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#287347 - 11/08/07 12:32 AM is anyone familiar with knight pianos?
SylviaM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 33
Loc: Metchosin BC
Hello, I am new here, and new to message boards in general (so I hope I don't do anything wrong inadvertently). I have been reading here for a few days, and am so impressed by how much generosity with time and expertise is evidenced here.

I have a strange question, that requires a bit of a preamble. I am in search of our first piano of our very own; we currently have a Clavinova that was a wedding present in 1990, and we would really like a "real" one. We both would like to play more again, and our three young children (6,4, and 2) may well take lessons at some point, and the Clavinova, while a very nice gift, I think needs to be superseded at this point by something else.

I have some roundabout bequest money coming to me (amount to be determined--it's a bit complicated, but certainly not more than 10,000, and probably more in the neighbourhood of 6000 or so), and I have been shopping around in a very preliminary way so far. I had three years' lessons long ago, and am not too great (at the height of my very inconsiderable powers, I could handle anything Mozart wrote before he was eight, Bach's Anna Magdalena Notebook, Little Preludes and a couple of inventions, and the four or five easiest Chopin preludes). My husband is much better than I am (he did his Royal Conservatory grade X, also long ago), but he hates hates hates shopping, so I have to pick it out (no room for negotiation here). His only request, sprung on me yesterday, is that it sound and feel something like the Knight upright (circa 1960) with which he grew up. Not being psychic, I am having a little trouble figuring out what that might be! (By the by--I don't want to go looking for a used Knight upright! I'd like a new piano!)

So far, I have played a Steigerman Premium 123, the corresponding Hailun model, and a 52" Heintzman (sorry, I didn't take note of the model number). Also available to try without a roadtrip are Hoffmann & Kuehne, Kohler and Campbell, Essex, Boston, Cable and Nelson, and Yamaha, several of which I will try this weekend. With a short road trip, Young Chang and Pramberger are available. With a longer road and ferry trip, selection broadens to include Charles Walter (if the money works out the way I hope it might), Brodmann, Kawai,and Baldwin (I'm sure there are others available in Vancouver, but that is what I'm thinking about so far).

Are any of these remotely Knight-like, do you think? I have tried to pin him down a bit, without much luck, so thought perhaps I would take a chance and ask you good people instead. I thought, too, of taking a friend with me to try things (she's a professional, with an 8' grand in her living room), but she doesn't know about Knights, either.

Thanks for reading this thrilling tale of the damsel in distress--

Sylvia

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#287348 - 11/08/07 01:09 AM Re: is anyone familiar with knight pianos?
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20747
Loc: Oakland
Knights always struck me as pianos that had a better reputation than they deserved. To me they were pretty ordinary studio upright pianos, except that the action did not have enough brackets, which made them kind of spongy. You can do better these days.

I suggest a compromise with your husband. Go out and find the top three pianos you like. Take him to try the top one. If that is acceptable, you are done, you have done all the shopping and he has just given his approval. If it is not acceptable, take him down the list. If none of them are acceptable, shop for a new husband. (Just kidding!)

If that is absolutely not acceptable to your husband, just get the one you like best. After all, his memory is probably not that good. (Red Green once said something like: Your memory was not better when you were younger, you just do not remember how bad it was. Words to remember, if your memory is good enough!)
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#287349 - 11/08/07 01:30 AM Re: is anyone familiar with knight pianos?
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
This topic touches on something bigger than Knights. Much bigger, because in my experience and estimation, BDB is being very kind.

It is more about imprinting on a piano, usually the piano someone grows up with. Case in point: Some time ago, I restored a tall old Mason & Risch (of the good vintage) for a family. This Canadian brand is generally accepted to be right up there behind the old Heintzmans in terms of musicality. The family owns two pianos - the one she grew up with (M&R) and the one he grew up with: a lesser brand low console piano from the 1960s. Without trying to be mean, there was no comparison between the pianos before I even started my work. Those old consoles were lousy when they were new, now they are 50 years old. When my work was completed, she loved her piano, while he continued to prefer the humble console with worn out hammers etc.

If your partner refuses to get involved in the shopping, it may actually make it easier for you. The chances of finding the piano which sounds and plays like a Knight is remote (if you do, move along as if you didn't notice ). I agree with BDB - pre-select a few pianos for a short list and go from there. With your budget you should be able to find something very useable.
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#287350 - 11/08/07 10:27 AM Re: is anyone familiar with knight pianos?
SylviaM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 33
Loc: Metchosin BC
Sounds like good advice--thank you both so much! This should simplify the shopping a bit, I hope.

Sylvia

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#287351 - 11/08/07 06:36 PM Re: is anyone familiar with knight pianos?
Craigen Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/05
Posts: 1815
Loc: West Coast
Both BDB and Supply have given sage advice. I was around in the period that Knight pianos were distributed and sold in the U.S. They were touted by some folks in the know. They were more expensive than their U.S. counterparts. I found them to be not all that as did BDB.
Check out the Wm. Knabe WKV121 and the WKV131 models.
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#287352 - 11/09/07 12:18 AM Re: is anyone familiar with knight pianos?
SylviaM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 33
Loc: Metchosin BC
Thank you for the additional feedback, Craigen, I appreciate it. I will check to see if there is a Knabe dealer nearby.

Thanks again--
SM

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#287353 - 11/09/07 12:50 AM Re: is anyone familiar with knight pianos?
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
You could look at a Kemble Conservatoire 124 or K121. They are British pianos too, and Kemble starts with the same first letter as Knight. \:\)
More importantly, they are good instruments and offer a contrast in tone to the Knabe.
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#287354 - 11/09/07 10:55 AM Re: is anyone familiar with knight pianos?
SylviaM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 33
Loc: Metchosin BC
Dear Turakndot,

Thaknk you so much for your knice knote! I will iknvestigate the Kemble piakno, too!

Seriously, I appreciate the suggestion. I hadn't heard of those before--and British might be popular with my dear one.

Sylvia

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#287355 - 11/09/07 05:55 PM Re: is anyone familiar with knight pianos?
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14036
Loc: Louisiana
With a purchase like a piano, I'd take the road trips.

I find the suggestion of the top three, start at the top, to be quite good.

Good luck, and good hunting...
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#1190722 - 04/30/09 04:25 PM Re: is anyone familiar with knight pianos? [Re: SylviaM]
tronkel Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/30/09
Posts: 2
Loc: Vienna, Austria
I am very familiar with Knight Pianos having tuned many of them.

They are one of the top English makes and are renowned for their innovative technical design and tuning stability. Alfred Knight, the original founder, has several patents to his name and was very highly regarded in the trade.

The pianos have a rather pure and even tonal quality - maybe not particularly attractive to those who like a strident-sounding piano, but this is a matter of individual preference rather than a criticism. Knights need to be tuned only by qualified professionals as they can be "difficult" as regards to setting good unisons. Sad that they are no longer made in the UK as far as I know.

Another sad piece of news - it has just been announced today, that Kemble Pianos (another English favourite of mine), are no longer to be manufactured in the UK. What awful news for UK piano manufacturing. As far as I know, there are now no accoustic pianos being made in the UK at all. The end of a glorious era. cry

Here in Vienna, Bösendorfer have also got problems.



Edited by tronkel (04/30/09 04:41 PM)

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#1190796 - 04/30/09 06:37 PM Re: is anyone familiar with knight pianos? [Re: SylviaM]
MarkL Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/07
Posts: 728
Loc: Chicago Suburban
Originally Posted By: SylviaM
His only request, sprung on me yesterday, is that it sound and feel something like the Knight upright (circa 1960) with which he grew up.


Buy the piano you like best, have the manufacturer's decal removed and replaced with a Knight decal.
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#1190801 - 04/30/09 06:50 PM Re: is anyone familiar with knight pianos? [Re: MarkL]
tronkel Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/30/09
Posts: 2
Loc: Vienna, Austria
MarkL wrote:

Quote:
Buy the piano you like best, have the manufacturer's decal removed and replaced with a Knight decal


Nice try Mark but it's probably illegal to do that!


Edited by tronkel (04/30/09 06:51 PM)

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#1190802 - 04/30/09 06:51 PM Re: is anyone familiar with knight pianos? [Re: MarkL]
ChrisVenables Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 727
Loc: Hampshire, England
Knights were overated, as BDB suggested.

Tronkel's comment that Knights should only be tuned by a professional is true. So should every piano! The fact that he considers Knights difficult to tune confirms BDB's implication that 'Knights have had their day' if you pardon the pun.

Most Knights were undersized (consequently a poor bass) as well as having a rather spongy action.

Start afresh and don't look at anything under 4'00" in height.

Best wishes.
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#1190993 - 05/01/09 01:25 AM Re: is anyone familiar with knight pianos? [Re: ChrisVenables]
Marty in Minnesota Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 1178
Loc: Minnesota
Though we did not own it, I played a Knight often in the home of my friend. Though I was just a H.S. lad, I thought it had a quite amazing voice for a vertical.

If my "memory ears" serve correctly, the Charles Walter might be the closest choice.

It is hard to shake off the rust from generations ago.
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Marty in Minnesota

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#1191311 - 05/01/09 02:39 PM Re: is anyone familiar with knight pianos? [Re: tronkel]
JPM1730 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/12/07
Posts: 17
Loc: USA
Agreed,

I think Knights reputation was a bit overblown, it wasnt a bad piano, but there where so few of them that when someone actaully saw one, they where curious, and usually surprised that a piano they had never seen or heard of was pretty decent.

Personally I would put them in line with the old orignial everetts out of Michigan. Good but not awesome

As to spending 6-10k canadian, well right now the usd and CAD are fairly close, I would think you'd be able to pickup a new Jap made U1 or Kawai K seris or proabbaly evenr a baldwin 6000 if you could find one for that kind fo coin.

As to getting a piano that sounds like a knight, we'll the few I've played and worked on as i stated before reminded me of the old orginial everetts out of Michigan. So that tells me that the knight had more of an american sound not an asian piano sound. So you may want to look at some Baldwin Hamilton and or 6000 series pianos and or the walters piano. Maybe even mason makes an upright that you could squeeze in at the top end of your budget.

Also before we all start blasting Baldwin :), the 6000 is a nice piano, when you actually get to play one, so very few out there smile And while none of us tech love the hamilton, we have to admit you cant kill one even if you try smile

Y

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#1191364 - 05/01/09 04:37 PM Re: is anyone familiar with knight pianos? [Re: tronkel]
mikewu99 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/08/03
Posts: 314
Loc: Audubon, PA
Originally Posted By: tronkel
I am very familiar with Knight Pianos having tuned many of them.

You do realize you are responding to a post from 2007?

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#1191849 - 05/02/09 02:56 PM Re: is anyone familiar with knight pianos? [Re: ChrisVenables]
jazzpianist Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/28/07
Posts: 143
Loc: London
Originally Posted By: ChrisVenables
Most Knights were undersized (consequently a poor bass) as well as having a rather spongy action.


Maybe, but very enjoyable to play as a young pianist. There was a brand new one at my school in about 1975 and I absolutely loved playing it! I have often wished, like the original poster's husband, that I could find another (but of course all the Knights I have found have been very tired!).

The nearest I have found to Knight (or the Knight of my memory, anyway) is a Schimmel. Perhaps look at a 116 or thereabouts? They have a good bass and the action is not spongy!

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#1191854 - 05/02/09 03:02 PM Re: is anyone familiar with knight pianos? [Re: jazzpianist]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20747
Loc: Oakland
Knight actions are spongy because there are not enough action bolts on them. This lets the action rail flex while playing.
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