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#2103785 - 06/17/13 11:06 AM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: NWL]
LJC Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/04
Posts: 1549
Loc: New York
I would love to try one. I have not found one to try.

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#2103807 - 06/17/13 12:06 PM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: CJM]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5819
Originally Posted By: CJM

Wayne Stuart has certainly built a piano which is ideal for 21st century music, but your use of the phrase 'pit bull dog' is way off the mark.
Regards
Chris


I first heard the Stuart & Sons piano on a recording by Michael Kieran Harvey of Carl Vine's piano music. On the CD, he played Sonata No.1 on a Steinway, and Sonata No.2 on a Stuart & Sons, and the contrast was striking - the purity of the Stuart's tone at all dynamic levels, and its raw power seems ideally suited to Vine's uncompromising piano writing.

But I've also heard Beethoven and Chopin played on a Stuart, and it seems to me that there's no reason why they shouldn't sound great on it either. One might have to mentally adjust, just as you would if listening to Chopin played on a Pleyel (which after all was Chopin's instrument). I'd love to have a Stuart in my mansion (when - and if - I get a mansion cry).
_________________________
"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."

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#2103815 - 06/17/13 12:23 PM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: LJC]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3424
Originally Posted By: LJC
I would love to try one. I have not found one to try.


There are only one or two in the whole of North America. One is in a NYC recording studio.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#2103821 - 06/17/13 12:36 PM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: NWL]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14413
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Heard only very good things - never seen one.

A "hobby project" if one may say - hats off....

However...

It takes MANY, many pianos to build to work out the 'quirks'

There's is a maturation process for any manufacturer that can only happen over time - building a number of prototypes, test them extensively and see how they perform under stress later...

Building a few super-expensive pianos begs the question how much a manufacturer of such product actually brings to market that's not already there.

Incrementally small gains [if that..] at the expense of HUGE cost are IMHO not what is the challenge of the industry today.

Building a superb quality piano at affordable cost, *is*

Still, hats off to anybody making the effort!

Norbert smile
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
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#2103832 - 06/17/13 12:49 PM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: NWL]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 22173
Loc: Oakland
I agree with you 100%, Norbert!

The other side of that is that expensive pianos are much more likely to disappoint. If you expect something to be perfect, the best it can do is meet your expectations, and it may not do that. If you expect it to be lousy, the worst it can do is meet your expectations. The rest of the time, it will beat them!


Edited by BDB (06/23/13 02:13 AM)
Edit Reason: Changed a sentence so it makes sense!
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2106531 - 06/23/13 01:45 AM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: Rotom]
SweetMusicLover Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/20/12
Posts: 11
Loc: Pennsylvania
I have spoken with Wayne Stewart over email many times. Enough that I would consider him an "internet friend" at this point in time. He has made it very clear to me that his sales and marketing goals are very different from the average piano maker. He said that he was aiming to sell his pianos directly to the people who could truly understand them and appreciate them. Even the idea of opening retail outlets around the world was not something he was seeing as a priority. He was more interested in maintaining a controlled reputation and a close knit clientele, all of whom had their heads screwed on right. So, if you want the best piano currently available in the world, go to Australia and buy one. Wayne has discussed the details of action and sound board, bridge, bridge agraffe details to the point that I even know how many grams each agraffe weighs. His actions are all Tokiwa with Abel hammers (in the instrument's standard presentation) so there is nothing special about them. They feel as they do for two reasons. He has removed inertia by removing all lead and going to rare earth magnets for balance and the shear volume and response of his instruments is sure to make any action feel better for psychological reasons even if for none other. And, let's not forget, Wayne's no fool. He understands action geometry and doesn't make mistakes.

Wayne Stewart is a brilliant man to have taken such a small group of people and such a small budget and a strong will to do what he thought was right at any price and turned out a magical new musical technology that no other maker on Earth has succeeded in producing since Cristofori.
_________________________
There's always room for improvement.

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#2108211 - 06/26/13 02:59 AM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: SweetMusicLover]
CJM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 164
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Originally Posted By: SweetMusicLover
I have spoken with Wayne Stewart (sp! Stuart!) over email many times. He was more interested in maintaining a controlled reputation and a close knit clientele, all of whom had their heads screwed on right.

Thank you. We have.
Originally Posted By: Norbert
A "hobby project" if one may say - hats off....
However...
It takes MANY, many pianos to build to work out the 'quirks'
There's is a maturation process for any manufacturer that can only happen over time - building a number of prototypes, test them extensively and see how they perform under stress later...

I’m afraid this shows that you know little if anything about Stuart & Sons or, in fact, about contemporary niche market piano making. Stuart has been systematically studying and designing pianos for more than forty years. Your description of this study and application of the craft as a ‘hobby project’ is totally wrong and, with respect, demeaning to the many talented and extraordinarily technically and musically qualified people who have been involved in this project for many years.

Pianos have been a continuum for over 300 years and it is unnecessary to reinvent the wheel every time a new instrument is made. The first Stuart & Sons concert grand, as was the first Stephen Paulello concert grand, were very complex and significant works and demonstrate the skills, understanding and philosophy of those makers. It was totally unnecessary for them to build umpteen pianos just to get the function right. They got it right first time, and continue to get it right each and every time. If you don’t believe me, listen to Gerard Willem’s recordings of the Beethoven sonatas and concertos. The majority of those award-winning recordings used Stuart & Sons piano #1 – i.e the first grand piano Stuart ever made. This is also the piano seen in the DVD of the Emperor Concerto. This piano is still in superb condition (I played it a couple of weeks ago) and, interestingly, has just been sold to a private buyer. Piano makers have to know their craft if they are to muster the wherewithal to build only a handful of instruments in their lives. An amateur will be undone by the process. The Stuart factory has employed up to 15 people – hardly a hobby exercise.
Originally Posted By: BDB
I agree with you 100%, Norbert!

See above.
Originally Posted By: BDB
The other side of that is that expensive pianos are much more likely to disappoint. If you expect something to be perfect, the best it can do is meet your expectations, and it may not do that. If you expect it to be lousy, the worst it can do is meet your expectations. The rest of the time, it will beat them!

I would like to see what basis you have for making this generalist and rather pointless comment. Expensive is not equal to perfect - what indeed, is perfect? You pay a premium for something that is special not necessarily for perfection - something that most cannot afford but only carp about. People seek out Stuart & Sons and indeed Stephen Paulello as they want to know about their philosophy. They buy their products (if they choose to) not because they are expensive but because they like them and identify with the maker’s vision. Affordability is not the question nor a matter for speculation. If we all wanted the same standardised stuff the world would be insufferable. People who seek niche piano makers, and there are very few to seek, do so for their own reasons.

Standardisation has done more to destroy interest and enthusiasm for the acoustic piano than anything else. If a product is degraded by ever reducing production costs and increasing pressure for profit margins, it’s no wonder why most of the current global production is unremarkable and without provenance.
It would be fair to say that most so called high end pianos in the world today are essentially mass produced and cost no more than one third of their full retail price to build. This is most certainly not the case for Stuart & Paulello and intelligent buyers know this and are prepared for it. The cost of hand built pianos in such high cost countries is bound to be significant. These makers are not and cannot be there for all and sundry. They are, by definition, special and as such, should and do focus their energies to where it’s most appreciated.

Stuart & Sons and Stephen Paulello are the real contemporary piano makers of our time seeking to advance its form and function rather than churn out outdated and inferior products.

Regards
Chris
_________________________
Stuart & Sons 2.2 metre #25

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#2108245 - 06/26/13 06:59 AM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: Norbert]
Rich Galassini Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9517
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted By: Norbert

A "hobby project" if one may say - hats off....
However...
It takes MANY, many pianos to build to work out the 'quirks'

There's is a maturation process for any manufacturer that can only happen over time - building a number of prototypes, test them extensively and see how they perform under stress later...

Building a few super-expensive pianos begs the question how much a manufacturer of such product actually brings to market that's not already there.


Norbert,

You make two points and neither is necessarily true.

First, with the right background, education, and design experience, one can build a great piano the first time. This is particularly true today when computer aided design can let one see a weakness in a design before the first product is ever built.

With piano, there are stages in manufacturing when one can review and amend a design, particularly when you are dealing with limited numbers. There is no reason to go through many issues with your finished product, unless you are learning as you go, which many manufacturers do. It is not necessary though.

Secondly, in a high end niche market, I doubt that Wayne Stuart has any worry about what is already there. His pianos are different enough from everything else on the market that he IS truly bringing something new to the marketplace.

I admit that I have never played these pianos, but have spoken to Wayne by phone and by email over the years and I admire his tenacious design work.

My 2 cents,
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
www.cunninghampiano.com

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#2108372 - 06/26/13 12:46 PM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: CJM]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 22173
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: CJM

Stuart & Sons and Stephen Paulello are the real contemporary piano makers of our time seeking to advance its form and function rather than churn out outdated and inferior products.

Regards
Chris


No, I do not think so. They are making pianos that will rarely be played, and only be heard in recordings and seen in photos and videos. They might as well be computer mash-ups, as far as their influence on the music industry goes.

The real action is in the mass market producers who are striving to make better pianos at affordable prices. That is where the true advancement is today.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2108374 - 06/26/13 12:50 PM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: BDB]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1893
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: CJM

Stuart & Sons and Stephen Paulello are the real contemporary piano makers of our time seeking to advance its form and function rather than churn out outdated and inferior products.

Regards
Chris


No, I do not think so. They are making pianos that will rarely be played, and only be heard in recordings and seen in photos and videos. They might as well be computer mash-ups, as far as their influence on the music industry goes.

The real action is in the mass market producers who are striving to make better pianos at affordable prices. That is where the true advancement is today.


This strikes me as a false dichotomy.
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2108803 - 06/27/13 12:00 AM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: ClsscLib]
CJM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 164
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Originally Posted By: ClsscLib
This strikes me as a false dichotomy.

Good point.
Originally Posted By: BDB
No, I do not think so. They are making pianos that will rarely be played, and only be heard in recordings and seen in photos and videos. They might as well be computer mash-ups, as far as their influence on the music industry goes.
The real action is in the mass market producers who are striving to make better pianos at affordable prices. That is where the true advancement is today.

Once again, I would suggest that you have very little understanding of niche piano-making, particularly in its historical context. To suppose that Stuart & Paulello pianos will be rarely played is an odd basis for argument on matters of influence. Clearly, this point is more about brand exposure. Cristofori’s influence is obviously enormous, but he only produced a few instruments. The Stradivarius family produced over 1,100 instruments over a period of more than 70 years. This is certainly not mass production but their influences on stringed instrument making is unquestionably, definitive. So much for the mass producers of the subsequent 350 odd years. To infer that Stuart & Paulello will have no influence is simply because these makers have not been around for 70 years nor have they had 350 or however many years of mythmaking woven into their fabric.

A similar argument was thrown at Steinway in the 19th century by the avalanche of negativity that litters the literature on reactions from their European rivals. In the scheme of things Steinway, have never been a large mass producer. However, they have cleverly endeavoured to produce a critical number of instruments per annum to supply a significant corner of the prestige and institutional market. Thus, ensuring that the fashion and myth has, for more than a century, favoured their sound and brand paradigm. This, more than anything else, has stymied the much needed innovation in piano design that is only becoming realised through Stuart and Paulello. The world has changed! It could be argued that it no longer needs pianos and that mass production for advanced economies is simply no longer required. Apart from developing countries, it could be argued that there is a high level of saturation with its obvious ramifications and challenges which is a constant topic of discussion on this site.

Your position as stated above is representative of the dinosaur attitudes of this decaying industry. What is needed is a radical leap forward and not to remain stymied by a hollow tradition of vested interest that is ingrained from an infant’s first breath through the pedagogy and every institution to death us do part.

Surely building cheap keyboard instruments has long been mastered by the A Bord’s of the 19th century and the masterful and systematic approach by the mega Asian manufacturers of our time. We have had (comparatively) dirt cheap pianos for a very long time and the only way to build them cheap and cheaper is economies of scale such as we see in China at the present time. Once people experience something that inspires they are seldom likely to willingly return to the status quo. This is what drives fashion and all human endeavour. What Stuart & Paulello have done is to open the lid on a decaying 19th century piano paradigm exposing the universal network of vested interest and mind numbing mantras.

Stuart threw down the gauntlet to all piano makers when he launched his 102 key pianos. He was prepared to not only recognise that there has been repertoire for this range for over 150 years and that only one maker had acknowledged this fact beyond the pack but then, to do the research to determine whether or not he could actually succeed in extending the frequency range to the full 9 octaves for the chromatic scale to 108 keys.

It is the collaboration of Stuart with the inspired work of Stephen Paulello that has achieved this outcome. They are the only people with the courage, ability and wherewithal to take on this challenge in a fearless and determined way and not to be dissuaded by the naysayers and carpers.

Those who attempt to mount ridiculous arguments of arm span, musical tone beyond the mid-range and any number of similar preposterous excuses simply, do not know what they are talking about and can only be encouraged to lose their ignorance through proper unbiased knowledge.

Regards
Chris
_________________________
Stuart & Sons 2.2 metre #25

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#2108830 - 06/27/13 01:03 AM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: CJM]
beethoven986 Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3424
Originally Posted By: CJM
Originally Posted By: SweetMusicLover
I have spoken with Wayne Stewart (sp! Stuart!) over email many times. He was more interested in maintaining a controlled reputation and a close knit clientele, all of whom had their heads screwed on right.

Thank you. We have.
Originally Posted By: Norbert
A "hobby project" if one may say - hats off....
However...
It takes MANY, many pianos to build to work out the 'quirks'
There's is a maturation process for any manufacturer that can only happen over time - building a number of prototypes, test them extensively and see how they perform under stress later...

I’m afraid this shows that you know little if anything about Stuart & Sons or, in fact, about contemporary niche market piano making. Stuart has been systematically studying and designing pianos for more than forty years. Your description of this study and application of the craft as a ‘hobby project’ is totally wrong and, with respect, demeaning to the many talented and extraordinarily technically and musically qualified people who have been involved in this project for many years.

Pianos have been a continuum for over 300 years and it is unnecessary to reinvent the wheel every time a new instrument is made. The first Stuart & Sons concert grand, as was the first Stephen Paulello concert grand, were very complex and significant works and demonstrate the skills, understanding and philosophy of those makers. It was totally unnecessary for them to build umpteen pianos just to get the function right. They got it right first time, and continue to get it right each and every time. If you don’t believe me, listen to Gerard Willem’s recordings of the Beethoven sonatas and concertos. The majority of those award-winning recordings used Stuart & Sons piano #1 – i.e the first grand piano Stuart ever made. This is also the piano seen in the DVD of the Emperor Concerto. This piano is still in superb condition (I played it a couple of weeks ago) and, interestingly, has just been sold to a private buyer. Piano makers have to know their craft if they are to muster the wherewithal to build only a handful of instruments in their lives. An amateur will be undone by the process. The Stuart factory has employed up to 15 people – hardly a hobby exercise.
Originally Posted By: BDB
I agree with you 100%, Norbert!

See above.
Originally Posted By: BDB
The other side of that is that expensive pianos are much more likely to disappoint. If you expect something to be perfect, the best it can do is meet your expectations, and it may not do that. If you expect it to be lousy, the worst it can do is meet your expectations. The rest of the time, it will beat them!

I would like to see what basis you have for making this generalist and rather pointless comment. Expensive is not equal to perfect - what indeed, is perfect? You pay a premium for something that is special not necessarily for perfection - something that most cannot afford but only carp about. People seek out Stuart & Sons and indeed Stephen Paulello as they want to know about their philosophy. They buy their products (if they choose to) not because they are expensive but because they like them and identify with the maker’s vision. Affordability is not the question nor a matter for speculation. If we all wanted the same standardised stuff the world would be insufferable. People who seek niche piano makers, and there are very few to seek, do so for their own reasons.

Standardisation has done more to destroy interest and enthusiasm for the acoustic piano than anything else. If a product is degraded by ever reducing production costs and increasing pressure for profit margins, it’s no wonder why most of the current global production is unremarkable and without provenance.
It would be fair to say that most so called high end pianos in the world today are essentially mass produced and cost no more than one third of their full retail price to build. This is most certainly not the case for Stuart & Paulello and intelligent buyers know this and are prepared for it. The cost of hand built pianos in such high cost countries is bound to be significant. These makers are not and cannot be there for all and sundry. They are, by definition, special and as such, should and do focus their energies to where it’s most appreciated.

Stuart & Sons and Stephen Paulello are the real contemporary piano makers of our time seeking to advance its form and function rather than churn out outdated and inferior products.

Regards
Chris


As perhaps the only other person in this thread who has actually seen and played a Stuart (two, actually), I agree 100%. They are aesthetically stunning and very unique creatures. These pianos, and their creator, deserve attention and utmost respect.
_________________________
B.Mus. Piano Performance 2009
M.Mus. Piano Performance & Literature 2011
PTG Associate Member
Certified Dampp-Chaser installer

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#2109212 - 06/27/13 05:45 PM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: NWL]
backto_study_piano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 566
Loc: Australia
Hi - I've been away from the list for a while due to various issues (incl health).

However, I've played a 7'2" Stuart & Sons on quite a few occasions. The Grotrian dealer in Brisbane, Queensland (Australia) is the agent for Stuart & Sons as well. I did consider it when purchasing. When I bought my Grotrian Concert, the Stuart & Sons was about 3/4 of the price of an equivalent sized Hamburg Steinway, but about 60% more than a Grotrian Concert. Those price comparisons could well have changed.

The dealer has a Piano Club where we meet monthly and the Stuart & Sons is always played.

The Stuart & Sons is "different" from the Yamaha/Kawai/Steinway (or upright) mould which is what most people are used to (here at least). The first time I played it - just casually, I didn't like it, however, the more I went back to it, the more I liked it. I found it didn't respond to a gentle "pussy-footing" approach, but needed to be approached confidently. It wasn't till I heard a much more competent pianist boldly playing repertoire beyond my capabilities that I recognised how to approach it. The clarity is beautiful, the awesome sustain needs to be learned and controlled - the sustain pedal is beautifully progressive.

As a home piano, it could be difficult. I find with the Grotrian, visitors who have never played one before (generally used to a Chinese/Japanese/Korean or old clunker upright), take time to feel comfortable on it. I feel the Stuart & Sons would be even more so. I do wonder how it would be as a family piano, where young children are learning. I guess they'd get used to it if that's all they play. And probably spoil them for when they have to play "lesser" pianos elsewhere.

I'm not sure I'm convinced by the style - maybe a bit too different for those who expect a piano to be black and shiny - but I'd happily accommodate it. I'm sure a black shiny one could be commissioned.

Yes, if I was back in the market - I'd again consider it.
_________________________
Alan from Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert - she's 7'4" long and ebony) & 2 Allen Organs [long story - the first is for sale] - MDS312 and CF-15.

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#2109268 - 06/27/13 07:59 PM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: backto_study_piano]
CJM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 164
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Originally Posted By: backto_study_piano
Hi - I've been away from the list for a while due to various issues (incl health).

One hopes your health issues have been cleared up.
Originally Posted By: backto_study_piano
However, I've played a 7'2" Stuart & Sons on quite a few occasions. The Grotrian dealer in Brisbane, Queensland (Australia) is the agent for Stuart & Sons as well.

There is a photo of that piano earlier in this thread. The Piano Shop is not a dealer as such, Stuart & Sons don’t have dealers in the strict sense of that term but they do have one on display as a consequence of their being supporters and personal friends of Stuart himself,
Originally Posted By: backto_study_piano
As a home piano, it could be difficult.

It’s not smile
Originally Posted By: backto_study_piano
I find with the Grotrian, visitors who have never played one before (generally used to a Chinese/Japanese/Korean or old clunker upright), take time to feel comfortable on it. I feel the Stuart & Sons would be even more so. I do wonder how it would be as a family piano, where young children are learning. I guess they'd get used to it if that's all they play. And probably spoil them for when they have to play "lesser" pianos elsewhere.

There is no doubt that it takes more time and effort to thoroughly understand the piano, but that is part of the imposing/intimidating/challenging/rewarding process that I detailed in my blog. My students take to it very quickly – I think when you are young you adapt much faster, and as a family piano it is quite outstanding. It is always the centre of attention.

And it does spoil them smile
Originally Posted By: backto_study_piano
I'm not sure I'm convinced by the style - maybe a bit too different for those who expect a piano to be black and shiny - but I'd happily accommodate it. I'm sure a black shiny one could be commissioned.

If anyone expects that, then a Stuart piano is not for them.
Originally Posted By: backto_study_piano
Yes, if I was back in the market - I'd again consider it.

What are you waiting for?

Regards
Chris
_________________________
Stuart & Sons 2.2 metre #25

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#2109310 - 06/27/13 09:15 PM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: backto_study_piano]
BrainCramp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 270
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: backto_study_piano

I'm not sure I'm convinced by the style - maybe a bit too different for those who expect a piano to be black and shiny - but I'd happily accommodate it. I'm sure a black shiny one could be commissioned.

I was wandering through this thread for no reason...

I just went to the Stuart & Sons web site and was completely blown away by the wood veneers. To me, those pianos are gorgeous, stunning works of art. (Although I think the big logo on the side is distracting and detracting.)

But then, I would never buy a black piano. I've always thought black pianos were ugly and unimaginative, especially in a home. High-gloss black pianos are the worst - they always remind me of the black 1957 Chevy we had when I was a kid. Put some headlights on that Steinway and just drive it away....

My 2 cents.

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#2109311 - 06/27/13 09:17 PM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: NWL]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
A black '57 Chevy Bel Aire 2-Dr Hardtop is one of the great classics.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2109313 - 06/27/13 09:29 PM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
BrainCramp Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/12
Posts: 270
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
A black '57 Chevy Bel Aire 2-Dr Hardtop is one of the great classics.

It might actually have been a Bel Aire. We did have a '62 Bel Aire at one point. It was blue, and was our first car with seat belts.

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#2109450 - 06/28/13 03:19 AM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: CJM]
backto_study_piano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 566
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: CJM
Originally Posted By: backto_study_piano
... Yes, if I was back in the market - I'd again consider it.


What are you waiting for?

Regards
Chris


$$$ In reality, I've bought my retirement present to myself - and my playing really doesn't warrant anything as great as a Stuart & Sons. The Grotrian is getting better & better everytime I play it. So, unless I have a great windfall $$$, I'll stick with what I've got.
_________________________
Alan from Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert - she's 7'4" long and ebony) & 2 Allen Organs [long story - the first is for sale] - MDS312 and CF-15.

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#2109454 - 06/28/13 03:38 AM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: NWL]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1696
Loc: Toronto
I played the Stuart concert grand at the Sydney conservatory last fall and it was a beautiful and unique instrument. I enjoyed playing it very much. The problem with instruments of this type, for me is that they are too expensive to be purchased by those who would appreciate them the most: professional musicians. Except for the handful of "superstars" in the world today, the vast vast majority of professional musicians can never dream of purchasing a piano like this. So the majority of these pianos will be played by rich amateurs or sit as prized furniture pieces. There's nothing 'wrong' with this, it's just ironic. Some of them will sit in institutions and concert halls being played sporadically by different players never forging a real and personal relationship with the instrument.
To me, a great innovation will happen when a top tier piano can be built to fit an average musician's middle class wages.


Edited by AJF (06/28/13 03:41 AM)
_________________________

Pianist, Composer
Disclaimer: Shigeru Kawai Artist

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#2109990 - 06/29/13 12:05 AM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: AJF]
CJM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 164
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Originally Posted By: AJF
I played the Stuart concert grand at the Sydney conservatory last fall and it was a beautiful and unique instrument. I enjoyed playing it very much.

Yes, it is. I’ve been to a number of recitals where that instrument has been played and it never ceases to amaze the quality of the sound in a good acoustic – the piano just fills the space but it is never, ever jarring or overpowering. Just magical.
Originally Posted By: AJF
The problem with instruments of this type, for me is that they are too expensive to be purchased by those who would appreciate them the most: professional musicians. Except for the handful of "superstars" in the world today, the vast vast majority of professional musicians can never dream of purchasing a piano like this. So the majority of these pianos will be played by rich amateurs or sit as prized furniture pieces. There's nothing 'wrong' with this, it's just ironic. Some of them will sit in institutions and concert halls being played sporadically by different players never forging a real and personal relationship with the instrument.


It should be pointed out that this is not only applicable to Stuart & Sons, but, for example, new Steinways are also too expensive for musicians and that Stuart & Sons, in Australia, is no more expensive than a Hamburg Steinway. Musicians don’t usually buy expensive pianos first hand. I suspect that most musicians who own a Steinway or another expensive brand will have purchased them on the second-hand market or have made a definite priority to acquire one. This is not dissimilar to violinists mortgaging themselves to the hilt to buy a Stradivarius. One suspects this is how it has always been.

People have to be able to dream about what is (maybe!) possible; they need to experience things that maybe are out of their immediate reach. This does not mean that those things are irrelevant but moreover, highlights the special and inspirational nature of them and that is in fact, their real influence and purpose in that instance.

The so called amateur players who own Stuart & Sons pianos are pretty good amateurs and who is to say that they deserve less than a professional musician. At least they can afford to indulge their passions.
Originally Posted By: AJF
To me, a great innovation will happen when a top tier piano can be built to fit an average musician's middle class wages.

In which case something is going to have to happen to sharply increase those wages smile - otherwise this is never going to happen. Pianos at the cutting edge such as Stuart and Paulello will always be expensive.

Regards
Chris
_________________________
Stuart & Sons 2.2 metre #25

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#2110005 - 06/29/13 12:35 AM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: CJM]
backto_study_piano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/10
Posts: 566
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: CJM
...
Originally Posted By: AJF
The problem with instruments of this type, for me is that they are too expensive to be purchased by those who would appreciate them the most: professional musicians. ...


It should be pointed out that this is not only applicable to Stuart & Sons, but, for example, new Steinways are also too expensive for musicians and that Stuart & Sons, in Australia, is no more expensive than a Hamburg Steinway. Musicians don’t usually buy expensive pianos first hand. ... The so called amateur players who own Stuart & Sons pianos are pretty good amateurs and who is to say that they deserve less than a professional musician. At least they can afford to indulge their passions ...

Regards
Chris


I would agree wholeheartedly. I don't play - never will - at the level at which my current piano (or a better one) is capable of playing. However - I don't see why anyone should be "deprived" of the privilege of owning such a piano, should they make it a priority to afford one. When on my search for my current piano, I mentioned to the technician servicing the previous piano that I was aspiring to a Steinway or equivalent. He then said that my playing standard doesn't warrant better than the quite good piano I had. I disagreed, and now, with the opportunity to own a much better piano, still disagree with him. I enjoy every moment I play on it - and play on it a lot more than before. For me, I'm sure that over my retired years that I will gain more enjoyment from a great piano, than I would by cruising the oceans of the world (get seasick!!), overseas trips, expensive cars etc - or dying with a larger bank account.
_________________________
Alan from Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert - she's 7'4" long and ebony) & 2 Allen Organs [long story - the first is for sale] - MDS312 and CF-15.

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#2110064 - 06/29/13 05:19 AM Re: Stuart & Sons--Any experience? [Re: backto_study_piano]
CJM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/08/08
Posts: 164
Loc: Sydney, Australia
Originally Posted By: backto_study_piano
I would agree wholeheartedly. I don't play - never will - at the level at which my current piano (or a better one) is capable of playing.

Likewise, but that’s part of the fun of having one.
Originally Posted By: backto_study_piano
However - I don't see why anyone should be "deprived" of the privilege of owning such a piano, should they make it a priority to afford one.

I agree. My next project is a Bugatti Veyron smile
Originally Posted By: backto_study_piano
When on my search for my current piano, I mentioned to the technician servicing the previous piano that I was aspiring to a Steinway or equivalent. He then said that my playing standard doesn't warrant better than the quite good piano I had.

My response to that would have been to insert his tuning hammer painfully into the least musical part of his anatomy – the resultant tuning would not have been well-tempered…
Originally Posted By: backto_study_piano
I disagreed, and now, with the opportunity to own a much better piano, still disagree with him. I enjoy every moment I play on it - and play on it a lot more than before. For me, I'm sure that over my retired years that I will gain more enjoyment from a great piano, than I would by cruising the oceans of the world (get seasick!!), overseas trips, expensive cars etc - or dying with a larger bank account.

Totally agree again, and my experience is very similar. I’ve done recordings and given recitals, something I never even thought of doing pre-Stuart. Post-Stuart, I’m still learning and will continue to do so for as long as I’m able.

It’s very difficult to get people to understand what this is all about. Stuart and Paulello have opened a window into a whole new world of pianism – one that is not only crucial to the performance of virtually all modern classical music but also one which can reinterpret baroque, classical and romantic piano music in a way that totally reinvents the wheel, as it were, in quite an exciting way. And it doesn’t stop there. One of Australia’s best jazz pianists, Kevin Hunt, uses the clarity and subtlety of the Stuart sound to give his jazz performances a totally new dimension. Terry Riley, he of ‘In C’, loves the Stuart sound. More and more, people who ‘listen’ to pianos rather than ‘hearing’ them are coming round to the possibilities offered by this new world.

It will take a while. The status quo is too entrenched and the new world is, to date, too small to make a rapid impact. But impact it will, and one day we will see the Steinway 'standard' reduced to a mere footnote in history.

And it will continue into the future. If 42 is the answer to LTUAE, then 154 is the piano equivalent, in octal, of course…

Regards
Chris
_________________________
Stuart & Sons 2.2 metre #25

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