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#652816 - 04/12/04 09:33 PM Chances of this Steinway Becoming A Winner?
Jeanne W Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/04
Posts: 1240
Loc: New England
I recently played a Steinway A that is for sale privately. The price is very good, probably $10-15k less than Id pay at a dealer, but it seems lacking in certain ways. I wonder if voicing and other tech work might make this piano a real winner? I hope some experienced technicians can help me out with some advice.

THE PIANO:
1888 Steinway A 85 note
Completely rebuilt 1999
Strings: German Rauslau tenor/Mapes bass
Delignite pinblock
Steinway Hammers
Renner action
New soundboard
Strong robust voice
Impressive amount of sustain.

We examined the piano using Larry Fines used piano test criteria as much as we could-everything seems good. Here are the things that concern me. I hope you techs will comment on the likelihood of addressing and resolving these issues.

ACTION: Is a little too stiff for my liking. Can this easily be adjusted? What would the average cost be?

PLAYING SOFTLY: I dont think the action permits playing as quietly as Id like when the keys are struck very softly. Is it possible this may easily corrected? And, if so, at what cost?

MINOR? There is some uneveness in the keyboard. Some notes a little louder than other / couple of keys stick: Normal prep will fix?

VOICING: This piano struck me as robust, strong, but didnt particularly grab me as having the Steinway sound I so love. It is brighter than Id want. Some have said, a great technician can make a less than stellar piano sound really great with voicing. I know this is a hard question to answer, but would anyone out there comment as to the likelihood that voicing will bring out the Steinway sound? I think this piano has a big, clear voice lacking the color I find in most Steinways. I prefer mellow voice.

PIANO HAS BEEN SITTING IN SUN: The top is sun faded. Soundboard and everything looked fine, but If a piano sits in the sun does it prematurely shorten the lifetime of the piano? Should this be a concern? Should I steer clear of this piano for this reason?

REFINISH: The piano is medium brown, I prefer dark mahogany. Is it always possible to stain a piano thats a medium brown stain a much darker mahogany stain? Or are there instances when the medium stain sunk into the pores so extensively that the wood will not accept any more stain and therefore cannot be stained darker?

PREPWORK BEFORE PURCHASE? Would it be advisable for me, the potential buyer, to pay for prep work, with the understanding that if Im not happy with the results, the sale was off? Is this ever done? I wonder if the seller would agree to something like this. The piano has been for sale for at least 2 months.

Thanks in advance for any assistance / opinions that can be offered.

Jeanne W
_________________________
Music is about the heart and so should a piano be about the heart. - Pique

1920 Steinway A3
My Piano Delivery Thread:
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/8776.html#000000

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#652817 - 04/12/04 09:55 PM Re: Chances of this Steinway Becoming A Winner?
TheloniousPunk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/03
Posts: 828
Loc: US
I have to ask. If all that stuff has been replaced, does it make sense to call it a Steinway? Seems to me you could have jammed all those parts into a Yamaha case and called it a Yamaha.

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#652818 - 04/13/04 05:39 PM Re: Chances of this Steinway Becoming A Winner?
Jeanne W Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/04
Posts: 1240
Loc: New England
Well, I've had not very much luck with replies to my post. I hadda feeling I was asking a little too much - I apologize if I seem like a jerk asking so many questions about a *sight unseen* piano. That was pretty silly of me. I really have learned a lot just reading other members posts here. Great forum! Again, sorry if I went overboard with my question. I'll try to be more careful if I post other questions in the future!
_________________________
Music is about the heart and so should a piano be about the heart. - Pique

1920 Steinway A3
My Piano Delivery Thread:
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/8776.html#000000

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#652819 - 04/13/04 05:50 PM Re: Chances of this Steinway Becoming A Winner?
WynnBear Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/13/03
Posts: 698
Loc: Dallas, TX
Jeanne,

One very good piece of advice. Don't consider this kind of purchase without having a good piano tech evaluate the piano for you. A small $ investment could save you a big $$$$ mistake.

If you don't have a tech, check the PTG web site or ask in the PF for a name in your area.

Ask some of your questions up front, before he/she inspects the piano. I think they'll be in a position to give you some meaningful answers.
_________________________
Wynne

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#652820 - 04/13/04 06:46 PM Re: Chances of this Steinway Becoming A Winner?
Ralph Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/01
Posts: 1305
Loc: Delaware (slower/lower)
Jeanne,

I see you're from New England. Shouldn't be a problem finding a good tech. Do so as advised above. It's the only solution. If you like the "soul" of the piano and the piano has problems, a skilled tech could do wonders. The plate is what matters and determines the piano's character. All else can be fixed and is only a matter of money. You need to know how much money to get a good piano out of this one, if it's not already.
_________________________
Do or do not. There is no try.

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#652821 - 04/13/04 09:18 PM Re: Chances of this Steinway Becoming A Winner?
Jeanne W Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/04
Posts: 1240
Loc: New England
Good advise, WynnBear. I certainly do intend to have a tech check out any piano I'm interested in buying!

TheloniusPunk: I guess this piano - along with a lot of other S&S rebuilds - can be considered Hybrid Steinways!

Ralph: I think you hit exactly on the thing that's bothering me about that piano when you said "If you like the "soul" of the piano and the piano has problems, a skilled tech can do wonders." What I heard when I played the piano, did not draw me in in any way. It sounds strong and robust but, for some reason it does not seem to have the "soul" of (doesn't sound like) a Steinway. I mean, I've played quite a few new and rebuilt S&S during my piano search, and I just compare this to other rebuilt S&S that have a beautiful Steinway "soul" - the tonal quality made me melt.

This particular A, just doesn't strike me as sounding much like a Steinway. I wonder if its got hammers as hard as rocks or ???? So for non-experts like myself, maybe it's better to leave that piano go - since its unknown whether it can be voiced to bring out the S&S tonal qualities?

Ahh..........Maybe a good one is getting away, or maybe not. How is one one to know?

Jeanne W
_________________________
Music is about the heart and so should a piano be about the heart. - Pique

1920 Steinway A3
My Piano Delivery Thread:
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/8776.html#000000

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#652822 - 04/13/04 09:47 PM Re: Chances of this Steinway Becoming A Winner?
curry Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/02
Posts: 3769
Loc: Hamilton Twp, NJ
Jeanne,first thought.If the Steinway A is how you describe,then I feel that the piano might need a lot of work,and you still won't be satisfied.If you found another that was similar,but this one was much better tonally,and with an action you percieve as better.Then I venture to say,with a little more work,it could be made even better,for less money.If your first reaction was one with questions,I say move on.
Another thought.Are you planning on keeping this piano for life?I say this because it might be hard to sell an 85 Key A sometime down the road.
_________________________
G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
Dampp-Chaser installations, piano appraisals. PTG S.Jersey Chapter 080.
Bösendorfer 214 # 47,299 214-358

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#652823 - 04/13/04 10:08 PM Re: Chances of this Steinway Becoming A Winner?
Ralph Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/01
Posts: 1305
Loc: Delaware (slower/lower)
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jeanne W:
Ralph: I think you hit exactly on the thing that's bothering me about that piano when you said "If you like the "soul" of the piano and the piano has problems, a skilled tech can do wonders." What I heard when I played the piano, did not draw me in in any way. Jeanne W [/b]
Then I say walk away from it.

I bought a 1960 B that was in terrible shape. Bad pinblock, no crown on the soundboard which was cracked with loose ribs, no bownbearing, bad strings, action was shot. But I still heard something. I paid far too much for it, but that was the only problem. Three years later, Dave Hughes from Baltimore rebuilt a beautiful piano. Despite a complete rebuild, I can tell it's still the same piano, just much, much better.

Pianos are like people, they are born with a fingerprint. You can get plastic surgery, but you can't change your DNA.

Find a differnt piano.
_________________________
Do or do not. There is no try.

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#652824 - 04/14/04 07:07 PM Re: Chances of this Steinway Becoming A Winner?
Jeanne W Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/28/04
Posts: 1240
Loc: New England
Curry and Ralph and Everyone:

I guess I should just put that piano out of my mind. I might consider playing it 1 more time just to settle the issue. We'll see. Thanks for the feedback. \:\)

Jeanne W
_________________________
Music is about the heart and so should a piano be about the heart. - Pique

1920 Steinway A3
My Piano Delivery Thread:
http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/1/8776.html#000000

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