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Re: Mason & Hamlin vs Steinway vs Kawai [Re: NFexec] #1723059
07/29/11 12:53 PM
07/29/11 12:53 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,396
New York City
pianoloverus Offline
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If price "wasn't an issue" the OP would probably have already bought the Steinway even lthough he hasn't tried even one Mason BB or other make.

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Re: Mason & Hamlin vs Steinway vs Kawai [Re: Furtwangler] #1723161
07/29/11 03:44 PM
07/29/11 03:44 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
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beethoven986 Offline
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Originally Posted by Furtwangler
Steingraeber 212 $120,240 MSRP

Steingraeber 232 $146,871 MSRP

Great pianos. Maybe the best.




And, only 80k for the 212 in the UK! And, DEFINITELY the best! smile

Re: Mason & Hamlin vs Steinway vs Kawai [Re: NFexec] #1723170
07/29/11 03:51 PM
07/29/11 03:51 PM
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sophial Offline
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Is there that big a price difference from the UK to the US for Steingraeber? or is that 80K pounds ?

Re: Mason & Hamlin vs Steinway vs Kawai [Re: pianoloverus] #1723186
07/29/11 04:10 PM
07/29/11 04:10 PM
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Posts: 111
NE Ohio
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NFexec Offline OP
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NE Ohio
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
If price "wasn't an issue" the OP would probably have already bought the Steinway even lthough he hasn't tried even one Mason BB or other make.

This is mostly true. I am a bit nervous about spending over $80K for an instrument that will mostly be for my personal enjoyment... and so if I find something that really does give me that certain "thrill" but for thousands less, then I won't miss the S&S B. It will take some time and effort to get to that point, and I'm not in a big hurry... however I won't want to continue the search forever!


Anyone know about the 1920's "Mighty Wurlitzer" theatre pipe organs? Click here: www.wrtos.org or here: www.atos.org
Re: Mason & Hamlin vs Steinway vs Kawai [Re: sophial] #1723197
07/29/11 04:32 PM
07/29/11 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by sophial
Is there that big a price difference from the UK to the US for Steingraeber? or is that 80K pounds ?


About 52,000GBP. Roughly 80,000USD. It's kind of funny, really. At Steinway Hall London, a Hamburg D goes for about 114,000GBP but if you take a 30 minute train to the countryside, you can get a Steingraeber 272 for under 70,000GBP.

Re: Mason & Hamlin vs Steinway vs Kawai [Re: NFexec] #1723198
07/29/11 04:33 PM
07/29/11 04:33 PM
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beethoven986 Offline
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Have you tried the 7' Schimmel? You can get that for somewhere in the 50s.

Re: Mason & Hamlin vs Steinway vs Kawai [Re: NFexec] #1723278
07/29/11 08:06 PM
07/29/11 08:06 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 4,805
San Jose, CA
Jeff Clef Offline
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"...It will take some time and effort to get to that point, and I'm not in a big hurry... however I won't want to continue the search forever!"

Auditioning, oh, six to eight contenders is hardly "forever," even if you listen to each model three times (at least) on three different days. Finding examples of all of them might take awhile (and I think you left out Baldwin, Bosendorfer, Charles Walter, Estonia, Fazioli, Grotrian, Hamburg Steinway, and a few others).

What you say shows a healthy and reasonable attitude, though. There are those who have made a second career out of trying this and that piano, and yet after sampling such a feast, still left the table hungry and unsatisfied.

I think you will find something you can love, and afford, and that you can find local talent who can provide continuing service so that your piano gives you its best. The table is hardly bare, even in these tarnished times when the Golden Age has long since passed us by.

No matter how delicious the buffet, you can't eat everything. Remember Alka-Seltzer.


Clef

Re: Mason & Hamlin vs Steinway vs Kawai [Re: NFexec] #1723311
07/29/11 10:03 PM
07/29/11 10:03 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
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Wichita, Kansas
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gutenberg Offline
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What a wonderful dilemma. Sorry, I know its causing you some angst. I can't find a Shigeru anywhere near me, so I have nothing to add there. But your situation really resonates with me. Maybe thats because we're about the same age and appear to value some of the same things in a piano (i.e. a wonderful action that easily gets us to ppp).

You seem to have the money but you are understandably concerned about "value." I've played many Mason's of all sizes, new and rebuilt, and they are really wonderful pianos. Two of my favorite pianos have been coincidentally Steinway B's, one new one rebuilt. I have played a number of Steinways I didn't much care for. But those 2 had what I liked most about great Steinways, balance and evenness across the registers and the signature Steinway overtones. They also both had very controllable actions. One approached "sublime."

So you can guess what I think I would do in your shoes. I would not spend very much time trying to find a better value that came close to sublime. What is that worth? Who knows?

I would also go back and throw every piece of piano literature that I loved at that Steinway. I would go back at least two or three times. If she was still sublime, and I was still in love with her, I wouldn't waste any time buying her.

Btw, I didn't have the money to buy the Steinway that approaced sublime.

Re: Mason & Hamlin vs Steinway vs Kawai [Re: NFexec] #1723424
07/30/11 06:50 AM
07/30/11 06:50 AM
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 4,346
North Hollywood CA.
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North Hollywood CA.
Of course this inevitable choice you are about to make is and should be one based on YOUR personal,subjective assessment of your three choices. I personally have and own all three of your piano options but not the exact three pianos of direct comparison. Upon making a decision based on the pianos on a objective assessment, I'd go the Steinway B, no question. Making a decision based on pricepoint is always a compromise in the end. There is no challange in finding the ultimate piano if price is not a consideration.

A new Steinway B to me is not the route to go unless you hit the powerball lottery and you have already exhasted your options in the CUSTOM rebuild remanufacture market. But what do I know? wink


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Re: Mason & Hamlin vs Steinway vs Kawai [Re: NFexec] #1725337
08/02/11 03:48 PM
08/02/11 03:48 PM
Joined: Jul 2011
Posts: 111
NE Ohio
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NFexec Offline OP
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I thought I'd give an update. I'm still not done with my "auditions" of new pianos... but have found some interesting if not confusing results. First off, the Steinway B that spoke to me is still around, and I played it again after a week's rest... along with two new A's. I also found the Yamaha C7 and two C6 models, and a used Steinway B... along with the original auditions of the M&H A & AA.

Yamaha C7

So I now have tried 9 instruments. I was very surprised by the C7. At a very soft to say, forte level, it was MUCH less harsh than I remember the last Yamaha I tried... a few years ago. And the action was lighter than the Steinway. I was pretty impressed! However, when played FF or more (or accent one or two notes at a time at a louder level) there were signs on the Yamaha brightness that shone through. Now I realize some consider that desirable and would not consider it to be harsh. But to me, it was harsh. I suspect SOME of that could be
controlled with voicing... but it concerns me that so much of that brilliance rose above the ensemble to an unbalanced level. In fact one or more of the deeper bass strings actually sounded tinny and harsh - almost as if it were vibrating against the soundboard or adjacent string with an FFF expression! Hmmmm. This one is not yet out of the picture, but it will need some serious thought.

Yamaha C6

There were two of these. One was actually voiced rather nicely - almost (ALMOST) Steinway style if you know what I mean. It had a soft, yet clear tone in the mid and upper registers, but it was a bit dull in the bass. Overall, it needed some roundness that was missing. The other C6 was considerably brighter. And, as much as I prefer mellow and sweet, I preferred this one as it had more dynamic range to express. However, this one was just too strident in some ways. Still better than the "old" Yamahas I've been used to.... but not quite there yet.

The advantage of the C7 (for example) is it has a wonderful dynamic range and can be played softly without much difficulty. Individual notes can also be controlled as accents with ease. Very impressed with this. But the louder dynamics really worry me. The C7 is the largest piano (7' 6") and has the "smallest" price tag of $39,900. Not bad.

Used Steinway B

This one was built in 1993 and is physically in nearly new condition, with very little action or hammer wear. It felt just a tad more heavy than the C7, but that could be changed. The voicing was a little harsh in some registers, but I suspect this piano was never voiced other than when it was new. Some sections sounded just as I expected them to - outstandingly expressive, warm yet pronounced without a glaring tone. Yet other registers were either a bit thin or fuzzy. Again - I suspect a good regulation & voicing would improve most of that. Yet there is still an overall difference in my gut to this one as compared to the new "B" I recently played. Not a bad one - just.. well, perhaps not as dynamic and impressive. The acoustics of the room where it sits might affect too, I suppose.

New Steinway B

This is the same one I recently played. I played it again yesterday and was disappointed that some of it was noticeably out of tune which of course made a difference in my "sublime" sensation. I also was getting pretty tired by the time I played it so I was not quite as smitten as I was the first time.... but that too could change on another day once this piano is touched up a bit. It has a definite clean and predictable feel and articulation... and the sound is noticeably more pronounced than on the A or even the M&H. It is less "in your face" in the bass compared with the Yamaha C7... but still carries a wonderful projection - yet not harsh. Time will tell a bit more with this one!

New Steinway A (1)

Brand-new and voiced a bit on the soft and even demure side. Yet, it still had wonderful, round, clean and clear projection. It was quite difficult to get a lot of volume out of this one, but for ballads, pretty chopin, or a lot of pop music, this one was brilliantly suited. Action was extremely nice, but not perfect... again... not a deal breaker. I liked this one, except missed the full yet controlled projectile feeling of a slightly keener bass.

New Steinway A (2)

This one sounded bigger than it its 6' 2". More robust voicing and great projection. It lacked only a very modest amount of clarity in the middle - bass range as compared with the B. But I know there is a reason for that. The regulation was very good, but I'd have it "buttered up" just a tad. The "A" is about $10K less than the "B". I also liked this one, but wished it had just a little more presence and sustain. This one is also still in the running

Shigeru Kawai

I have not yet played one, and only have read about and seen YouTube examples. A dealer that is about an hour away from me claims he will be getting this line and will also have a M&H BB in stock in September. So unless something extraordinary pops up, or I get an offer I can't refuse, I may be waiting until then to check these two out.

Mason & Hamlin

As previously reported, I enjoyed the AA (6' 4") but felt it was a bit harsh and heavy. I would like to see a BB before making my choice. So we shall see.

Just checking in.

Doug


Anyone know about the 1920's "Mighty Wurlitzer" theatre pipe organs? Click here: www.wrtos.org or here: www.atos.org
Re: Mason & Hamlin vs Steinway vs Kawai [Re: NFexec] #2142255
09/01/13 12:04 PM
09/01/13 12:04 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
Posts: 12
NYC- plan to move to North Car...
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mandelkern Offline
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NYC- plan to move to North Car...
Here is my sad story. If anyone can offer me any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it. I had a 1930 Mason and Hamlin - Had put in new Renner action, strings, and pin block. Moved to Arizona and that was basically the end of the sound board. I then inherited my mother (who was a professional musician) Steinway A1 (1909) piano that she had loved; however, it was in horrible condition with a badly cracked sound board (cracked from a dehumidifer). I had a number of technicians advise me - I loved the Mason and Hamlin but since the rebuild would be the same cost with either piano, I was advised by all to rebuild the Steinway. Thinking I had found someone good (he was absolutely horrible) for $4000 less than what AC Piano Craft in NYC would charge, I went with the cheaper. What I believed happened was that the person who did the belly placed the pinblock a fraction high and the completely incompetent technician didn't recognize this and used straight Steinway measurements without compensating for the high pinblock. Needless to say, it was an unplayable piano and the technician (and his fast talking daughter) kept arguing with me telling me how wonderful the piano and threatening me if I didn't take it back. Since the technician was in NJ and I live in NY, a lawsuit would have been too difficult. Forgot to mention, that I also had a technician advise me not to take the piano. We finally reached an agreement where he had his cronies from Steinway (still working there) come in and work on it. They did and when one of them played it, it sounded OK. I forgot to mention that I pretty much started playing as a young adult, seriously studied for about 5 years and at this point in time, had barely touched the piano for about 15 years. I didn't feel confident in my judgement and unfortunately I didn't have my mother, any musician, or my trusted piano technician (who had relocated) to help me.

I took the piano and after spending small but adequate amounts of time with it realized not only that I hated the sound, I could not play the piano. The keys were too high, everything was uneven - it was unbelievable. So, my piano technician, who returns to NYC periodically, evaluated the piano and over the course of several years did several minor regulations, lowered the keys to Steinway standards but each time, after he left, the regulatlion slipped. When I finally asked him to really explore what was wrong with the piano, he discovered that everything was wrong and called in his colleague (the one I should have used in the first place). So 7,000+ later, I now have a piano that sounds very nice after tuning and quite lovely when when someone else plays it. So, why am I unhappy with it. Not sure - it's just a hard piano for me to play (hard action) and it doesn't sound good when I play it and thus I don't really enjoy it. My Mason and Hamlin was so sensitive and sounded so beautiful even with my terrible playing. The only problem is I don't play well enough to trust my judgement. I don't know if the problem is with the piano in which case I will never be happy with it even if I practice regularly and my playing improves (which I plan to do when I retire) or if the problem is with me. I think I should have gone with the Renner action but it was my choice to have the Steinway action.

So, I find myself looking at ads for other pianos and then torn about putting still more money into changing the action and possibly still not being happy with the piano. The problem is the older Mason and Hamlins are all old enough that they would need new sound boards according to the 70 year old standard - this is prohibitively expensive. Although I see Mason and Hamlins with new action, I have never seen one for sale that has a new sound board. I'm also thinking of a newer Kawai, primarily because a pianist friend of my mother's loved her Kawai and they are relatively inexpensive. Since I will only be in NYC for another couple of years, I think the best time for me to make a decision is while I live here.

I haven't posted before, so hopefully if I get responses, I'll be able to find them - site is a little difficult to navigate.

Any thoughts? opinions? Thank you. Susan

Re: Mason & Hamlin vs Steinway vs Kawai [Re: mandelkern] #2142273
09/01/13 12:43 PM
09/01/13 12:43 PM
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Mwm Offline
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Older M&H's may not need new soundboards. Have a technician check out any piano before you make a decision. M&H's with the Tension Resonator will likely have close to its original crown.

Re: Mason & Hamlin vs Steinway vs Kawai [Re: Mwm] #2142357
09/01/13 03:37 PM
09/01/13 03:37 PM
Joined: Apr 2013
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guess where in CA and WA
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Mwm is quite correct. My M&H is almost 100 years old, has excellent crown and no cracks.

You'll just need to spend some time looking.

But at the same time, why don't you look at the new M&Hs? They don't have that smokey golden "voice-type" that the golden era Masons do. But they still have an exceptional and very special sound, and are wonderful to play when they are prepped correctly. I just saw two new "A"s at the best dealer in the Seattle area. They were perfectly prepared and sounded amazing.


Laguna Greg

1919 Mason & Hamlin AA
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/greg-dempster/34/325/6b9/ (my day job)
Re: Mason & Hamlin vs Steinway vs Kawai [Re: mandelkern] #2142434
09/01/13 06:04 PM
09/01/13 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mandelkern
I now have a piano that sounds very nice after tuning and quite lovely when when someone else plays it. So, why am I unhappy with it. Not sure - it's just a hard piano for me to play (hard action) and it doesn't sound good when I play it


Perhaps you can try to put the bench a bit higher, so you are not pulling but pushing the keys smile

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