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#2149598 - 09/13/13 04:47 PM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Michael Sayers]
Keith D Kerman Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/03
Posts: 3327
Loc: Gaithersburg, MD (Washington D...
Originally Posted By: Michael Sayers


That N.Y. Steinway D I played and recorded on was tremendous!

p.s. - I think it might have been more than just an immediately pre-1984 Steinway hammer design. This piano had the kind of sound one just doesn't hear except on recordings from the 1930s through the 1950s (with some N.Y. Steinway recordings 1960s-70s still sounding like that).


M.


I am beyond delighted that you wrote this. To me, that is the Steinway sound. The sound you hear on recordings from the 30s through 50s by Horowitz, Kapell, Fleisher, Van Cliburn, Rubinstein, Gould, I could go on and on.

This is the authentic, real Steinway sound. Sweet and growling and colorful. Thank you so much for your post. The sound of Horowitz's piano in the fugue from the Barber sonata, is my recorded reference for this.
_________________________
Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales of vintage and pre-owned Steinway and Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Charles R. Walter, Brodmann, Feurich
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#2149618 - 09/13/13 05:33 PM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Michael Sayers]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3468
Loc: US
Originally Posted By: Michael Sayers
Originally Posted By: Norbert
The reason why the discussion about "original Steinway hammers" is mute is based by another interesting fact:

I know from several European/German rebuilders that obtaining an identical or 'near identical' set of Renner hammers made exclusively for Hamburg Steinway is highest trophy for rebuilding of their instruments.

Even if these pianos are not Steinways, but others such as Bechstein, Bluethners etc.

Nobody I have ever spoken to however, has ever shown the slightest interest to order those hammers used for New York Steinway.

They certainly "could" if wishing to do so.

Perhaps someone here can contradict this and cite a contradictory case from the other side of the ocean.

It's not exactly that there is no rebuilding going on in Europe or people there not knowing a bit about the different hammers available on market.

Having said this, could someone be perhaps interested in a Hamburg Steinway expertly rebuilt with entirely different, i.e. "German" hammers?

Ask yourself.

Norbert


I think what is being discussed are pre-1984 Steinway hammers, not hammers manufactured by Renner.

I would be happy to have a set of those Steinway (not Renner!) hammers, and also the higher leverage action as well that goes with those hammers.

That N.Y. Steinway D I played and recorded on was tremendous!

p.s. - I think it might have been more than just an immediately pre-1984 Steinway hammer design. This piano had the kind of sound one just doesn't hear except on recordings from the 1930s through the 1950s (with some N.Y. Steinway recordings 1960s-70s still sounding like that).


M.


Michael,
Can you post a link to your recording on that piano?

Thanks!

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#2149641 - 09/13/13 06:03 PM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Piano*Dad]
Almaviva Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 599
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: Piano*Dad
Originally Posted By: Almaviva
Originally Posted By: Voltara
Originally Posted By: joe80
Thing is, if that makes it a Steinwas (or a Bechwas or a Bluthwas), I don't care if the piano sounds amazing.

Or a Yamahasbeen, an Extonia, a Shamberger, a Ravenscroft Nevermore...


LOL. I love these names, Voltara!

Anybody else got some catchy names for rebuilt pianos?


How about Grotrianot?


LOL. Very good, Dad. The only ones I could think of were "Bluthner Blunder" or "Hairy Baldwin". sick


Edited by Almaviva (09/13/13 06:04 PM)

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#2149647 - 09/13/13 06:13 PM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Almaviva]
Jean Claude Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 359
Loc: France


Bösenduffer?

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#2149653 - 09/13/13 06:23 PM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Almaviva]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3468
Loc: US
Byebyebach ?

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#2149657 - 09/13/13 06:23 PM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Almaviva]
Jean Claude Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 359
Loc: France


Or for those in the UK, Welmarred, Beknighted or Challenged.

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#2149660 - 09/13/13 06:29 PM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Almaviva]
dynamobt Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/07/13
Posts: 676
Loc: NH
Mason & Hemlock??
_________________________
1918 Mason & Hamlin BB





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#2149669 - 09/13/13 06:48 PM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Almaviva]
Jean Claude Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 359
Loc: France


Or perhaps Mason and Has-Been.

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#2149739 - 09/13/13 10:54 PM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Almaviva]
Swarth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/11
Posts: 366
Loc: SF Bay Area Ca.
Love the names...
Baldlose
Knobe
Bosenosir
Samsuck..oh never mind
_________________________
Quid est veritas?

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#2149808 - 09/14/13 01:37 AM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: sophial]
Voltara Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/09
Posts: 126
Originally Posted By: sophial
Byebyebach ?

Very nice. We also have the Charles R. W-altered, the Young Changed, and let's not forget the Humbug Steinway.

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#2149818 - 09/14/13 01:51 AM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Norbert]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2115
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Norbert,
Have you ever installed and tone-regulated a set of new hammers on a Steinway?
I mean do the work yourself?

I do find your constant Eurocentric refrain tiresome.

The "classic" Steinway had lighter hammers and higher action leverage than most pianos made today including Steinways both Hamburg and NY. The present NY hammer is typically slightly lighter and has less dense felt than the Hamburgs.

If one seeks the "original" Steinway tone-you must employ a technician who is skilled in tone regulation by hammer shaping and stiffening. Mind you factory new Hamburgs and NY can sound and play very well-they just are not as robust as the older style tone. Hence you have salesmen and technicians referring to a particular piano as a "chamber" instrument if the tone is not as loud-and a "Concerto" instrument if it is loud, (and almost impossible to play softly).
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2149829 - 09/14/13 02:10 AM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1941
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
The present NY hammer is typically slightly lighter and has less dense felt than the Hamburgs.

Out of curiosity, what would happen if you swapped the hammers between a NY and a Hamburg sitting side by side? Would the Hamburg sound like a NY and vice versa?
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2149876 - 09/14/13 06:15 AM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: sophial]
Michael Sayers Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/13
Posts: 1137
Loc: Stockholms län, Sverige
Originally Posted By: sophial

Michael,
Can you post a link to your recording on that piano?

Thanks!


At one time most of these recordings were available, but eventually these and all later recordings became unavailable for various reasons. In the future I hope to revisit that piano with these hammers reinstalled. By then it should have been restrung so that the bass strings won't put any noise into the tone.

It is in the U.S. and I live in Sweden, and after one particularly negative experience with the T.S.A. I stopped flying to the U.S. and have not been back since as I am not going to answer inappropriate personal questions so that I can have permission to get into the country (U.S.A.) where I am a citizen. My hope and assumption is that at some date in the future the T.S.A. won't be around any longer.

In addition I have a very big fear that somehow I will get "stuck" in the U.S. even though I reside with obligations over here in Sweden, and I am not going to take a chance on this happening.

I still remember the story about that U.S. citizen who was flying from Japan to the mainland U.S. and got stuck in Hawaii!

I really do hate being confined to this side of the Atlantic.

One day, hopefully, things will have gone back to the way they used to be, and then I'll rerecord with that piano and the boxed away for now hammers!


M.

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#2149892 - 09/14/13 07:18 AM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Rich Galassini Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9243
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty

Any piano becomes a "Was" when it has been beaten to death or is simply old. "Steinwas" is nothing more than marketing because Steinway's primary competitor is a non-Steinway rebuilt Steinway. They are trying to capture the rebuilding market, nothing more, nothing less.

(I think "Extonia" is brilliant!)


Marty,

I don't think that the factory is trying to capture the rebuilding market as much as they are trying to eliminate this true competition for their new product. They are putting precious little resources in that direction and IMHO, if the factory were near capacity they would not be doing it at all, unless they reopened their rebuilding facility. Doing rebuilding right alongside new production is less than ideal at best.

As an example, the last three clients of mine that chose one of our rebuilt Steinway pianos had also shopped new Steinway in their respective markets.

PS - I also love "Extonia".
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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#2149941 - 09/14/13 09:45 AM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7438
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
Hence you have salesmen and technicians referring to a particular piano as a "chamber" instrument if the tone is not as loud-and a "Concerto" instrument if it is loud, (and almost impossible to play softly).

Have you ever played a S&S-D, Hamburg or NY? I would guess not.

Your classification of the difference between "Chamber" and "Concerto" is odd at best. They are musical and compositional styles and not piano distinctions.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2149959 - 09/14/13 10:44 AM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Rich Galassini Online   content
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 9243
Loc: Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
Hence you have salesmen and technicians referring to a particular piano as a "chamber" instrument if the tone is not as loud-and a "Concerto" instrument if it is loud, (and almost impossible to play softly).

Have you ever played a S&S-D, Hamburg or NY? I would guess not.

Your classification of the difference between "Chamber" and "Concerto" is odd at best. They are musical and compositional styles and not piano distinctions.


Marty,

I understand Ed to be referring to the variability of performance from piano to piano that Steinway had issues with for some time and the way they were described to the public by salespeople.
_________________________
Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
Dir. Line (215) 991-0834
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Get Cunningham Piano Email Updates

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#2149968 - 09/14/13 11:12 AM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Almaviva]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7438
Loc: Rochester MN
Rich,

The distinction between the two is more of tonal structure which would be appropriate for a given type, and era, of music rather than volume level. Mr. McMorrow made a blanket statement with which I don't agree. If one is speaking of volume level and projection, it should be stated in those terms. There is no such thing as a "Concerto" piano. Being appropriate for the performance of any given concerto is a totally different concept.

My biggest concern with Mr. McMorrow's statement was the part that I emphasized in bold typeface. I could have just as easily used a Steingraeber E-272 as an example. Fine, full length pianos are not at all "almost impossible to play softly." To say so in a sales transaction would be totally misleading.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2149969 - 09/14/13 11:13 AM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Rich Galassini]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2115
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Exactly Rich! Thanks.

I should have referenced the descriptions as coming from Steinway representatives.

And yes Marty, I have played, and serviced both Hamburg and NY flavors. Thanks for asking though!
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2149975 - 09/14/13 11:21 AM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Withindale]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2115
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
There are other differences between the pianos that varied over time. I only know of some of them. So swapping hammers will not completely swap tone. This is true of any two pianos. Each piano has it's own sound but the distinctions can get pretty fine between them. And much of the difference is action feel.

Properly tone-regulated the typical softer lighter NY hammer will be more stable over use. It will brighten up less and be more capable of being adjusted for wear related brilliance compared to typical Hamburg.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2150010 - 09/14/13 12:05 PM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Voltara]
BerndAB Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/10
Posts: 544
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: Voltara
Originally Posted By: sophial
Byebyebach ?

Very nice. We also have the Charles R. W-altered, the Young Changed, and let's not forget the Humbug Steinway.


Better a W-altered than a W-atered...

I'll think about to rename my ex Steinwas ex Strad as a TenCentDenial...
_________________________
Pls excuse any bad english.

D 1877 satin black plain

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#2150017 - 09/14/13 12:19 PM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Almaviva]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14138
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
Norbert,
Have you ever installed and tone-regulated a set of new hammers on a Steinway?
I mean do the work yourself?



Not myself but some of the technicians we had brought before form Germany. Still remembering how difficult it was to get authentic hammers for Hamburg Steinways.

One of the suppliers even changed colour of the underfelt not to be caught - they were making these hammers, they had "exclusive" contract...

And this particular tech had very special relationship with that company..

The results later were pehomenal.

Still have letters by the customers thanking one particular tech [well known person..] profusely.

It's not a contest Ed.

Have no doubt you achieve great results with your own work.

Today we don't rebuild at all and concentrate on those new pianos with all "the right stuff" inside - to begin with.

Let's all do the best for our customers without being religeous about things.

Mind you, I find much more "religion" being preached on this side of the ocean than the other...

Norbert wink


Edited by Norbert (09/14/13 12:43 PM)
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#2150032 - 09/14/13 12:56 PM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Almaviva]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1941
Loc: Suffolk, England
Thanks, Ed. So there's a bit more to turning a Hamburg into a New York than switching hammers; as, no doubt, Mr Paulson and his team are about to discover. Let's hope any "Steinwas" event is confined to LVB shares.


Edited by Withindale (09/14/13 01:02 PM)
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2150531 - 09/15/13 01:02 PM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Almaviva]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1197
Ian, I think that the USA and Hamburg build basically the same piano in terms of size and measurements, they use the same plate and soundboard, but the construction of the rim is different. I seem to remember that the US steinway uses alternating wood types which makes the rim either softer or harder in comparison to the German one. Can't remember which way round it is! Also the Hamburg does not use the accelerated action so it has a completely different touch.

There are those who say the Hamburg is stronger built, I'm not sure if that's true. Both are excellent pianos, the Hamburg seems clearer and brighter, the new York seems warmer and darker with more sustain. I'm not sure what I prefer, I think its great there's a choice. I could be persuaded to buy a new York D if I had the cash! Stephen Hough says the American steinway is his favourite, although I know many who seem to prefer Hamburg.

I would quite like a pianocraft steinwas if the funds were available, even if it had to say 'pianocraft' on the lid. I don't know exactly what he does to rebuild, but the sustain and singing tone I hear in his videos.... Not a dry se..... Eye on the house!

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#2150541 - 09/15/13 01:27 PM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Almaviva]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3468
Loc: US
joe, I think it's actually the other way around-- New York Steinway has used hard rock maple in their rims and Hamburg used to use alternating wood types, I believe. I think they may have switched to the NY style rim now? not sure about that. The New York rims are about as solid as tanks and time-tested-- I doubt there is much that is stronger out there.

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#2150547 - 09/15/13 01:56 PM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Almaviva]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1197
Ah ok, well I knew one was different. When I say some people say the Hamburg is stronger, read "I have no idea of the facts but pianists in Europe are biased to the Hamburg and say the new York piano is weaker"

Pianists say many things, and all we really know is whether we like one piano or not, we generally don't know how to build them! Horowitz preferred NY, Glenn Gould preferred that one particular piano, Uchida has four Hamburg steinways. Im listening to Horowitz right now and thinking that his sound is just sublime. There aren't really that many new York steinways in Britain sadly. There is always at least one in steinway hall in London, which is company policy.

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#2150590 - 09/15/13 03:29 PM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Almaviva]
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3468
Loc: US
I think of the characteristic NY sound as having more color and depth and the Hamburg as having more clarity and brilliance-- rather than "stronger" or "weaker". BUt of course individual pianos can be voiced very differently, and the build is very similar- certainly not weaker in NY.

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#2150644 - 09/15/13 05:04 PM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: joe80]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1174
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: joe80
Also the Hamburg does not use the accelerated action so it has a completely different touch.


Greetings,
This is news to me. I mean, about the accelerated action being completely different. I have yet to find a pianist that recognizes the difference in fulcrum shape in these pianos. It doesn't make that much difference in comparison to other factors between the two.
Regards,

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#2150656 - 09/15/13 05:16 PM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Almaviva]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14138
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
Also the Hamburg does not use the accelerated action so it has a completely different touch.



Hamburg Steinway have without doubt one of the "most accelerated" actions imaginable. It's a piano used on virtually every concert stage outside the U.S.

This is not where I would see the difference, it's definitely more with sound.

Er.."sound preference" meaning...

Norbert wink
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#2150676 - 09/15/13 05:52 PM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Almaviva]
BerndAB Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/10
Posts: 544
Loc: Germany
Regd. rims:

to my knowledge the old US rims were made of alternating maple and birch untile the 1920ies.

That was at a time when the outer and inner rim were fabricated separately and then glued together. They then had the idea to glue the whole L shape rim in one piece, but when they started to test this procedure, they found out many cracks.

They got it at last, when they omitted the cheaper birch layers and made the whole rim of maple only.
_________________________
Pls excuse any bad english.

D 1877 satin black plain

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#2151059 - 09/16/13 04:58 AM Re: At what point does a Steinway become a "Steinwas"? [Re: Almaviva]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1197
Hi Norbert, and Ed Foote.

I mean the 'accelerated action' as in the name that Steinway give to their piano action in America. Certainly I don't mean that the Hamburg Steinway has a slower action than the US counterpart. If it did, then Hamburg would have switched over! The keys rest at a slightly different angle on the NY Steinway etc. A man in Steinway Hall in London showed me the differences when he had a NY Steinway to recondition for a customer, but I can't remember off hand all the differences. I do know they feel different, and I certainly feel the difference between the two pianos. However, there are differences between ANY two pianos, so that probably has more to do with it.

Yes Norbert, I know the differences are more to do with tone. In fact, in Steinway Hall in the UK about four or five years ago, there was a New York D in the C and A dep, and they fitted it with a Hamburg action. I don't know why they did that, they probably made the decision for reasons of servicing the piano - perhaps it was easier for them to have all the pianos the same. Anyway, this piano was still most definitely a New York Steinway, even with the Hamburg parts on it.

The New York/Hamburg question might not seem so relevant to the OP's question, but actually if you think about it, at what point does a Steinway become a Steinwas? Well, there are two Steinways anyway, and some of them are Hybrid between the two factories, so Steinway themselves make changes that don't follow the original intentions of the instruments at times.

The CEO at Bluthner said to me 'Yes, this piano has been rebuilt, but the one thing you can't really change is that it's a Bluthner. The fundamental design of the piano has a lot to do with its character'

A sales rep at Steinway also said to me 'No matter what, you can't make a Bechstein into a Steinway or vice versa, the Steinway will still be a Steinway. It might be better or worse than it was originally, but it is still a Steinway piano. You can't really get away from that'.

Sophial, certainly I don't believe one is stronger than the other, but the perception of pianists - which unfortunately is often based on prejudice rather than experience - has been that one is better built than the other. Depending on who you talk to it could be the Hamburg or the NY. I'm pretty certain that they're all built to one quality standard, and what the pianist is actually feeling is a greater or lesser degree of preparation.

Many pianists are pretty closed minded when it comes to pianos. They don't realise the impact that regulation and set up have on a piano's performance. They see 'good' and 'bad' pianos. I played a perfectly set up Pearl River baby grand recently, and it was nice to play. It wasn't the best piano in the world but there was nothing wrong with it. I played the same model that hadn't been set up well and it was horrible. The same thing happens with Steinways and any other pianos. The piano factory makes the instrument, but then it takes a great technician to really make the piano work well. We should have much more respect for our techs and trust their ears and hands more than we do. Of course, another problem is that many pianists (not the top touring pianists) are just not that subtle when it comes to their touch, and so what they perceive to be problems in the piano are actually problems in their technique. I have found some pianos very difficult and heavy to play, but even these pianos, if you approach them in the right way, are capable of a good response. It's just that it's far more tiring on a poorly set up instrument.

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"How It's Made" and Cunningham Piano Co.
by Rich Galassini
09/30/14 09:43 AM
How many different actions do the Kawai digitals have?
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09/30/14 09:34 AM
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My Kawai CA-95 does not record drum patterns
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