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#2043565 - 03/05/13 08:27 PM Action 2nd Opinion
Miguel Rey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 380
Real close to closing this deal on a Bechstein B 1904. Already had a tech from that area take a look and he said it was OK but would like to know if anyone can take a look to the pics and let me know what you think.

Thanks in advanced for any info you can add.


Recent work done:
New hammers, strings, dampers, pins & pinblock. Soundboard & bridges are in good condition. Holds A440, and recent regulation,52-54grams







_________________________
Bechstein B c1905


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#2043572 - 03/05/13 08:35 PM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Jorge Andrade Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/13
Posts: 65
Have you actually heard the piano? Have them record (hopefully in HD) and post the video so you can watch with a good pair of high-quality earphones. Also, I'm not a tech but those hammers look really weird (shape, size), I don't think the hammers were replaced but merely re-felted. Did the tech mention anything substantial on his report, OK seems to be too generic, how much crown does the piano still have, what about the bridges, and again, make sure you like the sound of the instrument otherwise you won't wanna play it later.

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#2043574 - 03/05/13 08:39 PM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
pianotune2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/01/12
Posts: 61
Loc: ks
Looking at the poor quality of the hammer job, I would be very cautious of the rest of the work performed.
_________________________
Stewart Moore
Piano Technician North Central and North East Kansas

www.pianotune2.webs.com

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#2043603 - 03/05/13 09:30 PM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Miguel Rey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 380
yes I heard the piano and I like the sound but pianotune2's comment make's me wonder. The tech that looked at it pulled the action out and took these pics for me. He didnt give me detailed report. If the hammer work looks poor from the photos not sure its worth paying extra money to send another tech
_________________________
Bechstein B c1905


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#2043640 - 03/05/13 10:52 PM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Steve in Cincy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/09/11
Posts: 85
Loc: Cincinnati, OH
Hi Miguel:
I'm not a professional tech, but I have to say I immediately thought those hammers looked really odd, too. I've never seen anything like those.
_________________________
Regards,
Steve Schutte
Cincinnati
1979 6'7 Kimball Grand
1902 6' Hazelton Bros. Grand (project piano)

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#2043644 - 03/05/13 11:05 PM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Miguel Rey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 380
Steve, thought the same from my untrained eyes. If it is in fact a shotty job, what would the cost be to have them done correctly? Can always knock the cost down
_________________________
Bechstein B c1905


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#2043662 - 03/05/13 11:52 PM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Monaco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/11
Posts: 387
Loc: GA
New hammers, (poor job) old shanks, flanges and most likely knuckles. Without being able to see the knuckles, it's hard to say if they needed replacement or not.


Edited by Monaco (03/05/13 11:54 PM)
_________________________
Ben Ereddia
Piano Teacher
Beginning Tech

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#2043673 - 03/06/13 12:17 AM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
I am curious about the comments regarding a poor hammer job. A less than perfect hammer line can be adjusted in a few minutes, (you need the proper tool) and some filing and traveling, if required, is also no big deal. I agree the hammers look re-felted, and look very much like the originals would have. On a piano such as this, proper re-felting can actually be preferable to replacement with generic hammers....
Granted, the shanks and everything else are original, but it looks like the knuckles are new, at least. I like the fact that the tied action was retained. It might be a decent piano, it is hard to tell from a few pictures.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2043684 - 03/06/13 12:41 AM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Miguel Rey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 380
Thanks supply. The dealer did state that all the work done was done in the UK and not by his store. I will discuss about the adjustment of the hammer line to see if they can include that in the cost.
_________________________
Bechstein B c1905


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#2043695 - 03/06/13 01:12 AM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Supply]
Jorge Andrade Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/13
Posts: 65
Originally Posted By: Supply
I am curious about the comments regarding a poor hammer job.

Well, I can only speak for myself, and again I'm not a tech, so please feel free to educate me as we throw ideas, but if they're telling Miguel they REPLACED the hammers when in fact they RE-FELTED them, that's misguiding the consumer into thinking a deeper restoration level took place, and who knows what else? Also, the felts do not look good, they're not nice and compact like one would expect, they look 'thready' and 'puffy', will those fall apart after short few years of use? Or will the felt get compacted after so much use to a point that the sound will be completely different than what made Miguel fall in love with the piano in the first place? Maybe not, but who knows, should Miguel take a chance? From what he answered on the last post, it doesn't really look like a TECHNICAL review was done on the piano but a 'drive-by', why? I don't know, but when I got my report on my piano and all it said it was ok and good, I made the guy go back and get me some numbers, that's the only way to really develop an educated idea. Believe me, I get it, we find a piano and we think (and should) it's going to become our soul mate, and for whatever reason (financial in my case) we ignore all the red flags, until one day the honeymoon is over and the piano tech has a list of things that need to be repaired or fixed the size of the Sears towers. I'm not saying he should not acquire the piano, but if he does decide to, go into this deal consciously of the shortcomings, I said this before, I love my piano and with time will get it up to par, but for the meantime I still enjoy sitting down and playing it the way it is, Miguel should be able to enjoy the same.


Edited by Jorge Andrade (03/06/13 01:22 AM)

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#2043702 - 03/06/13 01:27 AM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Jorge Andrade Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/09/13
Posts: 65
Miguel, a really good thing for you to do is research about this model, see if you can find more pictures online, sound recordings, videos, prices, that should give you an idea of where this instrument stands, know everything about it because most likely the dealer won't be much help, I'm real sad to say this, but it feels like the music industry (in some places) has become parallel to the car industry, with individuals with little to no knowledge making ridicule claims (sometimes outrages) in order to make a sale.

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#2043711 - 03/06/13 01:49 AM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2411
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Ask if the plate was cracked. Many Bechsteins crack where the treble plate strut passes over the open pin-block. It looks like the hammers have the shoulders narrowed like the originals would have been. This is good. They one view of the #1 hammer shank flange looks less than good-is it just some stain that blocks seeing the bushing cloth-or are all the action centers patched together? Ask the tech who inspected.
If it plays and sounds warm, full and singing it could be good for quite a few years but the price should be half of what one completely rebuilt to like new condition would be.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2043712 - 03/06/13 01:54 AM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Miguel Rey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 380
Agree 100% about music dealers. Regardless where I buy I will try and hedge my bet by getting the best possible deal knowing that somewhere down the line perhaps in the near to mid future that I will have to put some money into the instrument. I plan on playing a min of 7-10 hours per week and don't want to deal with anything major for at least a couple years or so.

I have done considerable research over the last few weeks (sounds like a short time but countless hours online into the wee hours of the morning) listening to every Bechstein Youtube vid out there and reading posts from all over. I was set to buy a Mason Hamlin until I wen to a recital and heard a old Becshtein and immediately fell in love with the sound.
_________________________
Bechstein B c1905


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#2043719 - 03/06/13 02:11 AM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
Miguel Rey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 380
I will check to see if the plate was cracked. What do you mean by the centers patched. Price is 10K. Cosmetically the case and keys are in very good shape
_________________________
Bechstein B c1905


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#2043784 - 03/06/13 06:39 AM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
The bass wire winding is WAY too much on the bridge pins, for what I see there. That shows a mistike taking the measures or from the bass winder.

The rollers are probably taller by 0.5 mm from the original, due to the recess in the shank being less deep on Schwander actions.

(it does not look evident on the note number 1 but the drop screws are unscrewed to the max, that could mean the hammers are not thick enough or the knuckles are thicker, or both)

If the touch is correct, why not, the piano may need a little more key dip than originally. Look for excessive friction at letoff moment

The plate could have been cracked anr repaired/reinforced, without danger of future cracks, in my experience, but I cannot say much about the techniques used. A friend even soldered a plate with standard acetylene torch and the piano did not broke later.

But some break locations are really more difficult to repair.

The repair seem to have been done minimally, (almost cosmetically) but if it allows for a low priced piano why not.

It is not to be considered "rebuild", but to have a repair done so the piano is accepteable .

I would be very cautious about the shank pinning.

Refelting allow to avoid voicing, more or less, (and new leading of the keys) but the shape of the heads and their density is often not excellent (here they look like potatoes, the dynamics must be really small !)

Here is a hammer and shank change on a similar piano :




Edited by Olek (03/06/13 07:17 AM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2043787 - 03/06/13 07:08 AM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Miguel Rey
Agree 100% about music dealers. Regardless where I buy I will try and hedge my bet by getting the best possible deal knowing that somewhere down the line perhaps in the near to mid future that I will have to put some money into the instrument. I plan on playing a min of 7-10 hours per week and don't want to deal with anything major for at least a couple years or so.

I have done considerable research over the last few weeks (sounds like a short time but countless hours online into the wee hours of the morning) listening to every Bechstein Youtube vid out there and reading posts from all over. I was set to buy a Mason Hamlin until I wen to a recital and heard a old Becshtein and immediately fell in love with the sound.


I understand you as the tone of those old grands is really particular, but it must be optimized, you have usually some dynamics availeable (even if less than on more recnt grands indeed)

The soft hammers mounted (refelting can provide some density but not all refleters are having success at that, particularely on thin modlings)

If not the tone will be soft, very worm but with the Bechstin tone yet present. You may wish to test the lenght, thickness and the dynamics avaible, in the shop, and compare with what provide other pianos (even a vertical in good condition with provide a tone that is auto-alimented correctly)

With an instrument in good condition you may imagine some sort of "engine" that keep the tone thick during a few seconds, if the tone disspates in a straight slant and soon, leaving a thin tail, then no much dynamics is availeable.

If you trust the tone at all levels of plating then the piano is good (at last acoustically)

PS new shanks : new shanks mean new knuckles but mostly a pinning in perfect condition. pinning allow the tone to be cleaner and firmer.
New shanks will be a little more heavy, as new heads.
Those actions are fast, new parts are always a tad heavy on them.

The linked keys provide keys that tend to rebound under the finger, but zero friction between key and action (very direct feel)

The touch is not really standard, generally when rebuild the link is supressed and the action modified, generally for the slower and with more key dip. It can be done well, or it can modify too much the instrument.


Edited by Olek (03/06/13 07:13 AM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2043798 - 03/06/13 07:51 AM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Monaco Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/11
Posts: 387
Loc: GA
It's not the hammer line that bothers me, it's the fact that some hammers (11 and 16 for example) protrude distally (from the player) in relation to their neighbors.
I have zero experience with refelted hammers. Would there be a logical reason for this or is it just a poor job?
_________________________
Ben Ereddia
Piano Teacher
Beginning Tech

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#2043802 - 03/06/13 08:04 AM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
It is a vgood solution for some older actions, but it is better to use first grade felt, insist on hammer size (provide dimensions if possible) , insist to have the high treble moldings not rounded or cut (the very sharp molding is a challenge to refelt correctly sometime the moldings are twisted, or they can break in the presses, so the hammer maker (who does the refelting) make often new moldings for a part of the set in the high treble.

Despite that with refelting you avoid a lot of work .

Some hammers may protuberate because they have been unglued at some point, it is easy to correct in that case, but anyway difficult to see on a pic with no hammer line

The weight is the main reason to refelt hammers, and the lack of power of old panels can be the other, as more dense hammers may need to be needled a lot, the panel may saturate otherwhile...

Renner and Abel do a very good job on refellting.

Less heat is used but the felt is less compressed, hence less dynamics availeable (FFFF particularely)

But I tend to change the hammers anyway.


Edited by Olek (03/06/13 08:05 AM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2043836 - 03/06/13 09:04 AM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Miguel Rey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 380
So would reflecting with goo felt (Abel or Renner) be a better option or just a different option with different results in regards to the dynamics available?
_________________________
Bechstein B c1905


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#2043861 - 03/06/13 10:34 AM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Refelting cannot be done indefinitvely, (it may depend how the new agrafes are installed, how the molding was thinned)
I would try to arrange (shape and density) the existing hammers, and change the whole setup later (inclueding keyboard modification, new whippens, etc, but the original action ratios have to be evaluated , it is easy to stay on the too heavy side or on the contrary have correct weight but too much key dip.
Q
If the keyboard allows for, a new action stack should be fine.

Bechsteins are really not the best for hamner impregnation, in my opinion, they produce yet a lot of partials, they seem to need much external tension more than inner density.
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2043879 - 03/06/13 11:24 AM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21912
Loc: Oakland
I do not think the hammers were refelted. They look like they have walnut cores, which would not have been original. They look replaced, and poorly done, but it is hard to tell unless they are lined up properly. It also looks as if they have been filed irregularly.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2043980 - 03/06/13 02:52 PM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Miguel Rey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 380
Spoke at length with my issues and he insisted that everything functionally in good shape but did admit cosmetically the work is not so good. He will at for cost of materials $800.00 install Renner or Abel Action. He will order the correct weight hammers for the piano or per my request. They have a qualified (references and reviews checked) work shop so I trust it will be done correctly
Hammers , flanges & shanks.

Any thoughts on the two manufactures?
_________________________
Bechstein B c1905


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#2044074 - 03/06/13 06:40 PM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: Miguel Rey
Spoke at length with my issues and he insisted that everything functionally in good shape but did admit cosmetically the work is not so good. He will at for cost of materials $800.00 install Renner or Abel Action. He will order the correct weight hammers for the piano or per my request. They have a qualified (references and reviews checked) work shop so I trust it will be done correctly
Hammers , flanges & shanks.

Any thoughts on the two manufactures?

You cannot get a "Renner or Abel action" for 800, Unless the parts come out of the bin near the back door behind the factory. This is the typical communication problem between lay people and technicians. You may get hammers for that much, but an action replacement costs thousands. For all we know, those hammers could work perfectly well with a bit of time spent on them. Maybe you are being up-sold? Who knows? we're not there.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2044089 - 03/06/13 06:58 PM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: BDB]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: BDB
I do not think the hammers were refelted. They look like they have walnut cores, which would not have been original. They look replaced, and poorly done, but it is hard to tell unless they are lined up properly. It also looks as if they have been filed irregularly.


they had been IMO, you even can see glue traces on the first one.

as the molding, look original to me. the shape of the felt is the last proof
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2044128 - 03/06/13 08:17 PM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/10/08
Posts: 4231
Loc: Vancouver B. C. Canada
These photos are not good. With the new digital cameras most have a wide angle lens and this cheats on a lot of the photos.

Unless the camera is right on top of the hammers close up there is no way to capture good shots. Appears like the bass hammers have been cut so they pass by each other; cutting them like that can, at times, distort the shape especially if the felt is softer.

Same goes for the bass string set. That photo is at such an angle it distorts the length of the winding.

A second opinion from photos on this forum are not as beneficial as a second opinion onsite.
_________________________
Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
http://silverwoodpianos.blogspot.com/
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"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."

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#2044133 - 03/06/13 08:30 PM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Miguel Rey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 380
The dealer actually said that the hammers and action are fine as it is. I was pressing him to have it redone based on observations made plus the fact I don't want to deal with any issues in the short term. Im sure he's got plenty of profit in the piano anyway so he's only "charging" me an extra 800 bucks to get the piano sold. He has on site techs so the labor is absorbed and leaves him with just the cost of the parts. He guaranteed new Abel bechstein hammers, flange and shank, voiced and regulated, plus shipping and a damp chaser system for 11k.

confirmed no cracks or repairs in soundboard or plates and he is a reputable dealer based on recent sales and reviews.


Edited by Miguel Rey (03/06/13 09:09 PM)
_________________________
Bechstein B c1905


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#2044462 - 03/07/13 10:52 AM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
it is surprising then to see him proposing an action not lining at that point, hammers not in shape, etc. changing shanks plus heads mean re weighting the keys, a somewhat long job in voicing, and on an old Bechstein the heads made by Abel have to be with special felt (extra cost) or the ones made by Renner or Abel for the factory for old models (extra extra cost wink

I would not buy the piano before listening to it in its final condition (repair done, or current hammers prepped correctly)
Or at last a similar piano repaired the same way by the same techs (techs are paid, you know, a hammer/shank job can take a week if all is done correctly)

So may be you could be better with a rebate and the current hammers , in the end you will need a technician to work on your piano so it should be better to talk with a technician, than with a dealer (unless the dealer himself does the technical job)



Edited by Olek (03/07/13 10:55 AM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2044464 - 03/07/13 10:58 AM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
too heavy hammers is the most common problem ... some dont care but it may ask too much to the acoustical body. also usual Abel heads are too firm for such pianos. the colour of tone may be hidden by excessive power
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2044642 - 03/07/13 04:59 PM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Miguel Rey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 380
Thanks Olek for your very helpful comments. The dealer/technician did not do this work it was done prior to his purchase. They buy pianos in large quantities in Europe and ship to the US. He admitted the work looked bad cosmetically but was just fine. I pushed him to give me deal to make me 100% happy. Once the piano is done I will send another technician to review, test and record.

He said he was going to take off some of the hammers and ship to Abel to they can match best as possible. He is also going to regulate and voice to my liking. I stressed that I don't want a heavier action like modern pianos and would like it light to match closely to older Bechsteins. I like sound of warmth mid and top range but like a powerful bass like Mason & Steinway. I figure I can always do some work once I receive the piano in my living room to fine adjust the sound I'm looking for.
Again thank you and everyone else for valuable feed back.
_________________________
Bechstein B c1905


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#2063617 - 04/12/13 04:50 PM Re: Action 2nd Opinion [Re: Miguel Rey]
Miguel Rey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 380
ALL DONE! Still another 4 weeks or so before I receive frown

[img:center][/img]
[img:center][/img]


Edited by Miguel Rey (04/12/13 04:54 PM)
_________________________
Bechstein B c1905


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