Isn't Steinway the One to beat?

Posted by: sushifor5

Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 01:34 AM

I'm asking honestly...I am not a piano connoisseur, but have heard beautiful music played on Steinway grands...and many other instruments as well. So, as I am taking this piano buying journey, I'm wondering...Is Steinway still the top dog?

Because while I understand Steinway's lesser children (Boston and Essex) are outsourced to Japan and China, and many opinions abound I'm sure, are they not still Steinway designs and built to the Steinway standards? Does that give them an advantage over other Asian made pianos?

Any thoughts? Thx!
Posted by: charleslang

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 01:43 AM

You start out talking about Steinway, but then in your second paragraph it sounds like you're interested in Boston and Essex. I'm not sure what you're asking.

Steinway is still the most prestigious brand of piano in the world. In terms of recognition and general respect (not exactly the same as prestige) Yamaha is probably the second.

Boston and Essex are some of many brands that contest the mid-level and more entry-level markets. They are not Steinways. And in their respective market segments, these brands don't dominate the way Steinway does among the more expensive pianos.
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 01:45 AM

To answer your initial question, Steinway is still top-dog in terms of market share. No one single manufacturer comes close in terms of production, and this helps Steinway maintain a near-monopoly in the high-end/institutional market. This does not mean that they build pianos to a higher standard than other prestigious makers.

Boston and Essex are not Steinways. They are completely different designs, built to different standards for different purposes. In terms of objective build quality, they really aren't any better than their respective competitors, but some will like the way they sound and play when compared to others.
Posted by: JohnSprung

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 01:54 AM

For a very long time, Steinway worked hard to build up a brand name. They also built and still build excellent pianos. As for being the top dog, a good case can be made for some other makes such as Stewart & Sons, Fazioli, Boesendorfer, and a lot of people will want to add to or subtract from that list.

Boston and Essex are what Steinway did to get into the mass market. It's as if Rolls Royce also owned the Datsun and Kia brand names.
Posted by: Emissary52

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 01:59 AM

suschifor5 - I was in the same sutuation as you now are a few months ago. I got the yearning for an acoustic piano after playing a digital for a couple of years. I went to a couple of dealers and found I liked the sound of the freshly prepped brand new Steinway M the best. It just seemed to me to have the most (for lack of a better term) piano-eey sound. But, at nearly $70,000, it was definitely out of my price range. I ended up buying a Ritmuller GH-170R for well under $12,000 including tax.

Moral of the Story: If you're out shopping for a Toyota Corolla, you might not want to stop at the Rolls-Royce dealership, even if you just want to play with those nice pull-out umbrellas that are embedded in the rear doors! It can be somewhat discouraging! grin

It's like I was hoping for this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hdlz6QzyAVA

but I ended up with this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cuycKKYDrpY&feature=related

Not quite the same, but gets the job done!

Posted by: sushifor5

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 03:46 AM

Right, I think I understand the "breaking into the mid-market" thing for the Steinway company, but it is my understanding that Boston and Essex are designed by Steinway, and built to its standard with oversight by Steinway people... Fine seems to place Boston, at least, in that upper tier of Pro grade pianos. I'm wondering if the Steinway fingerprint on the Boston and Essex is a compelling reason to place them above other grands in the respective/similar categories while I'm compiling my list of grands to try....
Posted by: terminaldegree

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 08:52 AM

In response to your post above: no.

The marketing department would have you believe otherwise, yes.
The Boston, Yamaha, and Kawai models I've played feel and sound different from each other. They're priced somewhat similarly. They're built well. They all have pretty well developed dealer networks in the US.

I'm curious to know how people have voted with their checkbooks in this oft-mentioned version of the "Pepsi Challenge" - any industry folks on the retail side want to quote some recent sales numbers? I'm guessing the Boston is a distant third in the US market. (but I still would consider one if shopping this market segment)
Posted by: MrMagic

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 08:58 AM

Originally Posted By: sushifor5
...I'm wondering if the Steinway fingerprint on the Boston and Essex is a compelling reason to place them above other grands in the respective/similar categories while I'm compiling my list of grands to try....


IMO...NO!

Steinway would certainly like you to, but there are certainly other very good pianos out there.
Posted by: Steve Chandler

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 10:59 AM

There is no doubt that most Steinway scale designs are excellent and their sound has come to be accepted as THE piano sound simply because S&S dominates the concert and recording market. Up until just a few years ago Steinway's manufacturing was inconsistent and individual pianos could be great or mediocre. This could be referred to as their "resting on laurels" period. In addition Steinway offered unprepped instruments to dealers at a lower price with the assumption that dealers would do the prep (not always the case). In recent years S&S has made an effort to improve manufacturing quality, but the unprepped instruments are still offered. I haven't shopped Steinways any time recently other than playing a few notes at my local dealer (who is quite good at dealer prep). Selecting a Steinway can be a bit like playing the lottery, you hope you get lucky (or plan to use it as furniture and not as a musical instrument).
Posted by: Rank Piano Amateur

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 11:48 AM

There are many threads on this subject on this forum; I am sure that the OP could easily find them if he or she wants additional reading on the matter.

The short answers, in my opinion, and based on the assumption that the OP is talking about NY Steinway: Boston and Essex pianos are not Steinways. Steinway would like customers to think that they are, but they are not. They are not built by Steinway and they don't sound like Steinways. There are many competitors for both Boston and Essex that are at least as good (if not better) and cost less than either brand at their respective price points.

Steinway is the top dog in market share. Being first in market share does not make one the top in quality (cf. GM). While Steinway is not comparable to GM, they are not the top dog in piano quality. There are other brands--Bosendorfer, Bechstein, and Fazioli, to name three--that can claim higher rankings and quality than Steinway. There are more brands that are fully comparable to Steinway (like Mason & Hamlin) and that also cost less than Steinways.

Steinway is the best in at least one respect: Steinway unquestionably has the most effective publicity and marketing programs of any piano brand. When I bought a piano I purchased it based on the piano, however, and not on advertising and marketing. Needless to say from the above post, I did not buy a Steinway. They can be great pianos, but they did not speak to me the way my beloved Mason & Hamlin did.

At least this is what I think. I know that Steinway has devoted fans, I just do not happen to be one of them.
Posted by: R_B

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 12:26 PM

I suspect that one "pays for the name" as well as the quality that the name has (deservedly) earned.

This may be where the earned reputation may diverge from what I can reasonably afford and accommodate in a mere "House".

Concert Grands from any particular maker are probably more different to their Baby Grands than say M&H are to Yamahas.
I really don't know how relevant the Steinway reputation on LARGE pianos is to mere "house size" pianos.
Have they focused on making the best possible "house scale" pianos, or only the best possible "concert hall scale" pianos ?

Drooling over a 9ft (plus ?) concert grand is one thing, assuming that the quality implied by the brand name in that size piano necessarily carries to their 6 ft (and under) babies may be erroneous.

My question is more; "Which manufacturer builds the best piano in a size that I can accommodate and at a price that I can afford ?" (without too much budget stretch).

To me it means nothing that a car has "Cadillac" on the hood, it is after all only a Chevrolet with a different trim level.

PS There is a 5ft 7in "Steinway" locally available for $14K, described only as 1980 black satin.
It may be "worth it", it may not.
Browsing other pianos there it does SEEM that the name carries a premium.
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 12:27 PM

To answer the original question: No.

However if you enjoy the Boston more than others, by all means buy it. It will hold up in a home just fine.

Originally Posted By: beethoven986
To answer your initial question, Steinway is still top-dog in terms of market share.


Hmmm... This statement could be misleading. The times have changed dramatically over the past decade. The most recent numbers I can quote are from 2010, but Steinway produced under 900 grand pianos for all of North America that year. Since it is easy let's compare them to other "Tier 2" pianos. It is true that no other "Tier 2" piano beat that number, but add their North American distribution numbers together and they dwarf Steinway's production. That is without looking at the "Tier 1" brands.

Also, there are many institutions that are looking beyond Steinway for instruments, in spite of the heavy "All-Steinway" marketing. IU - Bloomington, Arizona State University, and The Juilliard School come to mind as recent purchasers of other pianos.

The last thing I want is for Steinway to go out of business. They are a strong brand and deserve to be in the marketplace, but they do not have the same control that did at one time.

My 2 cents,
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 12:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini
To answer the original question: No.

However if you enjoy the Boston more than others, by all means buy it. It will hold up in a home just fine.

Originally Posted By: beethoven986
To answer your initial question, Steinway is still top-dog in terms of market share.


Hmmm... This statement could be misleading. The times have changed dramatically over the past decade. The most recent numbers I can quote are from 2010, but Steinway produced under 900 grand pianos for all of North America that year. Since it is easy let's compare them to other "Tier 2" pianos. It is true that no other "Tier 2" piano beat that number, but add their North American distribution numbers together and they dwarf Steinway's production. That is without looking at the "Tier 1" brands.

Also, there are many institutions that are looking beyond Steinway for instruments, in spite of the heavy "All-Steinway" marketing. IU - Bloomington, Arizona State University, and The Juilliard School come to mind as recent purchasers of other pianos.

The last thing I want is for Steinway to go out of business. They are a strong brand and deserve to be in the marketplace, but they do not have the same control that did at one time.

My 2 cents,


I see what you're saying. Good points to bring up! However, there are still decades and decades worth of Steinways out in the field, so we are still far more likely to run across one of these than we are some other top-tier brand, especially in institutions. That is what I meant.
Posted by: sushifor5

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 01:10 PM

Originally Posted By: R_B
My question is more; "Which manufacturer builds the best piano in a size that I can accommodate and at a price that I can afford ?" (without too much budget stretch).


Yes, that's my question too...so, what's the answer for the 5'4" grands in the $12k to $15K price range?

I appreciate the feedback on this string, thanks much! I like the instruments I've played in the Steinway family; I just needed to get the pulse of the discussion. Good stuff!
Posted by: master88er

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 02:01 PM

Originally Posted By: sushifor5
Originally Posted By: R_B
My question is more; "Which manufacturer builds the best piano in a size that I can accommodate and at a price that I can afford ?" (without too much budget stretch).


Yes, that's my question to...so, what's the answer for the 5'4" grands in the $12k to $15K price range?



The answer is:
The one you like the sound of and performance of most!!!! wow

And it's the truth - Every manufacturer builds pianos that they think are the best. I think most would agree that Steinway's small entry (the model S) is not their best design or representative of performance that their other instruments have achieved. I also think it's fair to say that the recent improvements in small grands (those under 5'6) is nothing short of amazing. I don't think the Japanese manufacturers have done as well in this niche as their Chinese and Korean competitors. The small piano entries from Young Chang (Weber) Samick (Knabe), Hailun, Pearl River (Ritmüller, Kayserburg) and others IMHO easily exceeds the sound and performance quality of entries from Yamaha, Kawai and even Steinway.

AND, many of these new instruments have advanced engineered soundboards that not only produce wonderful tonal properties (superior to less expensive solid boards - Hi DEL!), but increase tuning stability, are better for the environment, and will hold up in extreme climate conditions.

In short, do some listening and less reading eek
Posted by: sushifor5

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 02:26 PM

@master88er: Your comments ring true...and I would LOVE to do some listening...where have all the pianos gone??! LOL Finding dealers with these instruments in stock is a sticky wicket...finding dealers at all can be. I long for the days when I lived in southern CA!! smile You are in the SF area...we're hoping to relocate to northern CA (again) in the near future...I just don't want to wait that long to get a good instrument...of course, moving the piano is a whole other can of worms!
Posted by: wouter79

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 03:03 PM

>Is Steinway still the top dog?

I think it's the best known brand. But I slightly prefer Grotrian.

Furthermore, as master88er says. Go listen and play them. IMHO there is no other way to determine which one's for you.
Posted by: DanLaura Larson

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 03:37 PM

sushi, unfortunately there just aren't a lot of pianos to choose from in the Northern Idaho/Eastern Washington market. You would be well served to take some time and go to Seattle and try some pianos there to get a wider variety of choices.

Dan
Posted by: sushifor5

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 04:31 PM

That is part of the plan, thanks!
Posted by: Macy

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 05:09 PM

Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler
In addition Steinway offered unprepped instruments to dealers at a lower price with the assumption that dealers would do the prep (not always the case). In recent years S&S has made an effort to improve manufacturing quality, but the unprepped instruments are still offered.

This is all new to me, but as a businessman I don't get it. How could a company that relies so heavily on its reputation for its perceived characteristic sound quality, ship products that have never been tested to produce that sound quality (never prepped in factory), and then rely on random technicians to complete the manufacturing and quality control processes? Then the pianos may or may not be able to achieve the company's standards (either because of untested defects in the piano or because of the technicians inability)? Yet the company has no interest in its products performance?

If true, it says to me the company has no real standards of its own, which seems ludicrous and unbelievable to me from a business point of view. Have any Steinway dealers confirmed they can or are buying untested (unprepped) pianos from Steinway? I just can't understand how this could be true.

Posted by: Numerian

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 06:00 PM

Nobody else understands it either, especially since their competition goes to great lengths to prepare their pianos so that they arrive in the showroom in superb condition.

I suppose the argument that Steinway might use goes like this:

1) Technically, all Steinways are prepped at the factory to a basic standard, but to do a complete job, such as making sure the action is as frictionless as possible, the pedals don't squeak, the tonal quality is even across the keyboard, etc. is unnecessary work because the piano is going to go through serious adjustment in a new environment anyway.

2) The dealer should take pride in how their pianos are presented on the showroom floor, and under that premise, any Steinway dealer would have a good technician around to do the finishing prep work to bring the instrument to the highest standards.

3) Even with all this, many customers may want a piano they are interested in to be reprepped to give them what they are looking for (a lighter touch, for example).

4) Finally, once the piano arrives in a customer's home, it goes through a further settling period that will last months. Some of the previous prep work may need to be completely redone.

This line of argument would work if Steinway chose their dealers with extreme care and monitored them constantly to make sure the pianos were fully prepped once in the showroom. One or both of these things may not have been happening, given all the stories of inconsistency in quality from one Steinway to another.

As was mentioned earlier in this thread, the company seems to be putting more emphasis on quality and consistency, given the need to step up their quality in order to remain competitive. In particular, NY Steinways, so the story goes, are now being held to the higher standards of Hamburg Steinways, which have no problem competing with the best European pianos.
Posted by: Wound up

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 06:10 PM

Sushi45,

You have to compare each instance of a specific example with it's similarily priced alternatives. I
In this case it takes really expensive pianos like Bosendorfer, Steingraeber, Estonia, Grotrian to match and sometimes beat a nyc Steinway All of those will be more consistant but a good Steinway will be great too.

The Boston and Essex can get "stomped" by Estonia and Hailun amd Ritmuller

So it really is a different issue, If you want a steinway cheap? Find an old one thats good and have your tech play with it fwiw imo j

To add, point being, don't be fooled by a steinway association You can get the same quality in half the price new in estonia, OR if you are looking at Boston etc, listen to all the options their are many Old steinways are inspiring also!
Posted by: Steve Cohen

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 06:25 PM

Originally Posted By: Numerian
Nobody else understands it either, especially since their competition goes to great lengths to prepare their pianos so that they arrive in the showroom in superb condition.

I suppose the argument that Steinway might use goes like this:

1) Technically, all Steinways are prepped at the factory to a basic standard, but to do a complete job, such as making sure the action is as frictionless as possible, the pedals don't squeak, the tonal quality is even across the keyboard, etc. is unnecessary work because the piano is going to go through serious adjustment in a new environment anyway.

2) The dealer should take pride in how their pianos are presented on the showroom floor, and under that premise, any Steinway dealer would have a good technician around to do the finishing prep work to bring the instrument to the highest standards.

3) Even with all this, many customers may want a piano they are interested in to be reprepped to give them what they are looking for (a lighter touch, for example).

4) Finally, once the piano arrives in a customer's home, it goes through a further settling period that will last months. Some of the previous prep work may need to be completely redone.

This line of argument would work if Steinway chose their dealers with extreme care and monitored them constantly to make sure the pianos were fully prepped once in the showroom. One or both of these things may not have been happening, given all the stories of inconsistency in quality from one Steinway to another.

As was mentioned earlier in this thread, the company seems to be putting more emphasis on quality and consistency, given the need to step up their quality in order to remain competitive. In particular, NY Steinways, so the story goes, are now being held to the higher standards of Hamburg Steinways, which have no problem competing with the best European pianos.


Numerian,

You are wrong when you say "Nobody else understands it either..." You go on to explain the situation quite well!

One inaccurate assumption that many people make is that Steinway attracts and employs the best techicians available. While their technicians are very well qualified, the top, "cream of the crop" technicians can make much more independantly or working for rebuilding firms. Most metropolitan markets have several top-notch technicians.
Posted by: Plowboy

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 06:57 PM

Quote:
The Boston and Essex can get "stomped" by Estonia and Hailun amd Ritmuller


They can "stomp" back, too. For that matter, so can pianos from Sejung and Beijing Hsinghai. The setup and care given to a piano makes a huge difference, certainly. I played an obscenely low priced Chinese piano recently that was incredible. It felt and sounded better than the used Bechstein next to it.

I don't know what to believe anymore.
Posted by: turandot

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 07:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Plowboy
Quote:
The Boston and Essex can get "stomped" by Estonia and Hailun amd Ritmuller


They can "stomp" back, too. For that matter, so can pianos from Sejung and Beijing Hsinghai. The setup and care given to a piano makes a huge difference, certainly. I played an obscenely low priced Chinese piano recently that was incredible. It felt and sounded better than the used Bechstein next to it.

I don't know what to believe anymore.



You can believe that those who write that one piano stomps another....

1.) have a bias firmly in place or are working on a bias under construction that they need for some reason

2.) feel the bias strengthened by putting it to print
Posted by: Macy

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 08:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Numerian
Nobody else understands it either, especially since their competition goes to great lengths to prepare their pianos so that they arrive in the showroom in superb condition.

I suppose the argument that Steinway might use goes like this: ...

It seems to me there are (at least) two flaws in your explanation:

1) the piano may have a defect that makes it impossible for any technician to bring it up to the "Steinway company standard" and that defect was not discovered because the piano was never prepped at the factory to a level that could reveal the problem. In that case, the technician is likely to just say "it's good enough, I can't make it better" rather than ask the factory to fix the problem.

2) the company is passing off its "Quality/Performance Standards" to the judgment of dozens of different non-factory technicians. What one technician might find perfectly acceptable the company might have deemed unacceptable. So I wouldn't be buying a Steinway quality piano, I would be buying Joe the Technician A, Joe the Technician B, Joe the Technician C, etc. quality pianos. The "normal" customers preferences that a technician might "adjust" into the piano could be minor variations in comparison.

This all strikes me as the approach that Detroit use to take in manufacturing cars. They put them together and let the dealers finish them with warranty work. Then the Japanese came along and introduced quality into manufacturing automobiles.

I still can't believe Steinway would do this and ship unprepped pianos to its dealers. I need to hear it from a Steinway dealer.
Posted by: Mike Carr

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 08:53 PM

Rich(facts is facts) Galasinni,

Quote:
The most recent numbers I can quote are from 2010, but Steinway produced under 900 grand pianos for all of North America that year.


"In 2010, we sold 1,836 grand pianos, of which 1,032 units were shipped from our New York facility to dealers in the Americas. The remaining 804 units were shipped from our German facility primarily to
Europe and Asia." 2010 Steinway annual report.

Just to give a broader picture of the facts.


Mike
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 09:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Mike Carr
Rich(facts is facts) Galasinni,

Quote:
The most recent numbers I can quote are from 2010, but Steinway produced under 900 grand pianos for all of North America that year.


"In 2010, we sold 1,836 grand pianos, of which 1,032 units were shipped from our New York facility to dealers in the Americas. The remaining 804 units were shipped from our German facility primarily to
Europe and Asia." 2010 Steinway annual report.

Just to give a broader picture of the facts.


Mike


Thank you for doing your homework Mike. You are correct. 1032 were made in New York for The Americas. Of those, under 900 were made for North America.

And yes, facts is facts. smile
Posted by: Mike Carr

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 09:57 PM

Your splitting hairs, though. I gave a more complete picture. Like any good salespro, you gave the narrow picture you wanted to give to knock your competition. It's called cherry-pickin'. I'd still like to see your sources.

Also, your contention that Steinway's numbers are "dwarfed" by the other tier 2(whatever that means)makers, implies that Steinway was the only high-end maker hit by the recession. When the tide went out, it carried a lot of the fancy boats with it.

As long as we're talking numbers are you talking units or sales in dollars as far as dwarfing?

Obviously I, er, trust you Rich, but a little verification, like some separate corroboration would be nice. (not the figures you pull out of yer hat.)


Mike
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/09/12 10:30 PM

Geez, 900 vs. 1000. Big deal. How many grands did Yamaha sell in the US?
Posted by: Del

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/10/12 12:32 AM

Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini
Originally Posted By: Mike Carr
Rich(facts is facts) Galasinni,

Quote:
The most recent numbers I can quote are from 2010, but Steinway produced under 900 grand pianos for all of North America that year.


"In 2010, we sold 1,836 grand pianos, of which 1,032 units were shipped from our New York facility to dealers in the Americas. The remaining 804 units were shipped from our German facility primarily to
Europe and Asia." 2010 Steinway annual report.

Just to give a broader picture of the facts.


Thank you for doing your homework Mike. You are correct. 1032 were made in New York for The Americas. Of those, under 900 were made for North America.

And yes, facts is facts. smile

I also heard production was about 900 during 2010. It’s possible my source was misinformed but it seemed credible at the time. Might there be a difference between the words "produced" and "sold?" The company could have gone into the year with considerable unsold inventory. The year 2009 wasn't all that good for a lot of companies making and selling luxury goods.

ddf
Posted by: Wound up

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/10/12 11:39 AM

Turandot,

No bias here, I just want the OP to know Steinway is not the most cost effective option in the higher end nor the best sounding in the medium lower priced range I used a stronger wording to couteract a misplaced 'prestige' orientation. Though it might be true that I am biased toward better sounding pianos!
Posted by: Mike Carr

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/10/12 11:50 AM

PD,

Quote:
Geez, 900 vs. 1000. Big deal. How many grands did Yamaha sell in the US?


Rich seemed to imply that New York production was less than 900 in 2010. A more accurate picture would be that they sold 1032 pianos out of New York, according to the annual report submitted to the SEC. I don’t care about what anyone “heard”. Rich knows that, I’m sure he obsessively tracks Steinway’s demise, but his version sounds better. In any case, that’s a heck of a lot less than they had been selling. Along with most of the other premium makers.

132+ new premium pianos is a significant amount, even for America. It’s not only over ten percent of Steinway’s New York production, but it would likely represent more than makers like fazioli, grotrian, fuerich, sauter, etc. sold here collectively in 2010. And I’d be surprised if Bosendorfer’s sum total of US sales was over 150 in 2010, if that. M&H? Bechstein? 2010 was not a good year for any high end maker. If you talk about actual concert grands sold in the US or those built for the Steinway concert bank, the difference might be even more dramatic.

Much of Steinways marketing strength lies in its concert services, Steinway schools, etc. But wait, Rich says Steinway is losing its grip because Julliard got a Fazioli? Huh?

Yamaha has nothing to do with this particular argument. They didn't ship any(or negligible?)tier 2 pianos to the US in 2010 according to Larry Fine. And I suppose Rich is going to use Fine’s tier 2 ratings when he tells us how it took a bunch of tier 2 makers to "dwarf" Steinway’s domestic production. Problem is by any measure except Fine’s, Steinway New York is a top piano, prestige, actual price, concert performance, concert predominance, etc.

The better question is when Steinway finally falls apart who’s going to take their place? I vote for the Cunningham piano or Hailun.

Many Steinway rebuilders are obsessed with badmouthing Steinway, maybe they wish they were Steinway. But they’re not. I don’t know if their obsession is treatable, but it probably isn’t.

Mike
Posted by: Rank Piano Amateur

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/10/12 03:03 PM

I have a question for Mike Carr: what is your particular point of view? I have only detected anti-other-people in your views, but you can't permanently be as angry as you appear to be for no reason. So why the hostility?

I did not detect in anyone's posts above any inkling that anyone thinks that Steinway is facing the "demise" you cite, nor can I detect any evidence that anyone wants Steinway to meet its maker, as it were. You would be a much more effective advocate if (1) you disclosed why you seek to trash everyone else, instead of leaving us all to speculate, and (2) you could keep yourself from sounding so hostile. You are the one who brought up the idea of Steinway ceasing production, no one else did.

Just my two cents. I expect it would be good for your blood pressure if you could calm down. Speaking of treatable conditions. . . .as you were doing at the end of your post.
Posted by: Mike Carr

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/10/12 07:29 PM

In light of Rich's recent statements about Steinway's illegal business activity, and their bribing some judges over a century ago, and how his knowledge of this nonsense, in his own words, has only scratched the surface . . . I don't think I'm too far off in my estimation of Rich's feelings for Steinway. I asked a few questions, clarification about Julliard and some of his numbers, mostly to see if Rich has any real information or just blowing smoke as usual.

Bringing up my blood pressure to bolster your rhetoric while calling me hostile sounds a little ignorant to me.

Writing is thinking. Possibly do a little less of one and more of the other. And let Rich think and answer for himself. He's a big boy now.

Mike
Posted by: Dave B

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/10/12 07:58 PM

Mike ,,, I think you Got 'em ..... and your smokin 'em ... Peace dude.
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/10/12 08:31 PM

Hello Mike,

By now you must know that I do not "just blow smoke". I have no crystal ball and everything I have stated either comes from a reliable industry source or is available in writing - as you've already found.

I think you have totally missed with this statement though:

Originally Posted By: Mike Carr
I don't think I'm too far off in my estimation of Rich's feelings for Steinway


I assume you mean that I do not like Steinway pianos. But I have no ill will towards Steinway or their dealers in general. I have played some fantastic Steinway pianos in my lifetime and I have stated this many times.

I do have a problem when the promotion of a brand - any brand - becomes so powerful that facts seem to disappear and the only thing that is common knowledge about the brand is what the company themselves "spin". That is not good for any industry, but is particularly harmful to ours.
Posted by: Norbert

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/10/12 08:45 PM

Quote:
and the only thing that is common knowledge about the brand is what the company themselves "spin". That is not good for any industry, but is particularly harmful to ours.


Unless one uses of course primarily ears & fingers with steady gaze at pocket book...

Norbert wink
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/10/12 09:24 PM

I must admit that I sense a hint of undue nastiness developing in this thread… (Or perhaps has already developed). I would caution certain members to be mindful of what they say/write here because it is not easily taken back or undone. Unless the moderators or Frank removes/deletes a thread/post it remains on the internet forever.

Mike, a few weeks ago you stated in no uncertain terms that you thought Rich had class… why can’t we leave it at that.

I’d love to own a Steinway, if I could afford it.

Rick
Posted by: Jeff Clef

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/10/12 10:17 PM

"...Unless the moderators or Frank removes/deletes a thread/post it remains on the internet forever..."

Seems I have read that anything that goes up on the web is permanently archived, independently of the will of its posters, and regardless of whether it is eventually removed by the people who put it up.

Even so, 'forever' is probably either an exaggeration, naked hubris, or an excess of optimism.
Posted by: Mike Carr

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/10/12 10:18 PM

Rich,

I think the premise of your business, that your rebuilt Steinways are superior to new Steinways while costing less, gets in the way of your good judgment, namely, asking us to believe that your historical endeavors and doubtful rendering of Steinway’s business prospects and practices has nothing to do with the fact that every time Steinway sells a new piano in your area you have to bite another chunk off one of your rebuilds.

Mike


Rickster,

I wouldn't deny that Rich has class. He's even invited me to lunch(no doubt reconsidered). He rolls with the punches and unless I'm mistaken doesn't run to the moderators everytime someone pulls his covers. I like that. I don't share the infatuation of his admirers who characterize me as constantly throwing holy water on Rich while repeating, "the blood of the martyrs commands you, the blood of the martyrs compels you . . ."

Mike (Dami, Why you do this to me?)


Posted by: Rickster

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/11/12 01:41 AM

Originally Posted By: Jeff Clef
"...Unless the moderators or Frank removes/deletes a thread/post it remains on the internet forever..."

Seems I have read that anything that goes up on the web is permanently archived, independently of the will of its posters, and regardless of whether it is eventually removed by the people who put it up.

Even so, 'forever' is probably either an exaggeration, naked hubris, or an excess of optimism.

How about “figure of speech”… Maybe I should have said forever and a day… grin

Sorry you didn’t get my point; in other words, be careful what you say/write on the Internet in general and on Piano World in particular.

Rick
Posted by: David-G

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/11/12 10:12 AM

I don't have an axe to grind here. I don't own a Steinway. I am most unlikely to be in the market for a Steinway, or indeed for a piano of any kind. Nevertheless I find this an interesting discussion, and Steinway's leading position in the market is obviously a subject of considerable interest.

However, when I read a statement like

Originally Posted By: Mike Carr
The better question is when Steinway finally falls apart who’s going to take their place? I vote for the Cunningham piano or Hailun.

I find myself seriously unimpressed by the supposed sarcasm. And when I read a further statement like

Originally Posted By: Mike Carr
Many Steinway rebuilders are obsessed with badmouthing Steinway, maybe they wish they were Steinway. But they’re not. I don’t know if their obsession is treatable, but it probably isn’t.

when I have certainly seen no "obsession with badmouthing Steinway" in this thread, I can't help feeling that the "badmouthing" is perhaps coming from another source.
Posted by: Thrill Science

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/11/12 07:40 PM

You asked "Isn't Steinway the One to beat?"

The top pianos of the day are made by Fazioli (Italy) and Bösendorfer (Austria). By any measure, these are the ones to beat. (Not coincidentally, they're also the most expensive.)

Also very good are the Shigeru Kawai, the Yamaha "S" and "CF" series, Bechstein, Grotrian, Sauter, Steingraeber & Söhne, and Blunther. If you're not hung up on a particular brand, you will find pianos from these makers as good as anything else out there.

Take a look at what Larry Fine, for example, rates as Tier 1 for "performance pianos." According to his last guide, US Made Steinways are second-tier (though he says they are improving). Also see comments from George Kolasis who likes the Shigeru Kawai.

You'll find little significant difference between the Steinway stencils from other pianos in the same price range from the same manufacturers sold under different brand names. In fact, you may prefer the "Kawai" brand Kawais. And though not made by Yamaha, you'd be cheating yourself if you didn't try the Yamaha "C" series if you were considering a "Boston."

If you want to see, feel, and hear what a no-holds-barred piano sounds and plays like, visit a Fazioli or Bösendorfer dealer.
Posted by: turandot

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/11/12 10:59 PM

"By any measure" huh?

I hope you got a thrill our of that post because there sure wasn't any science. laugh
Posted by: sushifor5

Re: Isn't Steinway the One to beat? - 03/12/12 02:31 AM

This has been a very interesting thread to read...I understand now that I poorly worded my original post's title (credit goes to turnadot), but I've enjoyed the perspectives shared. I am certainly not well versed in the broad world of pianos, and am only slightly familiar with certain brands. I have read Fine and I see that a handful of exceptional European pianos take top rank....I suppose I always thought of Steinway and Sons in the top tier as well, and I think of S&S as an American Icon of sorts. And, OK, I do like the Steinway sound. I've enjoyed playing and hearing the Boston grands as well, whose smallest grand has taken a place in my heart. The folks at my "local" Steinway gallery have been just wonderful and truly educative on various fronts. It seems that the Steinway debate is long-standing and lively, and I have no intention of joining it; I really was trying to solicit genuine thoughts and information on the Steinway-designed Boston vs. other pianos in its class. We are in the midst of our journey...it's a thrilling ride. Thx!