C. Bechstein "Living Room" Grand Piano
Model M, 5' 11" (180 cm)
Serial Number 177124
This rare C. Bechstein grand piano has been in my family since it was purchased new by my grandfather in San Francisco, California. It was moved to Austin, Texas in 1993, and passed to me upon his death. It is played regularly, and maintained in top condition by Charles Ball, the head piano technician for the UT Austin Butler School of Music, who also reworked the action in 2016. (http://www.charlesballpianotuning.com) Charles most recently serviced and tuned the piano on 17 July 2018 and can serve as a reference.
A reader of the remainder of this description might be forgiven for thinking it very dry and unemotional, but I hope that won't be taken as pertaining to the instrument itself. The piano is wonderfully expressive, with a full tone and firm action. It is in beautiful condition and adds a lustre to any room it occupies. I often wish I were a better pianist, to more fully explore the sound and resonance of this passionate instrument.
The piano was appraised on 2 July 2018 by Jim Watson of Watson Piano Works (http://www.watsonpianoworks.com). Portions of the following description were taken from that appraisal, as he is far more competent to judge a piano's quality than I.
The piano was manufactured in Berlin in 1984 and includes its original ivory key facades. The 2016 Endangered Species Act permits the sale of this piano within the United States under the de minimus exemption.
Its original natural high polish finish remains intact and presentable. The main lid shows slight color fading due to UV light when the small lid is lifted to close the piano. All glue joints are stable and closed. All case parts and mechanical areas are original. This piano includes an adjustable height artist bench that is in excellent cosmetic and functional condition. Overall, the piano has a new appearance.
Bechstein has upgraded a few parts of the design of this model, compared to earlier versions. The rim is a bent laminated design consistent with many manufacturers today. The music desk uses a stepped rear prop design. All decorative lines and moldings were simplified for greater ease of application of the modern high polish finish. The action is built by Renner, a German and worldwide action manufacturer. The action is consistent with Bechstein action designs found in Bechstein pianos 100 years ago. The damper system is the more updated, robust Bechstein design.
All mechanical areas of this piano are original to the piano and are in working order. The keys are topped with ivory which is in very good cosmetic condition. The lyre works smoothly with original leather and felt. The damper system is original to the piano and is in very good condition. Compared to most other makes of piano, the under levers and damper tray are built bulky and heavy. All parts show very light wear with lots of life left in them. The downbearing in the piano is strong throughout. The sound board shows no crown, and the pin block is original and is able to keep the piano at a stable A440. Tuning pins and strings are also original, but show slight rust.
The tone of the piano offers a nice bloom and range of tone capability to the pianist. The action is regulated well, enabling a wide dynamic range.
The touch weight of the piano was measured, independent of the damper system, on July 2, 2018. The bass section and midsection produced weights averaging 66g down/35g up. The high treble was measured at 60g down/33g up.
The piano includes two cosmetic flaws. The first is the slight discoloration of the finish of the top of the piano, caused by prolonged exposure to sunlight with the front lid folded back. It is noticeable only in strong light, and only when the piano is fully closed. The second is a small scratch in the finish of the top edge of the fall board, caused by a protruding screw on the underside of the bass side of the music shelf. This screw has since been replaced, but the scratch is still faintly visible.
The piano has no mechanical flaws or defects.
While the model M is no longer in production, the similar size model lists for $118,000 to 125,000. This piano is offered for sale at $42,995 USD.