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#1754082 - 09/17/11 12:48 PM August Forster 5'8 vs. Steinway 5'8
IreneAdler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 120
Loc: Washington
While looking for my first piano I have come these two piano which are both good possibilities; and being relatively new to buying a piano, I need some advice as I am not sure which one would be the better choice.
The AF made in 1984, excellent condition inside and out. It has new hammers and strings. Nice touch, great clarity to the notes, and long sustain. The lady wants 18k for the piano, might be able to talk her down to 16k.

The Steinway is a model M from 1920. It was owned by one family before the current owner a music teacher. The pin-block and soundboard are good along with new hammers, strings and keytops. It also has nice tone and long sustain. The gentleman wants 15k.

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#1755247 - 09/19/11 11:02 AM Re: August Forster 5'8 vs. Steinway 5'8 [Re: IreneAdler]
GretchensPianos Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/22/09
Posts: 131
Loc: MA
Hi Irene!

You would be smart, with such a major purchase, to ask a piano technician to go with you when you look at both pianos.

Other than that, Steinway has a reputation for lasting for generations. I'd go with that.

Good luck!

Gretchen
_________________________
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http://gretchenspianos.wordpress.com ~ website, blog.
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about making steady progress!

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#1755348 - 09/19/11 02:20 PM Re: August Forster 5'8 vs. Steinway 5'8 [Re: GretchensPianos]
PianoWorksATL Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 3209
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: GretchensPianos
Other than that, Steinway has a reputation for lasting for generations. I'd go with that.
The Steinway has already put in its time. Since most of it's components are 90 years old, the few things done are relatively modest compared to the cost of full restoration. Restringing a 90 year old pinblock is a shortcut, for sure. The AF is really much younger with a reputation for quality as high or higher than Steinway. The AF sound isn't as celebrated, but it is to evaluated and appreciated by many. I would consider them to be an apples to oranges comparison as instruments with the exception of price and size.
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#1755350 - 09/19/11 02:22 PM Re: August Forster 5'8 vs. Steinway 5'8 [Re: IreneAdler]
Arctic_Mama Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/30/09
Posts: 379
Loc: Alaska
Yes, I think you're likely to get more life out of the AF unless the Steinway has been hugely refurbished. Take a tech along with you and have them evaluate the condition of the Steinway. If it doesn't need any massive repairs and you much prefer the sound of it, it might not be a bad buy, but a 90 year old piano is a red flag for me in terms of needing massive maintenance and replacement parts.


Edited by Arctic_Mama (09/19/11 02:57 PM)
Edit Reason: Fixed typo
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#1755372 - 09/19/11 02:50 PM Re: August Forster 5'8 vs. Steinway 5'8 [Re: IreneAdler]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 15086
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
Other than that, Steinway has a reputation for lasting for generations.


Yeah, but only after being fully restored again.

Don't forget to add the possibly considerable cost for that....

Norbert
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#1755586 - 09/19/11 07:22 PM Re: August Forster 5'8 vs. Steinway 5'8 [Re: PianoWorksATL]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: PianoWorksATL
The Steinway has already put in its time. Since most of it's components are 90 years old, the few things done are relatively modest compared to the cost of full restoration. Restringing a 90 year old pinblock is a shortcut, for sure. The AF is really much younger with a reputation for quality as high or higher than Steinway. The AF sound isn't as celebrated, but it is to evaluated and appreciated by many. I would consider them to be an apples to oranges comparison as instruments with the exception of price and size.
Sam Bennett


The Förster already has a thread going on, here: Förster

Sam, you need to check your dates and facts about piano production. The reputation of 1980s Förster or any other piano from the Communist Era VEB Piano Union (East German People's Owned Piano Making Collective) can in no way be compared to Steinway. It's not like comparing apples to oranges, it's like comparing Yugos to Cadillacs.

As a tech, I would have far more confidence in the pinblock of a restrung 1920s Steinway than I would of a restrung East German pinblock from the 1980s! (Why was it restrung in the first place - was it already failing after 20 years?)

I am not sure what a Förster cost new in 1984, but I don't think it would be worth more than 30% of its original cost, which was surely not $55,000.
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#1755607 - 09/19/11 08:01 PM Re: August Forster 5'8 vs. Steinway 5'8 [Re: IreneAdler]
PianoWorksATL Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/19/09
Posts: 3209
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Ya know, I see so many good pianos that get bad treatment, poor pianos that get good treatment, and so few AF's overall, it's pretty hard to attribute how good was the guy working that day back when....

I don't write off too many pianos with good names, but 90 years later, you can assume that a budget of $16k will allow you to get something nicer and newer from somewhere. The price of that Steinway (of that age) is either high or low, depending on the total work done to it.

We know that current prices of used pianos are not based on their original prices. In the case of the AF, I don't know what you would base it on, but for makers with a good and continuous reputation, that 25-30 year old piano becomes more like 30%-60% of new, best price. Is the mostly original Steinway worth 30% of what it originally sold for? Of course not.
_________________________
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PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop
www.PianoWorks.com
www.youtube.com/PianoWorksAtlanta

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#1755699 - 09/19/11 11:19 PM Re: August Forster 5'8 vs. Steinway 5'8 [Re: IreneAdler]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Sam Bennet
... The AF is really much younger with a reputation for quality as high or higher than Steinway.

When I read between your lines, I get the impression you are not very familiar with and/or have very limited experience with pianos made in the DDR (East Germany). To try to compare them with Steinways or to imply that they had a good reputation for any kind of quality is simply an exhibition of ignorance (in the best sense of the word) in this department.


There are a few old German brands of the East that have endured and outlived the difficult years from 1930 to 1990, such as Blüthner and Förster. It is well known that they make wonderful instruments today, but the instruments they were building 30 years ago were in a completely different league. Similarly, how would you rate a 1980s Estonia in comparison to the Estonias today?
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Piano Forte Supply
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