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#1641184 - 03/15/11 12:59 AM Bechstein vs. Grotrian  
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Josh_P Offline
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My reviews of the instruments I played

The pieces I am playing on these instruments are Bach's prelude and fugue in E flat minor, Mozart sonata in F major no 2, Beethoven Moonlight, Schubert op 90 no 3, Schumann's Arabesque, Debussy's Arabesque,

Bechstein 5'5" - Oh god on high, the Schubert, and Schumann sounded beautiful. It has a darker tone and was perfect for the Romantic stuff, (I fooled around with Song without Words) but the Bach and Mozart was a bit muddled, not pure and clean like you want it.

The bass was a bit weaker than I would have liked but the treble blew my heart out. Especially in the Debussy, where you have to play a bit up there. During the ritards with the pedal down, it sounded incredible with all the different overtones. It was different, like it hit the strings with a hard edge but was mellowed out. It had definition but it didn't sound like a machine gun. Hard to explain but it was incredible.


Grotrian 6' - Everything sounded amazing on this. It was deep and rich and pealing but still soft, like you hit a bell with a stick wrapped in a down comforter. The piano was so dark and the Schumann, the Mozart, and the Debussy gave me this feeling something like joy. It was so, for lack of better word, romantic in a way that it puts the composers in another light. And the minor key stuff was fantastical. The bass filled the room and was clean. I was thinking about the depth part that it just needed to be tuned and voiced correctly but I really love it. The action was incredible to, on the lighter side the way I like it. The Bach and the Schubert were so contrasting to. I could control the piano to sound bare in the Bach and sweet in the Schubert.

However they are both outrageous in cost, and I think I will need to go find another one. Are all Grotrians up to this quality? I know that Larry Fine ranks them very high, but I never heard of or played one till very recently. The Grotrian I played was really super duper and I am itching to play the Carnaval on it. Are used Grotrians bad and/or good from certain time periods like Masons? Although the Bechstein was great it was nothing to the Grotrian. Urghh!!!!

Last edited by Josh_P; 03/15/11 02:24 AM.

Working On:
Beethoven-32 Variations in C minor
Beethoven- Opus 109
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#1641203 - 03/15/11 01:59 AM Re: Bluthner vs. Grotrian [Re: Josh_P]  
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BD76 Offline
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Wait, so was it a Bluthner or a Bechstein?


~The piano is an orchestra with 88... things, you know! ~V. Horowitz
#1641204 - 03/15/11 02:02 AM Re: Bluthner vs. Grotrian [Re: Josh_P]  
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Sorry ooer. It was a Bechstein. Slip of the tounge. Like how people say schumann instead of schubert.


Working On:
Beethoven-32 Variations in C minor
Beethoven- Opus 109
#1641216 - 03/15/11 02:44 AM Re: Bluthner vs. Grotrian [Re: Josh_P]  
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It seems like the diff of 7 inches between a 5'5" and 6" is very significant. Wonder how a 6' Bechstein would fare....

F

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#1641238 - 03/15/11 03:55 AM Re: Bluthner vs. Grotrian [Re: Josh_P]  
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BD76 Offline
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I see. I'd love to play a Bechstein and a Grotrian myself, someday.

I've played Bluthners -- and loved them.


~The piano is an orchestra with 88... things, you know! ~V. Horowitz
#1641288 - 03/15/11 07:29 AM Re: Bluthner vs. Grotrian [Re: BD76]  
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Blüthners tend to have mellower (or 'muddier' depending on your own perception) sound, Bechstein less so, and Grotrian-Steinweg is typically bright and trebly. But the main thing is the length of the piano strings in this case. A smaller baby grand will almost always sound inferior to a bigger one even if the big one is actually cheaper - you can't defeat the laws of physics. I recently compared a 5ft 1in Boston and a 5ft 1in Essex to a 5ft 4in Kawai. The Kawai costs the same as the Essex, which in turn is a whole lot cheaper than the Boston - but the Kawai easily trumps over both the Steinway-designed instruments in sound quality. And there was hardly any difference in sound between the latter two.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#1641310 - 03/15/11 08:23 AM Re: Bluthner vs. Grotrian [Re: Josh_P]  
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Piano*Dad Offline
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Which Grotrian model did you play? Grotrian does not make a 6' piano. The Chambre is 5'5" and the Cabinet is almost 6'4". If you matched the 6'4" Cabinet against a 5'5" Bechstein the Bech will naturally not come off well in the bass.

I own a Cabinet, so I can attest to that instrument's characteristics. Although I wouldn't use bennevis's terms "bright and trebly," I think I know what he's getting at. Grotrians have a treble that does not disappear under the bass. It's a powerful portion of the range. And in comparison to Steinways they will sound much brighter. The Grotrian is a fairly high-tension piano. The bass tends to have a very clear, clean, and woodsy sound. You like it or you don't, but it tends to be distinctive (IMO).

On price, never judge by what is marked on the instrument in the shop. Expensive, sure, but list price and strike price can be worlds apart.

Woo hoo, post # 8,000.


#1641311 - 03/15/11 08:23 AM Re: Bluthner vs. Grotrian [Re: Josh_P]  
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Nice review.

It is something when a piano grabs us just right.

There was this one Grotrian, a Charis, that grabbed me like you describe above.

It would be sitting in my room had I not already a nice MH, the cost being more than I can afford, and the size just a little too big.

Like with most piano mfg, each individual piano is different. I also played several other Grotrians. All nice, but this one stood a mile above the others for me. A memory that lingers.


"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."
#1641328 - 03/15/11 09:00 AM Re: Bechstein vs. Grotrian [Re: Josh_P]  
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Hello Josh
Piano Dad is right. You should compare pianos of the same size. So we talk about C.Bechstein (not the Bechstein Academy line)and of new pianos you should compare the M/P 192 with the Grotrian Cabinet 192 or the smaller Grotrian Chamber (165 cm)and the C.Bechstein L (167 cm). Both makes are excellent. The Grotian should be a bit less expensive (in Germany round about 15 % or 20 %). As a Grotrian owner am biased. I experienced the C.Bechsteins I had the possibility (and fun) to play as rather "clear", "bright" and "lucent". My own Grotrian is more on the "warm" and "singing" side. The action of the C.Bechsteins seemed to be a little bit lighter than the action of my Grot. If I had to decide again I would go again for the Grotrian ... but there was once one C.Bechstein C 234 I tickled on at the Bechstein Center in Tübingen I'm dreaming of sometimes... If space and money won't be a limiting factor ...Have fun and take the time for your decision.


Cornelius
Grotrian Steinweg 225
Pfeiffer 124 (1950s)
#1641362 - 03/15/11 10:13 AM Re: Bluthner vs. Grotrian [Re: Piano*Dad]  
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Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
Woo hoo, post # 8,000.



Congrats! Welcome to the rarified 8,000 Posts Executive Club. A list of member benefits can be found below......






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My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
#1641369 - 03/15/11 10:21 AM Re: Bluthner vs. Grotrian [Re: faulhorn]  
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Originally Posted by faulhorn
It seems like the diff of 7 inches between a 5'5" and 6" is very significant. Wonder how a 6' Bechstein would fare.... F


i agree, seems an apples to oranges comparison to me.

#1641391 - 03/15/11 11:01 AM Re: Bluthner vs. Grotrian [Re: Josh_P]  
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Josh_P Offline
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The Grotrian was 6' 3" not 6'. However is there a way to make the treble, I don't know, more I don't want to say bright but more clear. I know voicing and tuning takes a lot of skill but if I can find another one, can it be fixed or better than what I played?

Another question. How do Grotrians fare after a few years? My teacher who heard them said it sounded typical for a Grotrian and should try to find a cheaper used one. In Seattle I have not found a dealer of Grotrians so ooer.

Last edited by Josh_P; 03/15/11 11:08 AM.

Working On:
Beethoven-32 Variations in C minor
Beethoven- Opus 109
#1641434 - 03/15/11 11:44 AM Re: Bechstein vs. Grotrian [Re: Josh_P]  
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Hey JoshP, good luck with your search.

If you're falling in love with a Grotrian, be sure to read the book "Grand Obsession" by Perry Knize.

That's all I'll say...!



1920 Steinway Model O
currently working on Chopin Valse op 69/2, Bach French Suite #5 "Allemande"
#1641496 - 03/15/11 01:01 PM Re: Bechstein vs. Grotrian [Re: Josh_P]  
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Grotrians sound just fine after however many years if maintained properly. No different than any other high quality piano. I've played a number of Grotrian grands and uprights from different vintages that were well taken care of and they all sounded great.

Rich


Retired at the beach (well maybe not completely)

Anton Rubinstein said about the piano: "You think it is one instrument? It is a hundred instruments!"
#1641530 - 03/15/11 01:47 PM Re: Bluthner vs. Grotrian [Re: Josh_P]  
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Originally Posted by Josh_P
Another question. How do Grotrians fare after a few years? My teacher who heard them said it sounded typical for a Grotrian and should try to find a cheaper used one. In Seattle I have not found a dealer of Grotrians so ooer.

Mine is 12 now, and still sounds fantastic. I think it's ready for a bit of action work, perhaps tune-up would be a better descriptor. It's been tuned quarterly.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#1641549 - 03/15/11 02:18 PM Re: Bluthner vs. Grotrian [Re: Josh_P]  
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Originally Posted by Josh_P
The Grotrian was 6' 3" not 6'. However is there a way to make the treble, I don't know, more I don't want to say bright but more clear. I know voicing and tuning takes a lot of skill but if I can find another one, can it be fixed or better than what I played?

Another question. How do Grotrians fare after a few years? My teacher who heard them said it sounded typical for a Grotrian and should try to find a cheaper used one. In Seattle I have not found a dealer of Grotrians so ooer.


Grotrians are phenomenal pianos and have a history that rivals / equals other brands with more notoriety (for whatever reason). Their quality is impeccable and you should have no worry about longevity. But, like any other manufacturer, they have their approach to sound. Not knowing exactly the instrument you played, it is hard to know if what you are hearing is a voicing issue or inherent in the design, but my experience with these instruments is that they are very clean sounding with beautiful depth and singing quality.

For years, Bernard Comsky in Los Angeles was a prominant Grotrian dealer so if you want a used one, I would peruse the LA market.


Russell I. Kassman
R.KASSMAN, Purveyor of Fine Pianos
Berkeley, CA

FORMER US Rep.for C.Bechstein

SF Area Dealer: Steingraeber•Grotrian•Sauter•Estonia•Kayserburg•Baldwin•Brodmann•Ritmüller
www.rkassman.com
russell@rkassman.com
510.558.0765
#1641553 - 03/15/11 02:26 PM Re: Bluthner vs. Grotrian [Re: Josh_P]  
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A Rebours Offline
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Originally Posted by Josh_P
My teacher who heard them said it sounded typical for a Grotrian and should try to find a cheaper used one. In Seattle I have not found a dealer of Grotrians so ooer.


If you are interested in a used Grotrian check out:

The Piano Connection. They are in Seattle and it is a site where the woman finds both sellers and buyers of pianos. She has a few examples of pianos "for sale" on the site. There is a 1969 6 foot Grotrian but has no price listed.

I am NOT connected with this site. I periodically check the site to see what's for sale there.


Sauter 122 Masterclass (M-Line)
#1641622 - 03/15/11 04:47 PM Re: Bluthner vs. Grotrian [Re: Josh_P]  
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Josh_P Offline
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I was wonderimg if the hammers in Grotrians are Renner or Abel or whatever. Does the factory do a good job voicing?h


Working On:
Beethoven-32 Variations in C minor
Beethoven- Opus 109
#1641650 - 03/15/11 05:24 PM Re: Bluthner vs. Grotrian [Re: Josh_P]  
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Originally Posted by Josh_P
I was wonderimg if the hammers in Grotrians are Renner or Abel or whatever. Does the factory do a good job voicing?h


They are usually Renner, and their voicing technique is comparable to other German manufacturers. That being said, on a used piano it is possible that someone has done other voicing work on the instrument.


Russell I. Kassman
R.KASSMAN, Purveyor of Fine Pianos
Berkeley, CA

FORMER US Rep.for C.Bechstein

SF Area Dealer: Steingraeber•Grotrian•Sauter•Estonia•Kayserburg•Baldwin•Brodmann•Ritmüller
www.rkassman.com
russell@rkassman.com
510.558.0765
#1641707 - 03/15/11 06:30 PM Re: Bluthner vs. Grotrian [Re: Josh_P]  
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Piano*Dad Offline
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Originally Posted by Josh_P
I was wonderimg if the hammers in Grotrians are Renner or Abel or whatever. Does the factory do a good job voicing?


The pianos are regulated and voiced multiple times in the production process. They are then played in -- by a hellish machine -- and then regulated and voiced again before going to Burkhard Stein for final inspection.

These top German manufacturers do not take short cuts.

#1641713 - 03/15/11 06:34 PM Re: Bluthner vs. Grotrian [Re: Josh_P]  
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Piano*Dad Offline
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BTW, the hammers in mine are Abel.

#1641716 - 03/15/11 06:37 PM Re: Bluthner vs. Grotrian [Re: Josh_P]  
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Thank you guys so much for helping.


Working On:
Beethoven-32 Variations in C minor
Beethoven- Opus 109

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