Strad piano #1337

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Jarryd1
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Strad piano #1337

Post by Jarryd1 » 02 Aug 2012, 13:37

Hello, I have an old piano that was handed down from a dear neighbour of mine who got it from a children's hospital here in Sydney, Australia and I was just wanting some info about the piano. Currently it is being restored in my spare time by myself. There are very very little numbers or emblems on the piano itself, the only serial number i can find on it is 1337 that is engraved. Just where the tuning pins are located is also written on bits and bobs inside the piano, and on one key middle c is written 19.6.81. The piano was unfortunately painted in lead paint and under the paint under the keyboard lid was written the name Strad. Unfortunately, it was sanded off during restoration. I am uploading some pics of it now, if anyone has any info on where when and what date this piano was made please help. Please excuse the restoration pics, it does still sound very beautiful to play despite its looks. P someone please help, I'm not after value, just info on this dear old piano.
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Photo on 1-08-12 at 2.30 PM.jpg
Photo on 1-08-12 at 2.28 PM.jpg
Photo on 1-08-12 at 2.31 PM.jpg

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Colin Nicholson
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Re: old strad piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 02 Aug 2012, 15:57

Hi there, welcome to the UK forum

Strad Piano Co. were established in 1860, originally in the USA (New York area). Then controlled by Farny, Kingston & Strad and affiliated with Wurlitzer. They then exported piano to Oz in the 1920's by Cook & Co.

No serial numbers given.

The date is probably a tuning date when it was tuned.

Piano is overstrung & underdamped,
hope that helps

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Re: old strad piano

Post by Jarryd1 » 02 Aug 2012, 16:13

hi colin thanx for the info... :) yeah im not qwite sure what the age is of the piano im guessing 1881 couse it has only 85 keys on it insted of the 88 that the 19th centry pianos have i was told 85 was common for late 18th centry pianos. and im sorry i dident know what you ment by piano is overstrung and under damped ahah im new to this.

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Re: old strad piano

Post by Johnkie » 02 Aug 2012, 16:48

How very strange ......... either the treble is where the bass should be ... or the photos were taken looking in a mirror ! :)
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Re: old strad piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 02 Aug 2012, 16:58

Oh yeh.... well spotted! Even the keys & serial number are 'mirror imaged' !.... or maybe its upside down? Spooky!
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Re: old strad piano

Post by Jarryd1 » 03 Aug 2012, 00:43

Hi yes I'm sorry about the pictures u will have to forgive me as Thay where taken by my Mac camera everything is back to front. I hope you can still help me with identifying the piano and where it was made and what era it is if there is eny more photos I can take please let me know again the only sireal number on the piano is 1337. Stamped into the sound board oh and it did once have candelabras on it also

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Re: old strad piano

Post by Jarryd1 » 03 Aug 2012, 00:50

Is there enything that you can tell me from the serial number at all and the piano is kinda spooky looking ahah one night my dad came into my room and told me my piano was playing and true to his word it was. Only one note though.... Lol sorry about the mirror image pics again it was my Mac camera

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Re: old strad piano

Post by Bill Kibby » 03 Aug 2012, 13:00

The interior shot is, of course, back-to-front. 85 notes is the most common range for old pianos, and was still the norm in British pianos when I started selling them in the sixties.

There are many websites and books that would like to convince you that serial numbers are the be-all-and-end-all for dating pianos, but it is rarely that simple. No dates are available for Strad numbers, so look at pianohistory.info for clues inside the piano. I don't think this is an American Strad, I think it is British, around 1912. Have a look at this link...
http://www.piano-tuners.org/piano-forum ... f=2&t=8859

Can you tell me the exact, complete wording on the piano? And a photo of the WHOLE piano would help.
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Re: old strad piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 03 Aug 2012, 13:15

Photos of pianos need to be taken showing the whole complete piano, including legs, trusses, pedals, lower & upper panels - with everyone on the piano, lid open. Then another photo taken with the mechanism showing/ top panel off, lid that covers the keys removed and top lid fully open (and all junk etc removed!) - so its difficult to place a date.

I would estimate that this piano is somewhat later than 1881 - possibly late 1890 - 1910 period.

The 'overstrung' part means that the bass strings (which should be on the left on photo) cross over the treble strings, and run at approx. 45 degree angle from left to right - if you remove the bottom panel under the keyboard, you will see the overstrung aspect more easily - as the treble strings change direction when they get towards middle C area. This is more favourable than pianos with a 'straight strung' design (all strings vertical).

'Under damped' means that the dampers are located behind and below the hammers - if you press the sustain pedal (right) - you should see them lift off the strings (small wooden parts with square felt). This is a more favourable design to the older 'overdamped' pianos that had many lift rod wires obscuring the mechanism. The dampers basically stop the sound after you let go of a note.

Here is an overdamped piano .....
The dampers are overhead - above the hammers, making tuning more awkward.
overdamped thingy.jpg
Overdamped piano mechanism
overdamped thingy.jpg (10.29 KiB) Viewed 13909 times
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Re: old strad piano

Post by Jarryd1 » 04 Aug 2012, 07:33

Hi everyone thankyou for the reply I am so sorry about the crappy and back to frount images I will post some more images of the piano ASAP you will have to pardon I am in the middle of restoration its looking pritty good considering it was painted in white led based paint my mum detests the piano and said I should chop it up and use it as fire wood I don't think she relises how old and charming it is.... It sounds very bruteyfull to play..

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Re: old strad piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 04 Aug 2012, 07:49

Lets see it when its finished - great job!
It will be nice to give it that new look again.... mind you, some pianos NEED that bit of clutter on them.... take this for example....
149Australia 2009.jpg
149Australia 2009.jpg (84.89 KiB) Viewed 13898 times
I was in the outback in 2009 (on Whyte River cattle station, half way between Alice Springs & Darwin) ...... and came across this BEAUTY!! ......in an old 'dunny shed' !
So when you've finished your piano, fancy doing this one!?
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Re: old strad piano

Post by NewAge » 04 Aug 2012, 15:10

Colin Nicholson wrote: I was in the outback in 2009 (on Whyte River cattle station, half way between Alice Springs & Darwin) ...... and came across this BEAUTY!! ......in an old 'dunny shed' !
Colin,
Marvellous!
How did it sound........? :wink:
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Re: old strad piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 04 Aug 2012, 15:53

There's as bit of a story with this piano!
I think the word 'sound' should be 'noise'.... so how did it noise is more appropriate!
If I can remember, it was in about 40 degrees of heat - , around late September. Only a few notes worked.... most of the hammer shanks had broken off.... even 3 blind mice was a struggle! Badly "critter" damaged throughout and beyond any kind of repair. Goodness knows how it got there.... we drove about 80 miles on dusty corrugated tracks to stay with some relatives of my brother in law - they nick named the piano .... "this is our dunny piano" !!!.... there was no name on it, but the art work was fantastic and done my a local aboriginal chap. See nothing quite like it.
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Re: old strad piano

Post by mehedi797 » 04 Aug 2012, 19:16

this piano is very old.

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Re: old strad piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 05 Aug 2012, 08:14

Eh?
Thats a very clever observation you've made there.... but how old?
Pianos can be alot younger than they look.
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Re: old strad piano

Post by Bill Kibby » 05 Aug 2012, 09:10

I wonder what that other pedal did?
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Re: Strad piano #1337

Post by Colin Nicholson » 05 Aug 2012, 13:03

I didnt dare lift the top lid to find out. There was various drift woods on top as you can see, and I can remember part of a broken & decayed skull of some sort just outside the hut, so I didnt spend long in there! I think the bottom panel would have dropped to bits if I tried to remove it.
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Re: Strad piano #1337

Post by Jarryd1 » 13 Aug 2012, 05:46

Wow that's what you call a piano nice artwork on it:) my piano is still looking a bit shabby but having no time to keep up with the restoration my dad said he was gonna chop it up and use mine as fire wood but I think there is a really good story behind every piano including one that come from a kids mentle home here in Sydney called Thomas walker convalecent home just near me ant that in its self is a creepy place if you look it up on google

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Re: Strad piano #1337

Post by reedplayer » 18 Apr 2020, 01:24

Hi,

old thread I know but this is the only place on the web that I have found a piano like mine.

Mine is basically same except it's never been covered in house paint, and it has one rectangular beading instead of three on the front panel as with the original poster's piano.
IMAG0523.JPG
It has a serial number of 1887 in the same place in the middle of the pinblock.
IMAG0526.JPG
It was given to me by a friend who in turn received it from a used furniture dealer about 45 years ago. He has no information on its origins but the shop is not far west of Sydney. It has not been played much - the felts are pretty much the same condition across all the notes and no wear on the loud pedal.

It was a semitone flat when I got at and my friend had been told it "couldn't be tuned to concert because it had a wooden frame". Exposed pinblock but iron frame, and I got it up to concert where it has stayed pretty consistently for over a decade, although a lot of treble strings have snapped in the process and I can say that my more recent string replacements have been a bit more elegant than my early attempts.

I have been doing all this myself as an interesting project - plus it's hard to justify a professional on a free piano. Some of the treble pins seem to turn much too easily so although it holds its tune with my beginner level playing, I imagine it might not go so well with an energetic player using the full range of the instrument. The tone is not as bright as some newer pianos I've heard, but is warm and pleasant.

It had candleholders in its younger days and comparing the style to the useful info on the pianohistory page, I'm guessing 1920s manufacture.

I am curious whether it is likely to be a U.K. or U.S.A. manufacture.
I have a photo somewhere of a USA 'Strad' from an advertisement. I didn't actually go and inspect it but the action is retained by four nuts, rather than just one at each end.

Any info would be welcome,

Thanks in advance,

David

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Re: Strad piano #1887

Post by Bill Kibby » 18 Apr 2020, 10:15

Thanks for the photos, and serial number, but I can't tell you much more than was said before. Just reading this item, it appears to give 2 different versions of the serial number, 1337 and 1887, but the first is from the earlier post. Because of their similarity, I wonder if they are actually the same, and one was misread. They are a bit short for serial numbers, perhaps model numbers?
Go to pianohistory.info and look at the Edwardian page for clues. My guess is shortly before the 1914 war. The action could possibly be German, so if your tuner thinks it is safe to remove the action, it may be marked on the back with the action makers' name and number, and I may be able to date this.
The Datemarks page will help you to look for dates inside, and we would be interested to know if you find any.
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Re: Strad piano #1337

Post by reedplayer » 18 Apr 2020, 23:14

Hi,

thanks for this.

Definitely two different pianos, both originally imported to Sydney.

Photos are:
Close up photo of the pinblock where the number has been applied with a punch. I agree four digits is not long if it's a serial number.
But definitely 1887 - the shape of the 8s is distinctly different to the 3s in the original post, so the numbers were incrementing.
IMAG0528.JPG
Maker's stencil inside lid.
IMAG0529.JPG
Pedal area.
IMAG0531.JPG
There is a rubber stamped number on the back of the action 88350 but no names. The end frames of the action have 'feet' to enable it to stand on the floor, I don't know if that's significant but in the only other piano I've removed the action from, it couldn't stand on its own (that was an overdamper / much older).

I have never found anything else inside it even when I took the keys out to clean under them. But I will search more thoroughly if I'm in there again.

The original poster's reference to his piano coming from the Thomas Walker mental home is interesting as I was once in a course with a guy that worked there, and he gave me a guided tour - beautiful heritage buildings on the upper part of Sydney Harbour / start of the Parramatta River. Still in use as an outpatient adolescent psychiatric clinic.

I had a look at the tuning page on pianohistory. I'm wondering what it may have been tuned to if it was made so long before the general adoption of A-440. Were pianos designed to a tuning according to their place of manufacture, or were they final tuned - for the market they were sold into - by the vendors?

Anyway thank you for your best estimate on its age and if I do find anything further I will post it here.

David

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Re: Strad piano #1337

Post by Bill Kibby » 19 Apr 2020, 12:05

Lots of points there, I hope I remember to answer them all.
Most actions are capable of standing upright on a bench, but there are always the awkward ones.
I wasn't saying they were the same piano, I thought the number might be same, and not a serial number.
The pianos look to be of similar age, so I would be surprised if they had serial numbers so far apart, although yours is perhaps the later of the two.
I can't find any makers with similar serial numbers around the time.
As far as pitch is concerned, there was no international standard until 1939, but any piano you are likely to find outside a museum should be capable of raising to A440, provided it is structural safe. It is always wiser to do it gradually, perhaps an 8th of a semitone at a time, and lubricate the top bridge area.
I imagine you would know if there was a date cast into the frame right at the bottom edge.
The number on the action might suggest a maker, I will check, but I was hoping for some clue to the actual maker. I haven't found any similar action numbers for that period.
Here's an older Strad (about 1905) that someone sent me years ago. No numbers.
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Re: Strad piano #1337

Post by reedplayer » 20 Apr 2020, 23:05

Interesting photo, could be the same piano with minor styling changes over five or so years.

I popped the bottom panel off for a more thorough look at the frame, but found no names or dates.

Thank you for your very informative answers, helps me feel a bit more of a connection to the old girl.

David

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Re: Strad piano #1337

Post by reedplayer » 09 May 2020, 05:02

I was trying to track down why there is a buzziness with the C below middle C and ended up taking off all the removable boards, including the moulding between the key lid and the keys.

Under this moulding on the lowest key I found another serial number, and a tuner's date.
20200509_131751_compress41.jpg
The serial number is L33207.

I'm not sure how commonly used red biros were in 1961, there were still a few teachers opposed to biros when I went to school a few years later.

There is a faint pencil mark on the same key - evidently 'Foo was here' at some stage
20200509_132110_crop_16.jpg
I didn't know that Foo tuned pianos. You don't see him much these days.

As for the buzziness, I am working my way through the Reblitz manual and there are some small cracks in the soundboard and on one brace the glue has separated for about 2" near one end. I think there's some buzzing out of the soundboard as a result, not too bad though, can be lived with.

The hammers appear to have been re-shaped, perhaps in 1961 by Mr Bailey.

I also found that on that C there was some hammer bounce and the letoff position not ideal, also true for several other notes. I will have to get some proper adjustment tools; it's good to have a pre-depreciated piano on which to explore these things.

Can any of you can make something of the serial number?

Thanks,
David

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