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BriBek Offline OP
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Greetings, all -

I’m going to see a 1980 Seiler 116 upright (it’s listed as a 46-incher, so I’m assuming it’s the 116, anyway). The piano is being sold by a reputable secondhand dealer who is asking $2950. Everything I’ve heard about Seilers has been positive, but I’ve never seen or played one. He describes it as flawlessly playable and in need of no regulation or repair.

I’d love to hear from anyone who might know about or who has played these pianos in this vintage range, especially if it might equip me for anything to keep an eye out for.

Thanks.

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It's a piano of significant potential, but at 40 years old, it's needs could go either way. From a reputable dealer is valuable. Unless it was just regulated by the dealer, not needing any regulation is a dubious description...used pianos always need regulation, just to varying degrees. I'll be curious of your impressions after you see it.

Not long ago we had a Seiler upright of similar vintage and 112cm tall, and it was exceptional condition and tone for its size. It did not need more than normal servicing, but we also changed the finish from a light wood to a matte ebony and put some stylish casters on it...it originally rested on metal feet.

That's not enough sample size to tell you what to look out for, but if the piano makes a favorable impression on you, then you can always verify its condition with a 2nd opinion.

Here is the photo of the Seiler 112 we had, and we sold it for quite a bit above that dealer's asking price, which I felt was justified for both the condition and the upgrades we did.
[Linked Image]


Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
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BriBek Offline OP
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Thank you for such a thorough reply. My error in describing it as not needing regulation. What he said was that his tech regulated it. I should have been more clear. Weave got a snowstorm in the way so I’ll be seeing it on Sunday and will post back to this thread.

I’d love to hear you impression of the build quality of that piano and the responsiveness of the action. I’ve played many uprights that seemed unable to manage an extremely light touch. Even though I grew up banging out ragtime, novelty and boogie woogie, taught by a Tin Pan Alley sheet music demonstrator, these days I’m working on soft stuff and responsiveness is a must for me.

Thanks again.

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Hello BriBek,

I'm sorry, but I cannot recall my specific impressions about the resistance of that one piano, however, I do recall considering it personally for my home to keep for at least a few years because it liked its overall performance that much as well as its convenient size. Instead, we sold it, made a little money and made a customer very happy. If it had been sloppy in any way, I would not have considered it. The tone was medium with good color for its small size. The overall balance wasn't as good (again, limitations of size), but it must have played softly or else I would not have considered it.

More will depend on the life led for the one you are going to see, but they did begin as a very well made piano. I'll be curious of your observations.


Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
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BriBek Offline OP
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Thank you again. If the roads are clear enough Ill be going to see it tomorrow and will report back. The only pictures I’ve seen are of the case, which appears to be well-cared for, but it’s a poor photo and who knows what lies beneath. There was one photo of the top of the harp that had a handful of tuning pins in it, and they don’t look like they were ever hammered. That’s everything I know. I’m hopeful that it’ll have been protected. I’ll post back tomorrow or. when I see it.

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I visited the Seiler today. First impression was of extraordinary workmanship and materials. And the piano appeared to have been little played in its lifetime. The hammer felts had only light grooving, the strings were pristine, the wood all spotless and perfectly aligned everywhere, no sign of any corrosion anywhere. There was little to differentiate anything inside the case from a new piano.

It was so cold in the room, though, that it was difficult to play. My fingers were stiff. It’s been getting down to 20 below and the dealer seems to keep that room at about 50 degrees.

Still, I did what I could. The action is what some describe as moderate. I would call it heavy. I don’t necessarily dislike that, and it was quite responsive to a light touch, but my hands were too cold to actually play anything requiring a light touch beyond simply exercising the keys. I just began by playing each key slowly from the bass up. Tone was superb, a deep and clear and surprising bass, wonderful tenor section and sweet, clear treble all the way up to the end of the keyboard. No transitional difference in tone at the breakpoint between wound and unwound strings, but when I got to the E3 I noticed a slight metallic sound. The seller said he could hear nothing amiss. It was subtle but there, and to some degree this persisted up to the B flat. The seller continued to say he couldn’t hear what I was talking about. I played some chords with notes in that area. The sound is there. I don’t know what it is, but my fear with any kind of noise in several keys right at or near the beginning of the tenor section would be some kind of bridge problem. I saw nothing wrong with the bridge, but I’m not sure what else could account for a plonking buzz like that in seven adjacent notes and I didn’t inspect extremely closely. I wouldn’t know what to look for beyond evident cracks, which I didn’t see.

The seller seemed to come around to the idea that there was some kind of noise and said he would have his tech in on Monday to investigate. He gave me his tech’s card so I could discuss directly with him.

I really was surprised at how good the overall time was. Somewhere in the middle of dark and bright.

The heaviness of the action also made me wonder. Not having played any other Seilers I don’t know if this is representative of the breed or whether there could be some other mechanical issue - something like bushings or who knows what - from disuse.

So, without a certain resolution of the buzzing (for lack of a better word) the piano is out of consideration. If that turns out to be something the tech is able to identify and remedy easily, the next thing will be to ask him his opinion of the heaviness of the action. I don’t remember ever playing an action as heavy. I would have liked to weigh it but to compare, it was as heavy as the action on circa 2000 mid-range Clavinova I have. That action is not piano-like at all and the comparison ends with the similar weight.

It was a pity that this beautiful piano, in appearance practically new inside, sent up the main red flag with the buzzing. I’ll be curious to see what more I find out. But if the piano has a bridge issue, that seems like a lot of work the seller would have to have done and who knows if he would or whether I’d want the piano, as I don’t know if that might portend anything else.

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If the piano is subjected to 50 degree weather as a practical problem, I'm surprised there weren't more odd buzzes. While I cannot rule out a more serious issue, buzzes in general are so common on new and used instruments, that we spend a fair bit of time chasing them down. I have a hard time making the jump to a bridge issue without some visual symptom...a few loose bridge pins are a possibility, but certainly not more likely than other common causes.

If they can chase down that buzz, hopefully it can restore some faith, however do not be surprised if a piano (any piano) has a seasonal buzz with wide climate swings. Just setting expectations.

It is very difficult to make a fair evaluation of the action's resistance in a cold environment when both your hand and possibly the piano is stiff. Not an ideal situation to try to make critical decisions. Gook luck.


Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
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Maybe you can measure the key weight if you don't trust cold hands. You can stack some coins to make a rough measuring weight if you don't have a tool. For example, a US nickel weighs 5 grams and a penny 2.5. So 10 nickels (50 grams) would approach the average key weight.

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BriBek Offline OP
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Originally Posted by TBell
Maybe you can measure the key weight if you don't trust cold hands. You can stack some coins to make a rough measuring weight if you don't have a tool. For example, a US nickel weighs 5 grams and a penny 2.5. So 10 nickels (50 grams) would approach the average key weight.

Great idea - I will definitely do this. Thank you for the suggestion.

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Originally Posted by BriBek
Originally Posted by TBell
Maybe you can measure the key weight if you don't trust cold hands. You can stack some coins to make a rough measuring weight if you don't have a tool. For example, a US nickel weighs 5 grams and a penny 2.5. So 10 nickels (50 grams) would approach the average key weight.

Great idea - I will definitely do this. Thank you for the suggestion.


You will need to get the instructions for doing this measurement. I tried to find them on the internet, but failed. I’m sure someone knows.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by BriBek
Originally Posted by TBell
Maybe you can measure the key weight if you don't trust cold hands. You can stack some coins to make a rough measuring weight if you don't have a tool. For example, a US nickel weighs 5 grams and a penny 2.5. So 10 nickels (50 grams) would approach the average key weight.

Great idea - I will definitely do this. Thank you for the suggestion.


You will need to get the instructions for doing this measurement. I tried to find them on the internet, but failed. I’m sure someone knows.

I found this PW post-
http://forum.pianoworld.com//ubbthr...ch-weight-of-65-85grams.html#Post3185852


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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BriBek Offline OP
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I went back to see the 1985 Seiler 116. First, I don't know how I got the impression that the action was as hard as it struck me. Could it have been that it was so cold or did the regulation and lubrication that was performed (and a warmer space this time) make the difference? Whatever it was, the action was fine and completely to my liking. It's not feathery — which I don't like — and with just enough heft to it that it'd probably be described as moderate. As I played it I found myself not thinking about the action at all unless I reminded myself to pay more attention to it.

The buzzing was likewise remedied completely by the tech. Most of it went away during his regulation, because the piano sounded good when I got there, though when he did a bit of additional voicing to a few hammers they yielded a perfect tone.

The first time I saw the piano I barely played it because of the cold and the buzzing (buzzing's not really the right word), but this time I was able to. The sound of the thing is astonishing. There were other uprights in the room — some Yamahas, Kawais, a Mason & Hamlin and a couple of Charles Walters consoles. The Seiler, to my ear, surpassed all the others in tone all up and down the keyboard. A deep and resonant bass with lots of rich distinction in the notes all the way down to A0, and beautiful mids and trebles. Even the highest C at the end of the keyboard sings. Just a great piano. How someone would buy such a thing and barely ever play it is a mystery.

Even though it's 37 years old, the Renner action in this piano looks like new. There is no discoloration of strings or felts, no greying of anything. The case is likewise in excellent condition. Generally I'd prefer to stick with the aesthetic of simple black or mahogany or rosewood pianos, but this one, which has a complex inlaid floral marquetry and bookend-matched panels, is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship.

Anyway, with my concerns obliterated, I pulled the trigger. The piano gets here in a few days. I'm pretty damn excited.

Thank you for your replies and help. Sorry to have sounded so hysterical!

And Sam: you, sir, are a man who really knows what he's talking about. Thank you. If it wasn't for you I'm not sure I would have made the second 100-mile drive in the snow to see it again and snag it.

Last edited by BriBek; 02/06/22 03:58 PM.
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Neat- congratulations! We don’t get to hear about so many of these here.


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Congratulations! Nice description of that unique Seiler sound. I agree, Sam is amazing, and so is his team of other professionals. They just put out a superb YT video of a 2012 SE-186MA now on their showroom floor, and the tone from top to bottom is to die for. (MSRP for new ones now $145K, yikes!)

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BriBek Offline OP
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Originally Posted by MrSh4nkly
a 2012 SE-186MA now on their showroom floor, and the tone from top to bottom is to die for. (MSRP for new ones now $145K, yikes!)

Well, the $145K isn't so bad, until you realize you need to buy a spare for parts. Just in case....

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Originally Posted by dogperson

I saw a video from one of the UK piano stores, and all the guy did to determine touchweight was put a bunch of coins of known weight on the key for down weight, and remove some for upweight. Roberts Piano, I think. He seems pretty knowledgable. Seems like a good way to get a ballpark, anyway. I just tried it on a 20-year-old old Yamaha Clavinova that clocked in at 85 grams down and about 65 up. Am sure looking forward to getting that Seiler.

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Congratulations 🎉🎊🎈 ! Please post photos once it’s delivered!

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Congratulations, I think you made a very good choice with great value for the prize. I have a Seiler too and I will keep it as long as I play the piano, only if I get old and tired I might sell it smile.

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Congratulations on your "new to you Seiler!"I am sure you made an excellent choice!


My piano's voice is my voice to God and the great unknown universe, and to those I love.In other words a hymn.That is all, but that is enough.Life goes on, despite pain and fear.Music is beautiful,life is beautiful.


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Congrats! I'm glad they could address your concerns, which is not only a good sign for the piano, but also a good sign for the dealer relationship should you need them in the future.


Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop
www.PianoWorks.com
www.youtube.com/PianoWorksAtlanta
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