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#153779 - 09/23/08 06:51 PM Need advice about Schimmel C-124, and competitive uprights.
HenryTD Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/08
Posts: 46
Loc: Suburb of Philadelphia
Here's the situation: We own a Steinway M which is in great shape, but we're "downsizing" and the grand is too big for where we will be living. We'd like to replace the Steinway with a very good upright.

I have the opportunity to purchase a new Schimmel C-124 upright (polished Mahogany with the Oval) from an authorized dealer at a very favorable price. I haven't played this piano yet, as it's in another state. My research on this forum indicates that Schimmel uprights are very highly thought of. I know that this 48" piano probably won't have the power in the bass that some others would, but if it is rich and clean, that will be fine. I'm expecting that the action will be excellent, and I'm hoping that the piano will have the wonderful tone that PW regulars have spoken about.

As Dinglehoser put it in July of 2006 (comparing the C-124 to a Petrov 125): "The Schimmel, while missing some of the bombastic Sturm und Drang nature [of the Petrov}, put forth a richer and more complex tone with more consistency between notes. I also found the Schimmel's action more even and pianissimo passages were somewhat easier to modulate."

I've played some "rebuilt" Kawai and Yamaha 48", 50" and 52" uprights, and while some are certainly pretty good, they don't compare with what we're giving up. At one location the ones I tried had supposedly been rebuilt in Texas with Mexican labor, and they had not been regulated and voiced very well.

I will be considering a Sauter and a Mason & Hamlin, but I haven't been able to get to the dealership yet, since I'm in the Midwest at the moment. The dealer that has these has a sterling reputation on this forum, and I look forward to playing these pianos.

I also think I should consider the Charles Walter, based on what people here say. I played a new Steinway K-52 in Philadelphia, but the dealer was not interested in discussing a price that made sense. It did sound better than the Yamaha U-3 that was at that same dealership, however.

My preferred price range is $12,000 to $15,000, but I could go higher (depending on what happens with the Steinway M) if I feel I need to.

I'm a newcomer to this forum, but I'm finding reading your posts quite addictive! I'm aware of only one other forum that compares in quality and interest of the posts, and that one concerns my other passion which is photography.

Comments on any aspect of all this will be very much appreciated. Thanks for your help!

Henry
_________________________
As my emotions flow through my fingers, the piano responds and lifts my spirit when nothing else can.

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#153780 - 09/23/08 07:29 PM Re: Need advice about Schimmel C-124, and competitive uprights.
slange00 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 15
Hi HenryTD,
The c124 is a great instrument. I literally just bought a one year old C124 from my local Schimmel dealer for $11K after considering a number of other options, including Petrof or new and rebuilt (grey market) U3s and K6s. The C124 blew me away, the action, even to a relatively non-advanced piano player like me, felt more natural and connecting to me. The clarity of sound and huge range of tonal color and dynamic range really sold me. I initally wanted to spend only half as much but didnt like most of the choices I tried except for the Walter console, Vogel 115 and Schimmel 120C. Luckily I found an almost new 124, and after I played that piano I knew I had found my winner. I really liked the mellow warm sound of the K6 as well, but every time I touched the C124 I felt myself preferring the more clear yet subtle tonal quality of that upright.

I am not a dealer or piano expert, but I have been very impressed with most of the Schimmel uprights I have played in my search. Definitely worth a look IMHO

Cheers
S

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#153781 - 09/23/08 08:05 PM Re: Need advice about Schimmel C-124, and competitive uprights.
emilyjh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 67
Loc: Rockville, MD
I recently (July) bought a Schimmel K132 have had it for around 6 weeks. I traded in a Steinway 1098 for this piano. I tried many pianos over the course of several years, and the only other piano that i was seriously considering was the Estonia grand. I cannot say enough good things about this piano. The tone is very lovely and the action is superb.

But the most important thing is for you to try lots of pianos and see if there are any that would make YOU happy.

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#153782 - 09/23/08 08:53 PM Re: Need advice about Schimmel C-124, and competitive uprights.
Gonzo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/08
Posts: 55
Loc: Orange County, CA
Have you looked at a new Yamaha YUS5? I recently purchased a sweet little YUS1 and am thrilled with it. It's small and definitely not a big grand, but it has a nice wide range of tone and nice bite on the front of the notes (some people don't like that attack and think it make the pianos sound too bright, but I actually prefer it).

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#153783 - 09/23/08 10:04 PM Re: Need advice about Schimmel C-124, and competitive uprights.
HenryTD Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/08
Posts: 46
Loc: Suburb of Philadelphia
SLange00: Your words are very encouraging. Where are you? (PM me if you'd prefer).

Emilyjh: Your comments previously made on this forum about your Schimmel have been a strong influence. Did you also play the C-124? I should probably try and make a direct comparison between the C-124 and the K-132, if I can find a place that has both.

Gonzo: I have NOT had a chance to play the YUS5, but I intend to do so, somewhere, before making a final decision. I understand it's the best upright Yamaha makes. There's a place in New Jersey that I hope to investigate.

Thanks for the comments!

Henry
_________________________
As my emotions flow through my fingers, the piano responds and lifts my spirit when nothing else can.

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#153784 - 09/23/08 11:19 PM Re: Need advice about Schimmel C-124, and competitive uprights.
terminaldegree Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/06
Posts: 2790
Loc: western Wisconsin
Don't ignore the Petrof 125 if you can find a recent one-- it's a nice piano, indeed.

I don't have much experience with the midsize and smaller Schimmel uprights, but I have played 3 model 130's and a couple of 132's. The bass isn't lacking in the slightest with any of these ones! Don't ignore the older-design 130 as it costs less and isn't hugely different in sound or feel than the 132. I thought the 132 was slightly more refined sounding, but the low bass of the 130 has so much depth and power. My sample size was probably too small to make a "broad brush" statement.

For the sake of objectivity, I must mention that the Schimmel tone is markedly different than that of a Steinway, and it's not for everyone. If you do like the sound and feel, they certainly have a reputation as a very solid instrument. Every technician that comes to work on mine seems to come away really impressed.
_________________________
Pianist, teacher, internet addict.
Piano Review Editor - Acoustic and Digital Piano Buyer
Casio px-200, Bechstein A190 #192939 @ home
Steinway A #585209, B #416809 @ work
Schimmel 130T #339100, on loan

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#153785 - 09/24/08 08:31 AM Re: Need advice about Schimmel C-124, and competitive uprights.
HenryTD Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/08
Posts: 46
Loc: Suburb of Philadelphia
Terminaldegree: Thank you for that suggestion. I will keep my eye open for a Petrof since, like the others on my list, it is spoken of highly here. Some of the places I plan to visit have them. That makes seven brands on my list.

Henry
_________________________
As my emotions flow through my fingers, the piano responds and lifts my spirit when nothing else can.

Top
#153786 - 09/24/08 08:59 AM Re: Need advice about Schimmel C-124, and competitive uprights.
emilyjh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/05
Posts: 67
Loc: Rockville, MD
HenryTD,

I did not have the good fortune to try a Schimmel c-124. I did try a few 130s, but the ones that i tried were too bright in the treble section for my ear. THe K132 has a more "round" sound, so even though it is on the brighter side, it is not as bright as the 130s that i tried. I don't know if this brightness is due to voicing or to the inherent characteristics of the pianos. I loved the bass section on every Schimmel that i have played.

The other upright pianos that i have liked are the Bechstein Academy, the Schulze Pollman, the Petrof, the W Hoffman, and the W. H. Steinberg. All of these pianos are in your price range and are all wonderful pianos.

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#153787 - 09/24/08 11:26 AM Re: Need advice about Schimmel C-124, and competitive uprights.
HenryTD Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/08
Posts: 46
Loc: Suburb of Philadelphia
Emilyjh:

Thank you for your observations. I intend to find a Schimmel K-132 to play somewhere within an hour or two of Philadelphia as soon as I return from the mid-west.

Slange00:

I'm very grateful for your thoughtful PM'd response. Disguising some of the more private information, I've decided to respond on the Forum:

The C124 I'm considering is brand new, but it is probably a year or so old. It was in inventory at another dealer and was transferred to the present dealer, a newly authorized Schimmel dealer in the region in question. The price I've locked in with a refundable deposit is particularly favorable because it is based on pre May 2008 price increases, and maybe even another prior price increase. It is new, however, and comes with full new piano warrantee.

I've always loved our Steinway M, which was rebuilt with a Renner action and Roslau bass strings, but I'm not necessarily trying to match that Steinway sound. I just need something that allows me to be expressive through a wide tonal and dynamic range.

Since I play by ear, I'm very dependent on how a piano responds to what I'm doing. I rarely play a piece twice the same way, and much of what I play is largely improvised, playing from a fake book, or just what comes up from some level of consciousness that is intuitive, without out a fixed harmonic progression. What and how I play depends on what I'm hearing and how I'm inspired, and what sounds right on the particular instrument (whether it's a harpsichord, or a synth, a concert grand, a honkytonk upright, or a whatever).

As a child the spinet we had at home was lifeless, and totally uninspiring. It was purchased for it's finish (matched the cabinetry of the room it was placed in). Consequently I hated to practice, but loved the lessons which were on a Steinway at another location. And I had access to fine grands at school and college. In the early 70's we bought a small new Yamaha grand (5'3" if I remember correctly) which we sold to our piano tuner for more than we paid in the late 80's when we "inherited" a family-owned Steinway M. The Steinway was originally selected in 1939 from the large selection at Steinway Hall NYC by my late mother-in-law. It was rebuilt in the 80's, and has always been tuned twice a year, and regulated and voiced as needed.

Like you, I have not been impressed so far with the rebuilt Kawai and Yamaha pianos that are 20 years old or older. I agree that the Konzert Schimmel uprights would probably be a great choice for the reasons you mentioned (triplex scaling, good value holding). As mentioned above, I will not finalize my choice until I've played the K-132, if I can find one. I've studied the Schimmel site, but not found full specifications for their pianos yet.

I did not know that Larry Fine has hinted about an "upgrade" of his rating for Schimmels. I have determined that Schimmels seem to be better known, so if and when we needed to sell a Schimmel it would command a better price than some great Western European brand that most buyers have never heard of. I think I'm probably right that it's about fourth in terms of brand recognition after Bosendorfer, Bechstein and Steinway (Hamburg).

Thanks again,

Henrytd
_________________________
As my emotions flow through my fingers, the piano responds and lifts my spirit when nothing else can.

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#153788 - 09/24/08 11:39 AM Re: Need advice about Schimmel C-124, and competitive uprights.
88Teeth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/17/08
Posts: 47
Loc: Pennsylvania
Henrytd,

I think you've already alluded to it but I would recommend a visit to Cunningham Pianos. They're excellent. They are authorized M&H dealers and Rich had at least one older Schimmel upright that I played a few months ago.
_________________________
Estonia L168 - Polished Mahogany

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#153789 - 09/24/08 11:49 AM Re: Need advice about Schimmel C-124, and competitive uprights.
Rank Piano Amateur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 1792
I second 88Teeth's suggestion about visiting Cunningham Pianos in Philadelphia. They have an amazing collection, both new and used. If Mason is making uprights again, you should definitely explore that option, as they are fabulous. A friend of mine got a used Schimmel upright there many years ago, and has been delighted with it. (So am I--I play it regularly.) Anyway, check out their stock; with the budget you mentioned you should be able to get a fabulous upright!

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#153790 - 09/24/08 12:15 PM Re: Need advice about Schimmel C-124, and competitive uprights.
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by HenryTD:


I also think I should consider the Charles Walter, based on what people here say.[/b]
If you're able to wait a bit you can compare the new Walter 50" with the other great pianos mentioned.
Hopefully they will be out end of the year or Beginning of 09.
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#153791 - 09/24/08 12:32 PM Re: Need advice about Schimmel C-124, and competitive uprights.
RAY930 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 86
Loc: Europe
I think direct comparation to Schimmel,thou a bit more expensive, is undoubtely Grotrian-Steinweg, they are even made in the same town in Germany!.

Should you try Concertino (132cms)or Classic (124cms).

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#153792 - 09/24/08 02:54 PM Re: Need advice about Schimmel C-124, and competitive uprights.
HenryTD Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/18/08
Posts: 46
Loc: Suburb of Philadelphia
88Teeth & Rank Piano Amateur:

YES! I've traded emails with Rich at Cunningham, and I'll be visiting there maybe as soon as next week. I expect to see at least three if not four of the brands that I'm considering.

Rod:

I was not aware that Walter has a new model in the works. Unless I have to decide sooner, I will consider it. Cunningham is an authorized dealer, so that's where I'll go.

Ray930:

It looks like the Grotarian high end uprights are above my budget new, as is the Sauter, but I will certainly be considering any previously-owned such uprights if they're in great condition. I'm aware of a Sauter that probably meets that description, although I haven't seen it yet.

And thanks to all four of you for sharing your wisdom and experience!

HenryTD
_________________________
As my emotions flow through my fingers, the piano responds and lifts my spirit when nothing else can.

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#153793 - 09/24/08 03:08 PM Re: Need advice about Schimmel C-124, and competitive uprights.
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by HenryTD:

Rod:
I was not aware that Walter has a new model in the works. Unless I have to decide sooner, I will consider it. Cunningham is an authorized dealer, so that's where I'll go.
HenryTD [/b]
No mater what brand you choose, Cunninghams is a good choice.
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Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

Exclusive Dealer For Charles R. Walter Pianos
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#153794 - 09/25/08 12:06 AM Re: Need advice about Schimmel C-124, and competitive uprights.
John Citron Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/15/05
Posts: 3925
Loc: Haverhill, Massachusetts
Henry,

Not to weigh in more towards the Schimmel, but I purchased a Schimmel upright more than 15 years ago, but sadly had to give up the deal because I found out I was going to be laid off when I went to work the next day.

I never forgot that piano, and ended up with a Vogel grand, which is about the size of your Steinway M. (177cm or 5'10"). There is a smaller Vogel a 5'4" which is also highly rated as well. These are nice pianos, but maybe above your budget.

John
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