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Topic Options
#93902 - 07/02/05 06:14 AM Re: best upright money can buy!
JD Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/02/03
Posts: 83
Loc: SF Bay Area
A person asked a while back about the Fandrich & Sons upright. I am a very happy owner of their 50" upright. (Fandrich verticle action in a Klima piano) For those of you who haven't experienced the Fandrich action, it is an amazing evolution in verticle actions. The price is in the low teens and, in my judgment the overall sound and tone holds its own with a number of verticles priced in the high teens and 20's.

However, in talking with Heather Fandrich, she shared some very interesting news. Darrell and Heather have secured a Bohemia distributorship and are going to start putting their actions in the Bohemia verticles. The first model is going to be the 50" since the Bohemia 50" is virtually the the identical piano to the Klima 50".

There are plans to put the Fandrich action in the Bohemia 52" verticle. (a pretty popular verticle on this forum). It is my prediction that when the Fandrichs introduce that piano to the market with the Fandrich action and whatever other improvements Darrell will make it will definitely give us something to talk about.

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#93903 - 07/02/05 08:42 AM Re: best upright money can buy!
mdsdurango Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/04
Posts: 1755
Loc: Durango Colorado
What is Frandrich's distribution? Are they sold only from the showroom in Washington state? And what makes the action so different?
Yamaha S6, U5C, P120

#93904 - 07/02/05 09:20 AM Re: best upright money can buy!
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
go to their website: www.fandrich.com and you should find the latest information. they have some quite in-depth writing there on how the action is different.

last i knew, they did not have national distribution. however, they often arrange for prospective customers to play on the pianos owned by others nearby, if possible.

i like the fandrich upright. it is definitely a heavy hitter at its price point. however, i would not say it is the best upright money can buy. that honor would have to go to the german verticals like grotrian and bechstein.

in fact, the very best vertical i have ever played was a bechstein. i've played both vintage rebuilt bechstein uprights, and new ones. i like them much better than bechstein grands (which i don't care for at all).

i have not played a steingraeber, seiler, or boesendorfer upright. i don't care for bluthner or ibach verticals, but this is simply a matter of personal taste, not a quality issue.

the only affordable upright i would have bought was the petrof 131. a very musical instrument. but it needs quite intensive technical preparation to be at its best. at least, this was true a few years ago. it may no longer be true. the market changes a lot in a short time!

when i was shopping for an upright about four and five years ago, the chinese pianos were garbage. i haven't played any chinese verticals recently, but i DID play a ritmuller (by pearl river) grand piano a couple of months ago that had just arrived from china. right out of the box, with no preparation, this piano was the musical equal of any german piano i've played. scary. i couldn't believe what i was experiencing.

even the fandrichs say that the chinese grands they are getting today need far less revamping than they did just a few short months ago. chinese pianos appear to be changing very rapidly. soon the fandrichs may just sell them instead of redesigning them!

now in paperback:

Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

#93905 - 07/02/05 11:36 AM Re: best upright money can buy!
FogVilleLad Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/05
Posts: 4683
Loc: San Francisco

This Californian is fascinated/frightened by the speed with which the Chinese are catching up to everybody else.

Any chance that you could expand on your info re the quality of the Ritmuller? If you could, it would be a great service to the Budgeteers who come to PianoWorld seeking advice re their first grand.

The action, heavy, light, good for repetition?

If for the sake of discussion, Estonias are at the low/dark end of the timbre spectrum and, Yamahas at the high/bright end, where would you place the Ritmuller?

Projection has been a problem for pianos that use softer hardwoods for their rims. Did you form any impression about the Rit's ability to project?

Anything else that Pianoworld should know?


Piano & Music Accessories
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#93906 - 07/02/05 06:34 PM Re: best upright money can buy!
David Burton Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1759
Loc: Coxsackie, New York
My first comment on this subject has to do with sound and touch preferences. They are going to be as individual as you are. Someone may be awed by the sound of a particular instrument and it may or may not appeal to you. There are certain characteristics by make and variations within that range too. Then there's voicing and regulation, both of which can really change how you perceive a piano's sound, probably even more so with an upright than a grand. The range in price can be quite astounding too.

Steingraeber, C. Bechstein, Grotrian, Mason & Hamlin, Bosendorfer, Bluthner, Forster, Sauter, Seiler, Ibach, Yamaha and Steinway (Stuart & Sons doesn't make an upright). One has been mentioned and opinions asked for; the Fandrich & Sons upright. Frankly, it's my favorite of the lot. It really does play like a grand, it has a nice European sound and it costs less than the premium uprights. Honorable mention, for my experience only, goes to Ibach and Steingraeber. I also liked Sauter, C. Bechstein, Grotrian and Forster. Yamaha U5's are pretty good utility pianos but I like a bit more character or something that's hard to define exactly, and you too will know what I mean when you discover it for yourself.
David Burton's Blog

#93907 - 07/02/05 08:32 PM Re: best upright money can buy!
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
i'm sorry i can't give you better specifics on the ritmuller. i wasn't piano shopping, and so i wasn't really focused on analysing all the aspects you ask about, and so, while i probably could have answered your questions back in april, by now i no longer remember my impressions beyond what i've written.

what i can say is that it struck me as having the tonal complexity of a high quality german grand, and perhaps came close in the touch, though in my opinion, there is nothing better than a grotrian touch. certainly there was a lot of control available, and excellent repetition. that is basic to what i consider to be a worthy action.

according to the dealer, there had been no preparation done to this piano, i was playing it as it came out of the crate. i've heard from some others on this board that they have played some ritmuller grands that were absolutely stunning instruments after a good tech had prepared them. david burton, weren't you one of them?

my suggestion if you are interested is that you find and play one yourself. really, my impressions aren't the ones that matter, anyway. yours are. \:\)

now in paperback:

Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

#93908 - 07/02/05 08:36 PM Re: best upright money can buy!
Bootsy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/05/04
Posts: 113
Loc: Yonkers, NY
I've just done this search last fall. I bought a Grotrian. Also fabulous were Bosendorfer, A. Foerster and Sauter. Close enough for it to be a matter of taste were Mason & Hamlin and Seiler. I'd have considered buying any of these, and I bought a great piano not on impulse but because I truly loved it. I love it even more now, and I'm happy happy happy that it's mine mine mine.

What I didn't play: C. Bechstein, Bluthner and Steingraeber. I would have liked to play these as well, but insofar as I was never going to spend over $20K US, maybe it's just as well that I didn't. I was very fortunate to get the piano I got at the price I did.

Anyway, I just want to say that all of these pianos mentioned above (among those that I played) are fantastic, and yet they are very different from one another. Each is very responsive, but each plays differently, and makes quite a different sound from the others.

Hope that helps (hint: Grotrian),


#93909 - 07/03/05 12:52 AM Re: best upright money can buy!
Alex Hernandez Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/02
Posts: 1969
My favorite all time upright is the Blthner model B. A Seattle jazz vocalist came in and laid her hands on the piano and stopped cold, looking up with tears in her eyes she whispered "My god, listen to that sound".

We just recieved a Steingraeber that may change my mind after it settles in.

C. Bechstein makes an absolutley steller upright, it is an absolute goliath of a piano.

I really enjoy the M&H model 50 as well as the S&S K52. My favorite American upright was the Baldwin model 6000, a huge rich sound. If it only had the Fandrich action it would be a killer.

I have yet to play a Chinese piano under any stencil that had the tamberal or dynamic range to compete with a good German or American piano. They are making huge strides in a hurry though. I would be interested in what a serious player like Pianocraft's Sean or Keith would have to say about it.

Blüthner USA, LLC

#93910 - 08/01/05 02:07 PM Re: best upright money can buy!
iconoclast Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/05
Posts: 389
Loc: Ancramdale, NY
Any chance that you could expand on your info re the quality of the Ritmuller?

#93911 - 08/01/05 02:08 PM Re: best upright money can buy!
iconoclast Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/27/05
Posts: 389
Loc: Ancramdale, NY
[I've tried out the Ritmuller 7' Grand on a couple of occasions at a local store. I was frankly blown away by the thing the first time I tried it - my previous experiences w/ Chinese pianos being disappointing to say the least. The piano had (according to the dealer) not had any prep since being shipped and had gone out for rental several times. The sound rivaled all but the best 7 footers I've played (Baldwin, Bosendorfer, Steinway, Yamaha, Kawai) and definitely had a European timbre to it. The action was respectable in terms of repetition speed and weight but didn't feel quite as solid as, for instance, a well prepped Steinway nor as smooth as a Bosendorfer (but for 17K$ who's complaining?). I'm not enough of a tech to comment on the quality of manufacture but I believe that there will come a time very soon when the quality of Pearl River's pianos will have caught up to their American and European counterparts before their reputation does. Any person lucky (or astute) enough to buy one of these pianos will have a world class instrument at an obscenely low price.

#93912 - 08/01/05 02:16 PM Re: best upright money can buy!
Ancient Upright Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 384
Originally posted by Axtremus:
Just for fun, try this: Klavins Piano [/b].
That was really neat! But, I do prefer one that can be moved. ;\)

I've had my upright for two months and already moved to it around the room once. :rolleyes:
Remember, I'm pullin for you, we're all in this together
-From a TV Show

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