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What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
#2104522 06/18/13 05:08 PM
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Hello everyone! We have just recieved our Steinway D for our new concert hall and very excited about it. For some reasons and conditions, we couldn't select our piano and they delivered us a brand new, unopened one. After the set-up, I played some intermezzi of Brahms, the piano sounds very beautiful and very easy to control despite of the light feel of the mechanism.

As a pianist, I have never been through the process of getting a brand new concert piano ready for performances. I heard that you should take it easy for two weeks or so, not play very loud and use the pedals carefully and so on...

What are the details for this "getting the piano ready" process? For example: Regularly playing chromatic scale including every key? and so on... It is essential for us to know.

Please post smile

Thanks!



Ozgur Unaldi, pianist
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Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
Ozgur #2104534 06/18/13 05:21 PM
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When you say "set-up" Do you mean taken out of the crate and put on it's legs? Or did you have a tech come and prep the piano?

If you do not have a tech, find one very quickly. He or she should be able to direct you further.

If you do have a tech, he or she was not very helpful at helping you.

If you can afford a new D, I hope you have budgeted for maintenance costs.

All the best.


Jean Poulin

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www.actionpiano.ca
Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
Ozgur #2104540 06/18/13 05:27 PM
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Hi Ozgur,

The best thing is to play the piano as often as possible and use its entire range. Don't bang on it, but the full range of normal performance dynamics won't harm it at all. It isn't that fragile, after all.

How well was the piano prepped before shipment? A very thorough regulation, hammer mating check, etc., will enhance not only the playability of the piano, it will also help insure its longevity. It is an important detail since it may not have received very detailed treatment.

Of course, after it has settled into its new environment, a concert level tuning is advised.

To get the longest life from the instrument, keep the humidity level of its environment very stable (40-50% RH). Keep it tuned, and in the first couple of years, four times each year is the minimum. Make sure that the regulation is checked and adjusted as needed, and that the voicing is touched up as needed.

Enjoy the new piano!


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
Ozgur #2104541 06/18/13 05:31 PM
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They will always take time to settle .... the tuning needs to stabilise, bushings need to wear themselves in etc etc. Just enjoy playing it without giving any thought about having to 'go easy'. The more it's played the quicker it will settle in and stabilise. I assume there will be a follow up technician to refine the regulation once it has bedded in, so the more it's played the better it will be for the technician to work the after sale follow up magic.


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Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
Ozgur #2104549 06/18/13 05:53 PM
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You need to enlist a piano technician with experience working on Steinway pianos in institutional/concert venues and use only this technician. He or she should be put in charge of drafting a maintenance plan for the piano. Contact Steinway to see if they have any recommendations.

Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
Ozgur #2104578 06/18/13 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Ozgur

As a pianist, I have never been through the process of getting a brand new concert piano ready for performances. I heard that you should take it easy for two weeks or so, not play very loud and use the pedals carefully and so on...



As a pianist, it should never be your job to get a concert piano ready for performance. Unless you want to train as a technician as well. Hiring a technician is the single most important thing you can do. He will tell you what else to do.

Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
Ozgur #2104587 06/18/13 07:04 PM
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1. Keep it tuned.
2. Keep it regulated.
3. Voice it as necessary.
4. Take care of any mechanical problems that arise.


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Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
Ozgur #2104597 06/18/13 07:15 PM
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Keep it away from the park and the square in Istanbul.

Find a great tech. A Hamburg-D is nothing to mess around with. Since it was purchased for a new concert hall, make sure there are the funds available to care for it.

You, as a pianist, just enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
Ozgur #2104628 06/18/13 08:21 PM
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Do you have a cover for it? Where is it to be kept when not in use? It is a good idea to build a box in a convenient corner offstage that the piano can be wheeled into and locked away so that it is protected from all the other activities in the hall when the piano isn't being used.

Keep it away from any heat source or direct sunlight at all times. Make sure all stage hands and stage managers understand this.
One concert hall architect put a long heat source along the front of the stage. Directly under where the piano goes for a concerto. Of course it has yo be switched off. People who are supposed to know generally don't understand the need to be careful of these things on a way that they used to.

It's maintenance and tuning depends on its amount of use. It should have a days servicing at least once a year, more frequently if it is used more than a few times a week. It should be tuned for every public concert and be in tune for all rehearsals for those concerts. This may mean two tunings on the day of a concert particularly of the piano hasn't been used for a few weeks because it may need a pitch correction if it hasn't been tuned for those few weeks.

Contracts from concert agencies and promoters often specify tuning requirements for their concerts.

Select with care a reputable and conscientious technician and draw up a contract where only that tuner or a tuner specified by them is allowed to tune and maintain the piano.

It probably goes without saying to not let the piano be used as an ordinary common practice or teaching instrument.

Last edited by rxd; 06/19/13 12:46 AM.

Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.


Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
Ozgur #2104661 06/18/13 11:00 PM
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Some of my colleagues refer to what you have just gotten as a "piano kit". If you want a real, world-class instrument that will blow the lid off most other concert instruments, do the following:

Throw away the hammers, shanks and flanges. Replace with Carbon Fiber /Composite shanks and flanges tipped with ultra-premium Classical West hammers -- the world's best and most expensive.

Install the Wapin bridge modification for greater tonal focus and power, giving the ability of the piano to whisper to the back of any hall as well as filling it with a roar.

Since the strings need to be loosened to install Wapin, anyway, just throw away the bass strings and replace them with premium, custom hand wound bass strings that don't have the swaging deformation and have an underwrap of stainless spring steel.

Throw away the brass capstans and replace with low-inertia/low-friction anodized aluminum capstans.

Have a skilled technician finalize the work and make the whole into an amazing instrument that will be the envy of other halls and an amazement to every artist that plays it.

We all understand the difference between "stock" and "custom" with cars and golf clubs and even houses. The time has come to realize that the idea that the best piano comes from the factory is nothing more than factory propaganda. Those who are acting on this realization are enjoying some mind-blowingly amazing instruments.


Keith Akins, RPT
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Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
kpembrook #2104683 06/19/13 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by kpembrook
Some of my colleagues refer to what you have just gotten as a "piano kit". If you want a real, world-class instrument that will blow the lid off most other concert instruments, do the following:

Throw away the hammers, shanks and flanges. Replace with Carbon Fiber /Composite shanks and flanges tipped with ultra-premium Classical West hammers -- the world's best and most expensive.

Install the Wapin bridge modification for greater tonal focus and power, giving the ability of the piano to whisper to the back of any hall as well as filling it with a roar.

Since the strings need to be loosened to install Wapin, anyway, just throw away the bass strings and replace them with premium, custom hand wound bass strings that don't have the swaging deformation and have an underwrap of stainless spring steel.

Throw away the brass capstans and replace with low-inertia/low-friction anodized aluminum capstans.

Have a skilled technician finalize the work and make the whole into an amazing instrument that will be the envy of other halls and an amazement to every artist that plays it.

We all understand the difference between "stock" and "custom" with cars and golf clubs and even houses. The time has come to realize that the idea that the best piano comes from the factory is nothing more than factory propaganda. Those who are acting on this realization are enjoying some mind-blowingly amazing instruments.


I think Keith should allow the people who are paying for all this work to play and hear the Hamburg Steinway D that you have done this with next to a stock Hamburg Steinway D. Since money is no object, he should have the two pianos set up for the purpose of such a comparison already.


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Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
Ozgur #2104691 06/19/13 12:30 AM
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Engage several skilled piano technicians to inspect the piano. Provide them with the schedule of rehearsal and performance dates. Provide them with anticipated conditions regarding climate control, stage lighting, storage space, and handling personnel.

Ask them to provide you with a description of current condition, any preparation work needed now, and a schedule of service needed to ready the piano for use on the anticipated dates.

When you find a technician who has success in meeting the needs of performing pianists; make the piano his/her responsibility on a long term contract. Find a technician who SOLVES problems and does not make very many. Find a technician who can put a piano in tune that stays that way when played vigorously.

Changing technicians just to try someone new out once you have the situation operating well is a recipe for worry. Some pianists will not be happy with a piano that another pianist finds wonderful. So the administration cannot be leaving the judgement of quality of technical work to the performers alone.


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Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
Ozgur #2104693 06/19/13 12:51 AM
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Hey, guys, back to reality.
Ozgur doesn't live in Manhattan or LA where there is a large pool of incredibly talented, knowledgeable and experienced concert technicians to draw on. We are talking Turkey. There is probably not a handful of such techs in the whole region of the eastern Mediterranean, never mind one country.
The piano can be happy if it gets attention from one person who really knows his way around a Hamburg D.


JG
Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
Ozgur #2104701 06/19/13 01:32 AM
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In fact, the piano can be happy if it gets attention from one person who is familiar with a grand piano and willing to read and understand Steinway's literature and care for it in an attentive, respectful, and cautious manner.


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Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
Ozgur #2104747 06/19/13 05:19 AM
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The manufacturer will send out one of their technicians once a year. That will be perhaps the best way of making sure it stays in good condition. Well worth the expense and for peace of mind.

Of course nobody would, but if you change the specifications of the piano as suggested earlier in this thread, the guarantee will be voided and the manufacturer will rapidly lose interest. I can't imagine anybody being that silly.

How about the tuner who tuned your previous piano? A suitable candidate can be sent to the factory for specialist training.


Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.


Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
Ozgur #2104762 06/19/13 07:04 AM
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The local Steinway dealer in Istanbul should be able to help you out. They might even have a technician trained at the factory in Hamburg. Ask the dealer about this.
I usually tune the concert pianos every second month and then for each concert.
Once or twice a year I do a bigger tech service.
How are the RH periods during the year?

Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
Ozgur #2104779 06/19/13 08:12 AM
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If you're serious about having a true concert piano, it should be tuned weekly.

Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
Supply #2104784 06/19/13 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Supply
Hey, guys, back to reality.
We are talking Turkey. There is probably not a handful of such techs in the whole region of the eastern Mediterranean, never mind one country.

Turkey isn't on the other side of the moon, Supply. It's a real country, with people who give concerts, go to concerts, play pianos and tune pianos.

Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
Ozgur #2104812 06/19/13 10:17 AM
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Sorry I cannot agree with Mr. kpenbrook. I would not rebuild a brand new model D which is not even broken in yet. My advice is to play this piano frequently, keep it tuned and regulated and most of all keep it in correct humidity and temperature. It will surely be a most excellent concert instrument as it comes from the factory.

Re: What should be done to take care of a new concert grand?
LJC #2104815 06/19/13 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by LJC
Sorry I cannot agree with Mr. kpenbrook. I would not rebuild a brand new model D which is not even broken in yet. My advice is to play this piano frequently, keep it tuned and regulated and most of all keep it in correct humidity and temperature. It will surely be a most excellent concert instrument as it comes from the factory.

I thought kpenbrook's reply was a sarcastic joke.

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