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#1278272 - 09/30/09 10:27 PM The Ultimate Piano (™)
CJM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 140
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Two weeks ago I experienced something mind-blowing that I thought people on this board should be aware of.

I have just played the Ultimate Piano (™) smile

Now before anyone jumps up and down on me for having been injected with a near fatal dose of marketing jingoism of the worst kind, let me assure you that this is not the case - I am a trained research scientist and able to make reasonably objective judgements about things, especially music. So let me repeat in totally non-emotional and objective language -

I have just played the Ultimate Piano (™) smile

I visited the Stuart & Sons Piano factory in Newcastle to play their latest pianos - and let me tell you these are something to behold. These are the world's only currently manufactured 102-key grand pianos. The new Reference series Stuart & Sons Concert Grand Piano (2.9m) and Studio Grand Piano (2.2m) have pushed the frequency boundaries for the acoustic piano to the limits CCC (or C0) @ 16.3516Hz to f5 (or F8) @ 5587.6517Hz. These ultimate grand pianos are designed and handcrafted not only for a new and exciting experience in the interpretation of the 'standard' piano repertoire, but also, and uniquely, for the vertical dimension of sound which has been the bedrock of music composition since the Impressionists. The extended frequency range, the dynamic sensitivity and sustain opens the way to a whole new experience in piano performance craft not possible on any other piano. Stuart & Sons recognises that since the introduction of the Bosendorfer Imperial grand that C0 is the lowest key to be found on a piano. There is repertoire which embraces this lower frequency range but until now only Bosendorfer have met the keyboard challenge. Stuart says that the successful employment of special wire from Stephen Paulello in France has enabled the design of the 2.2m 102-key piano as modern high-tensile music wire can not be used successfully for low tension scales.

The first three ultimate grands are hot off the press with two instruments 'seasoning' in the performance room where they will undergo further adjustment and refinement as they settle and acclimatise to their environment. Even at this early stage the sound was quite extraordinary and certainly much better than any piano I have played to this point in time.

What do they look like? Like all of his pianos, beautifully finished and absolutely stunning in a satin finished East Indian rosewood. Veneers up to 500mm wide are quite magnificently matched across the lid.


The studio grand piano is the only 2.2m 102 note piano ever to have been built as a serious musical instrument.


A close up of the sub-contra octave bass strings is provided here


With the interior view, it can the clearly seen that the sub-contra octave bass strings really do take up all of the length of the piano.


The whole instrument is an imposing and incredible piece of work. This is a piano that up to now people have only dreamed of, and to have experienced it in reality is a life experience for me.

But even better than it looks, is the way it plays and sounds. I will try to post some sound samples soon, but some have already been provided at www.pianophilia.com

This piano puts to the sword the contention that innovation in the acoustic piano is moribund. It further redefines the possibilities of the acoustic piano for the 21st century and provides the final nail in the coffin of the incessant reproduction of proven form that has dominated the acoustic piano for the past century. When Nietzche said 'God is dead' many would say he was wrong. If I were to say that 'Steinway is dead', I don't think I would be.

Regards
Chris
_________________________
Stuart & Sons 2.2 metre #25

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#1278289 - 09/30/09 11:01 PM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: CJM]
Pianolance Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/09
Posts: 1178
Loc: Nashville, TN
I visited the Stuart website and listened to the piano samples they have there through a set of reasonably good Bose hifi speakers. This piano definitely sounds different and the sustain seems almost endless. I would love to get to Australia sometime to visit the factory, but that might never happen. Oh well, I'm happy you had a great experience with them.
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#1278357 - 10/01/09 02:24 AM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: Pianolance]
Oz Marcus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/09
Posts: 457
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Chris the pictures look amazing!
I amn from Melbourne so have thought about trying the Stuart.... some simple questions though
Roughly how much is a Stuart going to set me back $$$
Secondly, how long does it take to drive to Newcastle from the Sydney CBD (I do visit occasionally!)

Marcus
_________________________
Oz Marcus
Currently working on:
Schubert Impromptu in C minor - D899
Chopin Prelude Op28 No 15, nocturne Op48 no 1
Bach Prelude & Fuge WTC II No 12 in F minor
Aspiring to Rautavaara - Piano Sonata 2 - Fire Sermon

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#1278399 - 10/01/09 06:11 AM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: Oz Marcus]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
I always thought their music desk design looks rather disappointing...too big and not aesthetically appealing. I'm also not overly impressed by all the extra notes because at least in the treble there is virtually no music written that includes those notes. Even in the bass, there is such a tiny number of works that use the extra notes on the Stuart or Boesendorfer it doesn't mean much to me.

I am interested in how the tone is in the "normal" part of the piano. I am not saying that Stuart & Sons isn't a terrific or even incredible piano, just that for me the things the OP mentions are not what would make a piano great.


Edited by pianoloverus (10/01/09 06:47 AM)

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#1278400 - 10/01/09 06:29 AM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: pianoloverus]
Rich Galassini Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 8975
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Wayne Stuart makes a great piano - period. I have admired him and this project.

Go Stuart & Sons.
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#1278438 - 10/01/09 08:08 AM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: Rich Galassini]
EltonRach Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/20/09
Posts: 95
Loc: Singapore
I love bass. The deeper it can go - with clarity - the better. Hope that all other manufacturers take up this trend and let the development filter thorough to the mainstream market and give consumers a choice.

Sounds like a parallel development to the bass guitar world - 5 strings and 6 string bass complementing the original 4 string bass.

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#1278445 - 10/01/09 08:30 AM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: EltonRach]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17698
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
This is really fascinating! wow Thanks for the long and informative post and photos. I have to say that I share pianoloverus's lack of enthusiasm for the music desk, but I'm guessing the design has the utilitarian function of allowing more of the sound to come through to the pianist.

I'm sure the others here will correct me if I'm wrong, pianoloverus, but my understanding is that the main point of all those extra notes is NOT that they would actually be played (as you point out, sheet music rarely if ever goes outside the normal 88-key range); rather, having the strings in place there allows interesting sympathetic vibrations to occur, thus enhancing the sound of normal repertoire played on the piano.
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#1278476 - 10/01/09 09:07 AM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: Monica K.]
apple* Offline


Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
cool.

- i would LOVE to play one. i often stray outside the confines of the written note. .. especially in the lower register... nothing like the boom of a strategically placed bass 'accent'. yow
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#1278479 - 10/01/09 09:14 AM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: Monica K.]
fingers Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/08/04
Posts: 799
Loc: Westchester, NY
Thank you for posting! The piano truly looks magnificent. Majestic comes to mind. I imagine that sitting on the piano bench would be like getting behind the wheel of a Rolls Royce. Something most of us could only dream of.
But, I can't help but wonder how it compares to the Wendl & Lung 218. Do you think it's worgth x times the price?

fingers
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#1278480 - 10/01/09 09:14 AM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: apple*]
Terry5758 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/13/09
Posts: 348
Loc: Vero Beach,Florida
I would love to play one as well.This to me is all very exciting! They are gorgeous! Maybe a vacation to Australia may be warantied.




Terry
_________________________
Proud owner of a fully restored Feurich concert grand built in 1912 with Phoenix System.
Gotta love that German technology

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#1278486 - 10/01/09 09:27 AM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: Terry5758]
DanLaura Larson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/01/08
Posts: 695
Loc: Pocatello, Idaho
Thanks so much for the post CJM. This is fantastic.

Two thumbs up for Stuart. I also hope that some of their design ideas trickle through to other manufacturers. I really wish that we could afford a trip to Australia to try one. But then again, I am glad we can't, because we would want to buy one.

Oh and that piano in rosewood is gorgeous.

Dan
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Fazioli and Ibach grands
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#1278490 - 10/01/09 09:34 AM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: Monica K.]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Monica K.


I'm sure the others here will correct me if I'm wrong, pianoloverus, but my understanding is that the main point of all those extra notes is NOT that they would actually be played (as you point out, sheet music rarely if ever goes outside the normal 88-key range); rather, having the strings in place there allows interesting sympathetic vibrations to occur, thus enhancing the sound of normal repertoire played on the piano.


I'm not speaking as any expert here, but I'm quite sure the original reason for extra notes in the bass was to accomodate certain music that had been written by Busoni(and other composers after Boesendorfer enlarged the compass). It may have been said later that the extra notes help the notes in the regular 88 span sound better(or in the case of Boesendorfer allowed the piano to compete with the greater projection of a Steinway concert grand), but I don't know if there is truth to this statement. It seems reasonable to me.


Edited by pianoloverus (10/01/09 09:50 AM)

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#1278606 - 10/01/09 11:34 AM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: CJM]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3297
I had heard through the rumor mill that he was doing this. He should ship one to my school in Canada so I can try it out smile
_________________________
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M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
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#1278638 - 10/01/09 12:26 PM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: beethoven986]
Paul in FWB Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 93
Loc: Fort Walton Beach, FL
Absolutely beautiful!

One more reason to buy a lottery ticket ...

Paul
_________________________
Proud Owner of a Kawai Rosina (SI-16)

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#1278649 - 10/01/09 12:39 PM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: CJM]
Roy123 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 1695
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: CJM
Two weeks ago I experienced something mind-blowing that I thought people on this board should be aware of.

I have just played the Ultimate Piano (™) smile

Now before anyone jumps up and down on me for having been injected with a near fatal dose of marketing jingoism of the worst kind, let me assure you that this is not the case - I am a trained research scientist and able to make reasonably objective judgements about things, especially music. So let me repeat in totally non-emotional and objective language -

I have just played the Ultimate Piano (™) smile

I visited the Stuart & Sons Piano factory in Newcastle to play their latest pianos - and let me tell you these are something to behold. These are the world's only currently manufactured 102-key grand pianos. The new Reference series Stuart & Sons Concert Grand Piano (2.9m) and Studio Grand Piano (2.2m) have pushed the frequency boundaries for the acoustic piano to the limits CCC (or C0) @ 16.3516Hz to f5 (or F8) @ 5587.6517Hz. These ultimate grand pianos are designed and handcrafted not only for a new and exciting experience in the interpretation of the 'standard' piano repertoire, but also, and uniquely, for the vertical dimension of sound which has been the bedrock of music composition since the Impressionists. The extended frequency range, the dynamic sensitivity and sustain opens the way to a whole new experience in piano performance craft not possible on any other piano. Stuart & Sons recognises that since the introduction of the Bosendorfer Imperial grand that C0 is the lowest key to be found on a piano. There is repertoire which embraces this lower frequency range but until now only Bosendorfer have met the keyboard challenge. Stuart says that the successful employment of special wire from Stephen Paulello in France has enabled the design of the 2.2m 102-key piano as modern high-tensile music wire can not be used successfully for low tension scales.

The first three ultimate grands are hot off the press with two instruments 'seasoning' in the performance room where they will undergo further adjustment and refinement as they settle and acclimatise to their environment. Even at this early stage the sound was quite extraordinary and certainly much better than any piano I have played to this point in time.

What do they look like? Like all of his pianos, beautifully finished and absolutely stunning in a satin finished East Indian rosewood. Veneers up to 500mm wide are quite magnificently matched across the lid.


The studio grand piano is the only 2.2m 102 note piano ever to have been built as a serious musical instrument.



The whole instrument is an imposing and incredible piece of work. This is a piano that up to now people have only dreamed of, and to have experienced it in reality is a life experience for me.

But even better than it looks, is the way it plays and sounds. I will try to post some sound samples soon, but some have already been provided at www.pianophilia.com

This piano puts to the sword the contention that innovation in the acoustic piano is moribund. It further redefines the possibilities of the acoustic piano for the 21st century and provides the final nail in the coffin of the incessant reproduction of proven form that has dominated the acoustic piano for the past century. When Nietzche said 'God is dead' many would say he was wrong. If I were to say that 'Steinway is dead', I don't think I would be.

Regards
Chris


Whew! Your language is about as emotional and hyperbolic as it could be. I have highlighted some of the best phrases. It's a good thing that you're "a trained research scientist and able to make reasonably objective judgements [sic] about things, especially music." I know that I always have believed that trained research scientists have better ears and aesthetics about music than anyone else.

Also, enlighten us all about the "vertical dimension of sound which has been the bedrock of music composition since the Impressionists." How do you know that other pianos aren't good at producing this dimension, whatever it is?

Have you considered that people's tastes in music and piano tone vary, and what one person may particularly like, another may not be that impressed with?

Also, I wonder about the usefulness of the extra notes. Or are they more of a curiosity? You make their inclusion sound like an amazing feature, but frankly, I think they would likely be pretty useless.

You'll have to excuse my sarcasm, but IMO your post is SO over the top, and sounds SO much like ad copy written by someone who has had too much caffeine, that I can only take it with a grain of salt.

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#1278663 - 10/01/09 12:56 PM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: Roy123]
Nikalette Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/08
Posts: 1074
Loc: California
I'm no expert, but wouldn't the extra strings provide more sympathetic resonance (if that's what it's called)?

IE, even if you don't play those notes very often won't they be contributing something to the sound of the notes that are played?

And wouldn't the soundboard have to be bigger, and wouldn't that add to/change the sound?

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#1278671 - 10/01/09 01:04 PM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: pianoloverus]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Monica K.


I'm sure the others here will correct me if I'm wrong, pianoloverus, but my understanding is that the main point of all those extra notes is NOT that they would actually be played (as you point out, sheet music rarely if ever goes outside the normal 88-key range); rather, having the strings in place there allows interesting sympathetic vibrations to occur, thus enhancing the sound of normal repertoire played on the piano.


I'm not speaking as any expert here, but I'm quite sure the original reason for extra notes in the bass was to accomodate certain music that had been written by Busoni(and other composers after Boesendorfer enlarged the compass). It may have been said later that the extra notes help the notes in the regular 88 span sound better(or in the case of Boesendorfer allowed the piano to compete with the greater projection of a Steinway concert grand), but I don't know if there is truth to this statement. It seems reasonable to me.


And as far as "I" know, those extra notes serve to shift the bass strings that ARE used regularly to a position farther away from the edge of the sound board.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

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#1278868 - 10/01/09 07:09 PM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: Roy123]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3297
Have you ever seen a Stuart & Sons piano? They are simply the most gorgeous pianos in every respect and have ridiculously good tuning stability. In fact, the Steingraeber-Phoenix is the only other piano I've seen that is of this caliber. Most everything else is just a joke.
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B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
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#1278870 - 10/01/09 07:14 PM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: Nikalette]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3297
I've always thought that sympathetic resonance was kinda BS. Even if it wasn't, these extra notes would not have been added for this purpose because the sustain on these pianos (due to the bridge agraffes) is just insane.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1278900 - 10/01/09 08:05 PM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: beethoven986]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: beethoven986
Most everything else is just a joke.


crazy

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#1279270 - 10/02/09 10:55 AM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: pianoloverus]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3297
Fly to London or the factory in Australia, try one, and let me know if you change your mind smile
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1279471 - 10/02/09 03:46 PM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: Terry5758]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4974
Loc: boston north
Originally Posted By: Terry5758
I would love to play one as well.This to me is all very exciting! They are gorgeous! Maybe a vacation to Australia may be warantied.
Terry


Best build an addition to your home first!

ha
_________________________
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#1279505 - 10/02/09 04:41 PM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: lilylady]
Robert 45 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/18/06
Posts: 1116
Loc: Auckland New Zealand
Most impressive. These pianos have a laser clarity in their sound, but without a trace of coldness or hardness. For me just a 3 hour flight across the "ditch" to visit this piano heaven.

Kind regards,

Robert.

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#1279517 - 10/02/09 05:00 PM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: Robert 45]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10341
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
It just might really be the Ultimate Piano (™)!
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Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

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www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#1279527 - 10/02/09 05:16 PM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: Steve Cohen]
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Don't let Bechstein overhear you saying that! Especially if they might infer that you mean everything else is a joke. smile
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Grotrian 192 #156455

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#1279542 - 10/02/09 05:43 PM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: Piano*Dad]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10341
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
OOPS! grin
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#1279552 - 10/02/09 05:57 PM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: Steve Cohen]
Tweedpipe Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/08
Posts: 414
CJM,
Very interesting. But hang on a minute, can this be really true? wink

It has often been said (by Gyro) that the acoustic piano is essentially obsolescent today - we are living in the Digital Piano Era, and digitals are sending the acoustic piano the way of the harpsichord and clavichord........etc, etc

This uncertainty has just brought on a terrible migraine, and I just don't know who to believe anymore....... wink crazy
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#1279567 - 10/02/09 06:43 PM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: Tweedpipe]
Terry5758 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/13/09
Posts: 348
Loc: Vero Beach,Florida
lilylady,
I have the carpenters lined up!lol!




Terry
_________________________
Proud owner of a fully restored Feurich concert grand built in 1912 with Phoenix System.
Gotta love that German technology

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#1279762 - 10/03/09 03:27 AM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: Terry5758]
Oz Marcus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/09
Posts: 457
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Well Terry, I hope they are cute carpenters!

But weren't you going shopping today?? To a certain piano shop?? I am sure that you can make room for a Stuart & Son's and another Tier 1 piano, then we can all come over and play piano quintets!

M
_________________________
Oz Marcus
Currently working on:
Schubert Impromptu in C minor - D899
Chopin Prelude Op28 No 15, nocturne Op48 no 1
Bach Prelude & Fuge WTC II No 12 in F minor
Aspiring to Rautavaara - Piano Sonata 2 - Fire Sermon

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#1279867 - 10/03/09 09:53 AM Re: The Ultimate Piano (™) [Re: Oz Marcus]
Terry5758 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/13/09
Posts: 348
Loc: Vero Beach,Florida
Marcus,
Why hire ugly carpenters when during this economy the cute ones work for the same rate? LOL!
I merely said that i was taking a visit to the piano shop to"just" look at some new inventory that had just arrived. Bosies,Feurichs and Steingraebers oh my! I felt just like a drug addict fresh out of the treatment center! Can you say TEMPTED? After saying the AA serenity prayer numerous times i came up with a very "logical" thought. When one passes the Godiva Chocolates one does not simply walk by them without at least a look and a smell,right? After reciting the serenity prayer a few more times,i made my way through the maze of lucious pianos. Yes i admit it,i broke down. Not only did i look and smell,i bit right down into the center of each one i could get my fingers on.Each one had their own destinct chocolately flavor.I played and played and each new note was as lucious as the next. For a moment i thought i had died and gone to Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory. Oh yes the oompa loompas(however it's spelled)were there and Marcus can you believe that good looking Johnny Depp and i even played a duet? Well,to bring myself back to reality i simply clicked my ruby red shoes togeather(wait is this scene from another movie?LOL)three times and said the serenity prayer a couple more times and then repeated there's no place like home! When i awoke,the dealer was standing over me and said "Terry you were on fire. Your playing was so hot it heated up the atmosphere and created a whirling wind of pianos(yes,i am a lengend in my own mind, lol) and one knocked you out. The entire sales staff was also standing over me with piano bills of sale.We all know how some of those dealers can be.lol!
Fearing i would not be able to resist,i noticed my ruby red shoes were still there. So i clicked them three times and POOF, i was back home with the two lovely pianos that i love best.The moral of this story is "THERE IS TRULY NO PLACE LIKE HOME AND NOTHING LIKE CUTE CARPENTERS THAT ARE BUILDING AN EDITION ONTO YOUR HOME FOR A STUART AND SON"S PIANO. LOL!


Terry

Marcus,Now that i think about it a piano quintet party may not be a bad idea!


Edited by Terry5758 (10/03/09 01:37 PM)
_________________________
Proud owner of a fully restored Feurich concert grand built in 1912 with Phoenix System.
Gotta love that German technology

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