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Topic Options
#627449 - 10/18/06 09:51 PM Seeking to understand Steinways tone
synthnut Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/06
Posts: 72
Loc: MI
Okay, so were only talking the difference in tone between models O/L, A, B, C, D!!! lets forget the short ones. I'm wondering about the differences in tone and preference for tone/models in relation to musical genra's!!! Teks, you know which Steinways work well in certain situations, and which ones dont, please share that info.
Which model/years are the absolute best for jazz, classical or pop? and why?, solo or ensemble? which hammers/wire and voicing technics to use for rebuilding, lets just talk the glory of Steinway tone's, and if you could only have one or two great examples, NAME THEM PLEASE!!! old verses new, model against model, bigger isn't always better, I will never get enough information, but please try!
_________________________
Retired Prototype Engineer,Auto Ind. Longtime professional piano/multi keyboard player and recording. 35 years tuning/restoring, A deep passion for high end grands and woodworking. Currently have 1921 Steinway B and countless multi keyboards/drums/guitars in my studio

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#2247676 - 03/16/14 09:58 PM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: synthnut]
synthnut Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/06
Posts: 72
Loc: MI
Cant believe nobody ever replied to this great post!
_________________________
Retired Prototype Engineer,Auto Ind. Longtime professional piano/multi keyboard player and recording. 35 years tuning/restoring, A deep passion for high end grands and woodworking. Currently have 1921 Steinway B and countless multi keyboards/drums/guitars in my studio

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#2247693 - 03/16/14 10:51 PM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: synthnut]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Originally Posted By: synthnut
Cant believe nobody ever replied to this great post!
We probably all think our own posts are great. Whether others feel the same way is a different question.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#2247700 - 03/16/14 10:56 PM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: synthnut]
PianistOne111 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/19/06
Posts: 292
Loc: Utah
Hahh?

How much did you get paid?

And O/L are not short pianos?

Longer pianos = less inharmonicity = less crappy. That's it. So, D, C, B, A, in that order, are the best for everything.
_________________________
One111

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#2247727 - 03/17/14 12:31 AM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: synthnut]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 3745
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
If you knew how much Steinway pianos can vary from one to the other-you would see one small reason no one care to address your question directly.
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com

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#2247729 - 03/17/14 12:32 AM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3489
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
If you knew how much Steinway pianos can vary from one to the other-you would see one small reason no one care to address your question directly.


thumb

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#2247791 - 03/17/14 07:59 AM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: synthnut]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2531
Loc: Maine
Originally Posted By: synthnut
... I will never get enough information, but please try!

If you're not going to get enough information, can you think of a reason that busy techs would bother replying?
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#2247799 - 03/17/14 08:25 AM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: synthnut]
Jon Page Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/09
Posts: 397
Loc: Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massac...
You have not received a response because there is no answer. Each piano, even through the same model series, right from the factory is different. This is a technical community and as such discusses the technical/mechanical aspects related to tone production and action mechanics; the nuts and bolts of it. What you are looking for is the emotional aspect which is better gleaned from piano devotees with opinions mostly based on preconceived notions and pretense.


Edited by Jon Page (03/17/14 10:13 PM)
_________________________
Regards,

Jon Page
Piano technician/tuner
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
http://www.pianocapecod.com

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#2248067 - 03/17/14 07:32 PM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: synthnut]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1581
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: synthnut
Okay, so were only talking the difference in tone between models O/L, A, B, C, D!!! I'm wondering about the differences in tone and preference for tone/models in relation to musical genra's!!! Teks, you know which Steinways work well in certain situations, and which ones dont, please share that info.


Greetings,
It depends on the combination. For instance, the tone of an O is strawberry when used for jazz, but when played in a country track, it becomes more wooly. A D, on the other hand, has a concrete and sunfish tone when used for jazz, but a buttermilk and diamond sound when played classically. The A's all share the same problem, and that is acne in the upper registers and fusion in the lower ones, no matter what kind of music you play.
The B is in a class by itself. It's jazz tone is mostly sugarcane with a touch of sky when played softly, and as it is played more and more forcefully, the cane goes to plaster and the sky falls. At the upper volume, you have a combination of nuns and devils trying to herd the chickens into the batter.
hope that helps.

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#2248100 - 03/17/14 08:36 PM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: Ed Foote]
PaintedPostDave Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/09/10
Posts: 663
Loc: Upstate New York
I always am sensitive to people using subjective characteristics. With the technology we have today it is entirely unnecessary. On a quantitative basis, here is a description of the following four measures:

Strawberry ~ spectral centroid ratio >2 for keys 1-32 but <=1 for keys 33-88.

Wooly ~ the cumulative line spectrum map shows 34.5% more power in 2nd to 5th partials.

Concrete and sunfish ~ average inharmonicity coefficient approximately 0.0927e-3.

Buttermilk and diamond ~ the first 12 partials have zero power on keys F4 through D6#.

Using acne to critique the upper registers is completely incorrect and shows a lacking in the fundamentals of facial harmolodics.
_________________________
Dave Koenig
Yamaha M1A console
1927 Knabe 7' 8" grand
https://sites.google.com/site/analysisofsoundsandvibrations/

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#2248106 - 03/17/14 08:48 PM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: synthnut]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2531
Loc: Maine
Wow! I'm learning a whole lot about them Steinway pianos.

Strawberry, huh? Whoda thunkit!
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#2248110 - 03/17/14 09:03 PM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: synthnut]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Does anyone know anything about the Steinway rebuilding shop at The Chew? Simon has a laughing killer recipe for whippened strings bean. Octaves above anything else you'll find.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2248126 - 03/17/14 09:54 PM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: Ed Foote]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 3745
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
From one Ed to the other,
Hats off Gentleman, Mr Foote is a genius!
_________________________
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com

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#2248594 - 03/18/14 08:50 PM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: Ed Foote]
adamp88 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/24/09
Posts: 272
Loc: Omaha, NE
Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Originally Posted By: synthnut
Okay, so were only talking the difference in tone between models O/L, A, B, C, D!!! I'm wondering about the differences in tone and preference for tone/models in relation to musical genra's!!! Teks, you know which Steinways work well in certain situations, and which ones dont, please share that info.


Greetings,
It depends on the combination. For instance, the tone of an O is strawberry when used for jazz, but when played in a country track, it becomes more wooly. A D, on the other hand, has a concrete and sunfish tone when used for jazz, but a buttermilk and diamond sound when played classically. The A's all share the same problem, and that is acne in the upper registers and fusion in the lower ones, no matter what kind of music you play.
The B is in a class by itself. It's jazz tone is mostly sugarcane with a touch of sky when played softly, and as it is played more and more forcefully, the cane goes to plaster and the sky falls. At the upper volume, you have a combination of nuns and devils trying to herd the chickens into the batter.
hope that helps.


I'm pretty upset that you've given up the secrets of Steinway sound so easily. You just know some rube is going to try gooping Clearasil onto a Steinway A's hammers, not knowing the proper ratio of proactiv to acetone needed to really address the problem.

(I join Ed McM in doffing my hat to you! :D)


Edited by adamp88 (03/18/14 08:51 PM)
_________________________
Adam Schulte-Bukowinski, RPT
ASB Piano Service
Omaha, NE

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#2248772 - 03/19/14 08:49 AM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: synthnut]
Jon Page Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/13/09
Posts: 397
Loc: Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massac...
Ok, let's give the guy a break. I'll give it a shot.

The tone of any piano is developed with the contribution of many inputs. The resiliency of the hammers is what is most prevalent and the action's geometry/efficiency to drive the system: the scale design and the ability of the sounding board to efficiently deliver a sustained sound which is backed up by the rim structure. Change one of these components and you get a different sound. Some pianos come down the line hitting 100% on execution, some not so close. Ultimately, it's the player's technique which colors the tone. There was a local jazz festival years ago where many piano players gave solo performances on the same piano. Where one guy made the piano sound melodic and etherial, another sounded like concrete and shattering glass. So what's good for what, what's good for who?

On a side note, some players mistake 'technique' to be force where others correctly see it as finesse. Two greats which impressed me, who I have tuned for in performance and listened to, with this finesse were Rudolf Firkušný and Ellis Larkins. There are many others but these two top my list in classical and jazz that have come to this small part of the globe.
_________________________
Regards,

Jon Page
Piano technician/tuner
Harwich Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
http://www.pianocapecod.com

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#2248789 - 03/19/14 09:44 AM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: synthnut]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 2006
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Yes. All of this is well and good.
But what about the S ?
Why is it neglected so?
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Conway, Arkansas
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2248812 - 03/19/14 10:34 AM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: bkw58]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: bkw58
Yes. All of this is well and good.
But what about the S ?
Why is it neglected so?

Overpriced and not very good?

The Baldwin-M was always a better piano.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2248816 - 03/19/14 10:42 AM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: synthnut]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 2006
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Oh, I was just wondering why - with all of the wonderful metaphors above - the little S did earn at least a peanut.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Conway, Arkansas
www.pianotechno.blogspot.com

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#2249461 - 03/20/14 12:40 PM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: bkw58]
tannertuner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/11
Posts: 23
Loc: Georgia, USA
Franz Mohr's book, "My Life with the Great Pianists" has a chapter that talks about all the factors that go into a piano's tone. Each piano is different, just like every violin is different and you just have to be able to understand how to take that individual piano where it needs to go, and know when you're trying to do the wrong thing.

As far as the Steinway S, I've worked with a lot of them over the years. The scale is a little squirrely, but for its size, I've always really liked them. But you have to have a feel for what kind of tone you can achieve with each different one.

Rarely see a Baldwin M.

Ed, you're a genius!
_________________________
Jeff Tanner
Piano Tuner-Technician; 30 years
Tanner Piano
http://www.tannertuner.com

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#2249943 - 03/21/14 12:18 PM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: tannertuner]
johnlewisgrant Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/17/07
Posts: 900
Loc: canada
The elephant in the room is that we've grown up with "the steinway sound" via recordings and concerts. As a result, the public mind, the public ear, says "this is what a beautiful piano is supposed to sound like."

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#2249950 - 03/21/14 12:33 PM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: johnlewisgrant]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Originally Posted By: johnlewisgrant
The elephant in the room is that we've grown up with "the steinway sound" via recordings and concerts. As a result, the public mind, the public ear, says "this is what a beautiful piano is supposed to sound like."

Absolutely - It is the proper order of the universe.
(See; Orchestral Voicing)

wink
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

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

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#2250053 - 03/21/14 04:37 PM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: Ed Foote]
mupianotech Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/10/04
Posts: 39
Loc: Huntington WV
Ed Foote is one of my hero's. I read everything he cares to put into print. One of the brightest minds in our profession IMHO, and I've been in this business for 50 years.

But this..... priceless.

Ed, a Steinway owner just the other day asked me a similar question re Steinway tone.

Can I please quote you .
_________________________
Paul E. Dempsey, RPT
Piano Technician Senior, Emeritus
Marshall University
Huntington, WV

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#2250187 - 03/21/14 09:43 PM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: mupianotech]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1581
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: mupianotech


But this..... priceless.

Ed, a Steinway owner just the other day asked me a similar question re Steinway tone.

Can I please quote you .


Sure. If you understand the liability issues of quoting me, help yourself. Sometimes getting quoted turns into getting blamed, but I think a good quote can take a lot of editing and still deliver the goods. Makes'em easy to steal and to enjoy cheap credit for mots more witty than one might naturally be. At least, that is what I do!

If all the windows are already broken, and there is that stone just laying there...

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#2250352 - 03/22/14 07:45 AM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: synthnut]
Olek Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 9230
Loc: France
LIked your flowerish descriptions, they gave me a little inside on the NY instruments. The German ones being somewhat different the descriptions did not really apply well for them even if some similitudes may be noted (or it is due to translation)

Nice writing anyway wink
_________________________
Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!

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#2250711 - 03/22/14 09:48 PM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: Ed Foote]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1510
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Originally Posted By: synthnut
Okay, so were only talking the difference in tone between models O/L, A, B, C, D!!! I'm wondering about the differences in tone and preference for tone/models in relation to musical genra's!!! Teks, you know which Steinways work well in certain situations, and which ones dont, please share that info.


Greetings,
It depends on the combination. For instance, the tone of an O is strawberry when used for jazz, but when played in a country track, it becomes more wooly. A D, on the other hand, has a concrete and sunfish tone when used for jazz, but a buttermilk and diamond sound when played classically. The A's all share the same problem, and that is acne in the upper registers and fusion in the lower ones, no matter what kind of music you play.
The B is in a class by itself. It's jazz tone is mostly sugarcane with a touch of sky when played softly, and as it is played more and more forcefully, the cane goes to plaster and the sky falls. At the upper volume, you have a combination of nuns and devils trying to herd the chickens into the batter.
hope that helps.


Love it!
_________________________
Keith Akins, RPT
Editor, Piano Technicians Journal
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#2252133 - 03/25/14 11:09 PM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: kpembrook]
synthnut Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/18/06
Posts: 72
Loc: MI
Well, just got to read all of this at my expense, gotta admit I was laughing my ass off, priceless, this is what you get for demanding a response!
The original post emanated from the fact that jazz players love the "B" sound,,,guess I was hoping for more info along those lines, however, this is great, I really needed the laugh today! Thanks all.
_________________________
Retired Prototype Engineer,Auto Ind. Longtime professional piano/multi keyboard player and recording. 35 years tuning/restoring, A deep passion for high end grands and woodworking. Currently have 1921 Steinway B and countless multi keyboards/drums/guitars in my studio

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#2252177 - 03/26/14 01:13 AM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: synthnut]
phacke Online   content

Gold Supporter until November 11 2014


Registered: 10/18/12
Posts: 865
Loc: CO, USA
I think Mr. Foote's description of the B was quite positive…

"The B is in a class by itself. It's jazz tone is mostly sugarcane with a touch of sky when played softly, and as it is played more and more forcefully, the cane goes to plaster and the sky falls. At the upper volume, you have a combination of nuns and devils trying to herd the chickens into the batter."

I'll gladly take that.

Regards-
_________________________
phacke

Steinway YM (1933)
...Working on:
J. S. Bach, Sonata No. 1 in B minor (BWV 1014)

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#2252755 - 03/26/14 10:41 PM Re: Seeking to understand Steinways tone [Re: synthnut]
bill32 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/31/08
Posts: 17
Loc: el paso, texas
as a technician the Steinway tone doesn't matter. what the customer wants is what counts. they have to live with it.
_________________________
Piano Tech
El Paso, Texas
tuneit@swbell.net

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