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#2156418 - 09/23/13 08:19 PM Steinway voicing and regulation cost?
TheLoneliestMonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/03
Posts: 49
I have a ten year old Steinway L that gets a lot of use. I'm sure it could use voicing and regulation. What would be a ballpark amount I should be charged for this.

Thanks for any advise.

Ed

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#2156420 - 09/23/13 08:27 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


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

I'm sure you understand that without a location it is very difficult to estimate. Also, the experience and skill of the technician comes into play.

For a detailed service, without major repairs, have about $500 in your budget.

The best bet is to find out who the talented technicians are and give them a call.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2156444 - 09/23/13 09:05 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
NFexec Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/21/11
Posts: 106
Loc: NE Ohio
Hello Ed,

I do not disagree with the above response, but I have found that depending on how much work the action needs to get your expected results, you may pay up to twice that amount. This may include significant work such as new action bushings and/or pins, key bushings, back checks, etc. Of course it may not! Not knowing how old your piano is, or its maintenance history diminishes a good estimate on a forum like this - but I would say that assuming you hire a quality technician, you will get what you pay for.

By the way, does anyone know if the cost to regulate a Steinway action is any different from that of another well made piano in similar condition? If so - why? Is it in the parts needed, or labor expense or both?

Doug


Edited by NFexec (09/23/13 09:06 PM)
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#2156453 - 09/23/13 09:15 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


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

Answering your question is fraught with as much danger as is Ed's.

It does not cost any more to voice and regulate a Steinway.

But, ...
Of course, ...
Then you must consider, ...
Sometimes, ...
Keep in mind, ...

I tried to give a very general ballpark figure for what was asked by Ed.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2156472 - 09/23/13 09:32 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3854
It's difficult to suggest specific numbers without evaluating the piano. I would suggest that you call a technician experienced in Steinway pianos, as they are not the same as other brands. A good rebuilder, or the technician for an All Steinway School would be a good choice.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#2156482 - 09/23/13 09:40 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1609
Loc: Toronto
Any top notch tech can voice and regulate any make of piano. I wouldn't focus on finding a 'Steinway tech' but on finding the best tech in your area.
If the piano in question is only ten years old I can't imagine it would need anything beyond voicing and regulating.

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#2156508 - 09/23/13 10:34 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: AJF]
NFexec Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/21/11
Posts: 106
Loc: NE Ohio
Originally Posted By: AJF
Any top notch tech can voice and regulate any make of piano. I wouldn't focus on finding a 'Steinway tech' but on finding the best tech in your area.
If the piano in question is only ten years old I can't imagine it would need anything beyond voicing and regulating.

Ah - I missed that the piano is 10 years old... my bad. In that case, I would agree that a quality regulation, tuning and voicing should do wonders for your piano. It still may likely cost north of $500, though.

Doug
_________________________
Anyone know about the 1920's "Mighty Wurlitzer" theatre pipe organs? Click here: www.wrtos.org or here: www.atos.org

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#2156527 - 09/23/13 11:24 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1996
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
If you hire a technician who is highly skilled and experienced in setting performance level results-it could reach the $2.5K range. This would be a very deep and detailed fitting and spacing of the action and strings together. Any individual piano may have a less than an ideal strike point across the compass. Reducing the weight of he top 30 or so hammers will improve the tone if the hammer felt has not been over-hardened. Touch response issues can be improved. Dampers may benefit from attention to uniformity. The capo bar could have a less than ideal profile. And many other points should be checked for the finest results.

The benefit of hiring a technician to do an extremely thorough tone-regulation including the elements disclosed above is the tone and touch will be more stable over time and action parts will wear out slower. So an investment of $2.5K now saves you from the need to rebuild the action in 10 to 20 years. In fact with the above work properly done you will probably think the piano sounds and plays better than when it was new.

So by that measure it is a bargain.
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#2156546 - 09/23/13 11:57 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3321
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
If you hire a technician who is highly skilled and experienced in setting performance level results-it could reach the $2.5K range. This would be a very deep and detailed fitting and spacing of the action and strings together. Any individual piano may have a less than an ideal strike point across the compass. Reducing the weight of he top 30 or so hammers will improve the tone if the hammer felt has not been over-hardened. Touch response issues can be improved. Dampers may benefit from attention to uniformity. The capo bar could have a less than ideal profile. And many other points should be checked for the finest results.

The benefit of hiring a technician to do an extremely thorough tone-regulation including the elements disclosed above is the tone and touch will be more stable over time and action parts will wear out slower. So an investment of $2.5K now saves you from the need to rebuild the action in 10 to 20 years. In fact with the above work properly done you will probably think the piano sounds and plays better than when it was new.

So by that measure it is a bargain.


I agree with this. Also, possibly new key bushings, which will add a few hundred dollars.
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#2156572 - 09/24/13 12:46 AM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
TheLoneliestMonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/03
Posts: 49
Thanks to all of you for your quick and detailed responses. It sounds like it is an worthwhile investment to have this work done. I love my piano and hope to be playing with it for many more years.

Again, Thanks for all the input.

Ed

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#2156573 - 09/24/13 12:49 AM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
TheLoneliestMonk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/06/03
Posts: 49
Also, does anyone have any recommendations for technician who would do this work in the San Francisco Bay Area?

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#2156580 - 09/24/13 01:03 AM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
BDB Online   content
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It is absolutely worth doing, for the sake of improving your enjoyment of the piano. As for improving the longevity of the action, if you end up playing it more because of it, you will wear it out faster. On the other hand, what is the point of having a piano if you are not going to enjoy playing it?
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#2156584 - 09/24/13 01:10 AM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
beethoven986 Offline
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Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3321
Originally Posted By: TheLoneliestMonk
Also, does anyone have any recommendations for technician who would do this work in the San Francisco Bay Area?


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

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#2156770 - 09/24/13 10:45 AM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: BDB]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1996
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
When you reduce the mass of a hammer that reduces the inertia which has the effect of reducing hammer contact time with the string. Less wear. Lighter hammers compact the action felt less with time and use. Finely fit key-bushings will wear longer because once side play grows significantly-they wear faster. Perfectly pinned action centers will not get loose as fast either.
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#2156775 - 09/24/13 10:54 AM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1996
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
To add to my earlier post that outlined work and range of cost.

Ed, Make a list of the things you notice about the piano that you want the work to address. Use your own terms and notation, just explain them to any technician you audition for the job.

Ask them to add any items to the list they feel detract from the musical utility of your Steinway.

Then ask them to "prescribe" a job order that will solve the problems and list the cost. Beware of any technicians who equivocate widely about results and resort to name dropping.

Then ask to audition some of their prior work of a similar vein.

In other words make them diagnose specific solutions for specific problems and guarantee results. Good luck!
_________________________
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#2156779 - 09/24/13 11:03 AM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7285
Loc: Rochester MN
How often does an owner of a S&S-L invite the San Francisco Symphony into his home for a performance of the Rach-3? It is not a concert instrument, and the owner may not be a concert pianist.

Let's get real. Most owners don't need, or even want, a full concert prep on a home instrument. It's a lovely concept, but not at all necessary on a ten year old Steinway.

After 10 years, a good regulation and voicing is in order, but ...
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2156784 - 09/24/13 11:21 AM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1996
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
That attitude is the same one the company makes regarding preparation of new Steinways.

A less skilled pianist actually needs a better performing instrument if they are interested in wide dynamics and tone color than a virtuoso who has such ample technique and performing experience to produce great musical expression from mediocre pianos.

A sort of "status" separation between mere mortal pianist wannabe's and the giants of the stage exists at Steinway. The realities of running the company force them into a two tier system of quality. C&A pianos get serious preparation, complainers also get significant attention, your run-of-the-mill Attorney/Doctor/etc just get the charisma.

I think the founders intent was to make the finest piano possible for a pianist to experience. I provide that same standard to all who are willing to engage me. It is a choice a Steinway owner should have the option to employ if they value it. That is called "Professionalism"!
_________________________
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#2156795 - 09/24/13 11:38 AM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7285
Loc: Rochester MN
Ed, (LoneliestMonk)

I'm going to change my ballpark figure.

Budget at least $5,000 for overkill on an action regulation and voicing.

For about $40,000 you could also unnecessarily totally rebuild and refinish your piano.

Better yet, buy a new D and send it off to have it rebuilt before you even play it!

Just as long as you bite the bait, sign the check.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2156809 - 09/24/13 12:05 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Withindale Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 1938
Loc: Suffolk, England
I don't have a Steinway but my pianos have 88 keys too.

Simple arithmetic says $880 will buy $10 worth of regulation per key.

Let's say the going rate is $120 per hour (just a figure for easy calculation) then $10 represents 5 minutes work per key. Add $120 for everything else and you're at $1,000.

The back of my envelope says $500 may well be more than enough for a piano in good nick but $1,000 won't go far on one that isn't.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2156825 - 09/24/13 12:38 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21431
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
When you reduce the mass of a hammer that reduces the inertia which has the effect of reducing hammer contact time with the string. Less wear. Lighter hammers compact the action felt less with time and use. Finely fit key-bushings will wear longer because once side play grows significantly-they wear faster. Perfectly pinned action centers will not get loose as fast either.


The amount of volume that you get from a piano depends on the amount of force that the hammers put on the strings.* Force is mass times acceleration. If you reduce the mass, the acceleration will be increased to compensate, so the force remains the same. Same force, same wear!

Key bushings fit depends on the geometry of the keys. Well-designed keys do not have a lot of side play. What might be a factor is that key cloth has not always been good, but if the keys need rebushing, better cloth is available now. But there is not much that can be done in the regulation process that will prevent wear of bushing cloth, whether in keys or elsewhere. In general, it wears until everything is smooth, and then it goes until it wear out, which could be in 100 years or more in a well-designed piano with no more than home use. I know, I have two good quality pianos in my living room that are nonagenarians, with mostly original bushings that still work fine.

I agree with Marty. Spending gobs of money on "regulation" hoping for savings is false economy. Chances are good you will spend many times the amount for parts replacement on that sort of regulation before you begin to accrue any of those supposed savings.

*There are some other factors in how much volume you get from a piano string, but they have more to do with how the hammer and the string interact, rather than force.
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#2156829 - 09/24/13 12:42 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Steve Cohen Offline
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If one has "invested" in a Steinway, and as we all seem to agree the return on investment is not financial but in its high quality performance, then investing a couple of $1000 to bring it to its peak performance is a good idea. Especially when it is played a lot.
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#2156855 - 09/24/13 01:37 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: Withindale]
jim ialeggio Offline
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Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 621
Loc: shirley, MA
Originally Posted By: Withindale
The back of my envelope says $500 may well be more than enough for a piano in good nick but $1,000 won't go far on one that isn't.


thumb ...and from someone in the field, precious few pianos are in good nick...

Taming a fine (or often not-so-fine) piano is all about process and relationship. My serious customers, and customers who are wanting more from their piano, speak about their piano in terms that are used to describe relationships, not products.

For these clients, if I were to approach them and their instruments as one would in a turn-key selling exercise...as an exercise in accounting...my good clients would dissappear fast. They want and need something else than one size fits all, products...and they want to talk to you about it and have you share their experience, frustration, and pleasure when the instrument is improved. THey also want and need to know that there is someone there who has the personality and chops to match the machine to the player when things inevitably need fixing.

Clients who have first purchased the piano as if it were a commodity, and then look for a cut-and-dry service product to purchase and be done with it, will have at their finger-tips a machine that functions, for its entire life, at maybe 60% potential.

For some pianists, this 60% realized potential is acceptable. For others, the piano's shortcomings or unrealized potential are a source of continual, and quite stressful musical frustration. A tech's job is matching the instrument and the service to the player. His job is also having the psychological savvy to know when the client,through words or emotions is looking for more or be happy with less.

In my own service, I have clients for whom I provide a $650 one-shot "regulation". Mostly those pianos are quite tired, completely ignored instruments, and the goal is simply to have the piano be somewhat improved and to not scream so bad.
At this price, I don't even try to address the entire instrument, because there is simply too much to do, and not enough time budgeted...and this assumes the rather optimistic scenario that one doesn't run into any parts that actually need repair or replacement, rather than regulation.

For clients where I have already worked on the piano, knows its strong and weak points, and know what parts of the instrument we decided to address a little later, a yearly $600 tune-up keeps things running smoothly and addresses potential problem before they become an issue. For these clients they often ask me "what are we going to work on next"...mainly because the work always has a tangible result.

For clients who are new to me, or who just purchased a new-to-them instrument, for an serious initial tone regulation, assuming tone regulation only and not repairs, 2.5K is an entirely reasonable number given the time and expertise involved. This service is sometimes appropriate to a new instrument which is simply not performing as desired.

Even with these levels of service though, I often feel frustrated that there is still so much I will never be "allowed" to do for the instrument and client, because the economies and realities mostly never totally match.

Jim Ialeggio
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#2156974 - 09/24/13 05:26 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Swarth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/28/11
Posts: 366
Loc: SF Bay Area Ca.
Originally Posted By: TheLoneliestMonk
Also, does anyone have any recommendations for technician who would do this work in the San Francisco Bay Area?


Frank Acosta is the man Steinway sends out here in the East Bay. Excellent musician as well as technician 925 212 9131
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Quid est veritas?

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#2157058 - 09/24/13 07:43 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: BDB]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1996
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
BDB,
F equals M X A does not include the effects of inertia upon the periodic string we are trying to impart momentum to. Thus a hammer heavy enough to stay in contact with the string beyond one period of vibration begins to act as a damper.

It also does not include the spring rate difference between compressed and rebounding felt. Thus the extra F a heavier hammer brings to the string, is expensed as stretched, worn hammer felt. Volume must thus include noise as well as tone. Pianists regularly pay to have noise removed from tone.

Thus heavier hammers may impart more force -but some of this force produces wear. So it is most definitely not "same force same wear". Also lower inertia actions function very well with friction levels that make a high inertia action unplayable. This friction keeps parts from rattling around and accelerating wear. Over thirty years of my experience has proven that lighter hammers produce more dynamic range in a piano and considerably longer wear.

Key bushings with slop get sloppy faster because the side vectors allow for more sideways acceleration of the key and these forces easily start to exceed the elastic limit of the bushing cloth. Same for cloth action centers.

Once a piano has been finely regulated in situ with the protocols I outlined above-the tone changes little with use. With tuning, dusting out, spot needle voicing, and teflon powder lube on key-pins and knuckles twice a year-the piano always gives a good musical experience whenever the pianist needs it-and will do so for at least a couple of decades of daily use without significant wear. That represents real value
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2157149 - 09/24/13 11:18 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3854
My suggestion is to do what ever you are comfortable with, but in the future, please don't wait 10 years before regulating and voicing a high use piano I do a reg and voice every year on the Steinway pianos at the university. You should set aside a 1/2 day service call on your piano every couple of years, to keep it in better shape.
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#2157180 - 09/25/13 12:16 AM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21431
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
BDB,
F equals M X A does not include the effects of inertia upon the periodic string we are trying to impart momentum to. Thus a hammer heavy enough to stay in contact with the string beyond one period of vibration begins to act as a damper.

It also does not include the spring rate difference between compressed and rebounding felt. Thus the extra F a heavier hammer brings to the string, is expensed as stretched, worn hammer felt. Volume must thus include noise as well as tone. Pianists regularly pay to have noise removed from tone.

Thus heavier hammers may impart more force -but some of this force produces wear. So it is most definitely not "same force same wear". Also lower inertia actions function very well with friction levels that make a high inertia action unplayable. This friction keeps parts from rattling around and accelerating wear. Over thirty years of my experience has proven that lighter hammers produce more dynamic range in a piano and considerably longer wear.

Key bushings with slop get sloppy faster because the side vectors allow for more sideways acceleration of the key and these forces easily start to exceed the elastic limit of the bushing cloth. Same for cloth action centers.

Once a piano has been finely regulated in situ with the protocols I outlined above-the tone changes little with use. With tuning, dusting out, spot needle voicing, and teflon powder lube on key-pins and knuckles twice a year-the piano always gives a good musical experience whenever the pianist needs it-and will do so for at least a couple of decades of daily use without significant wear. That represents real value


Well, actually, the M is inertia, so it is included.

Going beyond the questionable physics, even if there is some benefit in longevity, is it enough to warrant spending $2000 versus $800 for the initial regulation, and a commensurate rate for future regulations? If you only save a year's use after 20 or 30 years, that is insignificant. Most decent pianos will last a lifetime, even with little or no service.
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#2157375 - 09/25/13 10:50 AM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1996
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
BDB,
If you place a two new Steinway grands in practice rooms where pianist's play on them five hours a day for ten years. And one of them is prepared as I described above in my earlier post and the other is "original". The action of the original one will need rebuilding and the prepared one will just need key-bushings, hammer shaping and touch-up regulation.
You do know how to cost compare this don't you?
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2157423 - 09/25/13 12:13 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21431
Loc: Oakland
It is not up to me to prove your advertising claims.
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Semipro Tech

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#2157465 - 09/25/13 01:46 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
schwammerl Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/06
Posts: 2012
Loc: Belgium
Quote:
And one of them is prepared as I described above in my earlier post and the other is "original". The action of the original one will need rebuilding and the prepared one will just need key-bushings, hammer shaping and touch-up regulation.


Although a layman I tend to be in the camp of Ed here as I know of a famous concert pianist living here in Brussels - the name shall not be disclosed here - who owned a NY Steinway C that got just average service and that was ruined in merely 10 years of use, be it tough daily practicing.

schwammerl.


Edited by schwammerl (09/25/13 01:49 PM)

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#2157487 - 09/25/13 02:49 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21431
Loc: Oakland
That is not the point. Ed is making claims that he cannot substantiate. When called out on the physics, he changes the physics. When asked to prove his claims, he says I should do it.

The question is how much longer than 10 years would your example pianist's piano last before it needs the same amount of work, and would there be any money saved, given that the more expensive service could easily be several times what the ordinary service costs. (This ignores the fact that average service probably barely consists of tuning once a year.) One can easily spend more money on the difference in the cost of service than a new action would cost in 10 years.
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#2157569 - 09/25/13 05:10 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
TomazP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/09
Posts: 102
Loc: Ucluelet, BC Canada
You begin with the best Steinway technician around, usually the one who looks after symphony/concert hall pianos. Invite him/her to appraise your instrument. If the work is doable, he'll/she'll ask you what you want, how you want it to sound. He/she gets to work; you leave. When he/she has finished the work, you play the instrument, he/she will make any minor adjustments that you request. You write the check. He/she goes home. You play a splendid example of the Steinway brand. Everyone is happy.

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#2157594 - 09/25/13 05:49 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TomazP]
jim ialeggio Offline
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Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 621
Loc: shirley, MA
TomazP,

thumb simple and to the point smile

Jim Ialeggio
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#2157603 - 09/25/13 06:13 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TomazP]
pianoloverus Offline
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Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19271
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: TomazP
You begin with the best Steinway technician around, usually the one who looks after symphony/concert hall pianos. Invite him/her to appraise your instrument. If the work is doable, he'll/she'll ask you what you want, how you want it to sound. He/she gets to work; you leave. When he/she has finished the work, you play the instrument, he/she will make any minor adjustments that you request. You write the check. He/she goes home. You play a splendid example of the Steinway brand. Everyone is happy.
Actually, I don't think this is the best way to work things out if a piano is having major voicing.

Unless the tech and pianist have done this before and are sure they understand each other completely, just telling the tech how you want the piano to sound and then leaving strikes me as a dangerous approach. Better for the pianist to stay around and listen to at least a few notes after they have been voiced to see if the tech "understood" what the pianist was after. Communicating about a piano's tone is quite complex.

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#2157622 - 09/25/13 06:53 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: pianoloverus]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1381
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: TomazP
You begin with the best Steinway technician around, usually the one who looks after symphony/concert hall pianos. Invite him/her to appraise your instrument. If the work is doable, he'll/she'll ask you what you want, how you want it to sound. He/she gets to work; you leave. When he/she has finished the work, you play the instrument, he/she will make any minor adjustments that you request. You write the check. He/she goes home. You play a splendid example of the Steinway brand. Everyone is happy.
Actually, I don't think this is the best way to work things out if a piano is having major voicing.

Unless the tech and pianist have done this before and are sure they understand each other completely, just telling the tech how you want the piano to sound and then leaving strikes me as a dangerous approach. Better for the pianist to stay around and listen to at least a few notes after they have been voiced to see if the tech "understood" what the pianist was after. Communicating about a piano's tone is quite complex.


I'm all for that. Also, what Ed wrote earlier about auditioning a technician is absolutely true.

Even when I'm working with a tech I know well, I usually hang around in the kitchen while they work to hear how it's going. I try not to make them self-conscious, but I really do want to know how it's going.
_________________________
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1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
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#2157624 - 09/25/13 06:58 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
laguna_greg Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/13
Posts: 1381
Loc: guess where in CA and WA
...and as to whether it's worth the money, I think it is even for the rank amateur.

Not many people can hear when the piano sounds not-so-great. But everyone can tell when the piano is in great shape. Nobody likes having a piano-shaped object in their living room that doesn't sound as impressive as it looks.

Ed,

1- Find a good tech. Get several bids.
2- Spend the money.

You won't be sorry!


Edited by laguna_greg (09/25/13 06:59 PM)
Edit Reason: i contradicted myself!
_________________________
Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
1931 Bechstein C - now sold
http://www.triangleassociates-us.com/about_us (my day job)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dorothy_Taubman (a recent article I wrote about one of my teachers)

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#2157678 - 09/25/13 09:40 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: BDB]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1996
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
My Dear BDB,
Since you claim to understand the physics better than me-why don't YOU take the following question and prove my understanding of the physics wrong.

Title: Describe and Account for the Angular Momentums Created When Piano Hammers of Differing Masses, Under Differing Accelerations, Excite a Taut Piano String and Relative Distribution of These Momentums into Noise and Tone.

Please note you will only need to use Newtonian Mechanics. However if you do discover Relativistic or Quantum effects in the course of your investigation you probably would be nominated for a Nobel Prize.

For myself I prefer to uncover testable theory for Dark Energy/Matter. Or The mechanism for communicating relative mass between bodies across space/time. Or How the mechanism behind con-joined particles functions across space/time.

Oh, lets get back to pianos! I have over thirty years experience adjusting hammer mass according to the musical function of a piano and have ample observation of the difference the hammer mass makes to the wear rate with use of a piano. Plus the old Steinways, Mason & Hamlin, Chickering, Bechstein, Bosendorfer and other makes had hammers lighter than most of what is available today. Just think how many times posters here have complained about how heavy the action became after new hammers were installed. But I suppose you just think I am engaging in "Advertising".
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#2157691 - 09/25/13 10:06 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Norbert Offline
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Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14138
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
It's too bad that things get into fighting here all the time.

Here's my own take on this, based on my experience:

For Steinway or any other make you don't always need a "Steinway technician" but rather a "very good technician"
They are not that hard to find when looking carefully.

Investing $ 2,500 appears a somewhat inflated price to me. I know of no piano of presumably premium quality needing this type work after only few years.

I've seen the "best of the best" including Steinway technicians in Germany doing phenomenal work in about a day or two. These masters were able to change things substantially - on site. Including refiling hammers,key-by-key regulation, tuning & voicing. A more realistic price for this is about $ 1000-1,500 tops.Onsite reconditioning is very common in Europe

Which gets me to the next point: careful when techs insist on taking actions into their own workshop: one can't alway fully monitor their work and certainly not time spent.

These then are the situations when $ 1,500 jobs become suddenly $ 2,500 or more. Sorry, not to offend.

Unfortunately happening lots in the industry..

Norbert


Edited by Norbert (09/25/13 10:11 PM)
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#2157711 - 09/25/13 10:36 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: Norbert]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 621
Loc: shirley, MA
Originally Posted By: Norbert
I've seen the "best of the best" including Steinway technicians in Germany doing phenomenal work in about a day or two. These masters were able to change things substantially - on site. Including refiling hammers,key-by-key regulation, tuning & voicing. A more realistic price for this is about $ 1000-1,500 tops.Onsite reconditioning is very common in Europe


Your quote describes normal regulation procedures. There are times when this is not enough, and extensive tone regulation procedures are required.

Specifically:

-filing the capo bar when the capo bar needs filing or adjustment because it wasn't none well at the factory...duplex noise right off the showroom floor
-repositioning the hammers because the generic 1 size fits all hammer positioning (especially with S&S)does not fit the as-built irregularities of the plate and case. These irregularities are very common in any piano, but especially in a new S&S piano.
-hammers hung to a common bore which will not allow either proper striking or checking because the plate height varies, sometimes upwards of 1/4" from the generic design.

Without a comprehensive tone regulation, a piano that has these issues will often be played, and the issues never resolved. The tonal consequences are often accepted...sometimes with nary a shrug and other times with some sadness and frustration...it depends on the pianist.

In any case, the above tone regulation is a premium service...but so are these pianos premium instruments. When spending 60-85K for a fine instrument, withholding normal and required "finishing" time to save what is, relatively speaking, a minor expense is an exercise in poor value.

Jim Ialeggio


Edited by jim ialeggio (09/25/13 10:38 PM)
_________________________
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advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
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#2157765 - 09/26/13 01:27 AM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21431
Loc: Oakland
This may be a difference of opinion on what constitutes regulation and voicing and what are repairs of what might be manufacturing flaws.

If I am regulating and voicing a piano, my job is to get it playing properly and sounding even. It is not to bring it to some sort of ideal which may be different from the reason the owner bought the piano in the first place. So I have to do less work than I might possibly imagine, and bid anything else separately.

I did run across a Steinway L which had some pretty big flaws. The top hammers were hitting more capo bar than string. Moving them back made the black keys hit the fallboard. That required repositioning the hinges slightly. Even so, that was perhaps 15 minutes extra work, not $1000 worth.

In any case, it is my experience that the big money comes from making lots of people happier with their pianos, whether it is a Steinway grand or the old family upright. It comes from doing good, careful work efficiently and at reasonable prices, so that more people will get it done. Admittedly, I am not the best person to talk to about prices for work, but there are a lot of people that I have made a lot happier with their pianos for a lot less than $1000 plus the cost of tuning.
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#2157768 - 09/26/13 01:35 AM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14138
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
Your quote describes normal regulation procedures. There are times when this is not enough, and extensive tone regulation procedures are required.



You're correct.

Extensive tone and regulation procedures were exactly what was once required on Chinese pianos of about 5-10 years ago.

If required today, even after years of heavy playing, I would drop the line on the spot.

Norbert
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
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#2157884 - 09/26/13 08:35 AM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7285
Loc: Rochester MN
+1 - BDB

thumb
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Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2157959 - 09/26/13 10:48 AM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1996
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
If you purchase any new grand today. Play it five hours a day. In ten years the action will need new: hammers, hammer-shanks, key-bushings and attention to dampers, pedals and whippens.

If this same piano has hammers that are made from felt with decent elasticity in it; I can tone-regulate this action and piano for somewhere around the $2,500 level and it will not wear out for thirty years or maybe more played five hours a day.

As added benefits the touch will be faster and allow for more dynamic control, the tone will be more singing and colorful, and the treble will be far less "woody".

If you have to rebuild an action every ten years for serious pianists, they also must endure more frequent "break-in" episodes. Down-time equals increased ownership cost. Plus new parts don't come cheap.

It would be of real value to pianist's if manufacturers would pay attention to the leaders of piano technology by incorporating known and proven protocols to improve the musical utility of pianos. Durability could even become a provable selling point!
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#2157971 - 09/26/13 11:25 AM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7285
Loc: Rochester MN
The OP was simply asking about "regulation and voicing" for his 10 year old S&S. He didn't ask how it could be souped up, customized, or altered.

BDB is arguing for the use of common sense, rather than a fantasy of spending the maximum amount of money to create a theoretically perfect piano.

Mr. McMorrow, have you played the OP's piano? Do you know what it needs?

Dream on - The piano owner doesn't need to. All he has to do is find a competent piano technician and request a "voicing and requlation" for his piano. Anything else is idle conjecture and not pertinent to the original question. At that point, the work is in the hands of the technician he has hired and your proposals are irrelevant to what he, and his technician, deem to be appropriate.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2157975 - 09/26/13 11:39 AM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1996
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
* Personal insults deleted *


Edited by BB Player (09/26/13 11:59 AM)
_________________________
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#2157998 - 09/26/13 12:17 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7285
Loc: Rochester MN
Thank you BB Player.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2159089 - 09/28/13 01:59 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1996
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Piano owners who are fully informed of their options can make a decision on what kind of piano services they desire. I think this forum is the place to describe options. Or is it just a place for posters who want to talk about pianos-but aren't actually responsible for performing services?

Just because a poster here is the loudest and most verbose does not confer expertise.

I am always ready to demonstrate what I advocate. I can give potential clients the names of my clients who have similar pianos that I care for.

I only know of one PW poster who has contacted me privately to "question" my credentials and "motives". Many posters have thanked me for my posts. I do find the "Junior High School Hall Monitor style" of one frequent poster here gauche!
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In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2159090 - 09/28/13 02:03 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
TomazP Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/17/09
Posts: 102
Loc: Ucluelet, BC Canada
Exactly!

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#2159120 - 09/28/13 02:59 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7285
Loc: Rochester MN
Though a moderator felt the need to censor and delete a posting, it is unfortunate that is no longer available for all to read as an example of truly juvenile behavior.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2159178 - 09/28/13 04:27 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1996
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Marty, you could ask the moderator to reinstate it.

My sarcasm was mild and my employ of a deprecatory sobriquet towards you was as well. You once accused me of calling you a bigot because I pointed out the discriminatory nature of one of your positions. You have never apologized for that excess. I never went running to the "hall monitor" on that. Bigot is a real insult my friend! And I never used the term towards you or any other PW poster! We should be adults and be responsible for our words.

It is your reaction to it that reflects upon you.

You do like to "Officiate" over the forum with an obviously improper sense of entitlement in my opinion and that is what my sarcasm delineated..

I do enjoy most of your posts, but I have every same right to disagree as you do.
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#2159188 - 09/28/13 04:45 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7285
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
You once accused me of calling you a bigot because I pointed out the discriminatory nature of one of your positions. You have never apologized for that excess.

Why would I apologize to someone who called me a bigot? I explained to you, in excruciating detail, why my comment wasn't bigotry. Your reaction was nothing more than another of your juvenile attempts to discredit my background, knowledge and experience.

Your replies in this thread are yet further examples.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2159193 - 09/28/13 05:03 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1996
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
Marty,
The point is that I never called you a bigot. You claimed that my description of the discriminatory nature of your comment equaled calling you a bigot. I think you know the English language well enough to be fully aware of the distinction between to two.

Pointing out the discriminatory implications of a persons positions does not equal calling them a bigot.

I feel I am owed an apology for your insult. I am insulted you think I called you a bigot when I most definitely did no such thing.
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#2159212 - 09/28/13 05:42 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
Jean Claude Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 357
Loc: France


Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
Marty,
The point is that I never called you a bigot. You claimed that my description of the discriminatory nature of your comment equaled calling you a bigot. I think you know the English language well enough to be fully aware of the distinction between to two.

Pointing out the discriminatory implications of a persons positions does not equal calling them a bigot.

I feel I am owed an apology for your insult. I am insulted you think I called you a bigot when I most definitely did no such thing.


I must say that I have always found Marty's grasp of English to be quite exemplary. I expect that he even knows how to spell 'equalled'.

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#2159220 - 09/28/13 05:50 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: TheLoneliestMonk]
Jean Claude Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 357
Loc: France


Also, in your second paragraph, 'persons' is quite wrong for the possessive, you mean 'person's'.

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#2159846 - 09/29/13 09:29 PM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
hoola Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/08
Posts: 169
Loc: LA, USA
Dear Ed McMorrow, Dear Marty <-> Dear Marty, Dear Ed McMorrow

One good thing of this forum is it gives different points of view from different angles & perspectives, this is very helpful for piano lovers from different horizons with different objectives, budgets…

Therefore the more contradictory or constrast points of views are, the better.

I have one interesting experience to share:

I bought my Grotrian 6f3 new in Paris in 1991. The person who prepped my piano did a special prep: he used a cutter to thin all shanks of the treble section of my brand new Grotrian. He explained the reason in a mystic, transcendental vocabularies above my head that escaped my ears. As a mechanical engineer I worried about the force resistance of thinned shanks.

I then used technicians from 2 other prestigious piano dealers in Paris to tune my piano: Hanlet (exclusive importer of Steinway in France at that time, its technicians serve Steinways of most prestigious names in Paris) and Daniel Magne (exclusive importer of Bosendorfer in France at that time, and piano expert for Opera de Paris, author of a book about piano http://www.amazon.com/Daniel-Magne/e/B001K7G0VK ). I asked them the reason why shanks were thinned by cutter. Technician from Hanlet smiled and said “the person who prepped your piano thinks that he can do better than Grotrian Steinweg”, Daniel Magne shrugged his shoulders and gave no answer.

Nearly 20 years later, I posted this same question on this forum twice. The first time: no answer, the 2nd time Del replied and explained the reason.

My lesson: all “experts” don’t think the same way, don’t have same knowledge, therefore it’s good to know different points of view. And a good answer can come very late.

=> Please don’t restrain your point of view even it goes again the whole world. This kind of Internet forum is the ideal place to speak out so people can learn different things to build their own judgement

Best regards

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#2160034 - 09/30/13 11:00 AM Re: Steinway voicing and regulation cost? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1996
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I agree with you Marty, Your discriminatory remarks were not bigotry. And I never used the term bigot to describe them! You accused me.
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