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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:30 pm 
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Location: Gulfport, MS, USA
r590 wrote:
I actually prefer Yamahas to Steinways. Im at a university that has many pianos, so I play on many types frequently. There are 2 Yamaha grands that are the most beautiful I have ever played. The steinway grand is nice, but I don't feel the same sense of perfect control over the dynamics when I play it. There are also 2 upright Yamaha's that are okay. One of them has the nicest touch I have seen. I played on a steinway grand at a recital once, but I felt that the dynamic range between the bass and treble was out of synch. The base notes were much, much louder than the high ones when applying the same amount of force.

I searched for a thread on Steinways because I wanted to see if this problem was as common as it appears to be with Steinways. There are 5 Steinway concert grands at my school, and I have played on all of them, two of them in particular (the two best ones). I have noticed that all of them have this dynamic irregularity - the bass notes are extremely responsive, but the notes around 1-2 octaves above middle C are not very responsive at all. Or, they can be, but you have to be accustomed to the piano to know how to bring out that range. It's quite odd. My piano teacher says she thinks it is a characteristic of Steinways, and another pianist at my school mentioned the same thing. I wonder if there is some sort of logic to designing the pianos this way, because you would think they could have fixed a flaw like this over time - my teacher was speaking on 40 years of experience with Steinways.

That being said - one of the two best Steinways at my school is perfect for Chopin: it has a warm, rich tone and a very responsive dynamic range. And though I love playing Bach on that piano also, the other of the good Steinways seems better for Bach in some ways. It's less responsive dynamically, and the keys are lighter. When I practice on the newer one, the one that's good for Chopin, and then go to the older one, I always notice how much easier it is to play Bach.

In any case, the quality of the Steinway in question most definitely depends on the quality of its maintenance. I'm not very impressed with my school's piano technician at all. :x

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"Z Czernym poznałem się na panie brat—na dwa fortepiana często z nim u niego grywałem. Dobry człowiek, ale nic więcej..." - Fryderyk Chopin


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:25 am 
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Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:45 am
Posts: 113
Location: Manteca, CA
I wouldn't say any one brand is better than another because one piano is better than another piano. Steinways simply meet a higher standard more often than most other brands. Not all Bosendorfers are incredible either (and that's saying something). Personally, the best pianos I have ever played have been Baldwins (for their incredible overtones, heavily sonorous and wider notes; very provocative instruments) and Bosendorfers (ultimate clarity, sweet, wonderful tone; Very sensitive instruments). And, for a little clarification, in saying that the notes were a bit wider with Baldwins, you can see what I meant if you pluck a few chords on an average acoustic guitar, and than with a wide bridged classical guitar. You'll definitely notice that the notes have distinctly different qualities. The pitch has a bit more of broad avenue and is perfect for overtones. A high end Baldwin has just worlds of depth. They have to be my favorite pianos by far.

As for Steinways, it's just a really reliable brand. You don't find very many Steinways that don't satisfy you, and the great ones truly are great. You might say they're somewhere between a Bosendorfer and a Yamaha. Not so bright or flat toned, just a bit of texture and extra sonorous quality compared to a Yamaha.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 5:39 am 
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So, Lukecash, you've had good experiences with Baldwin grands? I've "met" absolutely stunning Bosendorfers and Steinways, but, out of only two or three middle-age Baldwins, I haven't been able to form a stellar opinion of them. Perchance, are the newer ones better?

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Though everything else may appear shallow and repulsive, even the smallest task in music is so absorbing, and carries us so far away from town, country, earth, and all worldly things, that it is truly a blessed gift of God.

Felix Mendelssohn


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 06, 2009 4:20 am 
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Location: Manteca, CA
My grandfather and I have done some restoration work and tuning, so I've seen my fair share of old Baldwins. They really are wonderful, expertly made instruments. And the higher quality Baldwins being constructed nowadays can be every bit as intoxicating as an excellent Bosendorfer.

Also, I would definitely refer the Knabe brand as a fantastic manufacturer of pianos, at least. Just listen to this wonderful Knabe 6'2" grand: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gtXp3zc ... B0&index=0

It has some really delightful qualities to it :!:


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2009 11:08 pm 
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Okay, I'll have to go to a store and take a look at some of the new Baldwins. You've got my curiosity up now.

That Knabe is definitely a gorgeous instrument! The person playing it has got some good technique too. :D I recently played a Knabe that was made about two years ago or so, and but I was told that the old American Knabe name was recently bought by Sejung (Knabe apparently went belly-up some time ago, I am led to believe) and Sejung is now making fairly low-level instruments under the name. The piano wasn't fantastic - somewhat mushmouthed with a fundamental tone - but it was okay. Nothing like the piano in the video you posted, though. All of this name-buying and swapping makes me very confused!

It's neat that you've done some restoration work. I think having that experience would be very helpful, as well as fascinating. Thanks for answering my question!

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Though everything else may appear shallow and repulsive, even the smallest task in music is so absorbing, and carries us so far away from town, country, earth, and all worldly things, that it is truly a blessed gift of God.

Felix Mendelssohn


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 10:56 pm 
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Location: Manteca, CA
That's more than a little disappointing. It's sad to see the Knabe brand go, but it had a good run. I still come by good ones all the time, though. And we restore some here and there.

It's a great way to make money, actually. My grandfather's long time friend used to use horse shoe nails (they have blunt ends) and dig them into the string pins so that you could get back all of the string tension you lost from the aging wood. Than he would resell the pianos he worked on for a whole lot more than he payed for them. We even used to get them out of junkyards. Just some repairs and the horseshoe treatment, and you could fetch quite the price. You wouldn't believe the pianos that people throw away.

He didn't have the money to patent it, so he decided to be a good Christian and spread the trade secret to other tuners and piano technicians, but they were taken aback and said that he was brutish idiot for putting horse shoe nails in a piano. It's too bad, really.

But this was all just a decade after the Great Depression, so I never got to meet him. Who knows, it might make for a good invention nowadays.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2009 1:42 pm 
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Horseshoe nails! Well, I bet folks who lived through the Great Depression learned to be crafty and use their heads (we could use some of that nowadays :D ). Your grandfather's friend sounds like he was just a facinating person.

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Though everything else may appear shallow and repulsive, even the smallest task in music is so absorbing, and carries us so far away from town, country, earth, and all worldly things, that it is truly a blessed gift of God.

Felix Mendelssohn


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:04 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 03, 2010 2:24 am
Posts: 9
Location: Houston, TX
Anonymous wrote:
....That's why I play on a 1750's model m steinway.


Steinway & Sons began producing pianos in the US in 1853. Henry Englehard Steinweg,founder of Steinway & Sons,
was born February 17, 1797 in Wolfshagen im Harz, Duchy of Brunswick (modern Germany).

I'm just sayin'

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Cary Rogers, PharmD
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1887 Knabe 6'4" (Rebuilt)


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:16 am 
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Location: Houston, TX
Lukecash wrote:
....Also, I would definitely refer the Knabe brand as a fantastic manufacturer of pianos, at least...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr4nHwaJ ... re=related

I love Knabe's. (I own one, so I'm a bit prejudiced... LOL) This isn't a great recording, I did it with my iPhone, but it sorta captures the characteristics. Knabe's of the old days had a really wonderful quality to them. I love my piano.

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Cary Rogers, PharmD
Houston, TX
1887 Knabe 6'4" (Rebuilt)


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 Post subject: Re: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 2:37 pm 
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Location: Netherlands
crogersrx wrote:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr4nHwaJu3s&feature=related

I love Knabe's. (I own one, so I'm a bit prejudiced... LOL) This isn't a great recording, I did it with my iPhone, but it sorta captures the characteristics. Knabe's of the old days had a really wonderful quality to them. I love my piano.

That is a nice looking instrument - insofar as one can see it in this bad video. Sounds good too, not unlike my Gaveau in fact.
How come the sound is so much better than the picture quality ?

Now for some real music to be played on it, instead of this endless doodling ...

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Nothing is always absolutely so -- Sturgeon's law
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 Post subject: Re: STEINWAY PIANOS
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 3:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:48 pm
Posts: 1995
Location: U.S.A.
I agree with Lukecash's opinions on Baldwin Artist Grands. If properly prepped by a dealer, they can be absolutely incredible pianos. As I mentioned above, I have a Model L (6'3"). If only my music room were larger, I would definitely have the SF10 (7'), which reputedly has the best scale that Baldwin ever designed for any of their pianos. An SD10 (9') would be to die for, of course, but not many people can fit one into their homes. These Artist Grands are truly high performance quality pianos meant to be appreciated by serious pianists.

I should point out here that Gibson (Baldwin's owner) has been under financial strain during the recession. They moved all of their upright piano production to Zhongshan, China. Their line of consumer-grade Baldwin grands (perhaps more suited for casual or budget-conscious pianists) are now made at Dongbei, China. Fortunately, Artist Grand building remains at the plant in Truman, AK. But these grands are no longer automatically built and shipped to dealers. Instead, there is just a small crew of piano makers on hand there who build for custom manufacture only by special orders. I hope that the Artist Grands do not move to China, but others argue that it would make sense, while requiring compliance with specifications under on-site inspection by Baldwin personnel. The theory is that quality could in fact be fully maintained, while enabling pricing to be more competitive. But what about freight costs--grand pianos are heavy! I'm not yet convinced. I think it should remain in the U.S.

David

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