2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
100 members (Anglagard44, 8ude, Abdol, An Old Square, 36251, ambrozy, AlphaBravoCharlie, 24 invisible), 815 guests, and 508 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 965
500 Post Club Member
OP Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 965
Just a thought would you buy a wonderful an old upright with a so called bird cage action.Apparently some excellent pianos used an overdamper system for quite a long time.What are the problems involved?Can ordinary technicians handle the tuning and occasional repairs involved in an otherwise beautiful Bluthner upright?
I believe in the UK the term birdcage action is not a popular term for the overdamper action.So apologies for using the term.Here is a very nice old Bluthner upright with such an action.


https://www.klaviano.com/pianos-for-sale/bluthner/balth-d-ouml-ll-inne/bluthner-418304.html

Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 288
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Apr 2014
Posts: 288
I think you'd have to be an old piano enthusiast to buy something like that.
I played a terrible old upright with a birdcage action... The dampers were so weak that I didn't need the sustain pedal, but the damper mechanism was so noisy that the sustain pedal could be used as a percussion instrument. It was like having a foot-operated tambourine at your disposal.
I also had a go at tuning this piano and found it was fiddly to insert string mutes through the bars of the birdcage. I believe my tuner charges more for overdamper uprights for this reason - they take longer.


2014 Kawai K-500
1920s Sir Herbert Marshall Sons & Rose upright
Kurzweil PC3LE8 stage piano with Pianoteq 7
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 965
500 Post Club Member
OP Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 965
"the sustain pedal could be used as a percussive instrument"
😃 That is funny Ben_NZ 😄 I do get your point though you would either have to be an old piano enthusiast or you would have to have a real commitment to the piano.I suppose like being married to one!
I found this online which I believe is by one of our members. There is an interesting video about an old Bluthner with this action(scroll down to German pianos).Someone I know recently tried an old Bluthner which had been restored with this action.

https://www.davidboyce.co.uk/birdcage-pianos.php

Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 1,584
G
1000 Post Club Member
Online Content
1000 Post Club Member
G
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 1,584
Originally Posted by tre corda
Just a thought would you buy a wonderful an old upright with a so called bird cage action.Apparently some excellent pianos used an overdamper system for quite a long time.What are the problems involved?Can ordinary technicians handle the tuning and occasional repairs involved in an otherwise beautiful Bluthner upright?
I believe in the UK the term birdcage action is not a popular term for the overdamper action.So apologies for using the term.Here is a very nice old Bluthner upright with such an action.


https://www.klaviano.com/pianos-for-sale/bluthner/balth-d-ouml-ll-inne/bluthner-418304.html

Well, I think the question really is whether this really is a 'wonderful old upright' or not. It is pretty expensive if it hasn't already had significant work done to it, what is wonderful about it? Does it sound lovely, or have a lovely action, or just look nice?

Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 965
500 Post Club Member
OP Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 965
Well apparently there are bird cage piano enthusiasts.Perhaps they have meetings and you could attend a meeting and tell us what you find out.If you prefer the word "interesting" piano perhaps that will feel make you feel better.About price I have no intention of buying a bird cage or any piano right at this moment so I never looked at the price.

I have a vintage piano and it has a regular action and I think it has a "wonderful tone" 😀


My piano's voice is my voice to the great unknown, out there..in other words a hymn.That is all but that is enough.

Just sold my old C2 and am thinking of replacing it with a CBechstein124, Schimmel K132 or a YUS5.
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 90
W
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
W
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 90
There are good reasons the overdamper action was discontinued... most importantly, it made servicing the piano more difficult, and it was outperformed by underdamper designs.

However, I have been led to believe that some of these instruments were and are lovely instruments to hear and play. If I sat at an overdamper piano and I liked it, I wouldn't disqualify it just for that aspect of its design.

But with any piano of that age, you MUST both play it yourself AND have it completely checked out by a technician that you trust to properly evaluate it. Otherwise, there is a very good chance you will be taking on a large and cumbersome liability.

Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,463
P
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Feb 2017
Posts: 4,463
The piano was designed to last about 30-40 years.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


Peter W. Grey, RPT
New Hampshire Seacoast
www.seacoastpianodoctor.com
pianodoctor57@gmail.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK0T7_I_nV8
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 965
500 Post Club Member
OP Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 965
Originally Posted by Wry Guy
There are good reasons the overdamper action was discontinued... most importantly, it made servicing the piano more difficult, and it was outperformed by underdamper designs.

However, I have been led to believe that some of these instruments were and are lovely instruments to hear and play. If I sat at an overdamper piano and I liked it, I wouldn't disqualify it just for that aspect of its design.

But with any piano of that age, you MUST both play it yourself AND have it completely checked out by a technician that you trust to properly evaluate it. Otherwise, there is a very good chance you will be taking on a large and cumbersome liability.
Thank you Wry Guy! That was interesting.
Originally Posted by P W Grey
The piano was designed to last about 30-40 years.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor
I can understand that English bird cage pianos were cheaper pianos and therefore not meant to last.According to the link I posted these were made for lower middle class parlors?

When it comes to the German ones it seemed they were made by Bluthner, Ibach and other fairly expensive brands.The YouTube by Roberts Pianos in the article discusses one such Bluthner piano.The piano still sounds rather nice apart from the unwanted resonant notes in the treble.I can imagine it must be extremely time consuming to work on these pianos especially when regulation, or work on the hammers are needed.So the cost would at this stage not really be worth it.
It really is this aspect that I find interesting.Some Fine pianos making use of such an action in these uprights? Perhaps their focus was on making grands?

Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 30,160
B
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 30,160
Even if these were good pianos at one time, they are all probably at least 100 years old now. It might be possible to retrofit them with a more modern action, but I doubt it would be worth it. There are a lot of old American uprights available for free, and many of them might have been better when they were made, and they would be much easier and cheaper to rebuild.


Semipro Tech
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,955
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,955
Originally Posted by BDB
Even if these were good pianos at one time, they are all probably at least 100 years old now. It might be possible to retrofit them with a more modern action, but I doubt it would be worth it. There are a lot of old American uprights available for free, and many of them might have been better when they were made, and they would be much easier and cheaper to rebuild.

I don't know where I have the picture buried on my PC now, but quite a few years ago when I was looking up various older pianos online, I came across one that had been rebuilt that had a modern-looking underdamper action, but the tuning pins pattern had the tell-tale arrangement of a birdcage upright. (The piano was overstrung, not flatstrung.)


1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
You can right-click my avatar for an option to view a larger version.
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 30,160
B
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 30,160
I suppose that is possible, but I am not sure what would be indicative of a birdcage upright, except perhaps that there is not enough space under the hammer line at the tenor-bass break for dampers under the hammers. That would be a reason a new action could not be fitted.


Semipro Tech
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 965
500 Post Club Member
OP Offline
500 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 965
Originally Posted by BDB
Even if these were good pianos at one time, they are all probably at least 100 years old now. It might be possible to retrofit them with a more modern action, but I doubt it would be worth it. There are a lot of old American uprights available for free, and many of them might have been better when they were made, and they would be much easier and cheaper to rebuild.
I believe the English bird cage instruments were built up to about 1950.The fine German ones were discontinued before WW1. BDB I agree with you there are a great deal of old pianos around with a regular actions and they would certainly be better candidates for restoration or being totally rebuilt.
I certainly hope I will not have to do added restoration on my Feurich.Thank goodness it is not a bird cage. 😳 The historic and social aspects of piano making is an interest to myself.(I hope for others too) No I certainly will not be buying a bird cage.


My piano's voice is my voice to the great unknown, out there..in other words a hymn.That is all but that is enough.

Just sold my old C2 and am thinking of replacing it with a CBechstein124, Schimmel K132 or a YUS5.
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,807
C
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
C
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,807
I played on a turn-of-the-century Bluthner birdcage last week. The damping was as good as any modern underdamper. Sadly the action was very worn which may preclude it surviving much longer.


never taught a child who had poor technique, just poor practice

Moderated by  Ken Knapp, Piano World 

Link Copied to Clipboard
What's Hot!!
Pianos - Organs - & Keyboards, Oh My!
My first professionally recorded piece
---------------------
Visit Maine, Meet Mr. Piano World
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Coming soon: PianoWorld 25th Anniversary!
by EB5AGV - 12/08/21 01:20 PM
RIP Barry Harris!
by 36251 - 12/08/21 12:07 PM
Barry Harris has died
by Dfrankjazz - 12/08/21 12:07 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics210,453
Posts3,151,509
Members103,558
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5