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#341596 - 05/10/04 06:21 PM M & H Tour?
Stevester Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/03
Posts: 2851
Loc: New Jersey
I would like to hear about the tour, any comments?.

Regards,
Steve
_________________________
"The true character of a man can be determined by witnessing what he does when no one is watching".

anon

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#341597 - 05/10/04 07:39 PM Re: M & H Tour?
samekenny2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/23/04
Posts: 49
Loc: So California
It was, in a word, Superb!

I'm sitting in my hotel room sipping Sauvignon Blanc, munching on leftover glazed duck from a wonderful restaurant that Bee Lady and her hubby took me to. . .
Huh?
What?
Oh, You wanted to know about the tour. . .?

It was amazing.
I hardly know where to start.
It was all so impressive that I honestly found myself thinking, "They should charge more for these pianos."

I'll post more later, but I have to mention the treat that followed the tour.
They had 6 of their beauties ready to ship.
They were all lined up in a row with military precision, like Marines - polished and precise, awaiting orders.
Their very first AA was particularly lovely to my ears.
I think this model is going to be a big hit!

It was a blast to meet lots of forum members and the owners and staff of Mason and Hamlin.
Forum members are not as I expected.

Everyone played beautifully, but I was particularly astonished by Axtremus.
He had an exceptional clarity of tone, and an effortless fluency to his playing.

Oh Yeah, we got to see them bend a rim.
They fed each layer of maple into a glue thing, stacked them and put them into a huge press and clamped it down, very nice that they scheduled that for us.

More later.

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#341598 - 05/10/04 09:06 PM Re: M & H Tour?
Stevester Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/04/03
Posts: 2851
Loc: New Jersey
Thanks for the post, I had a feeling it was going to be fun. I keep hearing great things about the new AA.

Thanks again,
Steve
_________________________
"The true character of a man can be determined by witnessing what he does when no one is watching".

anon

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#341599 - 05/10/04 09:23 PM Re: M & H Tour?
Piano World Offline



Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 5587
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
As most of you know, I prefer to stay neutral in conversations on the boards, particularly when talking about manufacturers.

But all I can say is Wow!

It was a great day, our hosts were most gracious, and showed us every step of the process for building their pianos.
And I mean every step, all 6 floors, just ask my feet:-)

The staff was wonderful, and everyone obviously takes great pride in their work.

And yes, listening to everyone play was a real treat.
I'll let the others finish filling you in.
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#341600 - 05/10/04 09:29 PM Re: M & H Tour?
BeeLady Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/02
Posts: 2339
Loc: Massachusetts
If any Forumites happen to buy an AA, let us know... We saw the first two, still in production, serial numbers 92000 and 92001!

I was impressed with the number of new tools since I visited three years ago, a computer controlled drill/router/planer (I think it was just delivered back then), New rim presses, etc.

Seems that M+H is looking to make their operation better and better...
_________________________
BeeLady

Life is like a roll of toilet paper...the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!

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#341601 - 05/10/04 09:43 PM Re: M & H Tour?
pete Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 796
Loc: port washington, ny, us
I had the pleasure of seeing a Steinway rim bent when I took the tour of their factory last October. It is quite an amazing feat.
Really hope that the new improved M&H takes off.

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#341602 - 05/10/04 09:48 PM Re: M & H Tour?
Chris W1 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/26/01
Posts: 915
Loc: Boston
Here's Bernard:



Stay tuned...testing..
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Amateur At Large

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#341603 - 05/10/04 09:52 PM Re: M & H Tour?
BeeLady Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/02
Posts: 2339
Loc: Massachusetts
Came thru great Chris. I posted other pics on a separate thread..it was difficult choosing which of the 50 I took! :rolleyes:
_________________________
BeeLady

Life is like a roll of toilet paper...the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!

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#341604 - 05/10/04 09:53 PM Re: M & H Tour?
samekenny2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/23/04
Posts: 49
Loc: So California
Chris
First I got the dreaded Red X.
Now it works.

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#341605 - 05/10/04 09:55 PM Re: M & H Tour?
jodi Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 6959
Loc: The Evergreen State (WA)
It's back. Great picture, Chris! What a lovely room!

\:\) Jodi

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#341606 - 05/10/04 10:02 PM Re: M & H Tour?
Chris W1 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/26/01
Posts: 915
Loc: Boston
I just shrank it. FTP freeware, web space, this space...wish it were easier. Jodi, that was the first of the 6 pianos on their top floor, 3BB's, 1AA and 2A's, I think.

BeeLady. I rattled off 80 jpg's ;\) .

BTW, Bernard was playing a wonderful Brahms.
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Amateur At Large

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#341607 - 05/10/04 10:45 PM Re: M & H Tour?
kathyk Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 6971
Loc: Maine
What a splendid time. What wonderful people. I'm basking in the glow. More later.

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#341608 - 05/10/04 10:53 PM Re: M & H Tour?
jgoo Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/23/01
Posts: 3974
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
Sounds as if you all had a lot of fun! Wish I was there, maybe another time if another opertunity comes up. It actually sounds quite impressive. So, when is the AA due to hit the retail market?
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For off-topic discussion, please feel free to visit www.coffee-room.com

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#341609 - 05/11/04 12:58 AM Re: M & H Tour?
Chris W1 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/26/01
Posts: 915
Loc: Boston
BeeLady, you beat me to it. Most of mine didn't come out that good. I've got some more filler of the 80 I took that I've picked so as not to overlap those you put up.

I'd like to say thanks, too, to all the great folks at Mason & Hamlin. I've never met a guy who could put a piano together from scratch like I bet Bruce Clarke could. I gotta admit I left with a refreshed impression of just how high up into the treble the Mason's seem to keep a nice clean and round tone. In some respects, listening to the AA it struck me as having all the life of the finest euros, yet still with its own signiture.

At the end, I think guest virtuosity raised the fear factor of our, one by one, going up to play the pianos. I tucked a picture at the bottom of this post showing a visit I was lucky to have from Kenny (samekenny1, 2, 3..) and BeeLady over the weekend leading up to the event. Playing for and listening to the two of them reminded me how enjoyable it can be to be around others who appreciate music. That carried into the will to simply let bad notes be bad notes in Haverhill. This forum is definitely a musical bunch.


Very high on my gearhead meter (like 400 ft lbs!):


Massive CNC router. Can you spot the keybed?


Bruce Clarke over headphones to the group. RE: The Tension Resonator


The CC, at 9 feet 4 inches, come'ith:


Pneumatic belly press w/inflatable fire hose for regulated pressure:
Open

Closed


Interesting cantilever on the AA's bass bridge. How many 6'2'-6'4's use one I wonder?:


Setting bearing. Yet another custom tool/skill set:


8 pic limit, see next post...
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Amateur At Large

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#341610 - 05/11/04 01:00 AM Re: M & H Tour?
Chris W1 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/26/01
Posts: 915
Loc: Boston
Bridge notching:


Kenny entertaining us on the AA. So much response from this piano. Sorry for the back lighting:


A special visit from Kenny and BeeLady to our home:


Chris W1
_________________________
Amateur At Large

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#341611 - 05/11/04 10:46 AM Re: M & H Tour?
piqué Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 5484
shoot! i'm mostly getting red xes. what's wrong?
_________________________
piqué

now in paperback:


Grand Obsession: A Piano Odyssey

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#341612 - 05/11/04 10:56 AM Re: M & H Tour?
jodi Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 6959
Loc: The Evergreen State (WA)
If you right click on the x, and then click on properties (at the bottom), you can copy the URL, and paste it into another window, and see the picture...

\:\) Jodi

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#341613 - 05/11/04 03:09 PM Re: M & H Tour?
gryphon Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/01
Posts: 11678
Loc: Okemos, MI
I thought about it but I decided early on not to attend. I worked on my house instead. I definately regret my decision. \:\(
_________________________
"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
Wheels

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#341614 - 05/11/04 05:50 PM Re: M & H Tour?
jgoo Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/23/01
Posts: 3974
Loc: Seattle, Washington, USA
You can also view the pictures with the red x by right clicking and then click "show picture".
_________________________
For off-topic discussion, please feel free to visit www.coffee-room.com

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#341615 - 05/11/04 05:55 PM Re: M & H Tour?
Nina Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/13/01
Posts: 6467
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Wow, that M&H piano factory is a power tool lover's fantasy! Thanks for posting the pictures-- they are great.

I am cracking up, however... since in all of the pictures the center of attention is the PIANO... the people are just specks. I guess we know where our priorities lie! \:\)

Nina

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#341616 - 05/11/04 07:23 PM Re: M & H Tour?
BeeLady Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/02
Posts: 2339
Loc: Massachusetts
 Quote:
Originally posted by Nina:
I am cracking up, however... since in all of the pictures the center of attention is the PIANO... the people are just specks. I guess we know where our priorities lie! \:\)
Nina [/b]
LOL!! I thought the same thing! I tried so hard to get a good pic of the group but they were usually smushed together looking at Bruce Clark! Many of my pics are of the backs of people's heads! :p

The tour was so intense, there was little time to socialize. Something to remember for next time....
_________________________
BeeLady

Life is like a roll of toilet paper...the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!

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#341617 - 05/12/04 09:07 AM Re: M & H Tour?
kathyk Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 6971
Loc: Maine
I can relate to your frustrations, Chris, in posting pics. I thought I was all ready to roll yesterday, having gone through the resizing, etc., and ended up with monstrously huge pics. Now this morning I can't even get into my web space via FTP. Bah! Eventually, maybe I'll succeed, but now with Frank's pics, mine are pretty duplicative anyway.

Like Beelady, I attempted to get people in many of my shots, but same thing - lots of backs and very cramped. Beelady, btw, I regretted not having more time to talk to you - before I knew it, you were gone.

Now that a bunch of us from New England have finally met, how about a PF party in this neck of the woods? \:\)

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#341618 - 05/12/04 09:24 AM Re: M & H Tour?
samekenny2 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/23/04
Posts: 49
Loc: So California
Yes Yes Yes.
Take advantage of the momentum you have right now.
Y'all NorthEasterners must experience the unique pleasure that we So.Calers have known.
A piano party is a magical gathering of people from all over the sociological map.
We only have one thing in common, love of pianos and their music.
And if someone wants to rush into a piano party, I may be able to attend this Friday or early Saturday.
My flight back to California is Sat at 9 PM out of Boston.

I felt kind of awkward before the first party (at my house) but when Penny burst in with her white chocolate pudding dish - gave me a big hug - and bubbled, "Where is the oven?" the ice was broken and every party just gets better.
Really folks, we can be too careful and hesitant to get together with people now a days.
The media has convinced us to bolt our doors, and that everyone is after you.
So far, I've learned it is just silly.
The pianoforum has proven to be a great filter for all that concerns me about strangers.
I have met some of my best friends through Franks Piano forum.

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#341619 - 05/12/04 09:37 AM Re: M & H Tour?
kathyk Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 6971
Loc: Maine
Well, Kenny, I had kind of set aside Saturday as Maine coast tour day with you, but if you'd prefer another social event and if others are up for it, I'm game to have a little afternoon, piano soiree on Saturday. My house is a bit of a wreck with my do-it-yourself bathroom project in its interminable state of incompletion and cat-shredded living room furniture slated for replacement/reupholstery, kitchen floor slated for resanding, but what-the-heck, I'm not proud, and the piano is in good working order; plus, the real pianist in the family Peter/Fredshopin will only be here for another couple months before he spreads his wings.

So, we have 4 forumites on the roster: JF, Fredshoppin, Kenny and me - - any other takers?

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#341620 - 05/12/04 09:47 AM Re: M & H Tour?
BeeLady Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/02
Posts: 2339
Loc: Massachusetts
kathyk, I wanted so to talk to EVERYONE! Did get a short chat or two in the elevators, and with Cool Nerd, her lovely sister and TerryTunes at lunch, but....Guess next time we need to set aside a few hours to just schmooze!

kathyk, kenny is right and we should get a party together soon. Unfortunately the day of the tour, when the clock struck three, POOF!, I turned back into Minivan Mom!
_________________________
BeeLady

Life is like a roll of toilet paper...the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!

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#341621 - 05/12/04 10:28 AM Re: M & H Tour?
kathyk Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 6971
Loc: Maine
It's very, very short notice, but I would be game for an ad hoc get together here in Maine on Saturday.

PS, Bernard, you narrative in the other factory tour thread was right on!

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#341622 - 05/12/04 12:01 PM Re: M & H Tour?
Tavner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/01
Posts: 376
Loc: San Diego
Thanks,tour members, for the great pics and descriptions of the factory. I'm a proud owner of a Model A. Wish I could have participated in the tour. Let's hope the new AA and coming CC are a great success!
_________________________
Tavner

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#341623 - 05/12/04 09:12 PM Re: M & H Tour?
RKVS1 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/01
Posts: 3192
Loc: Topeka, Kansas
I didn't leave for home till Tuesday evening so this is about the first chance I've had to post my reactions to the tour and get-together.

It was really a successful effort on everybody's part and I was really glad I attended.

As almost everyone has mentioned, the M&H people went way out for us. Setting up the "Piano Row" on the 6th floor, the radio headsets that allowed us to hear clearly Bruce Clark's clear explanations and answers, the scheduling of a rim glueing/bending so that we could see it from beginning to end, an excellent lunch, and the fact that they gathered most of their top doggies together for us.

Both the Burgett brothers were there and were very accessible and friendly. Cecil, the national rep and a doubly black-belted extrovert if ever there was one, was there {if the term icebreaker comes to mind, add Antarctica's Ross Shelf to your vision}. {but in a kind and gentle way :} or consider an episode of The Sopranos with Mr. Rogers as a guest star} Paul Van Ness{sp?}< their institutional sales rep and a piano professor at a California university played exquisitely.

That name may be wrong, there was another piano professor from S. California attending, as his school is in the process of buying a lot of new pianos.

They also provided a couple of "watch your head"ers and "you forgot your shoes again, Bob" shepherd types that kind of brought up the rear.
The finished AA that was on the sixth floor was the prototype, and was built pretty much from scratch. They used the new rim jigs and some other new equipment that will be used in the production models, but much of the rest of it was used, as it was being built, to "calibrate" the rest of the jigs for the production models. I'm not sure how much midnight oil they may have burned to get the prototype ready for us by the 10th, but it is certainly appreciated. And the finished product was very nice.

I'm not sure how many people mentioned how knowledgeable and sharp Bruce Clark was, but I'm going to restate that opinion, He knew the process and theory inside out and a person would have to be pretty thick not to learn a lot from listening to him. {hmmmm..that's odd...has anybody seen my shoes?} Well, it WAS a long tour. About 9 am to 4:30 pm with a lunch break.

Seeing Frank, RealPlayer and Bernard again was good, and meeting Kenny, SameKenny , and SameKenny's1,2 and 3 wasn't as confusing as I thought it was going to be. CoolNerd, CoolSis, KathyK withtheKellyGreen Velour, BeeLady and TerryTunes from Tewksbury were all great and JeannieW showed the sand to be the first PianoWorldWoman to overcome the fear factor and go up and play at the end of the tour. Though jittery at first, when she started playing the music she had written herself it was very enjoyable.

One of the Kenny's was the first PW guy to play {Frank's earlier appearance doesn't count, as he's the PW owner, and I saw one of the brothers slip Cecil a $50 before he went up....the other was bringing out a lid stick that looked remarkably like a baseball bat} Did I mention there seemed to be some reticence among the PW tourers to play solo? Well, there was at first, but I think pretty much everybody played by the time it was over.

One of the Chris's was up there early on too. {W1, I think.}

Axtemes played his way down the entire row of pianos for us so we could compare the same music on the different pianos.

BeeLady, I think it was you that mentioned a shop in Boston at 1090 Boylston called PianoForte. Used pianos only. I went there Tuesday {after going to Boston Organ & Piano and Steinharts} and had a good time. They had maybe 6 9-footers {2_Baldwins, 2-S*S, Chickering, Yamaha{?}}and a bunch of assorted smaller ones. There was a mottled Oak Mahlin 1895 7footer that was gorgeous but $48k. 2 or 3 smaller early 1900's Chickerings with good sound and touch.
I hadnt had the opportunity to play any early Chickerings before the trip to Boston, where there are many of them.

It was a great trip,
Bob

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#341624 - 05/13/04 09:42 PM Re: M & H Tour?
Chris W1 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/26/01
Posts: 915
Loc: Boston
I see a self-styled name change coming. Kenny, you've started a trend.

Drat! KathyK, I am even going to be in Maine Saturday, but on a tight schedule. Otherwise, I'm all ears to a Northeast get together. The room we have the piano in is probably too small, but we could also try and put something together at our home sometime.

Englemen, Eastern White and Sitka spruce were the ones Bruce Clarke mentioned during the tour. I am pretty sure Steinway uses Sitka. There is a rivalry in that regard, as one might expect. I just watched the DVD we all got. Its a great presentation that goes further into the history of the company than was covered during the tour. At one point, though, what stood out to me was how in describing the hammers M & H uses in their current pianos, the narator mentions how no "lacquering short-cuts" are taken. If that doesn't sorta go accross the bow, I don't know what does ;\) .

Axtremus is the one to quiz on the pianos that were there. He was the only one to play virtually the same thing on one after another, with all else quiet. I only tried the AA and a BB. Light and responsive, as Kenny said, was my take on the touch, as well.

Chris W1
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#341625 - 05/13/04 09:51 PM Re: M & H Tour?
BeeLady Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/02
Posts: 2339
Loc: Massachusetts
kathy, I'm afraid Sat isn't looking good for me either. Sort of used up my "Piano Forum" quota last week!

But we should certainly think of something before the first snow flies!

Axtremus has his open recital on next month in Westford off 495 should anyone want to use that as a meeting point..just a thought..
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BeeLady

Life is like a roll of toilet paper...the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!

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