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Essex vs. Boston vs. Steinway #1856929
03/06/12 01:20 AM
03/06/12 01:20 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 74
Northern Idaho
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sushifor5 Offline OP
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sushifor5  Offline OP
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Northern Idaho
OK, I have read Fine's book and latest info online, but I'm not sure I fully grasp the differences among the Steinway family of pianos. I know Essex and Boston are made in Asia (China and Japan respectively? is that right?) and are designed by Steinway. But what are the real life differences between the genuine Steinway and Sons pianos and the Essex and Boston? I'm specifically looking at studio and full-size uprights. How different are the designs and the components? What are the general thoughts on tone and playability?

I played an Essex 123 and an old and new Steinway 1098...I did not like the bright, twangy tone of the Essex...the new Steinway seemed too muffled and off in the bass. The old Steinway had nice tone...but is 40 years old and that's too old for my taste. I'm not an expert on key feel, etc, but am learning. I did not get to try the Boston yet, as they were absent from the store.

If anyone has pearls of wisdom to share regarding the construction, quality, playability, etc among this group of instruments, I'd love the input. THanks so much!!


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Re: Essex vs. Boston vs. Steinway [Re: sushifor5] #1856935
03/06/12 01:33 AM
03/06/12 01:33 AM
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Posts: 37
Qc, Canada
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slpiano Offline
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I don't know how well the dealer you went to prep his pianos but the 2 Essex 123 i tried in store (2 different stores) were far from bright and twangy like you say lol. As for the steinway being off in the bass, seems like a tuning issue to me.

Essex is Pearl river (china)
Boston is Kawai (japan)
Steinway is built in US or Germany (i'm far from sure tho).

Anyways, see it that way : Essex is like a honda civic while boston is more like a civic SI (yup... not more, for double the price!). Talking about the 48" uprights i tested personally. A Steinway is a Steinway... even tho i hear their uprights weren't as good as their grands. Those 3 pianos are kinda far away in price range too... You cant expect an Essex to perform like a Ferrari and personally i would stay away from Steinways uprights as you could get way better or equivalent for far less $$$.

If you're on a tight budget, give the Essex another try? If not... i wouldn't limit my choice to those brands as there is so many outstanding pianos out there.

All this being personal opinion tho. If you want some feedback on the Essex there is a post i made about the one i just bought :

forum post

Edit: adding stuff.


Last edited by slpiano; 03/06/12 01:44 AM.
Re: Essex vs. Boston vs. Steinway [Re: sushifor5] #1856942
03/06/12 01:47 AM
03/06/12 01:47 AM
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USA
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gnuboi Offline
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USA
Twangy? Was it not tuned?

Re: Essex vs. Boston vs. Steinway [Re: sushifor5] #1857036
03/06/12 08:22 AM
03/06/12 08:22 AM
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Belgium
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RedKat Offline
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I don’t know what people actually mean by saying that a piano is “bright”. If being bright is equivalent to being loud, certainly, Essex EUP-123 is a loud piano. If the meaning leans more toward the tone quality as being more “open” (like singing with widely open mouth) or “closed or round” (like professional opera singing with rounded lips), Essex, I think, has “round” sound. Twanginess is also something that does not belong to the Essex, IMHO. Below is a link to my performance at the latest ABF Recital played on my Essex EUP-123

http://recitals.pianoworld.com/recital_files/Recital_25/23.%20RedKat%20-%20Prelude%20Op.28%20N.4.mp3

I wonder how would you characterize this tone



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Re: Essex vs. Boston vs. Steinway [Re: sushifor5] #1857051
03/06/12 09:08 AM
03/06/12 09:08 AM
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 582
Italy
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acortot Offline
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Italy
I don't see how a piano can be dismissed just because of it's age.. if you like it..

obviously a piano in poor condition should be dismissed.

just sayin..


rhythm must be inborn - Alfred Cortot

An Article on the unusual makeup of original Pleyel hammers, during Chopin's lifetime:

http://acortot.blogspot.it/2012/07/pleyel-hammers-in-chopin-era-i-martelli.html

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Re: Essex vs. Boston vs. Steinway [Re: sushifor5] #1857068
03/06/12 09:39 AM
03/06/12 09:39 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 10,952
Maryland/DC/No. VA
Steve Cohen Offline
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Another perspective on comparing Steinway, Boston and Essex is to draw the analogy to competitive brands about which more is known. Steinway, being very well know can be the basis for comparison.

Steinway is to Boston much like Steinway is to Kawai (it's maker) or Yamaha.

Steinway is to Essex much like Steinway is to Pearl River (it's maker) or Baldwin (China).

The specific design and technological differences of any brand can be best evaluated by the performance of well prepped samples of those pianos.




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Re: Essex vs. Boston vs. Steinway [Re: sushifor5] #1857096
03/06/12 10:29 AM
03/06/12 10:29 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 10,966
Williamsburg, VA
Piano*Dad Offline
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This may be OT, but why limit your choice to those three components of the same corporate family? There are many other uprights you could consider that you might actually prefer (and afford). Instead of a Steinway, try a Petrof or a Charles Walter. They're much less expensive, and who knows, you might like them better. Instead of a Boston, you might look at a Kawai or a Yamaha U-series. Instead of an Essex, you might try any one of a bunch of less expensive pianos from China. In the end, you may go back to the Essex, Boston, Steinway line, but you will do so more fully informed.

Re: Essex vs. Boston vs. Steinway [Re: sushifor5] #1857274
03/06/12 03:23 PM
03/06/12 03:23 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 74
Northern Idaho
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sushifor5 Offline OP
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Northern Idaho
Thanks for the feedback, everyone. We are considering other uprights...I just wanted to better understand the Steinway family. I am considering a Charles Walter, a Knabe, a Kawai, and others...we don't have access to many pianos as far as local availability, so it's a tough search. I'm trying to understand how the internals and design of the Steinway family would differ and affect the tones and longevity of the instruments.

To RedKat, that was beautiful playing, thanks for the link. I would characterize the sound of your Essex as bright, especially in the treble. When I say bright I'm talking about the difference between a Yamaha and a Kawai...the yamaha is bright and lends itself to a jazzy sound and the kawai is more muffled...i honestly don't know how better to describe what i'm hearing...i've got a sensitive ear, but i'm not a professional with instruments and terminology.

We played a Knabe 131 and it had the same muffled quality of the larger Kawai uprights...it sounded more like the grands I've heard. The Yamahas and the Essex seemed more open, certainly less "muffled."

I do believe the Steinway dealer said that the Essex we played that day had not been fully tuned yet. I imagine that makes a difference. The Essex in the high range sounded a bit shrill...it just didn't seem right to me.

I'm certainly open to education on how to describe the tones of these instruments...I struggle to explain what I'm hearing and feeling. Thanks to all!!

Last edited by sushifor5; 03/06/12 06:37 PM.

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