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#3196989 02/24/22 01:37 PM
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Hey folks,

I have an opportunity to purchase either a Baldwin model B from the mid 90's or a model M from the mid 70's. I've negotiated the B to a price of 1400 and the M to a price of 2200. Both are in great shape but the M is missing the hinges for the lid. I know some of the complaints regarding the B, but is it worth the extra 800 for the M? I think the B will fit my needs (home use, not looking for any sort of concert piano).

Any insight is much appreciated.

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Mike

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Del Fandrich who used to post here said he was involved in the design of the B, and that there were a number of compromises that were made to his design to its detriment. You might be able to search his posts and see what he said about it. I personally have no experience with that B (there were earlier ones that are not the same design), and the M is a good piano, but in the case of used pianos, the condition of the individual piano will often be a bigger consideration.


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Yes, I've looked at some of his posts, and I have a decent understanding of the concerns with the B. But, to my knowledge there hasn't really been a thread to compare an M and a B?

In this case, the condition of the B is slightly better, and the price is hard to beat, but I do understand that the M is probably built to a higher standard.

Thanks for the reply

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The M is a long-running Baldwin design, from when their grands were no-holds-barred best-effort production. These historical models (M, R, L, F & D) became the "Artist Models" (M, R, L, SF, SD) when Baldwin started to introduce "lessor" lines, built to lower price points, in order to compete with cheaper foreign pianos.

The M in general is a better piano, which is consistent with why in spite of being older in this case, and even missing hinges, the seller is still hoping to get more than the seller of the B is.


If a 70's vintage M is truly in "great shape"** then 2200 would be a steal (IMO). Of course, missing hinges are a problem, but hinges can be replaced.

Which hinges are missing? The fly lid? Or the two smaller hinges that hold the lid to the case? Or all of them?


** if you seriously consider buying this piano, then be sure to have it inspected by a technician of your choosing (actually, have any piano inspected before purchase)


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It's just the hinges attaching the lid to the case - NOT the fly lid.

I realize that 2200 is a very good price for a Model M, but honestly I am leaning towards the B (I was able to get the price down to 1200), as I don't want to spend an arm and a leg on a family piano.

BUT, that being said, I am aware of the concerns with the B, and I'm just curious if anyone has had any experience with it, especially in comparison to a 70's M.

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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
If a 70's vintage M is truly in "great shape"** then 2200 would be a steal (IMO). Of course, missing hinges are a problem, but hinges can be replaced.
Totally agree, I would spend this even if it needed some basic work done.


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Originally Posted by Mike.Stam
It's just the hinges attaching the lid to the case - NOT the fly lid.

I realize that 2200 is a very good price for a Model M, but honestly I am leaning towards the B (I was able to get the price down to 1200), as I don't want to spend an arm and a leg on a family piano.

BUT, that being said, I am aware of the concerns with the B, and I'm just curious if anyone has had any experience with it, especially in comparison to a 70's M.


I can understand your perspective, from a budget standpoint. At the same time, if someone in your family really takes to the piano, you could find yourself needing to replace it much sooner.


You're not likely to find the one-to-one comparison your looking for. The 90's B probably wasn't built in the kind of numbers that M's were (much longer production span and at a time when U.S. piano production was higher in general).

There used to be some Baldwin dealers who posted here, who could perhaps discuss them "side by side," but, like so many others, they seem to have drifted away...


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Get the M. One of the best baby grands ever made IMHO.

Rich


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I will add that the seller of the M claims that it underwent a restoration, including new action parts (flanges, hammers..etc). This sounds like a good thing but a technician friend of mine claims that this could suggest overuse/abuse in a piano of this vintage.

The family likes the color of the B better (more of a walnut), while the M is a matte ebony. I also got the M down to 1900.

Struggling here!!! haha

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Originally Posted by Mike.Stam
Struggling here!!! haha

OK, here's another way of looking at it.

It is possible to get a nice little upright in good playable condition for your budget but both of these pianos, in good condition, are worth far more than this.

Now if they are private sales and the seller is desperate to get rid of it it is possible, perhaps, to get a stunning bargain but it is also possible (probably much more likely) that there is something needing doing to these pianos, and apparently, the cost of that could be anything from a few hundred dollars to ten thousand dollars plus. Therefore the best piano to get really has nothing to do with how much better an M is than the B or the difference in the prices offered but what condition the pianos are in and how much each would cost to get into good repair. As these pianos are worth 1000s more than the price asked for it is worth spending $150 for an independent technical inspection on your preferred piano to make sure it is indeed a bargain and not a money pit.

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Originally Posted by Mike.Stam
I will add that the seller of the M claims that it underwent a restoration, including new action parts (flanges, hammers..etc). This sounds like a good thing but a technician friend of mine claims that this could suggest overuse/abuse in a piano of this vintage.

The family likes the color of the B better (more of a walnut), while the M is a matte ebony. I also got the M down to 1900.

Struggling here!!! haha

The best way to discern the condition of the M is to have it inspected. Restoration or no, it's condition right now is what matters most. If you trust your technician friend, then have him look it over and tell you what work it needs. Also, have him look over the B.


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I may be wrong about this, but I believe that the B was also known as the Classic. I know that Del designed the Classic, and I saw one at a local church. When I saw Del a few months later, I complemented him on the design, so much so that I said that the M should be redesigned along those lines. I also told him that the workmanship was total garbage, and wondered why there were no back beams. Del told me they were there in his design, but he was overruled.

The one I saw would not stay in tune.

My guess is that the M is the better choice, if inspection gives thumbs up.


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Originally Posted by WilliamTruitt
I may be wrong about this, but I believe that the B was also known as the Classic. I know that Del designed the Classic, and I saw one at a local church. When I saw Del a few months later, I complemented him on the design, so much so that I said that the M should be redesigned along those lines. I also told him that the workmanship was total garbage, and wondered why there were no back beams. Del told me they were there in his design, but he was overruled.

The one I saw would not stay in tune.

My guess is that the M is the better choice, if inspection gives thumbs up.


"Wouldn't stay in tune".... oh geez. After several tunings? or just year to year it didn't hold up?

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I’m not sure why you are struggling with your decision. Have the M inspected by an independent piano tech and if it checks out buying it is a no brainer. In good condition and it’s a great price for a fine small grand. Frankly if the M didn’t check out I’d still pass on the B and find a nice upright instead.

Rich


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Have you ever played a B?

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I was the last of several tuners to service this piano, it never held a tuning more than a few days. The pins were tight enough.


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Thank you guys for the help. Your insight is much appreciated. I feel enlightened in the piano realm!


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