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#2302381 - 07/14/14 08:12 PM Brilliant sound  
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Gatsbee13 Offline
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So I was just thinking about this recently.. I played a Bechstein upright back in 2000-2001 brand new on dealer showroom.. the room was acoustically treated (it kind of had a slight echo)..anyways, the bechstein upright I played sounded very "brilliant", if that is the correct term.. not bright, but had a sound that I had never heard before (albeit that was when I first started looking at high end pianos).. I couldn't find another piano that had such an extremely brilliant tone to it.. perhaps it was the way it was voiced? or the room treatments? combination of both?

I haven't played a bechstein upright since (there are no more bechstein dealers in so. California)..

does anybody know how that piano could possibly have sounded that way. Do other manufacturers make a piano that can sound like that? I know of all the Yamaha, schimmels, kawais, and even high end Chinese uprights that I have played.. none have had that sound..

im assuming maybe some of the other german and European pianos could possibly sound like this..

I have to admit, THAT bechstein upright I played over 10 years ago was the first piano I actually loved.

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#2302591 - 07/15/14 01:01 PM Re: Brilliant sound [Re: Gatsbee13]  
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Agreed Gatsbee13,

I had the good fortune of having a CB grand in my home for several months. It's a unique sound, just as you described. Not bright and overpowering but a real singing voice with overtones. Our neighbor is a famous piano player. He came over and played it for about an hour. He went to the factory when the band tours and knew all about CB's first hand.

I got to sit back and listen while he played, I wouldn't call it bright or jazzy like a Yamaha. Sorry, I just realized, I can't describe it. This model was from the 80's which tells you, this is their sound........blob


KAWAI RX-3 BLAK
YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1
#2302599 - 07/15/14 01:20 PM Re: Brilliant sound [Re: Gatsbee13]  
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I didn't know what I was doing at the time, but I played a Bechstein at Waltrip's in Arcadia, and felt the same way about it. I thought it was bright, but maybe I'm not using the word correctly. Talking about sound is like dancing about architecture, to steal a phrase from Kurt Vonnegut.


Gary
Essex EUP-111 at the mountains
W. Hoffmann T-122 at the beach
#2302907 - 07/16/14 05:42 AM Re: Brilliant sound [Re: Gatsbee13]  
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joe80 Online content
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This is the Bechstein sound. You can also find similar but not identical in Grotrian and Bluthner, although the Bluthner has less 'bite' and the Grotrian has less, i dunno, clarity (less isn't a good word because those pianos are not lacking in anything).

Bechstein's reputation has rested on their uprights in a way that it hasn't for any other tier one maker except perhaps Steingraeber. The Bechstein uprights are most certainly the best in the world, and even Bechstein uprights from 80 years ago retain something of that ringing tone that you're talking about. It's the Bechstein trademark. Listen to Artur Schnabel's recordings on Bechstein grands for instance.


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#2302952 - 07/16/14 08:03 AM Re: Brilliant sound [Re: Gatsbee13]  
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Steve Cohen Online content
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The Bechstein tone is unique to the brand.

Some love it, others don't.


Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

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My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.
#2303029 - 07/16/14 12:07 PM Re: Brilliant sound [Re: Gatsbee13]  
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Seems like the consensus is that it's bechstein sound..too bad.. However, I may have the chance to try new bluthner uprights this weekend to see how they sound compared to bechstein.

#2303036 - 07/16/14 12:20 PM Re: Brilliant sound [Re: Gatsbee13]  
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In 2012,I had the opportunity to play several Beckstein grands beginning with an 1866 (not even an 88 note piano) one from the late 1880's, another from 1898,1904, a 1927 and a modern one. Since they were in the same acoustic environment at the same time, it was quite a learning experience. Except for the factory direct modern piano all had been rebuilt, perhaps several times. I think the tonal style evolved at Beckstein. The older ones seemed to sing more, the c.1900 pianos were more "fat", the 1927 rather nasal, and the modern one dry, responsive and correct. The action feel was rather different with each piano (I assume they all could use regulation).

My impression of the new Bluthner was like playing on glass. Very responsive, rather dry sounding, not much singing tone.


Seiler 206, Chickering 145, Estey 2 manual reed organ, Fudge clavichord, Zuckerman single harpsichord, Technics P-30, Roland RD-100.
#2303048 - 07/16/14 12:52 PM Re: Brilliant sound [Re: Gatsbee13]  
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Bechstein are rather special.


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
#2303053 - 07/16/14 12:59 PM Re: Brilliant sound [Re: Gatsbee13]  
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AJF Offline
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I had a very similar experience about 12 years ago when I went into the (then) local Bechstein dealer.
They had one Bechstein upright (an A1) that just had this "brilliance" of sound that totally swept me away. Like you, it was also the first piano that I fell in love with (or more like, became obsessed with) that was the beginning of my general interest in pianos.

On a side note, Carbonblob: I'm not sure what you mean by Yamahas being bright and "JAZZY".
If you listen to most of the jazz music being produced today, you'll actually find that the majority of (accomplished) jazz pianists prefer a piano sound that is warm and complex.
You'll even notice that most jazz piano recording tend to lean toward a warmer close mic production sound as opposed to most classical piano music which favors a more reverberant bright sound.
I really which the stereotype that jazz piano players like bright sounding pianos would go away. It's just not true.



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#2303055 - 07/16/14 01:00 PM Re: Brilliant sound [Re: PhilipInChina]  
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Played a CB upright (in a shop) a few months ago.

Beautiful tone and action. If I were looking for an upright, it would be near or at the top of my list.


My take on J. S. Bach, Scarlatti, Shostakovich: https://www.youtube.com/user/dohgrant/playlists

My current thing.... a wee bit of Shostakovich, that underrated Russian composer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C29LqzTOoYM&list=PLP5BZzcdRkq1WU147i5-3K92XlBgTe-kp
#2303073 - 07/16/14 01:55 PM Re: Brilliant sound [Re: Gatsbee13]  
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Norbert Offline
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Quote
does anybody know how that piano could possibly have sounded that way. Do other manufacturers make a piano that can sound like that? I know of all the Yamaha, schimmels, kawais, and even high end Chinese uprights that I have played.. none have had that sound..



If a Bechstein would sound same as a Yamaha,Kawai or Schimmel, one could think there would be no need for brand's existence.

Norbert


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#2303086 - 07/16/14 02:29 PM Re: Brilliant sound [Re: Gatsbee13]  
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AJF,

I stand corrected,that was a rather sweeping statement (opinion). I will admit, "bright" hardly qualifies as a comprehensive description.

Most of my jazz collection is older. I would like to be enlightened! Please recommend some artists and albums I should listen to.

Thanks.........blob




KAWAI RX-3 BLAK
YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1
#2304061 - 07/19/14 02:20 PM Re: Brilliant sound [Re: Gatsbee13]  
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AJF Offline
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Here is a tiny cross section of albums to check out:

Bill Evans- Sunday at the Village Vanguard
Miles Davis- Kind of Blue
Hank Mobley-Soul Station
Herbie Hancock- The Piano
Chick Corea- Now He Sings, Now He Sobs
Hank Jones- Tip Toe Tap Dance
Phineas Newborn Jr. - A World Of Piano
Keith Jarrett- Belonging
-The Vienna Concert
-At The Blue Note (6 cd's)
Mulgrew Miller - With Our Own Eyes
Thelonious Monk - Underground
Brad Mehldau - Art of the Trio vol. 1-5
Geoffrey Keezer- Zero One
Joey Calderazzo - Haiku
Adrean Farrugia - Ricochet (shameless plug:)

I think you'll find a pleasing piano 'sound aesthetic' on these albums.
Cheers Carbonblob.



Pianist, Composer
Disclaimer: Shigeru Kawai Artist
#2304387 - 07/20/14 11:23 AM Re: Brilliant sound [Re: Gatsbee13]  
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Carbonblob Offline
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thanks AJF........

I printed the list out. I'm on the road but I'll look these up on iTunes and give a listen when time permits. Thanks again for taking the time to make a comprehensive list for me, I appreciate that. I do recognize many names but looking forward to giving the new ones a listen!

thanks again...........blob


KAWAI RX-3 BLAK
YAMAHA GRANTOUCH GT1
#2304586 - 07/20/14 10:01 PM Re: Brilliant sound [Re: Gatsbee13]  
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AJF Offline
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cheers:)



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Disclaimer: Shigeru Kawai Artist
#2304797 - 07/21/14 10:06 AM Re: Brilliant sound [Re: Gatsbee13]  
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joe80 Online content
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Hi Gynnis -

Yeah I find the new Bluthners a bit dry sounding, and for some reason in some of the pianos the top is a bit dead. It's not that in some of the models the top is dead - it's that you can have one model 6 that is perfect, and another that is just a let down. I don't know if this is a voicing issue or if it's another issue - perhaps they're inconsistent with how they set the downbearing? I don't know.

The concert grands seem to be consistently amazing, but the smaller grands can be hit or miss. Sometimes Bluthner make the mistake of trying to make their piano sound bright, but in my experience the Bluthner doesn't sing properly when voiced bright, it sings when voiced mellow, and then the tone has a chance to really sing and it can even sparkle at with that mellow voice. It's funny because a Yamaha needs to be brighter for that sparkle and clarity, and if you voice the Yamaha or even the Steinway like a Bluthner it just goes dull.

The Bechstein singing sound is legendary, and it's that kind of panoramic sound if you like, it's bright, but it has depth. Beautiful.


#2304833 - 07/21/14 12:07 PM Re: Brilliant sound [Re: joe80]  
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Originally Posted by joe80
The Bechstein singing sound is legendary, and it's that kind of panoramic sound if you like, it's bright, but it has depth. Beautiful.


The problem with trying to describe sound with words is that people use words for other senses than hearing. Panoramic? Pianos are point sources of sound. Big points with big pianos, small points with small pianos. Depth? If you bury a piano, or drop it in water, you will not get sound from it any more.


Semipro Tech
#2304842 - 07/21/14 12:28 PM Re: Brilliant sound [Re: Gatsbee13]  
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Oh ha ha my sides are splitting and my spleen has dropped out........

Seriously though, all the time we use words to describe music that have nothing to do with sound, but have to do with concepts.

For instance, the term bright is a term originally relating to light that we can use to describe sound. When we talk about emotion in music, for instance, well, what does that mean? It's just dots on a page after all, or different frequencies reaching our ears, but we know instinctively what happy music is and sad music is, at the point of performance at least.

Singers talk about their sound having focus (which again is to do with light), and not sounding spread (which is something you do with butter or whatever). We use metaphor all the time, and little lies that illustrate the truth if you like - even when we talk about legato on the piano it is in reality, impossible, but we can make it sound possible.

My piano teacher used to say to me that touch should be like an iron core wrapped in a velvet glove, and yet, we're talking about skin on plastic (or ivory), and a heavy felt hammer hitting a tight steel wire, and the point of contact with the key shouldn't have all that much to do with the tone of a piano, and yet somehow, it does because it's the point of relationship between performer and instrument. We talk about sound having a hard edge to it, or a sharp edge to it, or cutting, - all metaphor.

So forgive me for using non musical words to describe musical or sonic concepts, I'm an artist after all, not a tech.

I suppose I could learn more scientific concepts and talk about the prevalence of higher harmonics, or more of the fundamental, or the exact hammer density and the string tension, but many people (least of all me)would actually know what I was talking about.

#2304931 - 07/21/14 03:13 PM Re: Brilliant sound [Re: Gatsbee13]  
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The C Bechstein sound really is unique. The only other pianos I have played recently that I felt had a similar round clarity were Schimmels. And I'm talking about grands here rather than uprights.

If you are looking for something with a similar sound characteristic to C Bechstein/Bechstein but for less money, W Hoffmans are worth a try. I haven't played one recently, though, so I don't really recall how they compare.

Last edited by pogmoger; 07/21/14 03:14 PM.
#2304937 - 07/21/14 03:22 PM Re: Brilliant sound [Re: Gatsbee13]  
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The recent W. Hoffmans I heard/tried didn't sound "Bechstein Brilliant". They did sound good but mellower.


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