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#58716 - 01/15/07 07:29 AM Shopping for new grand piano
mjs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 365
Loc: München, Germany
As mentioned (briefly) on another thread - I'll be embarking on a journey through various piano shops (and factories) in and around Munich this year to shop for a new grand piano.

It is going to go in a room about 3.70 m (about 12 ft 4") wide and 6.50 m (21 ft 8") long, 2.55 m (8 1/2 ft) high, with a large, double door into the adjacent (considerably larger) room. One side is fully glass panelled, but that will get curtains which should soften the sound, wooden floor, concrete ceiling, book shelves on at least one wall.

So really, I am shopping in the 1.80-2.10 m (6-7ft) regime.
Budget is more a secondary issue, so my aim is to first find what I think is the best piano, then make the sums - and if necessary wait a few months more until we can afford it.

We are quite fortunate that Munich has two (or three together with the Steinway House) big piano shops which cover most of the market (Bechstein, Blüthner, Bösendorfer, Fazioli, Grotrian Steinweg, Kawai, Sauter, Schimmel, Steinway (Hamburg), Yamaha), plus a number of fully restored older instruments. And then there is the Steingräber factory a dy trip away.

I have had a little play around on a few instruments (about 6 so far), after which I will probably rule out the Kawai (apart from Shigeru Kawai which I haven't tried) and Yamaha (except for the S-Series, which I also didn't try). I quite liked the Schimmel and more so the Sauter, but the Bösendorfer (214 cm) I played was so far the nicest -- but that was more or less without a systematic approach.

My plan is to try to stick to a systematic approach and draw up a little "mandatory repertoire" to use on all instruments identically and note down impressions, plus on the instruments I like more a "free repertoire" for further exploration.
Obviously, this procedure will take some time, but I am determined to play as many top notch instruments as I can and enjoy myself. And as this will happen after work most of the time, I am realistically looking at about a year's effort.

Have I missed out any makes? I am somewhat inclined to try to support the "local economy", which shouldn't be that difficult in all pianos are manufactured in Germany, except Kawai and Yamaha and Bösendorfer (but then, Vienna is only 240 miles away and therefore much closer than Hamburg or Braunschweig), but that isn't an absolute. Will need to find dealers selling Ibach and Seiler as well, probably. If I stumble over them in a shop, Petrof and Estonia won't be forgotten, either.

Does anyone know if Mason & Hamlin are available in Germany for at least a test play for comparison?

Any comments are welcome - any suggestions with the idea in mind that I am really looking for an instrument for the next 50 years (touch wood), and therefore am willing to invest money in a hand crafted piece of art (or at least one that comes close to it) and not really for a mass produced instrument.

Markus
_________________________
Steingraeber D-232 # 45 777
Neupert Telemann harpsichord

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#58717 - 01/15/07 10:00 AM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
Piano*Dad Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/12/05
Posts: 10297
Loc: Williamsburg, VA
Two German pianos you haven't included on the list are August Foerster and Wilhelm Steinberg. I've never played a Steinberg, and the Foerster didn't do anything for me, but for the sake of completeness they are potential candidates.

My major recommendation is that you spend some time listening to individual notes in addition to playing a given set of pieces on each piano. Slowly playing chromatically is a useful exercise, as is playing set chords and just listening to the sound of the attack and the manner of the decay. You can learn a lot about the basic features of the instrument and its voicing that way. Playing some simple baroque ornamentation is a great way to get the feel of the action (and the way it repeats). Simple scales help you get a sense of the key weighting up and down the scale.

Good luck and enjoy the search process!

Cheers,

David F


P.S. where are the dealerships in Munich? I was there over the summer, but I didn't bump into any dealerships.
_________________________
Grotrian 192 #156455

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#58718 - 01/15/07 10:42 AM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
Wzkit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 1005
Loc: Singapore
I would also recommend trying Steingraeber 205 as well. Impressive piano. And if trying the Sauter, be sure to try the 220 Omega, in addition to the 185 Delta.
_________________________
Sauter 185 Delta with accelerated action and burl walnut fallboard

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#58719 - 01/15/07 11:04 AM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
mjs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 365
Loc: München, Germany
Thanks for the messages - I had forgotten about the Steinberg and Förster - will need to find someone who sells them, don't appear to be that common.

As for Sauter: I have tried the Alpha - they didn't have a larger one in the shop then, but I would definitely want to try the larger ones. If they are for their size what the Alpha is for its size, it will be worth it.

The Steingräber 205 is quite high on my list, but not many who stock it (I was told that because the production numbers are so low an instrument might sit around in the shop for a year until it is sold and by then, they will have made improvements to parts of the design), so waiting for time to go to Bayreuth (as a reply to a request of information I got a friendly letter and invitation to the factory hand-signed by Udo Schmidt-Steingräber which I thought had a nice touch to it).
On their website and in the catalogue they have a version which is on the outside polished ebony black and on the note stand and the inside to the keyboard lid in Massakar veneer - absolutely beautiful.

Dealerships in Munich:
Piano Fischer in Thierschstr. off Isartorplatz -- they are also in Stuttgart and Herr Fischer is very friendly and takes his time to talk. They deal in Bechstein, Fazioli, Grotrian-Steinweg and Yamaha and also have lots of restored old instruments

Klavier Hirsch at Sendlinger Tor (actually on Lindwurmstr.) -- Bösendorfer, Blüthner, Schimmel, Kawai (incl. Shigeru Kawai)

Steinway-Haus München is on Landsberger Str. between Laim and Pasing.

Will keep you posted.
_________________________
Steingraeber D-232 # 45 777
Neupert Telemann harpsichord

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#58720 - 01/15/07 01:35 PM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17699
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by mjs:
I am determined to play as many top notch instruments as I can and enjoy myself. And as this will happen after work most of the time, I am realistically looking at about a year's effort.
[/b]
I can't think of a better way to spend a year myself than shopping for a high-end grand. \:\) Please do keep us posted throughout your adventure.

My best advice would be to pass on the advice given to me by whippen boy, which is to create a template for each piano you try where you can record details about the piano brand and model, serial number, where you tried it, finish, miscellaneous notes about features (e.g., slow-close fallboard, what kind of bench comes with it), and a place to write down your impressions about the tone and action. If you are really going to take your time to do your shopping, you need some sort of system to organize your thoughts.

Are you constrained to Germany or would you be able to travel elsewhere in Europe to compare pianos?
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#58721 - 01/15/07 03:44 PM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
mjs:
I am realistically looking at about a year's effort.... but the Bösendorfer (214 cm) I played was so far the nicest....[/b]

So what are you going to do for the rest of the year? ;\)

PS. Monica, I'd have thought being in Germany whilst on a search for a high quality piano is about as unconstrained as one could ever be!

-Michael B.
_________________________
There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.

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#58722 - 01/15/07 03:49 PM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
whippen boy Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 3886
Loc: San Francisco
 Quote:
Originally posted by Monica Kern:
My best advice would be to pass on the advice given to me by whippen boy, which is to create a template for each piano...
Thank you Monica. You know, I should have taken out a patent on that! \:D
_________________________
Grotrian 225
S&S Hamburg-C
M&H "A" at home

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#58723 - 01/15/07 06:30 PM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
Rich D. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/27/01
Posts: 1219
Loc: Rehoboth Beach De. USA
While I think you have most of the great pianos covered you may still want to check out the Feurich pianos. I understand that they are now again being produced (someone correct me if I'm wrong)and if they are as good as those made previously, they rank up there with the best of the best IMHO.

Rich
_________________________
Retired at the beach (well maybe not completely)

"Life is like a piano....what you get out of it depends on how you play it"
Anonymous


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#58724 - 01/16/07 03:41 AM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
mjs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 365
Loc: München, Germany
Thanks for all those tips, very much appreciated.

Rich: Feurich have a website (www.feurich.com) and it appears that their production is in Mittelfranken. Yet another manufacturer where I will try to track down a dealer nearby.

Monicy: I am planning to "restrict" myself to looking in Germany - if I happen to be in the area of a dealer who stocks instruments I can't try out here (that would probably be Richard Dain in Kent for the Stuart grands, and if I can see a M&H somewhere) then I will. And if I happen to be near Venice, I think I shall visit Fazioli.

Only thing is that for purposes of servicing, I'd like to have a dealer/technician not too far away who is familiar with the type of instrument.

Judging by the weather forecast for the weekend (much too warm for skiing) I might have some time Saturday for some test playing.

Markus
_________________________
Steingraeber D-232 # 45 777
Neupert Telemann harpsichord

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#58725 - 01/16/07 07:19 AM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
mjs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 365
Loc: München, Germany
Update on Feurich: on my request for a list of dealers, I basically got an invitation to come to the factory in Gunzenhausen (even on weekends) where Mr. Feurich would be happy to show me around. Dealers in Germany don't stock their grands, so their place is the only one to test-play them.
Obviously also a very small volume manufacturer, fully family owned.

Only about 80 miles from here, so perfectly doable.
_________________________
Steingraeber D-232 # 45 777
Neupert Telemann harpsichord

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#58726 - 01/16/07 08:16 AM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6150
mjs, thanks for the update on Feurich. We don't hear about them often, so it's good that you passed along the info from Feurich.
_________________________
www.PianoRecital.org -- my piano recordings

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#58727 - 01/19/07 04:45 AM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
mjs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 365
Loc: München, Germany
Well - weather is bad and forecast is also very bad, so will go test playing a few grands tomorrow at Piano Hirsch in Munich - they stock Blüthner, Bösendorfer, Shigeru Kawai, Schimmel, and Sauter.

I have selected my "test-repertoire" -- apart from scales, chords, I will use the following:

J.S. Bach: Well Tempererd Clavier I, Prelude and Fugue c-minor
L. v. Beethoven: Sonatas op. 2(1) 1st movement
op. 27(2), op. 28 1st movement, op. 110 1st movement -- or rather: parts thereof
Chopin - Nocturnes op. 32(1) and 37(1)

and then whatever else comes to mind (and I decide to carry along with me), probably a Mozart sonata as well

That should cover a lot of musical styles, sound qualities, levels of technical difficulty, necessity of control etc.

Markus
_________________________
Steingraeber D-232 # 45 777
Neupert Telemann harpsichord

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#58728 - 01/19/07 10:19 AM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17699
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Sounds like you've got it well-planned out, mjs. I'll be looking forward to hearing a detailed report.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#58729 - 01/19/07 11:52 AM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
Wzkit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 1005
Loc: Singapore
MJS,
On Sauter, do rest assured that the larger grands are even more impressive than the Alpha, which is an impressive piano for its size. The Delta has quite a different tonal character from the Alpha, i.e. it is not simply a scaled up Alpha. Anyway, if you want to know what a Delta sounds like, here's mine:

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/1/15686.html
_________________________
Sauter 185 Delta with accelerated action and burl walnut fallboard

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#58730 - 01/20/07 09:11 AM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
mjs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 365
Loc: München, Germany
Well - I spent about 1 1/2 hours in the piano shop today. When I arrived, they said that I was lucky, there was no one in there, and I could play around as I wished.

Grands sampled: Blüthner 190, Bösendorfer 185 and 200

The Blüthner (with aliquot) struck me as rather nice, clear, lean sound (although I somehow don´t think it was prepped to its full potential), very light action, almost plays itself. Does have a bit of a bell like tone, especially in the treble. Playing Chopin on it, I think I heard the piano sing back to me - definitely good. No noticable change from bass to treble bridge.

Then I switched over to the 200cm Bösendorfer. I would go so far to say that that was possibly the nicest grand I have ever played. Action a bit heavier than on the Blüthner, but not impairing playing at all. Extremely warm tone, very "German" in the sense of the quality you get from the string section of the Vienna Philharmonic or the Staatskapelle Berlin or Dresden. At the same time a wonderfully clear descant, again like little bells. What struck me most, however, was the sustain on the notes - legato came almost on its own (for example in the Beethoven D-major sonata) without the need to use the forte pedal at all (which on the Blüthner was borderline). Playing the instrument almost brought tears to my eyes.

After that, the 185 Bösendorfer had little chance. But, to be fair, it is a very nice instrument with a more "modern", a leaner sound, somewhere inbetween the other two. Certainly a sound I could get to like (within 20 minutes), but not up to the 200cm instrument (which is an older design - the 185 is a very modern Bösendorfer design). Action felt a little heavier yet again, but not a real problem. Considering that the 200 is only (if the use of such a term in a range of 60000€ list price is applicable at all) about 5% more expensive than the 185, the 200 wins this by a lot.

The Blüther probably overall comes in between the two, being more different to the 200cm, it never aspires to sound like it and doesn´t quite.

After that, my wife came to "rescue" me ...

Very briefly played on a small Shigeru Kawai -- not that impressed. Sounded more like a good upright to me, very "academic" sound, don´t really like the springiness of the Kawai action, although in the Shigeru the action is orders of magnitudes nicer than on the standard ones.

Unfortunately no Sauter in the shop (they are waiting for a new Alpha to arrive), and if I want to try out the Delta or even Omega, I´ll probably have to go to the factory to Spaichingen anyway.

Right at the end, I did try a 225 Bösendorfer (which is getting too expensive) - again a more modern design from Bösendorfer, basses clearer than in the 185 and also 200 versions (well - length does that, not really a surprise), but in my opinion still lacking the warmth of the 200. To be fair, I played it for 3 minutes, lid down, in a different room, so hard to compare.

Now I need to find somewhere where I can play the 200 and 214 Bösendorfer next to each other. Well, Vienna is always worth a trip ...

So far, I think my rating would be

Bösendorfer 200 (and 214)
Blüthner 190
Bösendorfer 185
Sauter Alpha

Schimmel/Shigeru Kawai are out of the game, I think (unlikely I´ll find a 200cm or thereabouts Shigeru to play anywhere)

To be continued ...

Another note -- I had a phonecall from Rönisch in Leipzig after asking where I could try out one of their instruments - it turns out that none in Munich, but the next on in Fürth near Nürnberg. When I asked whether they would have a full selection in the factory, I was told that not at the moment because they had sold all the stock they had to Australia - they´ll have to make a few more.
_________________________
Steingraeber D-232 # 45 777
Neupert Telemann harpsichord

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#58731 - 01/20/07 12:04 PM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
JPM Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/24/03
Posts: 1010
Loc: NM, GE & Wash. DC
Markus,

Your piano shopping adventure brings back memories of my time shopping for pianos in Germany.

München has a some good pianos and some good dealers. But if you intend to do some traveling I would recommend you visit two dealers in Stuttgart.

Piano Fischer has another big store in Stuttgart, although I cannot say which one has the bigger selection of pianos. Both stores had a lot of them though. What I liked about the Stuttgart store was I was able to do a side-by-side comparison of Faziolis and Bechsteins. They kept them in the same room.

When you are done at Fischer's you can visit Piano Centrum Matthaes which is located only a few minutes away. Matthaes is the Stuttgart Steinway dealer. Their technicians do a very good job preparing their pianos. They probably will have at least one Shigeru Kawai available for you to try too.

The Bechstein Centrum in Tübingen might be worth a visit if you are seriously considering a Bechstein piano. Tübingen is an interesting old university town and the Bechstein Centrum will have a good selection of pianos to choose from.


Piano Fischer
stuttgart@piano-fischer.de
Theodor-Heuss-Straße 8
70174 Stuttgart
Tel.: 07 11.16 34 80
http://www.piano-fischer.de/

Stuttgart Piano Centrum Matthaes GmbH
- Steinway Galerie Stuttgart
Silberburgstr. 143
70176 Stuttgart (West)
Tel. 0711-61553760
http://www.matthaes-piano.de/


Bechstein Centrum Tübingen
Konrad - Adenauer - Straße 9
72072 Tübingen
gegenüber Regierungspräsidium
Telefon: 07071.428 92
Telefax: 07071.448 83
http://www.bechstein-centrum.de/

Good luck with your piano shopping. It will be interesting to see which piano you select. You have so many good makes to choose from.

JP
_________________________
"Piano music should only be written for the Bechstein."
-- Claude Debussy

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#58732 - 01/20/07 12:21 PM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
mjs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 365
Loc: München, Germany
Hi JPM,

thanks for the tip -- I believe Piano Fischer in Munich are about as big as in Stuttgart (which is now their headquarter). The main difference is probably the selection of refurbished instruments.

Fischer in Munich has the Faziolis in one room, and all the other pianos in another -- therefore, should I be in the situation that I am deciding between Fazioli and Bechstein, the idea to try them out side by side in Stuttgart is definitely worthwile. Less than 2 hours on the train from Munich to Stuttgart (and relatives there as well).

Tübingen might indeed be worth a trip (I don´t think my wife has ever been - I have a few times). Interesting that such a fairly small town should have a Bechstein-Centrum.

As it looks, we are finally getting some winter here, so I´ll be spending most of my free time on narrow planks of high-tech composite materials (cross country skis) preparing for two large citizen´s races in Finland and Sweden in 5 weeks ... so probably not that much time left for sampling instruments in the next few weeks.

Markus
_________________________
Steingraeber D-232 # 45 777
Neupert Telemann harpsichord

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#58733 - 01/20/07 01:05 PM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
NancyM333 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/06
Posts: 1547
Loc: Roswell, Georgia
mjs--Please keep writing of your shopping trips. Having just finished the book "The Piano Shop on the Left Bank," reading about shopping for pianos in Europe is becoming quite an enjoyable hobby. I'm living vicariously through your search!

Nancy
_________________________

Estonia 168, Yamaha UX3

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#58734 - 01/23/07 10:40 AM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
mjs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 365
Loc: München, Germany
Just out of curiousity -- did any of you while shopping for a new piano have the feeling that your old one just didn't quite sound as nice as it used to do?

I put it down to playing a number (not very big yet, but more to come) extremely nice pianos while concentrating on tonal qualities - perhaps I am subconciously listening more carefully now and certain things I was just used to and didn't hear suddenly stick out (need to have my piano voiced and regulated -- it has never had it done in its 25+ years). It cannot have suddenly changed within a week.

My wife, on the other hand, claims that my piano is distraught/depressed/whatever because it probably believes I don't love it anymore -- why else would I be looking for a new one?

Markus
_________________________
Steingraeber D-232 # 45 777
Neupert Telemann harpsichord

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#58735 - 01/23/07 02:29 PM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17699
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
 Quote:
Originally posted by mjs:
Just out of curiousity -- did any of you while shopping for a new piano have the feeling that your old one just didn't quite sound as nice as it used to do?
[/b]
You bet!!! But my old piano was an entry-level 42" upright. \:D

Looking forward to the next installment of your chronicles. \:\)
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#58736 - 02/02/07 03:27 AM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
mjs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 365
Loc: München, Germany
Last night, after work and before closing time (which amounted to about 45 minutes) of the shop, I managed to sample some Bechstein and Grotrian Steinweg grands.

I first tried out the Bechstein Academy series - the 208 and the 228. I wasn't much impressed with either the feel or the sound. Not bad, but nothing to brag about. Unfortunately the shop didn't have the C. Bechstein (the top end series) B-grand (210cm) there, but the L-version (167 cm) which I did try -- wonderfully precise action, nice tone, almost as full as that of the 228 Academy one. They are getting in a new B-grand in a few weeks, I can try that one out then.

The Grotrian Cabinett (190 cm) felt like a nice instrument, clear tone, very "precise" (sound stopped almost immediately after key release) - definitely one to have a closer look at again.

Unfortunately, the Faziolis were being test played by someone else, so I'll have to do that later.

They also had a Bösendorfer and a Bechstein concert grand (280cm and 284 cm) in the show room which I tried out briefly (too big for us, really) - VERY nice instruments, beautiful tone, without being overpowering at all.

A refurbished Hambuurg Steinway B-211 was there as well - very nice, but I definitely think that the (new) C. Bechstein was much nicer, even though it was smaller, and the Grotrian was somewhat similar.

Anyway - at the moment, if the C. Bechstein B is better than the L in proportion of the size increase, it should be quite an incredible instrument. Will see.

Interesting is, that the dealer, despite having loads of new Yamahas standing around, does not stock the S-series at all. That would require going to Hamburg to test-play, which is probably a bit excessive. They do have a used one in their Stuttgart showroom, which might be an option, but I have to say that I wasn't impressed with the "regular" Yamahas at all, so I might give that a miss.

Markus
_________________________
Steingraeber D-232 # 45 777
Neupert Telemann harpsichord

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#58737 - 02/02/07 04:32 AM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
PoStTeNeBrAsLuX Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/05
Posts: 2618
Loc: Geneva, Switzerland
mjs:
The Grotrian Cabinett (190 cm)[/b]

Before David (a.k.a PianoDad) leaps in, I would just like to point out that the current model is a 192cm instrument ;\) . The older model was a 189, if I recall correctly.

-Michael B.
_________________________
There are two rules to success in life: Rule #1. Don't tell people everything you know.

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#58738 - 02/02/07 04:35 AM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
mjs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 365
Loc: München, Germany
Thanks, Michael -- it was a new model, so then definitely the 192cm. Anyway, a nice instrument, give and take 2cm \:\)

Markus
_________________________
Steingraeber D-232 # 45 777
Neupert Telemann harpsichord

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#58739 - 02/02/07 03:12 PM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
dsb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/07
Posts: 26
Loc: Santa Fe, New Mexico
As it happens, Markus, I am spending the year in Munich, I am also planning to buy a new piano, and I have also recently visited the same three dealers that you mentioned in one of your recent posts. My reaction to the Boesendorfer 200 at Pianohaus Hirsch was exactly the same as yours. At least for Haydn (Hob. XVI:20) and early Beethoven, I never even dreamed that such a beautiful sound was possible. I will probably buy one (since it is the largest model that I have room for). But I also liked the model 185 more than you did -- certainly a lot more than the Bluthner, which seemed to me a bit too piercing in the treble. I had first tried out the Bluthner, thinking that it was all I could afford, but once I began to play the Boesendorfer 185, I never wanted to play the other one again.
I also agree with you that the C. Bechstein 167 is a fine instrument. But you say that there wasn't a larger C. Bechstein at the Pianohaus Fischer. When I was there, however, there was one in the left hand corner of the Fazioli room. I forget the exact size, but it was certainly over 200 cm. It wasn't quite new, since they apparently rent it out for recordings. But it was available for sale. Perhaps it had been rented out on the day you were there. I thought it was the most beautiful piano in the shop, even compared to the Faziolis.
Good luck with your researches.

David

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#58740 - 02/02/07 04:19 PM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
mjs Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 365
Loc: München, Germany
Hi David,

I had the feeling about the Blüthner as well that it was a bit piercing in the treble -- it appeared to me, however, that the tone wasn't quite even, either, so I put it down to not ideal voicing. I will definitely try out a larger Blüther (maybe in Leipzig whenever we go up to Berlin as it is on the way).

Well, when I was at Fischer last night, there was someone in the Fazioli room trying out the range, so I couldn't actually go in. There was a 280cm Bechstein in the main room - that really was nice.

Whereabouts in Munich are you?

Markus
_________________________
Steingraeber D-232 # 45 777
Neupert Telemann harpsichord

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#58741 - 02/02/07 06:27 PM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
vippo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/07
Posts: 292
Loc: Sterzing (Italy)
Hi all!

I've been in both stores yesterday, too, and if I switched my visits to Hirsch and Fischer, we might have bumped into each other... ;\) But while it would have been nice to know you, I prefer it this way, so I was able to try the Faziolis around noon.

I had the same feelings about the Bechstein Academy pianos, and came to like the Grotrian best of all the pianos I tried yesterday. Faziolis aside, of course, they really are floating in a somewhat higher sphere, mainly financial point of view \:D
Unfortunately, I don't share the excitement for the Bösendorfers, because I find them lacking in brillance, but it is merely a matter of personal preferences. Although, the 225 was pretty cool, much better than the smaller ones...

The Blüthner sounded really bright, but I think the place where it was stuffed didn't help much either.

The Sauter Alpha was impressive for such a small instrument and considering the bad acoustics of the stairhall were it is placed, and I can't wait to play the bigger ones...

I forgot to ask at Piano Fischer if they are getting a Grotrian Charis (205) or a Concert (225), but I wrote Mr. Ropertz an email.

I definitely will have a visit to both stores again whenever I happen to come to Munich. Do any of you know "Piano Hall"? I found them on the internet, and they are supposed to carry August Förster, but I had neither the time nor the energy left to call them up for a stop-by.
_________________________
Proud owner of an August Förster 190 Serial No. 164163

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#58742 - 02/02/07 11:20 PM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
Wzkit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 1005
Loc: Singapore
Mjs,
If you have a chance to play the Yamaha S6, you should. It really is quite a different instrument from the C series, even though some of that basic Yamaha "character" is still there. Tonally much warmer and more refined, though some might find it on the muffled side. I liked it as it is. Only thing is that it was priced far more than my Delta and as much as a Steingraeber 205 - which effectively put it out of my price range.

As for the Bechstein Academy series, I agree with your observation - nothing to really brag about, even though it is a fairly good piano. The A190 I tried was pleasantly warm on my first try, not particularly powerful bass, and somewhat loud overall (but it could be the acoustics). The touch was characteristic of Bechstein - feather light, yet very easy to control. The second time I tried the A190, the tone had brightened considerably, to the point I would consider piercing and unattractive. So overall, I walked away not being very impressed with the Academy series. For that price range, I think I would rather get an Estonia 190. I wonder though, whether there is a huge difference compared with the C Bechsteins. From your impression, it seems that there is.

I also agreement with various posters' observations about the piercing treble of the Bluthners. Overall the Bluthner I played had a surprisingly "shallow" tonal character, quite lacking in the bass. Having said that, I must qualify that the specimen I tried had clearly not been well prepped, so I shall reserve final judgement on the make until a better specimen comes along.

Have you also had a chance to try the larger Shigerus - SK5 and above? I would urge you to take a look at those, because they are a significant improvement from their smaller cousins. (They don't sound academic to my ears \:\) )
_________________________
Sauter 185 Delta with accelerated action and burl walnut fallboard

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#58743 - 02/02/07 11:31 PM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
Matthew Collett Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/15/04
Posts: 536
Loc: Auckland, New Zealand
 Quote:
Originally posted by Wzkit:
The second time I tried the A190, the tone had brightened considerably, to the point I would consider piercing and unattractive. [/b]
That matches my experience. The Bechstein Academy instruments I tried had very (even painfully) bright trebles, and a couple of other people locally have recently said the same to me about them.

Best wishes,
Matthew
_________________________
"Passions, violent or not, may never be expressed to the point of revulsion; even in the most frightening situation music must never offend the ear but must even then offer enjoyment, i.e. must always remain music." -- W.A.Mozart

212cm Fazioli: some photos and recordings .
Auckland Catholic Music Schola .

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#58744 - 02/02/07 11:50 PM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
Wzkit Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 1005
Loc: Singapore
 Quote:
Originally posted by Matthew Collett:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Wzkit:
The second time I tried the A190, the tone had brightened considerably, to the point I would consider piercing and unattractive. [/b]
That matches my experience. The Bechstein Academy instruments I tried had very (even painfully) bright trebles, and a couple of other people locally have recently said the same to me about them.

Best wishes,
Matthew [/b]
That seems to be a deliberate design characteristic of the Academy Bechsteins. I had the same issue with the uprights - fantastic touch, but treble that was really far too piercing. I'm not sure to what extent the C Bechsteins would differ though - from the posts here, it seems quite a huge gulf in tonal quality.
_________________________
Sauter 185 Delta with accelerated action and burl walnut fallboard

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#58745 - 02/03/07 06:02 PM Re: Shopping for new grand piano
vippo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/02/07
Posts: 292
Loc: Sterzing (Italy)
 Quote:
Originally posted by Wzkit:
That seems to be a deliberate design characteristic of the Academy Bechsteins. I had the same issue with the uprights - fantastic touch, but treble that was really far too piercing. I'm not sure to what extent the C Bechsteins would differ though - from the posts here, it seems quite a huge gulf in tonal quality. [/QB]
Well, there really is a huge difference, judging by the 160 model, which has a very pleasing tone. As understandable as the difference is, considering the huge price difference, I do not understand why they chose to design pianos with such a different character for their low-cost-series. Maybe (just guessing) the soundboard material and the strings are different, yielding substantially different results from the same scale design, or whatever...

I haven't played a Bösendorfer CS, but from what I understand, the main difference is in the less refined cabinetry and the amount of care (voicing, preparation) the instruments recieve in the factory, accounting for a substantial price gap between the two. But basically, the CS and the "normal" Bösendorfer are the same instruments.

However, if Bechstein chose to do so, they will have had their reasons and I certainly am not in the position to express a judgement on this... just offering my two cents...
_________________________
Proud owner of an August Förster 190 Serial No. 164163

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