I just watched one of your videos, which I enjoyed very much, and would like to ask a question if that’s ok.
I’m considering purchasing a used upright Steinway from 1969. It looks beautiful and sounds great, and the dealer (it seems to be a reputable store) assures me that it is in excellent condition. The parts are all original. I’m just concerned that a piano that old will fall apart on me in the next few years – and it isn’t cheap.
Do you have any thoughts on this? I suppose I should have a technician look at the piano.
There is no reason why the piano should suddenly fall apart in a few years unless there has been neglect in the upkeep, it has been subjected to harsh climate changes, or it has simply been played a lot. My only caveat is if you are investing a good deal of money in a piano, an upright of any sort presents drastic compromises in performance.
Also, you should be aware that this piano was manufactured during the CBS ownership of Steinway in which they were utilizing Teflon for all the action bushings. If those are worn out, it could be expensive replacing parts. Also, in some remote areas, it can be difficult finding technicians who are skilled at servicing Teflon actions.
While uprights appear to be smaller than baby grands, the reality is that they can be more difficult to place in a room since they require a certain amount of wall space where as baby grands can be placed anywhere since they look good from all sides. They can even be tucked into a corner! If you have a place in your home where you can spin around with your arms stretched out, you have room for a baby grand.
What do you think of the Cory cleaner/polishing products?
What do you suggest using on an old lacquer-over-wood finish that isn’t yet alligatored but has the fine cracks and oxidation?
Cory’s polishes are great. The fact that they have specific polishes for gloss and satin is very good. Actually, for good satin finishes, just using a dry cotton cloth, or slightly damp cloth is best since any polish can build up over time. Then it has to be professionally removed.
As for older finishes that start to crack, sometimes a polish can add luster. The dry wood sometimes can soak up the polish and prevent further degradation of the finish. However, you will find that most often it has to be reapplied often in order to look good. So make sure you want to go down that road before you start. You may test out a section of the piano that doesn’t show first (like the inside of a leg) so you can make sure it has the desired effect.