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#1766043 - 10/06/11 06:59 PM Boston GP-193 vs Mason AA vs Bechstein A208
qualia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/25/11
Posts: 56
-The Boston is new and in a much lower price range, obviously.

-The Mason AA is new, with the new composite action.

-The Bechstein is a couple of years old and used, in the same price range as the Mason.

About me:

I stopped playing in high school, but returned to piano just over a year ago (I'm 40) and am obsessed with Bach. I play about 90 minutes a day, but on weekends sometimes will get in to the 4-6 hour range.

I've been piano shopping for a couple of months now. Would love to have found a reconditioned Steinway B, but I couldn't locate one at a reasonable price and with a live soundboard.

My thoughts at this point...

The Boston is the best deal: low-mid 20's and it's nearly as polished a piano as the other two. It's been prepped beautifully and has authority in the bass, complexity of tone, and clarity throughout.

The downside? The Boston is, well, a Boston. I've never played an older Boston than I really loved, and I can't imagine rebuilding one. What happens 15-20 years down the road? Also, the action is a little heavy for my Gould-ish aspirations.

The new Mason has two obvious strengths: (1) super-fast, light action (hey, carbon fiber rocks, traditionalists!); (2) a tiger in the lower registers. It's a heavy, powerful piano and having all that effortless power on tap makes me want to play octaves. The Mason is also, in my opinion, a lifetime piano, something I would possibly rebuild someday or give to my kids, neither of which I can imagine doing with the Boston.

Weaknesses of the Mason? The singing registers are not as lush as, say, an equivalently-sized Steinway. Sustain is ok, but not amazing. It's also in a different price category from the Boston, of course, and a stretch for my budget.

The Bechstein? The longest of the pianos I'm looking at. Amazing action, and a beautiful singing tone. It doesn't have the harmonic complexity of, say, a B, but then again, I like its clarity for Bach. No warranty, as it's used... I think it's the piano I *love* most. I also don't know how low the price should be. (I have a better idea on the other two.)

Thanks in advance for comments.
_________________________
Bechstein Academy 210

Working on: Bach

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#1766050 - 10/06/11 07:10 PM Re: Boston GP-193 vs Mason AA vs Bechstein A208 [Re: qualia]
PassingBy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1676
Go for the bechstein, very likely to be the best. It is also longer, giving better tone, and action control. I too am a Bach lover, and fell for the bechstein. However it was too pricey, unfortunately, so it was a no-go for me, but maybe not for you though, hopefully. The bechstein would also very much be a lifetime piano.

Gould-ish aspirations, huh? Funny. I started working on the Goldberg Variations at the start of this week, and they are fascinating, and fun to play. I wholly recommend them for you to play. Gould's 1981 version is by far the best.

But then, I got the same piano as Gould used for the recording of some of his later works, so that's a plus! grin

All the best!


Edited by Rotom (10/06/11 07:11 PM)

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#1766132 - 10/06/11 09:32 PM Re: Boston GP-193 vs Mason AA vs Bechstein A208 [Re: PassingBy]
qualia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/25/11
Posts: 56
Thanks, Rotom. Whether I can afford the Bechstein depends on my dealer's flexibility. The Mason AA is definitely within reach, but who knows...

Goldbergs are a bit beyond me. Sure I can play the aria and a few of the easier variations -- gotta love the canons -- but then it just gets NUTS. Agreed, Gould's later recording was his best, and you are lucky to have such a Yamaha (I'm guessing).

If you haven't seen it, may I recommend "A Romance on the Three Legs"? It's a recent biography of Gould, along with CD 318 and Verne Edquist, his main tech.
_________________________
Bechstein Academy 210

Working on: Bach

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#1766142 - 10/06/11 09:52 PM Re: Boston GP-193 vs Mason AA vs Bechstein A208 [Re: qualia]
PassingBy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1676
What about a mason BB? Is that in reach for you?

The English suites are good as well. I played no 2 in a minor, I thought it was very nice. Comparatively straightforward.

If you DO want to look for a C7, to play your Bach, be sure to keep a lookout for a 7'4" series D. And it is only 14 cm longer than the bechstein you are looking at now. It is also comparatively good at most different types of music, except for maybe Mozart. But I won't hijack this thread anymore, I've said enough about my piano already. eek

I will keep a lookout for "romance on three legs", it does look interesting. thanks!

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#1766193 - 10/06/11 11:31 PM Re: Boston GP-193 vs Mason AA vs Bechstein A208 [Re: qualia]
qualia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/25/11
Posts: 56
A new Mason BB is, unfortunately, out of budgetary range.

The English suites, I've just started on: yes, #2 as well. Up to this point, it's been inventions, sinfonias, "little" preludes, fugues & fughettas, partitas, concerto in f minor, and (this is the real time suck) well-tempered clavier book one.

I was actually looking very closely at a C-7 from 1969, with plenty of power and sustain left in the soundboard. It would need a new action, though, and price-wise, I couldn't see putting so much into a 40-year-old piano.

If I found a C-7 inside of 10-15 years old and not beaten to death, then yes I would be all over it.

Thanks for the comments, though.
_________________________
Bechstein Academy 210

Working on: Bach

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#1766194 - 10/06/11 11:47 PM Re: Boston GP-193 vs Mason AA vs Bechstein A208 [Re: qualia]
PassingBy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1676
Thé serial number's got to start with D, though. Otherwise it's probably too old. Or get one that's after the series F.

Why the new action?

Have you got the Italian Concerto? It's a great piece, and been better if you learn the whole thing. Exciting. But do make sure you do other composers too (and I do assume you do, as all pianists should laugh ).

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#1766210 - 10/07/11 12:45 AM Re: Boston GP-193 vs Mason AA vs Bechstein A208 [Re: qualia]
PassingBy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1676
Also, for now, you can forget the Boston, as you don't really seem to like it that much (it seems "lukewarm"). Keep at the Bechstein, and you can always have the AA or something you like better(of you can find one!) if all else fails. Good luck!

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#1766241 - 10/07/11 02:18 AM Re: Boston GP-193 vs Mason AA vs Bechstein A208 [Re: qualia]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3462
My take:

While the Boston may be a Boston, the grands were redesigned a few years ago, and are actually quite nice. Is it a M&H? No. But, with the money you save, you can optimize the action to your liking and do concert-level prep work. I wouldn't worry about it not being a rebuilding candidate in the future. Old Kawais and Yamahas are getting to be of that age, and they are being rebuild, sometimes with new soundboards.

The M&H would be a nice choice. It's American, and the WNG action is a no brainer!

Bechsteins can be really nice, too, but it's more money than the M&H. I'm not confident that a 208cm piano will be a huge performance improvement over a 192cm piano, though.

Lastly, people seem to love Yamaha C7s, and Yamaha in general, but I don't understand why. To me, it's a "meh" piano; everyone has them, and they're boring. Objectively, it does everything a piano should do, but I've only played one or two that I liked. This, of course, can be mitigated to an extent with good prep work, but with the premium that Yamahas seem to go for just makes me feel that it's not worth it.

Lastly, I'd need a good reason to replace an action on a 25-40 year old piano, like really deteriorated wood or wanting the WNG action. Action parts, generally, can be restored to like-new playing ability without too much fuss.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1766269 - 10/07/11 03:48 AM Re: Boston GP-193 vs Mason AA vs Bechstein A208 [Re: qualia]
PassingBy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1676
On the contrary, I hate C6's and C5's. No, I don't love Yamaha in general, the like is quite restricted.

How much do the redesigned Boston's cost compared to MH (more, less, similar)?

If you want C7, don't get a new (less than 15yo) one because they ARE just boring! (to me at least, you or others might think otherwise...)

The Bechstein might be much more piano for the money comparatively because it is probably lightly used, and the price has come down a bit, because of secondhand.

Again, everything is a possibility.

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#1766406 - 10/07/11 11:37 AM Re: Boston GP-193 vs Mason AA vs Bechstein A208 [Re: PassingBy]
qualia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/25/11
Posts: 56
Thanks for the advice re: the Boston. The Boston is "new", but it is not the PE series, so I'm guessing that is pre-redesign?

Rotom is right about price: it is very close between Bechstein and Mason AA because the Bechstein is used. So that is not a consideration. However, we're talking about roughly a $10k gap between the Boston and the Bechstein/Mason.

The Mason is just out of the crate and needs prep, while the Bechstein is already prepped to my liking, so with prep, the Mason may actually cost a bit more.

About the 40-year C-7... it was owned by a very strong player -- I spotted 3 broken and repaired strings -- and the action wasn't that awesome new Yamaha action. Various parts were worn, loose, or what have you, in the mechanism. Attempts had already been made at repairing the action without replacing it. I also would have had the whole piano restrung, which would have risked the pinblock. So, it was an expensive, dangerous proposition. But it was just a great C-7, and no, it didn't sound like the new ones, which do everything right, but are a little soul-less.
_________________________
Bechstein Academy 210

Working on: Bach

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#1766483 - 10/07/11 02:22 PM Re: Boston GP-193 vs Mason AA vs Bechstein A208 [Re: qualia]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3462
Originally Posted By: qualia
Thanks for the advice re: the Boston. The Boston is "new", but it is not the PE series, so I'm guessing that is pre-redesign?


That's correct. I wouldn't even consider it, then.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#1766502 - 10/07/11 03:00 PM Re: Boston GP-193 vs Mason AA vs Bechstein A208 [Re: qualia]
Rich D. Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 1306
Loc: Rehoboth Beach De. USA
The Boston is certainly not in the same league as the other two. You may like a well prepped Mason quite a bit more than one just out of the box. At it's best the Mason should be able to sing as well as a Steinway. While I'm also a big fan of Bechstein, before I made the deal I'd have the dealer prepp the Mason and then play both again.

Rich
_________________________
Retired at the beach (well maybe not completely)

Anton Rubinstein said about the piano: "You think it is one instrument? It is a hundred instruments!"

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#1766788 - 10/08/11 06:54 AM Re: Boston GP-193 vs Mason AA vs Bechstein A208 [Re: Rich D.]
qualia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/25/11
Posts: 56
Good advice. Regarding the Boston, the only reason I haven't ruled it out is that it sounds fantastic: better than any other Bostons I've heard.

I'll try to get them to prep the Mason while keeping the price close to their original quote.
_________________________
Bechstein Academy 210

Working on: Bach

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#1766994 - 10/08/11 07:09 PM Re: Boston GP-193 vs Mason AA vs Bechstein A208 [Re: qualia]
qualia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/25/11
Posts: 56
Well... I just bought the Bechstein. Very tough decision and I still not sure I chose wisely. Back-to-back with the Boston, the Bechstein sounded a little meek, despite it's 6" advantage. Still, it had a musicality, refinement, and immediacy of touch that neither the Mason nor the Boston could match. Should be in my house next week.

Thanks, all, for your advice.
_________________________
Bechstein Academy 210

Working on: Bach

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#1767033 - 10/08/11 09:02 PM Re: Boston GP-193 vs Mason AA vs Bechstein A208 [Re: qualia]
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4983
Loc: boston north
Congratulations qualia and thanks for sharing your piano adventure!

Despite being an AA owner who loves her piano, each and every piano decided upon is the 'right one' for the new owner. I hope you continue to share the delivery with us with pictures.

Best wishes for many years of enjoyment.

LL
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#1767034 - 10/08/11 09:06 PM Re: Boston GP-193 vs Mason AA vs Bechstein A208 [Re: qualia]
PassingBy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1676
Awesome!! Really great choice, congratulations!

Please do post pictures of it when it arrives. We all love to see pianos in their new homes! wink How exciting! smile

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#1767139 - 10/09/11 01:47 AM Re: Boston GP-193 vs Mason AA vs Bechstein A208 [Re: lilylady]
qualia Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/25/11
Posts: 56
Thanks all. Will post pictures, and yes, to the AA owners out there, you have something truly special. In the end it was only my Bach obsession that tipped the scales. Even so, maybe on a different day of the week, I would have gone the other way.
_________________________
Bechstein Academy 210

Working on: Bach

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