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#236232 - 01/26/09 02:43 PM Lothar Schell / Bernhard Steiner
JF Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 95
Hello all,

My piano buying saga continues. Business lost a big customer to bankruptcy last week, so the outlook for 2009 is not quite as rosy. I've been absent from the board dealing with it. Sad to say, but I will not have the money for the Kawai or the Mason I was looking at. My only hope now is to buy a very affordable brand, or just rent for a year or two and try again in 2010 or 2011. The budget is back down to the $6K to $8k range again, but now I want a grand, so the choices are limited.

I've found a couple of pianos recently that piqued my interest. I will be seeing the pianos in a couple of days, and I will let you know the results. Here they are:

Lothar Schell, 3 years old grand, 6'2", asking $4,500.

Bernhard Steiner, unknown age, 6'3", asking $2,900.

I know the Schells are Chinese, supposedly designed by Lothar Schell, a German designer. I know the Steiners are Samicks, discontinued, Ivan Kahn being the primary retailer of these rebranded Samicks, who went into bankruptcy in 2002.

Any special issues on these pianos that I should be looking for? Any known problems that I need to concentrate on? Also, if any of you know enough about these brands, to shout, "NOOOOOOOoooo" to me, then please do so now.



Kimball 6'7" Viennese Classic
Adult re-learning after 20-years

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#236233 - 01/26/09 03:31 PM Re: Lothar Schell / Bernhard Steiner
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4683
Loc: San Francisco
Sorry for the business news and wish you well.

A prepurchase inspection by an experienced tech who has no affiliation with the seller is the best used piano money that you can spend. Techs can assess subtle points, such as fitting of pinblock, quality of felts, and curing of keys. In that context, please read Del Fandrich's post in this thread.

IMO the rent/buy decision is a wash. If you buy and resell at a loss, you can consider that as being equivalent to a rental fee.

#236234 - 01/26/09 04:20 PM Re: Lothar Schell / Bernhard Steiner
JF Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/09
Posts: 95
I read the link you gave me, Fogville. Good grief. I will scratch the LS from the list; no sense in driving way out there to see it, I think.

Perhaps I'd be better off with a 70's or 80's Kawai. There are some of those out there for a reasonable price...KG-2 series.


Kimball 6'7" Viennese Classic
Adult re-learning after 20-years

#236235 - 01/26/09 05:17 PM Re: Lothar Schell / Bernhard Steiner
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5490
Loc: Olympia, Washington
That was written in early 2004 and applied to pianos being built in one particular factory at the time.

Things have been changing and evolving rapidly in the Chinese piano world. I do not know if conditions I described in 2004 still exist today.

The only way to tell for sure is to have a competent technician check out the specific piano you are considering.

This applies to all used pianos not just those carrying the Lothar Schell brand name. Kawai pianos are generally well built pianos of competent design but a lot can happen to a piano in 25 to 35 years.

Good luck --

Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#236236 - 01/26/09 06:04 PM Re: Lothar Schell / Bernhard Steiner
Gary at Encore Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/16/09
Posts: 250
Loc: Dallas, TX
Last week in our store, Encore Pianos in Plano,(Ivan Kahn is the manager) we had a concert with two world class pianists. They spent several hours practicing for the concert in our store. They were told to play on any of the 100 or so pianos. One of the ladies who has a masters in piano from Julliard liked playing on a 6' 2" Bernard Steiner enough that she played on it for more than an hour on two days. Here is a link to the concert info: http://encore-pianos.com/Peace/LICONCERT.htm
The Bernhard Steiner grand pianos were make by Young Chang at first and then by Samick. The Samick pianos were their "world Class" pianos. If you get the model number then Ivan Kahn can tell you much more. We have several used pianos of this brand on our store floor.
Good luck in finding a piano that you really like.
Bluthner, Steingraeber, Pleyel, Hailun, Kemble, Baldwin, Story and Clark, Pearl River, Ritmuller and others (store owner)www.encore-pianos.com

#236237 - 01/27/09 12:43 AM Re: Lothar Schell / Bernhard Steiner
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 15189
Loc: Surrey, B.C.

Dell summed it up great in his above post - no need to repeat things...

Wishing you the very best!

Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642 www.eliteheritagepianos.ca Edmonton, Alta dealers for Estonia,
Brodmann 780-405-8908

#236238 - 01/27/09 04:31 AM Re: Lothar Schell / Bernhard Steiner
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4683
Loc: San Francisco
JF,[/b] I was just trying to reinforce the value of a tech's inspection.

As Del posted, the quality of Chinese-made pianos is rising quickly. Since it's not possible to make a long term judgement re items with a short - and changing - history, your best move is to have a prepurchase inspection done. Of course, that's *after* you've determined that its tone is one that you'd like to live with.

Sorry if my meaning was not clear. I was simply trying to emphasize the wisdom of the prepurchase inspection by including an observation by someone with decades of high level involvement in the industry.

BTW that inspection should include the price of any work which should be done. At the Budgeteer level - which would be mine - it's probably a good idea to expect that a piano will benefit from thorough preparation.

All the best with your search.


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