serial numbers on export pianos are often just for show, and try to elude us in thinking this piano is logged into a data base or somewhere.... in fact, quite the opposite. However, Yamaha are very good, a reputable piano name & manufacturers (like Steinway) - and their serial number records are usually accurate. However, I heard that is is also possible to 'fill in' punched serial numbers, and re-emboss a serial number which shows the piano is some 20-30 years younger - so this is why fraudulent methods are made more difficult by duplicating the serial in 2 or 3 places, aswell as on the cast frame.... hence the inlaid brass plaque on the top lid will be identical (or should be) - to the black numbers decalled on the cast frame. Very few desperate trade people will try it to simply 'turn back the clock' on a piano, hence whopping the price up!! .... similar to 'ringing' a car.
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Re:Yamaha Serial number

Post by mitasbakeshop » 07 Mar 2012, 10:20

Thank you very much for your prompt reply on the U3 piano. Appreciate it.
Last edited by mitasbakeshop on 07 Mar 2012, 13:54, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 07 Mar 2012, 13:29

nuwang wrote:Hi All,

I'm from Sri Lanka, and I'm about to buy a Rubinstein Piano from a local vendor. I was told by the salesman that the piano is about 20~30 years old. But after reading the earlier posts, I'm really confused about the age of the piano. According to some forum posts, it could've been manufactured in 1920 - 1930. That makes the piano more than 80 years old.

The piano I saw had the following markings - Rubninstein, 200A, 247104. I assumed that 200A was the model and the serial number was 247104. All the letters were either embossed or printed in black ink.
I am a bit confused here. As above, you quoted that you were initially enquiring about a Rubinstein piano? However the above photo and previous recent photos show a Yamaha U3 - is this the same piano as the 1966 Yamaha I previously commented on??.... if so, not sure why you sent it because I have already dated it for you.

Obviously this is clearly NOT Rubinstein.... so just wondered where this enquiry is leading us to?

I also didnt attach any photos of the Rubinstein and its fallboard - these were sent by Malphonse - I did however post an explanation & image how to remove the fallboard - but this was a cropped picture, and the piano was originally sent by Malphonse.

I am only presuming that this is a different enquiry, not related at all to your original query??

Remember that Yamaha have nothing to do with Rubinstein - completely different, and in the original posts, the member was confused why there was a Yamaha sticker inside a Rubinstein piano.... which has been explained.

Rather mythed here!!! ...... please explain why you sent photos of a U3, when you initially enquired about a Rubinstein.... ta.

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Re: Rubinstein? Yamaha? Serial number?

Post by kamasawakid » 29 May 2012, 02:42

having a ancient rubinstein piano myself (i live in japan and am a japanese speaker/reader), here is what ive found out about this brand:
it was made by a company called saito piano, originally located in hodogaya near yokohama circa 1935. after the war mr saito relocated to hamamatsu/kakegawa in shizuoka prefecture. the company no longer exists, but apparently the make was fairly common pre/postwar.
for those interested in the financial details..... i bought my piano from the village elementary school for 500 yen (5 dollars) but i have seen them on sale for around 150,000 yen.
i have come to love this piano which my children played when they were young and which i in my old age am trying to learn. to manipulate its keys, some of which have the original ivory others replaced plastic and others just bare wood, each note a unique timbre the sum of its materials maturity acquired eccentricities exquisitely sensitive to touch, is an unending joy.

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