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Straight strung pianos #2087074
05/22/13 10:03 PM
05/22/13 10:03 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 652
Saskatchewan, Canada
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gsmonks Offline OP
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Joined: Aug 2010
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Saskatchewan, Canada
Now that I know what my old cast-iron harp is out of (an ancient no-name straight-string piano), and now that I've managed to track down some recordings of straight-string pianos, I want one. The question is, How the heck do I get my hands on one?

It's a buyer's market right now in terms of old pie-annas. In fact, they're literally giving them away these days. Give me a 5-ton truck and a couple of young guys with strong backs and I could fill it with old pie-annas in no time.

I'm guessing that a few of those old pianos are straight-strung. The problem is that people who own old pianos tend not to know anything about them. Those getting rid of them either don't play or no longer play them, and very few people who own pianos know anything about them.

So asking the owner whether their pie-anna is cross-struck or straight-strung is like asking a monkey to give a dissertation on quantum chromodynamics.

Any words of wisdom from any of you pie-anna hunters out there?

Oh- in case you're wondering WHY I want a straight-strung pie-anna, the answer is that you've got to hear one. They're very variable throughout the register, unlike the cross-strung variety, and handy for sussing out why certain old pie-anna compositions were written the way they were.

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Re: Straight strung pianos [Re: gsmonks] #2087088
05/22/13 10:52 PM
05/22/13 10:52 PM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,904
Seattle, WA USA
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Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
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Joined: Dec 2012
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Seattle, WA USA
The number of straight strung pianos made is miniscule compared to their "newer" cousins. So there are very few to choose from. Broadwood and the other English makers probably made more of them than anyone else.

Also the straight-strung era was before the more rugged designs for pinblocks and how they mate with the casting was worked out.

So, what your are thinking is easily had because old pianos in general are almost worthless-is not the case.

I do have a customer with a straight Broadwood grand of about 7'. I don't know if she would sell it but I could ask if you want. Some of our Anglo posters could probably hook you up with one.



In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Straight strung pianos [Re: gsmonks] #2087092
05/22/13 11:00 PM
05/22/13 11:00 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,919
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Supply Offline
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Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
I just tuned a straight strung piano today, a British make. The new owner just got it for free, it had been sitting in someone's garage. It was almost a 1/4 step flat, but it took the pitch raising without complaint. It did not sound very good though, and it had an overdamper action...

Re: Straight strung pianos [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2087094
05/22/13 11:07 PM
05/22/13 11:07 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 3,489
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beethoven986 Offline
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT

I do have a customer with a straight Broadwood grand of about 7'. I don't know if she would sell it but I could ask if you want. Some of our Anglo posters could probably hook you up with one.


Though an old piano that has spent all its life in merry old England (or Seattle, for that matter) probably won't last long in Saskatchewan before imploding on itself.

Re: Straight strung pianos [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2087097
05/22/13 11:09 PM
05/22/13 11:09 PM
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,728
Auckland New Zealand
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Robert 45 Offline
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Joined: Aug 2006
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Auckland New Zealand
There is the straight strung C.Bechstein Model 10 which is a vintage vertical piano, and a good one is well worth considering. I believe that they were made until about WWI. I have tried several and found that if well maintained they have a sweet, mellow tone with a very warm treble sound. They have an 85 note keyboard and an underdamper action. Many have a spectacular walnut case which can look wonderful.

Robert.

Re: Straight strung pianos [Re: gsmonks] #2087185
05/23/13 05:42 AM
05/23/13 05:42 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,897
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joe80 Offline
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I wouldn't mind an old straight-strung upright as a curiosity, but not as my main piano. I think they are fascinating to listen to, and have a certain period charm. In fact they sound not unlike fortepianos, but generally they're pretty weak, unreliable and sound pretty ropey.

Re: Straight strung pianos [Re: gsmonks] #2087250
05/23/13 08:38 AM
05/23/13 08:38 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 4,263
Vancouver B. C. Canada
Silverwood Pianos Offline
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Vancouver B. C. Canada

There are at least six straight strung instruments that I am aware of for sale in Vancouver. Broadwood and Sons, Collard & Collard, Paul Werner, are some of the makers.

Long drive from Regina though.


Dan Silverwood
www.silverwoodpianos.com
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"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
Re: Straight strung pianos [Re: gsmonks] #2087314
05/23/13 10:05 AM
05/23/13 10:05 AM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 26,692
Oakland
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BDB Offline
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Oakland
There was a Lindner grand on Craigslist in Los Angeles recently, an example of a modern straight-strung piano.


Semipro Tech
Re: Straight strung pianos [Re: gsmonks] #2087365
05/23/13 11:02 AM
05/23/13 11:02 AM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 5,531
Olympia, Washington
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Del Offline
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Joined: Sep 2003
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Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted by gsmonks
Oh- in case you're wondering WHY I want a straight-strung pie-anna, the answer is that you've got to hear one. They're very variable throughout the register, unlike the cross-strung variety, and handy for sussing out why certain old pie-anna compositions were written the way they were.

There is nothing inherent in the architecture of the flatstrung piano that should make its tone variable across the compass of the instrument. In fact, quite the opposite is true; flatstrung scale architecture makes it some easier to achieve this goal by keeping the ends of the two bridges close together; it avoids the awkwardness of overstringing the bass and separating the bridges.

It is true that some flatstrung pianos do exhibit significant timbral changes across the keyboard compass but we must remember that most of these pianos are in excess of 100 years old. After 100 years no piano can be expected to play and sound like it did when it was first crafted. We must also remember that the art of piano design has also evolved considerably over the past century or so. If some particular flatstrung piano has significant timbral changes across the scale the reasons for those changes will be due to something other than the singular fact that it is flatstrung.

Flatstrung vertical pianos are problematic simply because the bass strings are—of geometric necessity—very short. It is not unusual to find a flatstrung vertical with really bad scaling, poor bridge and soundboard design, poor structural support and poorly made (and voiced) hammers. Even so Rippen managed to build a flatstrung vertical in the 1970s (I don’t know the full product history of the design) that was nicely balanced once the scaling was cleaned up and the hammers were voiced to suit. It was not a particularly powerful piano but it was never intended to be put on a concert stage; it was powerful enough for its intended purpose.

Flatstrung grands, especially longer ones, have the potential to be exceptionally smooth and balanced along with being as powerful as their overstrung cousins.

While some applaud and search for tonal variation across the compass of the piano—as you do—I think the evidence of history shows us this was not a goal of early piano designers and builders. As the piano evolved it became evermore balanced and timbrally consistent across the compass. And the marketplace seems to have voted its preference with its pocketbook by purchasing those instruments that best approached the goal of balance and consistency while allowing the others to drop by the wayside of history.

ddf


Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon
Re: Straight strung pianos [Re: gsmonks] #2087425
05/23/13 12:37 PM
05/23/13 12:37 PM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 620
Germany
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BerndAB Offline
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Joined: Mar 2010
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Germany
Flatstrung grands alo exist, and from remarkable brands, mostly british (Broadwood, Collard & Collard) and french makes (Erard, Pleyel) if one is willing to invest in pianos which are around 100 yrs old.

There is a project of Mr Stephen Paulello (well known for his special strings made of other metal specifications), now living in France in the Orleans/Loire region (Loire river valley, "God's Garden on Planet Earth") who intends to make a series of straight strung grands of another, a newer concept. In general, he will let the basss strings run "a little bit crosswise" to the right (as usual, to give the bass strings and the soundboard at the bass bridge more freeness to vibrate), but then the tenor strings and other not run under the bass strings, but parallely to the bass strings, to the right also.

The bridges will be not pinned but equipped with bridge agraffes, and it might be the case that the soundboard material is also other than wood, maybe carbon fibre, or glass (australian / Stuart concept if I remeber correctly). His website told that the first "new" straight strung grand may be ready in summer this year. He intends to produce seven footers and nine-plus footers (300 cm, old Erard concert grand measure..)

Hand made, and I assume that they might miss the price range of a Pearl River (et cetera) grand a little bit... <duck & cover)..


Pls excuse any bad english.

D 1877 satin black plain
Re: Straight strung pianos [Re: gsmonks] #2087769
05/24/13 03:59 AM
05/24/13 03:59 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 457
Münster, Germany
G
Gregor Offline
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Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 457
Münster, Germany
This is a Schimmel built in 1955, model Capriccio

[Linked Image]

Gregor


piano tech - tuner - dealer
Münster, Germany
www.weldert.de
Re: Straight strung pianos [Re: gsmonks] #2087852
05/24/13 08:25 AM
05/24/13 08:25 AM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 7,166
Northern England.
peterws Offline
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peterws  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 7,166
Northern England.
I just posted a thread about straight strung pianos. Ans Casio digitals. I had a Broadwood 1850`s 7 footer (boudoir grand ) with a lovely tone. Not a brilliant action, bt it was reliable and playable. And I grew up around a straight strung Chappell and Chappell (London) which was totally trouble free. It got tuned every two years whether it needed it or whether it didn`t. And never sounded any different My little sister didn`t play it; she just carved her name on it . . . It was loud and far better imo than anything else around at the time. Note; in the 50`s an overstrung German upright was sought after. Dunno why. The worst piano I`ve ever heard was a Bechstein . . . Here` an Erard I saw last week in Portmadoc.

http://www.pianoworld.com/Uploads/files/16052013726.jpg

£7K and a bargain by all accounts . . .

Last edited by peterws; 05/24/13 08:26 AM.

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Re: Straight strung pianos [Re: gsmonks] #2088274
05/24/13 06:30 PM
05/24/13 06:30 PM
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,625
Philadelphia area
D
Dave B Offline
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Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 2,625
Philadelphia area
Gregor, How does it sound? Have you played 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
Re: Straight strung pianos [Re: Dave B] #2088414
05/25/13 03:34 AM
05/25/13 03:34 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 457
Münster, Germany
G
Gregor Offline
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Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 457
Münster, Germany
Originally Posted by Dave B
Gregor, How does it sound? Have you played it?


No, I didn´t. The picture was taken by a collegue who sent it to me.

Gregor


piano tech - tuner - dealer
Münster, Germany
www.weldert.de
Re: Straight strung pianos [Re: gsmonks] #2090981
05/28/13 09:42 PM
05/28/13 09:42 PM
Joined: Sep 2012
Posts: 258
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SBP Offline
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Posts: 258
Not to bump this, but I once heard that Schimmel was making grand pianos with the old Viennese action up until the 1960s. Given that they were making straight-strung uprights in the '50s, it's not too big of a stretch for them to be using that type of action, but is that actually legit?


2012 Kawai K3

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