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#1414007 - 04/09/10 04:11 AM Yamaha C1 or Steinway M?
AngelaL Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/08/10
Posts: 4
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Hi all,

I'm new to this forum but I need some general advice / help.

I've just started teaching piano. I have a Rosler upright and I'm looking to upgrade to a small grand. We've been trying out all sorts of piano, new and reconditioned and we are down to 2:

Yamaha C1 (5'3") for £12000 - 2 years old, black. It has never been sold out of the trade and was used for a couple of dealer demonstrations only. It is in as new condition.

Steinway Model M no. 248273 (5'6") for £25000 - This was manufactured in 1927 Hamburg, mahogany. A complete rebuild 10 -12 years ago by Steinway Hamburg factory with new soundboard, bridges, pin block and restring; new top action with full keyboard overhaul and new ivoplast key coverings; new hammerheads and full regulation early on this year.

As you can see, there's a massive price difference. Whilst I have always wanted to own a Steinway, I'm not sure that a £13k difference is reasonable. I'm also a bit concerned about the relative resale values.

The Steinway had a beautiful warm tone and the action felt like a new piano (not like any of the other reconditioned Steinway from the same period that we've tried).

The Yamaha had a lovely clean sound for the upper registers but the bass sounded a bit weedy (maybe a bit wooden too) in comparison but it's going into a small room and maybe the bass will sound fuller in a smaller environment.

As I said, I've just started teaching piano and I'm also studying for a piano diploma so the piano is getting lots and lots of use. Should that be a deciding factor? Would a new piano survive better than a reconditioned one?

Any hints / help / advice would be gratefully received!
_________________________
Regards
Angela Lee

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#1414022 - 04/09/10 05:26 AM Re: Yamaha C1 or Steinway M? [Re: AngelaL]
Konzert Patrick Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 790
Loc: The Netherlands
The 2 pianos are completely different in tone so it is difficult to compare.

If you are comfortable with a piano from 1927 and the rebuild has been done properly it seems you already know which one of these 2 you like best.

If you like the clean sound from Yamaha try Schimmel Konzert and Bechstein you can purchase new if you choose these brands you have a very healthy budget or what about a bigger Yamaha C2? (and you will have 10 year warranty!), maybe a vintage Blutner ?? For Steinway you will pay the premium because it says Steinway....

I would take your time, try as many pianos as possible...

Good luck
_________________________
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#1414023 - 04/09/10 05:28 AM Re: Yamaha C1 or Steinway M? [Re: AngelaL]
ChrisVenables Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 727
Loc: Hampshire, England
Hi Angela

Steinway M - There's no better place to have a Steinway rebuilt than at the Hamburg factory and there's probably not a better 5'6" piano than a Hamburg M.

In spite of the comprehensive rebuild, it's worth bearing in mind that the case, veneers, rim, legs and lyre are now 83 years old. Also, as you are vague on exactly when the rebuild was carried out (10-12 years you say - is it 10?, is it 12? is it more? - can the exact rebuild date be verified? Although you thought the piano felt good, it's always best to have the piano checked for wear and tear. Even a couple of years in the hands of a heavy player or if stored in an environment where temperature and humidity fluctuate can make a massive difference to the piano's condition and value.

Yamaha C1 -

Again, the exact date is an important factor, as at the end of 2007 Yamaha upgraded the C1L to C1M. Upgrades included revised treble bridge giving more sustain and dynamic range and Ivorite key naturals and wood composite sharps for a more authentic feel. If the piano doesn't have the wooden sharps (which would date it before autumn 2007) it would be worth checking the serial number to verify its exact age.

I agree that the bass is a little tubby (on all short string pianos) but please don't buy the piano with the belief that a small room will improve the bass. Although the overall tone may sound fuller, the small room will not improve the shortcomings in the bass.

Regarding the price of the C1 - £12K is only a few hundred pounds below the street price of a brand new C1M.

If you can fit in the 5'6" M, maybe try the Yamaha C2M at 5'8" - much better bass and only about £1K more than a C1M. Apart from the benefit of longer bass strings, the piano has more dynamic range and more power- but only when you need it.
_________________________
Tech. & Partner: Venables Pianos
Yamaha Piano UK main dealer and Grand Piano Centre
Stocking new Yamaha, Brodmann and Venables & Son

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#1414223 - 04/09/10 01:25 PM Re: Yamaha C1 or Steinway M? [Re: ChrisVenables]
AngelaL Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/08/10
Posts: 4
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Thank you very much for all your advice so far.

The shop I visited with the Steinway M came highly recommended. He had tried to find out the exact rebuild date but the Hamburg Steinway factory was less than helpful. He's managed the extract information from Steinway factory about what was done on the piano (which you can see from my original posting), and he's since changed the parts that would have had wear and tear on them.

Unfortunately, a 5ft 6 is the largest that I can fit into our living room so anything bigger is out of question.

I think I'll need to have another think. But thanks for all the advice again and any more thoughts would be most welcome.
_________________________
Regards
Angela Lee

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#1414549 - 04/09/10 10:05 PM Re: Yamaha C1 or Steinway M? [Re: AngelaL]
Stevester Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/03
Posts: 2851
Loc: New Jersey
It is never a good thing when dealers can't come up with dates or other relevant information. I would suggest you try to contact Steinway yourself. Are you also certain the rebuild was actually done by Steinway?
_________________________
"The true character of a man can be determined by witnessing what he does when no one is watching".

anon

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#1414603 - 04/10/10 12:25 AM Re: Yamaha C1 or Steinway M? [Re: Stevester]
FrankJoseph Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/17/09
Posts: 66
Loc: Redding, CA
One of the main reasons I selected my piano teacher was that she had a Steinway piano. It is a pleasure to play. I am partial to Steinways, though I realize there are many, many different alternatives out there. I don't know enough to debate all the makes and issues. But when someone says,"I always wanted to own a Steinway", it doesn't surprise me. People need to chase their dreams. The Ms I've played are all wonderful instruments. Good luck. Frank

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#1414624 - 04/10/10 01:57 AM Re: Yamaha C1 or Steinway M? [Re: ChrisVenables]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1530
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: ChrisVenables
Hi Angela

Steinway M - There's no better place to have a Steinway rebuilt than at the Hamburg factory and there's probably not a better 5'6" piano than a Hamburg M.

In spite of the comprehensive rebuild, it's worth bearing in mind that the case, veneers, rim, legs and lyre are now 83 years old. Also, as you are vague on exactly when the rebuild was carried out (10-12 years you say - is it 10?, is it 12? is it more? - can the exact rebuild date be verified? Although you thought the piano felt good, it's always best to have the piano checked for wear and tear. Even a couple of years in the hands of a heavy player or if stored in an environment where temperature and humidity fluctuate can make a massive difference to the piano's condition and value.

Yamaha C1 -

Again, the exact date is an important factor, as at the end of 2007 Yamaha upgraded the C1L to C1M. Upgrades included revised treble bridge giving more sustain and dynamic range and Ivorite key naturals and wood composite sharps for a more authentic feel. If the piano doesn't have the wooden sharps (which would date it before autumn 2007) it would be worth checking the serial number to verify its exact age.

I agree that the bass is a little tubby (on all short string pianos) but please don't buy the piano with the belief that a small room will improve the bass. Although the overall tone may sound fuller, the small room will not improve the shortcomings in the bass.

Regarding the price of the C1 - £12K is only a few hundred pounds below the street price of a brand new C1M.

If you can fit in the 5'6" M, maybe try the Yamaha C2M at 5'8" - much better bass and only about £1K more than a C1M. Apart from the benefit of longer bass strings, the piano has more dynamic range and more power- but only when you need it.


+1

The best NY Steinway I've ever played was a rebuilt B at Steinway Hall from the
1920's

Angela: You say 5'6 is the biggest piano you can fit in your space. I've read these types of posts before. Can you explain this limitation with some details? I can't understand how an extra 2" (or even 6" for that matter) would be a deal breaker with a piano.


Edited by AJF (04/10/10 01:58 AM)

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#1414793 - 04/10/10 01:57 PM Re: Yamaha C1 or Steinway M? [Re: AJF]
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
A few additional comments:
thumb on the +1 /Chris V.post
Exactly what did the dealer have to address at present, post restoration at the Hamburg factory ? That will give you a ruff indication as to when the prior restoration was performed.

As AJF is implying "if you can fit a 5'6" piano you can fit a 5'8" piano". I know this is not your scenario in that you are a teacher but that is usually what one hears from interior decorators as for that EXACT space restraint /limitation.

As for your 2 piano options, the Steinway M vrs. Yamaha C1:
The Steinway at 83 years old, fully remanufactured will still outlast that new Yamaha C1 as for it's useful life and it's rebuildable status years from now.

When one is in search for a piano,the objective is to acquire the best piano for the amount of $ one is willing to allocate toward the purchase. Do you have 25K to comfortably allocate toward the piano ? If not the C1 or C2 are great pianos for the $. Good luck!


Edited by pianobroker (04/10/10 02:28 PM)
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#1414798 - 04/10/10 02:06 PM Re: Yamaha C1 or Steinway M? [Re: pianobroker]
PianoWorksATL Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 2630
Loc: Atlanta, GA
The difference between the M and the C2 is 3 cm.

That's [.....................] about that big? Have fun playing them.
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Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
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#1414856 - 04/10/10 04:03 PM Re: Yamaha C1 or Steinway M? [Re: PianoWorksATL]
AngelaL Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/08/10
Posts: 4
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Hi all,

Thank you for all your replies and advice.

OK the dealer has already asked the Hamburg factory time and time again to pin down the date of the rebuild but had no luck. They confirmed that they did the rebuild about 10 - 12 years ago and what was done, and that's about it.

Originally, we were looking for a 4ft 11 baby grand because our living room is small. We couldn't find one that's satisfactory so we started looking at the slightly bigger size grand piano and that's when we tried the C1. It was OK but there are things that I don't like, like the bass. And that's when we started looking at 5ft 6 grand pianos.

With a 5ft 3 grand, we can play the piano with the door open if we choose to. With a 5ft 6 grand, we will have to close the door half way. If someone is playing in the room with the 5ft 6 grand and the door is closed, someone else can still open the door safely and the pianist will get a nudge on the back. With a 5ft 8 grand, the door will have to be closed and whoever wants to come in will have to squeeze in with the door opening slightly, otherwise, the pianist will get a whack from the door!

So that's why 5ft 6 really is the biggest piano that we can get. This isn't some crazy interior designer talking, this is us measuring everything out and putting blocks on the floor working out what can / can't be done. And we've thought about hanging the door the other way but that just opens up another can of worms.....

Believe, if I can have a bigger grand piano, I would. I suppose we can move house...... (No no no no..... I love our house!)

Anyway, I've arranged to go back and try the Steinway M again just to be sure.
_________________________
Regards
Angela Lee

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#1414930 - 04/10/10 07:03 PM Re: Yamaha C1 or Steinway M? [Re: AngelaL]
joe80 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 952
I would be tempted to go with the Steinway, altho bear in mind that the rebuild was done a long time ago. The model M is a really nice machine. It's 83 years old but with a new soundboard and action so technically speaking its much newer.

The Yamaha C1 is also a great piano so buy the one that you feel most comfortable with. If you go for the Yamaha you might want a new one though.

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#1415667 - 04/12/10 06:46 AM Re: Yamaha C1 or Steinway M? [Re: joe80]
AngelaL Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/08/10
Posts: 4
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Hiya,

I'm tempted with the Steinway too. It played like a new piano to be honest so I was very pleasantly surprised.

You are right about the C1. If I decide to go with that, maybe I should get a new one and not an ex-demo one.

Cheers.
_________________________
Regards
Angela Lee

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