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#103452 - 01/08/08 10:02 AM Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
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Does anyone know the practical differences between these two pianos?

I ask because an organisation with which I am peripherally involved (I have an honorary financial control role), is considering replacing an ancient worn out Bechstein concert grand, with either a new Steinway D (Hamburg) or a new Yamaha CFIIIS.

The purchasing committee is divided into two factions. The Music Director is keen in the Yamaha for reasons that are not entirely clear to me, despite asking. He is not really a serious pianist, as that duty is fulfilled by a variety of people depending upon musical need.

The Chairwoman of the Trustees is adamant that only a Steinway will do. She is an amateur pianist but probably not above a grade 5 level of playing I would guess. Her family has a small Steinway at home.

Her argument (aimed at the finance committee which has overall control) was originally based on investment grounds. However, I have already been over all the investment justification and debunked the myths. The reality is that the price differential, appropriately invested for capital growth, has a very high probability of outperforming the Steinway "investment" in real terms. This is a long term purchase so I am not overlay concerned about depreciation and residual value or resale opportunity.

A new Steinway, after the proffered discount, is at least £23,000 more expensive that the Yamaha , which is fairly heavily discounted, though the final deal may not have emerged yet.

Being specific legacy funded, price is not necessarily a decisive factor as long as the instruments are of roughly equal durability and longevity. I do not know whether that is the case and would welcome any informed views.

The Chairperson and her supporters, have shifted their position recently, and now argue that the Steinway is more likely to attract a better calibre of visiting musicians. This argument, though not decisive in terms of the majority usage of the piano, may have some merit. I don't know for sure, but my instinct is she may be right.

My understanding is that the CFIIIS is in a great many respects a copy of a Steinway D. I would like to establish, though, any factual basis for this understanding that I suppose I have gleaned from various pianists and dealers in the past. Perhaps it is just folklore that I have picked up?

Whichever instrument is eventually authorised, it will be properly maintained. For political reasons it is not worthwhile to consider other brands. They do not have a high profile among committee members and there is a disinclination for minds to be opened. It is not a battle I wish to spend time fighting. In any case I need to be impartial.

I know that members here will be inclined to say pick the piano that sounds best. The reality is that in the hall concerned, especially if the piano is being used for accompanying voices or other instruments, I rather doubt that most of the audience could tell the difference between them.

So, informed advice please. Is there a persuasive reason that I may have missed, for picking one brand over the other?

(By the way, I know that D's vary, especially NY pianos. This is a Hamburg and I am less concerned about getting a dog, though we will obviously take care if we go the S&S route. The tech we use is a good chap though and can sort most things out. He is exceptionally experienced with Steinway, having worked for them for a long time, but is not at all prejudiced against Yamaha. My hunch is that he would not choose either, but that is another story).

Kind regards

Adrian


Re-learning after a long break from playing. New piano for 2017. 7ft semi concert grand.
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#103453 - 01/08/08 10:41 AM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
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Given all the qualifiers you've been careful to include, I would say that there are no reasons left for one to be chosen over the other, except, of course, the preference for the sound/touch of one particular piano you are considering over the other. From a build and quality standpoint, I think both companies treat the pianos they build at this level with equal care. Properly maintained, as you say they will be, they should last equally long. Don't forget, we are talking about their top of the line instruments here, so the many differences one might site between the lower level models will not hold up here as well. Personally, I would go with the Hamburg, but that holds no weight in this discussion.


Piano Technician/Tuner
#103454 - 01/08/08 11:01 AM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
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Both pianos are very well made. Both will last a long time. We have a couple Yamaha CFIIIs in our tuning clientel. Both instruments are about 10-12 years old. Upon the observations of my technicians, both pianos have underwhelming tuning stability. We have several Hamburg Ds in our tuning clientel, and these seem to have better tuning stability. In terms of other maintanance needs, I think the 2 pianos are fairly similar.

In a recent major international piano competition I attended, I was present while the contestants chose their instrument. Among the pianos available, there was a new Yamaha CFIII and a Hamburg Steinway D. The Yamaha sounded extraordinary in French music. It had beautiful, delicate colors. When one contestant was trying Ravel's Alborada del Gracioso on the Yamaha, he was able to play the repeated notes amazingly fast. He couldn't get quite the same speed on the Hamburg.
This was in a big hall ( seats about 1500+ I think, if memory serves. Give or take a few hundred ) The Hamburg Steinway sounded like a much much bigger piano than the Yamaha. It wasn't even close. Of all the pianos there, the Yamaha had the smallest sound. In a big hall, or with orchestra, IMO, this particular Yamaha wouldn't have been powerful enough. It did sound quite beautiful though, and it would have been very fine for a recital hall or for chamber music.
The action on this Yamaha felt very light. The Hamburg Steinway had more mass in the keys and felt more substantial overall. In my experience, the feel of the Hamburg Steinway is what more good pianists will gravitate towards, although all of the contestants played fine on both pianos, and in terms of consistancy and predictability, the Yamaha action is tough to beat.
If this piano is being bought to be performed on by professional classical pianists, I'd recommend finding a couple, and letting them try the various instruments and listen to their recommendations. If it will be used primarily by "level 5" pianists ( not sure what that means.....maybe they can struggle through a Bach Invention? )) then let the chairwoman make her choice.
If the piano will be played with orchestra, or in a big hall, my experience is that a Hamburg Steinway D beats a Yamaha CFIII in this type of setting. If it is for a smaller hall, it would be a closer contest.
I know several excellent pianists who really enjoy the Yamaha CFIIIs. I know several who disregard them. Just about every good pianist I know loves a good Hambug Steinway D.


Keith D Kerman
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#103455 - 01/08/08 05:58 PM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
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Both pianos are top of the line, hand-made instruments and should do quite well for you. I wouldn't buy into the investment grade stuff that you mentioned. I've played both models and would probably gravitate toward the Yamaha because of it's action. I've never been able to get a better pianissimo on any other instrument!

I also think that the Yamaha would cut through an orchestra and/or praise & worship team better than the comparable Steinway. That has been my experience, anyway.

If the piano is going to be used for small ensemble work (with strings, and or a bit of brass) the Steinway will work quite well.

Good luck with your choice, and let us know what is decided.


I. Bruton
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#103456 - 01/08/08 06:05 PM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
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Agree with most everything said here. The Yamaha action is very light and quick. I was told that Hamburg will be using an accelerated action as per the NY action but I do not know if that is being done yet. IMO the Hamburg sounds better
w/o a doubt.

#103457 - 01/08/08 07:46 PM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
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OT;
LJC, London steinway website says the action of Ds and Bs have "half round balance rail bearings" (if thats what you mean by saying"accelerated action") and they are hamburgs.
i noticed it months ago and started a thread but it didnt attract much attention.... frown


"jimi, why you play guitar with your teeth?"
"actually, i play by my ears, my ears....."
#103458 - 01/08/08 10:13 PM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
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I don't have much experience with the Steinway, but I have noticed the Yamaha's touch and action on the CFIIIs. It was really something else! It was an unusual (for me) feeling of sweet light touch, yet superior control. I've played at least two of them and both times I really noticed the light but controlled feeling of the action.

It's really a top of the line piano and so it's hard to imagine that it could somehow not attract the same quality of visiting musician - it's not like you're talking about a C6 (like mine!) or something. But if you were worried about the school's credibility (or whatever institution you're discussing - it doesn't seem clear), you could argue that showing you have a top of the line Steinway might boost any concerns regarding inferiority complex.

It's like a tip jar, if you're trying to make an impression by leaving a big tip, MAKE SURE SOMEBODY SEES YOU DROP IT IN for godsakes! If that's not practical, the Yamaha certainly won't disappoint.

#103459 - 01/08/08 10:30 PM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
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Hi Adrian,

Ok, my observations on this particular matter:

PRICE and DEPRECIATION:

After a few years a Yamaha is worth almost nothing:

...A few yrs ago we had a 1972 Hamburg Steinway D and a 1980's Yamaha CF. Steinway sold fairly quickly at 72.500 EUR, the Yamaha took ages to sell at around 21.000 EUR (and thats with VAT and aftersales service included!). The condition of the Yamaha was actually better as it had belonged to a private customer, whilst the S & S came from a recording studio.... So you do your maths! I know many will argue that the CF is not the CFIIIS, well you can also buy a 5-10 yr CFIIIS in as-new condition VERY cheap. An older battered ex-hire Steinway, no matter how many attrocities may have occured to it, is still worth a lot more...

I know of other dealers who've had the same experience.

WHAT THE ARTISTS WANT

Well, just like in Steinway's posters.... 99% chose the Steinway. This is also absolutely true in my experience. We have several D's that are always on high demand, whilst the 9ft Yamahas are just gathering dust in the warehouse... so yes, the Steinway will DEFINITELY make performing on any venue a lot more atractive!
Bear in mind is not uncommon for venues that already own a 9ft Yamaha (or Kawai) to rent a Steinway when high caliber artists are performing or festivals taking place!!

TUNING STABILITY

Yamaha's are renown for being quite stable tuning wise, this is absolutely true, here in the south of spain, in most places, temperature changes in just a few hours are massive! so I'´ve been able to prove this fact with both hire and "domestic" pianos,

I can also tell you that that the Steinways hold in tune even BETTER!

SOUND

Well, I know it can be argued it's up to personal taste... but I think you'll be surprised about how many people in the audience, musicians or not, will pick up on the fact that there is something very special about that grand piano (Steinway) on the stage.... "of course" they'll say when they get closer to read the logo on the side of the piano "it's a Steinway" " I knew this wasn't just "any ordinary" piano when I heard it..."

Many describe the difference in sound: The Steinway is like a colour TV while the Yamaha is like a black and white TV...

But again I'd leave the sound as well as touch up to personal taste. Plus the technitian can always make some differences to the sound and touch.

You say you've heard the Yamaha is in many respects a copy of the Steinway... haha, there were many stories (I'm sure true) going around some time ago, stating that Yamaha had actually got their techs to completely strip model D's to find out what made them so speciall and of course... copy the secrets!! I've even seen the "bell" (treble resonator) installed on a Yamaha CFIII... (painted in black though, probably to disguise it!) Also, frame and stringing layout are a little too similar to the Steinway... Anyway, they've certainly wasted their time as at the end of the day they've still got an ordinary Yamaha!

OTHER "PRACTICAL" DIFFERENCES

And finally...

You mentioned the Music Director is keen on the Yamaha for reasons he won't reveal... well I obviously don't know him personally, but.... the Yamaha dealer could probably be offering a suculent comission, so maybe a straight answer will be expesive to get!!! laugh

Anyway, I'm sure the Steinway will be on the stage soon!

Happy 2008 to all!

Best regards,

Patrick


Steinway & Sons Dealers for the South of Spain. Concert Hire, Tuning, Transport & Sales/Rentals.
www.pianospianissimo.com
#103460 - 01/08/08 11:01 PM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
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The CFIII and the CFIIIS are very different pianos. I would not recommend a CFIII at all. The CFIIIS is much better.


Semipro Tech
#103461 - 01/08/08 11:37 PM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
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since you have indicated that you are pretty much on the fence, i would suggest the yamaha. save the 23,000 pounds (in US$ that's almost 50k, i can't believe there's that much of a difference, you must be getting a deal on the CFIIIS!)

i don't want to hijack the thread, but it's my understanding that the hamburgs are getting the accelerated action. i was told by my steinway dealer when i was in the market a few months ago that this is part of the new "cooperation" between the two factories. the example we've heard the most of is the NY B's getting some hamburg scale and design features, that has been discussed on the forum many times. he was unclear as to when this was supposed to happen.

either way, there has been much discussion as to whether the "accelerated action" is in any way superior to the various renner variants that are in all the other high-end makes, with no real conclusive opinion one way or the other. i think the regulation of an action has much more to do with its performance than a half-round balance rail bearing.


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#103462 - 01/09/08 12:49 AM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
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Patrick...you are a gentleman...well said...
I, for one am truly fed up with all the musicians out there who think that a Yamaha and Steinway of any size or shape are in any way comparable....
You have summed up all the salient points and nailed it as far as I'm concerned.
Any musician with ears that work will be able to close their eyes and fully appreciate the voice of a well tuned and maintained Steinway when it is played.....Listen to the complexity...embrace it and then listen to a Yamaha....no comparison...good pianos that they are, they do not measure up in any respect.
But musicians can only make comparisons based on their personal experience...many, I'm sure, not having the access to these wonderful instruments that you and I share...
So, I appreciate your comments...and if you're ever in California.....stop by and visit.


Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician


#103463 - 01/09/08 01:16 AM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
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So many beautiful 9'instruments out there, and yet we act like there are only two valid choices. Oh, the power of marketing.

I know it's hard to go against the grain, but I hope the day will come when we can see a wider acceptance beyond just Ford and Chevy pickup trucks.

#103464 - 01/09/08 01:20 AM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
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Having a lot of experience with both models, I think that the Yamaha CFIIIS is quite similar to the Steinway D, but it is the only model that is. It is built on the Steinway model, as is the Baldwin SD10 and D before it. They are all close enough that individual differences may be all that there may be to choose between them. It would be hard for me to choose between any of them, and they would all be pianos I would consider if I were looking for one of that size.


Semipro Tech
#103465 - 01/09/08 06:28 AM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
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Thank you for all the comments so far (they have come in overnight for me). Keith, I found your analysis especially balanced and helpful in the context of this enquiry.

As regards some of the remarks from a Steinway dealer about depreciation and so on, I am not persuaded. It is true that a used CFIIIS will be worth somewhat less than a S&S D, but one cannot just compare residual values. You have to factor in that the discounted price of the Yamaha is a great deal less than the Steinway, hence the real depreciation for the two instruments is similar. And you have the original price differential to invest as well for capital or income yield.

Neither piano flies out of the showrooms on the used market. They are just to big for most homes in this country. I am aware of at least three used D's (in fine cosmetic condition) that have been sitting in dealers for over a year.

But this does not matter here because the intention is to buy the piano and consume it through use. It may well be required to provide three or four decades of service. Depreciation amortised over that period is insignificant.

One option I have not thrown into the mix is this. We could buy the CFIIIS for the hall, and with the money saved, which under the terms of the legacy has to be spent on musical instruments, buy another good grand piano for use by students. In effect we could create a form of musical endowment. This has not been proposed to the committee as I have not thought it through yet.

By the way, for those like Keith wondering what I meant by a grade 5 player, I was referring to the ABRSM grading system, which goes up to grade 8 before embarking on professional level diplomas and so on. A grade 8 student would be a pretty decent player, capable of some Chopin Etudes and such like. The grading system is not linear - grade 7 is a big jump from grade 6 for example, so a grade 5 player would be of intermediate standard. Not enough to really give a piano a work out, but sufficient to demonstrate a reasonable musical knowledge.

Kind regards

Adrian


Re-learning after a long break from playing. New piano for 2017. 7ft semi concert grand.
#103466 - 01/09/08 09:12 AM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
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Patrick Hinves Offline
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Are they only considering buying new, or would used be an option?

Because, if you are looking at value for money... a great way could be to buy one of those used D's that you've seen in good condition and the second piano, a smaller (also used) Steinway.....

But of course if they can afford the new Steinway D... you already know for most it's just the best piano out there and I totally agree with Peter's comments, there is NO comparison between the Yamaha and the Steinway!!!

Quote
The CFIII and the CFIIIS are very different pianos. I would not recommend a CFIII at all. The CFIIIS is much better.
laugh well I'm sure the same will be said in a few years about the CFIIIS when compared to the " new CFIIIS triple "S" turbo" !!!! laugh If they got it right in the first place, there won't be any need for changing the models name every few years!

Anyway, keep us updated on the progress of the purchase!

Best regards, Patrick


Steinway & Sons Dealers for the South of Spain. Concert Hire, Tuning, Transport & Sales/Rentals.
www.pianospianissimo.com
#103467 - 01/09/08 09:54 AM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
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Patrick, thank you for your posts. As a Steinway dealer I do feel it would be best if you did not knock Yamaha. Please let your products speak for themselves.

The Committee prefers to buy new. There are pro's and con's to this, and certainly for a private purchase I would opt for used as I prefer someone else to take the very large initial depreciation hit. However, for long term institutional use new may well be a better option.

I do not happen to agree with your statement "you already know that for most it's just the best piano out there". My experience with musicians in Switzerland, Germany and the UK in the last few years is that there is a wide range of preferences.

Personally I have had a lot of good experiences with both Fazioli and Steingreaber. My personal view is that the Steingreaber concert grand, and especially its Phoenix variant, is a better piano in many respects than the Steinway D and significantly cheaper. However, although the Music Director has heard of Fazioli, no one but me is familiar with Steingreaber. Fazioli is I think too expensive for this application. Boesendorfer has been discounted because one of the teachers who routinely visits has a (prejudiced in my view) dislike for them and in any case there is no dealer around. Bechstein has been ruled out because the Music Director is sick of the old one going out of tune. This is again unfair really as he is comparing an 80 year old instrument with his imagined view of what a new one would be like, but as I said earlier, some political battles are not worth the effort. Among the major brands, there is nothing else readily available in the South East.

Going back the the Steinway, I have also spent I suppose a few hundred hours now playing a used Hamburg D and I like it very much. My playing is somewhat reduced at present due to a left hand tendon problem, which is a bit annoying.

A Concert Pianist acquaintance, who is now a visiting music conservatory piano lecturer in Australia, used a CFIIIS at home for several years. That piano was used for a very wide repertoire and quite frankly got hammered for several hours each day. It stood up to professional abuse pretty well and is probably the reason why we are still debating what to buy.

The Hall is not enormous. A typical seated audience would be 260. It has a very high ceiling so the room volume is quite substantial. However, I don't think that either piano would be troubled by the size of the room. The old Bechstein was easily drowned out, but that is not a fair comparison as the piano is worn out. It has been sold and is awaiting removal.

Adrian


Re-learning after a long break from playing. New piano for 2017. 7ft semi concert grand.
#103468 - 01/09/08 11:13 AM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
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Adrian,

I wonder whether committees are really good at subjective decisions like this. Every member has their personal experiences with different makes, and these often translate into biases - like extrapolating the performance of an 80 year old Bechstein into today's instrument.

Why not narrow the question to two specific instruments? At the price you are paying new, you might be able to have a Yamaha and Steinway dealer lend you an instrument for one month. It has certainly been done over here in the States. Test each of them out in real concert conditions. Get feedback from the artists, the technician, the committee members - who knows, maybe even the audience. Listen to how they sound from different locations in the hall.

At least at the end of the experiment you will have some objective data. That seems better than having the committee arguing over dealers' selling points for these brands.

#103469 - 01/09/08 12:10 PM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
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Numerian

Thanks. The trial idea is a good one and I will suggest that to the committee on Friday afternoon. The ideal would be to have the two pianos side by side - if the dealers will go for that.

I do agree that committee decisions are far from ideal. However, it is a situation that I am stuck with. A further issue is that apart from me and one young woman, every one else on the committee is well into the sixties or older. My experience is that they are very well meaning but have incredibly entrenched views. There is also a tendency to express those views as if they are established fact, when in practice they are based on nothing more than hearsay.

I cannot force a choice. Nor would I want to necessarily. All that I can do is veto a stupid choice. Hence I am trying to provide encouragement for the committee to make a decision based on the needs of the users, many of whom are a great deal younger and who have more open minds.

In an ideal world the Music Director should lead this process. However, his copy book has been blotted because he made some recommendations that appeared, shall we say, illogical. This damaged his credibility. He is also towards the end of his tenure.

I also take your point about different locations in the hall and will raise this with the facilitator. There is no reason why the moveable stage should be where it is now, other then that it is immediately opposite the main entrance.

Kind regards

Adrian


Re-learning after a long break from playing. New piano for 2017. 7ft semi concert grand.
#103470 - 01/09/08 12:22 PM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
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Peter Sumner- Piano Technician Offline
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I agree that the pianos can speak for themselves.....
What is interesting is that you need the ears to hear them....
I guess wine is a good analogy....a $10 to $15 dollar bottle will be fine with me....until someone offers me a sip of a $50 + Pinot and then my perspective increases as the flavor and complexity develops in my mouth....
So, this is what a Pinot can taste like....and $50 isn't a lot to pay for 'good' wine...
Just open your ears and your heart and listen to the sound...
The point that just because a Yamaha/Baldwin/Whatever, is built to the Steinway pattern and shouldn't be too different is laughable...
Come on musicians...OK, size does matter...but there is so much more to it....
All the instruments referenced in this posting are decent instruments...some are amazingly good...BUT they all have entirely different sound characteristics/projection/sustain/timbre etc.....
There is no right answer to this question as to which is better...it all depends on your perspective and experience and what your individual ears hear....
Sadly there will always be those who knock Steinway and Sons pianos...many out of a sense of mean spiritedness and ignorance and maybe much to do with issues from the past 40 years or so...
I ask you to get over it and really listen....in the end it is your loss if you miss out on these fine pianos.


Peter Sumner
Concert Piano Technician


#103471 - 01/09/08 12:23 PM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,137
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012
Monica K.  Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,137
Lexington, Kentucky
Quote
Originally posted by AJB:
One option I have not thrown into the mix is this. We could buy the CFIIIS for the hall, and with the money saved, which under the terms of the legacy has to be spent on musical instruments, buy another good grand piano for use by students. In effect we could create a form of musical endowment. This has not been proposed to the committee as I have not thought it through yet.
Adrian, if this option is feasible, and the choice between the Yamaha and Steinway as close as it appears to be, this would seem very compelling to me.


Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica
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#103472 - 01/09/08 12:37 PM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 861
I. Bruton Offline
500 Post Club Member
I. Bruton  Offline
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Posts: 861
Raleigh
Quote
Originally posted by AJB:
Patrick, thank you for your posts. As a Steinway dealer I do feel it would be best if you did not knock Yamaha. Please let your products speak for themselves.
Adrian
Ditto that.


I. Bruton
B.A. Music Composition
M.M. Music Education
High School Choral Director
Church Music Director
Pianos owned: Yamaha C3
Pianos at work: Yamaha P22, Kawai K3, Steinway B
#103473 - 01/09/08 12:42 PM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 24,962
BDB Offline
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BDB  Offline
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Posts: 24,962
Oakland
Quote
Sadly there will always be those who knock Steinway and Sons pianos...many out of a sense of mean spiritedness and ignorance and maybe much to do with issues from the past 40 years or so...
And there are those who knock pianos that are not Steinways for about the same reasons...


Semipro Tech
#103474 - 01/09/08 12:44 PM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 861
I. Bruton Offline
500 Post Club Member
I. Bruton  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 861
Raleigh
Quote
Originally posted by Peter Sumner- Piano Technician:

Sadly there will always be those who knock Steinway and Sons pianos...many out of a sense of mean spiritedness and ignorance and maybe much to do with issues from the past 40 years or so...
Havn't you been doing just that? It is apparant that your bias for Steinway has clouded your judgment on the merits of its competitors. Steinway makes a wonderful concert grand, but it is not the only contender; nor is it the best (as that is a subjective term).

I have also noticed that you do not value the opinion of musicians. While I find that distasteful, there is no doubt that other technicians would disagree with you as well.

Try not to be so abrasive - we're only discussing pianos.


I. Bruton
B.A. Music Composition
M.M. Music Education
High School Choral Director
Church Music Director
Pianos owned: Yamaha C3
Pianos at work: Yamaha P22, Kawai K3, Steinway B
#103475 - 01/09/08 01:47 PM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,718
AJB Offline
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AJB  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 3,718
London, England
Monica - I agree. But the concept of a student endowment needs thinking through. I am not sure if the institution has the resources to provide the kind of access that I envisage. However, it makes a lot of sense as the building is already used for ABRSM examinations and the present student pianos (or which there are three uprights and two small grands) are all much lower level. What I am thinking is to place a new student grand in a rarely used side room and turn it into a student recital and teaching room that could also be used in the evenings for practice etc.

Gentlemen - and Mr P Sumner in particular - with the greatest respect I have not been knocking Steinway, Yamaha or anyone else. (My remarks about investment are not knocking - just wearing an accounting hat and applying the facts in a logical way). I suggest you are being a touch over sensitive.

That said, I must admit, that these days I am less and less interested in brand names. Pianos are made of wood and metal and the differences (comparing pianos of like size) are not as great as the similarities. As the committee is well aware, I did a very extensive piano shop myself and at one time was very focussed on the differences between top end instruments. It was documented here at length when I first joined, 2,500 posts ago.

I then had a number of piano changes as a result of separation, moving three times and living in three different countries. This give me a much wider acquaintance with some different pianos such as Boesendorfer Imperial, Fazioli 272 , Grotrian (6ft ish) Steinway D, Yamaha Clavinova CLP 280, Boston, 6ft Yamaha among others, and I ended up with a much more open mind. I can be pretty happy with most medium to large grands if they are well prepped. Sure I have preferences, but I do not let them override the purpose of the piano - which is to make music.

Lately I have expressed the view, that I still hold, that the quality of the pianist makes a great deal more difference than the quality of the piano. I have said as much to the committee. They are unconvinced I am sad to say! Ah, the power of marketing...

Steinway make good pianos in Germany - I totally agree - indeed I have about 300 hours or more on a D in the past year or two and I have said I really like it. But slavish adherence to the the doctrine "they are the best" is ridiculous in my opinion.

Anyway, I remain grateful for the considered input and I will put all good ideas and useful insights to the committee on Friday afternoon. Whether that will result in a decision is any-ones guess .

Kind regards

Adrian


Re-learning after a long break from playing. New piano for 2017. 7ft semi concert grand.
#103476 - 01/09/08 01:48 PM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 179
Mr. Kia Offline
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Mr. Kia  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 179
Northeast, USA
Both pianos have proven themselves to be among the best. In the hands of capable technicians either one will satisfy most but never all. Try the loaner aproach and let majority rule. You're in a no lose situation.


Piano Technician
#103477 - 01/09/08 02:32 PM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 132
ShootCraps Offline
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ShootCraps  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 132
Virginia Beach, VA
If the Yamaha is so comparable to the Steinway, why is it so heavily discounted?

Let me phrase it differently: If they were the same price, would there still be a question of which to buy?


"Show people are doomed. Doomed to a lifestyle of booze and pills and heavy meals late at night." Ruthless! - The Musical.
#103478 - 01/09/08 03:13 PM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 262
M&B Offline
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M&B  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 262
California
AJB consider a Shigeru Kawai. It will cover all your needs at exceed your expectations.

Best Regards,


Piano Dealer
Representing Kawai, Mason&Hamlin.
#103479 - 01/09/08 04:27 PM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 3
jackg Offline
Junior Member
jackg  Offline
Junior Member

Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 3
South GLoucestershire, UK
Jeffrey Shackell is a Steinway dealer and restorer and also sells Yamaha, near Witney. He has a very good reputation. Might be worth a call?
http://www.shackellpianos.co.uk/

#103480 - 01/10/08 01:59 AM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,919
Supply Offline
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Supply  Offline
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Posts: 3,919
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Quote
Originally posted by Patrick Hinves:
Yamaha's are renown for being quite stable tuning wise, this is absolutely true, .... so I've been able to prove this fact with both hire and "domestic" pianos,
Quote
Originally posted by Keith D Kerman:
We have a couple Yamaha CFIIIs in our tuning clientele. Both instruments are about 10-12 years old. Upon the observations of my technicians, both pianos have underwhelming tuning stability.
Although these two posts seem to contradict each other, in fact they may not. Patrick is correct that Yamahas in general have a reputation of good tuning stability. But Keith is correct that the Yamaha CFIIIS has some problems. I have personally experienced this and have talked to Yamaha service reps and Yamaha technicians about this problem.

No one is willing to go on record, but here are the goods:
The CFIII has tuning pin plate bushings. The designers decided to drop these on the CFIIIS. The sturdy Yamaha plate in the tuning pin fields means that the thin tuning pins are unsupported for maybe 12 - 14 mm between the pin block and the point where the string wire exerts tension on the pin (my estimate - I don't have piano to check right now).

Furthermore, Yamaha maintained the thin tuning pins used on the CFIII. I thought they are 7.00 mm but I was told they are even 6.90 mm. The result is a lot of "flagpoling" of the thin tuning pins. It makes it very difficult to tune, and if the tuning pin is not perfectly set (a lot less tolerance than other designs) the tuning will be instable.

S&S doesn't use plate bushings either (incentive for Yamaha?).
But the Steinway pins are thicker, stronger and less flexible, and I believe the S&S plate is thinner here so the unsupported length of the tuning pin is shorter.

I know it is “just a technical detail”, but unless the CFIIIS is serviced by a very skilled and experienced technician, this piano may end up perpetually out of tune, or close to it. And how lovely will such a piano sound?

Quote
Originally posted by Mark Purney:
So many beautiful 9' instruments out there, and yet we act like there are only two valid choices. Oh, the power of marketing.
I couldn’t agree more. I would try to open the field of discussion again. (Maybe Bösendorfer is not that bad, now that Yamaha owns them wink ) Think Sauter, Grotrian, Schimmel. You have mentioned Steingraeber. 3hearts All amazing pianos.
There is more than just vanilla available.

#103481 - 01/10/08 03:08 AM Re: Steinway D versus Yamaha CFIIIS  
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,645
Dave Stahl Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Dave Stahl  Offline
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Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,645
Quote
Originally posted by Supply:

There is more than just vanilla available.
This is indeed the truth. I had the pleasure of servicing a Seiler 278 concert grand yesterday, including a fair amount of regulation. The piano is about 2 years old. A very refined yet powerful instrument indeed! This one might be worth looking at, too. Just to add to the confusion, of course.

Today I tuned a 4 year old S and S "D." Powerful, colorful, yes...refined, no. Ooodles of potential, though, and I'm looking forward to the next appointment because it really needs voicing. The bass is brassy-bright, the treble and mid-ranges were tonally very uneven. The room this is in is, shall we say, live. No furniture, 20 foot ceilings, 25 x 30 or so floor space, hardwood floors, no carpets, no pictures, no furniture, just a piano and the echos of tiny little "beats." My ears are still hurting!

Both great instruments, but without the Steinway being anywhere near its potential, it's hard to make a fair comparison.


Promote Harmony in the Universe...Tune your piano!

Dave Stahl, RPT
Piano Technician's Guild
San Jose, CA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAniw3m7L2I
http://dstahlpiano.net
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