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Charles R Walter upright #2329054
09/19/14 05:19 PM
09/19/14 05:19 PM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,572
France
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landorrano Offline OP
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France
Hello. I had a look at a Charles R Walter upright. A rare bird in these parts, the owners had spent some time in the USA and brought it back to the Old Continent with them. It dates from the late 70s, and has apparently always been tuned regularly.

An interesting instrument. The keyboard has a great feel to it. Very few twangy metallic overtones.

But it struck me that it is very loud, it felt that it was meant to be in a hall rather than in a room. I couldn't get out of it anything that felt like pianissimo, neither in the base nor in the high register. Pianissimo is something that I value a lot.

So I'd like to ask if in general this sort of thing can be improved by a technician. The thought has come upon me that over the years the felts may have become compressed, hardened, with this uncontrollable volume as consequence.

Or maybe that's just the way these pianos are made.

I'd be interested in what anyone has to say about this characteristic of this piano.

Here's a couple of pictures of the hammers, that the owner sent me at my request.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

Last edited by landorrano; 09/19/14 06:06 PM.
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Re: George R Walter upright [Re: landorrano] #2329057
09/19/14 05:26 PM
09/19/14 05:26 PM
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France
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landorrano Offline OP
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... and an image of the piano ...

[Linked Image]

Re: George R Walter upright [Re: landorrano] #2329058
09/19/14 05:37 PM
09/19/14 05:37 PM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 224
Scotland
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Sam4 Offline
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Looks somewhere in between the oler traditional style uprights before the 1940s and he more modern less curvier, more contemporary pianos after the 60s, very nice love the flat whole width music desk and the piano looks pretty clean with the full 88 notes.

However, what it sounds like to you is The most important thing, if it sounds out of tune or it seems to be in need of some work, ask a local technician to give it a once over just to make sure it isn't gonna cost you excessively in comparison to buying something else, but as I say if you really like it's tone, and it's touch which is also an important thing with uprights, majer sure it's not too heavy and feels right to your fingers but if that's all good and the price is right Walter's seem to be quite well thought of.

Good luck


Sam The Bam
Re: George R Walter upright [Re: landorrano] #2329060
09/19/14 05:45 PM
09/19/14 05:45 PM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 224
Scotland
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Sam4 Offline
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Sorry just read you comment about loudness, these modern uprights are abit louder in general than the older ones, well the one's I've played anyway, all the modern one's seem to have a more forceful sound, over-bright is what I'd call it.

That of couse varies, it could be voiced and maybe that'd help, worth asking a local tech and ask how much it'd cost.

If it really does sound too loud to you, might be worth checking something else out jus for a comparison, take your camera and video both of them being played to help you out.


Sam The Bam
Re: George R Walter upright [Re: landorrano] #2329062
09/19/14 05:51 PM
09/19/14 05:51 PM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,572
France
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landorrano Offline OP
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landorrano  Offline OP
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Joined: Feb 2006
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France
Thanks Sam. I will definitely take a tech to have a look before buying it. But one thing is for sure: among the piano techs I know none will have ever worked on a Walter piano. They can't possibly know their characteristics. So I'm wondering what a technician who does have experience with these instruments might think about this problem. Maybe it isn't a problem really, but rather a characteristic of this mark and model?

Re: George R Walter upright [Re: landorrano] #2329064
09/19/14 06:01 PM
09/19/14 06:01 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 27,426
Oakland
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BDB Offline
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Do you mean Charles R. Walter?


Semipro Tech
Re: George R Walter upright [Re: landorrano] #2329068
09/19/14 06:07 PM
09/19/14 06:07 PM
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Posts: 2,572
France
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landorrano Offline OP
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France
Indeed, Charles R Walter. Thanks!

Re: George R Walter upright [Re: landorrano] #2329069
09/19/14 06:09 PM
09/19/14 06:09 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 7,439
Rochester MN
Minnesota Marty Offline

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Minnesota Marty  Offline

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Joined: May 2012
Posts: 7,439
Rochester MN
Something is a little strange here.

That looks exactly like the Charles Walter Studio in Oak.

They are very good pianos and are not tinny or overly loud by nature. It should take a voicing very well.


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: George R Walter upright [Re: landorrano] #2329070
09/19/14 06:13 PM
09/19/14 06:13 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 7,439
Rochester MN
Minnesota Marty Offline

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Rochester MN
(Typing at the same time.)

Going back to the photos, I noticed that it is sitting on a hard floor in the corner. Some of what you are hearing might be due to the room acoustics.

Here is the company website:

http://www.walterpiano.com/

You can find further info here:

http://www.pianobuyer.com/


Marty in Minnesota

It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.
Re: George R Walter upright [Re: landorrano] #2329114
09/19/14 08:51 PM
09/19/14 08:51 PM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 1,796
The Heart of Screenland
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KurtZ Offline
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The Heart of Screenland
Landoranno,

I'm sure you know that conventional wisdom is the C. Walters pianos are usually not over-bright or over-loud for their sizes?

I'm wondering if you're comparing this upright to other uprights? I struggled with pp and ppp on my upright and asked an RPT about it. He allowed that playing truly quietly is harder on uprights than on horizontals because of the springs that substitute for gravity on the upright action. I also think there's much to what Marty has said about being in the corner of 3 reflective surfaces. If I'm right, I think that you may be hearing an amalgamation of the two phenomena and perhaps exacerbated by the compressed hammers visible in the top photo.

Kurt


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Re: George R Walter upright [Re: landorrano] #2329184
09/20/14 04:01 AM
09/20/14 04:01 AM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,572
France
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landorrano Offline OP
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France
Thanks for your responses. About the piano being in the corner of a small room, I hadn't thought of this and it surely contributes to what I heard.

Still I wonder whether this is part of the conception of the piano. Or if it is rather a problem that develops little by little over the years and that can be worked out by a good technician.

As a counter-example, I played a Pleyel 112 this week. A rather small upright, quite slim, made in Germany apparently. It had been worked on a bit by a tech, so I don't know how it would have sounded before. From the point of view of pianissimo it was just fantastic, you could play it at a whisper. And the fortes were rather subtle, held back, a rich harmonisation. Seducing, I might say. A great home piano. I would have bought it except that it is substantially more than I am hoping to pay. Asking price of 4500 euros.


Re: George R Walter upright [Re: landorrano] #2329200
09/20/14 07:09 AM
09/20/14 07:09 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,377
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Online content
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Philadelphia/South Jersey
The Pleyel 112 was made by Schimmel in Germany. If you are making a direct comparison you may notice the following almost immediately:

The Pleyel is 112 cm. tall. The Walter is around 116 cm. tall, depending on what caster design they used at the time.

Pleyel is less wide because the Walter has such wide cheekblocks. I am describing the pieces of wood on either side of the strings. This is because the Walter is trying to fit the longest possible bass strings into this frame. This was not a concern to Pleyel.

The Pleyel also has much shorter key sticks. Because the Pleyel is also slimmer, the full key, including the part you do not see inside the piano, is shorter than the Walter piano. The idea behind this is that a longer key length will provide better control and minimize the difference in touch between the front and back of the key.

The Pleyel must be picked up to be moved, but has a sleeker look to it. The Walter can be rolled easily, but its form follows function. It is basically a wooden box around the piano.

Either is a well made instrument. Overall condition might dictate which way I would lean on this.

For what it is worth, from a sheer specs. perspective, the Walter is a clear winner.

Good Luck in your choice,


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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Re: George R Walter upright [Re: landorrano] #2329374
09/20/14 06:36 PM
09/20/14 06:36 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 1,131
Seattle
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SMHaley Offline
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Seattle
The Charles R Walter studios are decent instruments. Viewing the images of the hammers and the concern about tone and volume... The string groves in the hammers would suggest shaping and voicing is due. Having cared for a similar model in a high school auditorium for several years, they can have a wonderfully balanced tone for their size.


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Re: George R Walter upright [Re: SMHaley] #2329523
09/21/14 05:42 AM
09/21/14 05:42 AM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,572
France
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landorrano Offline OP
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France
Thanks, fellows, you give me food for thought. I think I'll go back and have another look, try it out again.

Originally Posted by SMHaley
Having cared for a similar model in a high school auditorium for several years, they can have a wonderfully balanced tone for their size.


Quite exactly, a high school auditorium is where I picture this instrument, with it's power and projection. But as I said, I'm going to give it a another try.

Re: George R Walter upright [Re: landorrano] #2329527
09/21/14 05:53 AM
09/21/14 05:53 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,377
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Online content
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Originally Posted by landorrano
Thanks, fellows, you give me food for thought. I think I'll go back and have another look, try it out again.


Keep us posted!


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Subscribe to our YouTube channel for great content every week:
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Re: George R Walter upright [Re: Rich Galassini] #2329531
09/21/14 06:03 AM
09/21/14 06:03 AM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,572
France
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landorrano Offline OP
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France
Originally Posted by Rich Galassini

The Pleyel also has much shorter key sticks. Because the Pleyel is also slimmer, the full key, including the part you do not see inside the piano, is shorter than the Walter piano. The idea behind this is that a longer key length will provide better control and minimize the difference in touch between the front and back of the key.


This is interesting. However, in the concrete case of these two pianos, the Pleyel was remarkably more responsive. Overall condition, maybe? The fact that the Pleyel has been recently serviced?

I think I'm going to try to find the time to go back and see the Pleyel again too.

Originally Posted by Rich Galassini

For what it is worth, from a sheer specs. perspective, the Walter is a clear winner.



This surprises me, but as you seem to speak with the authority of a professional your statement really makes me think.




Re: George R Walter upright [Re: landorrano] #2329709
09/21/14 04:45 PM
09/21/14 04:45 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,377
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Online content
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Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted by landorrano

This is interesting. However, in the concrete case of these two pianos, the Pleyel was remarkably more responsive. Overall condition, maybe? The fact that the Pleyel has been recently serviced?

I think I'm going to try to find the time to go back and see the Pleyel again too.


Remember that at the end of the day you must prefer the tone and touch of the piano you purchase. We already know from your description and pictures that the Walter is not "well prepared" and in perfect condition. The Pleyel may be in better condition - or you just prefer the softer tone of the Pleyel.

Also important to note - pianists never choose a piano based on a spec. sheet... and neither should you.

Good luck,


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Subscribe to our YouTube channel for great content every week:
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