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Joined: Sep 2016
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I've been looking for a used upright piano under $5000 (located in northeast US). One that caught my eyes was a 48' Schimmel made in 1986. I'm pleasantly surprised by its condition - (to my untrained eyes) not a single scratch, no rusty strings, hammers not heavily grooved. There's no model number on the body but it has distinctive metal cross bracing in the back.

The other pianos I found around $4000-$5000 were mostly 46' and shorter Yamaha, Kawai, Boston and Young Chang made in the early 2000's. While they all sounded good, the deep tone of the Schimmel really stood out.

Obviously I will bring a technician to check out the pianos, but what do you think of a 35-year-old 48' Schimmel vs. 15-to-20-year-old 45' Yamaha, Kawai, Boston, etc? Is going with an older piano a huge mistake?

I consider myself an intermediate level player. I achieved level 10 15 years ago but then stopped playing altogether. After this very long hiatus I decided to pick it up again. I'm probably at level 6 currently.

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Neither a 45- not 48-foot piano would fit in my house, nor could I reach the keyboard!

All kidding aside, pianos under normal usage will last sufficient longer than 35 years. What would matter is if they have been heavily played. If they are not played much, they will last 50 to 60 years without a lot of deterioration just from age. But it does depend on usage, as well as the conditions in which it has been in. If you like the Schimmel, by all means, have it checked out.


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The piano might be quite good. German uprights from that era can be pretty well made, and as long as the condition checks out, you like the piano, and you're happy to pay the asking price or negotiate a lower one, then it could be a good buy for you.

I can't speak to whether the price is good, I don't know the market in the US well enough to know if this is what would be considered a good deal, but the dealers will know.


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Is the Schimmel being sold by a dealer or private seller?


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Originally Posted by Carey
Is the Schimmel being sold by a dealer or private seller?

It's from someone with lots of connections in the music world and has been fixing up and selling used pianos out of their house as a side gig. I was told they're selling 1 piano per month on average.

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If it's in good condition the Schimmel sounds promising.Out of the others I would focus on the Yamaha or the Kawai.Only thing is a studio sized piano is much more likely to give you a better sound.Perhaps you could even restore the Schimmel in a few years time.


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Without knowing more about each piano, we really aren't able to give you sound advice. The Schimmel uprights of 1986 were not the same quality as their "top shelf" piano of today, but they were still good.

I think condition will be the overwhelming determiner in this situation and I can't really help there. I suggest having an independent technician examine your choices, if possible.

Good luck!


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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
The Schimmel uprights of 1986 were not the same quality as their "top shelf" piano of today, but they were still good.

Where’s the difference? What do older Schimmel uprights lack in comparison?



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OP, you didn’t say where you are. I presume US? Big city, small city? If the seller sells one piano a month s/he is probably not desperate for customers. These things impact the price.

Also is delivery included in the price? If this is the person’s side gig, do they tune? Is in-home tuning after delivery included? What about a warranty or some guarantee?

In addition to the above, which all influence how you assess the price, you need to look at and play other pianos for sale in your area, not hypothetical used pianos. You don’t say how long you’ve been piano shopping, is this the first piano you’ve auditioned? You mention 15 to 20 y/o Yamahas, but from what I can see moderately used Yamaha uprights are in short supply and sell fast. A 15 y/o Yamaha upright (say a U1) may or may not be a better piano than this Schimmel, but it’s irrelevant if you can’t find one for sale.

Having said all of that, you definitely need to find an independent piano tech (not the seller) to evaluate the piano and help you assess the condition.

Good luck, and keep us posted. Taking up piano after a long absence is a wonderful endeavor!!


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

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