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#2085531 - 05/20/13 01:08 AM Why so many people like Steingraeber?  
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Roy Roy Offline
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I've seen numerous posts about how great Steingraebers are. Not many people seemed to like Steinway very much. I am surprised. I played a few Steingraebers of different sizes and I thought they were great but not necessarily better than Estonia or New Year Steinways.

The Steingraeber dealer also introduced to me the Phoenix system. It sounded disappointing.

Speaking of Steinway, I think many New Year Steinways are better than their Hamburg counterparts...

Is there something wrong with my ears? Would you choose a Steingraeber over a Steinway, if they are at the same size and price?

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#2085540 - 05/20/13 01:39 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]  
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musicpassion Offline
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Nope nothing wrong with your ears.

Plenty of people prefer Steinway over just about anything. But Steingraeber makes a very good quality piano and some people prefer it's unique voice.

I am glad there is a spectrum of wonderful pianos available. It's up to you, the musician, to decide which one you like.

As for my personal choice between the two, if the Steinway were a piano realizing it's fullest potential (either through a top level rebuild or through excellent workmanship from the factory) I'd go with the Steinway.

Last edited by musicpassion; 05/20/13 01:41 AM. Reason: more information

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#2085550 - 05/20/13 02:29 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]  
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Originally Posted by Roy Roy
I've seen numerous posts about how great Steingraebers are. Not many people seemed to like Steinway very much. I am surprised. I played a few Steingraebers of different sizes and I thought they were great but not necessarily better than Estonia or New Year Steinways.

The Steingraeber dealer also introduced to me the Phoenix system. It sounded disappointing.

Speaking of Steinway, I think many New Year Steinways are better than their Hamburg counterparts...

Is there something wrong with my ears? Would you choose a Steingraeber over a Steinway, if they are at the same size and price?



Some people have negative reaction to Steinway due to a long history of the company acting like a spoiled, egotistical brat, even though its product quality was barely adequate for several decades. More recently, Steinway has made several improvements to its line of pianos (many of them cosmetic, but some musical). I like the improvements, but, the NY instruments are still not in the same league as the Hamburg instruments, or any other German piano, including Steingraeber.


Some people don't like the sound of the Phoenix system, particularly if the piano has a carbon fiber soundboard. Either way, the bridge agraffes are a much more elegant string coupling solution than bridge pins.

And yes, I would choose a Steingraeber over a NY Steinway.

#2085585 - 05/20/13 05:17 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]  
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Originally Posted by Roy Roy
Is there something wrong with my ears? Would you choose a Steingraeber over a Steinway, if they are at the same size and price?

If I had the money for a Steingraeber or Steinway, I'd probably pick a big Grotrian-Steinweg, or a Fazioli, or an August Förster, or maybe all of them. wink

Seriously, it's a matter of taste. I played on a Steingraeber once and I liked it. I also like Steinway. Actionwise I might prefer Steinway; soundwise Steingraeber may be a little more to my liking.


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#2085587 - 05/20/13 05:23 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]  
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I've played fine examples of both, and of course I've played a few duff Steinways. How much of that is due to prep, or just a bad fitting whatever, I don't know.

There aren't that many Steingraeber pianos on the circuit. To my ears, the Steinway can be a little lacking in singing quality, and has a lot of harmonic. They CAN of course sing, but in general they are not prepared well enough. The London showroom does a good job at prep work though it has to be said.

#2085655 - 05/20/13 08:45 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]  
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Originally Posted by Roy Roy
...Would you choose a Steingraeber over a Steinway, if they are at the same size and price?


Yes. I did. Twice. Without the least buyer's remorse.

In the course of my extensive piano search, I also played some other great pianos, including a Fazioli I liked and a Grotrian I liked even more.

But as others have noted, any piano buyer in any price range has to decide what he or she likes and wants. I made my choices, and you get to make yours. That's a good thing.


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#2085660 - 05/20/13 08:59 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]  
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I have played very few Steingraebers. I have heard four Steingraeber "Phoenix's". The Phoenix with the bridge agraffes all produce a pulsing metallic shimmer that I find very bothersome. I have never heard an agraffe bridge piano that truly had a great tone overall. Bridge agraffes all introduce some Longitudinal mode interactions that sound weird.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
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#2085688 - 05/20/13 09:58 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]  
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A former poster many years ago who owns a modern 7 foot C.Bechstein (B210)and also loves the large Steingraeber grand commented that he thought the Steingraeber tone fit somewhere between a Steinway and C.Bechstein. I thought that was about right.

Rich


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#2085706 - 05/20/13 10:37 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]  
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Originally Posted by Roy Roy
Would you choose a Steingraeber over a Steinway, if they are at the same size and price?

Roy,

The question you posed is impossible to answer as they are not the same price. Steingraeber is considerably more expensive in comparable sized instruments.

That being said --

Comparing a Steingraeber A170 to a NY or Hamburg-M, I would choose the Steingraeber. However, if it were a choice between the next larger size, B192 vs. 5'-10.5", my choice would be the NY S&S-O, even though it is shorter in length.

There is so much to consider, such as repertoire and personal hand technique. There is no doubt that Steingraeber is one of the world's finest pianos, but personal preference is the ultimate determination.

With all of the Concert Level instruments, they are each an individual and it is hard to generalize. However, there are certain tonal characteristics which are unique to each builder. Deciding on the tonal palette is the first step, and then search for the particular instrument which is the best fit for you.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2085714 - 05/20/13 10:44 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]  
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+1 Minnesota Marty!

In fact while we all have preferences for certain makes, sometimes it is hard to say "Steinway is better than Bosendorfer" or "Fazioli is better than Steingraeber" or whatever. It comes down to, not only the taste of the individual pianist, but actually the individual piano. There are beautiful pianos in every tier one make, and there are beautiful pianos in other tiers that outperform their price.

I find the other 'Boston vs Hailun' thread quite difficult because I could prefer either or both or neither depending on which example of each I was presented with. We can make generalizations, and experience tells us that yes, brand X will sound this way and Y that way, or that we will like a particular tone and not another, but experience also tells us to wait and listen, and decide based on the sound of the individual piano.

#2085730 - 05/20/13 11:09 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]  
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As an owner of both a Steinway and a Steingraeber, perhaps I can share some of my thoughts on this topic.

My Steinway is a wonderful piano. It has the archetypical tone qualities one associates with Steinway – a deeply resonant bass that can “growl” when necessary, beautiful tenor register, and bell-like treble that projects with a singing sustain. The Steinway wraps what you play into a rich sound experience full of color. It evokes the standard that has prevailed on so many recordings and in so many concert halls over the last hundred years. As an instrument, the Steinway is robust, responsive, and versatile.

My Steingraeber is in another class altogether. It is a larger instrument (6’9” vs. 5’10.5”), but even normalizing for that factor, it has an awesome quality that is immediately apparent to both performer and listener alike. To begin with, it has the longest sustain I’ve ever personally encountered in a piano. The treble evokes chimes as much as bells, and projects beautifully. The tenor sings and the bass resounds impressively. The overriding tonal quality is warmth, color, and clarity across the dynamic range. I can hear the details of fast passagework much more clearly on my Steingraeber that on my Steinway. The action of the Steingraeber is incredibly responsive. It is light when playing soft and slowly, yet feels substantial but controllable at a faster, harder pace. Its most unusual quality is its unobtrusiveness. It’s almost as if you think a musical thought and it comes directly from the piano. The action is like an invisible facilitator.

Still, I love my Steinway. I’m fortunate to have two wonderful instruments. The represent the best of the American and European piano aesthetics, and each has its impressive qualities.

P.S. to Ed McMorrow: I’ve played on several Steingraebers, including a model 212 with bridge agraffes and carbon fiber soundboard. That instrument was wonderfully responsive but I did not like the sound as well as the traditional Steingraebers.

P.S. to Rich D.: My wife has similarly characterized the Steingraeber sound as “Steinway meets Bösendorfer.”

#2085742 - 05/20/13 11:41 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]  
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So Piano Doug has a Steinway O and a Steingraeber (212?) and I have pianist envy! wink

I've only played one Steingraeber it was about the same size as the Estonia 225 next to it. I played both for some time. Both were fabulous pianos and they were similar in sound and responsiveness, but ultimately the Steingraeber seemed just a notch better. If I could have afforded them I would have let me wallet decide.

#2085744 - 05/20/13 11:49 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Steve Chandler]  
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Steve,

Close. Steinway L and Steingraeber 205.

Regards,

Piano Doug

#2085750 - 05/20/13 12:01 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]  
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Originally Posted by Roy Roy
I've seen numerous posts about how great Steingraebers are. Not many people seemed to like Steinway very much. I am surprised. I played a few Steingraebers of different sizes and I thought they were great but not necessarily better than Estonia or New Year Steinways.

The Steingraeber dealer also introduced to me the Phoenix system. It sounded disappointing.

Speaking of Steinway, I think many New Year Steinways are better than their Hamburg counterparts...

Is there something wrong with my ears? Would you choose a Steingraeber over a Steinway, if they are at the same size and price?


I generally like an excellent New York Steinway better than an excellent Hamburg Steinway.
I always like an average Hamburg Steinway better than an average New York Steinway.

Regarding your initial observations and questions, what music were you playing on these instruments?


Keith D Kerman
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#2085789 - 05/20/13 01:18 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]  
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Not to wander too far into the ELECTRONIC domain, but isn't the HOPE that (one day, some day) these preferences will be "switch selectable" ?

A dream perhaps, but being able to select a piano that responds like brand & model x,y or z according to the mood of the moment - a NICE dream to be sure.
How close ?, how far off ?, at what cost ?, and whether or not emulating the "feel" of several hundred pounds of "musical furniture" is ever possible - all debatable.
The mystique (hundred plus years of tradition) may never be reproducible.
How close is close enough ?
That too may be just an individual preference/opinion.

Moore's Law appears to be alive and well.


#2085808 - 05/20/13 01:47 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Keith D Kerman]  
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Keith:

As always, so perceptive and to the point. I agree absolutely.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

#2085824 - 05/20/13 02:26 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: R_B]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Originally Posted by R_B
Not to wander too far into the ELECTRONIC domain, but isn't the HOPE that (one day, some day) these preferences will be "switch selectable" ?

NO !!

Get ye back to the evil digital corner!


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2085834 - 05/20/13 02:35 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted by R_B
Not to wander too far into the ELECTRONIC domain, but isn't the HOPE that (one day, some day) these preferences will be "switch selectable" ?

NO !!

Get ye back to the evil digital corner!


LOL, Marty, you lovable Luddite! smile

#2085941 - 05/20/13 05:19 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Piano Doug]  
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Originally Posted by Piano Doug


My Steingraeber is in another class altogether. It is a larger instrument (6’9” vs. 5’10.5”), but even normalizing for that factor, it has an awesome quality that is immediately apparent to both performer and listener alike. To begin with, it has the longest sustain I’ve ever personally encountered in a piano. The treble evokes chimes as much as bells, and projects beautifully. The tenor sings and the bass resounds impressively. The overriding tonal quality is warmth, color, and clarity across the dynamic range. I can hear the details of fast passagework much more clearly on my Steingraeber that on my Steinway. The action of the Steingraeber is incredibly responsive. It is light when playing soft and slowly, yet feels substantial but controllable at a faster, harder pace. Its most unusual quality is its unobtrusiveness. It’s almost as if you think a musical thought and it comes directly from the piano. The action is like an invisible facilitator.



You better check your fallboard. That describes almost exactly an Italian piano I own. Either you've got an Udo Fazioli or a Paolo Steingraeber.

#2085951 - 05/20/13 05:48 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Numerian]  
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LOL!

We'll, I checked, and it just says "Steingraeber," so It must be the "Paolo" model. grin

I've played, and heard in recital, several Faziolis, and they are mighty fine, indeed. Both brands excel in similar ways yet have their distinctive personalities. I would perhaps concede a slight edge to Fazioli in terms of the action, but find the Steingraeber tone quality to be warmer to my ears. Both have incredible clarity, sustain, and build quality.

#2085959 - 05/20/13 06:22 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Piano Doug]  
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These are all truly superb pianos capable of creating unbelievably beautiful sounds. Each has its own personality, and my personal opinion is that Fazioli has the best action, Steingraeber the best sustain, Hamburg Steinway the richest harmonics, and Bosendorfer (Imperial) the deepest, fattest bass register. Lots of other more subtle differences, but at the end of the day they all are heavenly to play and enjoy.

#2085961 - 05/20/13 06:31 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]  
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I would have a hard enough time choosing which I like best between two Steinway Bs or two Steingraeber 212s. There is so much subtle variation between models even of the same line that realistically it's impossible to objectively and intelligently compare something as vast and broad as two different lines of pianos.



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#2086024 - 05/20/13 08:45 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: AJF]  
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ando Online content
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Originally Posted by AJF
I would have a hard enough time choosing which I like best between two Steinway Bs or two Steingraeber 212s. There is so much subtle variation between models even of the same line that realistically it's impossible to objectively and intelligently compare something as vast and broad as two different lines of pianos.


Trying to decide between two pianos of the same model would be harder because they are more similar than they are different. That means you are looking at minute details of the sound and touch to determine which one you prefer.

Comparing two pianos of different brand and construction is a more straight forward task because the points of difference are immediately apparent - although of course it is quite possible to end up with a list of pros and cons for each and find it hard to split them, in the end. In that case it would generally depend on what sort of music you will want to play on it.

#2086036 - 05/20/13 09:01 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]  
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Time for hearing aids...they are quite sophisticated now.

#2086037 - 05/20/13 09:08 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: ando]  
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Dear Ando;

What you say is quite right.

But just try finding any two new American Steinways, of any size, that are anything alike. It might be possible to find two that are equally horrible, but they will still be very different.

Of course, in the concert department pool, things are much better. There are always some fine Ds there.

However, the last time I played a nice piano at Steinway Hall from amongst those for sale, the piano in question was a used Hamburg A that was there on consignment.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

#2086039 - 05/20/13 09:14 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Karl Watson]  
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Minnesota Marty Offline

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Originally Posted by Karl Watson
However, the last time I played a nice piano at Steinway Hall from amongst those for sale, the piano in question was a used Hamburg A that was there on consignment.

And how many years ago was that?


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
#2086050 - 05/20/13 09:57 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Karl Watson]  
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Originally Posted by Karl Watson
Dear Ando;

What you say is quite right.

But just try finding any two new American Steinways, of any size, that are anything alike. It might be possible to find two that are equally horrible, but they will still be very different.

Of course, in the concert department pool, things are much better. There are always some fine Ds there.

However, the last time I played a nice piano at Steinway Hall from amongst those for sale, the piano in question was a used Hamburg A that was there on consignment.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY


I must admit Karl, I really have no idea about the NY Steinways and their variability. In Australia I've only ever seen and played Hamburgs. I daresay there are some NY's coming into Oz somewhere, but it seems the Steinway they want to market here is the European one.

#2086062 - 05/20/13 11:05 PM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Minnesota Marty]  
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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty
Originally Posted by Karl Watson
However, the last time I played a nice piano at Steinway Hall from amongst those for sale, the piano in question was a used Hamburg A that was there on consignment.

And how many years ago was that?


Yes, I would like to know, also. While Steinway isn't exactly my favorite, the company's latest offerings are quite likable, particularly with regard to their actions, which seem to be consistently on the light side. I like this.

#2086089 - 05/21/13 01:21 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]  
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For someone who has travelled many times to German manufacturers and each time found a number of outstanding pianos when there, general statements like some of the above unfortunately don't make that much sense.

These makers are far too individual and variable and the factor of unpredictablility for each single model is too great.

Outstanding specimen can be found everywhere and often at different times.

Who the finest of them is can change as quick as the wind.

Which seems to change from visit to visit and year to year.

Congratulations to all who have a ready made answer...

Norbert wink

Last edited by Norbert; 05/21/13 01:54 AM.

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#2086121 - 05/21/13 03:50 AM Re: Why so many people like Steingraeber? [Re: Roy Roy]  
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Norbert

How many piano makers should one visit in Germany to catch up with the wind?

Steingraeber, Sauter, Pfeiffer ...


Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm
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