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Grotrian Steinweg 220
#2233578 02/18/14 07:43 AM
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I'm considering buying a Grotrian concert model 220 from 1976. It has some ripples in the lacquer which makes me worried that it was subject to harsh conditions (humidity sunlight etc.) but it sounds great and the price is cheap enough. 5 years ago it got new strings and hammers (Abel). Slightly more expensive would be a Yamaha C7 of the same age, which is in better regulation but I like the sound of the Grotrian more and I think with some regulation it could feel just as even and precise. It is for a big space so we want something powerful and also stable with temperature and humidity fluctuations....though we might install one of those under-piano humidity systems. Any thoughts?

Re: Grotrian Steinweg 220
ajw400 #2233611 02/18/14 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by ajw400
I think with some regulation it could feel just as even and precise.


I don't know if this is true, Yamaha is famous for their good yet Grotrian for their bad action work smile

Re: Grotrian Steinweg 220
ajw400 #2233616 02/18/14 09:09 AM
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I've never heard and comments ever about Grotrian having bad actions. I own one. I've played many Grotrian grands over the years including the 220 and the actions have been first class. I would say that was especially true for the 220. Unless this particular Grotrian was extremely abused I would think a good regulation would make a world of difference on how the action feels.


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Re: Grotrian Steinweg 220
Rich D. #2233624 02/18/14 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Rich D.
I've never heard and comments ever about Grotrian having bad actions. I own one.


I also own one and I can assure you they are able to make dreadful actions.

By accident they may have made great actions as well of course, with a Renner action and a bit of luck.

By the way Grotrian puts a little piece of lead just behind the front of the keys which may give you the impression of a great feeling action.

However when you are starting to play faster you loose grip and control because of it, in this case it causes bluntness of movement as well.

Re: Grotrian Steinweg 220
ajw400 #2233670 02/18/14 11:12 AM
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Grotrians are few in number. There was a dealer in the Seattle area up until about 25 years ago. I have serviced several of the grands he sold.

I have noted several issues with these pianos:

1. Bridge caps splitting in the section of the scale where the front row of bridge pins is even or nearly even with the back row of it's neighboring note.

2. Loose tuning pins because of inadequate back tilt to the tuning pin holes that lets the pin start to climb up out of the hole while tuning. (All other piano makers angle the tuning pin hole against the pull of the strings.)

3. Placement of the tuning pin field in the middle section of strings such that most of the notes have a side bearing as well as the usual up bearing. (This contributes to false beats).

4. Actions with quite heavy hammers and very low static touch-weight which play slowly and can inhibit proper playing technique.

They are interesting pianos, have excellent workmanship, and have many positive attributes; but I wouldn't own one and can't recommend them until they address these issues.


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Re: Grotrian Steinweg 220
ajw400 #2233680 02/18/14 11:20 AM
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I also own one and I can assure you they are able to make dreadful actions.

By accident they may have made great actions as well of course, with a Renner action and a bit of luck.


I have played dozens and never found anything remotely like a bad action. In fact, in my experience, as a brand it's one of the most consistent actions I have ever used. Must be my good luck.

I'm referring to new ones, not of the vintage the OP is asking about.

Re: Grotrian Steinweg 220
ajw400 #2233716 02/18/14 12:26 PM
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To the OP, the piano is nearly 40 years old. Expect it to need some detailed service to get the best from it. Fresh regulation always improves performance. The negative comments are odd...it sounds like a bargain. If you are in an area with distinct seasons, a Dampp-Chaser may be in order. A first step is to see what variation in humidity the room experiences.

Otherside, I don't understand your statements. Your experience and criticisms may be your own, but the way you shared is inflammatory and contrary to the common understanding and experiences of others here.

If you have wider experience with Grotrian pianos, please share your industry affiliation as are the rules of this forum. I've seen other comments from you of a technical nature, and context is always helpful for those reading your comments.

Finally, you may want to look to a new technician to suggest solutions to satisfy you with your piano. Sometimes it simply takes a fresh set of eyes and an open mind. I'd rather see you happy than trapped with complaints.


Sam Bennett
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Re: Grotrian Steinweg 220
PianoWorksATL #2233729 02/18/14 12:44 PM
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Friends:

As a PIANIST, I'd like to support Ed's technical observations, at least up to about 20 years ago. Since that time, I've found the pianos to be, generally speaking, wonderful.

There are some glorious pre-War pianos in Europe. However, my experience is that the post-War instruments were greatly inferior up until about 20 years ago, when the quality seemed to increase significantly, with beautifully regulated actions and a tone that one might best describe as elegant and aristocratic.

Just my opinion and not wishing to offend ANYONE.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY


Re: Grotrian Steinweg 220
ajw400 #2233751 02/18/14 01:30 PM
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My only contact with Grotrian pianos have been ones made in the past 5 years, and none of the negative comments attributed to the actions (which I believe are shipped to Grotrian after being assembled by Renner, so are we impugning all Renner actions?) were my experience at all on the various models I played (including the 130, 192, 208, and perhaps one larger).

I've no experience with their older pianos, but figured I'd at least contribute my observations, given the direction this thread seems to be going.


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Re: Grotrian Steinweg 220
ajw400 #2233807 02/18/14 03:34 PM
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Thanks for the comments everyone! The critical remarks made by otherside and Ed are indeed reason for pause. I guess it's hard for a mere pianist like myself to distinguish between a problem inherent in the action and one that is solvable by regulation. It does have relatively recently replaced hammers which are Abel - which I understand are relatively light hammers so I guess that is a good thing. The action is indeed still a bit heavy and slow - maybe the technician has to remove those lead weights somebody mentioned? I was under the impression from googling grotrian Steinweg that the actions were made by Renner - but possibly that is not the case for the older models? Does anyone know?

Re: Grotrian Steinweg 220
ajw400 #2233810 02/18/14 03:44 PM
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The C series Yamahas have terrific actions. I have limited experience with Grotrian but the ones I played were fine. I would probably like the sound on the Grotrian better. Possibly a good regulation would help the Grotrian.

Re: Grotrian Steinweg 220
ajw400 #2233822 02/18/14 04:06 PM
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Hi ajw400,

This is the tough part, for sure. As a decent pianist, you can only evaluate what the piano does NOW, instead of what the piano could potentially be with some work, or some break-in, or whatever. A serious seller of a high-dollar instrument will take the steps necessary to make the instrument salable…or it will sit around and collect dust.

Don't make the mistake of guessing that a seemingly simple problem can be corrected easily without some expert technical advice. Sometimes the little things are enormous problems, sometimes not!

Good luck in your search!


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Re: Grotrian Steinweg 220
PianoWorksATL #2233894 02/18/14 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by PianoWorksATL
Otherside, I don't understand your statements. Your experience and criticisms may be your own, but the way you shared is inflammatory and contrary to the common understanding and experiences of others here.

Finally, you may want to look to a new technician to suggest solutions to satisfy you with your piano. Sometimes it simply takes a fresh set of eyes and an open mind.


Congratulations with your youtube clips, your pianos appear to be in great shape.

Your recent Grotrian 208 clip is quite nice as well, the action doesn't appear to have undue resistance, nice voicing as well.

I fixed my piano.

Re: Grotrian Steinweg 220
ajw400 #2233899 02/18/14 06:55 PM
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Thank you, and I'm delighted to hear yours is now in order.


Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Hailun
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Re: Grotrian Steinweg 220
ajw400 #2233913 02/18/14 07:45 PM
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My personal experiences were that I never was content with any Yamaha grand.

A little bit too heavy actions, and a much too brilliant (...plus too noisy) sound..

I very seldom played a Grotrian grand - until some days ago.. I visited the Grotrian factory, without having announced my visit...

The Grotrian plant manager ("Technischer Leiter", a Klavierbauermeister from the Ludwisburg school) gave me a guided tour for which I am very thankful to him.

It should have been a "short rush" through the factory... But we both had so much fun, being manufacturing experts and CNC experts, and piano fans, and knowers of the ancient history of the founding years in Seesen, Wolfenbüttel ans Brunswick, until 1865 when Theodore Steinway parted for New York and sold his shares, that the tour expanded over more than one and a half hour...

During this tour (sorry for offtopic) I had the chance to play on some uprights (a wonderful piano with a heigt of around 120cm was in the finishing prep dept. , on two Grotrian 225, and on the concert grand.

One 225 model was in the concert (and selecting) room, the other was also in the finishing prep dept. - this one was the finest seven footer grand I ever played. A Renner Action, and I loved it much more than the fine concert grand. We discussed my observation that the action of the concert grand felt "stiffer" or "harder"... the Grorian action is se to a downweight of 50gr and an upweight of 30gr, they try hard to fabricate these data consistently, told me the plant manager.

The Grotrian sound is a "Non Steinway Non Yamaha"-Sound. (See my sig, I own an ancient Steinway D.) More basic vibrations, less overtones, no duplex front, no duplex at the end. A warm and shiny sound, to fill the hearts and souls of men.

They try to avoid vibrations at the rim. The whole "vibrating sound engine" is put together with the lower rim, on it the sound board, the frame. Then the "sound engine" is wrapped by the rim - for which to manufacture they have a clever concept: a long straight fixture with the round curve at the bass side end, and they only exchange the S curve fixture parts to form the rims of different sizes.

Marvellous pianos.

Especially the Grotrian 225 in the finishing prep dept.

A piano which really was able to sing for me the Chopin nocturne 9-2. Incredible. A dream of a romantic piano sound, and a very comfortable stiff and nicely controllable action of Renner.

OK - everything said related to new Grotrian pianos and especially the lovely grand 225. Also a 192 grand was beautiful, only the bass power lacked a tiny bit - for my expectations, or what I am used for..

In the next days I will visit one of the biggest dealers in Germany for used pianos, purpose: to round my "picture" of the elder Grotrian pianos. They have on stock ca. 12 Grotrian pianos, and I will check out them all. For my personal interest only.

Again thanks to the Grotrian people, to my old part-time "home town" Brunswick (is it the only city in the world with actually two well known big piano factories? Grotrian and Schimmel).

It was a really marvellous experience. Loved it.

Last edited by BerndAB; 02/18/14 07:54 PM.

Pls excuse any bad english.

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Re: Grotrian Steinweg 220
ajw400 #2234111 02/19/14 09:00 AM
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We used to have a splendid post war Grotrian Steinweg upright.

Grotrian's advice is to do exactly what Bernd did, and also to talk to piano technicians with up to date experience of their instruments.

In England in recent years, Purcell School, Menuhin School and Royal Academy of Music have been among their customers.

If the OP, all things considered, comes back to that Grotrian then I'd say visit with a technician who would look after it and, assuming it passes muster, work out a deal.


Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm
Re: Grotrian Steinweg 220
ajw400 #2234130 02/19/14 09:44 AM
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Thanks for the story Bernd it sounds like it was really nice experience.

I had my technician call the technician who serviced the piano over the last years and he assures that it is a good instrument, keeps its tuning etc. I think that I will take the risk of buying it and getting a good regulation on the action. If it comes out still on the heavy side that's ok so long as it's very consistent, but I'll ask if they can regulate a bit of the weight out of it. It's a tough call because we have a very limited budget - so we either get this one or we could wait and see if any other opportunities arise.

I'm curious if *in general* a piano that is from 1976 is due for a complete action replacement/rebuilding? And if so how much that generally might cost?

Also what are the experiences of you all for the "Precision Touch" engineering system, and how much does that usually cost?

Re: Grotrian Steinweg 220
ajw400 #2234154 02/19/14 10:24 AM
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My experience, based on 1925 and 1905 German pianos of equivalent quality, is that basic regulation makes all the difference. Obviously you have to replace things that are worn out or can't be made to work. Although it may seem obvious, make sure the strings are well cleaned and seated. If you can borrow a compressor, try blasting air at the bridge pins, agraffes, etc. You may be surprised at the effect.

Good luck.


Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm
Re: Grotrian Steinweg 220
ajw400 #2234161 02/19/14 10:37 AM
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Do I detect a note of disbelief regarding my Grotrian observations?

I will add to the list of quality issues; that all of the ones I have seen in the last 40 years use very large bridge pins which help lead to bridge splits. It is a shame they have this problem when repositioning the back row of pins and using smaller pins to cure this would be no trouble for a manufacturer. Grotrian uses a horizontal laminated bridge cap which is probably the best wood for avoiding split bridges-yet because of the pins-they split! Not smart in my opinion and expensive to repair for the owner.


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Re: Grotrian Steinweg 220
Piano*Dad #2234172 02/19/14 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
I have played dozens and never found anything remotely like a bad action. In fact, in my experience, as a brand it's one of the most consistent actions I have ever used.

I'm referring to new ones


I have never played your version, however from the few youtube clips I saw I reckon the action has become lighter.

Only in the latest clip however I notice the little leads probably have been removed.

The dozens of pianos you played probably still had them, which would account for the impression of consistency since your fingers feel these leads first.

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