Ibach-Higel player piano upright

General discussion about piano makes, problems with pianos, or just seeking advice.

Moderators: Feg, Gill the Piano, Melodytune

Post Reply
CliftonPark
Junior Poster
Junior Poster
Posts: 9
Joined: 23 Apr 2013, 05:21

Ibach-Higel player piano upright

Post by CliftonPark » 08 May 2013, 16:46

Hi,
I just bought an Ibach player piano with Higel player mechanism - upright. Serial #94430. It needs restoration but it's beautiful. It was probably sold new long ago in London through the Civil Service Stores - Civil Service Supply Association Limited as indicated on the fall board (other serial# CSSA 4887).
I had Ibach pianos in the past and I love them but this is the first Ibach player piano I have acquired.
Is this a piano (brand) worth of restoration?
Can you tell me more about this type of pianos?
Thanks,

Gene
Clifton Park, NY

User avatar
Colin Nicholson
Executive Poster
Executive Poster
Posts: 1839
Joined: 04 Jul 2010, 19:15
Location: Morpeth, Northumberland
Contact:

Re: Ibach-Higel player piano upright

Post by Colin Nicholson » 11 May 2013, 13:36

I put some brief info on the history forum about the player unit inc. photo.

Your piano is best inspected by a piano restorer, to give you accurate information, because there are several different Ibach companies with the same name.... some have no history, just dates - some may have been affiliated names, however the main Ibach name was Johannes Adolph Ibach. Est. in 1794 (in Barmen, Germany)... they also manufactured organs. In 1839, J Adolph retired and his 2 brothers took over, Adolph Junior & Gustav. There is some more general info about dates etc.... but this may not reflect on your own piano.

Restoration is covered in various different levels.... I refer them to BAND names. A piano of an old age should be assessed & inspected first to see if its possible to be restored - depending on its design, condition, wrest plank & cast frame configuration.... eg.... if there are any cracks in the plank, or very loose tuning pins, a restorer may walk away.

Most pianos are worth restoring, but if its "too far gone" - then it would cost several thousands to restore.

A full-on restoration would cost in the region of £10K - £15K .... and consist of a complete rebuild/ wrest plank/ mechanism (inc new hammers & shanks)/ re-string/ re-polished/ pedals/ keyboard.... the full monte! However, some customers prefer just the 'basics' such as a re-string & mechanism refurb. If you opt for a re-string, you have to have the mech done aswell due to dampers/ tapes etc, but mech can be done alone. Prices may include collection & relocation - it depends on the price, and what you have done. This also EXCLUDES the player unit! .... that would be separate.

A standard restoration would cost in the region of 3-5K. About 2-3 months.

You would have to have your piano checked first - its something you cant decide to go ahead with just yet (you might be knocked back).... in terms of agreement/ parts/ major problems etc.... however, if everything is fine after an inspection (which may be charged for) - I would return the assessment fee upon agreement of a restoration..... and give the piano the all-clear. Any piano over 50-60 years old must be inspected first - if you dont, and a major problem occurs - you'll be left high & dry and a piano in BITS! .... and charged for the labour & parts up to that point of devastation....

All old pianos are risky when part-restorations are done. Example: Customer wanted his Model A Steinway grand re-strung & action done only.... no rebushing of keys, declined re-polish.... wrest plank had some loose pins in the bass.... customer informed & said that it might crack under the force of new oversized pins.... piano re-strung, then lasted about a month.... now completely un-tuneable and needs a new wrest plank - all strings have to come & cast frame, and piano sent away.... so customer is just left with a shell.... he also signed & dated a liability agreement - so we were in the clear, and the customer was WELL warned of the risks - bit like operating on a dodgy OAP.... 50/50 chance of survival.

Hope that helps....
AA Piano Tuners UK

Colin Nicholson Dip. Mus. CMIT CLCM PTLLS
Piano tuning & repairs. Full UK restoration service
http://www.aatuners.com
Tuition ~ Accompaniment ~ Weddings
http://www.pianotime1964.com
Member of The Guild of Master Craftsmen

User avatar
athomik
Persistent Poster
Persistent Poster
Posts: 356
Joined: 03 Jan 2007, 12:14
Location: England

Re: Ibach-Higel player piano upright

Post by athomik » 15 May 2013, 19:14

Depending on condition (check with a piano tech as suggested), it may be a decent piano but you may find it hard to find someone to restore the player mechanism - unless it's a late, electronic add-on.

CliftonPark
Junior Poster
Junior Poster
Posts: 9
Joined: 23 Apr 2013, 05:21

Re: Ibach-Higel player piano upright

Post by CliftonPark » 27 May 2013, 09:54

Thank you!
It's a Rud Ibach Sohn (Barmen-Berlin) with Otto Higel (London) player mechanism.
I had the player mechanism inspected by a specialized piano tech who found it in very good general conditions.He said mechanism was called "Metalnola". It needs replacing a metal support for the upper roll which has to be built, pedal pin and clean up (total amount $1000 or less).
The problem are the strings. It's way below pitch and the concern is to break strings while tuning. Some of the springs need to be replaced as well.
Cabinet, ivory key tops and ebony sharps are in spectacular conditions (cabinet needs minimal attention).
This week I will have a second inspection done to the piano mechanics and then I will decide if move further or not. Any idea about value of restored pianos of this kind?
Thanks again,
Gene

User avatar
Colin Nicholson
Executive Poster
Executive Poster
Posts: 1839
Joined: 04 Jul 2010, 19:15
Location: Morpeth, Northumberland
Contact:

Re: Ibach-Higel player piano upright

Post by Colin Nicholson » 27 May 2013, 13:29

WE can't really give restoration valuations on the forum.... just general advice, nor could a valuation be anywhere accurate for your own piano - all are different. As a ball-park figure, for a complete re-string/ mechanism refurb etc.... about the 3-4K mark (UK Sterling] I charge.... however as I said, it depends on the condition of the wrest plank - so your piano needs a full on-site written assessment & inspection prior to any restorer agreeing to do the work. Simply throwing £4K at them wont deter them, because there could be major consequences. It also depends on your climate aswell. Just recently.. I restored a Bechstein.... however, I have been tuning the piano for over 4 years now [6 monthly intervals] - and I know the piano well.

What springs are you referring to??

On most uprights .... there are 2 sets of springs. 1. Damper springs 2. Jack springs. In most old pianos damper springs lose their tension - or if the flanges become brittle the coils turn on their own axis as lose tension. On some actions the jack springs are glued into a 6mm recessed hole [looks like a moat] .... so removal of the jacks are needed, and careful heat/steam applied with a soldering iron & wet cloth or 'soldering sponge' to remove the 'bath' of glue & spring remnants then they have to be re-drilled with a 6.5mm HSS drill bit on a pillar/bench drill.... takes ages to do!

If you decide to have it restrung - you will need some of the mech done aswell - minimum of: dampers/ refacing hammers/ leathers & tapes. Optionals: butt springs & loops/ repinning/ cushion felts/ rail cloth/ set off buttons etc etc.... so this is why your piano needs a full inspection. However if you buy an old piano - I'm sure you are prepared for this.....

Re pitch raise: .... get some thin silicone oil [like oil for RC car shock absorbers] and dab it on a brush [dont spray it] - then carefully coat all the wrest pins & coils.... also dab agraffes/ upper bridge pins - or anywhere where there may be rust or corrosion. A pitch raise is usually done in 2-3 stages. Visit 1: haul it up to pitch sharp [very course tuning] - leave it a few days. Visit 2: Tidy up tuning. Visit 3 [if needed] - finer tuning to concert pitch. If the silicone works ok it will reduce the chances of a breakage - however not guaranteed - and if a string breaks its not the end of the world. I ALWAYS pre-treat strings & pins if I see signs of previously replaced or broken strings. If a bass string breaks.... it will have to be sent away to be made. Treble strings are made on-site and your tuner should have about 10 - 20 different gauges of wire. If a bass bi-chord breaks it is best to replace both for tuning up purposes. If the tuning pins are loose - then get it checked out and ask your tuner to drive in an over-sized pin to do a torque test.... it may mean a string has to be replaced. However - tuning stability may be poor anyway with having old pins.... after 40 years old a piano starts to wear & tear - after about 90-100 years its needs re-stringing - no other way to put it!
AA Piano Tuners UK

Colin Nicholson Dip. Mus. CMIT CLCM PTLLS
Piano tuning & repairs. Full UK restoration service
http://www.aatuners.com
Tuition ~ Accompaniment ~ Weddings
http://www.pianotime1964.com
Member of The Guild of Master Craftsmen

CliftonPark
Junior Poster
Junior Poster
Posts: 9
Joined: 23 Apr 2013, 05:21

Re: Ibach-Higel player piano upright

Post by CliftonPark » 27 May 2013, 19:38

Thanks Colins.
Do you have any idea about how much a piano like this restored can sell for?
I did some research here in the US. There are only few Ibachs for sale but I could not find any Ibach Higel player piano. Is this considered a rare piano? In the collector's world is this something valuable?
I love the sound of Ibach, his history and its style but, as said in the first post, I don't know anything about player pianos.
Best,
Gene

User avatar
Colin Nicholson
Executive Poster
Executive Poster
Posts: 1839
Joined: 04 Jul 2010, 19:15
Location: Morpeth, Northumberland
Contact:

Re: Ibach-Higel player piano upright

Post by Colin Nicholson » 27 May 2013, 23:43

Sorry - no idea of value after a restoration. I probably wouldn't think of a player piano being an investment really in any terms. In the Uk here - they are mainly a novelty now.... and rarely sell at all. I think the USA still have various workshops for players, and some in this country still restore them.

I have a fairly old piano auction guide price book but no mention of Ibach.
I would imagine they are rare, but I dont know enough about player values in the UK or US market to comment.


Even if we were 'kitted out' for player piano valuations/ insurance appraisals etc.... we couldnt put a value on it on this forum - as stated in the blue header above. You'll need to contact a specialist who restores them [not just a tuner] to get a better idea..... and the value depends on how much you spend/ parts available etc. Your piano player tuner may be better to advise you.
AA Piano Tuners UK

Colin Nicholson Dip. Mus. CMIT CLCM PTLLS
Piano tuning & repairs. Full UK restoration service
http://www.aatuners.com
Tuition ~ Accompaniment ~ Weddings
http://www.pianotime1964.com
Member of The Guild of Master Craftsmen

CliftonPark
Junior Poster
Junior Poster
Posts: 9
Joined: 23 Apr 2013, 05:21

Re: Ibach-Higel player piano upright

Post by CliftonPark » 31 May 2013, 04:10

Thank you for your professional and honest comment.
Somehow I thought Ibach was popular in UK. The one I have was sold in London as I mentioned in my first post.
I have an estimate to fix the player mechanism of $1000 + whatever the piano part requires (at least replacement of a number of strings, about 10 springs, number of felts, refiling hammers, action regulation, tuning).
I previously sold an Ibach Upright refurbished at a decent price but to find an Ibach amateur in the US is hard.
I will probably have the piano fixed and will sell it with the player mechanism detached. So that the buyer can either have mechanism repaired or use it as regular piano.
Again thanks for your comments,
Gene

User avatar
Colin Nicholson
Executive Poster
Executive Poster
Posts: 1839
Joined: 04 Jul 2010, 19:15
Location: Morpeth, Northumberland
Contact:

Re: Ibach-Higel player piano upright

Post by Colin Nicholson » 31 May 2013, 08:42

Putting your piano around the year 1928, it shouldn't take much to get it working.

There are no mentions of "Ibach Players" in my auction book [under a separate list of players] - however around 15 'Ibach' [not players] were sold at auction, and 'Ibach' as a standard piano is clearly mentioned.

Upright & grand piano values will vary anything from £20 - £3000, depending on their condition, and various London auction catalogues, I have only ever seen ONE sold per auction - and that's a grand! .... no players, no uprights, just a grand piano.

Check this out [lot 7] ...... http://www.pianoauctions.co.uk/past_sal ... 11-04-2013

If you change the date in the box above "Price Realised" to 9/9/10 [9th Sept 2010] - again, only one grand sold - Lot 66.... so they dont really hit the headlines.

Not sure if this establishment still exists, but Ibach back in the late 1990's resided at
Wilhelmstrabe 43, D-58332 Schwelm, Germany.... and their phone number is
011 49 02336 93930 - however I dont know if this phone number works. Always worth a try.

Hope that helps

Colin
AA Piano Tuners UK

Colin Nicholson Dip. Mus. CMIT CLCM PTLLS
Piano tuning & repairs. Full UK restoration service
http://www.aatuners.com
Tuition ~ Accompaniment ~ Weddings
http://www.pianotime1964.com
Member of The Guild of Master Craftsmen

CliftonPark
Junior Poster
Junior Poster
Posts: 9
Joined: 23 Apr 2013, 05:21

Re: Ibach-Higel player piano upright

Post by CliftonPark » 03 Jun 2013, 16:29

Great suggestions!
Will do.
Thanks again for your help.
Gene

Post Reply