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#2050347 - 03/18/13 05:08 PM Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann?
williambonard Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/11
Posts: 112
Loc: Essex, UK
Hi all,

By mid-late this year I'm hoping to buy a new piano (September time) - I'm really stepping up this time; I'm going for a grand!

Since knowing I'll be able to get a new piano this year I've always been looking around and keeping an eye on things.

Preferably I'd like a nice big 6 foot 1-er. However, depending on what I can fit, I may consider a 5'10". I'm just conscious on how much of the bass I might be compromising on though as I do love a deep, rich base - recently played a Yamaha S6 with a beautiful bass!

I've noticed the Brodmann grands many a time now. In particular the PE 187. Wondered if anyone owned one at all and what their opinions were? They sound like they have a beautiful, melodic bell-like tone. Unfortunately, I've not yet tried one first-hand for myself yet.

If not a PE 187, possibly something like a Yamaha C3, however I generally find Yamahas to be a bit too bright for my liking. I have played a Kawai RX3 before which was nice but my current upright is a Kawai, so I'd like to venture out to something different when buying a grand.

A couple of years ago, I played the most beautiful Boston GP-163. Beautiful tone and I distinctly remember the pedals being very nice! I imagine a GP-178 would be even nicer (which is what I'd go for) and would have a better bass too - any Boston GP-178 owners out there?

So, between the two - Brodmann PE 187 and Boston GP-178 - which would possibly be better? Obviously, they are both completely different pianos; the size being the most notable difference.

Any information would be greatly appreciated! Any other suggestions of makes/models would be grand (pun intended!) too.
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#2050358 - 03/18/13 05:24 PM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: williambonard]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
I haven't tried the brodmann but like you, I do intend to have a look at one sometime this year. As far as I know the only place you can really get hold of them is Chris Venables pianos. If you visit their website you can view video clips of the brodmann range which is useful. The other piano to consider is their own Venables and son 180 academy which is based on Hailun and comes in at a slightly lower price. In the same price range is The Feurich 178 which would be worth playing.

Pianos like the Yamaha C3, Kawai RX3 and Boston 178 will be twice the price if buying new but it's more likely you could find these pianos on the used market. Besbrode pianos in Leeds have a 1998 Boston 178 in stock for 10k at the moment. I have played the bostons and actually really like them despite the fact that they seem to come in for a lot of criticism on the forum.
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#2050360 - 03/18/13 05:28 PM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: Chris H.]
williambonard Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/11
Posts: 112
Loc: Essex, UK
Yes, Chris Venables is exactly where I've seen them. I've watched the videos too, which clearly demonstrates the clarity and tone of that these pianos have. Yes, I have had a look at their Venables & Sons before, maybe I should consider the idea a bit more.

That's the problem I face: as good as a Yamaha, Kawai or Boston will be, their prices will be insane. The GP-163 I looked at two years ago was just above £18,000 brand new - a lot of money! How comes the Bostons come in with a lot of criticism? I loved the one I played!

I've come across Besbrode Pianos before too. They have a large selection.

Thanks for your help.
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Yamaha Clavinova CVP-208 digital piano
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#2050362 - 03/18/13 05:33 PM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: williambonard]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
I'm not sure why people have a problem with Boston. I hear a lot of comments about the whole 'designed by Steinway' thing being a con and also that they are built in the Kawai factory but cost more money than the equivalent Kawais.

All of that aside I have played several bostons, both grands and uprights, and always found them to be nice pianos. At the end of the day what matters most is what you like. If I found a good used Boston that I really liked I wouldn't hesitate.
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#2050364 - 03/18/13 05:36 PM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: Chris H.]
williambonard Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/11
Posts: 112
Loc: Essex, UK
Hmn, yes, I see where people may be coming from. The 'Designed by Steinway' label just adds another several thousand pounds on top of the price because of the words 'Steinway'. You're correct: built by Kawai, they are more expensive than their equivalent competitors!

Yes, I remember the Bostons being lovely. I'm not sure what I'll end up with. But, preferably I'd like a larger piano. A 6'1" like I originally stated. But who knows!
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#2050365 - 03/18/13 05:36 PM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: williambonard]
musicpassion Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1153
Loc: California, USA
I have auditioned two Brodman grands, but I didn't spend a great deal of time on them. They were two different sizes, fairly large but I don't remember the model details.

My impression was that they were solid, servicable pianos that would be a good option when shopping in the consumer pianos market - such as the Yamaha Cs or Kawai RX, Hailun, etc. They had a fairly warm and dark tone compared to a Yamaha.

The ones I played didn't transcend their catagory, but perhaps some examples might.

BTW, the Yamaha S series is a different catagory of instrument. Unless I've forgotten the Yamaha line, I think that's their top end, hand built instruments. It's not a fair comparision to put that against a Kawai RX or a Brodman.


Edited by musicpassion (03/18/13 05:38 PM)
Edit Reason: spelling
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#2050370 - 03/18/13 05:40 PM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: musicpassion]
williambonard Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/11
Posts: 112
Loc: Essex, UK
Yes, that's the impression I get from them from the research I've done.

A warm and dark tone is what I'd like opposed to a bright, possibly tinny tone.

Yes, I understand that! My apologise. The Yamaha S series are in a different league of their own. Far superior to any Brodmann or C/RX series piano.

Thanks for the information though :-)
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#2050373 - 03/18/13 05:43 PM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: williambonard]
musicpassion Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 1153
Loc: California, USA
Originally Posted By: williambonard

Yes, I understand that! My apologise. The Yamaha S series are in a different league of their own. Far superior to any Brodmann or C/RX series piano.


Just wanted to point it out because it's real easy to fall in love with a high end piano smile
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#2050377 - 03/18/13 05:46 PM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: williambonard]
UKPianoMan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/27/13
Posts: 43
Loc: London, UK
I played a Boston GP-156 (I know it's two sizes down from what you mentioned) at Steinway Hall, London a few weeks ago and to be honest I found it to sound really dull. This could have been the room acoustics, as I'd imagine Steinway wouldn't put a piano on display that wasn't voiced to some extent, The action felt about the same as the Yamaha C1X I tried earlier which was nice but didn't have any redeeming qualities with regards to sound.

I plan on trying a Feurich later in the year as I've heard a few good words about them and they look stunning for the price, just have to play one to see if the sound and feel match the aesthetics.
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#2050383 - 03/18/13 05:53 PM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: UKPianoMan]
williambonard Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/11
Posts: 112
Loc: Essex, UK
Yes, I also played a GP-156 the day I tried the 163 and while it was generally a nice piano, I found the bass to be a bit 'muddy' for me.

Going from the 156 to the 163, you really notice the difference too and to be honest, don't really fancy playing the 156 again!

I've heard a lot about Feurich, also. I'd much rather own one of their 'Made in Germany' models that their Wendl & Lung predecessors, however. But that then all comes with a price!

Of course, in the ideal world, it'd be a Steinway Model A for me, any day!
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#2050392 - 03/18/13 06:07 PM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: williambonard]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
There may be a bit of badge snobbery involved but I would also be a bit happier with a Feurich than a Wendl and Lung! Although I'm not sure exactly how much difference there is between them and I wouldn't go as far as to say 'made in Germany'. I did play the wendl 178 a couple of years ago and to be honest I was very impressed with it. It really was an excellent piano for the price and I don't think the Feurich is much different in that respect. The Feurich 178 is 9995 so a little cheaper than the brodmann. It certainly will be interesting to put one through its paces.
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#2050393 - 03/18/13 06:10 PM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: williambonard]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14263
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
Preferably I'd like a nice big 6 foot 1-er. However, depending on what I can fit, I may consider a 5'10". I'm just conscious on how much of the bass I might be compromising on though as I do love a deep, rich base - recently played a Yamaha S6 with a beautiful bass!


And therein lies the problem.

Once you change the parameters of "price" - you're changing everything.

The way I select pianos for my customers - and I'm the toughest customer out mad - is based on a very simple question:

Which of all pianos offered at exact SAME price offers most?
Does a piano costing 5k more offer enough to warrant the additional expense? How about 10k more, how about 20?

In reverse, does a piano costing 15 offer that much less than a piano that costs 20 or a piano costing 20 much less than one costing 30? And how to assess things in the first place?

[insider tip: "touch and sound" being good starter... wink ]

My favourite question: does a piano costing 30-40 - outside "size" necessarily offer less than others costing 65 or more?

Could the cheaper option even offer "more"?

These are the questions everyone will have to answer for themselves. With criteria chosen differently by different people of course....

It's a very mixed market out there today and "getting what you pay for" no longer applies - at least not in every single case.

In fact, most of our own customers want "same" - or ideally even "more" for "less" grin

[Nobody I know wanting "less" for "more"...]

By the way: what are other alternatives for some of the pianos you listed above at their same or near same price each?

Good luck shopping - and comparing things: just make sure the pianos looked at really are "comparable" to each other...

Norbert smile


Edited by Norbert (03/18/13 06:26 PM)
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#2050401 - 03/18/13 06:26 PM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: williambonard]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
Hi norbert,

I'm not sure there are that many new pianos that can compare on price with either the brodmann or the Feurich. One other that interests me a bit is the samick nsg175 which is listed at just under 11k. I've never tried one but I'm wondering if this is our (uk) version of the new young Chang instruments being talked about in other threads?? We don't really get YC over here. I wonder if anyone could shed some light on this?

Whilst there are not many new pianos to choose from at this price point the whole game opens up when you consider used instruments. I'm still thinking that used might be the way to go, for me at least. It might take a while to source but I believe it's possible to get something like a C3 or an RX3 under ten years old for around 10k. It's hard to say but this could be better value or more piano for the money than a new budget model.
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#2050413 - 03/18/13 07:01 PM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: williambonard]
maurus Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/11
Posts: 864
Crucial question for most of us buyers: Which of the pianos will hold up best in the years to come? How fast will sound and action deteriorate (because they will, sooner or later)?
This question, unfortunately, can't be answered by just looking at and test-playing the pianos in a given price range. To have a reasonable expectation about the future of an instrument is a matter of a lot of inside knowledge, and of a proven record of the maker in the past.

Edit: Chris, your reasoning makes a lot of sense (to me at least).


Edited by maurus (03/18/13 07:03 PM)

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#2050444 - 03/18/13 07:57 PM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: williambonard]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14263
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
I'm not sure there are that many new pianos that can compare on price with either the brodmann or the Feurich.


Glad somebody else said that - not me.... grin

Quote:
Crucial question for most of us buyers: Which of the pianos will hold up best in the years to come? How fast will sound and action deteriorate (because they will, sooner or later)?
This question, unfortunately, can't be answered by just looking at and test-playing the pianos in a given price range. To have a reasonable expectation about the future of an instrument is a matter of a lot of inside knowledge, and of a proven record of the maker in the past.


True, but not completely so.

"Proven record" is one of the toughest things to evaluate in this business,not knowing what exactly it's supposed to mean.


For one,it means different things to different people.

What's it good if a piano "functions well" in 30 years but one hates its tone at that time?

"Proven track record" would be a VW Beetle from the 50's 60's but few buyers today would give this one moment of their time.

A better way may be to look at the main ingredients of a producr including a "piano": the quality of its components, the design and the company behind it.

When I once talked to Lothar Thomma if he was nervous about Pearl River building his new Ritmueller pianos, his answer was simple: "I wouldn't allow them to put my name on it"

Others like Brodmann and similar try raising the bar by putting top components into their pianos but it's still no "guarantee" that the piano will survive the next 100 years. But it will hopefully "sound nice" for at least 30....

So why not settle for the at least next 10 years to make things simpler?

That's the warranty all [most] pianos will give you anyways.

Except Steinway and Sauter.

They offer 2 and 5 years respectively.

Obviously not having much faith in their own products... ha

"Proven track record"?

Let someone else try....

Norbert confused


Edited by Norbert (03/19/13 01:08 AM)
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#2050446 - 03/18/13 07:58 PM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: williambonard]
FormerlyFlute Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/21/06
Posts: 235
Loc: Maryland
I am an intermediate player who bought a Brodmann PE187 about a year ago. I am very happy with it and my friends who are advanced players really like the sound. It does have a nice round and warm sound. I really like the touch as well.
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#2050919 - 03/19/13 03:16 PM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: williambonard]
williambonard Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/11
Posts: 112
Loc: Essex, UK
Hi all,

Thanks for your valuable contribution. I really appreciate all that's been said and it's really nice to hear it all from other people's viewpoints.

At the end of the day, when the time comes for trying out pianos I'm going to try all sorts of different grands ranging from different price ranges, sizes and makes. Once I've narrowed down what I really like, expect a new forum post from me!

Thanks for all the help and information provided, it's greatly appreciated.
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#2051093 - 03/19/13 11:08 PM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: williambonard]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2411
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
A technician who is skilled in tone regulating a piano with a new action will be able to give you some expectations of how stable the tonal quality will be with use by inspecting the piano in question.

Many pianos are made with a brilliant tone right off the factory floor. This is done because many buyers will purchase a lesser known brand that blows them away with power. They get it home and use it for a while and then they bemoan the lack of soft tonal control. Unfortunately the way the hammers are made and/or tone regulated at the factory or on the dealer floor probably precludes being able to voice the hammers down. What voicing efforts that can soften the tone will not last long when subjected to playing.

In essence the new hammers are worn out because they cannot be tone regulated to produce a wide dynamic range-and retain those qualities after use.

My advice is-if you demand the ability to play softly as well as loudly and you want to be able to color your melodic and harmonic elements differently-stay away from really bright pianos that have very little or almost no ability to produce a reliable soft tone. All piano hammers get brighter with use. The best ones will play in over a several hundred hours and give you a wider tonal palette after that. You should be able to make the piano bark when you slap it from day one though-or the inverse condition that I described above is in place.
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#2051222 - 03/20/13 08:12 AM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: williambonard]
mric Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 63
I bought a Brodmann PE187 about three years ago. The tone is still a pleasure, it keeps pitch excellently, the tuner says good things about it My children's piano teacher (who is an aspiring young pianist)is very happy to play on it.

Three years is not a very long time, but I have no worries about longevity so far.

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#2051247 - 03/20/13 09:20 AM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10527
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
A technician who is skilled in tone regulating a piano with a new action will be able to give you some expectations of how stable the tonal quality will be with use by inspecting the piano in question.

Many pianos are made with a brilliant tone right off the factory floor. This is done because many buyers will purchase a lesser known brand that blows them away with power. They get it home and use it for a while and then they bemoan the lack of soft tonal control. Unfortunately the way the hammers are made and/or tone regulated at the factory or on the dealer floor probably precludes being able to voice the hammers down. What voicing efforts that can soften the tone will not last long when subjected to playing.

In essence the new hammers are worn out because they cannot be tone regulated to produce a wide dynamic range-and retain those qualities after use.

My advice is-if you demand the ability to play softly as well as loudly and you want to be able to color your melodic and harmonic elements differently-stay away from really bright pianos that have very little or almost no ability to produce a reliable soft tone. All piano hammers get brighter with use. The best ones will play in over a several hundred hours and give you a wider tonal palette after that. You should be able to make the piano bark when you slap it from day one though-or the inverse condition that I described above is in place.


well said. Great post.
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#2051354 - 03/20/13 12:54 PM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
OperaTenor Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/13/06
Posts: 2464
Loc: Sandy Eggo, California
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
A technician who is skilled in tone regulating a piano with a new action will be able to give you some expectations of how stable the tonal quality will be with use by inspecting the piano in question.

Many pianos are made with a brilliant tone right off the factory floor. This is done because many buyers will purchase a lesser known brand that blows them away with power. They get it home and use it for a while and then they bemoan the lack of soft tonal control. Unfortunately the way the hammers are made and/or tone regulated at the factory or on the dealer floor probably precludes being able to voice the hammers down. What voicing efforts that can soften the tone will not last long when subjected to playing.

In essence the new hammers are worn out because they cannot be tone regulated to produce a wide dynamic range-and retain those qualities after use.

My advice is-if you demand the ability to play softly as well as loudly and you want to be able to color your melodic and harmonic elements differently-stay away from really bright pianos that have very little or almost no ability to produce a reliable soft tone. All piano hammers get brighter with use. The best ones will play in over a several hundred hours and give you a wider tonal palette after that. You should be able to make the piano bark when you slap it from day one though-or the inverse condition that I described above is in place.


I tune and service two CE-175's weekly at a dueling piano bar. I realize these aren't the same model you're looking at, but I can address questions like build quality and tone.

These pianos are sorely abused in the name of entertainment, and aside from breaking bass strings - something you would most likely *never* encounter in your home - they have held up very well. They're stable, easy to tune, and the actions still are somewhat responsive after eight months of being pounded on for five hours every night, and danced on several times a night. This thread in the Tuner-Technician forum is about my work there.

Tonally, I found these pianos to be fairly bright right out of the crate, and they have predictably gotten substantially brighter since then. I'm going to resurface the hammers in the next couple of weeks and then possibly voice them and see what happens.

I think, as Chinese pianos go, Brodmanns are good ones, and I think I'd vote for it over a Boston.

My 2 cents...
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#2051490 - 03/20/13 05:40 PM Re: Decent Grand Piano - Brodmann? [Re: williambonard]
williambonard Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/22/11
Posts: 112
Loc: Essex, UK
Thanks for the help and advice, everyone. I understand that over time, the piano's tone will become brighter due to the hammers hardening up over substantial use. I do demand to be able to achieve both those very softs and very louds. Fortunately, I despise bright pianos as they are and would never buy one. I prefer more mellow, rounded tones but not as mellow as a Blüthner.

mric, I'm glad you enjoy your Brodmann. Three years, in my eyes, is still enough to give a worth evaluation on a piano as in reality, a lot can still happen in that time.

OperaTenor, I'm surprised you would choose a Brodmann over a Boston too. A Chinese built over a Japanese!? Not something I've heard before, but nevertheless, the world is changing! As lovely as the Bostons are, they are an ostentatious amount of money, and simply because they have the word 'Steinway' on them. It's a shame Boston don't make a 6'1" model. I think it'd be a great contender in comparison to something like a C3 or RX3. The GP-190, unfortunately would be too large for me. However, I've heard many good things about the GP-178, which I think I shall definitely be considering.

Again, thanks to everyone for your help and input - it's greatly appreciated.
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