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Joined: Dec 2009
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I don't want to name any specific brands because this is more a theoretical question, probably with no right or wrong answer, just preferences. What do you personally prefer? A tier 4 upright or a tier 6 5ft 4in grand? Both brand new. Same price.

Some have said that even the smallest grands sound better than all but the best uprights or even all uprights. 'All' is a dangerous word because it is so absolute, but I have heard the statement made and am curious as to what degree people here think that statement is true or false.

I went through a decision process that led me to decide on which way to go with these two choices. I want to hear the thoughts of the people here should they ever have to make such a decision, or if they had to recommend something to a friend making this decision.

Which do or would you prefer?

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I generally prefer a grand for the action, personally. But at that level? It's hard to say. I'd have to play the individual instruments to tell.

Don't get too wrapped up in the tier number thing. It is just an arbitrarily devised relative indicator of general quality. It cannot describe the tone or feel of any given piano.

Which one do YOU prefer?

Last edited by mikhailoh; 12/17/09 09:40 PM.

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Originally Posted by mikhailoh


Which one do YOU prefer?


I played almost every upright in 3 stores, and I preferred the cheap small grands to the uprights every time.

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Well then you have your answer! Enjoy.


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In what space?

If you are referring to how they sound in a typical large, open piano showroom the large grand will pretty much always sound better. If you are referring to how they will sound in their intended use space the answer might be quite different.

Uprights are generally intended to be used in relatively small spaces and in these small spaces they will sound their best. Place a large, possibly hard-sounding grand in the same space and it will sound obnoxiously loud and it will be virtually impossible to get anything resembling pianissimo out of the thing.

Action performance is something else. The upright action and the grand action are going to feel different. Still, if the upright action is well regulated and balanced—and if the damper lever springs are not excessively hard—both are capable of quite good performance. And some of the modern action designs (Darrell Fandrich’s vertical action design, for example) will actually outperform the majority of grand actions in terms of pianissimo and dynamic range.

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Originally Posted by mikhailoh
Well then you have your answer! Enjoy.


I know what I prefer. I am curious as to what other people prefer.

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I recently played two uprights that have actions more sensitive to a couple Kawai and Yamaha baby grands. These two are: C. Bechstein Concert 8, and Sauter Master Class 130. (They sounded better too)

But I digress... Tier 4 upright vs tier 6 baby grand? The baby grand.


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As tier definitions are often meaningless it wil depend on what tier 4 upright you are comparing to what tier 6 grand.

schwammerl.

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I did not realize there were so many tiers. I think that there are small grands by less well regarded manufacturers that I would prefer to equivalently sized grands by better regarded manufacturers. This is probably because the newer manufacturers are not tied to inferior designs from the past.


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Again, it comes down to individual pianos.

If the upright is a large concert upright such as the Steinway model K, Bluthner B, Bechstein 8, Bosendorfer 130, or Yamaha SU7 then these pianos will outperform most cheap grands. If the grand is a steinway M, then obviously the Steinway M.......


Comparing say a Yamaha B2 upright to a Brodmann PE 168 I would go for the PE 168 grand. Warmer, nicer action etc. IMHO only of course.

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I'd go for the upright probably. I sense that I'm in the majority when I say this, but to me the bass on most grands under 6' sounds loud, but not refined, whereas on many uprights the bass is not loud, but much more appealing. Of course different makers have different results.


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Originally Posted by scepticalforumguy
... to me the bass on most grands under 6' sounds loud, but not refined, whereas on many uprights the bass is not loud, but much more appealing...

An observation that in general resembles my personal experience.

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I've chance to play a tier 3 upright (my Petrof 125F) and a tier 6 grand (my brother-in-law's Falcone 6'2") frequently. The Falcone is a nice looking furniture, decent action, sounds very mellow, very limited dynamic range, weak bass, and lack of treble sparkle. My Petrof has a beautiful and sparkling treble, weak but controlled bass, slightly mushy action (need some works I think), and decent dynamic range. Overall, I think the Petrof is a better musical instrument, and I'd choose it over the Falcone without hesitation.


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While one could agree with the above in general terms, specifics can - and often *are* - a little different.

let's not forget that a *higher rated* brand is not always automatically more appealing musically speaking - there is tremendous variance between the models.

Add to this the ususal "difference of opinions" and a "migthy good time shall be had by all"....

Or not.

Norbert smirk


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So I'm not the only one that would take even a mid-size upright over a small grand.

For example, I have a 1956 45" Baldwin Hamilton vertical sitting next to my mother's 1998 4'11" Young Chang grand. Yes, you guessed correctly, the vertical (Baldwin) sounds much better.

I used to have a tall upright (57") that although it was worn out, thanks to new bass strings I installed, it had a better bass than most 6' grands and some 6'6"-6'8" grands I have played. I bet that with a new action, soundboard, pinblock, bridges, etc (which actually wouldn't have been worth it on that piano, unfortunately) it could have given many 7'6" or so grands some serious competition.

Given the choice between a Baldwin Acrosonic spinet and a Kimball LaPetite grand, I'll take the Acro just about every time, unless it has a broken plate.


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If I have to make a choice; I'll be more inclined to compromise in sound versus touch. As a pianist you can create much more beautiful music with good sound and maximum control than great sound but less control. ISN'T what piano technique is all about?
Obviously, if you have limited technique or understanding of dynamics... it makes no difference.

Anyway there are many pianos between 5'5 and 5'10" with beautiful sound.

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For example, I have a 1956 45" Baldwin Hamilton vertical sitting next to my mother's 1998 4'11" Young Chang grand. Yes, you guessed correctly, the vertical (Baldwin) sounds much better.

I used to have a tall upright (57") that although it was worn out, thanks to new bass strings I installed, it had a better bass than most 6' grands and some 6'6"-6'8" grands I have played. I bet that with a new action, soundboard, pinblock, bridges, etc (which actually wouldn't have been worth it on that piano, unfortunately) it could have given many 7'6" or so grands some serious competition.



I'm sorry to be confrontational and probably disrespectful.
This is just nonsense and the scariest thing is that you are part of the PTG and you claimed to be a piano player as well; this means that you probably advise people as a professional. frown


Quote
Given the choice between a Baldwin Acrosonic spinet and a Kimball LaPetite grand, I'll take the Acro just about every time, unless it has a broken plate


These are not musical instruments but recreational toys that make sound.

Last edited by Kurtmen; 12/18/09 07:01 PM.

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Kurtmen, I'm not an RPT yet, and have a lot to learn before I even attempt taking the tests. I feel it is unwise at this time for me to advise as a professional. I am willing to give my OPINION on things, and that's what it is, my OPINION. Obviously your opinion significantly differs from mine. For me, sound is more important than touch, if I have to sacrifice one or the other. If I had enough $ (which I don't) I'd want both.
(P.S. this isn't exactly what I had in mind to be my 1500th post. I wasn't keeping track, though.)
And I mostly agree with your assessment that those instruments are not musical... although I have played a few nice Acrosonics. I'll take a Hamilton over those any day, though. I 100%+ agree with the Kimball not being musical, though. I've "played" one, and hated it. If I'm going to have a grand, I'd prefer that it be, in most cases, at least 6'4" to 6'8" or so, although I have played a few 5'8" grands that I thought sounded nice. Any smaller than that, and I'll take most good-quality uprights instead.
I suspect I must be the only one here for whom the tone of the lowest 2 or 3 notes on the piano is as important as everything else. Often, when checking out a piano, the first note I play is A0, followed in about a eighth-note count (at approximately 60 quarter note beats/second, give or take) by A1, with an A Major chord in the right hand approximately in the middle of the piano. Alternately, I may play (at mezzo-forte or almost forte) the chord A1-E2-C#3 in my left hand and A3-C#4-E4-A4 with my right (with the sustain pedal down), followed in a quarter-note time by a lone forte A0, and that's held for a dotted half if not longer. I then may repeat the same thing up a half step each time a couple times, then go on and make up a piece on the fly that uses all 88 notes, or play something I know.

Last edited by 88Key_PianoPlayer; 12/18/09 08:37 PM.

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Generally, I would say if you are consider a grand, then you obviously have the space, and so you should get one, but in your case, if your budget only allows for a Tier 4 upright or Tier 6 grand, I would say go for the upright. I think Tier 6 grands probably were intended to be "seen but not heard", furniture for interior decoration.

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I basically share that opinion too, 4ever88keys - lower tier grands, and smaller grands (in my opinion) are there to be looked at more than played. That said, in my own opinion, grands smaller than about 7'6" to 9' look out of proportion to my eye.


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