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#33143 - 04/20/08 12:07 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Pianomadam Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 416
Loc: Southern United States
 Quote:
Originally posted by Piano*Dad:
 Quote:
Guess what Yamaha does with their artists? Could it be the money that Glenn Gould was after?
Disgusting. Pianomadam, you have absolutely zero class. You do a real disservice to the Steinway name. [/b]
---I'm sorry you're so disgusted by a legitimate question, PianoDad. I find it disgusting and manipulative that any company (e.g. Yamaha) PAYS a professional musician to market their name. That is my whole point.
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#33144 - 04/20/08 12:12 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3405
Loc: US
Jethro,
There is a difference between an unprepped piano and a bad or poorly constructed piano. I think you are confusing the two. Saying that Steinway is "knowingly deceiving the customer" is pretty strong language-- what evidence do you have for that?

Look, no piano is perfect and there are Steinways that I have played I have not been crazy about but that is true for virtually every brand I have ever played-- usually there are only a couple in a store I would consider buying, even in high end shops of lots of different makers, and I have heard others say the same thing. Steinway tends to leave a lot of prep to the dealers to do and some do a better job than others, obviously. Would I like to see better prep on new Steinways from the factory? yes, but I do think there is something to the argument of having voicing done to one's own preference . The idea that Steinway is routinely turning out intrinsically bad pianos and engaging in deceptive practices is a bit of hype too, don't you think?

Sophia

p.s. adding an edit here: The reason that even among high end pianos there a lot I would not buy is not because the pianos are "bad" but because I'm looking for a particular voice and playing experience that speaks to me. Others may be looking for something else, which is why it is a good thing that there are differences and "inconsistencies" among pianos.

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#33145 - 04/20/08 12:22 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Starting Over Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 1290
Loc: Toronto
 Quote:
Steinway used to mean something back in the days, but right now they're coasting on their name only and putting out some shoddy products that the dealer or worse the new owner has to shell out more big bucks to prep the piano.
This is a bit of conventional Piano Forum wisdom regarding Steinway for which I just don't see a lot of actual evidence. Steinway pianos come from the factory requiring work at the retail level to make them showroom ready. This is true and we all know it but I do not view this as a quality issue. It's the Steinway distribution model, designed to ensure, among other things, that every dealer has technicians that actually know how to work on a Steinway piano. As long as the dealer adds their value as required there is no problem for the consumer. I have seen Steinways out of the crate on the showroom floor but covered so people can't play them because they arn't ready. A couple of times I have asked to play such pianos and they have, indeed, needed work. I view this only as evidence that Steinway pianos need dealer prep, something I already know. What really matters is how the pianos turn out after the technician gets to them and, from what I've seen, they turn out well, not shoddy. Further, I've heard no Steinway customers complain that they were expected to pay extra for this work after purchasing their piano. Not saying it's never happened; I've just never heard of it.
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#33146 - 04/20/08 12:28 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Bachfan39 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/08
Posts: 82
Loc: Vancouver, BC
I'm sure it's been commented on before...
but the defensive and argumentative nature of Pianomadam's posts does no service to her business or to the Steinway name. One has to wonder if she in fact is marketing another brand.

Steinway deserves some respect for having produced many fine pianos--arguably some of the best ever made--many of which have been played on famous recordings by great artists.

Yet if there are inconsistencies in quality, and there is good competition, Steinway deserves to be criticized sharply for the sake of public information.

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#33147 - 04/20/08 12:50 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Pianomadam Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 416
Loc: Southern United States
"...the defensive and argumentative nature of Pianomadam's posts does no service to her business or to the Steinway name. One has to wonder if she in fact is marketing another brand"

---Many forum members whom have PM'd me/posted would disagree with you. You have only been here since March...do a search of my posts in the past and see for yourself whether your opinion holds.

I have had to have a VERY thick skin to stay on this forum for the past year. Keep in mind, I am the ONLY NEW Steinway & Sons dealer that regularly posts. I wish it were different, but I will not be discouraged!

Best of luck to you, Bachfan39.
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Family of Steinway-Designed Pianos (Steinway & Sons, Boston, Essex) Dealer

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#33148 - 04/20/08 12:58 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
 Quote:
---... You have only been here since March...do a search of my posts in the past and see for yourself whether your opinion holds.
He's being sarcastic. The more research he does, the more convinced he's likely to be that his sarcasm is on target. \:D

PM, your claims about Gould are of a piece with your whole approach to this forum. If you were a farmer, I'd say you practice 'slash and burn.' :p

You offer the pablum off the Steinway promo sheet as fact, and launch low blows in all directions. Your insinuation about Gould is typical. It's a know-nothing blast.
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#33149 - 04/20/08 01:00 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
schwammerl Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/06
Posts: 2011
Loc: Belgium
 Quote:
Steinway used to mean something back in the days, but right now they're coasting on their name only and putting out some shoddy products that the dealer or worse the new owner has to shell out more big bucks to prep the piano.
I always find it a pitty one hardly ever makes the distinction here between a Hamburg Steinway and a New York Steinway.

I don't think you will find all that many Hamburg Steinway owners sharing the above opinion.

schwammerl.

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#33150 - 04/20/08 01:09 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Pianomadam Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 416
Loc: Southern United States
 Quote:
Originally posted by Piano*Dad:
 Quote:
---... You have only been here since March...do a search of my posts in the past and see for yourself whether your opinion holds.
He's being sarcastic. The more research he does, the more convinced he's likely to be that his sarcasm is on target. \:D

PM, your claims about Gould are of a piece with your whole approach to this forum. If you were a farmer, I'd say you practice 'slash and burn.' :p

You offer the pablum off the Steinway promo sheet as fact, and launch low blows in all directions. Your insinuation about Gould is typical. It's a know-nothing blast. [/b]
---Good to hear from you, PianoDad. As usual, nothing but pleasantries from you! What low blows are you referring to? I've already stated that the Yamaha paid marketing question was a legitimate question. Do you have a response or will you continue to offer non-specific attacks with no evidence to back you up? Cheer up! Life is too short to be so angry all the time!
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#33151 - 04/20/08 01:18 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Norbert Online   content
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Registered: 07/03/01
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Loc: Surrey, B.C.
 Quote:
I always find it a pitty one hardly ever makes the distinction here between a Hamburg Steinway and a New York Steinway.
Good point.

Different apples.

Norbert
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#33152 - 04/20/08 01:23 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Pianomadam Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/18/07
Posts: 416
Loc: Southern United States
 Quote:
Originally posted by schwammerl:
 Quote:
Steinway used to mean something back in the days, but right now they're coasting on their name only and putting out some shoddy products that the dealer or worse the new owner has to shell out more big bucks to prep the piano.
I always find it a pitty one hardly ever makes the distinction here between a Hamburg Steinway and a New York Steinway.

I don't think you will find all that many Hamburg Steinway owners sharing the above opinion.

schwammerl. [/b]
---Both you and I know that that is because the notion is mostly a myth that was started with Larry Fine and non-Steinway & Sons dealers looking for ways to discourage their customers from buying New York Steinways. Why would that be? Oh yeah, because you cannot buy a Hamburg Steinway in America unless it is used! How convenient!

Having said that, yes, there are some differences between the pianos (e.g. brighter tone Hamburgs to warmer tone New York Steinways). However, in all the discussions on this forum I have never seen DEFINITIVE proof that there is a significant enough difference in the two to legitimize all the debate that it garners on this site.

Anyone want to set up the debate between a NEW New York Steinway dealer and a NEW Hamburg Steinway dealer? Let's have at it and put this to rest, once and for all!
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#33153 - 04/20/08 01:31 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Jethro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/07
Posts: 235
"Shoddy" was a poor choice for a word and I that back, they do produce fine pianos and I am a huge fan of great Steinway Pianos- so please don't take it the wrong way.

Its because I am such a Steinway advocate that I used such a strong word. Its marketing slogan is "instrument of the immortals". If I or any pianist out there sit in front of such an instrument and find its action, tone, and construction to be less than stellar than yes I would consider it "shoddy" workmanship for such a highly regarded product. Sounds like crap, plays crap, looks like crap- probably is crap. (at least to WHAT SHOULD BE AND USED TO BE Steinways standards) And while I agree Sophia that there is bound to be a some level of variation amongst pianos, pianists expect a certain attention to detail from pianos touted as being at the upper echelons. If all pianos simply needed to be judged individually then there should be no reason to put brand names on them because theoretically a Young Chang would just as good as a Steinway. Right? So calling a crappy sounding Steinway- a unique sound, is just a cop out for poor craftsmanship.

Below I have two NY times articles that discuss a few of the issues in this thread. One of them deals with the strong arm marketing strategy Steinway uses to maintain its image, the other writes about the changes Steinway has gone through over the years. PianoMadam you are welcome to comment on them if you like, but you have to realize that most of us take what you say with a grain of salt as obviously you are one of those who has the most to gain given that you make a fine living selling these products.

Strong arm Steinway marketing strategy.

Technicians complaining about lack of quality and Steinway living off its name.
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#33154 - 04/20/08 01:32 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
polostrings Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 216
Loc: Hawaii
Jethro,
 Quote:
(Polostrings, the "experience" that you are looking for unfortunately is something you will never be able to buy. Some pianists out there already experience the fire and soul that you are looking for and they can beckon it forth from a rinky dink beat-up upright.
If I went to driving school and learn to be a decent race car driver, some how a Hyundai isn't going to be a fun for me as the Porshe. Yet when I was 16 , I would have been thrilled with the Hyundai. At 42, not so much. The experience can't be bought is right, but getting the the right equipment may help you get there. Now the Porshe at 16, Wow!!

"Steinway" only means something to piano players. At least with people I know, they don't care or know how much pianos costs. It may have meant something in earlier generations, but these days people are more impressed with your home theater system. I think my home , car, clothes, and watch will speak louder about "status" than a piano. People would have to come over,( which I am not very social) to enjoy the "status effect " of Steinway. But any grandpiano would have that effect for the average person. The piano brand name has no power to me socially. If "Steinway" means history, passion, performance, not necessarily reliability, then I MAY buy into it? By the way, we do love our Kawai. \:D
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#33155 - 04/20/08 01:55 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Jethro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/07
Posts: 235
Polostrings,

Steinway does have a phenomenal history and reputation. I could afford a Steinway, but I have issues with companies that don't represent themselves honestly. There's no excuse for a Steinway piano leaving the factory to not at least equal the quality control standards of a mass produced Kawai which sells at a fraction of the cost.

I grew up thinking that Steinways were the instrument of choice for the pianist with discerning tastes, but since I started my piano search a year ago, my favorite piano company let me down. With each passing day Steinways are looking more like the "Instrument of Fools" rather than the "Instrument of Immortals".

I believe that Steinway can return to its deserved place in the piano industry and put out the best piano bar none, but right now they're really just another piano manufacturer and there are smarter choices out there for most.
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#33156 - 04/20/08 02:16 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Pianomadam,

Most everybody else simply ignores you unless you push the right button. Why can't I .....

I wish you could understand the difference between an insinuation and a question, but this distinction doesn't seem to penetrate. Let's start with the original quote, shall we:

 Quote:
Guess what Yamaha does with their artists? Could it be the money that Glenn Gould was after?
To you this is a simple question. I'll bet $$ to doughnuts that most people wouldn't look at it that way. Most of us would look at this as a nasty insinuation.

Let's rephrase this the way I think most people would regard it ...

"Yamaha pays their roster, so like all Yamaha artists, Glenn Gould was a simple whore."

Your insinuation is not a question.

Let's phrase it somewhat differently and see how it sounds.

Yamaha pays the artists on its roster. Steinway does not, at least not directly. Does this tell us anything about the attitudes of those performers to the brand they represent.

THAT is a question. Even that question has certain embedded assumptions, which are themselves open to discussion as ways to clarify the issue.

Reasonable people who want to grapple with an issue understand the difference between your 'question' and mine. Pity you cannot seem to understand such an elementary distinction.
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#33157 - 04/20/08 02:33 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Beacon Chris Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/06
Posts: 441
Loc: Greenwich, CT
Piano Madam,

The source on the following quote is from the Canadian Encyclopedia Historica Foundation of Canada:

Five Gould pianos have been preserved. CD 318, the 1943 Steinway grand piano he used in most of his recordings 1960-81, is at LAC, where it was first played in concert in 1986 by Angela Hewitt. The two Yamaha grands he bought in his last years are housed at Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, and Central United Church, Edmonton. The two pianos he kept in his apartment, a 1932 Steinway grand and an 1895 Chickering baby grand, are, respectively, in Rideau Hall, Ottawa, and the lobby of Glenn Gould Studio at the Canadian Broadcasting Centre, Toronto.

Infer what you will about Gould's Yammies, PM, however, it appears as though your question is answered. He bought them.

BC
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#33158 - 04/20/08 02:46 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Beacon Chris Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/06
Posts: 441
Loc: Greenwich, CT
Piano*Dad,

Good observation -

A very famous psychologist said once that 80% of questions are not questions at all - they are statements in disguise.

BC
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Member of the Faust Harrison Pianos sales team.

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#33159 - 04/20/08 02:48 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Beacon Chris Offline
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Registered: 01/06/06
Posts: 441
Loc: Greenwich, CT
Double Post
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#33160 - 04/20/08 02:48 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Innominato Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 802
Loc: London
"While it is probably true that status seekers select Steinway over other brands, how many pianos are purchased with this as the motivation?"

I'd call this the "rolex dilemma". Rolex makes very, VERY fine timepieces. But they are first in no way better than the competition like Vacheron Constantin & Co., just better known; to make matters worse, every idiot who has come to money and feels an irresistible urge to show all his acquaintances how little his little friend is, *will" buy a Rolex. Why? Because it give you the biggets show off factor for the buck. Buy a lesser known top make and the brunette at the party with the big.... eyes might not be impressed at all, simple as that.

So would you buy a rolex? Yes, if you are passionate of the brand, really like that particular model, and are passionate enough to go over the smell of, pardon my Un-PC, disco-owner and rap-singer smell.
But the smell is there, and everyone coming and saying "I bought a rolex because it's the only make for fine watches" is likely to get hanged, drawn and quartered, and I'd personally like to assist to the execution.

So to answer your question, my impression is that whilst only a tiny minority of pianos in general are bought for the prestige factor, *many* Steinways are bought for the "rolex factor".

Guests will come to your place and they will believe that you "made it" and are only happy with "the best" (if they do not understand anything of piano, which is the case for most people) without you having to say a word (which would be bragging, isn't it?).

The likelihood of a colleague telling you "why have you not thought of (say) a Boesendorfer?" is, on the other hand, extremely tiny...... ;\)

------------------------------------------

I also notice in this board that references to the wonderful heritage & Co. never come from people who have bought a bluethner or boesendorfer or bechstein etc, whilst even people who have bought an essex think they can brag with the "connection to the wonderful steinway family".

This is more than a hint to me to what happens in steinway showrooms, and that whoever goes there without a real knowledge of the piano world is an easy prey and the selling argument will NOT be quality in itself, but (in so many words) the status symbol you are going to put in your living room.

------------------------------------------------

I think it does not stay to discussion that steinway hamburg are extremely fine instruments above every suspicion. The differences in quality has been discussed here several times ( I have linked myself an excellent post of some time ago); besides, in europe (where most S&S HH are located and bought) this "steinway factor" is much much weaker than in the US for what I read here, so I'd say the salespeople must use different selling arguments.

As so often, the much desecrated Fine's book already took care of this, putting S&S HH at the very top and S&S NY markedly below.
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#33161 - 04/20/08 03:24 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
AD Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 193
 Quote:
people who have bought an essex think they can brag
As a Brit, I associate the word Essex with ridiculously expensive pretentious houses, and girls in short skirts & white stilettos.
The first essex piano I tried happened to be a short white grand.

The word presumably has better associations in the US?
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#33162 - 04/20/08 03:29 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3405
Loc: US
Innominato, you make much of the Fine ratings of the NY pianos, but Fine's putting S&S NY in 1c was not due to performance issues (he's always given them high marks in that category) but fit and finish issues.

Jethro, I understand the concerns you are raising. But do look at the date on the NY times article--1991. I think some of the concerns raised then have been worked on as the factory equipment has been in the process of being updated. Since then Steinway has acquired its plate manufacturer and keyboard supplier to ensure its source of components, as well as worked on some factory upgrades. I am not trying to dismiss your points, but I also think that perhaps you're overstating the case and not looking at this in the larger context.

Sophia
added : I mentioned the plate and keyboard supplier acquisitions not because those were targeted in the article but to demonstrate the company's commitment to maintaining the integrity of its sources

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#33163 - 04/20/08 03:35 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
LJC Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/04
Posts: 1506
Loc: New York
Steinway used to mean something back in the days, but right now they're coasting on their name only and putting out some shoddy products that the dealer or worse the new owner has to shell out more big bucks to prep the piano.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I always find it a pitty one hardly ever makes the distinction here between a Hamburg Steinway and a New York Steinway.

I don't think you will find all that many Hamburg Steinway owners sharing the above opinion.

schwammerl.

For the record as a Hamburg Steinway owner there are lots of New York Steinways that are excellent and ones I would buy. When I bought my Model D from Steinway Hall there was a NY D there having just been regulated voiced and cleaned up from the Concerts and artists dept. It was 5 years old and was 20% off the new price. IT WAS AN EXCEEDLY BEAUTIFUL INSTRUMENT THAT WOULD COMPARE FAVORABLY TO ANY STEINWAY EVER BUILT!!! I was lucky it was sold it was more money than I paid for the Hamburg. It had a somewhat different but related sound. AS for PianoMadam it appears she has given the Steinway detractors another target to take aim at. The indignation seems rather contrived to me.

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#33164 - 04/20/08 04:30 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Sir Lurksalot Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/19/04
Posts: 1237
AD,

To answer your question: In my town there is an apartment complex called "ESSEX at Hampton." Pranksters keep removing the first E and S from the sign by the road. That's the first thing I think of when I see that word.

The second thing I think of is an OK Asian piano.

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#33165 - 04/20/08 05:06 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Starting Over Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 1290
Loc: Toronto
Innominato, if I understand your rather tortured logic, it is that Europeans buy Hamburg Steinways because they recognize and appreciate quality.

Americans, however, buy the lower quality NY Steinways because of the "Rolex Factor".

Am I detecting a certain "Euro-factor" in this assessment. :rolleyes:

Excuse me while I heave.
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#33166 - 04/20/08 05:21 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
sophial Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/05
Posts: 3405
Loc: US
quote from Innominato in thread "tomorrow is the day"
.....
"3) more in general, it occurs to me that I do not have any reference by which to judge whatever the tech says. For what I know, the piano could have been miserably prepped, only I'd never know because I have no way of making comparisons. The piano of my childhood, though, had a lighter action (though not much) and I could play piano and pianissimo much better. So by the only things where a comparison is possible, an old and unexpensive used piano still wins hands down..... . I do not trust my ear so much yet (and never did by the way), the sound is ok to me but if I cannot play piano and pianissimo and the keyboard is too hard it does not help me anyway.

So I'd ask the following questions:

1) what's going on? It's all in the region of the "little issues" of a new piano which can be easily put right, or am I in front of a potentially insufficiently preparated piano? I am particularly worried about the pp issue, is this normal in a new piano or does it show that the seller did not make his homework in the first place?

2) In the unlikely case that the tuner says to me "I am here to tune the piano and do not want to hear anything else", would you consider it customary/decent/to be expected that I call the shop and ask for a proper visit to have the piano regulated as it should? Mind, I did *not* try the piano myself before buying (and how could I, I had not touched a keyboard for 28 years!), but I do expect to receive a piano which is in order, stupid as this may seem. Needless to say, I knew nothing of the preparation issue etc when I ordered the piano, I did not even know this board then. I thought you buy a piano and they deliver you a piano which is all right but goes out of tune, which is the reason for the first complimentary tuning, that's all I knew and all I was told."

Innominato,
from the above, I'm left wondering from what wellspring of piano experience and expertise you are basing your derogatory comments on NY Steinways. Have you actually played them? even if you had, it does not appear you have much basis on which to evaluate a piano given you didn't trust yourself to play your own piano before buying it, correct? please enlighten me as to your first hand knowledge base regarding NY Steinways.
I hope your visit from your tech goes well and your Kemble meets your expectations.

Sophia

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#33167 - 04/21/08 09:14 AM Re: Steinway character assasination!
John Pels Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/31/07
Posts: 1253
Loc: Tomball, Texas
Sophia, your point is well taken as regards Inno commenting on NY Steinways. I believe that Peter Sumner was making this point as well back on 4/14. Everyone has an opinion, but unless that opinion can be backed up with a really strong backround in the field in which you are making assertions, that opinion should be "weighted", by others reading said posts.

I feel like I have been defending Steinway ever since I joined this forum last year, and in truth they certainly need no defense. The truth is, they are just an easy target. Everyone wants to root for the underdog. Everyone wants the underdog to effectively challenge the big dog. These challenges have been ongoing since the 1800's, and they are more numerous than most forum members could imagine. All one need do is pick up a copy of the Pierce Piano Atlas to realize this. Though marketing plays a role in Steinway's success, it is only one piece of the puzzle. You can make all the claims that you want, but sooner or later, you have to deliver on promises. Steinway has and continues daily to deliver, not just in the home but on the stage in major venues. Reducing a discussion of pianos to the Rolex factor is a curiosity, but really shouldn't play into our discussion. That same observation can be made with any high-dollar commodity. You can't tell me that the "mine's bigger than yours" mentality isn't factored into a decision to buy a Bosendorfer or Ferrari or Donzi or whatever.

If you like it, buy it, if you don't..move on until you find something that you DO like. There is little chance of any genuine character asassination here, because beneath some overly dull or overly bright hammers and a poorly regulated action there is LIKELY a very good piano. Should NY Steinway prep better? You bet. Will they? Only if market share in a niche market is being lost. I'm assuming that they're selling as many as they make, so maybe not in the short-term. I DO worry long-term though, because this sort of arrogance cost the Detroit automakers their future. We are seeing that play out in the present. My, we are far afield from L1037's original post aren't we?

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#33168 - 04/21/08 10:31 AM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Starting Over Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 1290
Loc: Toronto
John, well put.

And, yes, we are hilariously far afield from the original post but, low thread rating aside, it is certainly an energetic discussion attracting a lot of attention.
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#33169 - 04/21/08 12:18 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Rank Piano Amateur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 1735
We are really far from the original post, but that is the nature of conversation. . . it wanders, expecially over time. When I was piano shopping, I tried out many many brands. When I went to our area Steinway dealership, two things happened, which I have been trying to keep distinct ever since. I do not always succeed in doing so.

1. The pianos. I was shown three pianos in the size category in which I was interested, which was the 6'10" model (I don't remember the letter). One was identified as "mellow," one as "bright," and one in between. The mellow one sounded to me like I was playing under water. Not being a mermaid, this was not the piano for me. The bright one, which was the closest to the sound I sought, was no competition for the brand I ultimately chose (the seven foot Mason). The one inbetween was uninteresting, and if the bright one did not work out for me, the inbetween one wasn't going to either. So far, we are at a matter of personal preference in terms of sound, and Steinway did not prevail. I tried to be tactful about this, saying that I would think through my options, as this was an extremely serious financial decision. This leads to the second issue. The salesperson did not let me go, and I was too young and timid to be as rude as the occasion demanded.

2. The shopping experience. The shopping experience I underwent at Steinway was horrendous. My efforts at tactfully departing went for nought. The salerperson went and got a co-owner. My trip to the dealer thus concluded with my standing in a corner (literally), with the salesperson and a co-owner haranguing me from a few inches away about the demerits of other brands and dealers. Aside from the fact that what they were spouting was slanderous, and had nothing to do with the individual pianos themselves, it took me 45 minutes after my actual piano playing ended to escape. (Incidentally, my piano playing had been constantly interrupted by the salesperson, who did not leave me alone for a second. "Do you like that note? What about that note? Isn't it gorgeous?" etc.)

So, the conclusion. Did this leave me with a bad taste about Steinway in my mouth? Absolutely. I did not care for the Steinway pianos I tried playing, but perhaps more significantly the entire experience was rendered extraordinarily unpleasant. There were other brands I tried and did not purchase, but the salerpersons were tactful and made no effort to bash other brands or dealers. Did this leave me with a wish to debunk the self-authored Steinway myth? It probably did (and let's not forget that myths are just that), making me much more enthusiastic in my efforts to try to undercut the incredible self-satisfaction exhibited by Steinway dealers. Steinways are good pianos, but they are not necessarily the best, and they are certainly not the best for everyone. So far, so good. If you add to that an incredibly negative shopping experience--one which was not unique to me, as I have since discovered--you end up with people who are unhappy with the brand on more than one level.

Sorry about this rant. I just wanted to explain where I am coming from on all this. And perhaps where a number of others, who perhaps seem unduly eager to undercut Steinway, are coming from as well. I have not forgotten the terrible sales experience I had at Steinway's dealer, and it made me all the more grateful for those wonderful dealers of other brands with whom I ultimately came into contact.

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#33170 - 04/21/08 12:52 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
nutchai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 227
Loc: Australia, Western Australia
Ok I skipped like 3 pages of this thread just so I could contribute to this delightful thread.

First off: I enjoy Innonimato's posts. Very nicely put.

As for Steinway: This is my own story on my experience when it came to pianos.

I only recently bought an acoustic piano. Doing a tiny bit of research I came upon Steinway! 97% of the world's concert artists use Steinway pianos exclusively! It MUST be the best! So I thought anyway. From that day on, after reading all the useful information on Steinway's websites, I told myself that my dream piano would be Steinway. I am only 19 after all, and I'm not exactly financially independent yet.

So that was my dream. Until I starting reading this forum. I learnt that there was obviously more to fine pianos than just Steinway. Bosendorfer, Fazioli, Bluthner and Steingraeber just to name all those that came under the ranking of 1A. Now I've made it an aim in my life to try out all of these pianos before I even decide which one is the best.

But the truth was that I've never even heard of any of the other brands other than Steinway when it came to fine pianos. So why was that?

It all pretty much came down to the excellent marketing scheme that Steinway came up with. 97% of the world's concert artists use Steinway. Sure. But why? It's not simply because they prefer it. It's usually because they don't have a choice. MANY concert halls have only Steinway pianos and thus artists have no choice but to use these pianos. And why is that? Because Steinway (once again to its excellent marketing scheme) started roping in top of the class pianists (Arthur Rubinstein comes to mind... and Rachmaninoff) to go on tour using their pianos exclusively! This convinced the majority of the public (who would usually have very little info on pianos) that Steinway is associated with fine pianos. A snowball effect ensures and now every university, college and concert hall wants to jump on the 'Steinway exclusive' bandwagon.

So in the end, almost everyone (just like Rolex) associates Steinway with the best pianos.

It's such a pity that other companies didn't think of this.

Well I think that's the end of my rant. Feel free to correct me of course. But don't let my age be the only reason why I would be wrong. \:\)
_________________________
nUtChAi

Kawai K-5

"You are the music while the music lasts" - T.S. Eliot (1888 - 1965)

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#33171 - 04/21/08 01:09 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Watch out nUtChAi, PianoMadam's gonna beat you up! \:\)

This was one of the reasons that many of us found the Gould reference offensive.

BTW, the issue of the Steinway artist program has been dealt with in gory detail in prior threads. There are many good arguments that can be made on both sides of the issue.
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#33172 - 04/21/08 01:14 PM Re: Steinway character assasination!
nutchai Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/07
Posts: 227
Loc: Australia, Western Australia
I'm not familiar with the Gould reference lol.

I remember I read about how Ori made a length post about Steinway's marketing scheme. Perhaps someone could link it for me? I would DEFINITELY love to read this.

And thanks for the heads up Piano*Dad ;\)
_________________________
nUtChAi

Kawai K-5

"You are the music while the music lasts" - T.S. Eliot (1888 - 1965)

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