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#80470 - 08/22/07 09:17 PM Boston vs Essex grands  
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schwammerl Offline
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Belgium
We see regularly discussions on this forum where the buying decision of a Boston grand is weighted against (often) Japanese competitors (e.g. Kawai).

But what if someone would ask advice on what to choose: a similar sized Essex (new line) or a Boston grand?

Let's just state that both lines are distributed and the warrenty honored by Steinway but that there is a significant price difference between both pinao lines (In Europe ranging from a premium of 67 - 45% for the Boston; in the US perhaps even more).

Does anyone who has played grands from both lines wants to have a go on this one?

schwammerl.

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#80471 - 08/22/07 10:02 PM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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Axtremus Offline
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Quote
schwammerl wrote:

But what if someone would ask advice on what to choose: a similar sized Essex (new line) or a Boston grand?
Easy!

We just tell him to go buy a European piano, most likely an Estonia, that costs twice as much or more than the Essex anyway.

#80472 - 08/22/07 11:09 PM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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gryphon Offline
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What difference does it make? Might as well save money and go with the cheaper Essex. It's still backed up by Steinway, and as you know, the Steinway & Sons piano represents a quality level that few have matched. It's the company that is the constant target of ridicule but continues to stand the test of time. And it'll be prepped to the nines, because the same technicians working on the local concert hall's Steinway & Sons grand will be working on your Essex piano! This is a comforting thought!

Some may say the Boston is a higher performance piano, but after all, what does "high performance" mean anyways?

Of course there is some attention to detail that is different, but to say that this translates to the Boston being an overall better sounding and feeling instrument, however, doesn't necessarily follow.

The Essex is crafted using highly automated machinery with precision accuracy and repeatability. I think there is way too much focus on "hand-made" construction now-a-days and not on the finished product and who is buying the product. The hand-made construction phrase is simply a sales tactic to sell more pianos. If you deny this, then you are naive.

This is a Steinway instrument, and as you know, Steinway & Sons pianos are used in most high-performance venues.

And you can simply ignore Piano Book rankings. After all, Larry Fine himself points out that there are fuzzy borders between different groups anyway.

Essex is simply the best value for the money!


"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
Wheels
#80473 - 08/22/07 11:24 PM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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Furtwangler Offline
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Yeah, what he said!

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#80474 - 08/23/07 12:15 AM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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Loki Offline
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Texas
Well, every brand has dud pianos. Id need to play my choices and see which sounds better.


Houston, Texas
#80475 - 08/23/07 01:10 AM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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Ori Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by gryphon:
What difference does it make? Might as well save money and go with the cheaper Essex. It's still backed up by Steinway, and as you know, the Steinway & Sons piano represents a quality level that few have matched. It's the company that is the constant target of ridicule but continues to stand the test of time. And it'll be prepped to the nines, because the same technicians working on the local concert hall's Steinway & Sons grand will be working on your Essex piano! This is a comforting thought!

Some may say the Boston is a higher performance piano, but after all, what does "high performance" mean anyways?

Of course there is some attention to detail that is different, but to say that this translates to the Boston being an overall better sounding and feeling instrument, however, doesn't necessarily follow.

The Essex is crafted using highly automated machinery with precision accuracy and repeatability. I think there is way too much focus on "hand-made" construction now-a-days and not on the finished product and who is buying the product. The hand-made construction phrase is simply a sales tactic to sell more pianos. If you deny this, then you are naive.

This is a Steinway instrument, and as you know, Steinway & Sons pianos are used in most high-performance venues.

And you can simply ignore Piano Book rankings. After all, Larry Fine himself points out that there are fuzzy borders between different groups anyway.

Essex is simply the best value for the money!
laugh laugh laugh

That's a good one!


Ori Bukai - Owner/Founder of Allegro Pianos - NY and CT.

One can usually play at our showroom:

Bluthner, Steingraeber, Estonia, August Forster, Haessler, Kawai, Steinway, Bosendorfer and more.

www.allegropianos.com
#80476 - 08/23/07 01:13 AM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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tickler Offline
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Chicagoland
The best advice is to play them both, play a bunch of other pianos, and decide what you like best.

For what it's worth, in my recent piano search, I played both the Boston & Essex lines. I focused on grands in the 6' range. What I noticed:

-- The scale breaks were quite noticeable on both, but more so on the Essex.
-- The sustain was better (longer) on the Boston.
-- Both had a similar touch, a medium weight. It wasn't klunky, but it wasn't smooth as silk.
-- Both had an ok bass, but not the kind that you feel in your bones, like a M&H.
-- Both were voiced too bright for my taste, but I like mellow.
-- Moderate harmonics on both, but the tone wasn't muddy.
-- Comparing the Boston to a Kawaii, I liked the touch on the Kawaii better -- it was smoother and lighter.

I played lots of other brands, too. To me, the Boston seemed most comparable to the Kawais and Petrofs. The Essex was more similar to a Pramburger.


Mary


Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman. -- Beethoven
#80477 - 08/23/07 01:53 AM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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Dale Fox Offline
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Nor California Sacramento area
Quote
Originally posted by Ori:
[/qb]
laugh laugh laugh

That's a good one! [/QB][/QUOTE]


I believe I agree with Ori


Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding
#80478 - 08/23/07 02:47 AM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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SCCDoug Offline
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Canada
Quote
Originally posted by Dale Fox:
Quote
Originally posted by Ori:
laugh laugh laugh

That's a good one! [/QB]
I believe I agree with Ori [/QB][/QUOTE]

--------

Best laugh I have had in a while. I wonder if pianomadam has any idea of the damage she does to her cause. . .


Doug

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss
#80479 - 08/23/07 03:09 AM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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Monica K. Offline

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Lexington, Kentucky
Quote
Originally posted by gryphon:
And it'll be prepped to the nines, because the same technicians working on the local concert hall's Steinway & Sons grand will be working on your Essex piano! This is a comforting thought!
ROFLMAO!! laugh laugh

gryphon, I think you have the highest W.P.P. (wit per post) factor on the whole forum.


Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
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#80480 - 08/23/07 04:44 AM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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turandot Offline
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torrance, CA
from Gryphon
Quote
The Essex is crafted using highly automated machinery with precision accuracy and repeatability. I think there is way too much focus on "hand-made" construction now-a-days and not on the finished product and who is buying the product.
Although the rest of Gryphon's post is dripping with an irony that tosses Pianomadam's kool-aid back in her face, this particular statement cuts both ways.

Steinway is smart enough to have in-house three distinct lines of pianos to maintain a sales pyramid that entices entry-level shoppers with favorable terms for migration upward later. It would seem from Steinway's financials that both the Essex line and Boston line are contributing to their financial health.

Steinway is acknowledging that a piano "crafted using highly automated machinery with precision accuracy and repeatability" need not be an embarrassment to its overall product offerings, and may be satisfactory to a good portion of the consumer market. Other high-priced lines may be coming to a similar realization, but lack Steinway's level of control over its dealer network to achieve the same level of success.

Bechstein will soon have available SMC-made Euterpes, Bohemia-made Hoffmans,lower-priced Academy series Bechsteins, and handcrafted high-priced Bechsteins. IF Bechstein convinces its dealers to carry three of (or all of) the four lines, some in this forum may joke about whether a Euterpe is on a par with a Bechstein. But that's a big if .

Schimmel has Vogel and May Berlin, but how many Schimmel dealers will be carrying all three lines. Bluthner has Irmler and sources the lowly Chinese Breitmann from Artfield. But how many Bluthner dealers sell Irmler or Breitmann.

This is a time of decision for the great traditional hand-builders. Some will maintain their virginity and their low production numbers. Other will dip their feet in the Indian Ocean and acknowledge that there is a place for "highly automated machinery with precision accuracy and repeatability" and that a healthy piano industry should do its best for music enthusiasts who do not need or wish to pay for a handcrafted piano.

It's true that Steinway is getting a premium price for Boston and Essex, but the price of anything is what shoppers are willing to pay for it. If piano shoppers feel that Steinway has added enough value to pianos sourced at Kawai and Pearl River to justify the price asked, then the market has established the price.

Pianomadam may be clumsy at times, and way off-base at others, but Steinway has its way of doing things, and that way seems to be paying off.


Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier
#80481 - 08/23/07 08:41 AM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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theJourney Offline
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Gryphon -- you made my day. I am still chuckling.

Don't forget also that, when considering its merits as a musical instrument, "the Essex is actually built like a tank and has some nice cabinetry to look at".

Turandot:

Pianos are a major, infrequent purchase.

Major purchases represent high risk to consumers.

Powerful, trusted brands can function to mitigate risks in the consumers mind and influence purchasing decision making processes.

The more powerful & trusted a brand, the more extensible it can be to have a halo or umbrella effect over sub-lines, providing opportunities to harvest a cashable differentiation independent of primary product characteristics.

The Steinway brand seems to be powerful enough to fulfill this function for Boston and Essex, at least in the NA markets.

What other brands really have the consumer share of mind to successfully execute such an extension strategy while commanding a price premium? Bechstein? Bluthner? Schimmel? Hmmm.

#80482 - 08/23/07 03:05 PM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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turandot Offline
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Quote
What other brands really have the consumer share of mind to successfully execute such an extension strategy while commanding a price premium? Bechstein? Bluthner? Schimmel? Hmmm.
Journey,

Time will tell. But there is no doubt that some high-priced European makers are moving in that direction. Hindsight is golden, but I wonder if Bosendorfer has any regrets about passing on the Brodmann venture.

You say here that Gryphon's post made your day. Others have commented on its wit and humor. Certainly he served Pianomadam a concoction eerily similar to what she usually serves up here. I enjoyed it myself, but I was struck by the obvious reference to CNC routers, mass-production, and taking into account the buyers' level of sophistication.

Quote
The Essex is crafted using highly automated machinery with precision accuracy and repeatability. I think there is way too much focus on "hand-made" construction now-a-days and not on the finished product and who is buying the product.
To me that's not irony, that's the big questiion.

Everyone here is serving Kool-aid, you and me too. Do you think that Ori has labored to the extent he has in these Steinway-related threads simply because he worries that Pianomadam is doing harm to the good name of Steinway and to the image of piano dealers? Ori has most of his eggs in the Steinway alternative basket. Most of the brands he sells are more apt to win a potential sale away from Steinway than to create a new piano-buyer. The price of those pianos dictates a reverence for the hand-building craft. Take Ori's business out of the greater New York area and move it to Detroit and he may be up sh-t creek without a paddle. Larry Fine has some Kool-aid for sale as well. Do you think he sells autographed copies of the latest Piano Book at a tech's convention as a public service?

Piano owners who have bought hand-made pianos and paid the premium price to go with it find validation in drinking certain types of Kool-aid. Their antennae are always extended and alert to a Larry Fine numerical slight or a less prestigious maker moving up and occupying a first-class cabin. Those who have not bought a high-priced piano find validation in the Kool-aid wyich touts the present capabilities and future potential of mass production.

The great hand builders of Europe are choosing whether they keep their virginity or strengthen their sales base by partnering with makers of mass-produced pianos. Which Kool-aid will be the preferred brand? Time will tell. But if you read carefully, you will notice that no one here or elsewhere is saying that Boston or Essex are bad pianos.


Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
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#80483 - 08/23/07 04:39 PM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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Sir Lurksalot Offline
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Quote
Take Ori's business out of the greater New York area and move it to Detroit and he may be up sh-t creek without a paddle.
Hey gryph - remind me again where you bought your Estonia?

#80484 - 08/23/07 04:48 PM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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gryphon Offline
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laugh


"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
Wheels
#80485 - 08/23/07 04:49 PM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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LisztAddict Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by gryphon:
...and as you know, Steinway & Sons pianos are used in most high-performance venues.
Very true. I've seen more "Steinway & Sons" in concert halls more than all other brands combined. But I haven't seen one Essex or even a Boston in any concert hall.

#80486 - 08/23/07 04:53 PM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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No one is saying Boston or Essex are bad pianos.
No one is saying they are sublime pianos either.
Having finagled a way into my share of German piano manufacturing facilities, the manufacturing engineer (versus the romantic) inside of me cringes and longs for a klean, konsistent, kaizen'd Kawai.
But then I am stopped dead in my tracks by the tone of the Steingraeber.
And I fall in love with the Grotrian treble.
Or the seduction of the perfectly regulated Hamburg Steinway.
And dream.

I believe that there will always be a market for the sublime. That market is fragile and smaller than we would like.

Detroit has perished in its mindset of creating brand families of cars for people to trade up through; I am not convinced a manufacturer of sublime pianos has to have it. But such a specialist manufacturer must be able to carve out a large enough niche to survive, be content to remain small and figure out a better way to organise their distribution.

#80487 - 08/23/07 05:59 PM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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turnadot, your point about level of control is well taken. Additionally, Steinway benefits from unparalleled name recognition in the American market, as well as a widely held perception of quality.

I chat with people fairly often about pianos. The Baldwin name is also widely recognized, but Mason and Hamlin is not. Even people who play may not recognize the Bechstein and Schimmel names. And Bluthner? They think that I'm making that one up. Samick? OK, that company seems to be trying to create a hierarchy, but the parent name itself is not associated in the public mind with high quality. So I think that Steinway's ability to leverage the trade-up concept may be unique in our market.

theJourney, I love the possibility that there may always be a market for the sublime.

#80488 - 08/23/07 06:34 PM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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paul milando Offline
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westfield Indiana
Why is it that I feel the need to smoke after playing an Essex.


Talking about music is like dancing about art. If the truth will set you free, what do prunes do?
#80489 - 08/23/07 06:45 PM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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Furtwangler Offline
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Now THAT is funny!

#80490 - 08/24/07 03:50 AM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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PianoMadam

Family of Steinway-Designed Pianos (Steinway & Sons, Boston, Essex) Dealer
#80491 - 08/24/07 04:01 AM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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Pianomadam Offline
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"Very true. I've seen more "Steinway & Sons" in concert halls more than all other brands combined. But I haven't seen one Essex or even a Boston in any concert hall"

---I'm not sure what the point of this post is, LisztAddict. I don't think they (Boston and Essex) belong in the best concert halls and I have not read any posts that suggest they should be. I think there is a feeling among some that Steinway people try to market Bostons and Essexes as equivalent to or close to equivalent to the Steinway piano. Nothing could be further from the truth.


PianoMadam

Family of Steinway-Designed Pianos (Steinway & Sons, Boston, Essex) Dealer
#80492 - 08/24/07 12:50 PM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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Axtremus Offline
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Yeah, but I've seen Boston-branded pianos in rehearsal/practice rooms in the same building as concert halls. laugh

#80493 - 08/24/07 05:44 PM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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When I was looking for Steinways, I was amused by the fact that the Steinway dealer did not even suggest for a second that I touch a single Boston or Essex. Maybe they perceived I wasn't the Boston or Essex type. Or they knew I wasn't going to be impressed.

So this day, I have never tried a Boston or Essex.


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#80494 - 08/24/07 08:33 PM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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Eleven Thumbs Offline
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There is no comparison between a Boston and an Essex. The quality of materials and construction are very different...that is why there is a price differential.

BTW - The reason that Steinway introduced the Boston piano was to increase their "footprint" in the market place. Previously, all of the piano customers who were not able to "belly to the bar" financially and buy a Steinway, bought something else; and then when the time came to upgrade they more likely than not would go to the store the purchased their piano from (if it was new) and trade up. If that store did not sell new Steinways so be it, Steinway never stood a chance. However, when Steinway introduced the Boston Piano, they now had a piano at a similar price point to the Yamaha and Kawai (builder of all Boston pianos in their factory). So, theoretically, the customer would return to the Steinway dealer to upgrade. The customer was now on a "Steinway Track" for lack of a better term. With the introduction of the Essex, Steinway was now able to further increase their "footprint" by going further downstream in price. The brilliant thing is, Steinway has substantially increased market share without bearing the cost of having to increase production. No capital expenditures on factories and equipment, no need to hire employees and pay workers' compensation or pensions. Truly brilliant.

It's a good thing that they had the foresight to do this because the Boston and Essex sales are where much of their growth has come in the piano division in the past decade. Check out their financials or buy a share of stock yourself and you too can be privy to this info. wink

Good Luck!

#80495 - 08/24/07 08:51 PM Re: Boston vs Essex grands  
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gryphon Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Eleven Thumbs:
There is no comparison between a Boston and an Essex. The quality of materials and construction are very different...that is why there is a price differential.

The reason that Steinway introduced the Boston piano was to increase their "footprint" in the market place.
Wait a minute, let me get a pencil.


"If we lose freedom here, there's no place to escape to."
MSU - the university of Michigan!
Wheels
#1449055 - 06/02/10 08:35 PM Re: Boston vs Essex grands [Re: paul milando]  
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Originally Posted by paul milando
Why is it that I feel the need to smoke after playing an Essex.


because it was soo good that you just can't believe what happened


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