"Restored" Bluthner 6'10 piano

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joseph
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"Restored" Bluthner 6'10 piano

Post by joseph » 10 Oct 2008, 18:32

A parent of someone I teach bought an old Bluthner piano a few years ago, I think its an 1890s model, 6'10 ish, bluthner action, aliquot.

Anyways, she told me it had been restored by a man in Perth (those of you in Scotland may have an idea who this man is so I'd best not name him unless you really really want to know). He pressured them in to having it restored by him and then proceeded to butcher the bluthner. I think he put new hammer heads on it, and he re covered the keys with white plastic, much to the chargrin of the owners as it had a pristine Ivory keyboard on it. He does this to all pianos he 'restores'. I gather that he charged a fortune: Naturally it still has the original strings etc, the case work wasn't even re polished, and yet this particular family STILL get this man to tune their piano! He CAN'T EVEN TUNE PROPERLY ITS DISGUSTING!

The family are mega rich, why not just go to Bluthners in the first place and have it rebuilt!?

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Post by Barrie Heaton » 10 Oct 2008, 18:46

its all down to the local tuner who tunes the piano and some times the piano teacher.

I have 4 Bluthners on my round that need restoring but the clients will not bite..... yet

I phoned one of my regulars the other week who told me to ring back in 6 month as they have just had the piano restored on a recommendation of the teacher who visits the piano to teach now I told this client not to spend money on it get a new one. So I wait to see what has been done its an old Amly You fell as if you are talking to yourself some times

on Bluthners
  • I have seen aliquot bridges put on back to front
    aliquot removed and wrest pin holes filled in
    new heads fitted with no provision for the aliquot
Piano owners do the funniest things but I do have some very nice restored Bluthners on my round done by Bluthners


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Post by vernon » 10 Oct 2008, 21:36

we have had recently deprecatory remarks about a Company in Perth and one in Edinburgh.
We must be careful as I am sure there are competent piano dealers in both places but we have all have seen disgraceful work from both those places up here in Scotland,so we must not tar all with the same black brush.
Discrete enquiries on this forum should be able to get a clearer picture.

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Post by vernon » 10 Oct 2008, 21:37

we have had recently deprecatory remarks about a Company in Perth and one in Edinburgh.
We must be careful as I am sure there are competent piano dealers in both places but we have all have seen disgraceful work from both those places up here in Scotland,so we must not tar all with the same black brush.
Discrete enquiries on this forum should be able to get a clearer picture.

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Post by joseph » 11 Oct 2008, 11:22

thats true vernon, but if you had seen what this man had done to the piano for the money he charged....

of course there are competent techs and tuners in both places, its just that there are many charlatans who build a reputation with unsuspecting customers who don't know better. some of these customers are piano teachers who wouldn't know a good instrument if they fell over one.

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Post by pianotechman » 15 Oct 2008, 08:39

I trained in the Bluthner workshop in Perivale and was there for ten years. The repair standard was second to none, I am amazed that people tollerate this kind of shoddy work. Goodness knows what it sounds like, I pressume the hammers have been recovered rather than renewed, as I would doubt from the posting that they would be able to fit a NEW set with any degree of success
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Post by PianoGuy » 15 Oct 2008, 08:45

Deleted, double post!
Last edited by PianoGuy on 15 Oct 2008, 08:46, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by PianoGuy » 15 Oct 2008, 08:46

pianotechman wrote:I trained in the Bluthner workshop in Perivale and was there for ten years.
Good man!

Having visited that workshop I would totally agree that the repair quality was stunning. It was also the first workshop in the UK routinely offering a soundboard replacement option. Made the Polish workshops look like third rate outfits rather than just second.

Question:
Why at that time were Blüthner Patent Actions always discarded in favour of new Schwanders, yet the Leverett boys (for it was they...) are now offering refurbs of the Patent action?

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Post by joseph » 15 Oct 2008, 18:33

The pianos that have been rebuilt for the Bluthner showroom generally have a new action installed, I guess this is so it can be seen as a more modern piano technically. Lots of people who send their patent action Bluthners in for rebuilding prefer having the original action rebuilt. They can do both.

Even in Leipzig, Ingbert Bluthner says that people prefer their patent actions to be restored. If I was to have mine rebuilt (its only the dosh that prevents it) I'd restore the original action, but mainly because I have a modern grand too. If the Bluthner was the only piano I had to practise on I'd probably install a new action, because most pianos I perform on have a roller action.

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Post by pianotechman » 15 Oct 2008, 20:56

[



Question:
Why at that time were Blüthner Patent Actions always discarded in favour of new Schwanders, yet the Leverett boys (for it was they...) are now offering refurbs of the Patent action?[/quote]

We still used to refurbish the patent actions at that time, but started to offer new roller actions as an alternative. Most of the stock pianos destined for the showroom, [then in Conduit street London] were fitted with new Schwander roller actions as pianoguy points out. Many pianists however, still prefer the patent action, it's simple in construction, with a lighter touch usually. It's only possible dissadvantage is repetition is achieved by a single steel spring helping to raise the whole hammer assembly above the jack. So it is probably marginaly 'slower' . comments?
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Post by joseph » 15 Oct 2008, 22:52

pianotechman, what would you recommend?

My Bluthner is an old style 8 in original condition., 1912, rosewood case, turned legs, that rectangular patterned music desk with the extending shelf (I love that little touch actually!)

I love the ivory keyboard on the original action, I love the sheer smoothness of the action, and the fact that I am more directly in touch with the hammer tends to produce a sweeter tone in pianissimo playing.

The roller action however wins out on repetition but not by much.

It would be nice if I could have both- the original action restored and a repetition action to slot in when I was playing something really fast.

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Post by drg2217 » 15 Oct 2008, 23:32

I love the Patent Action on my Bluthner, and it still plays pretty well despite its nearly 130 years. If I ever have the action redone, I would definitely have the patent action rebuilt. (Athough in fairness, I have been told that my piano's design could not accommodate a roller action.)

I have found a number of references to the patent action in internet forums, and in the PTG archives, which are highly commendatory. I could probably find them for you if you are interested.

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Post by joseph » 16 Oct 2008, 00:01

it maybe couldn't accomodate a roller action on the original keyboard, but i think they replace the old key frame, etc so the only original bit of the piano is the frame and case.

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Post by drg2217 » 16 Oct 2008, 01:55

I think the problem is that the frame bars, and hence the "gaps" in the action, are at non-standard locations (by modern standards, that is). But even if I could install a roller action, I wouldn't.

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Post by pianotechman » 18 Oct 2008, 13:07

joseph wrote:pianotechman, what would you recommend?

My Bluthner is an old style 8 in original condition., 1912, rosewood case, turned legs, that rectangular patterned music desk with the extending shelf (I love that little touch actually!)

I love the ivory keyboard on the original action, I love the sheer smoothness of the action, and the fact that I am more directly in touch with the hammer tends to produce a sweeter tone in pianissimo playing.

The roller action however wins out on repetition but not by much.

It would be nice if I could have both- the original action restored and a repetition action to slot in when I was playing something really fast.

That's a great idea Joseph, If one was affluent enough to have two respective actions, you could indeed slide in the one you wanted at any given time, provided you were carefull not to snap off any hammers in so doing.
Although there could be a problem with the damper 'pick up' if the key backs were different heights.

Yeah, alot of people like the sliding 'candle boards' on the old Bluthners, kind off nostalgic, and very practical if you want to play a candle lit concert!
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Post by joseph » 18 Oct 2008, 16:29

Artur Pizarro said to me to keep the patent action, saying 'If your Bluthner is a patent action then hang on to it, the patent action suits the instrument much better than the roller action'

Incidentally Artur Pizarro had his Estonia and Steinway rebuilt by Colin Leverett's people. He says they've turned into the best pianos he's ever played! So that is indeed high praise as he is the fussiest man when it comes to pianos!

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Post by levie » 12 Dec 2008, 14:15

Out of interest, i worked on both of those concert grands for Artur and since then he has bought a London Bechstein that has gone through the factory and sounds wonderful !
The Estonia really was a lovely piano, nobody could believe how we got it to sound, the quailty of tone and power is beautiful.

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Post by Openwood » 13 Dec 2008, 00:42

nobody could believe how we got it to sound
Evidence that any basically sound piano can be made to sound great with the efforts of a good technician? I couldn't possibly say...
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Post by levie » 13 Dec 2008, 08:48

??????????

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Post by PianoGuy » 13 Dec 2008, 08:56

Openwood wrote:
nobody could believe how we got it to sound
Evidence that any basically sound piano can be made to sound great with the efforts of a good technician? I couldn't possibly say...
Well, anybody getting a good result from a London Bechstein is fairly clever. It's basically a Rogers. They suffer badly from shifting wrestplanks and occasional dodgy marking-off of the bridge in the mid-treble..

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Post by levie » 13 Dec 2008, 10:24

I suppose it depends on the experience of the team working on it. Not the usual piano that would go through the factory but Artur is overwhelmed with it and his opinion is second to none.

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Post by joseph » 13 Dec 2008, 15:30

ah yes the bechstein! I haven't seen it, but when i had dinner with Artur a month or so ago, he was raving about this bechstein, saying it had one of the most repsonsive actions ever!

I played the Estonia before it was rebuilt, and it wasn't my favourite piano, but Artur knew the instruments potential, and knew that it had a good design. He is delighted with all his pianos thanks to Mr Levie!!

I MUST get you to rebuild my old style 8. I just ain't got the cash at the moment, but one day i will!

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Post by levie » 13 Dec 2008, 16:08

It would be a pleasure Joseph ! Were always here.
Have a lovely christmas.

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Post by Openwood » 13 Dec 2008, 16:19

when i had dinner with Artur a month or so ago
There's posh :wink:
"Each day grow older, and learn something new."
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Post by Brumtuner » 13 Dec 2008, 16:51

There's 'posh', and there's 'name-dropping'.

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Post by Openwood » 13 Dec 2008, 18:47

Ooh, I can't BEAR name-droppers. And neither can my dear friend George Clooney. Actually it's funny because we were talking about this very thing just last night at the palace cocktail party and both the Beckhams agreed with us.
"Each day grow older, and learn something new."
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Post by joseph » 13 Dec 2008, 20:21

i don't tend to drop names, well, apart from the time when I baby-sat for Craig Ferguson in the Dorchester Hotel in 2003, because he was promoting that film he did with Charlotte Church, and I told him that the year before the bass player from Wet Wet Wet made me a cup of tea.

And then there was my mother's new neighbours who previously lived next to Brian May and made dinner for Freddie Mercury.

But apart from that, I don't really name drop at all.... ;-)

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Post by vernon » 13 Dec 2008, 20:33

CHARLIE KUNZ used to give me a FIVER when I tuned his jo for a concert!

Moisewitz told me " Przyz Nova blytxz" ( no fiver tho')

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Coggan, when I turned up at the palace to replace a leg on his Bechstein which was propped up on bibles, said; "God help us."

Fortunately, I don't go for this name dropping bit.
Those of us who have tuned concert pianos have tuned everybody who is anybody so it's a bit pointless.
Sometimes it does shut up a budding musician who says" that's not a proper Csharp"

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Post by sirprize » 13 Dec 2008, 23:03

Returning to Bluthner Patent Action - it's an action you absolutely LOVE or not. I don't have a Bluthner myself but the properly set up BP-actions I've played are simply marvellous for my playing style: silky smooth, ultra-light but totally controllable too. I've asked a highly successful piano teacher in Wales - who's had his BP-action grand since college days (his pupils win all the Eisteddfodau) - if people have a problem making the performing-change to roller and he categorically denies this

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Post by joseph » 14 Dec 2008, 15:08

talking of the proper C-sharp quip. I know of one Steinway artist who will remain nameless, who always complains about the piano before recording, AFTER it has been prepped by the technician. It got to the point once where a man from Steinways said to the pianist 'perhaps its your nerves, sir?'

BP actions, I don't have a problem with the switch over generally, although I find Bluthners lend themselves to certain areas of the repertoire more easily, particularly Beethoven sonatas.

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