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#1985908 - 11/12/12 09:54 PM Estonia or C. Bechstein?
shortie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/08/12
Posts: 11
I have been looking for a piano for almost two months. I have been played Mason&Hamlin, Seiler, Steinway, Bosendorfers. I really liked the bosendorfer, but $$$$$$! Last week I saw a Estonia L190 and a C. Bechstein M/P 192. I liked them both, but can't make up my mind which one I want, I would appreciate any suggestions or comments.

I have played a few C.Bechsteins and found them very bright. This particular one I played is voiced by a really great technician. The tone is very colorful and powerful, the action is somewhat light but very easy to control.

I liked the Estonia too. It has a warm singing tone, sounds beautiful, with a heavier action, but I didn't find much personality on that piano. Also the salesman was a little pushy, I wasn't very comfortable at that store.

When reading Larry Fine's book, page 154, I saw this,

"C. Bechstein grands are impeccably made in Europe with the customary brighter tone that Europeans prefer, and may need considerable voicing to suit the American musical taste. (However, several of my colleagues had high praise for the wide dynamic range, tonal color, and responsive action of the recently redesigned 7' 8" model C grand.) The company maintains that since voicing is a matter of overall piano design, their pianos are voiced at the factory to their tonal standard and should not be altered. Some customers may still prefer the slightly warmer sound of the Academy grands, which are also about half the price."

The voicing shouldn't be altered? So does voicing cause any problems to the piano? I don't know anything about that.. I did like the C. Bechstein I played, didn't sound bright at all.

It is so difficult to find a piano! I live in a small town and can't find anything local, have to drive to the city on weekends to different stores´╝î and it makes it very difficult to compare the pianos. frown

Btw, the C. Bechstein is only $10k more than the Estonia.I haven't tried any Grotrian, Bluthner,Sauter or Schimmel, yet.

Sincerely,
shortie

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#1985915 - 11/12/12 10:13 PM Re: Estonia or C. Bechstein? [Re: shortie]
Chopinlover49 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/11
Posts: 640
When I played a large model C Bechstein last fall, I thought it was wonderful. Singing quality, great action, beautiful construction. The Estonias were very nice, too, but not close to the Bechstein. You might also try the Bechstein Academy models if the tone is too bright, but I liked the C. Bechsteins the best of all the top pianos they had at the time. Kind of expensive though--it was over 7 feet and pricey.

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#1985922 - 11/12/12 10:20 PM Re: Estonia or C. Bechstein? [Re: shortie]
ando Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3612
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: shortie

"C. Bechstein grands are impeccably made in Europe with the customary brighter tone that Europeans prefer, and may need considerable voicing to suit the American musical taste."

Europeans prefer a brighter tone? I thought that title was always reserved for the Japanese pianos. Europeans pianos have always been marketed in Australia as mellow compared to Asian pianos. I've never played an American piano, as they are hard to come by in Australia, but I wonder how dark they can get?

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#1985956 - 11/13/12 12:50 AM Re: Estonia or C. Bechstein? [Re: shortie]
schwammerl Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/06
Posts: 2012
Loc: Belgium
Quote:
Btw, the C. Bechstein is only $10k more than the Estonia.


You cannot be compairing new to new can you? It should be approximately double the price according to the Larry Fine's book you've read but also in Europe.

schwammerl.

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#1985967 - 11/13/12 01:55 AM Re: Estonia or C. Bechstein? [Re: shortie]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14139
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Having been to Bechstein's main Berlin showroom several times in recent years, I could chime in here easily.

In essence, I found the pianos so variable that it is almost impossible to say anything.

The only pianos that really stuck out were their concerts.

3 out of 7 were exceptional.

Now, wouldn't this be just about same involving any other make?

Admiring those who keep talking here about brands in the most general of all terms...

Norbert
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#1986029 - 11/13/12 07:19 AM Re: Estonia or C. Bechstein? [Re: ando]
Rotom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1670
Originally Posted By: ando

Europeans prefer a brighter tone? I thought that title was always reserved for the Japanese pianos. Europeans pianos have always been marketed in Australia as mellow compared to Asian pianos. I've never played an American piano, as they are hard to come by in Australia, but I wonder how dark they can get?


I've played one (1) American piano, a 40 year old NY Steinway L. I'm pretty sure it is far from the best example of an American piano that is possible, but it sounded like it had a very thick, rich, dark tone. As opposed to a the more "American-ish" sound, european pianos are not by any means bright, but I have found they have a purer, less thick sound, that could perceived as brighter by some.

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#1986036 - 11/13/12 07:49 AM Re: Estonia or C. Bechstein? [Re: shortie]
Mark... Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/27/06
Posts: 4380
Loc: Jersey Shore
I have an Estonia L190 and I'd get the C Bechstein...

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#1986052 - 11/13/12 09:01 AM Re: Estonia or C. Bechstein? [Re: Norbert]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19460
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Norbert
Admiring those who keep talking here about brands in the most general of all terms...
Of course, people talk that way because otherwise almost no discussion of pianos is possible at all. Since every piano of even the same make and model is somewhat different(as you just pointed out with the concert Bechstein), if people adopted your approach no discussion would be possible.

No one's saying every model by a given maker sounds the same or even that every piano of both the same make and model sounds the same, but there certainly are similarities between the tone and touch of different models for each maker and even closer similarities between two pianos of the same make and same model.

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#1986092 - 11/13/12 10:52 AM Re: Estonia or C. Bechstein? [Re: schwammerl]
shortie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/08/12
Posts: 11
Originally Posted By: schwammerl
Quote:
Btw, the C. Bechstein is only $10k more than the Estonia.


You cannot be compairing new to new can you? It should be approximately double the price according to the Larry Fine's book you've read but also in Europe.

schwammerl.


C. Bechstein is actually a new piano.It was built in 2005 I think and just never been sold. would that be a problem?

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#1986162 - 11/13/12 12:43 PM Re: Estonia or C. Bechstein? [Re: shortie]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14139
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Here's what I often recommend in similar cases:

1] play the pianos on several occasions to get a better impression

2] play different types music: ideally what you play most..pianos do sound different using different types music

3]compare identical or at least similiar size pianos otherwise you will get quickly lost..

4] ask yourself how much more a piano is worth to you over another.Do you like one just "a bit more" or "lots more" - important when holding your wallet,

5] which dealer puts you more at ease? Which one would you trust with your business most? What quality tuners does the guy use: cheapest ones on the block?

6] pianos tend to get brighter over time. Which one would be more suitable to you up another notch in brightness?

7] Don't ask others for advice relying 100% on it. Those who have asked their mothers for 'right mate' have as many divorces later as those who didn't.

Good luck!

Norbert smile


Edited by Norbert (11/13/12 12:45 PM)
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#1986189 - 11/13/12 01:46 PM Re: Estonia or C. Bechstein? [Re: shortie]
joe80 Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1238
I'm not sure that european pianos have a brighter or mellower tone than American ones, but European instruments tend to have a 'cleaner' sound, less harmonics, and perhaps, but not always, a longer sustain.
They can sound extremely bright at times, but they are often voiced quite mellow. Sometimes, people voice the Bluthner too mellow for instance, but that's not to say it can't be made to sound bright. There is a certain optimum degree of voicing between mellow and bright, outside of which the piano will just sound wrong.

Generally I don't tell my technician if I want it bright or mellow, I just ask him to voice it and make it even, and perhaps tone it down when it gets too hard from use, but I don't ask to have the actual character of the instrument changed, although I guess I could if I wanted.

As for Japanese pianos, well, Kawai is generally a bit more mellow, and Yamaha is a bit brighter. If they are set up well, they are all beautiful.

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#1986227 - 11/13/12 03:31 PM Re: Estonia or C. Bechstein? [Re: shortie]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14139
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
I'm not sure that european pianos have a brighter or mellower tone than American ones, but European instruments tend to have a 'cleaner' sound, less harmonics, and perhaps, but not always, a longer sustain.


While this is in essence true, there is considerable difference between "European" pianos as well.

For example Fazioli often has a very recognizable signature tone, so does Hamburg Steinway and certainly Estonia.

In fact Estonia has IMHO one of the most unique sounds which is directly based on the unique cultural heritage of this tiny Baltic nation.

In my own experience I have long learned that many pianos sound a certain way when new only to change as time goes by.

While it is maintained that a good tech can always influence these things, in many cases these pianos still have a tendency to go back to their original "default setting"

It is this 'change' and with it the more or less successful control of it by technical intervention which seems to matters most for those who wish to enjoy their pianos truly for a long time.

Some pianos also seem to perform in this regards somewhat better than others which could be an advantage to start with a piano's softer tone to begin with.

Generally speaking...

Norbert smile


Edited by Norbert (11/13/12 03:36 PM)
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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