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#1478766 - 07/21/10 09:54 PM Questions on buying smaller grand
calypsospots Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/21/10
Posts: 4
Loc: Ohio, USA
I'm in the process of looking for a piano and am interested in all advice and helpful hints, both on the piano itself and on preparing the room.

Growing up, I played a low-end console which my parents sold 20 years ago prior to a major move. For most of the past 30 years I've just played whatever was handy--piano, harpsichord, what-have-you. I read music (treble, bass, C-clef, lute tablature) but on piano I mostly improvise. I'm guessing the sheet music I'd buy would be a rather eclectic mix.

My house has a room better suited to a grand than an upright. This room has a 10' ceiling, windows at one end, hardwood floor, and about 9' between windows and a large doorway. I haven't measured the whole room but the 9' length is pretty much where the piano would go in order not to obstruct traffic between the room's two doors. (None of the walls is really long enough for an upright as the longest bit is 4'6".)

The most tempting choices I've seen in my (fairly low) price range are a Young Chang and some Hailuns. It is hard to compare them as they're not in the same store. These makes seem to play better for me than comparable Kawais. However, I'm also aware that the acoustics in the stores are nothing like the acoustics at home.

I'm the primary person who would play the instrument. While I have a fairly broad musical background, I have no ambitions as a performer or even composer. When there's no piano, I don't play and don't think about it; when there's one around, I can easily play for an hour or more a day. A significant number of my friends are composers or musicologists, but they all live in other states, so they'll only occasionally play my piano.

So... thoughts and suggestions welcomed.

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#1478835 - 07/22/10 12:04 AM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: calypsospots]
Bachsky Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 276
Loc: McFarland, WI 53558
Something to think about... IMHO the shorter the grand the less satisfying the sound, especially in the low bass. A tall vertical can have longer bass strings than a "baby" grand & a good 50" vertical will out-play most small grands.

Now certainly the appearance of a grand makes a statement and a vertical is just a large box with a keyboard protruding out one side --- but in the end it is the sound that matters, not the appearance.

If you're really serious about a small grand don't settle for anything under 5'. In the end buy what really pleases your ear. When trying out pianos have someone else play (especially if it is a grand) and you listen at the tail end --- you'll be surprised how different the sound seems then when you are on the bench and playing. With verticals you get the sound feeding right back to you - in your face, so to speak, but grands are different and they project their sound into the room, especially from the tail end of the instrument.

I wish you well on your piano search. A good piano will speak to you and I believe you will find yourself called back to spending time at the keyboard more and more --- at least that's what has happened to me once I purchased my first good grand.
_________________________
1904 Henry F. Miller Concert Grand * 2002 Estonia 190 Satin Bubinga * 2008 Schulze-Pohlman vertical 125 polished cherrywood peacock design * 2008 Schoenhut minature grand (49 keys) * 2008 Roland Digital Harpsichord, 2010 Roland FP-4 (88 key slab).

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#1478884 - 07/22/10 02:15 AM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: Bachsky]
gnuboi Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 2349
Loc: USA
With hardwood floors and open corridors, the piano will sound more "live" than in the store. Even a 5'5" is going to deafen others at home wink You might find larger pianos with better tone in the bass and treble, and strangely, they don't sound much louder. I think that's because a 5'5" is already over the volume threshold wink You might want to put in a rug before the piano gets home.

Good luck you must be excited!

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#1479008 - 07/22/10 09:06 AM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: gnuboi]
calypsospots Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/21/10
Posts: 4
Loc: Ohio, USA
Thanks to both of you, I hadn't thought of listening at the tail end while someone else plays. I do want a rug in there, but haven't yet seen the right one (I've only had the house a few weeks).

Before measuring the room, I had simply assumed I'd get a vertical piano, but when I measured, it became clear that (rare situation) a grand would fit better, so why not go for it. I'm not all that fussy about the instrument's looks, because the room already has plenty of character empty, which will only be enhanced when books and piano go in. Loudness isn't a major concern (I hope) since this is a house rather than an apartment and I don't play as loudly as I did when I was ten. With 9' minimum for the piano's length (the room is 16-1/2' at its longest point), I could go above 5' if I found the right instrument at a price I could handle, but there aren't that many to choose from locally that are in that lower price range. Unfortunately I keep forgetting to ask the model numbers of the pianos I test.

One other question: I had planned to situate the piano with the player facing the windows, but standing in the space this morning I wondered whether it might be better for the player to be back to the windows and get natural light on the music (the other way, the overhead light would be well situated). The windows face east and don't seem to get very strong sun.

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#1479015 - 07/22/10 09:13 AM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: calypsospots]
PianoMan1958 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 501
Loc: Tennessee
Getting natural light on the music would be nice. The way my grand sits, I face the window and unless it's bright outside, the music rack is shaded and needs artificial light most of the time.

Also, get the largest grand your space and budget will allow, if you have to go with a well maintained used grand. You'll be happier in the long run.
_________________________
Jack in TN

Plays:
Yamaha C5 grand (home)
Kawai KG5 grand (church)
Roland RD300GX digital (jazz group)

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#1482604 - 07/27/10 05:17 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: PianoMan1958]
calypsospots Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/21/10
Posts: 4
Loc: Ohio, USA
I've now had a chance to go back and take another look at the local piano options. The Young Chang looks short (this time I forgot my measuring tape) and I didn't see a model number but the serial is YG0129017 if that is of any help. I have enjoyed playing it, but this time other pianos were fresher in mind and I might lean toward them, although I'm offered the best price on the Young Chang.

The largest grand I've tested in my price range is a 6'1" Hardman, for $5650. Unfortunately, when I go from it to 5' Hailuns, I'm inclined to think the Hailuns seem better despite being a foot shorter. They are certainly more expensive. I also tried a used (1993) 5' Weber which in most ways seemed very comparable to the Hailun pianos except that I noticed the action in the treble was audible. It played nicely, had a good tone, but I don't know whether this (slight) noise is fixable or if it would simply get worse.

What are people's thoughts about these choices? I have some flexibility in my spending but need to be cautious as I have some home remodeling ahead. I'd prefer to buy locally.

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#1483027 - 07/28/10 08:14 AM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: calypsospots]
PianoMan1958 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 501
Loc: Tennessee
When buying used, I would go with a well proven brand, given it has been well maintained. Some of the pianos you mention may not stand the test of time as well as Yamaha, Kawai, Baldwin, etc.
_________________________
Jack in TN

Plays:
Yamaha C5 grand (home)
Kawai KG5 grand (church)
Roland RD300GX digital (jazz group)

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#1483071 - 07/28/10 09:51 AM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: Bachsky]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10344
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: Bachsky
Something to think about... IMHO the shorter the grand the less satisfying the sound, especially in the low bass. A tall vertical can have longer bass strings than a "baby" grand & a good 50" vertical will out-play most small grands.


Without a doubt, the quote above captures the general concensus. However, today it may be wrong. Here are three excerpts from Larry Fine in a new article entitled Buying a Grand Less Than 5' in the upcoming issue of Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer:

There was a time when, as they say, I wouldn’t have wrapped fish in a grand piano under five feet long. The short cases of these pianos place severe constraints on string length and soundboard design, and often result in instruments with poor tone. Given these pianos’ lack of musical qualities, most buyers have been understandably more interested in them as pieces of furniture than as musical instruments....

Times have changed. While much of the above is still true to some extent, great strides have been made in the intelligent design and construction of small pianos. Piano-scaling software, advances in soundboard design, globalization, and the computerization of manufacturing have all contributed to the ability to produce grand pianos that are compact and inexpensive, yet still fully functional
and satisfying to play....


Today, new grand pianos less than five feet long are made in some three dozen models under more than two dozen brand names. To see how these instruments measure up, I recruited four volunteer pianists from the Piano World online community to test them. The group included both professional pianists and experienced amateurs, and two were also part-time piano technicians....

The new edition of Piano Buyer will be posted online around 9/1/2010.
_________________________
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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#1483096 - 07/28/10 10:34 AM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: Steve Cohen]
Rickster Offline


Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 8077
Loc: Georgia, USA
The community college where I teach has a small, 4’10” Chickering baby grand made by Baldwin in the early 1980’s and was designed by our own Del Fandrich. It is an exceptional sounding little baby grand. I’ve had the privilege of playing it for a couple of events at our college (and tuning it a few times) and it sounds great!

So, I reckon that dynamite does come in small packages on occasion! grin

Take care,

Rick
_________________________
Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

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#1483195 - 07/28/10 01:18 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: Rickster]
PianoMan1958 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/13/10
Posts: 501
Loc: Tennessee
yea, I've played some Baldwin M's that were great and others not so much so. Sometimes it varies between pianos of the same make and model.
_________________________
Jack in TN

Plays:
Yamaha C5 grand (home)
Kawai KG5 grand (church)
Roland RD300GX digital (jazz group)

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#1483199 - 07/28/10 01:28 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: Rickster]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5067
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: Rickster
The community college where I teach has a small, 4’10” Chickering baby grand made by Baldwin in the early 1980’s and was designed by our own Del Fandrich. It is an exceptional sounding little baby grand. I’ve had the privilege of playing it for a couple of events at our college (and tuning it a few times) and it sounds great!

So, I reckon that dynamite does come in small packages on occasion! grin

Take care,

Rick

A bit of history:
I had left the company just after having completed the prototype for this piano and it has long been a source of frustration and disappointment to me that Baldwin was never able to build it to any kind of reasonable quality standard.

The production system was a departure for Baldwin but it was neither revolutionary nor complicated. I had designed both the piano and the assembly process simultaneously; they had to go together. The traditional Baldwin manufacturing process required far too much hand fitting and involved too many awkward and complex manufacturing steps to make an inexpensive piano possible. The new manufacturing process—basically building the complete, functioning piano on a separate inner rim and belly structure before adding the outer rim—was quite simple; it reduced the hand fitting of parts to a minimum and was far less costly. As well, it should have ensured reasonable and consistent quality at a low, competitive price. Since it was based on assembly processes used by many other companies at the time and should not have been overly difficult to implement. (Indeed, I went on to design the Walter grands to use a very similar manufacturing process; it is simple and effective. Walter still uses this process.)

Unfortunately, not long before I resigned and left, Baldwin’s’ last experienced piano engineer had also resigned and the company was sadly lacking in experienced technical personnel. The incoming people gave their best, I’m sure, but it never quite worked. The result was a piano that suffered from wildly varying tolerances and quality—the extent and range of gaffs and snafus that showed up in the production pianos was almost endless.

Still, when built reasonably close to its design specifications and tolerances it was, indeed, a nice little instrument; I’d like to have one myself. I’d also very much like to see an updated version of this design—which I just happened to have in my computer—built by a company with the manufacturing expertise and resolve to do it properly.

This was a small piano, not just a short piano. It was nicely shaped; aesthetically it was designed to fit comfortably into the smaller room. When built properly it had a pleasant, balanced tone quality that was well matched to those smaller rooms. In short, it filled a market niche that in the 1990s was already fairly large and one that has been growing ever since. In spite of the improvements that have been made in the performance of the traditional short pianos marketed today this market niche is still not adequately served.

In the 1990s this piano started out being quite popular—until folks found out about the company’s horrendous quality control problems—and then it died. Because, although it was a nice little piano when it was built right, when it was bad, it was horrid!

Had Baldwin ever been able to work out its production problems I believe the piano would still be popular today. A proven market awaits the first manufacturer willing to put a reasonably well made piano of this size and style into production.

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1483208 - 07/28/10 01:45 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: Steve Cohen]
the nosy ape Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/10/08
Posts: 681
Loc: Westford, MA
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Originally Posted By: Bachsky
Something to think about... IMHO the shorter the grand the less satisfying the sound, especially in the low bass. A tall vertical can have longer bass strings than a "baby" grand & a good 50" vertical will out-play most small grands.


Without a doubt, the quote above captures the general concensus. However, today it may be wrong. Here are three excerpts from Larry Fine in a new article entitled Buying a Grand Less Than 5' in the upcoming issue of Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer:

There was a time when, as they say, I wouldn’t have wrapped fish in a grand piano under five feet long. The short cases of these pianos place severe constraints on string length and soundboard design, and often result in instruments with poor tone. Given these pianos’ lack of musical qualities, most buyers have been understandably more interested in them as pieces of furniture than as musical instruments....

Times have changed. While much of the above is still true to some extent, great strides have been made in the intelligent design and construction of small pianos. Piano-scaling software, advances in soundboard design, globalization, and the computerization of manufacturing have all contributed to the ability to produce grand pianos that are compact and inexpensive, yet still fully functional
and satisfying to play....


Today, new grand pianos less than five feet long are made in some three dozen models under more than two dozen brand names. To see how these instruments measure up, I recruited four volunteer pianists from the Piano World online community to test them. The group included both professional pianists and experienced amateurs, and two were also part-time piano technicians....

The new edition of Piano Buyer will be posted online around 9/1/2010.





You are such a tease. smile

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#1483212 - 07/28/10 01:51 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: the nosy ape]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10344
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: the nosy ape
You are such a tease. smile


Guilty as charged. blush
_________________________
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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#1483256 - 07/28/10 03:00 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: Steve Cohen]
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1904
Loc: El Cajon, CA
With the supposed (I haven't yet played any newer ones that grabbed my attetion in a positive way) recent tonal improvements to small grand pianos (I'm mostly thinking 140cm, give or take maybe 5cm), I was thinking... If the best designers in the industry (including Del Fandrich, of course, and maybe he could do it himself) designed the best possible 152cm upright (and personally I don't care for narrow cabinets on uprights this size - I prefer a cabinet width at least 163cm, 173cm is good too, probably 183cm width would be my upper limit, with a depth comparble to the old roll player pianos), is it now possible that the small grand's bass tone (all the way down to A0, of course not neglecting the rest of the piano though) would beat that upright as soundly as the upright would beat a Kimball Whitney, "Grand", or other "terrible" spinet?
_________________________
Associate Member - Piano Technicians Guild
1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
You can right-click my avatar for an option to view a larger version.

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#1483318 - 07/28/10 04:28 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: 88Key_PianoPlayer]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5067
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: 88Key_PianoPlayer
…If the best designers in the industry (including Del Fandrich, of course, and maybe he could do it himself) designed the best possible 152cm upright (and personally I don't care for narrow cabinets on uprights this size - I prefer a cabinet width at least 163cm, 173cm is good too, probably 183cm width would be my upper limit, with a depth comparble to the old roll player pianos), is it now possible that the small grand's bass tone (all the way down to A0, of course not neglecting the rest of the piano though) would beat that upright as soundly as the upright would beat a Kimball Whitney, "Grand", or other "terrible" spinet?

Still placing arbitrary, unnecessary and, to the artistic eye, unattractive limitations on our pianos, are we? Vertical pianos (of any height) do not need to be much more than 142cm to 145 cm (56” to 57”) wide. Anything wider than this is a waste of space that contributes nothing to the piano’s musical performance.

With any luck, I’ll never be asked to design a 140 cm (4’ 7”) piano. Hopefully these also are going the way of the late, and unlamented, Whitney spinet. I have designed a 150 cm (4’ 11”) piano and I’ve redesigned several others and this is about as short as I want to go.

You are talking about two entirely different types of pianos here. Given the parameters you describe it is probable that the tall upright piano will have, at least potentially, better sound across the entire compass. You are, after all, comparing one of the shortest possible grand piano designs with an upright taller (by approximately 18 cm to 20 cm, or 7” to 8”) than anything currently being produced. I would hope, given that height, something good would come of the scale. As to how well an upright piano of this height would play is a whole other issue. It would need either the longest coupling abstracts ever made—or some mechanism yet to be invented—to operate the action. That, or the pianist is going to have to climb a ladder and sit on a platform to play the thing.

Given enough time (and an R&D budget larger than anything anyone is spending today) I’m sure the technological problems could be overcome. And the piano could be built—the price would be high, however. Given the limited demand for such an instrument—so far as I know there is currently a customer base of one—the MSRP would be in the neighborhood of $80,000 to $100,000. (Due to the limited production run the purchaser would, of course, have the option of specifying side panels in any thickness desired. I’ve never seen side panels on a piano that were upwards of 150 mm (approximately 6”) thick but there is always a first time….)

And this is being compared to a piano that is, by its nature, designed to sell in the lowest priced segment of the market. Hardly a fair comparison is it?

ddf
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1483368 - 07/28/10 06:00 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: Steve Cohen]
OldFingers Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/14/06
Posts: 545
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Buying a Grand Less Than 5' in the upcoming issue of Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer:

Thanks for posting reference to this upcoming article. Could you give a bit more of a sneak preview by discussing the "loudness" qualities of these new pianos. Does it follow that a piano of the order of 5' is substantially less loud than one at 6'?

I'm considering replacing my RX-3 which has always been too loud for my room (11'X25'X8') and, above the fifth octave, too harsh for my ears. A smaller, quieter piano, with a nice mellow tone above C5 would be very appealing to me. So far I've been considering the CW175 modified according to the Del Fandrich's specifications, but I'm a little gun-shy ordering an instrument that I would not have had the chance to play. Although this may be OT, has anyone played such a piano?

Returning to the posted topic, I suggest to Calyspospots that he be careful about the "power" of the piano he puts in his room. It is not as easy to calm a loud piano as many posters would have you believe.
_________________________
Aspiring Retirement Home Lounge Pianist

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#1483388 - 07/28/10 06:12 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: OldFingers]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10344
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: OldFingers
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Buying a Grand Less Than 5' in the upcoming issue of Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer:

Thanks for posting reference to this upcoming article. Could you give a bit more of a sneak preview by discussing the "loudness" qualities of these new pianos. Does it follow that a piano of the order of 5' is substantially less loud than one at 6'?

I'm considering replacing my RX-3 which has always been too loud for my room (11'X25'X8') and, above the fifth octave, too harsh for my ears. A smaller, quieter piano, with a nice mellow tone above C5 would be very appealing to me. So far I've been considering the CW175 modified according to the Del Fandrich's specifications, but I'm a little gun-shy ordering an instrument that I would not have had the chance to play. Although this may be OT, has anyone played such a piano?

Returning to the posted topic, I suggest to Calyspospots that he be careful about the "power" of the piano he puts in his room. It is not as easy to calm a loud piano as many posters would have you believe.


I suggest that you have a good voicer work on your RX3. They can work wonders.

Also read the article entitled Making Your Piano Room Sound Grand in Piano Buyer. There you will find a number of easy things you can do in the room to optimize the tonality of your piano to your needs.

If you finally decide to change instruments the CW175 is a great choice.
_________________________
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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#1483429 - 07/28/10 07:40 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: Steve Cohen]
OldFingers Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/14/06
Posts: 545
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
I suggest that you have a good voicer work on your RX3. They can work wonders.

Several good techs have tried, (even Don Manino) all to no avail. Admittedly, my ears might be more sensitive to "harshness" or "brightness" than most.

Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
Also read the article entitled Making Your Piano Room Sound Grand in Piano Buyer. There you will find a number of easy things you can do in the room to optimize the tonality of your piano to your needs

I've got rugs, a padded string blanket, and acoustic panels everywhere and I still have to play with the lid closed. I probably have a heavy hand, but I could bang away on my old Kimball mini-grand unscathed.

Originally Posted By: Steve Cohen
If you finally decide to change instruments the CW175 is a great choice.

When I was buying the RX-3, the CW175 was my runner-up choice, but I loved the action of the Kawai keyboard (still do). Since I'm an older and wiser man, I'm really interested in a quieter, less bright piano, which is why I am particularly interested in the recommendations of Del Fandrich, viz. "Ronsen hammers using Bacon felt and voiced so there is no hint of harshness to the tone". If only I could hear such a piano.
_________________________
Aspiring Retirement Home Lounge Pianist

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#1483746 - 07/29/10 11:09 AM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: Bachsky]
Pianosaurus Rex Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/12/10
Posts: 305
Originally Posted By: Bachsky
Something to think about... IMHO the shorter the grand the less satisfying the sound, especially in the low bass. A tall vertical can have longer bass strings than a "baby" grand & a good 50" vertical will out-play most small grands.


It may out-sound the grand, but it won't out-play it. laugh

Grand actions are still a lot nicer than an uprights, regardless of size, that shouldn't be ignored either.
_________________________

Student/apprentice technician

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#1483976 - 07/29/10 04:23 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: PianoMan1958]
Norbert Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13975
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Larry Fine in his last publication very favourately commented on the smallish but actually great sounding 4'10 Ritmueller grands with these pianos completely new by design by German wiz L.Thomma.

The pianos come with top quality Renner hammers and had astounded me [and others..] during last NAMM to the extent that we may decide to become dealers.

http://www.ritmullerusa.com/images/Rit_2009_Grands/Ritmuller-GH148R.pdf

Definitely worth a look, to play and "listen in"

Norbert


Edited by Norbert (07/29/10 04:26 PM)
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#1483981 - 07/29/10 04:35 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: Norbert]
Steve Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/07
Posts: 634
Loc: Toronto

You might try just changing the hammers in your rx 3 with
A. Isaac, or Ronsen.

That should do it for a lot less than a trade in will cost.

Steve
_________________________
Vintage Piano sales and restoration in Toronto
Exclusive Live Performance Player Systems Dealer

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#1484095 - 07/29/10 08:00 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: Steve Jackson]
OldFingers Offline
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Registered: 01/14/06
Posts: 545
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: Steve Jackson
You might try just changing the hammers in your rx 3 with
A. Isaac, or Ronsen.

Thanks for the suggestion but we have tried that too. We have concluded that I just don't like the sound of my piano above the break at C5. There's nothing wrong with the piano, it's just a matter of taste. That's why my next piano has to be the opposite of "harsh" or "bright". Any suggestions?
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#1484100 - 07/29/10 08:05 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: Norbert]
OldFingers Offline
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Registered: 01/14/06
Posts: 545
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: Norbert
Larry Fine in his last publication very favourately commented on the smallish but actually great sounding 4'10 Ritmueller grands with these pianos completely new by design by German wiz L.Thomma.

Norbert, would you comment on the loudness of this piano say compared to an RX-3. Is it intuitively obvious that smaller means less loud? That would really be a plus.
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#1484197 - 07/29/10 10:29 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: OldFingers]
gnuboi Offline
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Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 2349
Loc: USA
I think smaller only means slightly less loud. When I was trying pianos I found the Baldwins to have a less bright treble compared to the RX-3. It turned me away from Baldwin ultimately, but could be a plus for you.

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#1484493 - 07/30/10 09:48 AM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: gnuboi]
calypsospots Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/21/10
Posts: 4
Loc: Ohio, USA
I'm pleased to see this has gotten some lively discussion going on small grands. It definitely gives food for thought as I continue to think about the upcoming purchase.

I had hoped to choose and install the piano by now, but as I haven't, it won't happen for at least another couple of weeks (traveling out of state). With luck, and I do mean luck (I have a lot to do on this trip) I might get to some other stores and test other pianos while away, which would give me a wider range to base my decision on. It's also possible that my local stores will get some new (new and used) stock in during that time.

It is encouraging to hear that the small grands aren't so iffy as I'd been hearing. I wish the discussion alluded to above would go online 8/1 rather than 9/1! While it's good to shop around, I'd like to have the piano chosen and delivered soon so that I don't fill the space with boxes, or get involved in remodeling tasks, or, heaven forfend, start grading student midterms. However, I can only choose among what shows up around here, really.

I don't know quite what to think on the loudness issue. I don't tend to pound at the piano as I once (in excess of grade-school passion) did. The house is freestanding. Then again, the piano will be in the front room (maybe 10' from sidewalk) and I'm in a historic district where the houses are close together. I don't NEED the piano to be all that loud and the room will be pretty live too, even once I find a satisfactory rug to put under the piano.

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#1484683 - 07/30/10 02:26 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: calypsospots]
Hop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 654
Loc: Hudson, FL
While I chose a 178cm grand, the 151cm Hailun was very impressive to me (but it did project, so I wouldn't call it "quiet"). Evidently there are other 5ft. or slightly less instruments that are also desireable.

Some of the quieter instruments I have played have been the Falcone family (three different name plates from one manufacturer), some of the Schimmels. I've found quieter pianos at various price points, and in a wide variety of sizes. Just try some.

Hop
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#1484723 - 07/30/10 03:41 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: Hop]
MarcoM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/17/10
Posts: 246
Originally Posted By: Hop
While I chose a 178cm grand, the 151cm Hailun was very impressive to me (but it did project, so I wouldn't call it "quiet").


how much of the loudness/projection is influenced by voicing though? I keep reading that it is possible to 'voice' a piano 'quieter' but I am not really sure if I understand how that could be done without changing its tone as well...

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#1484738 - 07/30/10 04:08 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: MarcoM]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5067
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: MarcoM
Originally Posted By: Hop
While I chose a 178cm grand, the 151cm Hailun was very impressive to me (but it did project, so I wouldn't call it "quiet").


how much of the loudness/projection is influenced by voicing though? I keep reading that it is possible to 'voice' a piano 'quieter' but I am not really sure if I understand how that could be done without changing its tone as well...

By its nature, voicing does change the tone—the “voice”—of the piano. That is the whole point of voicing.

Our perception of a piano’s “power” is based, to a large extent, on the shape of the attack portion of the sound envelope reaching our ears. If that attack is sharp and percussive we tend to perceive the piano as “loud” and “projecting” (whatever that word might mean…). A sharp and percussive attack may sound impressive o the showroom floor but it can be quite annoying in the smaller rooms of the average house.

Assuming any given piano’s design is reasonably competent, hammer voicing can change the tone in such a way as to reduce the energy in that initial attack portion and spread it out some over the rest of the sound envelope. In theory there will be just as much total sound energy (pretty close, anyway) but the well-voiced piano will not sound so obnoxiously loud.

Through that part of the keyboard where most people play, the size of the piano will have less effect on the amount of overall sound power potential than will its design and voicing.

ddf
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#1484871 - 07/30/10 07:57 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: Del]
Norbert Online   content
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Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13975
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
…). A sharp and percussive attack may sound impressive o the showroom floor but it can be quite annoying in the smaller rooms of the average house.


Very very true and a not infrequent reason for owners' concern or dissatisfaction with their instrument.

Norbert
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#1484898 - 07/30/10 09:10 PM Re: Questions on buying smaller grand [Re: Norbert]
Norbert Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 13975
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
One more thing to say here is that there was a time when small grands were totally acceptable with many of them being of very acceptable sound quality.

These pianos were used in salons, small bars, houses [which were much smaller then] music studios, even churches and so on.

Over the years most manufacturers realized that the real money was in selling large[r] grands giving up on building smaller pianos and grands with enticing tone qualities.

Pianos were 'scaled down' in virtual each of their production process, the the economy of scale kicked in and the word "upgrading" became both useful and fashionable.

It is nice to see that some manufacturers today have reversed this trend and revived the premise that "small is beautiful" [ and not so expensive at same time...] being perfectly attainable.

As it once was.

Norbert smile


Edited by Norbert (07/30/10 09:16 PM)
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