are all high-end pianos equal in build-quality?

Posted by: onesurfer1

are all high-end pianos equal in build-quality? - 04/29/12 05:53 AM

are the most expensive (somewhat handbuilt) pianos, (high end) pianos...i.e. bechstein, grotrian, bosendorfer, sauter, steinway, mason/hamlin, etc... are they all equal in build quality. will they all last for a 100 years?
Posted by: Sparky McBiff

Re: are all high-end pianos equal in build-quality? - 04/29/12 10:47 AM

That's like asking "are all high-end luxury automobiles equal in build quality and will they last for X amount of years"?

How in the heck are you going to define "equal in build quality"?

You can have endless debates on people's personal opinion on quality.

And all pianos will "last: for 100 years it's just that various things will have to be done to ALL of them to keep them at a certain playing and performance level.

But generally you get what you pay for and expensive pianos are going to be of a much better build quality than cheap Chinese knock-offs.
Posted by: Dave B

Re: are all high-end pianos equal in build-quality? - 04/29/12 01:54 PM

Oddly, couple of brands you listed are not considered 'high end' pianos.
Posted by: ClsscLib

Re: are all high-end pianos equal in build-quality? - 04/29/12 02:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Dave B
Oddly, couple of brands you listed are not considered 'high end' pianos.


I know I have that old Nomex suit around here somewhere...
Posted by: onesurfer1

Re: are all high-end pianos equal in build-quality? - 05/07/12 05:38 PM

which ones aren't high end and whY? aren't they all top tier pianos?
Posted by: offnote

Re: are all high-end pianos equal in build-quality? - 05/08/12 05:19 AM

isn't it that grand pianos are mostly hand made so qualiy may vary significantly even whithin same maker?
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: are all high-end pianos equal in build-quality? - 05/08/12 08:49 AM

Originally Posted By: offnote
isn't it that grand pianos are mostly hand made so qualiy may vary significantly even whithin same maker?


Dear offnote,

One particular high end maker has one factory that has gained a well earned reputation for inconsistency in touch and tone in their instruments from piano to piano. A sales presentation sprung up around this fact that "since they are handmade, they all have their own personality". There are some who are under the impression that there is truth to this. There is not.

High end piano making and precision usually go together - and they certainly should. I am not saying that an action cannot be adjusted to be personalized to your liking or that a high end piano cannot be adjusted in it's voicing.

I am saying that the different makers traditionally have a signature touch and tone.

Interestingly, a good number of the European makers have done more redesign work in the past decade or so than in their entire history. For some, this means that their signature differences have been tempered and that is a shame.

Anyway, those are my 2 cents,

Posted by: Steve Cohen

Re: are all high-end pianos equal in build-quality? - 05/08/12 09:04 AM

Although it might be somewhat over-simplified, I'd say that the current build quality of the top tier pianos are "competitive".
Posted by: offnote

Re: are all high-end pianos equal in build-quality? - 05/08/12 09:54 AM

Originally Posted By: Rich Galassini
Originally Posted By: offnote
isn't it that grand pianos are mostly hand made so qualiy may vary significantly even whithin same maker?


Dear offnote,

One particular high end maker has one factory that has gained a well earned reputation for inconsistency in touch and tone in their instruments from piano to piano. A sales presentation sprung up around this fact that "since they are handmade, they all have their own personality". There are some who are under the impression that there is truth to this. There is not.



so are you saying grand pianos have no soul anymore?
Posted by: Plowboy

Re: are all high-end pianos equal in build-quality? - 05/08/12 10:08 AM

The soul is not in the piano, the soul comes from the player.
Posted by: offnote

Re: are all high-end pianos equal in build-quality? - 05/08/12 11:36 AM

Originally Posted By: Plowboy
The soul is not in the piano, the soul comes from the player.


even if a player is infidel? laugh


p.s.
cannot agree with that, played many pianos and each sounded uniquly.
Posted by: Enrico

Re: are all high-end pianos equal in build-quality? - 05/12/12 12:42 PM

Much of the differences in High End pianos comes from the voicing at the end of the line. Most of the BIG INCONSISTENCIES are not so much the piano design or build, but the fine tuning at the end of the line. the idea of the uber high end piano is: Lots of wood wasted, lots of time taken in order to create the best piano possible, each and every time. That is why the prices are many many times that of an entry level piano. I think it is more likely to see a gem of a piano surprise you from a lower end piano, because the materials happen to be better than the piano next to it. Every Seiler I see out of the box is as good as the last. Every Bechstein out of the box was as good as the last. I have also sold new Bluthner, Schimmel and Sauter, I haven't seen a bad one in the bunch. They really can't afford to.
Posted by: master88er

Re: are all high-end pianos equal in build-quality? - 05/12/12 04:59 PM

Originally Posted By: onesurfer1
which ones aren't high end and whY? aren't they all top tier pianos?


The pianos you listed are ALL wonderful instruments. The variances at this level are small and really boil down to personal likes and preferences. For example, you listed Bechstein and Mason & Hamlin. IMHO, a pianist who liked the sound of one, would probably not like the sound of the other, yet in technical specifications they have an equal build quality.

In my 40 years of doing this, we have been lucky to carry several top instruments - all on the floor at the same time. Each of these manufacturers has a different approach to sound and I am careful to only represent one manufacturer of the various tone palates at a time. For example, I think one could argue that Fazioli, Steingraeber and Hamburg Steinway all have a similar tone palate and approach to sound and performance. We chose represent Steingraeber. In the products we choose to represent, there are other similar comparisons. Yet, they all have marvelous craftsmanship and impeccable credentials.

Curiously, two of the least mentioned names are two of my personal favorites: Sauter and Grotrian. For years, I argued with Larry about their listing in a slightly lower category (1B vs. 1A in earlier versions) and his reply was more about brand name sizzle rather than anything structural. Thankfully, Larry has come to my way of thinking help