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I have just retired and have been promising myself that once in a lifetime Grand Piano upon retirement! I do not play at all but have played acoustic, electric and classical guitar for years! I have a not too short "short list". Of the following brands C Bechstein, Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Estonia, Fazioli, Grotrian, Mason Hamlin and Shigeru Kawai.
I am looking in the upper six foot through concert grand size. I realize it's probably crazy for me to get such a nice first piano. I know the better the tone and more enjoyable to play the harder I will practice and the more I will play. I also have family and friends that visit often that play! The room this piano will be in is 80'X20'X80'X35' with a 20' ceiling. From what I have read the acoustics of this room should be pretty good with a perfect spot for the piano. The whole room is carpeted but there are several adjacent rooms that are not! I live In Jacksonville Fl. and realize I am going to have to travel too see most of these brands! Any insight on these brands or dealers that handle them would be greatly appreciated!The tone is going to be the deciding factor! Thanks

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How far are you willing to travel?

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Hi GCDreamer,

There is nothing wrong with owning something that is super high quality!

The only Florida Dealer that I am familiar with that I can also recommend is Atlantic Music Center in Melbourne. They also carry Steingraeber which should be added to your list. That seems pretty far south.

If you want to head north to Georgia, there is PianoWorks. They have a very good reputation and although I have not visited, we have seen a piano in which they put a pinblock and restringing job and it is very nicely done. Sam Bennett, the owner, posts here on PianoWorld and comes off as quite intelligent.

Ruggero Piano is a high quality retailor in North Carolina with several of the brands in which you are interested.

If you are willing to travel further north there are more options, but the above should be able to help you out.

Good luck and this is certainly a piano shopping adventure in which many here will be interested, so keep us posted!


Keith D Kerman
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Hey Beethoven and Keith

I am willing to travel as far as necessary. Certainly the eastern half of the U.S. farther if need be. In my mind I'll know it when I hear it1 I just want to hear enough to make sure! Steingraeber is certainly another one I would listen too!

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New York would be an ideal place to go, as well as Chicago, because all of these brands will be represented there. I'd recommend starting with Atlantic Music Center, though, or perhaps Keith will have something you'd be interested in! You should also try the Schimmel Konzert series pianos because they're less expensive than most of the ones you've listed, and can perform just as well (or better).

Specific dealers with these brands that I've been to and would recommend:
Kurt Saphir
Pianoforte Chicago
Classic Pianos
Atlantic Music Center
Boston Organ & Piano

Last edited by beethoven986; 03/07/12 07:00 PM.
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Originally Posted by beethoven986
New York would be an ideal place to go, as well as Chicago, because all of these brands will be represented there. I'd recommend starting with Atlantic Music Center, though, or perhaps Keith will have something you'd be interested in! You should also try the Schimmel Konzert series pianos because they're less expensive than most of the ones you've listed, and can perform just as well (or better).

Specific dealers with these brands that I've been to and would recommend:
Kurt Saphir
Pianoforte Chicago
Classic Pianos
Atlantic Music Center
Boston Organ & Piano


PianoWorks in Atlanta had a very nice Schimmel Konzert a month ago, and I'm betting an interested buyer could get a great deal if it's still there. Their Grotrians, Estonias, and Bosies are all wonderful too.


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Do go up to Atlanta and visit Pianoworks (www.pianoworks.com). They're really nice people and carry a wonderful assortment of piano. They carry three of the brands in your list (Bosendorfer, Estonia, and Grotrian). Their website currently shows a Schimmel K213 on closeout. Wonderful piano. The site also lists a restored Baldwin SD-6 (9') and a restored Mason and Hamlin A (5'8"). I know, the M&H A is pretty small for your space, but Mason & Hamlins are pretty special to me.

Forte Piano Gallery in Ocala's website (www.fortepianogallery.com) shows a restored M&H AA. I saw that piano a bit over a year ago. It has the WNG action. At 6'4", it may be a bit smaller than you're looking for, but it's a lovely piano.

Charles

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Originally Posted by GCdreamer
I know the better the tone and more enjoyable to play the harder I will practice and the more I will play.


This is a standard hors d'oeuvre on the retailer's menu of appetizers. However, most teachers who do not draw retailer referral checks simply draw a dichotomy between a well-tuned well-regulated piano and one that is not. If the student is advanced, more skills can be acquired from pianos such as those you speak of, but it's no walk in the park. The skill to manipulate pianos with a wealth of color accessed through control of a superior action is in itself very challenging.

In terms of motivation, your own commitment to practice independent of your instrument, self-discipline, aptitude, talent, personal relationship with your teacher, and personal enjoyment in playing the music your teacher selects for you will all be far more important.


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Originally Posted by turandot
Originally Posted by GCdreamer
I know the better the tone and more enjoyable to play the harder I will practice and the more I will play.


This is a standard hors d'oeuvre on the retailer's menu of appetizers. However, most teachers who do not draw retailer referral checks simply draw a dichotomy between a well-tuned well-regulated piano and one that is not. If the student is advanced, more skills can be acquired from pianos such as those you speak of, but it's no walk in the park. The skill to manipulate pianos with a wealth of color accessed through control of a superior action is in itself very challenging.

In terms of motivation, your own commitment to practice independent of your instrument, self-discipline, aptitude, talent, personal relationship with your teacher, and personal enjoyment in playing the music your teacher selects for you will all be far more important.


Wow Turandot,

You are quite a wet blanket. And if you read GCDreamer's first post, he is retiring, so he probably doesn't meed a lecture as if he is a child.
Now, that doesn't mean that much of what you are saying isn't true, but GCdreamer is 100% correct in his assertion that
Originally Posted by GCdreamer
I know the better the tone and more enjoyable to play the harder I will practice and the more I will play.

Playing a great piano is really a joy and can absolutely be inspiring and if you can afford it, why not? I am sure that GCdreamer does not think that owning an expensive piano makes him Horowitz, he just thinks having a great piano will help him enjoy whatever time he spends with his piano.
And, of course, as I have said many many times, more expensive does not necessarily mean better in terms of piano performance.
Sheesh.....let GCdreamer have some fun.

And, FWIW, there are plenty of teachers out there who dont draw referral checks who absolutely believe that their students should own the best piano they can afford.



Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales - vintage and used Steinway, Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Baldwin
www.pianocraft.net
check out www.sitkadoc.com/ and www.vimeo.com/203188875
www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel

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Keith,

I was not lecturing a child. I was stating a caveat.

I know that line well. Trust me on that. grin

I don't buy it. It's hardly surprising to me that you would embrace it. Let's leave it at that.

The OP should buy whatever piano fulfills his desire, but he should not think it's the ticket, or even a ticket.


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Originally Posted by turandot
Keith,
I don't buy it. It's hardly surprising to me that you would embrace it. Let's leave it at that.


But I don't wanna leave it at that.

Seriously though, have you never had the experience of playing on a great instrument that made you just want to play and play and play? That is a real question for you.
That is actually one of our fuzzy criteria at PianoCraft. When we have gotten one of our pianos to a point that everyone wants to just play it and no work is getting done, we know we are on to something.


Keith D Kerman
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Rebuilding & Sales - vintage and used Steinway, Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Baldwin
www.pianocraft.net
check out www.sitkadoc.com/ and www.vimeo.com/203188875
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Thanks Keith
Owning well made things is a joy in itself. And Turanot of course it will not make me a better player! But the extra investment will give me a little more desire to play and practice more! I am only 52 so certainly young enough. What I lack in aptitude. I will more than make up for in desire! I play several other instruments so fully realize whats involved. Price will not be the deciding factor. It will be when I find the piano I can't live without! This is not a spur of the moment decision but something I've been planning a while!

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Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
the experience of playing on a great instrument that made you just want to play and play and play?


If I say no, would you pity me enough to send me one of yours? wink

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The piano I can't live without? The Bosendorfer at PianoWorks.
Here is a video of it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqNTIwx_ZWA&feature=related
Oh!!!!!!! How I wish I were wealthy enough to say "Price will not be the deciding factor." If so, you wouldn't even have a chance to buy that piano because it would be in MY home and not for sale!

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I noticed that Steinway is not on your list. I know that Steinway gets some negative press around here, but I can tell you from experience that a truly great Steinway is indeed an inspiration. I'm not a particular Steinway advocate, and your list has some of the worlds most wonderful pianos on it, however, there is something special about a great Steinway. I would at least try a few. Best of luck with your purchase.


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Originally Posted by GCdreamer
Thanks Keith
of course it will not make me a better player! But the extra investment will give me a little more desire to play and practice more! I am only 52 so certainly young enough. What I lack in aptitude. I will more than make up for in desire! I play several other instruments so fully realize whats involved. Price will not be the deciding factor.


From your opening post and the list of pianos that interested you, I got the feeling that price was no object. I also concluded that you could read music and play other instruments. Finally, I understood that this is to be a once-in-a-lifetime indulgence.

Really, I'm not trying to be a wet blanket, but I've heard the reasoning before that the superior instrument will draw the learner to the piano for hours on end of sustained practice. Keith asked me if I've played pianos that I wanted to play more and more. He indicated that was the real question. I have played pianos with great appeal, but sadly some of those pianos were in people's homes where that logic you mentioned hadn't worked out and the pianos were barely used except when visitors who played came by and were implored to play.

Actually, I took my cue from another statement you made -- that you do not play the piano at all. To me, and this of course is only me, what separates the truly great pianos is not the tone and not the action, but the interplay of the two. I'm always drawn to the word "manipulate", while I'm turned off by the idea of the piano that "sings to me", "calls out to me", or "blows me off the bench". I'm drawn to pianos that I can best manipulate to do what I want them to do. When I think of the great ones in my experience, this is the defining characteristic. I honestly don't think it's possible for a person who does not play the piano to sense, exploit, or judge that quality. Please don't take that to be condescending. It's just an honest opinion. I think judgments for you are likely to be guided by tone, from much the same perspective as a listener, and while tone is not unimportant, your perception of piano values may broaden and deepen if you persevere in acquiring skills.

Ironically, I also disagree with the first statement in the quote I excerpted -- that it (the great piano) will not make you a better player. I think it can after the foundation is in place and intermediate skill level is achieved. I don't think it can when you're just getting started.

But as I said, I don't want to be a wet blanket. I made my point even though I don't expect many here to agree with me. This is not the place for that. grin By all means indulge yourself, but take your advice and get help with your evaluations from a high-level player or players who are short on bias and have absolutely no vested interest in your choosing a particular piano. If you can work it out, take one with you on your shopping excursions.


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Originally Posted by turandot
Keith asked me if I've played pianos that I wanted to play more and more. He indicated that was the real question.


I wrote that was A real question, not the real question. And either you never have or you just avoided my question. You later define what a great piano is to you.

Originally Posted by turandot
I'm drawn to pianos that I can best manipulate to do what I want them to do. When I think of the great ones in my experience, this is the defining characteristic.


I would agree probably more than anyone on this forum with that, although I would add that part of what makes a great piano is that in addition to what you wrote, it just, well, sounds and feels great! laugh

But, I will ask it of you again. Have you ever played a great piano ( by however you define a piano as great ) that made you want to keep playing it more and more?
And if so, describe the experience. If you haven't had this experience, that is fine too.


Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales - vintage and used Steinway, Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Baldwin
www.pianocraft.net
check out www.sitkadoc.com/ and www.vimeo.com/203188875
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Of course, I'm in the business so my opinions are immediately suspect. However I am also a serious amateur pianist torn between a love of the instrument, a love of music and my own pathetic technique.

I've had mid range pianos and I've had great pianos...it is way more fun to play the great ones. In fact, I owe it to that great piano in the other room to practice and get better. This is a true motivator (yes, strange but I'm not alone).

I've also had the following experience so often that it is now expected:

A person considering purchasing a piano comes into a showroom. This person is an accomplished amateur and has 1 or 2 pieces of high intermediate level that they know and play well. They go around to a variety of pianos playing these 2 pieces in a careful and sensitive manner.

When they get to the really great piano (properly prepared, btw), you can see a visible change, light a light bulb goes off. At the end they say, often to themselves: "I didn't know I could play that well". The great piano has allowed them to bring out melodies, inner voices and chord coloring in a way that their teacher had been encouraging but that was simply not possible on the low to mid range pianos they had the most experience with. It turns out they had the technique, just not the tool.

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Also, be very careful about getting input from other high level players. Nobody is short on bias.

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