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#2086228 - 05/21/13 12:18 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: ando]
AJF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/18/06
Posts: 1601
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: ando
Originally Posted By: AJF
I would have a hard enough time choosing which I like best between two Steinway Bs or two Steingraeber 212s. There is so much subtle variation between models even of the same line that realistically it's impossible to objectively and intelligently compare something as vast and broad as two different lines of pianos.


Trying to decide between two pianos of the same model would be harder because they are more similar than they are different. That means you are looking at minute details of the sound and touch to determine which one you prefer.

Comparing two pianos of different brand and construction is a more straight forward task because the points of difference are immediately apparent - although of course it is quite possible to end up with a list of pros and cons for each and find it hard to split them, in the end. In that case it would generally depend on what sort of music you will want to play on it.


You make a good point. I suppose a better way to say what I was trying to say is that, for me, it's easier to compare a piano to my own set of ideals of what makes a good instrument than it is to compare a piano to another piano.

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#2086298 - 05/21/13 02:38 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: ando]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19231
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: ando
Originally Posted By: AJF
I would have a hard enough time choosing which I like best between two Steinway Bs or two Steingraeber 212s. There is so much subtle variation between models even of the same line that realistically it's impossible to objectively and intelligently compare something as vast and broad as two different lines of pianos.


Trying to decide between two pianos of the same model would be harder because they are more similar than they are different. That means you are looking at minute details of the sound and touch to determine which one you prefer.

Comparing two pianos of different brand and construction is a more straight forward task because the points of difference are immediately apparent - although of course it is quite possible to end up with a list of pros and cons for each and find it hard to split them, in the end. In that case it would generally depend on what sort of music you will want to play on it.
If comparing piano makes in some general way was really so impossible then half the discussion on this forum, literally tens of thousands of posts, would be quite meaningless. So would the Piano Buyer(but, of course, almost everyone find that book extremely useful).


Edited by pianoloverus (05/21/13 02:38 PM)

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#2086301 - 05/21/13 02:42 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: pianoloverus]
Steve Cohen Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10453
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
So would the Piano Buyer(but, of course, almost everyone find that book extremely useful).


On behalf of the staff....Thanks!

Oh, and the reason that so many people like Steingraeber....

They make one of the world's finest pianos.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

Jasons Music
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#2086312 - 05/21/13 03:02 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14120
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
When it comes to world's top makers it's in the end more the artist expressing the music than the instrument itself.

A good cowboy rides on the worst of horses and on good ones of course "perfectly" - exactly the way he wants the horse to go.

You can discuss a number of high end kitchen tools, pots and pans but it's always the chef who actually cooks the meal.

And the cook is "you" - the player.

Small detail perhaps worth keeping in mind...

Norbert smile


Edited by Norbert (05/21/13 03:05 PM)
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
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#2086447 - 05/21/13 09:10 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: pianoloverus]
ando Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3523
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: ando

Trying to decide between two pianos of the same model would be harder because they are more similar than they are different. That means you are looking at minute details of the sound and touch to determine which one you prefer.

Comparing two pianos of different brand and construction is a more straight forward task because the points of difference are immediately apparent - although of course it is quite possible to end up with a list of pros and cons for each and find it hard to split them, in the end. In that case it would generally depend on what sort of music you will want to play on it.
If comparing piano makes in some general way was really so impossible then half the discussion on this forum, literally tens of thousands of posts, would be quite meaningless. So would the Piano Buyer(but, of course, almost everyone find that book extremely useful).


Oh there's a surprise - another red-herring argument from PloverUS...

Where did I say anything about impossible? Work on your comprehension please, for all our sakes.

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#2086578 - 05/22/13 04:18 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Norbert]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1096
Originally Posted By: Norbert
When it comes to world's top makers it's in the end more the artist expressing the music than the instrument itself.

A good cowboy rides on the worst of horses and on good ones of course "perfectly" - exactly the way he wants the horse to go.

You can discuss a number of high end kitchen tools, pots and pans but it's always the chef who actually cooks the meal.

And the cook is "you" - the player.

Small detail perhaps worth keeping in mind...

Norbert smile


Hey Norbert,

You're totally right there, and I think that when it comes to the top makes it's just a matter of taste more than quality.

Re the point about the cook - that's fine but if the oven doesn't work.... ;-)

It's OK I'm just being cantankerous.

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#2086582 - 05/22/13 04:28 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]
belsha Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/10
Posts: 48
Loc: Paris, France
I think there's a good deal of snobbery in this: Steingraeber is a tiny manufacturer from a small but mythical german city (Wagner's Bayreuth), the brand is little known or even completely unknown outside of a small circle of aficionados, there's a definite cool factor to preferring an obscure brand to the world's most famous one.

This being said, Steingraeber makes wonderful pianos, without any question some of the best in the world. In Europe, by the way, they are about 10% cheaper than Steinways (Hamburg, of course), and Boesendorfer, Fazioli, and Bechsteins, which all cost about the same price.

But to me comparing these pianos, and the Steingraeber and the Steinway in particular, really doesn't make any sense at all, they are so different. Steinways have a rich, complex, earthy, wooden sound no other piano has. Steingraeber, on the other hand, are on the opposite side of the tonal spectrum, a very pure, singing sound, chime and clarinet-like sound that some could find a little bland, or even hollow. They also have a very peculiar action, it's very light but extremely precise. It's a completely different sensation at first, but very easy to adapt too. I think, if I remember well, that this is a specific Steingraeber design, and it sets these pianos apart not only from the Steinway, but from all other brands.

I once completely fell in love of a barely used Steingraeber 205 at a great price, and was decided to buy it, until I found a 1950 Steinway D at an even cheaper price (Ironically this Steinway has a very round pure sound that is more reminescent of the Steingraeber than more recent Steinways), a temptation I couldn't resist. I then considered for a while to exchange my Model B for the Steingraeber, but it's such a lovely piano too...

At this level, it really boils down to taste and the repertoire you play on them. I would not play the same music on both pianos, as a jazz pianist I would improvise and voice differently, as a classical pianist, I would prefer the Steingraeber for Mozart and Schumann, maybe Ravel and possibly Bach, but wouldn't like it at all in Chopin or Bartok, or late Beethoven. Generally, the Steingraeber lacks the dimension of a percussion instrument that's also part of the pianos spectrum, and that Steinway does so well (this is because the Steinway emphasizes the dissonant harmonics more while the Steingraeber emphasizes the fundamental, consonant ones, almost like a square wave). The Steingraeber is more of a vocal instrument than a percussion one. The Steinway really has all those dimensions wrapped up in one.

But of course, in a perfect world, I would love to have a Steinway, a Steingraber and a Bösendorfer in the same room, in my opinion these three pianos pretty much give you all the nuances and colors you could need (While the Fazioli is also very good, and possibly the best of the lot, in my opinion it doesn't have such an unique personality and sound as those three, it's more of a synthesis).


Edited by belsha (05/22/13 04:33 AM)
_________________________
1950 Hamburg Steinway Model D
1980 Hamburg Steinway Model B
"Galaxy Vintage D" on my laptop when travelling (amazing sample of the 1930 Steinway D at Bauer Tonstudios, Germany) Almost feels like home!

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#2086585 - 05/22/13 04:51 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1096
In an ideal world, as you say, we'd all have different instruments available to us for different repertoire. However, many times I turn up to a venue with a programme prepared, and I have to play what's there no matter what.

Only once did I have to change my (entire!) programme, because the piano was just too bad to cope with what I'd prepared.

I suppose, if every piano I played on was a slightly under par New York Steinway, then I'd be better off than I am now where it might be a 100 year old no name baby grand, a clapped out Bechstein, or a Young Chang with action centres that make you need to play like Supergran. (80s TV character.....)

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#2086590 - 05/22/13 05:18 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: joe80]
belsha Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/23/10
Posts: 48
Loc: Paris, France
Originally Posted By: joe80
In an ideal world, as you say, we'd all have different instruments available to us for different repertoire. However, many times I turn up to a venue with a programme prepared, and I have to play what's there no matter what.

Only once did I have to change my (entire!) programme, because the piano was just too bad to cope with what I'd prepared.

I suppose, if every piano I played on was a slightly under par New York Steinway, then I'd be better off than I am now where it might be a 100 year old no name baby grand, a clapped out Bechstein, or a Young Chang with action centres that make you need to play like Supergran. (80s TV character.....)


Well yes, of course, there was a part of irony in my "perfect world" quote, meaning we're very well off with whatever of these great pianos.

I believe Andras Schiff made a series of Beethoven sonatas with both a Steinway D and a Boesendorfer on stage, switching between the two depending on the sonata.

As a jazz pianist, we don't have this problem so much, because we simply will change our playing according to the pianos sound and action (say more percussive or more lyrical depending on the sound, or more sparse or more virtuoso depending on the action).

I remember opening for Michel Petrucciani at various festivals in France when I was in my early twenties. The pianos were always Hamburg Steinway D's, but at the first gig, it was a truly uninspiring, clumsy, inexpressive and cold instrument, a real dog as sometimes even Hamburg makes. I played a horrible set, I just couldn't connect to the instrument, and felt so embarrassed. But then Michel also played a very mediocre set, and I thought "is this what all the fuss is about ?". At the next gig, there was a great Steinway, I played a lot better, and Michel just blew my socks off....(he also played for a much longer time, clearly enjoying himself which he didn't the first time".

So this pretty much happens to everybody, and at every level....
_________________________
1950 Hamburg Steinway Model D
1980 Hamburg Steinway Model B
"Galaxy Vintage D" on my laptop when travelling (amazing sample of the 1930 Steinway D at Bauer Tonstudios, Germany) Almost feels like home!

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#2086597 - 05/22/13 06:15 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1096
Classical pianists do some adapting to the action too - or at least, they should.

Being in Paris have you played any of the new Pleyels?

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#2086612 - 05/22/13 07:23 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: joe80]
bennevis Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4859
Classical pianists are usually a lot more demanding of the piano they play than jazz pianists - not surprisingly, since classical music relies a lot more on voicing (in the classical sense - polyphonic strands in complex passages as well as chords) and tonal production, including of course fast, even passagework; and may choose a different piano (if they have the clout to do so), depending on the program they are playing.

In extreme cases, you have Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli touring Europe with his two Steinways - one for Beethoven, the other for Debussy. I couldn't discern much difference in their sounds per se when I attended that concert, but obviously he could, and he certainly adopted a different touch and articulation for the different composers (the Beethoven angular and abrasive, the Debussy all muted and pastel colors).

Watch the video/DVD 'Pianomania' to see Pierre-Laurent Aimard's long quest for a piano for his forthcoming Bach recording and concert, and almost driving his technician nuts with his demands......... grin

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#2086625 - 05/22/13 07:50 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: joe80]
Almaviva Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 585
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Joe - the "new" Pleyels? I thought Pleyel went out of business (several times). If they have resurrected this company with a performance-grade piano line, that's good news. If the new Pleyel is nothing but another consumer-grade "stencil brand", that's NOT good news.

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#2086646 - 05/22/13 08:33 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]
joe80 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1096
Hi Alma,

Pleyel have gone out of business several times, and for a while Schimmel actually made Pleyel. Of course, they were Schimmel pianos with the Pleyel name, so they were actually quite good.

These days I believe that they are a fully hand built grand piano made in France, and they are very expensive. Perhaps they see themselves in the league of Fazioli or something. I haven't seen any of the most recent pianos.

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#2086743 - 05/22/13 11:43 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: belsha]
Almaviva Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 585
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Originally Posted By: belsha
This being said, Steingraeber makes wonderful pianos, without any question some of the best in the world. In Europe, by the way, they are about 10% cheaper than Steinways (Hamburg, of course), and Boesendorfer, Fazioli, and Bechsteins, which all cost about the same price.


Belsha, you have just given me another good reason to visit France! wink

In America, most Steingraeber models retail for much MORE than a comparably-sized Steinway (Hamburg or New York), Bluthner, Bechstein, Boesendorfer, Fazioli, etc.

Vive la France!

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#2086746 - 05/22/13 11:47 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14120
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Anybody who has travelled the world, been to many trade shows, seen and played a great many pianos knows the situation: there's many great pianos out there.

Sometimes the landscape shifts a bit or a particular model by one maker leaves an indelible mark on one's mind but it's never just "one" nor does it stay that way.

Thinking that the discussion as in this thread should impress that "variety is spice of life" not as is naively presumed, eating steak and lobster every single day.

Those who keep writing about all kinds of makes and models without even knowing them, as seems to freqeuntly be the case here, are encouraged to do so.

It may give them the curious impression that once you played the "best of the best", another nice girl will be giving you soon the wink.

Final lesson to be learned: pianos can be as seductive as women....

Norbert wink



Edited by Norbert (05/22/13 11:50 AM)
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#2086761 - 05/22/13 12:09 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Norbert]
Karl Watson Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/11
Posts: 295
Replying to both of belsha's carefully considered and thoughtful posts (a relief from other's arch poses and crushing rejoinders) - one would have to say Amen to almost everything.

At the end of the day there is the Matterhorn of the occasional, well-regulated and evenly voiced Steinway D. It will always be the ultimate for most baby-boomer Americans. I have to say that it is for me. For those contemplating a career it has always been No.1 and I see no end in sight.

However, one might, quite privately prefer to LIVE with another sound world. Being an American, I love the tone of a vintage M&H. For an older generation it could well be a Chickering.

But I think that one discounts the Steingraeber at one's own risk. It might come from a provincial German house, but it is an extraordinary piano, no qualifications of any kind and the astounding thing is that the full range of both grands and even verticals all have distiction. The seductive quality of which our Norbert speaks is palpable.

Just my feeble opinion.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

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#2086816 - 05/22/13 01:26 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Almaviva]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1717
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: Almaviva

...In America, most Steingraeber models retail for much MORE than a comparably-sized Steinway (Hamburg or New York), Bluthner, Bechstein, Boesendorfer, Fazioli, etc.


I'm not sure that's all correct. At least when I did my hunt, Faziolis were running higher, and I'd be surprised if Steingraebers were retailing for MUCH more than Hamburg Steinways or Bosies. Bechsteins, yes.


Edited by ClsscLib (05/22/13 01:30 PM)
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2086840 - 05/22/13 02:11 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: ClsscLib]
Almaviva Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 585
Loc: Richmond, Virginia
Hmmm. I must have transposed some numbers in my spreadsheet.

I recalculated, and the Steingraeber models had a significantly higher Suggested Maximum Price in the latest "Piano Buyer" than did comparably-sized Steinways (both factories) and Bluthners. However, the Steingraebers, Bosendorfers, Bechsteins and Faziolis were more evenly matched.

Sorry about that.

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#2086845 - 05/22/13 02:15 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]
shortie Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/08/12
Posts: 11
When I looked for a piano for my home, I played about 50 different makes, models, Steingraeber 212 was my favorite, followed by a Grotrian 209.. they are too expensive though, so I got a Steinway B. frown


Edited by shortie (05/22/13 02:15 PM)

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#2086934 - 05/22/13 05:02 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Minnesota Marty]
patH Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/13
Posts: 552
Loc: Germany
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted By: R_B
Not to wander too far into the ELECTRONIC domain, but isn't the HOPE that (one day, some day) these preferences will be "switch selectable" ?

NO !!

Get ye back to the evil digital corner!

If Yamaha masters the TransAcoustic technology it might become a reality. smile
_________________________
Everything is possible, and nothing is sure.
XXXI

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#2086937 - 05/22/13 05:06 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7239
Loc: Rochester MN
It is certainly not my HOPE.

I don't think I'm alone in my attitude toward acoustic pianos. Electronic STUFF, is just that - It is not a piano and pianos don't need switches.
_________________________
Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2091087 - 05/29/13 01:57 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
I wouldn't mind owning a Steingraeber to add to my personal collection. I already have an August Forster 7', and a Steinway K though.
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Making the world a better sounding place, one piano at a time...

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