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#1795947 - 11/25/11 06:35 PM Pianos with "Interesting" Sound
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
I've had my rented Sohmer studio piano for a week and a half now and have really gotten used to its somewhat quirky sound palette. The bass can be a little overpowering (and to be honest a little muddy at times), the bass/treble break is a little wonky (especially the F# and G above the break) and the upper mids and low trebles have a glassy sound with tons of overtones (sounds almost the like the strings are tuned in octaves instead of unisons). But my ears have come to expect those elements and as I'm playing a new tune I find myself looking forward to how I know certain registers will sound.

Here's the thing, all of those would be considered flaws in the piano. It's not even and I suppose some people might not like super-overtone trebles or booming upper bass chords (unless you know to hold back a little with the left hand!). The glassy top end is no doubt due to the hammers being hard and somewhat grooved after 20+ years as a teacher's studio piano and more recent service in the rental fleet.

But if you gave me a "better" sounding piano tomorrow and took away my Sohmer I'd miss it. Heck, I chose it from the other rental pianos because I dig the sound. And over the holiday when I play a little on my mom's and sister's pianos (each of them Baldwin consoles) I was sitting there thinking "Man I can't wait to get home, these pianos sound so BORING!".

Does anyone else care to share a story about their "Interesting" sounding piano? Maybe one that you suspect someone else would complain about but you love it anyway?
Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

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#1795965 - 11/25/11 07:05 PM Re: Pianos with "Interesting" Sound [Re: Brent H]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 22161
Loc: New York City
The best pianos(say Fine's tier 1 and tier 2) are quite rare in the real world. Most people own lesser pianos. If one is lucky enough to play or own one of these top pianos, I don't see any reason why one should find it boring and want a piano with a more "interesting" sound.

#1795990 - 11/25/11 08:28 PM Re: Pianos with "Interesting" Sound [Re: Brent H]
PassingBy Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/24/10
Posts: 1676
Hmm, interesting post. IMO I wouldn't automatically assume that because a piano is high tier it will have an interesting tone/sound. my piano is not high tier at all, but IMHO has a much more "interesting" sound than some pianos I have played. "interesting" is a very hard thing to describe.

When I play any other piano other than my own, I do actually think "this piano is so, uh, boring and uh, lifeless, and, uh, predictable. Etc". Not sayin that my piano is unpredicatable, but I think it is much more interesting and has more character than some other pianos. I have played some high tier pianos, and none has a more interesting tone than my own. It is definitely down to the individual piano, and individual opinion.

I think the low bass notes sound like bells, the low tenor sounds very vocal on tone, the mid treble also. The sound is also much darker and richer than any other piano I've played. It's very interesting to listen to. But it (the piano) is quite bright, and could be waay too bright and loud for some people to listen to.

Interestingly. The low tenor and the bass have a sound very similar to my voice in that range. The overtones are almost exactly the same, and the quality of sound is similar too. Even the bass-tenor break match up! I do have a connection to this piano in more than one way. smile

#1796055 - 11/26/11 01:03 AM Re: Pianos with "Interesting" Sound [Re: Brent H]
Dave B Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 2577
Loc: Philadelphia area
I think, somewhere between its design engineering and its manufacturing, every piano has something "interesting" to offer. Sometimes we need to spend time with the piano before we will find it.
"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams

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#1796074 - 11/26/11 02:03 AM Re: Pianos with "Interesting" Sound [Re: Brent H]
ZoeCalgary Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/11
Posts: 748
Loc: Calgary Alberta
My 7 year old noticed one g note sounded funny. I think it's at a string crossover point if I'm not mistaken. A key that just sounds different. I've read lots of pianos have this type of problem with 1 or more keys.
Preparing Grade 6 RCM.

#1796082 - 11/26/11 02:20 AM Re: Pianos with "Interesting" Sound [Re: Dave B]
pianosxxi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/21/08
Posts: 221
Loc: Southern California
"Unexpected Sound"

In 1976, me and my partner received a letter from the music school in the city of Olenegorsk, located behind the polar circle. They asked us to tune their 15 pianos, since they didn't have any piano technicians in the area. Upon the arrival, they had us look at the pianos. Me and my partner were shocked how the pianos were sounding, I could hardly recognize the chromatic scale of the piano. Each chord produced a very unusual beating. The pianos were really out of shape.

We began working on one particular piano, and after several hours we were finished. The change was so dramatic, that when the students played the piano they were in a state of confusion. They said that they never heard a sound like that. When we questioned them whether the sound is okay to them, they couldn't answer. They asked to let them play for awhile before they make any final opinion on how the piano sounded.

Basically it shows that the human brain can be attached to the sound of a particular piano so strong, that he cannot subjectively distinguish whether the sound is good or bad.
Gene Korolev, RPT
President, Master Piano Rebuilder

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#1796138 - 11/26/11 07:03 AM Re: Pianos with "Interesting" Sound [Re: PassingBy]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 22161
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Rotom
Hmm, interesting post. IMO I wouldn't automatically assume that because a piano is high tier it will have an interesting tone/sound. my piano is not high tier at all, but IMHO has a much more "interesting" sound than some pianos I have played. "interesting" is a very hard thing to describe.
"Interesting", especially the way it's used in the OP, isn't usually an important criteria for serious pianists. They want a beauiful sound or a sound that can be musical appropriate for the pieces they play. If you check the Fazioli website you can see a list of tonal qualities(good sustain, dynmaic range, ability to disitnguish voices in polyphonic music, etc.)with specific musical examples that I think many pianists would agree on.

Edited by pianoloverus (11/26/11 07:04 AM)

#1796145 - 11/26/11 07:26 AM Re: Pianos with "Interesting" Sound [Re: pianoloverus]
Brent H Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 843
I'm enjoying hearing different people's take on this subject. For my own part, I wasn't really thinking in terms of great pianos. I've never played a piano that a concert artist would consider outstanding but I'll bet a nickel I'd love playing one if I had the chance.

My own encounters have been at the lower tiers where every instrument is compromised in one more aspects from a truly great one. But some of the not-so-great pianos seem perfectly competent in their evenness and unobjectionable timbre. Others are more a "love it or hate it" thing where certain things stand out that either work for the type of music you're trying to play or completely spoil the effect.

But no doubt, at the highest level of excellence there's an extra degree of expressiveness and compelling tone that you don't find in the type of piano most of have in our living rooms! That's another kind of "interest" altogether.
Current Life+Music Philosophy: Less Thinking, More Foot Tapping

Ars Longa, Vita Brevis

#1796171 - 11/26/11 09:44 AM Re: Pianos with "Interesting" Sound [Re: Brent H]
Rickster Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/06
Posts: 10896
Loc: Georgia, USA
I think a lot of members here got tired of hearing about my Tokai grand piano (Japanese Steinway smile ). Actually, it was more or less a replica/copy of the Steinway O. Though some here on the forum criticized it as being a very low-end PSO, it was the first grand piano I owned and it served me well for over 4 years. If you Google “Tokai” you will get more hits on Piano World than any other site in the world! laugh

It had a brightish, nasally tone and the low bass was rather thin. Yet, when I listen to some of the old YT music videos I recorded with the Tokai, it did sound pretty good for what it was. In hind sight, it was a decent first grand piano in my view. The guy who bought it was a classically trained pianist and was thrilled with it, and he got a great deal too.

On the other hand, my Yamaha C7 sounds head and shoulders better than the Tokai. The low bass will make your mouth water and the high treble will get your attention, big time. The quality tone of the mid section reminds me of other high quality pianos I’ve heard before. It is definitely an upgrade.

Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel

#1796187 - 11/26/11 10:19 AM Re: Pianos with "Interesting" Sound [Re: Brent H]
apple* Offline

Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
i don't know PL.. i am a serious pianist and I find interesting a significant factor.

I appreciate my brother's ancient Knabe console, and the little pianos still working hard in practice rooms for choirs. i find it helpful to enjoy the pianos one must play, even if they are low end psos. best to make the most of situation in other words.

that said, i really like how interesting long Schimmels are... definitely unique.
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)


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