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#2124997 - 07/29/13 08:17 PM Used Bechstein?
DanS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 557
I'm in the market for a used Bechstein. Any pitfalls I should know about? I've heard that there were casting problems with some of the older ones, and that some years should be avoided. Any advice, tips (other than have a qualified tech check it out)?

TIA
_________________________
"Most pianists are poor musicians, they dissect music into bits-and-pieces, like a roast chicken" -Debussy

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#2125000 - 07/29/13 08:35 PM Re: Used Bechstein? [Re: DanS]
musicpassion Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 973
Loc: California, USA
Yes - at least in my area (northern CA) there is a significant pitfall for older European instruments. It seems there are some junk-rebuilders in maybe Eastern Europe (Poland?) that take old instruments and make them look good. Inside their workmanship is absolute junk. I guess someone puts them on a boat and then tries to hawk them here. The technician you hire to look at any piano before buying will prevent you from falling into that trap.

Of course don't let that take anything away from Bechstein (or Blüthner etc.)

BTW my two cents worth on Bechstein - I don't like the newer ones. They lost their true voice in the redesign.
_________________________
Pianist and Piano Teacher

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#2125002 - 07/29/13 08:42 PM Re: Used Bechstein? [Re: DanS]
DanS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 557
Thanks for your response.

I've noticed the difference between the older ones and the newer ones too. It seems like they're going for a bigger fuller sound with more overtones in the newer ones, at least in the few newer one's I've played.
_________________________
"Most pianists are poor musicians, they dissect music into bits-and-pieces, like a roast chicken" -Debussy

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#2125038 - 07/29/13 10:39 PM Re: Used Bechstein? [Re: DanS]
Karl Watson Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/11
Posts: 333
I remember being told by a German tech that turn of the century Bechsteins often had trouble with their plates cracking.

Karl Watson
Staten Island, NY

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#2125246 - 07/30/13 10:54 AM Re: Used Bechstein? [Re: DanS]
Johnkie Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 717
Loc: England
Model A grands are quite noted for developing cracks in the frame stretcher bars. There are ways of welding these cracks now using modern methods, but years ago, they were considered useless.
The hammers Bechstein once fitted were quite soft in comparison to todays modern production instruments so I can understand why many prefer the old Bechstein sound.
Of course there are exceptions ..... but ..... in my experience, Bechsteins more often than not simply can't be tuned as nicely as other top class makes, as they tend to be plagued with falseness. I liken it to marmite ... you either love or hate it!
Nice enough instruments to play, but rarely would you ever find one being used in a top class recital due to their excessive falseness.
_________________________
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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#2125284 - 07/30/13 12:10 PM Re: Used Bechstein? [Re: DanS]
Carbonblob Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/13
Posts: 309
Loc: Los Angeles, Ca.
DanS,

you don't say where you are from but I have a CB M180 for sale! It's listed on this site under "pianos for sale".

I also posted a while back about how I came to aquire the CB. That post has more pictures (you can use the search box to look up the thread).

I haven't seen many used CB's and the ones I do see are usually the fancy scroll work models.

I'm not here to sell, so PM me if you would like more info. I have a new RX3 that sits right next to the CB. I'm lucky I get to play them both (and they look so cool together)! ...... blob
_________________________
KAWAI RX-3 BLAK
YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1

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#2125300 - 07/30/13 12:47 PM Re: Used Bechstein? [Re: DanS]
DanS Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/28/12
Posts: 557
Thanks all.

Does anyone know if the newer Bechsteins are still having cracking problems?



Carbonblob, I sent you a PM
_________________________
"Most pianists are poor musicians, they dissect music into bits-and-pieces, like a roast chicken" -Debussy

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#2125313 - 07/30/13 01:05 PM Re: Used Bechstein? [Re: DanS]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1193
I've only heard of cracking on some of the very old models, from about 1880-1910, maybe some a bit later. I certainly haven't ever heard of a newer one having problems.

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#2125333 - 07/30/13 01:52 PM Re: Used Bechstein? [Re: Johnkie]
pogmoger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/13
Posts: 166
Loc: Norway
Originally Posted By: Johnkie
in my experience, Bechsteins more often than not simply can't be tuned as nicely as other top class makes, as they tend to be plagued with falseness. I liken it to marmite ... you either love or hate it!
Nice enough instruments to play, but rarely would you ever find one being used in a top class recital due to their excessive falseness.


Hi Johnkie,

I'm considering a new Bechstein myself, and I'm curious about what you say above. Could you clarify what you mean by 'falseness'? Is this in reference to the tone?

I haven't played any yet, so I have an open mind so far. I'm not fan of marmite, though!

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#2125400 - 07/30/13 04:24 PM Re: Used Bechstein? [Re: DanS]
Johnkie Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/04/11
Posts: 717
Loc: England
pogmoger: Putting it as simply I can, falseness is when any single string exhibits beats. A single string normally has no beats. Beats are what we tuners listen for in order to tune one string to another in each unison - i.e. if you take middle C for example ... this note will have 3 strings which should all be tuned exactly to an identical pitch, and free of any beats which are caused by one or more strings being at a slightly different pitch.

Bechsteins are well known to exhibit beats in individual strings, making it impossible to tune each unison pure. In such circumstances the tuner can only tune the instrument's octaves and unisons as good as the worst string in each note.

I would imagine that modern Bechsteins are considerably better, but the elderly examples can be impossible to tune nicely because of this horrendous amount of falseness. Out of all the top class manufacturers, Bechsteins do indeed have a unique sound, but that sound is mainly nothing more than poor tuning.
_________________________
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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#2125528 - 07/30/13 08:26 PM Re: Used Bechstein? [Re: DanS]
jdw Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 971
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Not an expert but have to say that of the dozens of pianos I played while shopping a couple of years ago (including several Steinways, Bösendorfers, Estonia, Petrof, M&H), a new concert Bechstein was the clear standout. It had incredibly beautiful tone and action.

(I loved some of the Bösendorfers too--but given my budget I didn't really have to make tough decisions among the high-priced pianos!)
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2125702 - 07/31/13 05:21 AM Re: Used Bechstein? [Re: Johnkie]
pogmoger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/13
Posts: 166
Loc: Norway
Thanks Johnkie. I hadn't heard the term before, but I know what beats are so it makes sense to me now after your explanation. Definitely something to consider.

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#2125853 - 07/31/13 12:40 PM Re: Used Bechstein? [Re: Johnkie]
lluiscl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/10/06
Posts: 146
Originally Posted By: Johnkie
Bechsteins are well known to exhibit beats in individual strings, making it impossible to tune each unison pure. In such circumstances the tuner can only tune the instrument's octaves and unisons as good as the worst string in each note.

I would imagine that modern Bechsteins are considerably better, but the elderly examples can be impossible to tune nicely because of this horrendous amount of falseness. Out of all the top class manufacturers, Bechsteins do indeed have a unique sound, but that sound is mainly nothing more than poor tuning.


This is first time that I hear so roundly affirmation. Certainly I don't agree. False beats are a very know problem of imperfections on strings or at terminals (agraffe, capo, bridge). They are common in all old pianos if not have been properly regulated. Recently I have meticulously restored a 115 years old Bechstein grand (221 cms) (also with cracked plate) and it sounds GREAT, free of falseness.
In my opinion the typical Bechstein sound (in old pianos) is due mainly the high IH inherent of its scale/strings. The modern ones have changed everything... trying to copy the Hamburg sound... and they do frankly GREAT also.
Hope this helps.
All the best.

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#2126233 - 08/01/13 04:20 AM Re: Used Bechstein? [Re: lluiscl]
pogmoger Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/13
Posts: 166
Loc: Norway
Hi Iluiscl,

I was waiting for/almost hoping for someone to disagree. I appreciate a wide variety of opinions to help me make my choice - which I'm not in a rush to make (probably between new Steinway, Bechstein, Bosendorfer and Shigeru.)

So does anyone have any thoughts about the level of falseness in Bechsteins before vs. after the recent redesign? I'd always assumed that when it comes to build quality on the four brands named above, there are no meaningful differences. Simply a matter of taste as to which instrument a pianist prefers based on tone/touch/responsiveness.

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