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Zimmermann Baby Grand Piano Opinion #1274348
09/24/09 05:04 PM
09/24/09 05:04 PM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 11
USA
J
jimsmith Offline OP
Junior Member
jimsmith  Offline OP
Junior Member
J

Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 11
USA
First time poster here, found the forums to be a great resource for info. I have the opportunity to buy a Zimmermann baby grand piano from somebody for about $4800. I have never heard of Zimmermann prior to this and have done some research. There isn't exactly a whole lot of info out there, but I did read that Bechstein took over the company in 1992, however there is oddly no info on their website about Zimmermann.

I was wondering if I can get people's honest opinion, thanks.

The instrument # is 399 776 and it is made in East Germany.

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Re: Zimmermann Baby Grand Piano Opinion [Re: jimsmith] #1274517
09/24/09 09:34 PM
09/24/09 09:34 PM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 746
S
SeilerFan Offline
500 Post Club Member
SeilerFan  Offline
500 Post Club Member
S

Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 746
I know that many East German companies took a turn for the worse during the Communist era. Bluethners that were built during the GDR era were often horrible, especially towards the late 1980s. And when I say horrible, I mean completely horrible. Bluethner thankfully has returned to its former glory and builds fantastic piano. About Zimmermann, I am afraid, I have not heard all too many positive things either. But I let the more knowledgeable members here chime in...

Have you played the piano? What's your impression? If you must buy a Zimmermann, I would only pay little money for such a piano.

Last edited by SeilerFan; 09/24/09 09:35 PM.
Re: Zimmermann Baby Grand Piano Opinion [Re: SeilerFan] #1274677
09/25/09 03:44 AM
09/25/09 03:44 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 771
Hampshire, England
ChrisVenables Offline
500 Post Club Member
ChrisVenables  Offline
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Joined: Mar 2009
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Hampshire, England
SeilerFan is correct. Horrible.


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Re: Zimmermann Baby Grand Piano Opinion [Re: ChrisVenables] #1274679
09/25/09 03:57 AM
09/25/09 03:57 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 4,346
North Hollywood CA.
pianobroker Offline
4000 Post Club Member
pianobroker  Offline
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Joined: May 2007
Posts: 4,346
North Hollywood CA.
They only made one mdl. grand and it was 4'11".I've had a few over the years unfortunately but I must admit that sunburst queen anne window pane art case was quite attractive though the piano reminded me of Belarus quality except in a baby grand. I knew many that prefered their overall tone to much better asian pianos in the eighties but on the whole. Yick! frown

Last edited by pianobroker; 09/25/09 03:57 AM.

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Re: Zimmermann Baby Grand Piano Opinion [Re: pianobroker] #1274708
09/25/09 06:24 AM
09/25/09 06:24 AM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 11
USA
J
jimsmith Offline OP
Junior Member
jimsmith  Offline OP
Junior Member
J

Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 11
USA
Thanks for the honest feedback. I have not played or seen the piano, but I am told it is in excellent condition. Too be honest, I was not really interested in the piano until I read about the Bechstein (my new dream piano) connection and was hoping that Zimmermann had retained some of the traditional craftmanship of the past.....but that seems not to be the case now.

The only reason why I'm still thinking about it is because the piano is owned by a family friend who is going through some hard times and I currently do not have a piano. They told me they payed around $18k for it. What would be a fair price for this? And for comparison what can $5000 buy me these days? I haven't touched a piano in years so I'm anxious to start playing again.

Re: Zimmermann Baby Grand Piano Opinion [Re: jimsmith] #1274738
09/25/09 08:28 AM
09/25/09 08:28 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 746
S
SeilerFan Offline
500 Post Club Member
SeilerFan  Offline
500 Post Club Member
S

Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 746
Jim, you said that the Zimmermann in question was made in the GDR. That was before the Fall of the Wall and before Bechstein took over. Whatever happened with the brand under Bechstein is likely a big improvement. On Bechstein's website it says that they are "made in Germany by Bechstein." Unfortunately, there is no miraculous retroactive improvement of the pre-Bechstein Zimmermann that you have been offered. It remains what is likely an awful piano. But by all means try it yourself! $5000 is way too much for such an undesirable clunker.
For $5000 you should get a much better piano than the old Zimmermann. Other members here will be more able to give you tips about better choices.

Re: Zimmermann Baby Grand Piano Opinion [Re: SeilerFan] #1274740
09/25/09 08:33 AM
09/25/09 08:33 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 746
S
SeilerFan Offline
500 Post Club Member
SeilerFan  Offline
500 Post Club Member
S

Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 746
Well, here is a little story about a Bluethner concert grand. When I was piano hunting in 1998, I was offered a Bluethner concert grand at a dealer for a really low price. The Bluethner was 280 cm (9'4''ish), a huge beast. Upon entering the room where it sat, I thought: WOw, a reputable concert piano for such a price. The Bluethner was made in 1988, when many GDR factories had absolutely no access to high-quality materials. This was just before the Berlin wall came down in the next year.
When I started playing the Bluethner, I was shocked: Terribly dry and dead sound, no soul, no character, awful sustain (I mean, it was a 9 foot instrument!), and the action felt so, ahmmm, cheap and inconsistent. Everything about it felt wrong. I said thank you and bowed out, kept searching for a while, ended up at the Seiler factory in Kitzingen and there I found the piano that I truly liked. I am so glad I never bought that Bluethner!

Re: Zimmermann Baby Grand Piano Opinion [Re: SeilerFan] #1274746
09/25/09 08:44 AM
09/25/09 08:44 AM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 365
München, Germany
mjs Offline
Full Member
mjs  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 365
München, Germany
The OP said that the Zimmermann grand was made in East Germany rather than in the GDR - which might by used synonymously or one a geographical description (which still remains true). When was the instrument built (Should be possible to find out from the serial number)? Most importantly: how does it play and in what state is it?

I would disagree with SeilerFan that Blüthners from GDR times are all bad - I have played some which were actually very nice. Blüthner actually (as did August Förster - they used Renner actions from 1987 on according to their website) as an exporting company and thus a generator of income in hard currency, had access to high-quality materials from the west. Does that allow a general statement on the quality of the instruments? No, of course it doesn't - but they aren't all that bad or even awful.

However, with the non-export oriented brands from the GDR (and I believe Zimmermann was one of these), I would be very careful.


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Re: Zimmermann Baby Grand Piano Opinion [Re: SeilerFan] #1274747
09/25/09 08:45 AM
09/25/09 08:45 AM
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 88
Ohio
W
wesquire Offline
Full Member
wesquire  Offline
Full Member
W

Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 88
Ohio
A dealer I did some work for bought several Zimmerman grands (early ones) and they were really poor in every way! You really can't expect much from such a small size grand but these made a Kimball 4'11'' sound great.
You can find a better piano. Good luck.


Retired industry professional.
Re: Zimmermann Baby Grand Piano Opinion [Re: wesquire] #1274821
09/25/09 11:06 AM
09/25/09 11:06 AM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,604
Marty Flinn Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Marty Flinn  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,604
If your friend paid $18k in 1992, he got hosed! Find another option. Value in our market would be $3500 retail.


Co-Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Buying A Piano. A "must read" before you shop.
Work for west coast dealer for Yamaha, Schimmel, Bosendorfer, Wm. Knabe.
Re: Zimmermann Baby Grand Piano Opinion [Re: SeilerFan] #1275410
09/26/09 05:58 AM
09/26/09 05:58 AM
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 11
USA
J
jimsmith Offline OP
Junior Member
jimsmith  Offline OP
Junior Member
J

Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 11
USA
Originally Posted by SeilerFan
Jim, you said that the Zimmermann in question was made in the GDR. That was before the Fall of the Wall and before Bechstein took over. Whatever happened with the brand under Bechstein is likely a big improvement. On Bechstein's website it says that they are "made in Germany by Bechstein." Unfortunately, there is no miraculous retroactive improvement of the pre-Bechstein Zimmermann that you have been offered. It remains what is likely an awful piano. But by all means try it yourself! $5000 is way too much for such an undesirable clunker.
For $5000 you should get a much better piano than the old Zimmermann. Other members here will be more able to give you tips about better choices.


I should have clarified better, I know the Zimmerman is pre-Bechstein since it's made in the GDR, but what I meant about traditional craftsmanship is about making pianos "the way they used to" instead of some sloppy communist factory assembly job like they did with their cars. Didn't the communists at least care about music and have some pride in their instruments?

I went to the Bechstein website and didn't see any info on Zimmermann pianos. I just saw the Bechstein and W.Hoffmann pianos. And thanks for your story about the GDR Bluthner.


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