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#1391682 - 03/08/10 09:19 PM Charles Walter grand piano opinions  
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BeeKay Offline
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After a long process of playing and listening to many different grands, I am inclined to purchase a Charles Walter grand. I am not sure about which of the two sizes I prefer. When searching the forum, I do not see many posts regarding the grands from Walter. Are there any members who may like to comment on their experiences with Walter grands? Thank you.

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#1391685 - 03/08/10 09:22 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: BeeKay]  
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The Walter family is delightful, there pianos are great. They are not inexpensive as they are built in the U.S.


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.
#1391688 - 03/08/10 09:28 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Marty Flinn]  
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Dale Fox Offline
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One of the least known, good quality pianos out there. Most people don't know about them because their production is small and their dealer network is small, too.


Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding
#1391701 - 03/08/10 09:48 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Dale Fox]  
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terminaldegree Offline
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I got to try a 175 recently, and thought it was one of the nicer sub 6-footers I've played. Although it doesn't sound like a Mason, Steinway, or Baldwin, it still had a distinctly "American" sound. I would like to try a 190 but have not had the chance yet.


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#1391740 - 03/08/10 10:38 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: terminaldegree]  
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The CW 190 is an amazing grand piano. I love its sound and feel. I think the CW instruments are worth the money.

#1391742 - 03/08/10 10:40 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: SeilerFan]  
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I like them, I like them alot grin


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#1391765 - 03/08/10 11:07 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Rod Verhnjak]  
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I have a friend who purchased a new Walter 190 2 or 3 years ago. Very, very nice piano.

#1391804 - 03/09/10 12:16 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: terminaldegree]  
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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
... Although it doesn't sound like a Mason, Steinway, or Baldwin, it still had a distinctly "American" sound.

Oh! That's good. It isn't supposed to sound like a M&H, a Steinway or a Baldwin. It is supposed to sound a lot like a Walter piano. smile

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
#1391808 - 03/09/10 12:26 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: BeeKay]  
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Del Offline
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Originally Posted by BeeKay
After a long process of playing and listening to many different grands, I am inclined to purchase a Charles Walter grand. I am not sure about which of the two sizes I prefer. When searching the forum, I do not see many posts regarding the grands from Walter. Are there any members who may like to comment on their experiences with Walter grands? Thank you.

The Walter 190 (6’ 3”) is a moderately powerful mid-sized piano designed for a mid-sized to larger living room or music room. It should be well balanced across the compass with good timbral dynamics.

The Walter 175 is shorter (5’ 9”) and one inch narrower. It has a lower-tensioned scale, a lighter, more flexible soundboard and softer hammers. Both in size and voice it is designed for a somewhat smaller room. It has a warmer voice with a slightly broader dynamic range.

Both were designed to have, for their size, a clean and articulate bass.

Both are built to the same, very high, quality standard. Your choice should be determined by your preference in voice and the size and acoustic character of room in which the piano is to be placed.

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
#1391814 - 03/09/10 12:50 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: BeeKay]  
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Originally Posted by BeeKay
Are there any members who may like to comment on their experiences with Walter grands?


I think Del Fandrich, who posted above, actually designed these pianos. Needless to say, 'experience with Walter grands' is an understatment in that case.

I've never tried one out, but I've read many, many forum posts from members on all piano makes, and every time the Walter grands come up in a thread they get great praise.


charlessamuellang.com
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Tuesdays 5-8:30 at Vince's West Sacramento, California
#1391824 - 03/09/10 01:16 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: terminaldegree]  
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I tried both pianos side by side last week, and they are very nice pianos!

The 175 has a warmer and softer tone, like Del mentioned, the 190 has a bolder tone.

Originally Posted by terminaldegree
Although it doesn't sound like a Mason, Steinway, or Baldwin, it still had a distinctly "American" sound.


I also find the Walter sounds very American, but definitely different than a Steinway and Baldwin (never tried M&H yet). All have a full bodied sound, but I found the Steinway sounds sweeter. To me, the Charles Walter is like dark chocolate, while the Steinway is like candies (maybe like Skittles)

Last edited by zxcjason; 03/09/10 01:16 AM.
#1391827 - 03/09/10 01:22 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: zxcjason]  
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Good evening everyone,

Thank you for responding to my question. Mr. Fandrich, I appreciate your input, especially in light of your contribution to the Walter design.

I have learned a lot on this forum. I am impressed by the collective wisdom of the group.

Thanks again.

Bill

#1391853 - 03/09/10 02:28 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: BeeKay]  
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I will just second and third the consensus here. Lovely American sounding pianos that have their own sound are well built and if you decide it's the piano don't worry at all about your choice.


Glenn Treibitz

Hollywood Piano Co. - Est.1928
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1800 MY-PIANO

Grotrian, Mason&Hamlin, Estonia,Schulze Pollmann,Albert Weber,Baldwin,Brodmann,
Ritmuller,Weber,Hardman,Roland,Casio,Used Steinway,Yamaha,Kawai
#1391909 - 03/09/10 05:01 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: charleslang]  
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The clarity of the bass which the Walter grands designer mentioned results from their bass wires having a longer-than-normal backscale. (The rep can show that to you.) This causes the Walter grands to play larger than their size. These pianos also use a bass cutoff. (Again, the rep can show that to you.) This should increase the clarity of the mids.

Based only on posts, the smaller piano may sound a little livelier.

Re Del's point about matching piano to room, pianos can be voiced, rooms can be voiced. If you should prefer the 190 but think that it might be too powerful for the room, its volume can be reduced. I have a detailed post about how to do that. If you should want advice about reducing volume, I should be able to dig it up.

In any case please try to audition these pianos on full stick. That's the way, IMO, that grands should be played.

Room acoustics matter. If you audition pianos in the typical crowded, carpeted showroom which has a high ceiling, all pianos will sound louder in the typical home.







#1391915 - 03/09/10 05:29 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: FogVilleLad]  
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Del, what is considered a mid-size room? My living room is 22" X 15" X 9", hardwood floor, with openings to the dining room and upstairs. Do you think the 190 will be too powerful for the room without voicing down the volume?

#1391961 - 03/09/10 07:46 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: BeeKay]  
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I enjoy the Walter grands immensely. They're great pianos, and you're helping a small American business by buying one! One day, I hope Walter builds something between 7'-9'.

#1391978 - 03/09/10 08:16 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: beethoven986]  
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Aside from their quality, I think it's pretty darn cool to have a Charles Walter grand rather than a Yamaha or Kawai. Sorry, no offense, Yamaha and Kawai grand owners. However, people will look at your grand and will say "Charles Who...? I only knew of Yamaha and Steinway. Didn't know that there are other pianos out there." But wait until they try that piano! They will then remember that name for sure.

If I had to compare the CW to M&H and S&S, I'd say it is probably closer to M&H as it has more of a silver tone. The S&S is more of a golden tone. Of course, the Walter grands sound their own. It's clear that they don't copy another make.

#1391993 - 03/09/10 08:41 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: SeilerFan]  
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And of course in that exact price range--you could try out the Estonia L168 and L190! smile And no, I am not an Estonia dealer--I only play one on TV.

Russ


Estonia L190--Serial # 7117
Ragtime should never be played fast--Scott Joplin

Repertoire (Ready for Carnegie Hall smile ): Fur Elise; Beethoven Minuet in G; Chopin: Prelude 28-7; Joplin: The Entertainer

Polishing: Chopin: Waltz in A minor (Post)

Working: Brahms: Waltz 39-15; Chopin: Albumblatt
#1392010 - 03/09/10 09:10 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Russ Roberts]  
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Had the pleasure of playing a Walter 175 side by side with an Estonia 168. Both have their points but for me it was easily the 175. Love that tight bass. The Walter 190 though is a piano that has it all. Tight bass, singing treble, and brooding tenor. You can't go wrong.

Last edited by gutenberg; 03/09/10 09:13 AM.
#1392014 - 03/09/10 09:19 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: gutenberg]  
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gutenberg: As you probably have seen, there have been several recent discussions of the meaning of different words to describe piano tone. Don't want to hijack this thread too far in that direction--but what do you mean by a "tight" bass? Thanks in advance.

Also, Charles Walter was one of the short list of 3 pianos I wanted to try before buying the Estonia (Estonia, Walter, and M&H--although the latter was out of my price range)--but we couldn't find any near enough to try out.

Russ


Estonia L190--Serial # 7117
Ragtime should never be played fast--Scott Joplin

Repertoire (Ready for Carnegie Hall smile ): Fur Elise; Beethoven Minuet in G; Chopin: Prelude 28-7; Joplin: The Entertainer

Polishing: Chopin: Waltz in A minor (Post)

Working: Brahms: Waltz 39-15; Chopin: Albumblatt
#1392015 - 03/09/10 09:20 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: gutenberg]  
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Kansas
a woman here in KC used to sell them.. out of my price range at the time, I yearned for one.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
#1392021 - 03/09/10 09:31 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Russ Roberts]  
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Originally Posted by Russ Roberts
And of course in that exact price range--you could try out the Estonia L168 and L190! smile And no, I am not an Estonia dealer--I only play one on TV.

Russ


Play what - an Estonia or a dealer?

#1392035 - 03/09/10 09:41 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Furtwangler]  
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Furtwangler: Yes.


Estonia L190--Serial # 7117
Ragtime should never be played fast--Scott Joplin

Repertoire (Ready for Carnegie Hall smile ): Fur Elise; Beethoven Minuet in G; Chopin: Prelude 28-7; Joplin: The Entertainer

Polishing: Chopin: Waltz in A minor (Post)

Working: Brahms: Waltz 39-15; Chopin: Albumblatt
#1392038 - 03/09/10 09:44 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Russ Roberts]  
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Oh - thanks

#1392095 - 03/09/10 11:31 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Russ Roberts]  
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Russ, I'll try. For me, tight means the bass tones are there when you need them and are pure and fundamental. Defined and controllable.

#1392117 - 03/09/10 12:00 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: zxcjason]  
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Del Offline
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Originally Posted by zxcjason
Del, what is considered a mid-size room? My living room is 22" X 15" X 9", hardwood floor, with openings to the dining room and upstairs. Do you think the 190 will be too powerful for the room without voicing down the volume?

Probably not. But "room size" is relative—a large room to one might be a small room to another both visually and acoustically.

We are accustomed to comparing the size of grands strictly on the measure of their length. But this is only part of the story. Pianos also have width and aesthetic bulk. When I laid out the scales and drew the rims on both of these pianos I wanted them to be a compact as possible given their length and their acoustical requirements. Consequently they are narrower than average by several inches. Their “waists” tuck in rather sooner than most; that is, the treble curve is set closer to the front of the piano so the length of the straight treble arm is shorter.

In the modern home it is rare to find a room that can be dedicated specifically to the creation of music so many pianos these days must compete for space with a variety of other activities. It seemed appropriate to reduce both the floor space and the aesthetic bulk of the pianos to their practical minimum. I’d rather put floor space into length than into excess width that provides no musical benefit. For what it’s worth, the actual floor space taken up by the Walter 175 (5’ 9”) grand is actually less than that taken up by a competitive 5’ 6” grand. And there are some grands under six feet that take up more space than the Walter 190 (6’ 3”) grand. The difference in aesthetic bulk is not as obvious in the typical (relatively large) piano showroom but it is readily apparent in the average living room where the piano must share space with any number of other furniture pieces and activity centers.

The Walter 190 is a fairly versatile instrument. It was the first of the Walter grands and for some time it was the only Walter grand. I designed it to accommodate as broad a market as possible. The 175 is a more targeted design. It is designed specifically to fit into a smaller physical and acoustical space. It can comfortably fit into a space that might otherwise accommodate a somewhat shorter, but wider and "thicker," piano. I wanted to create a piano that could be played at forte levels with the lid up without inflicting hearing damage either to the performer or her listeners. At the other extreme I wanted a warm and smooth pianissimo. The idea being that a broad dynamic range is more important to the long-term interests of the owners than is sheer power in the showroom.

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
#1392128 - 03/09/10 12:12 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Del]  
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Thanks, gutenberg. I am used to thinking of bass as "dark" or "growling"--or even "pure"--"Tight was one adjective I had not heard.

I also had not heard Del's term "aesthetic bulk" but it is very desciptive, and one my wife, as an amateur decorator with impeccable taste would agree with. Our L190 is, I believe (Del could correct me on this) much wider throughout the curve--and has what I believe is termed a "wide tail." It looked tiny in the showroom among the Steinways--especially the "B" s, but, when put in the place our 4-9 Settergren had occupied--it's presence was almost overwhelming. So was it's sound--at first.

One thing that was very important to my wife "e" was the proportions of the case and the thickness of the legs--which she maintains should be thicker as opposed to thinner--even on a medium to smaller grand. I really never thought about that.

Russ


Estonia L190--Serial # 7117
Ragtime should never be played fast--Scott Joplin

Repertoire (Ready for Carnegie Hall smile ): Fur Elise; Beethoven Minuet in G; Chopin: Prelude 28-7; Joplin: The Entertainer

Polishing: Chopin: Waltz in A minor (Post)

Working: Brahms: Waltz 39-15; Chopin: Albumblatt
#1392144 - 03/09/10 12:40 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Del]  
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Originally Posted by Del
I wanted to create a piano that could be played at forte levels with the lid up without inflicting hearing damage either to the performer or her listeners. At the other extreme I wanted a warm and smooth pianissimo. The idea being that a broad dynamic range is more important to the long-term interests of the owners than is sheer power in the showroom.

ddf


It's a crying shame that more manufacturers don't have similar goals. I am tired of the notion that powerful, i.e., LOUD, pianos are better. I regret that bright, harsh tone is the norm. I've wanted to buy a new piano for a long time, but continue to use my mediocre upright because I can't find a piano within my budget that has the warm pianissimo and broad dynamic range that Del speaks about.

#1392146 - 03/09/10 12:43 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Russ Roberts]  
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Del, thank you for your reply. I really enjoyed playing the Walters (esp the 190), and it's such a pleasure to hear their designer speak.

#1392163 - 03/09/10 12:55 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Russ Roberts]  
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Del Offline
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Del  Offline
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Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted by Russ Roberts
I also had not heard Del's term "aesthetic bulk" but it is very desciptive, and one my wife, as an amateur decorator with impeccable taste would agree with. Our L190 is, I believe (Del could correct me on this) much wider throughout the curve--and has what I believe is termed a "wide tail." It looked tiny in the showroom among the Steinways--especially the "B" s, but, when put in the place our 4-9 Settergren had occupied--it's presence was almost overwhelming. So was it's sound--at first.

The Steinway B is a good example of what I’m talking about. Even though it was designed during an era when competitive pianos were getting wider and bulkier the B is relatively narrow both across the keyboard and the tail. And, while other pianos have at least equaled the performance—many are arguably superior—the B has remained a long-term favorite among both pianists and decorators. I am convinced that its svelte aesthetic has played a significant role in its popularity over the years. (Incidentally, all of the shorter Steinway models share this trait. They are all some on the narrow side.)

A piano’s appearance in the typical showroom can be deceptive. A few extra inches of width don’t really stand out all that much. When you have to walk around those inches in a small room they can—and often do—become significant.

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
#1392227 - 03/09/10 01:57 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Del]  
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pianoloverus Online content
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Originally Posted by Del


We are accustomed to comparing the size of grands strictly on the measure of their length. But this is only part of the story. Pianos also have width and aesthetic bulk. When I laid out the scales and drew the rims on both of these pianos I wanted them to be a compact as possible given their length and their acoustical requirements. Consequently they are narrower than average by several inches. Their “waists” tuck in rather sooner than most; that is, the treble curve is set closer to the front of the piano so the length of the straight treble arm is shorter....

The Steinway B is a good example of what I’m talking about. Even though it was designed during an era when competitive pianos were getting wider and bulkier the B is relatively narrow both across the keyboard and the tail. And, while other pianos have at least equaled the performance—many are arguably superior—the B has remained a long-term favorite among both pianists and decorators. I am convinced that its svelte aesthetic has played a significant role in its popularity over the years. (Incidentally, all of the shorter Steinway models share this trait. They are all some on the narrow side.)
I have certainly noticed the Steinway "svelte shape" especially compared with my Mason BB. I always thought Masons looked very fat from the side(not talking about the front keyboard view which is I think definitely a few inches wider than most becasue of rim thickness). I used to think the rim was longer vertically from top to bottom, but if I remember correctly(not really sure?), I brought this up on another thread and it wasn't longer vertically. So I'm beginning to wonder if the Mason looks pleasnatly plump because the waist tucks in later than a Steinway B. Or is it the wide tail on the Mason or both or...?

Are there any special piano diets available?

Are there any other makers whose aesthetic is particularly svelte like Steinway or Walter?

Last edited by pianoloverus; 03/09/10 02:09 PM.
#1392455 - 03/09/10 08:12 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: pianoloverus]  
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus

Are there any other makers whose aesthetic is particularly svelte like Steinway or Walter?


I can't think of any myself.

It is obvious how some pianos of the same size look bulky when sitting beside a Walter.

I was in the Seattle area on the weekend at a Piano Technicians Guild Conference.
I saw a 5'7" / 170cm grand that was so wide it appeared to be no more than 5'1"


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#1392463 - 03/09/10 08:36 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Rod Verhnjak]  
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Originally Posted by Rod Verhnjak
Originally Posted by pianoloverus

Are there any other makers whose aesthetic is particularly svelte like Steinway or Walter?


I can't think of any myself.

It is obvious how some pianos of the same size look bulky when sitting beside a Walter.

I was in the Seattle area on the weekend at a Piano Technicians Guild Conference.
I saw a 5'7" / 170cm grand that was so wide it appeared to be no more than 5'1"

Well, an enlarged 5' 1" grand. So I wasn't the only one who noticed the proportions of that piano.

And, speaking of really short pianos, I have measured a few early 4' 10" to 5' grands that are as wide as they are long. To my eye these grands look squat and fat. Especially when compared to some of the lovely Knabe, Chickering, Everett, etc., short grands of the same era that were only 53" to 54" wide. I'd much rather build a piano that is 5' 3" long and 54" wide that actually takes up less floor space and has a longer, cleaner sounding bass.

ddf

Last edited by Del; 03/09/10 08:41 PM.

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#1392466 - 03/09/10 08:47 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Del]  
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I'm just curious why some piano manufacturers make piano wider than others. Is it simply easier to design (perhaps it's less cramped?), or is it actually could be a feature that provides something musically?

#1392477 - 03/09/10 09:06 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: zxcjason]  
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Originally Posted by zxcjason
I'm just curious why some piano manufacturers make piano wider than others. Is it simply easier to design (perhaps it's less cramped?), or is it actually could be a feature that provides something musically?


Me, too. I had understood that in many cases it is the desire for longer bass strings that drives extra width, for the following reason. One way to get longer bass strings in a piano of limited length is to angle the bass strings more. But to do this, in order to keep the strike point in the sweet spot, the portion of the string that is in front of the hammer of the #1 string has to jut out beyond the left end of the keyboard.

Maybe this can still be accomplished by moving the #1 hammer inward from (to the right of) the #1 key. This would be achieved by having the lowest keys kick to the right as they go over the balance rail.

Of course the other reason might be just to have more soundboard surface. But I don't think quantity over quality is the right idea here. From what I understand, uprights have large soundboards, relatively speaking, and this is part of the reason the treble often sounds inferior to grands.


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#1392488 - 03/09/10 09:22 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Del]  
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Originally Posted by Del
Originally Posted by Rod Verhnjak
Originally Posted by pianoloverus

Are there any other makers whose aesthetic is particularly svelte like Steinway or Walter?


I can't think of any myself.

It is obvious how some pianos of the same size look bulky when sitting beside a Walter.

I was in the Seattle area on the weekend at a Piano Technicians Guild Conference.
I saw a 5'7" / 170cm grand that was so wide it appeared to be no more than 5'1"

Well, an enlarged 5' 1" grand. So I wasn't the only one who noticed the proportions of that piano.

ddf


I actually said "That must be the most expensive 5 footer I have ever seen". Only to find out it was 5'7"
My opinion was based on first glance.


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#1393084 - 03/10/10 05:38 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Rod Verhnjak]  
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You can't go wrong with either model -- pick the one you like based on your preferences for tone and touch. I can say that the 175 we have at church is an excellent piano that's held up well in our sanctuary. The piano sounds like a larger instrument, particularly the bass, which is deep and clear. I do like the way the Walter grands look; they do take up comparatively less space. The 175, which is similar in size to my Steinberg IQ77 at home, looks like a longer piano than the IQ77; the Steinberg looks "stubby" in comparison (but I do love the tone!).

Kevin

#1393266 - 03/10/10 10:18 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: KevinIQ77]  
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I agree with Del regarding the aesthetics of the Steinway B. I think it probably is the most beautifully proportioned of pianos. In a previous post I believe I compared them to beauty of line of a race horse.

The opinion of Russ Ruberts' wife validates my worry with the skinny legs of Baldwin L.
For years it bothered me that the nice line of the instrument was totally ruined by the legs which looked out of proportion. I no longer own the Baldwin and my present instrument, though "fat" or better "pleasantly plump" has really thick legs. (Pianoloverus: I am borrowing your most appropriate expression, hope you don't mind )

I have never seen a Walter piano, but I can easily imagine it must look superb.




Uncle Geoge

#1393324 - 03/11/10 12:19 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: zxcjason]  
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Originally Posted by zxcjason
I'm just curious why some piano manufacturers make piano wider than others. Is it simply easier to design (perhaps it's less cramped?), or is it actually could be a feature that provides something musically?

Back in the old days of hand drafting full size piano plan drawing, yes, drawing a nice, tight design was more difficult. Accuracy was both important and difficult to achieve. It was time consuming. As well, if you spend much time examining plates made before the advent of NC controlled machines you'll see just how inaccurate the spacing of components such as agraffes and hitchpins can be.

Computerized drawing and drafting programs, along with NC controlled machines, has improved both drafting accuracy and drilling accuracy making it much easier both to design and build pianos with tighter component spacing.

I cannot think of any acoustical advantage to making pianos wider than necessary for adequate hammer and action parts spacing, agraffe spacing, etc.



Originally Posted by charleslang
Me, too. I had understood that in many cases it is the desire for longer bass strings that drives extra width, for the following reason. One way to get longer bass strings in a piano of limited length is to angle the bass strings more. But to do this, in order to keep the strike point in the sweet spot, the portion of the string that is in front of the hammer of the #1 string has to jut out beyond the left end of the keyboard.

In theory this is true. But until you get up to the string angles used in vertical pianos—typically upwards of 30°—the increased length potential is not really all that great. Using string angles of this magnitude in a grand presents several problems not the least of which is the wide stereo effect caused by the widely separated bass and low tenor bridges. And, as you point out, excessive width of the piano.



Quote
Maybe this can still be accomplished by moving the #1 hammer inward from (to the right of) the #1 key. This would be achieved by having the lowest keys kick to the right as they go over the balance rail.

It’s always a balancing act. Increasing string angles also dictates wider spacing at the bass/tenor break (for damper placement), increased action center spacing at the strike line (to keep the hammers from striking adjacent strings) and, ultimately, wider key flare which places an increasing load on the balance rail bushings (which then wear prematurely).



Quote
Of course the other reason might be just to have more soundboard surface. But I don't think quantity over quality is the right idea here. From what I understand, uprights have large soundboards, relatively speaking, and this is part of the reason the treble often sounds inferior to grands.

In general piano soundboards are larger than required for best acoustic performance. Making them smaller through the tenor and treble areas actually improves performance.

ddf


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#1396342 - 03/15/10 01:02 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Del]  
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Thanks everyone for this thread. I have enjoyed it and learned quite a bit.


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#1396671 - 03/15/10 10:05 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Del]  
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Now you've made me really curious. I have been trying to find a Charles Walter grand piano, but have only found uprights. Would you know any dealers in the New York metropolitan area (+/- 100 miles radius) who carry CW grands?

Thanks!
Bach13

#1396691 - 03/15/10 10:37 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Bach13]  
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Whether or not you find one in the NY area, I think you should really hold out buying a piano until you tried one of the CW 190s. Of all the pianos I played in that size range, one particular CW still haunts me with it's beautiful sound. To be fair, I've only ever played one CW 190, but if it was representative of what the others could/should sound and play like, then I think they probably deserve to be compared to the 'best' pianos in the world. I ended up buying another piano that I love just as much, but sometimes my thoughts drift back to that piano. I think it's sound is what a great piano is supposed to sound like.


Recordings of my recent solo piano and piano/keyboard trio jazz standards.


#1396692 - 03/15/10 10:39 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Bach13]  
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Originally Posted by Bach13
Now you've made me really curious. I have been trying to find a Charles Walter grand piano, but have only found uprights. Would you know any dealers in the New York metropolitan area (+/- 100 miles radius) who carry CW grands?

Thanks!
Bach13

No, sorry, I don't. You might call the factory and ask them. I'm not in a location just now where I can easily locate their factory phone numbers but you might check with the online version of the Piano Buyer. You can find an add for the Piano Buyer somewhere on the Piano Forum website.

ddf


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#2103052 - 06/15/13 08:03 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Del]  
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I know that this is an old thread, but I recently got the chance to play both sizes of the Walter grand pianos side by side. I appreciated many of the comments on this thread. From my perspective, while I am NOT an expert, to my ears that Walter 175 was the more balanced piano - smooth throughout the whole range of notes. Nice tone, clarity, fullness, and yet gentleness. The 190 had more power in the bass (which I liked) but to my tastes a little too bright (harsh?) in some areas the treble (notably the lower treble). Of course I am sure that some hammer work could have adjusted those hammers to my particular tastes. But I was very impressed with the 175 as it stood and would have loved to have taken it home if I could have.


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#2103102 - 06/15/13 10:11 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: BeeKay]  
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It is a shame that the almost all of the contemporary European and Asian grand piano designs have un-needed bulk in the rim and plate. They look so heavy, bulky and inelegant. Also they are designed with an overly wide strike line that bulks up the key-set which adds mass and slows down the touch. These makers are wasting money and resources that do nothing to improve the sound and feel of the piano. They seem intent on using rims with nearly the thickness of a concert grand on a 5' grand. The industry needs a wholesale adjustment to the scaling principles of the rim, plate and scale stick width.

I am glad Del has been able to influence some of this in the industry.


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#2103118 - 06/15/13 10:50 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: BeeKay]  
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Ed:

I noticed that you have made repeated representations here how much better you can do in regards to piano's overall function, action performance, enhanced tonality, balance etc

Here's a list of German/Italian manufacturers:

http://www.pianos.de/en/members/index.php?id=3

Why not contact them one by one making them aware of your expertise and the many improvements in design for their world products?

Trust me, most of these guys would be VERY interested to hear from you as product research and R&D is a strong part of their day-by-day operation.

Thinking that the Japanese and Chinese would be equally interested to hear from you.

Don't forget that other folks like Lothar Thomma, Stephan Mohler, Frank Emerson etc have long taken advantage of this[ highly paid...] job opportunity...

Serious.

Norbert thumb

Last edited by Norbert; 06/15/13 11:48 PM.

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#2103204 - 06/16/13 06:53 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: BeeKay]  
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I'd give my left..er..leg to own a CW190 and then I'd have to hang the piano from the ceiling due to space restrictions.

Alas, the price has gone up quite a bit and as I get closer to retirement, I'm loath to part with the cash.

But make no mistake, at the six-footish mark, it'll hold its own with with any competing marque. If I was a dealer, I'd get a nice, late model Steinway of the same size and display the two pianos side-by-side, prepped equally well.

And just let the people play...


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#2103299 - 06/16/13 11:08 AM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: BeeKay]  
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I had the opportunity to try a CW grand several years ago. I don't remember what size it was but in recollection I would put on the same plane as (current) Estonia. It was a very nice piano indeed.


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#2103492 - 06/16/13 06:59 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: PattyP]  
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Originally Posted by PattyP
I had the opportunity to try a CW grand several years ago. I don't remember what size it was but in recollection I would put on the same plane as (current) Estonia. It was a very nice piano indeed.


Many would do the same even though the PianoBuyer does not. Larry Fine has said to me many times, part of the ratings are influenced by public perception. Sometimes I feel like that should be forum perception smile With Walter being off the radar it affects what people know about the instrument. With the low production numbers it Is difficult to break into the market and get the "word" out.
If the ratings were only influence by how a piano sounds, feels and the quality of materials, workmanship & design, the ratings would be changed on many makes.



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#2104034 - 06/17/13 07:14 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: BeeKay]  
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I can vouch for the Charles Walter. Being a new owner and a long time admirer, at least to me its a definite leap forward in comparison to my late Vogel. I'm only an occasional player that has a great desire to play more often if time permitted and I'm not that great, but when I sit down at the keyboard to unwind and escape into the world of music it does what I want it to without having to force it to. There's only a few pianos in my short playing life that have spoken to me like that and the Walter is one of them.

I agree with the lack of marketing affecting people's decisions on ALL products, pianos included... and Walters at that. I guess sometimes smaller companies may feel like going up against the substantially more funded companies like Steinway, who for years was backed - profitable or not - by the giant "CBS" and then later a banking consortium, is like throwing a glass of water into a towering inferno. However you have to do it and I don't know why they don't do more. Heck they don't even return emails, for both myself as well the dealership that i bought it from.

Its just too bad but it doesn't change my love of the piano, the company and the designer and builders. Amazing Piano.



Charles Walter Model W (190)


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#2104978 - 06/19/13 04:39 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: BeeKay]  
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I always wondered what an "American" piano would sound like. Would an old Knabe qualify...how about a NY Steinway...or a Mason Hamlin...or a 1998 Baldwin? Those were or are made in America. What characterizes an "American" piano? confused


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#2104983 - 06/19/13 04:57 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: BeeKay]  
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It is not an "American" piano, it is an 'American Sound.'

Yes, it is a nebulous concept, but one which is readily identifiable. It developed in the United States during the late 19th Century and early 20th Century in the large transition period of piano building. The sound that developed was very different than the European counterparts. It was then that the term began to be used, based on very identifiable characteristics.

This dichotomy still exists. Find recordings of a S&S-Hamburg-D and an American-D and the difference in tonal structure becomes apparent. The pianos you mention all are closer in sound to a NY-Steinway than they are to a Bosendorfer, Sauter, Petrof, or Steingraeber.

It just takes some listening, and critical analysis, and the differences start to become apparent.

I hope this gives you some insight into the basic difference between the "American Sound" and the "European Sound."


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2104988 - 06/19/13 05:13 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
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Thanks, Marty. Your description is interesting and well put. thumb

My question was somewhat tongue-in-cheek because I have posted a couple of times on trying to quantify the comparison of American and European pianos using cumulative line spectrum maps and/or the spectral centroid.



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#2104989 - 06/19/13 05:17 PM Re: Charles Walter grand piano opinions [Re: BeeKay]  
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It's just like learning to hear the difference between Brahms and Debussy. Tough to describe, but easy to hear!


Marty in Minnesota

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