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#29223 - 09/14/08 10:12 AM New or rebuild Steinway
baybridge88 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/06/08
Posts: 14
Loc: San Jose, CA
Hello everybody. I am new in this forum. I am soliciting advice re. choosing a piano.
I want to get a Steinway B. Is it better to get a relatively recent used B (1995-2002) or a totally newly rebuilt B from the so called "golden Steinway era" of the 1920- 1930? Which rebuilding companies are the better ones? (Please excuse me if the last question may get somewhat personal) Thanks, I hope to have an enjoyable relationship with this forum.
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#29224 - 09/14/08 04:21 PM Re: New or rebuild Steinway
SophieM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 353
Loc: New York City
Which one do you like better? There are many posts regarding rebuilts, so do a search and read to your heart's content! Good luck. \:\)

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#29225 - 09/14/08 05:00 PM Re: New or rebuild Steinway
baybridge88 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/06/08
Posts: 14
Loc: San Jose, CA
The situation is that I tried a recently made B and I like it, however, I was reading that the new Steinway is not as good as the vintage ones, that's the reason why I am asking for advices. I myself have not even heard a vintage Steinway.
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#29226 - 09/14/08 07:20 PM Re: New or rebuild Steinway
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
I would say it's not possible to say which is better. With rebuilds it depends on the quality of the rebuilder and personal preference. Have you played a lot of new B's? I think you should more than "like" it for what it would cost(new or rebuilt).

Someone else here will be able to tell you if there are rebuilt Steinways avaiable at a dealer reasonably close.

The only clearcut advantage that I personally can see for rebuilds is if you like fancy cases or finishes because these become incredibly expensive on new Steinways(just going from ebonized to plain mahogany can add 10K) .

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#29227 - 09/14/08 09:17 PM Re: New or rebuild Steinway
Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/07
Posts: 852
Loc: San Francisco
baybridge88...
You ask an interesting question...

The answers that you get will depend on the individual position of those answering....
If they sell new Steinways they will recommend them...
If they don't, they will tell you that the older ones are better....

It would be helpful to know where you got the advice , QUOTE...
"The situation is that I tried a recently made B and I like it, however, I was reading that the new Steinway is not as good as the vintage ones, that's the reason why I am asking for advices. I myself have not even heard a vintage Steinway.".....

I would be happy to show you the new instruments in the area and talk you through the many variables of touch and tone.
It can be a minefield out there....
You can't go wrong with a new 'B'......I prepped two in the past week or so and they are delightful......

Good luck
Peter
_________________________
Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician



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#29228 - 09/14/08 10:59 PM Re: New or rebuild Steinway
SophieM Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/08
Posts: 353
Loc: New York City
If you KNOW that you like/love a particular piano and it passes the technician's inspection and if the price is acceptable, then just go ahead and buy it. Choose what you love (carefully) and love what you have chosen! You're very fortunate to be in a position to buy a B. \:\)

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#29229 - 09/14/08 11:25 PM Re: New or rebuild Steinway
baybridge88 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/06/08
Posts: 14
Loc: San Jose, CA
Thanks to everyone for pitching in. I think I get the drift now.
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#29230 - 09/15/08 12:49 AM Re: New or rebuild Steinway
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
 Quote:
Originally posted by baybridge88:
The situation is that I tried a recently made B and I like it, however, I was reading that the new Steinway is not as good as the vintage ones, that's the reason why I am asking for advices. I myself have not even heard a vintage Steinway. [/b]
Having facilitated over 300 Steinway grand restorations with both new soundboards and original boards,there is a difference as for a comprehensive rebuild of a newer piano vrs. an older piano of the vintage era. A pattern develops if one is in the position to do a comparative analysis of various eras.
The main variable as for Steinway in particular is that it is a hand made piano whereas when one restores that piano at the same level and precision as the one before, the outcomes can be different even assuming that the same meticulous precision is executed on both. As far as restorations go,you owe it to yourself to sample the wares of many restoration firms in that aside from the individuality of the vintage pianos themselves,there is a broad quality variable and also variable as for aftermarket parts that are available to the modern day rebuilder. For example: a restored Steinway B can sound totally different whether one uses Steinway,Renner Blue,Hamburg Renner,Ari Issac,Ronsen,Abel,Tokiwa hammers. If you have never sampled restored vintage Steinways, you definitely should for that peace of mind if nothing else. You may very well prefer that new Steinway B at the dealer or be a bit confused at the broad variable of these pianos. It all comes down to what piano floats your boat and you'll know after comparing many. $ factor plays a major role to many in that we all know how much a new one is. ;\) Good luck!
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#29231 - 09/16/08 04:20 PM Re: New or rebuild Steinway
kluurs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/02
Posts: 3739
Loc: Chicago
The rebuilder has a lot to do with the quality of tone and touch. Some of the finest of these folks do work that is unbelievably good. If your in pianobroker's neighborhood, you owe it to yourself to try some of his pianos.

I had a 2001 Steinway B and traded it in for a rebuilt (PianoCraft) B. The 2001 B which I bought new was a fine piano but the rebuilt was even more suited to my preferences.

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#29232 - 09/17/08 10:47 PM Re: New or rebuild Steinway
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 2604
Steinways, like most products, continue to evolve. I don't subscribe to the "Golden Era" stuff. Recent models will have improvements and refinements not found on older ones. Many rebuilders believe they can make a Steinway better than Steinway. As a result, many do not use Steinway parts or methods.
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Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.

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#29233 - 09/18/08 08:47 PM Re: New or rebuild Steinway
Starting Over Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 1290
Loc: Toronto
My personal preference would be for a near new lightly used Steinway B over just about any rebuilt, Golden era or otherwise. Unfortunately, they are few and far between and you may not be able to find any. People who buy a new Steinway B seldom put it up for sale after only a few years. As for rebuilt Steinways, there are many rebuilders out there and you should travel around a bit to sample their wares. Quality varies as do the prices. The best ones are extremely good pianos, Steinway parts or not. It's worth the time it takes to develop a bit of an understanding of the market. Drive around and play as many as you can find before you decide.
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#29234 - 09/18/08 09:09 PM Re: New or rebuild Steinway
baybridge88 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/06/08
Posts: 14
Loc: San Jose, CA
It seems that all depend on the specific piano, whether original or rebuilt. That's beg the question: On a rebuilt Steinway, with the components changed, does the piano retain that "Steinway tone? Is it still a Steinway or Steinway is only a stencil on it?
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#29235 - 09/19/08 12:28 AM Re: New or rebuild Steinway
DarkGreenChocolate Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 307
Loc: Michigan
It's still a Steinway. No question to anyone but Steinway marketing.

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#29236 - 09/19/08 02:50 AM Re: New or rebuild Steinway
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 4309
Loc: North Hollywood CA.
The Steinway grand from the onset,through the formulative years was a very thought out and calculated piano both in their scales (nobody's perfect) and even their cabinetry/furniture criteria and design. Take a look at a Steinway Louie XV art case,with it's scalloped edges and it's hand carved detail compared to comparable style cases from other manufactures. Steinway has this sheer elegance that you won't see in most pianos and believe me,we've done them all one time or another. Even the simplistic 380 sketch case (traditional spade leg turn of the century mdl.)there is a subtle elegance where all it's lines totally make sense. Like I said,very thought out.

Not every Steinway grand whether from the vintage era or a newer one in itself,will be a masterpiece catering to the diverse tastes of the most discriminatory pianist,though I think the bare bones "core piano" has more potential to be a great piano than any other manufacture. When one restores these pianos on a regular basis one can see minimal shortcomings in their overall scales compared to other makes. Of course there are individuals like Del Fandrich,Pianocrafters etc. that can improve and focus on the classic Steinway scale but if the original is done right at a high restoration level,they are quite acceptable to the most discriminating pianist.We've on request expanded on the stock restoration adding a cutoff bar,changing rib scale,string scale etc. but on my spec stuff,I leave it be.That's just my personal spin.
More power,sustain and dynamic response could actually lead to other issues as in the dampers not being effective or ? Lately my analysis has changed as for Steinway /restoration. If you play the piano being that you are at a proficiency level as for judging an exceptional piano from mediocrity than that's all that matters to you the pianist.Technical specs and upgraded parts whether aftermarket or original in the end have minimal bearing on the level of restoration or the rebuilder or the piano. A great bellyman could probably make an orange crate sound good.
One last comment, If one promises to make that 5' piano sound like a 6',the easier solution would be to buy a 6' \:D
_________________________
www.pastperfectpiano.com
Largest selection in the USA
100+Steinway and M&H grands
Warehouse showroom Onsite Restoration
Preowned & Restored
Hailun dlr.818-255-3145
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z8RvhXGKzY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Voo0zumHGgE

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#29237 - 09/19/08 06:39 PM Re: New or rebuild Steinway
baybridge88 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/06/08
Posts: 14
Loc: San Jose, CA
Whew! I am glad that have not offended anybody yet. Thanks pianobroker. I just want to make sure that everybody understand that I am not putting down any rebuilder when asking "is it still a Steinway?". Any artisanal work depend on the artist behing it, and I am sure that many rebuilt Steinway are probably even better than the stock factory one. I am just wandering that if a rebuilder used different parts, and then revoice the piano, are there certain tone in mind that the rebuilder is aiming for?
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#29238 - 09/19/08 07:42 PM Re: New or rebuild Steinway
pianosxxi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/21/08
Posts: 209
Loc: Southern California
baybridge88 welcome!

After having so many responses posted, it looks to me that you are still confused.

I'd like to point out that in the beginning explorations of the quantum mechanics theory, physicists used to joke, "it is hard to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat in the room." It seems that you are in the same dilemma.

 Quote:
Is it better to get a relatively recent used B (1995-2002) or a totally newly rebuilt B from the so called "golden Steinway era" of the 1920- 1930?
The answer is that either piano can be considered a “better piano”.

 Quote:
On a rebuilt Steinway, with the components changed, does the piano retain that "Steinway tone? Is it still a Steinway or Steinway is only a stencil on it?
Even if the rebuilder will install Ari Isaac hammers, it will still be a Steinway.

 Quote:
I am just wandering that if a rebuilder used different parts, and then re-voice the piano, are there certain tone in mind that the rebuilder is aiming for?
They use different parts and aim to achieve the best result in sound of the instrument.

Even after answering these questions, it will not help you to really understand the quality of the old “rebuilt” Steinway or new Steinway. There is enormous number of trade secrets that only a rebuilder (after working intensively on rebuilding pianos such as Steinways) has access to. One for example:

The position of the pins inside the pinblock and the angle variable from bass to treble section is so complicated, that not so many people (even among technicians) understand it and are able to follow the rules. It would take me hours to explain to you the rest of the applications and processes.

You have many options to go by and I wish that you chose the right one.
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Master Piano Rebuilder, Owner

PIANO SOLUTIONS XXI
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