Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

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reafnall
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Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

Post by reafnall » 27 Oct 2011, 08:25

I am a classical pianist/teacher in leics considering a purchase of a Schiedmayer grand from Harbour Antiques in Bideford: http://www.harbourantiques.com/PIA34.htm As it is a long way to travel, I need someone to check it over first. Have spoken to the guy who has maintained the instrument, but not 100% confident as he said it dated from 1959! However everything else sounded kosher and this could potentially be a great purchase. The seller has it on eBay but is willing to let me have it for £1800 + transport.

At the moment I play/teach on a U1 and want to upgrade to a grand that is suitable for recording purposes, given my extremely modest budget of £2k. I was told this Schiedmayer could easily be regulated to a great standard. Does anyone know a good technician who serves the North Devon area? I do not want to get my fingers burnt!

Many thanks
Paul

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Re: Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 27 Oct 2011, 22:41

Obviously I am out of reach to help you.... but I can hopefully offer some friendly advice here online. The piano definitely looks around the early 1900's , not 1959!.... so there may be a great deal of wear and tear inside the mechanism. Ebonised black was also more popular around the early 1900's.

Firstly, you need a more accurate date/age of the piano (within 10 years or so), and if you can find out the serial number, let me know, and I will give you an approximate date. Trusting this piano has the serial number on the soundboard under the bass strings (like the previous 2 schiedmayers I have restored).... this will be the serial number - probably 5 digits in length, and in black numbers, around 2cm in height - decalled onto the soundboaord.

If you click onto my website: http://www.aatuners.com and go to 'Grand Restorations', you will see me preparing a 1890's Schiedmayer grand for stringing. Click on the photo to enlarge it, and you will see the serial number ....#11911...... will hit you in the face!
Sometimes several layers of dust might be obscuring it, or occasionally the music rest may make it difficult for full view.

I don't want to be pesimistic here, but would this grand piano - only being just over 4ft in length have a better & longer string length than a U1?? .... and if its around 100 years old (which I suspect).... have a think about that one. I would definitely have it checked over first - especially the hammers, and most important the wrest plank. However the price seems reasonable enough.

Find out the serial number and get back to me.

Hope that helps..

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Re: Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

Post by vernon » 27 Oct 2011, 23:09

definitely pre WW one!
( ie pre 1914 for anyone without a History O level.)
If you have an O level in German as well you will just make out on the label "Hoflieferant" which in effect means "By royal appointment" The Royal in question was of course The Kaiser(retired 1918.
I guess the legs and pedal columns have been replaced at some time. 1950s was the heyday of that sort of "modernisation."
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Re: Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 27 Oct 2011, 23:13

...... I have just looked at the piano again, and didn't see the serial number on the ad first time. Now then.... the ad says the serial number is #46484...... this would put the piano around 1912. Schiedmayer dated their pianos every 5 years between 1880 and 1925, and it says for the year 1910 = #43000 and then the year 1915 = #49500. So it's somewhere between there. Assuming they made around 6,000 pianos in those 5 years, thats about 1200 pianos per year.... so just keep adding on 1200 to 43000 to get the nearest to your alleged serial number..... so whats that? 1912? 1913? .... somewhere around there...... a bit off from 1959!!.... never trust an advert, nor the stated conditions of the hammers - yes, they are original hammers (with a green inner core).... but like everything they will be around 100 years old.... mmm .... also ask for tuning & servicing receipts. When he says it would regulate well.... that means it will be miles out of regulation.... I noticed the keys are all over the place.... so that needs checking, and the strength of the repetition springs - and if they are working properly or not....

I am surprised the serial number has not been photographed! .... so I would also ask for a photo of that, or get a piano tuner to check it.... however some tuners may not have a piano atlas book in their possession, but they should be able to detect the serial number. .... I would be careful if I were you.... Schiedmayer are usually OK, but they take a while to regulate properly.
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Re: Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

Post by NewAge » 28 Oct 2011, 09:36

reafnall wrote:I am a classical pianist/teacher in leics considering a purchase of a Schiedmayer grand from Harbour Antiques in Bideford: http://www.harbourantiques.com/PIA34.htm As it is a long way to travel, I need someone to check it over first. Have spoken to the guy who has maintained the instrument, but not 100% confident as he said it dated from 1959! However everything else sounded kosher and this could potentially be a great purchase. The seller has it on eBay but is willing to let me have it for £1800 + transport.

At the moment I play/teach on a U1 and want to upgrade to a grand that is suitable for recording purposes, given my extremely modest budget of £2k. I was told this Schiedmayer could easily be regulated to a great standard. Does anyone know a good technician who serves the North Devon area? I do not want to get my fingers burnt! Many thanks
Paul
My advise to you here is, "Proceed with great caution!"
Several things here which put a flea in my ear.
You state you were told that the piano dates from 1959. (Colin and Vernon indeed state correctly that it's a LOT older).
I know very little about Schiedmayer grand pianos, but if I was trading in antiques one would expect me to know all the tricks in the book. :wink: It took me just 20 seconds of Googling 'Schiedmayer piano serial number' to find a S/No listing, which effectively indicates a 1911- 1920 range. Very interesting too that the age was given verbally - albeit by a third party - and doesn't appear in the ad! Also that there are currently no bids at the starting price - and that you have been proposed a price some £800 pounds less that the 'Buy it Now' price - which is probably not so unusual.
If this is a 4' 7" grand, that's small, so expect the natural sound projection to be compromised and perhaps unsuitable, especially for a classical pianist/teacher like yourself.
Buying a piano from an antique shop is risky, you cannot expect any after-sales support as if you purchased from a reputable piano store.
If you are a gambler and still interested, despite the fact that the piano was estimated by a technician as 46 years younger than it really is (I smell a conspiracy here), ensure lady-luck is on your side and take along a piano tuner/tech for the best possible advise. The seller states the piano is at concert pitch, get your own tech to confirm this or otherwise.
Personally I think I'd walk away from this deal.
For what it's worth, there is another Schiedmayer grand 5' 9" albeit a little older on Ebay which appears well documented, and which may be worth following up - together with an independent piano tech.
Please inform us at how things turn out.
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Re: Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

Post by reafnall » 28 Oct 2011, 23:03

Firstly let me thank you guys for taking the time to address my query. I have talked to the sellers and to be honest they have very helpful in answering my questions and not at all attempting any "sales talk", which was rather what I was expecting. I rather regret mentioning them by name in this post because I wouldn't want them to have any negative publicity that was unwarranted. They said that they asked the tuner to give me as much info as possible without giving me any encouragement to buy. It seems to me that he did this, leaving aside the dating issue which I think must have been a genuine mistake or a mis-hearing on my part. I want to make it clear that despite approaching this thing with a healthy dose of scepticism, nothing in my communications so far suggests any "conspiracy".

I did get in touch with another tuner in the area with a view to getting a clear independent survey. He told me that he did not get involved with buying and selling but fully recommended this particular tuner as the best in the area (without me having mentioned him by name).

I am travelling down there in the morning to try the piano out for myself and was fully encouraged to do so by the sellers, who are aware that there are different customers with different needs. It may be that the piano is not a suitable replacement for my U1 (it is 66" long...not 4'7"!), but my gut instinct tells me this will not be down to any malpractice. However I will take on board everything said on this forum and keep you posted.

Thanks once again,
Paul

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Re: Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

Post by MarkGoodwinPianos » 29 Oct 2011, 00:27

Tom Gill is near ish
enquiries@tjpianos.co.uk

As is Paul Clarke
http://www.devonpianos.com/
Yamaha Pianos for sale (usually 50+ in stock)
email markgoodwinpianos@gmail.com with any Yamaha, Kawai, Bechstein or Steinway questions :)

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Re: Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

Post by reafnall » 30 Oct 2011, 14:12

Went down to see the piano for myself yesterday. Feeling very frazzeled but glad i did. Basically sellers really nice and i think very honest...but rather out of their depth in selling pianos. They are basically furniture restorers and have a real passion for that, but rely on the piano technician for all the techy stuff. He obviously didn't do his homework regarding the serial no/age and the sellers themselves were somewhat bemused, think it was possibly 1920s.

They took the action out and took extra pictures for me. Everything looked great to my untrained eye, but playing the piano soon showed up the bad repetition/regulation. The overall sound of the instrument was lovely, but in its present state the action is not responsive enough to play the LH part of Liszt Consolation no 3 satisfactorily, for example or even worse, fast repeated notes of a Scarlatti sonata. I am hoping that my tuner might say this is easily fixed. Their tuner did say it will benefit greatly being moved to a house environment with less humidity.

Whilst I was there a couple came in to view the pianos. Neither of them could play and they had even contemplated getting a Steinway for their home...just because "it would be a nice thing"...obviously more money than sense! I guess for the vast majority of their kind of customers none of these things would be an issue as they regard pianos simply as luxury furniture. They knew I was in a different category and said they weren't sure if the piano could be made suitable. I am of the mind that it probably isn't going to be worth it for me, but haven't given up on it totally yet. Might get my tuner to speak to their tuner and then see. Would be interested to hear what you guys think.

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Re: Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 30 Oct 2011, 15:31

I'm glad you managed to see & play the piano. Did you have a tuner there aswell, or just yourself? .....

As in my 2nd post, I suggested the piano is dated nearer to 1912, and not 1920 - its right by the book. There are a many components inside a grand mechanism that contribute towards the smooth running of the 'workings' and repetition; some of it can be regulated, but if the main components are badly worn, or parts of the mech seized (or not moving at the same rate as its neighbouring part).... and if the piano has been a dampish place, then personally, you may consider the following renovation to have it working fine:-

1. Repin all hammers, levers, whippens & jacks.
2. Replace all the hammer rollers
3. Replace the repetition springs (the rep springs also return the jacks)
4. Reface hammers/ re-graphite jacks etc
5. General cleaning, full regulation & tuning.

If you choose to just have it 'tidied up' and regulated only, you may find it will cost more in the long run. Have a word with your tuner.

Cheers

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Re: Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

Post by reafnall » 30 Oct 2011, 15:55

Thank you so much, that is such valuable advice. I have saved the extra pictures that they took whilst I was down there into photobucket: http://photobucket.com/schiedmayergrand

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Re: Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 30 Oct 2011, 17:49

Looking at the mechanism photos, the hammer heads dont look that bad, so a reface only needed. Obviously cant comment on the wear & tear & condition because the photos are very small & not clear enough.... but as it stands, an action 100 years old will have many perished & compressed material parts inside.

The back-check leathers look very worn, and will probably need replacing. On those actions, the repetition springs look a bit like a wish bone from a chicken!

(If this works) .... here is an image of a grand mechanism (single key).... so you can see the names of some of the parts that are labelled. Your rep springs may be able to be re-tensioned, but I suspect there will be some re-pinning needed, and many of the rollers may need replacing aswell.... The rep spring on this is a different design to Schiedmayer, but basically do the same job.
Grand action model.jpg
The parts are colour co-ordinated so I can show customers various parts of the mech.
The bright green areas show the adjustments/ regulation, and the bright yellow parts are your flanges. (Image shown without damper). You may also see various tiny red circles of cloth, with a pin in the centre - this is where the centre pins are - basically every part that moves or swings must have a pin & flange. On average, there are 5 pins per note (ex damper).... and multiply that by 85 = 425 !!.... some of the pins may be fine, but if the piano has been anywhere damp, the flange housings & wooden parts surrounding may swell and combined with 100 years of a metal pin bending/ and slight corrosion.
Pianos dont last for ever!!
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Re: Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

Post by reafnall » 30 Oct 2011, 21:00

Once again, Colin thank you. You realise that you can click on the photos for a larger picture? Anyway I have sent the link for this thread to my tuner as I really have no head for technical stuff! It's all sounding just a little more encouraging now, but I'm still erring on the side of caution. My tuner btw is Rupert Taylor in case anyone here is acquainted with him.

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Re: Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 31 Oct 2011, 14:38

Thanks for that. Yes, I clicked on the photos, but it was still difficult to see the condition of the nearest roller.... and with this part being partly obscured by the lever (darkish yellow part on my model) - its not easy to see the condition of the underside of the roller..... in some cases, they are worn right down and look a bit like a flat tyre! .... instead of being round.

Your tuner will probably look at these by removing the action, then all the hammers can be lifted up into a vertical position for easy viewing. The area I have circled in yellow (Below) on your action, will be one of the main parts your tuner will be interested in..... and maybe the most costly!
If the rep spring's tension need adjusting (for good double repetition), and dont need replacing - they will take a while to adjust coz there are no tension adjustment screws on these actions - the spring has to be popped out, then gradually stretched to increase the tension.... but your tuner will make you aware of that hopefully.
mech01.jpg
mech01.jpg (31.01 KiB) Viewed 11863 times
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Re: Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

Post by NewAge » 31 Oct 2011, 17:22

reafnall wrote:Thank you so much, that is such valuable advice. I have saved the extra pictures that they took whilst I was down there into photobucket: http://photobucket.com/schiedmayergrand
As viewed on a large HD screen with photos enlarged, I'm just wondering in photos 10, 13 & 15 would those be long cracks in the soundboard close to the bridge?
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Re: Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

Post by Colin Nicholson » 31 Oct 2011, 17:50

Yes, it looks like the soundboard has separated in a couple of places - but because of the angle of the photos, and photographing it through the strings - its impossible to see how large they are & the extent of the damage, and if they have affected the bridge area....?

The only way to tell really is to get a very close inspection (and checking the ribs underneath), and have it fully tuned to see what donwbearing is like, but I believe distance is a problem. I have also spotted some insect damage near the damper bodies/ sustain pedal stop pad.... hopefully its not extended elsewhere.
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Re: Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

Post by reafnall » 01 Nov 2011, 16:36

So grateful to everyone on here for their time and great advice. Have consulted my tuner and decided that there are too many uncertainties to take a chance with this one. This is not because of any doubts regarding the sellers or how the piano has been described. I am sure it would suit many people just fine, but not 100% sure if it could be brought fully up to scratch for professional use.

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Re: Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

Post by reafnall » 06 Nov 2011, 00:32

Had second thoughts about walking away from this one....got it for £1400 on eBay. Looking forward to its arrival. Will let you know how I get on with it!

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Re: Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

Post by Model V » 17 Nov 2011, 13:25

Why don't people buy pianos with their brains engaged? Despite all the sensible advice from some of the best professionals in the business you have still spent far too much on a 100 year old baby grand piano which is obviously miles out of regulation etc.

Oh well, it's your money!

MV.

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Re: Recommend a tuner in Bideford area?

Post by Withindale » 17 Nov 2011, 23:07

Model V wrote:... spent far too much on a 100 year old baby grand piano which is obviously miles out of regulation etc.
I would be interested in such a piano (unrestored). Roughly how much should I offer: min, max?

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