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#1252883 - 08/20/09 06:43 PM Best Steinway "vintages"?
Linus N Lucy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/14/09
Posts: 7
I'm shopping for a used or rebuilt Steinway Model A or B, and I'd like to learn more about the differences between particular model years. What are the best sources of detailed info about this?

I've read Larry's Piano Book and his latest supplement which have a lot of useful information, but I'd like to learn more.

My questions range from the very general...

Q: what technical and aesthetic changes have been made to the Model B over the years?

...to the very specific...

Q: Someone selling a 1930's Model B claimed that it was the first model with Steinway's "accelerator action". First of all, what's that and how does it work? And was this a short-lived experiment, a marketing gimmick, or a new type of action that was truly "better" and has stood the test of time?

...to the mundane...

Q: I notice that there are different logos on the fallboards of Steinways. What does each style of logo indicate about the piano, if anything? It's confusing because I've seen some older looking logos on newer (1940 vintage) Steinways, while the more modern looking (to me), Steinway logo appears on older vintages.

I'd be happy to hear your answers to the above questions if you know them, but I’m primarily interested in knowing if there's a particular reference work that's considered the Steinway "Bible" which can answer these questions and more.

Sorry if this has been answered elsewhere. I did try searching the forums. Thanks!


Edited by Linus N Lucy (08/20/09 09:26 PM)

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#1252885 - 08/20/09 06:50 PM Re: Best Steinway vintages? [Re: Linus N Lucy]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
The accelerated action is nothing more than a half-round balance rail or something like that.

I thought this was a wine thread at first. grin
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#1253047 - 08/20/09 11:10 PM Re: Best Steinway vintages? [Re: Horowitzian]
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
A publication like Larry Fine as it pertains to finite differences between the various Steinway scales and differences in the various eras is only surface knowledge as it pertains to changes in specs over the century.

Educating oneself as for Steinway is not like comparing DVD specs in consumer reports. Talk to someone that has been down this road finite times as for restoration of Steinway covering all the various vintage eras. That is the only way to gain inside knowledge as for what subtle differences that their may be and the relevance in improving the scale.

As for assessing the scale of a Steinway B from lets say 1889 compared to that of a new one 2009 one could say not much has changed other than the case being 6'11 1/2" as opposed to 6'10 1/2". The early pre 1900 vintage B had the same 20 note bass /32 wound strings as for their bass string scale but the tenor string scale was a bit different as for the duplex scale bar being a bit different.

It gets much more difficult with the Steinway A in that there were 3 different A(s)A1,AII and AIII.There were two different scales of the AII,the earlier pianos being 6'2" and the newer short AII being 6'1" with the tenor bridge scale being a bit different with the 5 wound doubles in the tenor being shorter.

Larry Fine isn't gonna tell you all this. Again the scales are all different. There is a recent thread in the Pianotech forum as for the finite differences in the various A's So....what does all this mean to you....nothing. Go sample the wares from someone that knows the finite differences and experiece them first hand.There are many veteran reputable restoration operations that can make you an expert in no time.

Put that Larry Fine book down and converse with a real person along with their real pianos Good Luck ! wink


Edited by pianobroker (08/21/09 12:12 AM)
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#1253058 - 08/20/09 11:34 PM Re: Best Steinway vintages? [Re: pianobroker]
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
Fallboard decals are just that.When the piano is refinished some put the original era decal and some put the more contemporary decal. To each their own. I always put the newer contempoirary decal if it is a basic spade leg case design (380 sketch case). If it is a Victorian art case or Louie XV style piano I put the English script one on. I never put the small original decal on the fallboard unless if one requests it.

Soundboard decals are more confusing than ever! wink


Edited by pianobroker (08/21/09 12:13 AM)
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#1253089 - 08/21/09 01:04 AM Re: Best Steinway vintages? [Re: pianobroker]
Marty in Minnesota Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 1178
Loc: Minnesota
Hi Linus N Lucy,

Welcome to the forum.

Roughly, and very roughly, the "golden era" of Steinway is generally thought of as between about the 1915's through the 1930's. But, that really means nothing. Find a "C" from just after the turn of the century and it could be a truly stunning piano. Steinway is still building truly stunning pianos. I take "golden era" with a grain of salt.

As Horowitzian mentioned, the accelerated action is a minor change in the keyboard mechanics. It is a proven and standard construction technique, but, it is not a radical change. It might be more hype than anything, but hey, Steinway knows how to market a piano.

Fallboard logos, like any corporate logo, evolves through the years. My preference, on a fully restored piano, is to replace it with the logo that is appropriate for the time of the original manufacture. The music desk on a 1920 S&S-M is totally different from a contemporary version. I think it is better to maintain/restor the desk and have the appropriate logo on the fallboard.

For seeing the differences, might I suggest that you google some of the shops who do restorations and re-builds. With the photos, you can see the changes in the cabinetry. Through the years it has been minor for a basic spade-leg. Ornate cabinetry is a totally different story as those were all single issue custom work.
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#1253094 - 08/21/09 01:24 AM Re: Best Steinway "vintages"? [Re: Linus N Lucy]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3297
In my opinion, it doesn't really matter. Steinway has consistently made high quality pianos since it was founded even if its quality control has, at some points, kinda sucked... The big reason it doesn't matter is because the only thing you're salvaging in a rebuild is the case, harp, maybe the hardware, and the keyboard unless it needs to be replaced. Even if one were to keep the soundboard, wood changes over time, so it would not sound the same as it did when new anyway.

If buying a used one, maybe avoid ones made in the 1960s-1980s if they have original teflon parts, but even that is not a reason to not consider them. Evaluate the pianos on a case by case basis.
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#1253106 - 08/21/09 01:49 AM Re: Best Steinway "vintages"? [Re: beethoven986]
Marty in Minnesota Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 1178
Loc: Minnesota
Beethoven986,

Have you ever had a Steinway, or any other piano, rebuilt?
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#1253145 - 08/21/09 05:06 AM Re: Best Steinway "vintages"? [Re: Marty in Minnesota]
rodmichael Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/08/08
Posts: 334
Loc: Maryland
Originally Posted By: Marty in Minnesota
Beethoven986,

Have you ever had a Steinway, or any other piano, rebuilt?


I think his signature line might provide a clue to the answer to your question.
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#1253213 - 08/21/09 08:32 AM Re: Best Steinway "vintages"? [Re: rodmichael]
Rank Piano Amateur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 1735
An old piano--any old piano--is only as good as the rebuilder who worked on it. At least that is my opinion.

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#1253241 - 08/21/09 09:16 AM Re: Best Steinway vintages? [Re: pianobroker]
Seeker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/26/04
Posts: 360
Loc: Rockville, MD
Originally Posted By: pianobroker

Educating oneself as for Steinway is not like comparing DVD specs in consumer reports.=========SNIP=========

As for assessing the scale of a Steinway B from lets say 1889 compared to that of a new one 2009 one could say not much has changed other than the case being 6'11 1/2" as opposed to 6'10 1/2". The early pre 1900 vintage B had the same 20 note bass /32 wound strings as for their bass string scale but the tenor string scale was a bit different as for the duplex scale bar being a bit different.


Pianobroker:

I think you're right.

As to the sound of the B, I have a few different questions for you as a Steinway expert.

I have found a real difference in sound between a great Hamburg B (brighter, more clear-less growly bass) and a great New York B. Both are, of course, wonderful instruments.

Could one rebuild/refurbish a New York B to sound like a Hamburg? vice-versa? I have read that the hammers used to be different, i.e., in New York, one started with a soft hammer and juiced it to harden vs Hamburg where one started with a hard hammer and needled to soften it. I've also read about slight differences in soundboard dimensions.

Thoughts? and Thanks.
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#1253383 - 08/21/09 01:01 PM Re: Best Steinway vintages? [Re: Seeker]
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
Far from an expert! Now you take someone like Del Fandrich or even my rebuilder and or my bellyman,they I would consider experts as for actual "hands on" day in day out. Upon having done so..... many Steinway restorations and remanufacturers as in hundreds, a pattern developes as for executed restorations of the different eras.It is called comparative analysis even with that of the individuality of each hand made piano.

I beg to differ as for one being able to restore a newer shell vrs. a vintage shell(salvaging the harp and the case only)and their outcome being comparably the same.I've put a new soundboard in a 1975 B comparing to that of most of the vintage era B remanufactures and they sound noticeably different.I believe in the reasonance in the case theory built up over the years. Now who is to say what this vintage piano sounded like "new" 70-80 years ago or what this much newer case will sound like 50 years from now. I don't think I'll be around. grin

As for the ability to remanufacture a NY B shell to sound comparable to a Hamburg B,I don't think it is totally possible in that the composition and specs of the case, soundboard and action stack are different. What I have noticed over the years is that this rebuild concept is an accumulative effort as for the materials and most importantly the precision level of the rebuild. If you compromise the precision of each procedural step in a restoration,you can't remedy a substandard rebuild in the end.
Or you can look at it on the reverse perspective.The more precision you are in executing the rebuild the better it's outcome. Of course there are acquired tricks of the trade that the rebuilder/bellyman acquires and keeps to himself and sometimes sharing but hey compromised precision level,it doesn't matter how knowledgeable you are. Hey look at the various eras even in the Steinway factory. shocked You're talking basically hand made pianos.

Now recently I had acquired a brand new Hamburg A and B.Of course my rebuilder and bellyman analysed them to the hilt commenting on the meticulous precision of the manufacture down to the polyester finish and the finish work underneath the piano.The bottom of the piano looks as good as the top.
The precision level could be duplicated but the differences in the action stack(Renner)soundboard composition and taper/diaphraming,rim composition and who knows make up the finished product.

When a independent rebuilder takes on a restoration,he could and can choose to somewhat rebuild a hybird Steinway utilizing German parts but on a NY "core"piano as in ex. Renner action parts.By the way action parts are of different specs as for present Hamburg and NY.

Whew! Sorry for the ramble,I get carried away as you can see
wink


Edited by pianobroker (08/21/09 01:11 PM)
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#1253397 - 08/21/09 01:16 PM Re: Best Steinway vintages? [Re: pianobroker]
kluurs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/02
Posts: 3739
Loc: Chicago
I have a rebuilt NY S&S B that was configured to sound and play closer to a Hamburg. If you have an exceptional rebuilder and they have a clear understanding of what you are seeking, you can get an amazing piano. It is much like having a custom suit made, clear instructions, time and some fine tuning - amazing results.

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#1253400 - 08/21/09 01:19 PM Re: Best Steinway vintages? [Re: pianobroker]
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3252
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
I will slightly disagree with PB here. You can make a NY Steinway M,O,A2,B or D sound and feel very much like a Hamburg Steinway. The difficulty is in putting a Hamburg Steinway board in the New York instrument. The Hamburg board may have a different number of ribs compared with the NY instrument ( depending on the year of the NY Steinway ). The ribs will definately have a different shape and the sound board itself has a different thickness and speaking shape. The bridges have different heights. All of these things change the way the soundboard works, but if you have this information, and duplicate the Hamburg belly and put it in the NY case, along with Hamburg Steinway hammers ( not Renner blues, or other renner hammers. Has to be real Hamburg Steinway Hammers) and your workmanship is on par with Hamburg Steinway, you will get the result you are looking for. You have to put an entirely new action in, including a new keyset and it has to be set up with a Hamburg Steinway geometry and weighed off like a Hamburg steinway as well. Final voicing must be in the Hamburg style as opposed to the New York Style.
The one thing you can't duplicate is the rim. The NY rim is harder, being all maple, wheras the Hamburg rim alternates mahogany and maple. We actually prefer the NY style rim and we think when we take this approach we get all of the best attributes of the very best Hamburg Steinways, but with the deeper and more explosive NY bass.

The same thing can be said for making a 1975 Steinway sound like a vintage Steinway. If you understand the differences in the bellys of the 2 pianos, you can do this very successfully. Of course, you have to use the right hammer as well. A heat pressed hammer makes a vintage Steinway sound more like a modern one.


Edited by Keith D Kerman (08/21/09 01:37 PM)
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#1253444 - 08/21/09 02:30 PM Re: Best Steinway vintages? [Re: Keith D Kerman]
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
Keith,always a wealth of knowledge as usual!

I guess my overall perspective borders practicality vrs.going well over and beyond. Of couse,in remanufacture or in the extreme near manufacture one can virtually do anything and everything .My bellyman David Rubenstein(piano builder Rubenstein 371) builds pianos from scratch. Now if one adamantly wants a piano closer to a Hamburg scale,rim compositon,Hamburg geometry etc.one can buy a Hamburg"core piano" and rebuild it accordingly.

I do understand catering to the wants and wishes of the scrutinizing pianist with his or her's own existing "core" piano but there is a limit to what makes sense as in dollars and cents.
But I do agree with the discerning knowledge one can make the differences and still meet the practical perspective $ wise.

It is kinda similar to one proclaiming to make that 5' piano sound like a 6'. My remedy to the client would be to buy a 6'. grin

Now I'm gonna have to ponder on this remanufacturing of a 1975 Steinway B to be comparable to that of a vintage one. "Hey I just play them" I know one thing,my rebuilder constantly mentions the fact that the restorations fall into place much more consistent in the vintage era, reflecting in the original build quality of the piano.

It's no fun if we agree all the time. grin I guess you'll be selling alot more remanufactured Masons in the future. smile
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#1253459 - 08/21/09 02:55 PM Re: Best Steinway vintages? [Re: pianobroker]
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
I don't think a vintage Hamburg can be made to sound like a vintage NY or vice-versa. It's an interesting study because identical hammers on Hamburg/NY doesn't change the quality of the sound of either from what's expected.

One wonders what creates that difference.

I also wonder about the new builds though since they have been making the changes to the NY to match the Hamburg more. Nowadays the wood is the same.
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#1253477 - 08/21/09 03:19 PM Re: Best Steinway vintages? [Re: jazzwee]
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3252
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
Jazzwee,

Read my post a couple above yours. It explains what creates the difference. Hammers are only one part of the equation.
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#1253485 - 08/21/09 03:22 PM Re: Best Steinway "vintages"? [Re: rodmichael]
Marty in Minnesota Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 1178
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: rodmichael
Originally Posted By: Marty in Minnesota
Beethoven986,

Have you ever had a Steinway, or any other piano, rebuilt?


I think his signature line might provide a clue to the answer to your question.


Owning a rebuilt piano is very different than going through the process of having a piano rebuilt.

The signature line provides no clue or indication. That is why I asked the question. It could become an interesting discussion about the whole proceedure of commissioning a rebuild of a piano.
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#1253503 - 08/21/09 03:53 PM Re: Best Steinway "vintages"? [Re: Marty in Minnesota]
Linus N Lucy Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/14/09
Posts: 7
What a great discussion! I don't think I could find this in any book!

I've heard that the quality of Steinway rebuilds can vary quite a bit, so I have a couple of questions...

There's a rebuilder nearby who is selling a 1930's NY Model B. I plan to see this piano tomorrow, but I'm not sure how to judge the quality of the work.

It has been re-strung and has new action parts, but still has the original pin-block and soundboard (rebuilder claims they're both OK). I kind of expected the pinblock to be new from all that I've learned so far. So is this a tip-off that the restoration might have been done on the cheap? And if the answer is "not necessarily", then assuming the pinblock and soundboard look OK, roughly how much should I deduct from the value of the piano due to the fact that those parts are so old? And roughly what would it cost to replace each of those items?

And since it has the original pinblock, does it matter if the tuning pins have been replaced or not? And if so, how can I verify this (do I look for a larger pin than the standard #2)?

And a big question: What other details might give a clue as to the attention to detail and quality of a rebuilder's work, and what are some common corner-cutting techniques or sub-standard materials that I should be on the lookout for?

And lastly an even bigger question: I've noticed that there are two camps of thought regarding the best parts to rebuild NY Steinways with. One (seemingly smaller) camp recommends original Steinway parts (the Steinway dealer for one), and another camp tends to prefer best-of-class german parts (Renner, et.al.) My question is; what generalizations can be made about the relative differences in workmanship, durability, playability, adjustability, tone, etc. between the two choices - particularly as they relate to the action and trapwork?

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#1253550 - 08/21/09 04:54 PM Re: Best Steinway "vintages"? [Re: Linus N Lucy]
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3636
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Corners cut you can see.

Hm mm.
If the plate has a new finish, which I would assume it does. Is the finished applied over the chips, dents and scratches that have happened over the many years of use?
Or has it been sanded, filled, primed, and painted better than new?
Has the serial number been replaced? Are ALL the letters on the plate repainted as original. Have the string size decals been replaced where the string sizes change?

Are the agraffes replaced or at least polished and had the terminations re-hoaned?
Or just painted?

Are the plate bolts & web screws painted or steel wheeled? Or are they re-plated in nichol?

Are the duplex bars polished with brass showing or re-plated.

Are the tuning pin coils tight? The wire spaced?

On the action, does it have new wippens, letoff buttons, back checks?

Is the finish on the cabinet open grain, closed grain, rubbed or gun sprayed?
Can you see over-spray under the piano? Were the beams detailed or painted?

Has the trap work been all re-felted and bushed and even painted.

Has the underside of the key bed been painted or stained to look good?

Have the lyre rods been replaced with adjustable rods.

How is the hardware? re-plated or polished if originally nichol do you see places where brass is showing.

Are the damper heads refinished or replaced?

Is the back action replaced?

Did they replace the front and balance key pins on the key frame?

Original board, was anything done with the bridges? re-notch, re-pin for example?

These are the obvious items items you may be able to check. There is more a qualified tech can assess.
If much of this have been omitted then you may find the rest of the work may be lacking in finesse.

Just my opinion.



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#1253555 - 08/21/09 04:57 PM Re: Best Steinway vintages? [Re: pianobroker]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: pianobroker
Keith,always a wealth of knowledge as usual!


It's almost scary!

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#1253604 - 08/21/09 06:36 PM Re: Best Steinway "vintages"? [Re: Marty in Minnesota]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3297
My Baldwin was rebuilt before I got it, but it has had additional modifications since then. However, I am not unfamiliar with the processes of rebuilding pianos as I am currently making plans to leave the world of performance and enter the piano industry.

Based on my experience of playing lots of rebuilds, my opinion is that the quality of the rebuild is more important than vintage.
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#1253636 - 08/21/09 07:33 PM Re: Best Steinway vintages? [Re: Keith D Kerman]
jazzwee Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/25/07
Posts: 6990
Loc: So. California
Originally Posted By: Keith D Kerman
Jazzwee,

Read my post a couple above yours. It explains what creates the difference. Hammers are only one part of the equation.


Keith that was very informative! That makes sense too.
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#1253745 - 08/21/09 09:59 PM Re: Best Steinway vintages? [Re: jazzwee]
SophieM Offline
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Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 353
Loc: New York City
This is a very informative thread! Thanks! smile

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#1253822 - 08/22/09 12:54 AM Re: Best Steinway "vintages"? [Re: Linus N Lucy]
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
Originally Posted By: Linus N Lucy
What a great discussion! I don't think I could find this in any book!

I've heard that the quality of Steinway rebuilds can vary quite a bit, so I have a couple of questions...

There's a rebuilder nearby who is selling a 1930's NY Model B. I plan to see this piano tomorrow, but I'm not sure how to judge the quality of the work.

It has been re-strung and has new action parts, but still has the original pin-block and soundboard (rebuilder claims they're both OK). I kind of expected the pinblock to be new from all that I've learned so far. So is this a tip-off that the restoration might have been done on the cheap? And if the answer is "not necessarily", then assuming the pinblock and soundboard look OK, roughly how much should I deduct from the value of the piano due to the fact that those parts are so old? And roughly what would it cost to replace each of those items?

And since it has the original pinblock, does it matter if the tuning pins have been replaced or not? And if so, how can I verify this (do I look for a larger pin than the standard #2)?

And a big question: What other details might give a clue as to the attention to detail and quality of a rebuilder's work, and what are some common corner-cutting techniques or sub-standard materials that I should be on the lookout for?

And lastly an even bigger question: I've noticed that there are two camps of thought regarding the best parts to rebuild NY Steinways with. One (seemingly smaller) camp recommends original Steinway parts (the Steinway dealer for one), and another camp tends to prefer best-of-class german parts (Renner, et.al.) My question is; what generalizations can be made about the relative differences in workmanship, durability, playability, adjustability, tone, etc. between the two choices - particularly as they relate to the action and trapwork?
Having facilitated over 300 Steinway restorations either my own spec pianos or that of clients,we have only done maybe 5 top ends whereas we kept the original pinblock,mainly due to the client's specific request. ex.The Japanese as for Steinway want original pinblocks in a restored grand for export. Actually an all original pinblock with oversized pins is better than a substandard poorly fitted pinblock to the plate flange. The better of two evils grin

The cost assessment as for figuring how much $ one should or could deduct doesn't work that way. The cost assessment deduction is compounded because one can't change a pinblock with out destringing and than restringing the piano again.You would not salvage any of the newly replaced parts the secound time around even if it was just done.bass strings,tuning pins steel wire,bushings. I guarantee you will damage the plate guilding and the case finish (stretcher bar)destringing,restringing,pinblock removal and reinstallation doweled and screwed to the stretcher bar and case. Same goes for the soundboard. The finish is usually addressed after you install the pinblock,soundboard,bridges,ribs etc.

I have never in all my years had a piano restrung using the original pins.The assumption is that when one restrings a piano he repins it, though it is quite possible.

Rod's list is quite inclusive but I couldn't help from notice that even Steinway or Steinway Restoration even cuts a few of those corners. grin

On my spec inventory I use Renner parts exclusively but utilize all the different hammers.Steinway,Renner Premium Blues,Hamburg Steinway,Ronsen,Ari Issac and Abel. If you want Steinway parts exclusively,no problem!

Attention to detail for the layperson assessing a rebuild.
Some basic things (cut corners) which Rod previously addressed one can assess at a glance. shocked

painted agraffes
cheap plastic keytops
grungy gouged keysides especially if the keyset is "original"
keytop overhang over the keysides (totally unacceptable)
reguilded/painted plate bolts and screws
inferior(decorative)chipped plating
crooked fallboard stencil grin
I'm just mentioning issues you can assess yourself.You're not gonna be able to tell a good string job from a bad string job as for assessing the coils etc. The other stuff is addressed by the tech you hire. Hopefully he'll know more than you do.

If the keyset is brand new,the key sides will look brand new because they are new. grin
Now if it is not a new keyset the keys sides should STILL look like this after reconstruction of the original keys.

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/M&HBB1912032.jpg
http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/M&HBB1912040.jpg
http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/M&HBB1912035.jpg

P.S. Could you take a pic of the rebuilder's facial expression when you ask him to deduct 15K for not changing the soundboard,bridges,ribs and pinblock. cool




Edited by pianobroker (08/22/09 01:53 AM)
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#1253826 - 08/22/09 01:18 AM Re: Best Steinway "vintages"? [Re: pianobroker]
FogVilleLad Offline
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Registered: 03/02/05
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Loc: San Francisco
pianobroker, your posts re the rebuilding process really help to demystify this aspect of "Piano."

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#1253855 - 08/22/09 04:07 AM Re: Best Steinway "vintages"? [Re: FogVilleLad]
Rod Verhnjak Offline
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Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
I forgot one, spray painted sharps.
I can't stand that.
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#1253882 - 08/22/09 07:10 AM Re: Best Steinway "vintages"? [Re: Rod Verhnjak]
Rich Galassini Online   content
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Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 8977
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
I am so sorry to be checking in on this thread now. I seem to be arriving at a party as the band is packing up and leaving.

Anyway, great thread.

One quick comment, Keith you stated;

Quote:
The one thing you can't duplicate is the rim. The NY rim is harder, being all maple, wheras the Hamburg rim alternates mahogany and maple.


Hamburg may have recently (within the past decade or less) gone to this type of rim construction, but for decades has used beech in its rim.

When one thinks of "The Hamburg tone" most people are thinking of a piano that uses a beech rim.

By the way, beech is a bit less dense than hard rock maple, so going to a maple\mahogany alternating lamination in the rim may be more faithful to the traditional rim construction than an all maple rim.

(Geez, I wish I had checked in here earlier)

Are you aware of exactly when this change was made Keith?
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#1253919 - 08/22/09 09:49 AM Re: Best Steinway "vintages"? [Re: Rich Galassini]
Keith D Kerman Offline
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Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3252
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
Rich,

All of the Hamburg Steinway grands that I have seen made after 1950 or so have had rims that were alternating between a harder wood and a softer wood. This includes
( and this is from memory of pianos we have had over the past few years ) a model
C from the 50s, Ds from the 60s - 90s, a model C from the late 70s, and Model Bs from the 70s - 90s.
I learned from Steinway people a long time ago that the materials were maple and mahogany and I know that Steinways website also states that the rims are maple and mahogany.
I double checked Steinway's website because of your post and they now are saying that certain Hamburg models are all maple rims, such as the D and the B. That is a new development over the last couple of years.
Older Hamburg Steinways also have softer rim materials than NY or the same era, or current Hamburgs. I know a lot of the older German pianos had rims made of pine.

I don't know if some Hamburgs were using all beech rims at one point, but the ones we have seen since the 50s were not. Some might have had alternating beech and a softer wood though, and we just assumed it was maple and mahogany based on the way they looked and felt and sounded. It is hard to tell when looking at an older laminated material what the various layers are made of.
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#1254048 - 08/22/09 02:32 PM Re: Best Steinway "vintages"? [Re: Keith D Kerman]
ffevhbtwh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/28/08
Posts: 61
Loc: U.S.A.
Question for Del, Keith, Rich and others further down...

Preference for NY vs. Hamburg appears to be personal, but to me there are distinct differences in sound. Hamburg is clearer (more European) in tone while NY appears to have more solid tone. Hamburg is still not as clear as some other European pianos in my experience. I can be drawn to either tone type depending on the pianist and the piece. I have read somewhere on this board that a piano design compromises between sustain and power - increase sustain and power is reduced, and vice versa. It doesn't seem to apply to Hamburg, however - Hamburg seems to have more sustain than the NY variants and seems to have just as much power as the NY.

QUESTION: What is responsible for the longer sustain on the Hamburg?

(I don't think it's the harder hammers since I've played many NY pianos with harder hammers and the juiced hammers do not seem to help increase sustain).


Edited by ffevhbtwh (08/22/09 02:35 PM)

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#1254072 - 08/22/09 03:10 PM Re: Best Steinway "vintages"? [Re: ffevhbtwh]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20759
Loc: Oakland
Quote:
I don't think it's the harder hammers since I've played many NY pianos with harder hammers and the juiced hammers do not seem to help increase sustain

Voicing can make a big difference, enough so to mask other factors.
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