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#2036433 - 02/20/13 01:29 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Steve Cohen]
Norbert Online   content
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Quote:
Originally Posted By: Norbert
... P.S. what does 'perfect' actually mean?
Excellent question. To bad there is not an equally excellent answer....



To me 'perfect' means a great musician/composer using a less than perfect piano.

To create 'perfect' music...

Norbert wink
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#2036652 - 02/20/13 11:01 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Steve Cohen]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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A wise woman once told me that perfection is akin to a mirage; when conditions allow, you can glimpse it in the distance, but with every move to reach it, it recedes from your grasp.
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#2036792 - 02/21/13 07:05 AM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Steve Cohen]
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
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Registered: 01/12/06
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Jim's excellent post made me think of what the reality is in the piano industry, as opposed to what people that frequent this forum might perceive it to be. Because we all love pianos, and piano playing, enough to visit, and contribute, to a forum like this, we may be in danger of assuming that this is how all piano players, owners, or prospective buyers view the instrument and the industry. In fact, data would indicate otherwise. I would venture to guess that the vast majority of pianos sold are purchased by folks that have NO idea of what makes one piano worth $50,000.00 and another worth $5000.00, nor do they care. They want a nice "piece of furniture", the status that it brings, and something for the kids to practice on between lessons, which more often than not, lasts about a year or two before the instrument sits dormant and uncared for for many years. Add to that the group of folks that, while caring about the instrument they play, may not be able to afford the piano of their "dreams", and it is no wonder the manufacturers would be reluctant to venture from their "comfort zone" into the "unknown".
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#2036812 - 02/21/13 08:10 AM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Steve Cohen]
Withindale Offline
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I wonder if the conversation at Del's table in China came to the same conclusions as Jim and CC2 & ChopinLover in their posts above?
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#2036919 - 02/21/13 11:43 AM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Withindale]
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
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Well, judging by Del's previous comments on the resistance he's encountered by the piano industry "establishment" in the past to his pleas for "revolutionary change", and, depending on who these dinner partners happened to be, I would say it was quite possible.
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#2037066 - 02/21/13 04:47 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: jim ialeggio]
Roy123 Offline
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Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
Originally Posted By: Roy123
Besides, based on my profession and orientation, I'm good at solving such problems.) It seems that almost everything in the piano that I touch has some problem. It truly astonishes me. In any other industry, a company that built a product with so many quality-control problems and poorly designed systems would be rewarded by being put out of business in short order.


Though a piano is a physical object and must obey physical requirements in order to function well, there are emotional aspects to this business which often tend to overwhelm the basic physical realities.

In many ways spending the kind of money that the purchase of a nice piano requires, is really really hard, even for a dedicated musician to justify. After all, a piano has "no apparent utilitarian value". Its purchase can seem awfully close to frivolous pleasure seeking. Financial resources could/should, we are told, be spent more prudently on "less frivolous" items. You "need" a car to get to work...but you don't "need" a piano for basic day to day existence (except of course for those who, like me, who would shrivel up and lose compass without that sound to energize my life).

In order to convince even fine pianists to spend the kind of money required in the purchase of a fine piano, they need to get past the nagging voice labeling the purchase as "frivolous". This requires motivation which the recitation of engineering specs and manufacturing efficiency does not provide...folks need to have their mystique genes turned on.

We may be designers, rebuilders and fine physical technicians, but we can't remove ourselves from the emotional needs of our clients and customers, and their needs seem to require some level of mystique. This can tend to leave manufacturers and technicians needing to believe in the mystique and branding themselves...a bit of a grand neural loop.

All this tends to take us away from some very simple physical design facts into la-la land...but there you have it...its the human brain,and that's all we have to work with.

In this business, one ignores the need for mystique at one's own peril. The trick is to acknowledge the mystique openly, while focusing clearly on the physical realities that will actually help create instruments that will satisfy the essential musical needs that inspired a client to purchase a piano in the first place.

Jim Ialeggio


Jim, I can't argue with anything you said, but let me give what might be somewhat of a counter example. The example is the success of Yamaha. Their pianos have decent tone quality, but most people don't find them exceptional. However, some things they do have are consistency, good quality control, good action feel, and reliability. They just work.

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#2037074 - 02/21/13 04:57 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Steve Cohen]
BDB Online   content
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There are a lot of pianos that are thought to be better than Yamaha, but when it gets down to it, the biggest difference is the price. That is what leads people to think they are exceptional.
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#2037078 - 02/21/13 05:02 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Steve Cohen]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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The finest pianos always seem to sound bigger than their size as regards depth of sonority, and their tone color changes significantly with dynamics. Yamahas show very little of these traits and that is why most pianist with a need to communicate more drama AND subtlety find them lacking. They are well made though and the service support of the Yamaha organization is superlative.
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#2037118 - 02/21/13 05:54 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Steve Cohen]
BDB Online   content
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Perhaps, but those are subjective evaluations of subjective differences, and certainly subject to someone deciding on the basis of price. Or even sample variation. I have tuned a lot of CFIIIses, which I have preferred to some more expensive pianos, and have never felt that there is much compromise in their sound.
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#2037244 - 02/21/13 10:24 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Roy123]
jim ialeggio Offline
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Originally Posted By: Roy123
...but let me give what might be somewhat of a counter example. The example is the success of Yamaha. Their pianos have decent tone quality, but most people don't find them exceptional. However, some things they do have are


Roy,

Going back to your first post regarding the Steinway M you are rebuilding/reconditioning... Steinway is a poster child of ground breaking systems which could have continued to evolve, but didn't. The are also a posted child of how to create a brilliant and unparalleled mystique campaign. They created that mystique over 100 years ago and have maintained for all that time, occupying the top tier of the market all along.

In their case, their marketing success, their mystique, by definition, also creates and continues the design stagnation you speak of. Their weaker systems could have evolved. However, their own wildly successful marketing also becomes their own achilles heal. The patents which "make it a Steinway" dictate that they can not evolve away from "the way a Steinway is supposed to be".

Its a loop. Challenge or even suggest that any of the patents could be improved, and the mystique, which is absolutely essential to their existence, starts to look like just another manufacturer.

Yamaha never went for the mystique angle. They were selling, from the get go, respectably decent instruments that were affordable. Emotional content of the purchase is minimized because the price point, the affordability, removes the need for mystique. You only need the mystique if you want to control the high end of the market.

Yamaha is selling a product, and as you say they have "consistency, good quality control, good action feel, and reliability. They just work."

The key phrase is "they just work". There's now wow, and no attempted wow...

Steinway is selling an experience and an association which comes with owning part of the brand. Its fairly tribal, but we as humans are fairly tribal, and Steinway knows it.

So here's a good natured question for you regarding the above. Why do you own a Steinway rather than a piano which "just works"?

In originally getting into the piano rebuilding/design end of things, emotion was clearly part of my thinking. I wanted more than "just works", but also had such a clear idea of what I wanted I knew I had to create it myself...and did. But my attachment to my own instrument, and particularly the sound of it is emotional and visceral...I wanted more than "just works".

Jim Ialeggio

ps don't be apologetic about messing with your Steinway...its just a machine wink
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#2037251 - 02/21/13 10:49 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: BDB]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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Loc: Seattle, WA USA
BDB,
The last two CF's I saw were in a class by themselves among the other Yamaha pianos. They both had a tone color/dynamic gradient that was very good.

Not EVERY Steinway or Mason or Bose or any other fine piano has the perfect color/dynamic, as we all know each piano is different. But the good ones-Oh what Heaven!

I don't find the differences subjective. Some pianist's are unable to use the color/dynamic well because they are less aware of quality tone differences that can be found in a piano. Other pianist's are good at finding color/dynamic opportunities that no pianist before them could find in a particular piano.
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#2037390 - 02/22/13 08:40 AM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: jim ialeggio]
Roy123 Offline
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Registered: 09/20/04
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Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio


So here's a good natured question for you regarding the above. Why do you own a Steinway rather than a piano which "just works"?



Fair question--A Steinway that's had the right work done to it, and that is prepped by someone who really knows what he's doing can sound an awfully lot better than a Yamaha, or most other pianos for that matter. BTW, all of Steinway's patents have long lapsed. They could update and make changes to various systems and design aspects in their pianos either with or without fanfare as per the desires of their marketing department. Had they consistently done so, their new pianos might be sufficiently better than their old pianos that they wouldn't be competing with all the Steinway rebuilds out there.

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#2037407 - 02/22/13 09:07 AM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Roy123]
Withindale Offline
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Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 2058
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Roy123
They could update and make changes to various systems and design aspects in their pianos either with or without fanfare as per the desires of their marketing department. Had they consistently done so, their new pianos might be sufficiently better than their old pianos that they wouldn't be competing with all the Steinway rebuilds out there.


Roy, are you able to say what changes you would make? Signor Fabbrini has "upgraded" Hamburg Steinways from excellent to outstanding for Maurizio Pollini and others. Is that the sort of thing you have in mind or something more radical?
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Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2037497 - 02/22/13 12:34 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Steve Cohen]
BDB Online   content
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The CFIIIs series was pretty consistent, which reflects the final touches on that line. (Earlier CF models are nowhere near as good, something that should be considered when comparing older Yamahas from newer ones.) Other models have varied more. We had an absolutely exquisite C7 (or DC7, I think as it had midi or something like that) once which unfortunately suffered some bent trapwork in moving, so we never saw it again.

When I judge pianos, I have to judge them by how they would play and sound with consistent regulation and voicing, something that takes years and years to begin to do. Yamaha ranks pretty high on that scale, particularly when compared to some of the highly-touted European pianos. My only experience tuning a Fazioli was tuning one of the 10-foot models, and tuning a CFIIIs the same day. The Fazioli was a nice piano, but I preferred the Yamaha. I may be in the minority, but I am one who hopes that Yamaha can improve Bösendorfer, rather than the other way around.
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#2037501 - 02/22/13 12:42 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Withindale]
Roy123 Offline
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Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 1724
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Originally Posted By: Roy123
They could update and make changes to various systems and design aspects in their pianos either with or without fanfare as per the desires of their marketing department. Had they consistently done so, their new pianos might be sufficiently better than their old pianos that they wouldn't be competing with all the Steinway rebuilds out there.


Roy, are you able to say what changes you would make? Signor Fabbrini has "upgraded" Hamburg Steinways from excellent to outstanding for Maurizio Pollini and others. Is that the sort of thing you have in mind or something more radical?


I can list some ideas, but first, a big caveat. I am not an industry professional, but a knowledgeable amateur. There are many who post on Pianoworld that know far more than I do. Also, my experience involves working on one 1956 M--I don't know what Steinway may have changed since then. Having said that, here are some things I think Steinway ought to update and improve.

The damper action is old fashioned and has neither spoons nor adjustable capstans. The pivots for the damper trays are not coaxial with the pivots for the damper levers, which can cause a subtle problem. Look at the damper action developed by WN&G so see a design that addresses all these issues.

The pedals and trapwork have lots of poor and/or old engineering, IMO. Using felt pivots in the pedals and then lining the pedal box with felt is labor intensive and is a design prone to variation and compromised durability. Modern bearings can do a better job more consistently and with something approaching infinite lifetime. Parts cost might be marginally higher, but labor costs would be much lower
The down stop for the sustain pedal should have a capstan rather than a nonadjustable block of felt.
Transmitting the motion of the sustain and sostenuto pedals through a dowel fitted into a felted hole is prone to friction and binding. Look at a Yamaha or Kawai to see an improved method.
Do we still need to use metal/wood bearings in the trapwork?
Many people complain about the difficulty of removing the cheek blocks and fall board from Steinways. The same operation is so simple on some other pianos.
Why does Steinway continue to mount the sostenuto rail to the main action, when everyone else mounts it to the damper action? It can work well both ways, but is easier to adjust when mounted to the damper action.
Steinway hammers are more difficult to adjust to the strings because of the odd fluted brass action rails they use. Action rails that solder together and which are, additionally, nonadjustable seem counterproductive. No other company uses anything like them to my knowledge, and the patent is long gone. Jim Iallegio, who has posted in this thread, has mentioned that the action rails are often not straight.
I find it amazing that the balancier springs have no screw adjustment, but must be bent. In fairness, other piano companies use the same method. Visit the Renner USA site to see what appears to be a better solution.
Steinway continues to use compression-crowned soundboards even though it has become generally acknowledged that such a system can cause early soundboard failure (Del has addressed this issue in many posts). I think it's fair to say that most companies have switched to rib-crowned or hybrid boards.
Many techs on this site have discussed some scaling deficiencies in various Steinway models. Much has been learned about scale design in the last several decades, and Steinway could avail themselves of that knowledge.
Steinway pianos are also quite inconsistent. Many knowledgeable people say that if you're going to buy a new Steinway you should take a tech who really knows Steinways with you, lest you get a subpar piano. Given the money that Steinway charges, this situation seems disgraceful to me.

Those are some items that come to mind. Again, remember that these are only the opinions of an amateur.

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#2037545 - 02/22/13 02:24 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Roy123]
Withindale Offline
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Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 2058
Loc: Suffolk, England
Roy, that's an impressive list. A successful Japanese company would just attend to those things.

I suspect the founders of Steinway would have done so too. They certainly came up with a product that has stood the test of time.

Jim's "mystique" as a reason for buying a piano didn't ring true to me but, rather than an atmosphere of mystery, I suppose he meant the aura of heightened value that the Steinways and other piano makers created.

People may not pay much attention to engineering when it comes to pianos and other such luxury products but, if you were to ask them, I think you would find they simply expect it and take it for granted.

Companies need to satisfy such basic expectations. Otherwise their allure will fade soon enough.
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Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
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#2037555 - 02/22/13 02:50 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Roy123]
adak Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 282
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Roy123

I can list some ideas, but first, a big caveat. I am not an industry professional, but a knowledgeable amateur. There are many who post on Pianoworld that know far more than I do. Also, my experience involves working on one 1956 M--I don't know what Steinway may have changed since then. Having said that, here are some things I think Steinway ought to update and improve.

The damper action is old fashioned and has neither spoons nor adjustable capstans. The pivots for the damper trays are not coaxial with the pivots for the damper levers, which can cause a subtle problem. Look at the damper action developed by WN&G so see a design that addresses all these issues.

The pedals and trapwork have lots of poor and/or old engineering, IMO. Using felt pivots in the pedals and then lining the pedal box with felt is labor intensive and is a design prone to variation and compromised durability. Modern bearings can do a better job more consistently and with something approaching infinite lifetime. Parts cost might be marginally higher, but labor costs would be much lower
The down stop for the sustain pedal should have a capstan rather than a nonadjustable block of felt.
Transmitting the motion of the sustain and sostenuto pedals through a dowel fitted into a felted hole is prone to friction and binding. Look at a Yamaha or Kawai to see an improved method.
Do we still need to use metal/wood bearings in the trapwork?
Many people complain about the difficulty of removing the cheek blocks and fall board from Steinways. The same operation is so simple on some other pianos.
Why does Steinway continue to mount the sostenuto rail to the main action, when everyone else mounts it to the damper action? It can work well both ways, but is easier to adjust when mounted to the damper action.
Steinway hammers are more difficult to adjust to the strings because of the odd fluted brass action rails they use. Action rails that solder together and which are, additionally, nonadjustable seem counterproductive. No other company uses anything like them to my knowledge, and the patent is long gone. Jim Iallegio, who has posted in this thread, has mentioned that the action rails are often not straight.
I find it amazing that the balancier springs have no screw adjustment, but must be bent. In fairness, other piano companies use the same method. Visit the Renner USA site to see what appears to be a better solution.
Steinway continues to use compression-crowned soundboards even though it has become generally acknowledged that such a system can cause early soundboard failure (Del has addressed this issue in many posts). I think it's fair to say that most companies have switched to rib-crowned or hybrid boards.
Many techs on this site have discussed some scaling deficiencies in various Steinway models. Much has been learned about scale design in the last several decades, and Steinway could avail themselves of that knowledge.
Steinway pianos are also quite inconsistent. Many knowledgeable people say that if you're going to buy a new Steinway you should take a tech who really knows Steinways with you, lest you get a subpar piano. Given the money that Steinway charges, this situation seems disgraceful to me.

Those are some items that come to mind. Again, remember that these are only the opinions of an amateur.


Marketing is what counts, look at Rolex and their inferior quality and yet people still buy their watches.


Edited by adak (02/22/13 02:52 PM)
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#2037560 - 02/22/13 03:11 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Roy123]
CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
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Registered: 01/12/06
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Don't forget a sostenuto rod that is attached to the back of the action stack, so that you have to remove it to take the stack off, or strip the slotted stack screws trying to work your screwdriver around it (Mason and others mount it in front of the damper assembly). How about the key retainer stick that sit's ahead of the balance rail so far that, if it is not adjusted just right, either causes the hammerline to be all over the place or the keys to "clack" on the underside of the stick (Bosendorfer just places the stick back sitting slightly ahead of the balance rail pins and you never have this problem). How about a keyslip that warps because they couldn't figure out what Kawai did years ago.....that you should reinforce the back with a thick strip of metal. How about a fallboard that cannot be removed without the cheek blocks being removed as well.....and have you ever tried to get them all together to put them back in place? The most useless bit of engineering I've ever encountered.
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#2037571 - 02/22/13 03:23 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Steve Cohen]
Steve Cohen Offline
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You all need to keep in mind, as Adak asserted above, that marketing generally is, perhaps unfortunately, a dominant factor in manufacturing decisions.

My consulting practice specializes in marketing in the piano and musical instrument industry. In that capacity I am privvy to the marketing considerations made by a number of major manufacturers.

One of the major perspectives that influence decisions is how competitors will respond, as well as how competing dealers will respond. Manufacturers also often consider how any decisions will be "buzzed" here on Piano World, with the caveat that the PW regulars, being piano "enthusiasts", are not representative of the piano market in general. They realize that what is posted here matters, and sometimes matters significantly.
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#2037592 - 02/22/13 04:10 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Steve Cohen]
BDB Online   content
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Steinway was one of the first to eliminate felt bushings on pedals, even though it is a snap to replace the bushings on their grand pedals compared to other manufacturers. The rest of the comments about damper adjustment has nothing to do with the accuracy or ease of regulating the dampers. The sostenuto mechanism is no big deal to adjust, and does not interfere with removing the stack in any major way. When you weigh this against the fact that parts are available for their grands made in the past 130 years or so, those improvements are quibbles.

I like the fact that it takes only 2 screws to remove the action, and that the fallboard does not fall out of the piano when it is on its side. There were some Bösendorfer grands that only had one screw, but that was much more costly and had other drawbacks. Mason & Hamlin uses the same system as Steinway, but about 100 years ago, they made the hinges wider, which is a little better. Baldwin used something similar that was worse, and moved the screws around from time to time. But no matter what, it is a minor quibble which any decent tech should be able to handle.

The results of various methods of making soundboards does not result in hard and fast differences in longevity nor how they perform. Nor is there any magic that makes Steinway soundboards any different from other esteemed brands that make their soundboards in the same way.

The fact that Steinways are variable does not preclude other manufacturers from being variable as well. I have already mentioned that about Yamaha, which is one of the most consistent manufacturers. It takes a long time to grok how Steinway hammers can be voiced, and not everyone who does it has the same ideas about it, nor even the same ideas about how any piano should be voiced. But the important thing is that their hammers allow them to make a lot of different, yet excellent, sounding pianos using the same parts and designs.

Steinway scales may not be ideal, but then, neither are a bunch of other manufacturers' pianos'. They sound pretty good for the most part, something that cannot be said about many of the others. I think some of Baldwin's scales went from very good to absurd in some of their best pianos.
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#2037737 - 02/22/13 09:40 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Steve Cohen]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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Registered: 12/09/12
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Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Well said BDB, well said.

I do tend to agree with ROY 123 that the Steinway action rails are archaic now. At the time of their invention it was a good way to create a relatively light,stiff action frame/keyframe unit.
The sostenuto trap-work is clunky. But I don't like damper spoons or lift tray capstans. They allow for sloppy damper regulation that only becomes a problem when you use the sostenuto.

As to soundboards made with more rib crown than humidity crown. I do not see evidence that humidity crowned boards crack more easily than rib crowned. Crown has a function as the expansion joint-so boards bellied at too high humidity have less lee way when exposed to dry environments. That produces cracks quickly.
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#2037749 - 02/22/13 10:17 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Steve Cohen]
Norbert Online   content
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Quote:
Steinway scales may not be ideal, but then, neither are a bunch of other manufacturers' pianos'. They sound pretty good for the most part, something that cannot be said about many of the others. I think some of Baldwin's scales went from very good to absurd in some of their best pianos.


While this may be true, I have never come to fully understand how Hamburg and New York Steinways present such different pianos and results when comparing their identical models.

Almost like 2 entirely different species.

Drastically noticeable in their uprights and "quite a bit" in their grands.

So, "design" can't be all there is to it....

Norbert


Edited by Norbert (02/22/13 10:20 PM)
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#2037771 - 02/22/13 11:09 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Steve Cohen]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21826
Loc: Oakland
You must have missed my paragraph previous to the one you quoted!
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#2038110 - 02/23/13 05:58 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: BDB]
Roy123 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 1724
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: BDB
The rest of the comments about damper adjustment has nothing to do with the accuracy or ease of regulating the dampers.

Many disagree with you. The whole reason for the capstans and spoons is to ease adjustment.
Originally Posted By: BDB

The sostenuto mechanism is no big deal to adjust, and does not interfere with removing the stack in any major way. When you weigh this against the fact that parts are available for their grands made in the past 130 years or so, those improvements are quibbles.

Parts availability has nothing to do with sostenuto design--it's like comparing apples to bricks.

Originally Posted By: BDB

The results of various methods of making soundboards does not result in hard and fast differences in longevity....


Both theory and evidence show that compression-crowned board can fail early due to cross-grain compression set in the board. You refuse to believe it for reasons that I don't understand.

Originally Posted By: BDB

Nor is there any magic that makes Steinway soundboards any different from other esteemed brands that make their soundboards in the same way.

I didn't claim otherwise, I simply said that compression-crowned boards can be subject to early failure.

Originally Posted By: BDB

The fact that Steinways are variable does not preclude other manufacturers from being variable as well.

I didn't claim otherwise, and besides, since when do two deficiences make a virtue?
Originally Posted By: BDB

...the important thing is that their hammers allow them to make a lot of different, yet excellent, sounding pianos using the same parts and designs.

Many other attributes cause Steinways to sound and play different. Any variation in performance unless specifically intended to create specific variations is always a sign of marginal design or quality control.
Originally Posted By: BDB

Steinway scales may not be ideal, but then, neither are a bunch of other manufacturers' pianos'.

Why is that an excuse? Again, when do two deficiencies make a virtue?
Originally Posted By: BDB

They sound pretty good for the most part, something that cannot be said about many of the others.

Here we agree. A properly made and prepped Steinway can be just superb.

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#2038149 - 02/23/13 08:28 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Steve Cohen]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21826
Loc: Oakland
Please explain how having to adjust 60+ capstans and 60+ spoons is easier than just making parts uniform when they are supposed to be even.

Please explain how spending maybe an extra minute to adjust the sostenuto justifies redesigning the parts so that the new parts will no longer be available for antique instruments. I can assure you that I have spent so much time replicating old parts that even if there were any significant difference in adjusting Steinway sostenutos compared to others, it would all be saved if I ever had to replace a part in their mechanism.

Please theory and evidence to show that "compression-crowned board can fail early due to cross-grain compression set in the board," neither of which you present. Please show that all the boards made in any other way have never had the same failures happen to them. I would be happy with a clear definition of what "failure" might be in this case, something that does not reference issues that I or others have been able to overcome through methods other than replacing the soundboard.

I do not feel that I need to justify Steinway or any other company for not making one model piano that is perfect. I just do not believe that one should denigrate any particular company, particularly for things that many of their competitors do differently, and in ways that could be considered worse. It is not good for the industry.
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#2038157 - 02/23/13 08:47 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Steve Cohen]
Norbert Online   content
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Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14209
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
I just do not believe that one should denigrate any particular company, particularly for things that many of their competitors do differently, and in ways that could be considered worse.


This would IMHO not be an issue unless one continually claims to be 'best of the best' there is. ['incomparable'...etc]

Quote:
It is not good for the industry


Thinking it's not good "for the make".

Everybody knowing the market today is far to diversified to make such claims.

Norbert smile


Edited by Norbert (02/23/13 08:52 PM)
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#2038170 - 02/23/13 09:26 PM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Steve Cohen]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21826
Loc: Oakland
There are many manufacturers who claim to be the best of the best. Many of them are!
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#2038343 - 02/24/13 09:11 AM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: BDB]
Roy123 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/20/04
Posts: 1724
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: BDB
Please explain how having to adjust 60+ capstans and 60+ spoons is easier than just making parts uniform when they are supposed to be even.

Unavoidable tolerance variations can stack up, and they have to be accounted for somehow. Key sticks aren't perfect, the felt pads aren't perfect, damper trays aren't perfect. Saying that adjustments aren't necessary if parts are uniformly made is like saying that car engines shouldn't need valve adjustments, which all engines have, either by means of mechanical adjustments or self-adjusting (hydraulic lifters)mechanisms.

Originally Posted By: BDB

Please explain how spending maybe an extra minute to adjust the sostenuto justifies redesigning the parts so that the new parts will no longer be available for antique instruments. I can assure you that I have spent so much time replicating old parts that even if there were any significant difference in adjusting Steinway sostenutos compared to others, it would all be saved if I ever had to replace a part in their mechanism.

Once again, I must say that parts availability is not related to design. If Steinway changed the sostenuto design, but decided it was important to make parts available for the old design, they could do so.

Originally Posted By: BDB

Please theory and evidence to show that "compression-crowned board can fail early due to cross-grain compression set in the board," neither of which you present. Please show that all the boards made in any other way have never had the same failures happen to them. I would be happy with a clear definition of what "failure" might be in this case, something that does not reference issues that I or others have been able to overcome through methods other than replacing the soundboard.

Oh, please--your protestations are quite beyond the pale. Del has patiently and exhaustively presented all the pertinent facts that any unbiased person should ever need. It seems obvious to me that you have some cognitive bias about this topic. ...just my opinion

Originally Posted By: BDB

I do not feel that I need to justify Steinway or any other company for not making one model piano that is perfect. I just do not believe that one should denigrate any particular company, particularly for things that many of their competitors do differently, and in ways that could be considered worse. It is not good for the industry.

You don't need to justify anything. No one expects any piano to be perfect. I simply brought up things about the Steinway grands that I think could be improved. Apparently, you, like other on Pianoworld, think Steinway is beyond criticism and anyone that does criticize them should be verbally whipped. Personally, I feel that criticism if good for the industry. If nothing else, it lets manufacturers know what at least some customers are thinking. Every product in the world is capable of improvement. Hey, I own a Steinway, and as I said, a good Steinway properly prepped can be a superb instrument. If that's not good enough for you...

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#2038344 - 02/24/13 09:16 AM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Steve Cohen]
hootowl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/10/13
Posts: 20
Loc: Garnet Valley, PA
Here is some fuel....

Coming from an engineering background, I think the Kawai Millenium III Ninja action blows away any wooden action including Kawai's Boston series made for Steinway.

Why build a delicate/accurate mechanism out of wood when so many advanced materials that have been proven to maintain much higher levels of stability than wood? The action itself does not produce sound.
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#2038406 - 02/24/13 11:45 AM Re: It is Hard to Overcome Physics [Re: Steve Cohen]
Withindale Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 2058
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Del
.. in fact, the S&S Model B is
6’ 10 ½” (≈ 210 cm) long and 58” (≈ 148 cm) wide and weighs ≈ 740 lbs (336 kg).
And the M&H Model BB is
6’ 11 ½” (≈ 212 cm) long and 59” (≈ 150 cm) wide and weighs in at just over 1,000 lbs (454 kg).

Del compared Steinway B to Mason & Hamlin BB in a current thread about aesthetics. Although they are the same length the BB looks bulkier.

The BB weighs about one third more than B and I believe its soundboard area is about 25% larger.

How do these physical differences affect the sound of the two pianos? The more massive rim of the BB in particular?
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