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Topic Options
#908985 - 04/05/03 11:57 PM Upright with Grand Piano feel
cool_breeze Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/05/03
Posts: 10
Loc: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Hello. Could anyone suggest an upright piano that has the heavy action of a grand piano. I usually alternate practicing on a yamaha digital piano and a Boston upright. When I get the opportunity to play on a grand piano I can tell the difference in the weight of the keys. It is more difficult. It seems wise to practice on a heavy action piano. Are there any upright pianos that have the heavy action of a grand piano? By the way, I have been a piano student for 2 and 1/2 years.

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#908986 - 04/06/03 12:25 AM Re: Upright with Grand Piano feel
Penny Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2943
Loc: San Juan Capistrano, CA
Mechanically speaking, upright actions never match that those of grands. However, some top-notch brands have come up with ways to mimic a grand action, sometimes using magnets to make the keys feel like a grand's. These pianos are obviously more expensive. The one I'm most familiar with was a Seiler. The magnitized action added a couple of thousand to the price. Think in the $12k range. Also great uprights are made by Bluthner, Grotrian and Bechstein. There are many other great uprights, Pleyel, Schulze-Pollmann, Petrof come to mind, but their action is probably not what you're looking for.

penny

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#908987 - 04/06/03 12:36 AM Re: Upright with Grand Piano feel
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3916
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
I have trouble keeping the Fandrich brothers straight, but one of them (Darrell, I think, and the website seems to confirm it) invented an action for an upright that is claimed to be more "grand-like":

Go here, it won\'t hurt you any
_________________________
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

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#908988 - 04/06/03 03:41 AM Re: Upright with Grand Piano feel
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
Darrel is the one. When he and his brother were building pianos together, they produced the finest upright I've ever played.

These days, both the Sauter, and Steingraeber produce uprights with grand-like actions.

I personally own a Sauter upright, and can vouch for the control it offers as compared to other uprights. I believe that Ryan can comment on this as well (he's also a better player than I). \:\)

But yes, it is possible to have an upright that will give you close to the same amount of control, and speed of repetition that a grand does.

KlavierBauer
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#908989 - 04/06/03 09:41 AM Re: Upright with Grand Piano feel
Jim Volk Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/03
Posts: 916
Loc: Jacksonville, Florida
cool breeze, I know I'll get beat up for suggesting this, but you can always ask your tuner/technician to make the keys heavier by installing key leads.

This are little weights that are screwed onto the top of each key (out of sight, of course), and their position can be varied to whatever degree of heaviness (or lightness, if someone wanted the opposite results) you're trying to achieve.

On the weirder side, we know of a teacher here in Jacksonville that gives his students a kind of bean bag (filled with rice, actually), which is about 2" in diameter, and over four feet long. It goes inside the piano, and lays along the keys (of an upright), on the far side of the rail which the keys are balanced on, adding weight to all 88.

It makes the action abnormally heavy, though! And it gives weak little fingers a terrific work-out.

-Jimbo
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Jim Volk
PIANOVATION

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#908990 - 04/06/03 06:32 PM Re: Upright with Grand Piano feel
iyi bir piano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 664
Loc: USA
Cool breeze, I personally think you donít need heavier keys than your Boston piano to improve your technique; if you feel you need more power try to develop it with the right piano exercises.
IMO you should look for a more responsive action in grand and not for heavier touch. You will be surprise, if you feel the action in some premium pianos, it doesnít feel heavy at all. \:\)

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#908991 - 04/06/03 06:39 PM Re: Upright with Grand Piano feel
topdog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/03
Posts: 245
Loc: San Jose
Penny:

Petrof by association with the other great pianos mentioned, Seiler, Bechstein, Bluthner, does not make us believe petrof is the same quality as those. I wish you would stop doing that. Some dealers will advertise great pianos like bechstein, steinway and then throw in a house brand as though it was on par with the aforementioned pianos..a selling gimmick.

Penny, you keep tossing out the petrof name and frankly, I found the petrof upright to be pretty poor in quality. (except for the 52", which was pretty nice) I use to sell it and had a lot of problems similar to some chinese and russian made pianos. (plus, the bench never matched the pianos) Petrof is made in the former Soviet Union, now the czech republic, you know. Geneva corp. reps petrof/weinbach, nordiska, and others.
It cost less than the comparable kawai or yamaha and was a very pretty piano but did not hold up nearly as well as the japanese pianos.

Penny, I like you, but I find this little practice (petrof promo) a little annoying.
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#908992 - 04/06/03 06:48 PM Re: Upright with Grand Piano feel
TomK Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/06/02
Posts: 2611
 Quote:
Posted by the DOG: Petrof is made in the former Soviet Union, now the czech republic, you know. [/b]
No. Bad dog. Bad bad dog. Bad dog. Sit.

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#908993 - 04/06/03 07:26 PM Re: Upright with Grand Piano feel
Penny Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2943
Loc: San Juan Capistrano, CA
Topdog,
Get this straight. I don't even like Petrofs, personally (I've only played the grands). However, enough people here have played them, bought them and/or praised them to know they represent good value for the money.

I clearly differentiated what I feel were the top upright pianos (Bluthner, Grotrian, Bechstein, Seiler and I forgot to throw in Sauter -- I'm sure Steingraebers are quite nice though I've never played one) from the next tier (Pleyel, Schulze Pollmann and Petrof and I should have added Charles Walter).

I clearly said those top-tier pianos MAY have an action that would mimic a grand. The middle tier, while very nice uprights, don't. And that was the question asked (and answered!).

So sorry you're having such a hard time.

penny

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#908994 - 04/06/03 07:43 PM Re: Upright with Grand Piano feel
TomK Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/06/02
Posts: 2611
Clearly, no one is asking topdog to post a subtext about his affiliation with the piano industry. His posts speak well enough for themselves.

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#908995 - 04/06/03 07:56 PM Re: Upright with Grand Piano feel
Freeman Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/29/03
Posts: 162
Loc: Lake Worth, FL
Does anyone know much about Pfeiffer? I've seen some older pianos in Germany of that make, nice pianos. Apparently they're still around--they claim to be the only German maker that produces an upright with a grand action (not just a grand-like action, but a true grand action); see http://www.pianos.de/pfeiffer/.

Hmm, this makes me wonder, if they're they only German maker to do this, are there any outside of Germany that offer a grand action in an upright?

As to Topdog's posting, I suppose one could argue that the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia) was, for all intents and purposes, part of the Soviet Union, but still...

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#908996 - 04/06/03 08:17 PM Re: Upright with Grand Piano feel
TomK Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/06/02
Posts: 2611
 Quote:
Posted by Freeman: As to Topdog's posting, I suppose one could argue that the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia) was, for all intents and purposes, part of the Soviet Union, but still... [/b]
Dear Freeman:
Thanks for the non-slam. It betrays an intellectual honesty in you. We may not like each other much but I have a certain respect for you. Anyway, beyond all this fancy European stuff--the Jersey boy comes out in your grammar.

Your friend from accoss the river--or the ocean as you wish--

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#908997 - 04/06/03 08:34 PM Re: Upright with Grand Piano feel
iyi bir piano Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 664
Loc: USA
Hot topic Petrof pianos,
I personally think these pianos gave dealers without the big names in the mid-range (Yamaha or Kawai) the ability to compete in the market.
Telling buyers that the piano is built in Europe could possibly convince them anyhow it is a clichť.
What Iím not sure is if the quality of Petrof is as stable of a comparable to Yamaha or Kawai. I like the cabinetry in some Petrof but they still come with some imperfections, they are very unpredictable (please donít give me the Steinway example, Iím fed up with that one) actions in Petrof some times they feel sort of funny and also the tone across the piano is not really consistent.
I also think is kind of phony when some guys come up with some pretty romantic statements about Petrof.
I could say these pianos are sometimes acceptable sometimes not but nothing to have an orgasm about.

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#908998 - 04/06/03 09:00 PM Re: Upright with Grand Piano feel
Jolly Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/20/01
Posts: 14051
Loc: Louisiana
Petrof pianos can be inconsistent, there is no argument in that.

In the "bang for the buck" category, though, they are very, very hard to beat from the player's perspective.

The 125 series is head and shoulders musically abovethe Yamaha U1, IMO. That's not to say it's better overall from a technician's viewpoint.

However, my piano technician doesn't live in my home, and play my piano for me.

And he durn sure didn't pay for it.

So the bottom line, once again, is for the consumer to try the piano, and see whether he likes it, or not.
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Over 1,000,000 posts where pianists discuss everything. And nothing.

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#908999 - 04/07/03 12:37 AM Re: Upright with Grand Piano feel
KlavierBauer Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/02
Posts: 3773
Loc: Boulder, Colorado
I think it's important for people to understand what the difference is between an upright, and grand action. Key weighting is not the issue here, and doesn't speak to the difference between the two.

In a grand action, gravity works for you. This means that the balancier can support the weight of the hammer as the jack resets allowing for repetition before the key is let all the way back up. In an upright action, you must weight for the key to come all the way back up for the jack to reset, making for quite a bit of extra movement if you're trying to play something technically difficult.

The uprights which offer "grand like" actions are not just heavier, but are trying to replicate the repetition found in a grand. Seiler does this with magnets, Sauter does it with a spring pushing the jack back to reset position before the key is back up. Steingraeber comes the closest to the grand action's balancier, by having a piece which actually supports the weight of the hammer allowing the jack to reset.

I looked at the Pfeiffer webpage very briefly. But could tell from the photographs of the inside of the piano, that the hammers are still working in a forward/backward motion, rather than an up/down motion. This simple difference changes the function of the action substantially, and shows that this is not a grand action. To have a grand action, a piano must be horizontal. A grand-like action on the other hand, is obviously very possible.

KlavierBauer
_________________________
Outlive Yourself - Become an Organ Donor

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