WH Barnes Piano - what to do?

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Dr nEon
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WH Barnes Piano - what to do?

Post by Dr nEon » 23 Sep 2019, 14:01

Hi all! :)

I have here, a WH Barnes Piano, which has a nice present exciting glassy chiming tone. Difficult to record, but it worked well on a few rnr sessions, some years ago. It's straight-strung over-dampened,3/4 frame, and after studying the amazing pianogen site, I reckon it must be early 1920s at the latest...the curved shapes, and fluted columns.. However, I cannot identify the maker. There are two places on the inside where "King" has been scrawled in pencil. I wonder if the combination of features seen in the pics (which I will attempt to attach) give any indication? The piano hasn't been used in about 6 years, and while generally roughly at A=440, some of the tuning has slipped, causing some keys to be dissonant. I've also just discovered one recently broken string. I started out thinking that this piano might have some value to someone, based on the sound. My educated guess now though, is that this piano is probably worthless, and unless any of you guys can spot any redeeming feature that it possesses, I guess the piano will be scrapped...time to say goodnight! Very interested to know any guesses on the maker, and if there's any components which could be kept or might be useful to anyone. Keys etc..?? Or indeed, any historical reason NOT to scrap it! It will break my heart to break it.. Any help or advice very much appreciated.
I should add that the piano resides in an upstairs flat. Put in here 30 years ago by a yamaha mover who had 5 people hoist the thing up with ropes, and people underneath it pushing upwards (terrifying experience!) as it wouldn't go around the twisty staircase. Costly to move or dispose of , I think...
Attachments
WH Barnes  LOGO.jpg
WH Barnes  FULL LID DOWN.jpg
WH Barnes  Full.jpg

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Bill Kibby
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Re: WH Barnes Piano - what to do?

Post by Bill Kibby » 23 Sep 2019, 17:34

I'm glad my site was useful but it hasn't been a pianogen site for years, people couldn't understand the name!
The Names page at pianohistory.info gives some indication of names used by Barnes, but not which wholesalers made the Barnes pianos. It's odd that some were sold as "Barnes". King & Adam are most likely, although that doesn't really help you.
Have a look at the Datemarks page.
The Edwardian page would put it nearer the 1914 war.
Loose pins are the usual cause of broken strings, the extra movement leads to metal fatigue.
The Dry Heat Damage page explains that pianos over 50 years old quite often reach the point where repinning and restringing costs more than the piano is worth. If it is not holding in tune properly, it probably has no value except as a museum display piece, we are offered several pianos like this each year for nothing.
Piano History Centre
http://pianohistory.info
Email via my website.
If you find old references or links on this site to pianogen.org, they should refer to pianohistory.info

Dr nEon
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Re: WH Barnes Piano - what to do?

Post by Dr nEon » 23 Sep 2019, 18:16

Many thanks Bill!

I can't see any obvious datemarks anywhere inside the piano, but I trust your estimate of around 1914.

Pretty sad to think that such old things are not very desirable, even as a freebie, but there you go, they were mass produced as it were, I suppose, and yes the woes of time have played a part, as you describe. I can imagine more strings breaking, if this were suddenly played again on a daily basis.

I don't know why all of my pics did not appear, but I'll add them again, in case it proves to be a useful resource to any other WH Barnes owners out there!

Many thanks again, Bill, much appreciated!
Attachments
WH Barnes  PAPER Sticker.jpg
WH Barnes  OPEN FRONT.jpg
WH Barnes  KEYS CLOSE UP.jpg

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