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#172642 - 01/24/06 11:27 PM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 3,269
ChickGrand Offline
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Midwest U.S.
Quote
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
...I hope to throw a piano party a short while after the AA is delivered to my home. Everyone without exception will be invited...
It might be the first time we've all been invited to a bedroom. laugh

Congratulations on a very fine choice. thumb

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#172643 - 01/25/06 08:04 AM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
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whippen boy Offline
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San Francisco
Should I bring my pajamas? :p

Welcome to the M&H club!

#172644 - 01/25/06 08:44 AM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
Joined: Oct 2004
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Larry Buck Offline
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Larry Buck  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 2,456
Lowell MA
whippen boy,

Not to get off topic. The recording ax posted in no eq/eq , was that on your new Mason? If not, what piano?

Thanks,
Larry Buck


"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."
Mark Twain

E. J. Buck & Sons
Lowell MA 01852
978 458 8688
www.ejbuckpiano.com
http://www.facebook.com/EJBuckPerformances
#172645 - 01/25/06 08:45 AM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
Joined: Oct 2004
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Larry Buck Offline
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Larry Buck  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2004
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Lowell MA


"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."
Mark Twain

E. J. Buck & Sons
Lowell MA 01852
978 458 8688
www.ejbuckpiano.com
http://www.facebook.com/EJBuckPerformances
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#172646 - 01/25/06 12:26 PM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
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whippen boy Offline
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San Francisco
Recording is on a Grotrian 225.

The M&H is at home.

But not in my bedroom.

#172647 - 01/25/06 12:52 PM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
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fingers Offline
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Westchester, NY
Jeffrey,


MAZEL - TOV !!!!!

fingers


Playing piano at age 2, it was thought that I was some sort of idiot-savant. As it turns out, I'm just an idiot.
#172648 - 01/25/06 01:36 PM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
Joined: Jul 2005
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Estonia 190 Offline
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Estonia 190  Offline
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Posts: 10
Thousand Oaks, CA
Hi,
I have an Estonia 190 built in Spring 2005 which I purchased in late Summer'05.

As mentioned in one of my other posts - it just tugged at our heartstrings, and still does.
We have had friends over who are professional musicians and they can't believe their ears. Several female vocalists actually shed tears when certain pieces were played on the Estonia.

I did hear first hand how a hand built piano can vary. My dealer gave us the option to exchange it for a "Laul" branded newer piano in his store.
It just did not sound the same. The four of us tried it at different times and came to this conclusion independantly.

The final proof of variability was when a couple in our town bought the new Estonia after comparing it to a Schimmel.
We got to know them and they visited us about a month later. They both were quite surprised at how much "sweeter" ours sounded and the wife felt the emotional tugs from it.
(They both played - so it wasn't only my children's playing that did the heart tugging!!).
They've decided not to play our piano anymore so that they remain satisfied with theirs.

The Japanese & Korean pianos appear to be more consistent (more automation?)

Listen to different builds of the handbuilt pianos. Play the same pieces on each of your shortlists.
Let your heart decide.

Regards

#172649 - 01/25/06 02:03 PM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 10
Estonia 190 Offline
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Estonia 190  Offline
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Thousand Oaks, CA
Hi Folks,
I responded to the title of this topic "I'm shopping for a grand" with my previous post.

Then I came back (instead of working)and read the recent posts - which are of a congratulatory nature - so, here goes ....
...congrats on your M&H!!

Regards

#172650 - 01/25/06 08:50 PM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
Joined: Apr 2004
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Jeffrey Offline
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New York
Estonia - Thanks for the good suggestion. The Estonia 190 was in my final top three. I personally think the build quality, and fit and finish, on the newest ones is better (independent of price) that on at least two other well known Fine-rated Tier One grands (setting aside subjective tone or touch preferences).

I was unfairly biased against them at the beginning of my search, because of their lower price. I guess I thought that since they were so much cheaper, they must be less good musically. (I am sure there is some psychological term for this.) But I played both sizes for several hours over the last few weeks, and they grew on me a lot. Lush, romantic, with a deep sustain. If the M + H's didn't exist, I probably would have bought an Estonia 190, or had to jump to a whole 'nother price point to get a piano (a larger model Bluthner or Bosie, for example, both of which I also loved, independent of any price or size considerations).

So why did I choose a somewhat more expensive Mason AA over the Estonia 190? I liked the deeper bass, and what I thought of as a more "neutral" or clearer tone. The action on the particular one I am getting was very precise for me (solving the Mason-action issues I had previously). I also liked the massive build quality of the M + H. I felt like I was getting a lot of pounds of piano for my dollar. smile None of these might be decisive for someone else. I think the Estonias and the Masons are two of the best dollar-per-musical-values on the market today in higher end grands.

On that theme, I finalized my purchase of the Mason AA from Ori Bukai of Allegro Pianos today, wiring the balance of the purchase price to them. I expect delivery in a few days, once some elevator and hallway issues are worked out.

#172651 - 01/26/06 01:18 AM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
Joined: Nov 2004
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Ori Offline
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Ori  Offline
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Stamford CT, New York City .
Quote
Originally posted by Jeffrey:


Just a word about Ori Bukai and Allegro Pianos. I have visited his store twice (once over the weekend, and earlier today), for several hours each time, with family and without. I have put a deposit down on a particular gem of a well-prepped Mason AA, and plan to finalize the sale in a few days barring some unforseen event. (Mrs. Jeffrey just wants me to sit with the decision for a few more days.)

I have played almost every Tier One piano (except the quetzel-like Steingraeber) and many Tier Two pianos, usually in several different model sizes, at basically a dozen dealers all over the tri-state area. Objectively, one could call me obsessive-neurotically insane in the level of detail I brought to the search. But it was important to me to get a quality piano to share my life with every day. And at the end of this comprehensive search, I am buying a new Mason and Hamlin AA from Ori Bukai of Allegro Pianos.

People may not know this, but Ori runs his own shop from a home office showroom in Stamford, CT. He has a low-cost structure and fair prices for quality pianos (low real estate overhead, no salesweasels). You always deal directly with the business owner, Ori, who is a nationally-known and exceptionally knowledgeable tech. Yes, Ori can be brusque, but his deep love of pianos and the quality of his personally prepped inventory would be clear to anyone who actually walks into his shop (by individual appointment, not with bunches of other people wandering around). Perhaps he is brusque because he really really cares about pianos and sound quality, and has strong opinions. If you want some piano salesweasel to tell you are really smart and know so much and play great, then don't go to Ori, because he will give you his opinion, even if it is different from yours, and back it up with facts. He also, like Faust-Harrison, has fixed prices. You don't get a better price from him because you negotiate harder or a worse price if you tell him you really like his pianos. I found this to be a direct and honest way to do business. All his customers get treated equally, with fair prices to begin with, and he personally services them afterwards.

Some people may disagree with my high opinion of Ori, after having actually met him and played his pianos. That's fine. But I doubt that anyone can walk into his store, and not be impressed with both the quality of his personally prepped pianos, and his deep knowledge of piano technology, greater than anyone I have personally ever talked to.

Jeffery,
Brusque??? Me???
Now how can you say such a thing? laugh

Thank you for your kind words and congratulations on your beautiful new piano!
It was a pleasure meeting you and your family.

Ori


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
#172652 - 01/26/06 10:16 AM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
Joined: Aug 2005
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Monica K. Offline

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Monica K.  Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,160
Lexington, Kentucky
Quote
Originally posted by Jeffrey:
I was unfairly biased against them at the beginning of my search, because of their lower price. I guess I thought that since they were so much cheaper, they must be less good musically. (I am sure there is some psychological term for this.)
...She switches into professor mode: Jonathan Friedman and his colleagues have a theory called "inferred value theory" that basically says what you just said, albeit in a lot longer and more complicated manner. They argue that people use price as a heuristic to make inferences about quality. So if people see two similar products, say digital cameras, and one is twice as expensive as the other, they will infer that the expensive one is better, whether or not it actually is. (You guys didn't really think I would use certain piano brands as an example, did you? laugh )

....switching off professor mode: Your statement that delivery is pending on working out elevator issues was a little scary. Are they going to be able to get it up to your place? Will they have to use a crane? (Gulp) Carry it up the stairs?


Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica
[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
#172653 - 01/26/06 11:08 AM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
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fingers Offline
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Westchester, NY
Jeffrey,

It was not known until my M&H BB was delivered that it would not fit in the elevator.

Solution: It was pushed/pulled up FIVE(5) flights of stairs without any hoists or other such devices. It wasn't that tough; but I wasn't the one pushing/pulling.

Interestingly, removing the piano and controlling its mass proved more difficult.

Regards,
fingers


Playing piano at age 2, it was thought that I was some sort of idiot-savant. As it turns out, I'm just an idiot.
#172654 - 01/26/06 06:56 PM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
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whippen boy Offline
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San Francisco
With a Mason & Hamlin you just crank the Tension Resonator tighter until the piano is about half the size. Then it will fit in ANY elevator.

#172655 - 01/26/06 07:16 PM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
Joined: Jan 2003
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apple* Offline
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Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
Kansas
you might have to choose between Mason or Hamlin frown


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

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
#172656 - 01/26/06 07:41 PM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
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ftp Offline
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Philadelphia
whippen boy and apple,

Great use of thinking inside the box. Just beautiful. LMAO

#172657 - 01/26/06 09:55 PM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
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jon-nyc Offline
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NY
Quote
Originally posted by Monica Kern:
Will they have to use a crane? (Gulp)
It would be pretty cool to watch the video of somebody else's piano being hauled through a window with a crane.


If you don't talk to your children about equal temperment, who will?
#172658 - 01/26/06 10:29 PM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
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Norbert Offline
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Surrey, B.C.
Jeffrey:

Congratulations to a superb piano buy from a superb dealer! thumb

Thank you also for your very eloquent and intelligent reporting about your piano shopping trip and sharing your thoughts and observations with us.

Too many people have come here to suck up all kinds of information - only to disappear with their *fill* into the great unknown later..... frown

Quote
I think the Estonias and the Masons are two of the best doller-per-musical-values on the market today in higher end grands.
As a dealer, one could say I'm perhaps biased saying this - but when it comes from a discerning piano shopper like you - people listen.

As are hundreds and hundreds of other smart piano shoppers and buyers comparing similiar high end makes.....

ENJOY your wonderful new piano!!

norbert smile


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642 www.eliteheritagepianos.ca Edmonton, Alta dealers for Estonia,
Brodmann 780-405-8908
#172659 - 01/26/06 10:40 PM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
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Piano*Dad Offline
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Williamsburg, VA
I read whippen, apple and ftp and practically busted a gut. Thanks for a real set of laughs!

...choose between Mason and Hamlin ....right laugh

Oh, my, I'm still laughing.

I tried saying it to myself and it came out

"Mason in half-lin"

#172660 - 01/27/06 05:20 AM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
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whippen boy Offline
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Hey, I'm a regular fountain of knowledge [Linked Image] when it comes to indispensable piano moving advice:

Free Advice

#172661 - 01/27/06 10:15 AM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
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Jeffrey Offline
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New York
Ok, guys, the fun at my expense over! The piano movers scoped out the joint this morning, looking at the elevator and the foyer etc. All is fine and the move is set for Monday.

Also, (as I mentioned on the WTF version of this thread) I am getting a serious Eastman and Vienna Conservatory trained classical teacher, starting Sunday. I told my current teacher about this, and he said he wasn't surprized, he was going to suggest I find such a person soon anyway. He generally does Pop/Broadway/Blues type of improv stuff, and that is where his real love is. So I am going to continue with him doing Pop and fakebook stuff (which I really like, and which my wife likes more than the classical!!) and then start classical lessons with a trained classical pianist in addition. Each teacher knows about the other, and is fine with the arrangment, since neither overlaps in any way with each other's specialities. After getting a grand, I certainly intend to use it!!

As for other piano impressions, the August Forster, my one time favorite, faded on me as I played them more. Initially beautiful, the notes lacked a certain depth or quality in other pianos such as Bosie or Bluthner. The build was uneven between individual pianos. The lighter action was less attractive to me as I played them more and compared to a very smooth, but slightly heavier action (as in the Mason AA).

I personally preferred the laid-back, "quieter" "sweeter" tone qualities of the Bluthner and Bosies, over the brighter, sharper tones of the Grotrians or Bechsteins. This is purely subjective preference, not an attempt to rate by objective quality. A Bluthner Model 4 (or 2!) would be my second piano, if I had unlimited space and funds. (Not that a Model 4 would be "better" than a Mason AA, perhaps the Mason is even a bit more well rounded for more types of music, but I loved the exquisite tonal purity of the Model 4's I played - two of them - and I'd love to have it as my "backup" piano!! Ha!!).

#172662 - 01/27/06 10:27 AM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
apple* Offline
apple*  Offline


Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
Kansas
HA yourself. laugh

i'll be thinking about you on Monday and praying you don't have a heart attack.


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

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
#172663 - 01/27/06 11:23 PM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
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Jeffrey Offline
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Jeffrey  Offline
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New York
apple - "heart attack"

Only if they make me move the thing myself. smile

#172664 - 01/28/06 12:20 AM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
apple* Offline
apple*  Offline


Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
Kansas
gosh i was sooooooooooooooooooooooo excited the day of the piano delivery. I had been pianoless for 3 weeks..it was sprinkling.. I kept imaging that a plane would crash into truck or the driver would have a heart attack or it would be delivered to the wrong address..i started crying and cleaning the house at 8.. I was counting down the minutes.. they were 2 hours late.. i couldn't eat..my kids were so concerned..

-of course, i'm a woman.


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

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
#172665 - 01/28/06 11:45 AM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 2,948
Jeffrey Offline
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Jeffrey  Offline
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New York
Norbert - I did a "Mason" search for back posts, and somewhere you said that the BB was (one of?) your favorites. I chose an AA. My ego kept me playing some BB's, and they are not that much more money. The bass is thunderous on a BB. But I thought that the AA (with Ori's guidance) would fit and play better in my actual living space. It seemed very well balanced between the registers. (And I have a trade up if for some reason I change my mind.) Any thoughts on the AA versus BB issue?

Also, thank-you for your kind comments. I really know very little about piano technology or piano playing, I just tried to keep an open mind and play and hear and look at many different brands, ask a lot of questions, and find a dealer I was comfortable with, with a good service model. Also, I am not going to mention exact prices, but I did come in way under budget for a piano of this quality. The Masons are very competatively priced compared to other legitimately Tier One (or even Tier Two!!) brands. (This leaves me lots left over for lessons.) smile

Best - Jeffrey

#172666 - 01/29/06 08:01 AM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
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jollyroger Offline
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Houston, TX
Jeffrey,
Once again, congratulations! That is one monster piano you bought! I pity the movers. One other thing about Ori, he is a fine artist as well. In addition to being a superb tech, he plays lovely and it is truly a pleasure to listen to him. If anyone has the chance to hear Ori play, ask him to play Chopin's Nocturne in E Flat Major. Your spirit will begin to soar.

I too have visited Ori's home and played the many fine pianos in his showroom. Anyone who is looking for a piano in the northeast owes it to themselves to visit Ori as you'll spend the first two hours or so having Ori provide the most amazing demonstrations about grand pianos and all the things that go into their respective designs and manufacturing. Even if one hasn't read Larry's book (which I did), it will prove to be one of the most informative afternoons you could ever hope for without all the high pressure sales tactics I've personally witnessed at some dealers.

Oh yes, and as for him being "brusque", I prefer to think of it as passionate, which Ori clearly is in regards to pianos and the wonderful sound that comes from them. I believe all pianists have this quality, to some degree or another. Ori is not one to blow sunshine up anyone's a$$ either. All one needs to do is meet Ori once and whether you agree or disagree with him, you will, at the very least, walk away respecting him as unlike so many others, he will demonstrate to you exactly what his opinions are based on.

Hope to catch you at the next concert at the Bulgarian Consulate.

Regards,
Roger


Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence.
Estonia 190 - Serial # 6561
#172667 - 01/29/06 10:23 AM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
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CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
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Hi Jeffrey,
I am REALLY happy and excited for you. Now that you've made your decision, let me boost your confidence by telling you the following. When I first began taking lessons years ago I lived in an apartment, which precluded me owning an acoustic piano right away. So I purchased a Yamaha Clavinova to practice on. I used to make my way over to the University's music department whenever I could, (2-3 times per week), and sneak my way into the music classrooms where they had numerous Steinway and Baldwin small to medium sized grands that were kind of beat up, from all the use, but high quality grands, nonetheless. I remember what a thrill it was to play on those instruments as I prepared for my first recital. Finally the first recital, at Steinway Hall in Manhattan, was upon me. I got there about an hour and a half early, like a kid in a candy store, and couldn't believe I got to move from one incredible instrument to another, at will, with no one hovering over me or trying to keep me from playing so they could give a sales pitch. I proceeded to play my first recital, three Chopin Preludes and a Bach Prelude, in the rotunda area of S&S Hall on a 9 foot Steinway "D". I vowed from that time forward, that I would someday have a Concert Grand, no matter what it would take. When I purchased my home I was finally able to begin my trek toward that ultimate goal. I began with a Yamaha U3 upright, which was a nice instrument for my entry into the world of acoustics. After a couple of years I traded it in for a 5'7" Tadashi grand.....a now defunct Japanese maker who modeled their scale on a German/European model. It had a sweet tone, uncharacteristic for most Asian pianos. Next came the Bechstein "A". A piano from 1876 that was completely remanufactured from the ground up.....beautiful to look at, but always left me feeling that something was lacking both tonally and in touch/response. This despite constant regulation/re-regulation and voicing by top techs. So I moved on to the Steinway "B". A gorgeous instrument from 1934 with a top of the line rebuild/remanufacture by craftsmen that used to work for Steinway, then Faust Harrison, then went out on their own in a shop in Yonkers. What an incredible instrument this was.....power, subtlety, control and golden tone. So I pretty much figured that this would be my piano for life....until I played the CC2. I came upon my Mason quite by accident. A nine foot monster that drew me to her. Rebuilt to a level I had rarely seen, I was blown away by how the two of us connected, and I knew I had to have her. Uh oh, this is beginning to sound like a Romance novel 3hearts . Anyway, my point in all of this was that, despite all the other high quality instruments I have been fortunate enough to own, NOTHING even comes close to the Mason. This piano combines incredible craftsmanship, high quality materials, an immense, yet controllable, sound and a wonderful touch that blows away anything I've played. I feel very fortunate, as I know you will with yours, to have this piano in my life. The joy it brings is incalculable. I am SO happy for you and wish you many years of happy, healthy playing!!!!!


Piano Technician/Tuner
#172668 - 01/29/06 01:14 PM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
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Jeffrey Offline
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Jeffrey  Offline
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New York
CC2 - I'll happily invite you over to play the (new) AA, and maybe sometime I can year your fantastic piano!! I was pushing the Spousal Acceptance Factors by going with the AA in an apartment, so I may have to wait a bit before getting a full Concert Grand!! Congrats to you as well. I'd really love to hear a classic CC sometime.

The first lesson with the new classical teacher went well. She liked my musicality and expression, and ability to memorize and keep time, but did, in fact, point out several technique issues we will work on so I don't get bad habits ingrained and can progress further. I am very happy.

Best - Jeffrey

#172669 - 01/29/06 01:45 PM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
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CC2 and Chopin lover Offline
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Jeffrey,
I will certainly be happy to take you up on that, and extend the invitation your way as well. It is really fun to have someone else sit down at the instrument you are so familiar with and listen to it from an entirely different perspective.
All the best,
Dan


Piano Technician/Tuner
#172670 - 01/29/06 03:39 PM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
apple* Offline
apple*  Offline


Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,862
Kansas
Quote
Originally posted by CC2 and Chopin lover:
and I knew I had to have her. Uh oh, this is beginning to sound like a Romance novel 3hearts
a real page turner.. smile i love stories about pianos


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

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
#172671 - 01/30/06 10:00 PM Re: I'm shopping for a grand!  
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 2,948
Jeffrey Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Jeffrey  Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 2,948
New York
Piano arrived today. Wow!! Please forgive me if I don't post too much tonight. smile

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