Some help needed for an ignoramus

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

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Hyperbabe5000
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Some help needed for an ignoramus

Post by Hyperbabe5000 » 18 Sep 2009, 12:08

WARNING: I am not very up on the parts of a piano, and the correct names, so please bear in mind when reading the post!
I have an upright piano I was given some years ago.
It was used regularly until my parents bought us a very fancy digital piano.
The upright was already in need of tuning, but just before we got the new one the pedal on the right (the staccato pedal??!!) stopped working.
I cannot find any name or anything obvious to tell me who the manufacturer is. The only visible thing is an etching/engraving on the front behind the music stand of a large bunch of flowers or something like that.
How do I identify the piano? Where do I look?
Also, is it worth getting it repaired/tuned and trying to sell it, or are there piano's that are just not worth the effort of bothering with??!!
Any advice would be gratefully received, and I apologise to all those experts out there who cringe at my ignorance :oops:
Thanks :D

Gill the Piano
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Re: Some help needed for an ignoramus

Post by Gill the Piano » 18 Sep 2009, 17:15

The pedal (sustain pedal - nearly right!) mechanism has probably just become dislodged, but you'll appreciate it's not possible to tell through the medium of computers! The only foolproof way of finding out is to call in a tuner/tech who will tell you for sure. It's the sort of call I'm making on Monday on my way past; that way if the piano is a write-off the cost to the lady will be a tenner and a cuppa - if I were going specially I'd charge about £30 or so. Either way the piano has lasted/will last longer than the plastic one!
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

joseph
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Re: Some help needed for an ignoramus

Post by joseph » 19 Sep 2009, 11:31

Gill I love it when you say 'the plastic one', coz I quite agree. I have a plastic one for when I need to practise late, and it's nice enough for what it is. However, there is NO WAY on this earth that I would possibly give up my grand piano, or even the old Challen upright at my parents house (which admittedly needs more work than the piano is worth....) in its place. Although for your average old folks home, where pianos get baked beyond recognition perhaps there is a place for them?

Gill the Piano
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Re: Some help needed for an ignoramus

Post by Gill the Piano » 19 Sep 2009, 16:32

Ah, well I'm educating the OPHomes where I tune; each piano has a big ice cream carton of water kept topped up placed in/under it. working so far...touch wood! :)
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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Re: Some help needed for an ignoramus

Post by joseph » 19 Sep 2009, 18:10

:D I stand corrected! Well that only leaves silent practice as their primary use :wink:

markymark
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Re: Some help needed for an ignoramus

Post by markymark » 19 Sep 2009, 18:19

Have to say I consider the use of the term "plastic one" when referring to digital pianos as being rather unfair considering that they are good instruments in themselves. They are to the piano as the electric/lead is to the guitar and even here, there is a place for them. While I would never part with my acoustic, digital pianos are great for having when the "wooden ones" can't cope or just aren't practical.

Some people can't afford the space or money for a real piano so the digital option has to prevail and to say that "all they are good for is silent practice" is basically wrong. Is it a perfect replication? No! But then again it isn't trying to replace or stand in the place of a piano. It has many differences and some strengths over the piano. You can't really compare them despite their sharing the "piano" name. While similar, the digital piano is really a separate instrument as is the electronic organ from a airpowered pipe organ. However, when an acoustic hasn't been available or is out of tune or when the castors can't get over a bump in the corridor leading to a hall or room, musicians have been grateful when the digital piano arrives, speaking from personal experience.

joseph
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Re: Some help needed for an ignoramus

Post by joseph » 20 Sep 2009, 08:47

From your point of view, it may be true that they are not trying to be a replacement over an acoustic piano. However, the manufacturers of digital pianos - even Yamaha who make both - say that they are an alternative to an acoustic piano.

The fact that in general a digital piano is cheaper, never needs tuned and one can use headphones are the things that most people take into consideration with a digital vs acoustic. There are many people who only have digital pianos to practise on and frankly it makes their playing sound choppy when they go onto a real piano. Must be the velocity switching.

I don't deny the advantages, being able to use midi, amplification in large venues without having to mic up (in a band situation) and of course silent practice. Also, with my CP300 I can take it around with me should the need arise. Yes, digitals are here to stay and for some good reasons.

I think that if someone is going to learn the piano, and they only have £1000 to spend on an instrument, they should probably look for a Challen or a Chappell or something, vetted by a piano tuner. It will be better for them in the long run.

markymark
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Re: Some help needed for an ignoramus

Post by markymark » 20 Sep 2009, 13:53

joseph wrote:From your point of view, it may be true that they are not trying to be a replacement over an acoustic piano. However, the manufacturers of digital pianos - even Yamaha who make both - say that they are an alternative to an acoustic piano.
To be frank, my personal point of view has little to do with it. Last time I checked the dictionary alternative does not mean or imply replacement; just another option depending on what you need, in this case from an instrument. For years, folks in townhalls, schools, church halls, old folks homes, etc have had to make use of a piano in climates that don't suit pianos but they have had to deal with it and spend money tuning them several times prior to their guest appearances on the stage before being shoved into a corner again until next time. The digital piano offers these people who don't need the full expressiveness and authenticity of touch provided by an acoustic. This is how I see "alternative" although I have never really seen an article or advertisement from any manufacturer that specifically says that a digital piano is an equivalent to a (acoustic) piano. If people play the instruments, they'll know themselves what the differences are. Quorn is an alternative to meat and while it isn't completely to my taste, it doesn't disqualify it from being to someone else's main preference owing to their taste, dietry requirements, etc. Yamaha's marketing is a case in point. They know that there are needs and preferences to all musicians in the music world and not all of them are piano teachers or concert pianists! One size fits all mentality inevitably leaves people out.

The point about the Challen for learning purposes is fine for learning provided that space is available and on the ground floor and for learning, starting with an acoustic is ideal and I've mentioned this on several occasions in the Learning forum.

What I am aiming at is the derogatory comment "plastic pianos" which is unfair to them. There are lots of successful musicians such as Lao Tizer, Jordan Ruddess, Frank Lucas to name a few who play on "plastic pianos" if you like and do it wonderfully. Granted this is in the more contemporary/jazz genre but sniping at the tools of someone else's artistry is no better than the ones who gripe about the pointlessness of classical piano training.

Gill the Piano
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Re: Some help needed for an ignoramus

Post by Gill the Piano » 20 Sep 2009, 15:34

I use the term plastic piano as shorthand (as well as abuse... :twisted: )...I have turned up at a house to tune a piano only to find it is indeed plastic. therefore I make sure it's a real piano by asking the client whether it's made of plastic or wood.
You'd be amazed... :roll: or maybe you wouldn't.
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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Re: Some help needed for an ignoramus

Post by Pianomate » 20 Sep 2009, 23:23

Have a look behind the bottom panel - it may be obviousl what has happened and you may be able to work out how to fit the linkage back.

Wait before you rush to sell it. Regardless of what has been posted before, I would be reluctant to get rid of your acoustic piano as if you get playing seriously you will appreciate the tone and feel compared to the digital one.

markymark
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Re: Some help needed for an ignoramus

Post by markymark » 22 Sep 2009, 00:04

Pianomate wrote:Regardless of what has been posted before, I would be reluctant to get rid of your acoustic piano...
Nothing posted before has really said otherwise but I am adding balance to the thread in saying that a digital piano is far from being a piece of excrement.

Having said that, Hyperbabe5000, if the (acoustic) piano is in good shape then keep it. There is nothing like the real thing particularly if you are learning or studying music. Even if you are not, the expressiveness of the piano is definitely superior to digital although the top of the range models do come close but not enough to equate the feel and action of an acoustic piano. The acoustic will give you more years pleasure while the digital will probably provide another side of music playing that is not completely unworthwhile.

joseph
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Re: Some help needed for an ignoramus

Post by joseph » 22 Sep 2009, 09:50

What kind of upright piano have you got? That should probably come in to the debate.

Yes, it's true that "alternative" doesn't mean replacement, but it does rather imply "instead of". It can even mean "mutually exclusive" :wink:

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Re: Some help needed for an ignoramus

Post by Pianomate » 22 Sep 2009, 12:45

A pro pianist and teacher in town has a Broadwood Grand piano, Collard boudoir Grand, Kawai upright, Victorian Cottage upright, Regency square piano, Clavinova and Roland keyboard. Maybe you think that's a bit excessive but that's what she reckons she needs!

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Re: Some help needed for an ignoramus

Post by joseph » 22 Sep 2009, 17:52

Interesting selection. Is the Broadwood a fairly recent model or is it one of the victorian ones? I played a collard grand piano that had been rebuilt, and it was a very nice sounding instrument. Obviously it was a historical instrument but I really liked it.

I thought my collection was excessive with 2 grands and a stage piano. Obviously not.

Artur Pizarro has a Steinway D, an Estonia concert grand, a Broadwood grand from 1850, a square piano, a harpsichord, a Gaveau upright, a Bechstein London baby grand, a Clavinova and if I am not mistaken he said a small Kawai digital piano. He likes pianos. A lot. I might have even missed a couple out.....

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Re: Some help needed for an ignoramus

Post by PianoGuy » 22 Sep 2009, 19:44

Pianomate wrote:A pro pianist and teacher in town has a Broadwood Grand piano, Collard boudoir Grand, Kawai upright, Victorian Cottage upright, Regency square piano, Clavinova and Roland keyboard. Maybe you think that's a bit excessive but that's what she reckons she needs!
Blimey.

There are at least two of those I'd ditch, and they ain't the electrical ones!
PG

The opinion above is purely that of PianoGuy and is simply the opinion of one person ....

If you're buying a piano, try as many as you can and buy the one you like, not a similar one of the same type.

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Re: Some help needed for an ignoramus

Post by Model V » 22 Sep 2009, 22:09

Pianomate wrote:A pro pianist and teacher in town has a Broadwood Grand piano, Collard boudoir Grand, Kawai upright, Victorian Cottage upright, Regency square piano, Clavinova and Roland keyboard. Maybe you think that's a bit excessive but that's what she reckons she needs!
She's clearly bonkers. I'll wager they're all shite apart from the clavinova if it's a high spec model. :?

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Re: Some help needed for an ignoramus

Post by Pianomate » 23 Sep 2009, 00:37

The Broadwood and Collard&Collard are both early 20th Century overstrung pianos which have been fully overhauled, the latter being the one which she teaches on. The Kawai being about 10 years old, also for teaching. The cottage piano was donated and not used a lot. The square goes out on location for concert, the Clavinova is a pretty recent one, for teaching and band use, and the keyboard for pop band work.

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