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#2104522 - 06/18/13 05:08 PM What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
Ozgur Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/31/12
Posts: 96
Loc: Turkey
Hello everyone! We have just recieved our Steinway D for our new concert hall and very excited about it. For some reasons and conditions, we couldn't select our piano and they delivered us a brand new, unopened one. After the set-up, I played some intermezzi of Brahms, the piano sounds very beautiful and very easy to control despite of the light feel of the mechanism.

As a pianist, I have never been through the process of getting a brand new concert piano ready for performances. I heard that you should take it easy for two weeks or so, not play very loud and use the pedals carefully and so on...

What are the details for this "getting the piano ready" process? For example: Regularly playing chromatic scale including every key? and so on... It is essential for us to know.

Please post smile

Thanks!
_________________________
Ozgur Unaldi, pianist

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#2104534 - 06/18/13 05:21 PM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
accordeur Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1190
Loc: Québec, Canada
When you say "set-up" Do you mean taken out of the crate and put on it's legs? Or did you have a tech come and prep the piano?

If you do not have a tech, find one very quickly. He or she should be able to direct you further.

If you do have a tech, he or she was not very helpful at helping you.

If you can afford a new D, I hope you have budgeted for maintenance costs.

All the best.
_________________________
Jean Poulin

Musician, Tuner and Technician

www.actionpiano.ca

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#2104540 - 06/18/13 05:27 PM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7285
Loc: Rochester MN
Hi Ozgur,

The best thing is to play the piano as often as possible and use its entire range. Don't bang on it, but the full range of normal performance dynamics won't harm it at all. It isn't that fragile, after all.

How well was the piano prepped before shipment? A very thorough regulation, hammer mating check, etc., will enhance not only the playability of the piano, it will also help insure its longevity. It is an important detail since it may not have received very detailed treatment.

Of course, after it has settled into its new environment, a concert level tuning is advised.

To get the longest life from the instrument, keep the humidity level of its environment very stable (40-50% RH). Keep it tuned, and in the first couple of years, four times each year is the minimum. Make sure that the regulation is checked and adjusted as needed, and that the voicing is touched up as needed.

Enjoy the new piano!
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2104541 - 06/18/13 05:31 PM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
Johnkie Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 708
Loc: England
They will always take time to settle .... the tuning needs to stabilise, bushings need to wear themselves in etc etc. Just enjoy playing it without giving any thought about having to 'go easy'. The more it's played the quicker it will settle in and stabilise. I assume there will be a follow up technician to refine the regulation once it has bedded in, so the more it's played the better it will be for the technician to work the after sale follow up magic.
_________________________
Concert Tuner & Technician for the past 49 years in the United Kingdom
and Member of the Pianoforte Tuners' Association (London)
www.jphillipspianoservices.freeindex.co.uk : E-mail jophillips06@aol.com

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#2104549 - 06/18/13 05:53 PM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3321
You need to enlist a piano technician with experience working on Steinway pianos in institutional/concert venues and use only this technician. He or she should be put in charge of drafting a maintenance plan for the piano. Contact Steinway to see if they have any recommendations.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#2104578 - 06/18/13 06:47 PM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
Phil D Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/10
Posts: 551
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Ozgur

As a pianist, I have never been through the process of getting a brand new concert piano ready for performances. I heard that you should take it easy for two weeks or so, not play very loud and use the pedals carefully and so on...



As a pianist, it should never be your job to get a concert piano ready for performance. Unless you want to train as a technician as well. Hiring a technician is the single most important thing you can do. He will tell you what else to do.
_________________________
Phil Dickson
The Cycling Piano Tuner

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#2104587 - 06/18/13 07:04 PM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21431
Loc: Oakland
1. Keep it tuned.
2. Keep it regulated.
3. Voice it as necessary.
4. Take care of any mechanical problems that arise.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2104597 - 06/18/13 07:15 PM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7285
Loc: Rochester MN
Keep it away from the park and the square in Istanbul.

Find a great tech. A Hamburg-D is nothing to mess around with. Since it was purchased for a new concert hall, make sure there are the funds available to care for it.

You, as a pianist, just enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2104628 - 06/18/13 08:21 PM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Do you have a cover for it? Where is it to be kept when not in use? It is a good idea to build a box in a convenient corner offstage that the piano can be wheeled into and locked away so that it is protected from all the other activities in the hall when the piano isn't being used.

Keep it away from any heat source or direct sunlight at all times. Make sure all stage hands and stage managers understand this.
One concert hall architect put a long heat source along the front of the stage. Directly under where the piano goes for a concerto. Of course it has yo be switched off. People who are supposed to know generally don't understand the need to be careful of these things on a way that they used to.

It's maintenance and tuning depends on its amount of use. It should have a days servicing at least once a year, more frequently if it is used more than a few times a week. It should be tuned for every public concert and be in tune for all rehearsals for those concerts. This may mean two tunings on the day of a concert particularly of the piano hasn't been used for a few weeks because it may need a pitch correction if it hasn't been tuned for those few weeks.

Contracts from concert agencies and promoters often specify tuning requirements for their concerts.

Select with care a reputable and conscientious technician and draw up a contract where only that tuner or a tuner specified by them is allowed to tune and maintain the piano.

It probably goes without saying to not let the piano be used as an ordinary common practice or teaching instrument.


Edited by rxd (06/19/13 12:46 AM)
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2104661 - 06/18/13 11:00 PM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1308
Loc: Michigan
Some of my colleagues refer to what you have just gotten as a "piano kit". If you want a real, world-class instrument that will blow the lid off most other concert instruments, do the following:

Throw away the hammers, shanks and flanges. Replace with Carbon Fiber /Composite shanks and flanges tipped with ultra-premium Classical West hammers -- the world's best and most expensive.

Install the Wapin bridge modification for greater tonal focus and power, giving the ability of the piano to whisper to the back of any hall as well as filling it with a roar.

Since the strings need to be loosened to install Wapin, anyway, just throw away the bass strings and replace them with premium, custom hand wound bass strings that don't have the swaging deformation and have an underwrap of stainless spring steel.

Throw away the brass capstans and replace with low-inertia/low-friction anodized aluminum capstans.

Have a skilled technician finalize the work and make the whole into an amazing instrument that will be the envy of other halls and an amazement to every artist that plays it.

We all understand the difference between "stock" and "custom" with cars and golf clubs and even houses. The time has come to realize that the idea that the best piano comes from the factory is nothing more than factory propaganda. Those who are acting on this realization are enjoying some mind-blowingly amazing instruments.
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2104683 - 06/19/13 12:17 AM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: kpembrook]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21431
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: kpembrook
Some of my colleagues refer to what you have just gotten as a "piano kit". If you want a real, world-class instrument that will blow the lid off most other concert instruments, do the following:

Throw away the hammers, shanks and flanges. Replace with Carbon Fiber /Composite shanks and flanges tipped with ultra-premium Classical West hammers -- the world's best and most expensive.

Install the Wapin bridge modification for greater tonal focus and power, giving the ability of the piano to whisper to the back of any hall as well as filling it with a roar.

Since the strings need to be loosened to install Wapin, anyway, just throw away the bass strings and replace them with premium, custom hand wound bass strings that don't have the swaging deformation and have an underwrap of stainless spring steel.

Throw away the brass capstans and replace with low-inertia/low-friction anodized aluminum capstans.

Have a skilled technician finalize the work and make the whole into an amazing instrument that will be the envy of other halls and an amazement to every artist that plays it.

We all understand the difference between "stock" and "custom" with cars and golf clubs and even houses. The time has come to realize that the idea that the best piano comes from the factory is nothing more than factory propaganda. Those who are acting on this realization are enjoying some mind-blowingly amazing instruments.


I think Keith should allow the people who are paying for all this work to play and hear the Hamburg Steinway D that you have done this with next to a stock Hamburg Steinway D. Since money is no object, he should have the two pianos set up for the purpose of such a comparison already.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2104691 - 06/19/13 12:30 AM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1996
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Engage several skilled piano technicians to inspect the piano. Provide them with the schedule of rehearsal and performance dates. Provide them with anticipated conditions regarding climate control, stage lighting, storage space, and handling personnel.

Ask them to provide you with a description of current condition, any preparation work needed now, and a schedule of service needed to ready the piano for use on the anticipated dates.

When you find a technician who has success in meeting the needs of performing pianists; make the piano his/her responsibility on a long term contract. Find a technician who SOLVES problems and does not make very many. Find a technician who can put a piano in tune that stays that way when played vigorously.

Changing technicians just to try someone new out once you have the situation operating well is a recipe for worry. Some pianists will not be happy with a piano that another pianist finds wonderful. So the administration cannot be leaving the judgement of quality of technical work to the performers alone.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2104693 - 06/19/13 12:51 AM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Hey, guys, back to reality.
Ozgur doesn't live in Manhattan or LA where there is a large pool of incredibly talented, knowledgeable and experienced concert technicians to draw on. We are talking Turkey. There is probably not a handful of such techs in the whole region of the eastern Mediterranean, never mind one country.
The piano can be happy if it gets attention from one person who really knows his way around a Hamburg D.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2104701 - 06/19/13 01:32 AM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21431
Loc: Oakland
In fact, the piano can be happy if it gets attention from one person who is familiar with a grand piano and willing to read and understand Steinway's literature and care for it in an attentive, respectful, and cautious manner.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2104747 - 06/19/13 05:19 AM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
The manufacturer will send out one of their technicians once a year. That will be perhaps the best way of making sure it stays in good condition. Well worth the expense and for peace of mind.

Of course nobody would, but if you change the specifications of the piano as suggested earlier in this thread, the guarantee will be voided and the manufacturer will rapidly lose interest. I can't imagine anybody being that silly.

How about the tuner who tuned your previous piano? A suitable candidate can be sent to the factory for specialist training.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2104762 - 06/19/13 07:04 AM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
pianolive Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/09/11
Posts: 327
Loc: Europe
The local Steinway dealer in Istanbul should be able to help you out. They might even have a technician trained at the factory in Hamburg. Ask the dealer about this.
I usually tune the concert pianos every second month and then for each concert.
Once or twice a year I do a bigger tech service.
How are the RH periods during the year?

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#2104779 - 06/19/13 08:12 AM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
BoseEric Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/08/06
Posts: 731
Loc: Fairfield County, CT
If you're serious about having a true concert piano, it should be tuned weekly.
_________________________
RPT. In the business: Feurich pianos, Neupert harpsichords, Hidrau benches, piano technician

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#2104784 - 06/19/13 08:36 AM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Supply]
BrainCramp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 255
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Supply
Hey, guys, back to reality.
We are talking Turkey. There is probably not a handful of such techs in the whole region of the eastern Mediterranean, never mind one country.

Turkey isn't on the other side of the moon, Supply. It's a real country, with people who give concerts, go to concerts, play pianos and tune pianos.

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#2104812 - 06/19/13 10:17 AM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
LJC Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/04
Posts: 1516
Loc: New York
Sorry I cannot agree with Mr. kpenbrook. I would not rebuild a brand new model D which is not even broken in yet. My advice is to play this piano frequently, keep it tuned and regulated and most of all keep it in correct humidity and temperature. It will surely be a most excellent concert instrument as it comes from the factory.

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#2104815 - 06/19/13 10:26 AM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: LJC]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
Originally Posted By: LJC
Sorry I cannot agree with Mr. kpenbrook. I would not rebuild a brand new model D which is not even broken in yet. My advice is to play this piano frequently, keep it tuned and regulated and most of all keep it in correct humidity and temperature. It will surely be a most excellent concert instrument as it comes from the factory.

I thought kpenbrook's reply was a sarcastic joke.

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#2104821 - 06/19/13 10:43 AM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
Ozgur Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/31/12
Posts: 96
Loc: Turkey
Wow! I am so happy to be in this forum, thank to each one of you who writes with great care, respect your helpful posts!

I both agree with Supply and BrainCramp. Turkey is not NY or LA, but in this country we have very few but well trained technicians who regularly tuned Steinway D grands for Argerich, Barenboim and some other legends. I am sure the whole region of eastern Mediterranean has quiet enough number of technicians. Of course I wish there were that many technicians as they have in LA or NY.

If we can regulate the humidity and temperature conditions, we will keep it in the hall, covered. If we cannot, there is a special room built for it just next to the stage but out of the hall walls and possibly with a little different air conditions. In that room, regulating the room conditions is easier than the hall. But it will be mostly used in the hall and quite often. Ofcourse we won't open it for any practice reasons but only for concerts, concert rehearsals and recordings. This great instrument will always stay here, we won't lend or deliver it to anywhere.

That's right, I am a pianist and I should not get a piano ready while an expert should. Sorry for my English, I did not mean that I will personaly maintain it. I was just asked help to know what should be done.

When I said set-up, I meant only the "putting it on its legs".

I understood that we should call the dealer or find a quality expert who has a knowledge, love and experience for concert grands like Steinway D. And make a contract for a planned maintainance.

Kpembrook, thank you for your post! What you suggest is too extreme for our conditions and I should make a compare first before making a radical modification. If I visit you one day, I will be happy to play both a factory and custom of the same model. But I love our Steinway just the way it is now smile and will be happy to keep this quality for decades. Making it better is not in the priority now. But some conservatoirs in the world have plenty of Steinways, maybe they will be interested to give it a try.
_________________________
Ozgur Unaldi, pianist

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#2104866 - 06/19/13 12:25 PM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: AndyJ]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1691
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: AndyJ
Originally Posted By: LJC
Sorry I cannot agree with Mr. kpenbrook. I would not rebuild a brand new model D which is not even broken in yet. My advice is to play this piano frequently, keep it tuned and regulated and most of all keep it in correct humidity and temperature. It will surely be a most excellent concert instrument as it comes from the factory.


I thought kpenbrook's reply was a sarcastic joke.


Ok, kpenbrook, if this is sarcasm, then you are really good at it whome
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician

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#2104880 - 06/19/13 01:11 PM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7285
Loc: Rochester MN
I read Mr. Akins' reply with absolute disbelief. But, in fact, there are those at PW who firmly believe that manufacturers are incapable of building fine pianos. It's the "anything you can do, I can do better" syndrome.

Sarcasm didn't even cross my mind, and if it were written with that intent, it is repugnant in reference to what was being asked by Mr. Unaldi.

I salute the staff of the new concert hall for selecting one of the greatest concert pianos available.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2104917 - 06/19/13 02:48 PM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
AndyJ Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/29/12
Posts: 219
Loc: Near Dayton, Ohio USA
Skimming Mr. Akins' post, I thought I was reading someone's compendium of over-the-top advice that might be found on PW. Only after reading other members' responses to it did I read the message more closely. Now I remember seeing similar advice from the same source in other messages.

-Andy

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#2104956 - 06/19/13 05:04 PM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3321
In defense of Mr. Akins, his suggestions and philosophy do have merit, even if somewhat unorthodox. Perhaps the OP will keep them in mind down the road. After all, concert instruments used for performances are often due for restringing and new actions (hammers, at the very least) after 5-15 years, depending on amount of use.




_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#2104994 - 06/19/13 06:30 PM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7285
Loc: Rochester MN
Defense?

It's a brand new Hamburg-D and Mr. Akins' suggestion was to gut it!

That hardly answers questions about how to care for a new concert grand.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2105046 - 06/19/13 08:26 PM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3321
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty

It's a brand new Hamburg-D and Mr. Akins' suggestion was to gut it!


While I understand your point, I do believe it is an exaggeration to say that he suggested "gutting it". Now, I wasn't planning to dissect each of his recommendations, but I'm feeling somewhat pedantic, soooooo...:

Originally Posted By: Keith
Throw away the hammers, shanks and flanges. Replace with Carbon Fiber /Composite shanks and flanges tipped with ultra-premium Classical West hammers -- the world's best and most expensive.


This would have a few benefits: 1) shank/flange bushings are not affected by humidity, meaning the friction in them will be constant, which, in turn, results in a more consistent touch from note to note. 2) shanks have consistent stiffness, resulting in more even voicing. 3) greater shank stiffness increases power and sustain. OTOH, the Isaac hammers may not suit the tastes of a Hamburg owner, and techs over there may not be familiar with "voicing up" hammers in the manner these hammers would need to be voiced.

Originally Posted By: Keith
Install the Wapin bridge modification for greater tonal focus and power, giving the ability of the piano to whisper to the back of any hall as well as filling it with a roar.


Doing this is not a big deal (just time consuming), as it can be done without replacing the strings. Whether or not it is beneficial is a conversation for another time and place.

Originally Posted By: Keith
Since the strings need to be loosened to install Wapin, anyway, just throw away the bass strings and replace them with premium, custom hand wound bass strings that don't have the swaging deformation and have an underwrap of stainless spring steel.


I don't know who makes Steinway's bass strings, but in the case of NY Steinway, which uses Mapes, I have heard of people replacing these on new or nearly new instruments for the reasons Keith explained. The quality of bass strings has a tremendous impact on how well a piano can be tuned and voiced.

Originally Posted By: Keith
Throw away the brass capstans and replace with low-inertia/low-friction anodized aluminum capstans.


I don't really buy the "low-inertia" thing, since the hammer mass and action ratio are the biggest determinant of inertia in an action. However, having low friction capstans installed would make maintenance of the instrument easier, and they are not all that expensive. Same thing with the key pins, but installing WNG key pins is a pain in the butt, from what I hear.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#2105082 - 06/19/13 09:51 PM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
Minnesota Marty Online   content

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7285
Loc: Rochester MN
Unbelievable!

I weep for new Steinway-D's throughout the world.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2105109 - 06/19/13 10:28 PM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
Don't let an amatuer piano tuner touch it. Make sure he/she is well qualified.
"Well qualified" means he's been tuning forever and it's all he does. And you also have had other people who love his work and have used him for years and highly recommend him.
_________________________
Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time...

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#2105119 - 06/19/13 10:45 PM Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand? [Re: Ozgur]
LJC Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/04
Posts: 1516
Loc: New York
Every part that comes in the new Hamburg Steinway is excellent and does not need replacing. Replacing these parts on a new piano is the most foolish and self serving advice given to a new owner that I can imagine.

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New Topics - Multiple Forums
New start - wish me good luck:)
by FarmGirl
Yesterday at 11:21 PM
Automatic Piano Players...
by tksler
Yesterday at 10:33 PM
No one home?
by ScottM
Yesterday at 08:05 PM
Prokofiev's 5 piano concertos, live: Marinskij/Gergiev etc
by fnork
Yesterday at 07:36 PM
Has anyone here studied with S. Babayan
by Serge Marinkovic
Yesterday at 07:05 PM
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