Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

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Bob_b
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Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by Bob_b » 13 Apr 2011, 21:52

Hello,

Im new to the forum and am hoping that I can draw on everyones knowledge and experience. I am looking to purchase a grand piano as surprise present for my fiancee, I have found a Bechstein that is up for auction, but I found it very late in the day so havent been able to get a professional opinion on the piano before viewing closed. I do have a few photos which I hope you will be able to give me your opinon on, such as if the piano looks to have had any work done. I realise this is no subsitiute to to seeing how the piano sounds etc but anything an experience eye can shed light on would be very very welcome. I havent personaly been able to see the piano (I had to ask a friend to have a look) Here is what I know:

Length 80" (model v????)
Width 58"

Frame is marked 18183 underneath the music stand (just about make it out in 3705)... cant find any other numbers (even under the piano)...

Any observations are welcome.

The photos can be found here:

https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B47oQa ... y=CJyqwKYJ

https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B47oQa ... y=CMjVg-wP

https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B47oQa ... y=CNLNmYQC

https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0B47oQa ... ey=CL6y9Vo

Many thanks in advance!
Last edited by Bob_b on 13 Apr 2011, 22:30, edited 1 time in total.

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MarkGoodwinPianos
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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 13 Apr 2011, 22:21

Those photos seem to be behind closed doors. Uplooad them to your picasa/photo gallery within google and try again.

Most bechstein model v pianos from 1880-1910 are worth about £1200 at auction give or take £500 depending on condition and whether it has originals legs, lyre, music desk etc.
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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by Bob_b » 13 Apr 2011, 22:31

Thanks Mark... Ive updated the links... they should now work (fingers crossed) :oops:

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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by Colin Nicholson » 13 Apr 2011, 23:18

As far as the photos show, no work done - still original strings & wrest pins. The best way is to have someone look at it & pull action out. A few dampers out of alignment. Too many photos of the rear & back with strings - what about the keys? - nameboard? and condition of them. For its age, it looks OK. Price will reflect on the condition & age of hammers & mechanism inside. Is this a London auction?
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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by Bob_b » 13 Apr 2011, 23:45


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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by Barrie Heaton » 14 Apr 2011, 16:14

Looking at the soundboard decal it look like its not a virgin piano, but the work will have been done quite some time ago 15 20 years ago

There are so many hidden problems with Bechsteins of that age, I would defiantly get a tuner to look at it before buying unless you are getting it for a song and intend to spend 7 to 12K on it having it rebuilt

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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by rgreig » 14 Apr 2011, 21:26

Was it one of the instruments for sale here? http://www.pianoauctions.co.uk/past_sal ... 14-04-2011

Do let us know how you got on!

Robert

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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by Bob_b » 14 Apr 2011, 23:45

Thanks for the replies....nice work noticing the decal, at least I know the piano has been looked after at some point in its life. I'm afraid there is no way I can get a technician to look over the piano before the auction so I might have to take a bit of a punt... any ideas what the lowest this would be worth? One went for 400 today which seemed cheap...

I'm just after a piano that can be played a few hours a week (to start off with at least), will stay in tune and be quite nice to play so I'm not looking to spend lots on a rebuild.

I will let you know I get on (There is no reserve so I might get lucky)

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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 15 Apr 2011, 09:29

I'd say you should have bid on that and go up to £1200.
If it was in a shop with some tarting up done it would be listed for about £4000 - £7000.
It may well have a cracked frame which harms monetary value more than musical performance.

Go for it :)
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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 15 Apr 2011, 11:07

I hope this message reaches you in time. There is an article below that describes how to look for a cracked frame in a Bechstein grand. Here you go:
Bechstein Frame Cracks
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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by Bob_b » 15 Apr 2011, 11:19

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the help, afraid i'm going to have to make a phone bid, so wont be there in person to have a quick check for cracks... lets hope I get it for a good price just in case. If cracks dont affect the tone of the piano then its not too bad.. what would it be worth (approx) if it had a cracked frame?

Thanks once again!

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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by mdw » 15 Apr 2011, 11:34

Can I sugest you contact a QUALIFIED piano technician , and ask their opinion on this piano BEFORE you spent any money.

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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by Bob_b » 15 Apr 2011, 11:50

Unfortunatly there was no time to contact a technician! Hence my post. Will let you know how it turns out.

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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 15 Apr 2011, 12:04

If the piano has a crack then I'd say the value is between £800 - £1200
If the piano doesn't have a crack then something like £1000 - £1500

However, this is assuming everything else is in generally good condition and you'd really need a technician to remove the action and check everything out, make sure there is no insect/flood/fire damage etc
Image

Image
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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by Colin Nicholson » 15 Apr 2011, 13:27

Not sure which auctions you are at.... Conway Hall, London?
If so, my mate has flown over from Oz to buy some grands & have them shipped.
We worked together in the 90's. If the auction is there, then my mate Phil Shayer might be bidding against you!!!! - he'll be carrying a clip-board, and playing a well-known version of the Muppet Show theme music!! (it irrates me every time). I managed to catch up with him there in Sept last year, but I can't make it this time.
Phil went to college with me, so if you bump into him, say HI, and he'll be willing to help you (mention my name) - he has just restored a Bech. concert grand in Oz.

Ask Phil, he's got eyes like a sewer rat!!

Good luck with the sale.

Colin
pp Mark - you are classic! I love the way you cover every conceavable angle - and flood damage!! - might need your wellies there!
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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 15 Apr 2011, 13:47

Image

Never mind wellies, you'd need waders! :)
Image
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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 17 Apr 2011, 07:50

No no no haha.
I'd have a "UK" jumper on if that was me ;)
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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by Colin Nicholson » 17 Apr 2011, 10:39

...... I reckon though you were training this toddler up for 'pitching' piano customer sales, and maybe for ordering/ selection techniques for Mothercare pianos...... they start young these days!! ha ha
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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 17 Apr 2011, 11:32

He's my plumber :)
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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by NewAge » 17 Apr 2011, 16:23

Bob_b wrote:Unfortunatly there was no time to contact a technician! Hence my post. Will let you know how it turns out.
I maintain there are three golden rules prior to the purchase of a used piano.
1. Never be in a hurry to purchase.
2. Get it checked out by a technician. (Like an insurance policy it's money very well spent).
2. Never EVER buy a piano unseen. Even if you are not a player, take someone with you who can play. I have read so many stories of buyers remorse where folks have decided to take a chance, with dire consequences.
As the specialists have pointed out above, there are so many hidden problems with Bechsteins of that age, and even if you only plan on having this as a piano to learn on and play occasionally, with original strings and wrest pins there is no guarantee that it will hold it's tune. And that potentially can be an expensive problem.
I might be wrong but I have a feeling that if you miss out on bidding for this Bechstein it could be your lucky day. There has never been a better time to buy a piano, it's a buyers market.
Heed the tips that you have been given, and you should end up with a reliable and playable piano.
And whether you eventually purchase from a dealer or privately, always get it checked out by an independent technician.
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by NewAge » 17 Apr 2011, 16:40

Mark, if I guess correctly was that a photo from your showroom that was flooded? Heart-breaking photos.
Hopefully they were all written-off by the insurers. I'd hate to think that one or more may have been removed from the skip later under darkness and tarted up for resale by unscrupulous individuals.
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 18 Apr 2011, 07:41

Hi New AGe, yes indeed that is my old showroom and yes, thankfully the insurers wrote each & every piano off without hesitation. I didn't have any stock insurance at the time but thankfully, United Utilities admitted responsibility straight away and paid out reasonably quickly.
1. Never be in a hurry to purchase.
2. Get it checked out by a technician. (Like an insurance policy it's money very well spent).
3. Never EVER buy a piano unseen.
I think most piano buyers ignore the first 2 pieces of advice and there are plenty who ignore the 3rd piece of advice. I always encourage customers to bring their own tuner to check the pianos out. Sadly, almost none choose to do so. The odd one will bring their piano teacher but that is missing the point isn't it?
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email markgoodwinpianos@gmail.com with any Yamaha, Kawai, Bechstein or Steinway questions :)

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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by Bob_b » 18 Apr 2011, 08:16

Thanks everyone for the advice,

I took a risk and bought the piano for a fair price last Friday. Risky I know but the price means I shouldnt be too much out of pocket even if it has a cracked frame. Barrie is local to me so I might get him to check out the piano once it has arrived and he can tell me how big a mistake I've made! :lol:

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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 18 Apr 2011, 08:26

Sounds like you got it for about £600 - £900 (just a stab in the dark) ?
If you got it for £1200 or less than you've done OK.

Keep us updated and check it for cracks when it arrives. You can check that easily yourself.
:)
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Re: Help/Advice/Assesment on possible Bechstein purchase

Post by NewAge » 18 Apr 2011, 09:19

Bob_b wrote:Thanks everyone for the advice,

I took a risk and bought the piano for a fair price last Friday. Risky I know but the price means I shouldnt be too much out of pocket even if it has a cracked frame. Barrie is local to me so I might get him to check out the piano once it has arrived and he can tell me how big a mistake I've made! :lol:
Well I wish you luck.
I can't recall a cracked frame, but I've played a number of pianos with cracked soundboards which have sounded remarkably good without any annoying 'buzz'. The important thing for me would be that Barrie (or A.Nother) could tune it up to 440Hz and have it stay in tune at a chosen fixed pitch for a reasonable period.
Please keep us advised of the outcome.
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

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