Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2.7 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
What's Hot!!
Mr. PianoWorld - the full interview
-------------------
European Tour for Piano Lovers
JOIN US FOR THE TOUR!
--------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Find a Professional
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers

Advertise on Piano World

(ad)
Piano Buyer Guide
Piano Buyer Spring 2018
ad
Pierce Piano Atlas


Who's Online Now
63 registered members (frankb, EssBrace, Angelos58, David B, cfrederi, Beemer, Agent88, Beowulf, 14 invisible), 1,312 guests, and 4 spiders.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Live Piano Venues
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Directory/Site Map
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords & Scales
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 3 of 3 1 2 3
Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? #252974
06/28/07 12:35 PM
06/28/07 12:35 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 34
F
Fanny Offline
Full Member
Fanny  Offline
Full Member
F

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 34
Brief hijack here... my apologies...

Alex, it's good to see you posting! I have a question for you. Is the photo displayed in your avatar available in poster size and are they available for purchase? I'd love to have one. Thanks!

end hijack... carry on ...

Piano & Music Gifts & Accessories (570)
Piano accessories and music gift items
Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? #252975
06/28/07 04:49 PM
06/28/07 04:49 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,205
Nor California Sacramento area
D
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Dale Fox  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
D

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,205
Nor California Sacramento area
Quote
Originally posted by Alex Hernandez:
Dale,

If you can get yourself to Leipzig I'll arrange a tour through the factory and perhaps you can ask Herr Blüthner about the soundboard process in person.

I hope the kids are doing well, see you soon.
Nice to hear from you,Alex. Maybe sometime you can let our friend know that I have an inkling of what I'm talking about. wink

Nice to see you have gainful employment.

Dale


Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding
Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? #252976
06/28/07 06:22 PM
06/28/07 06:22 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,969
Alex Hernandez Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Alex Hernandez  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 1,969
Fanny,

PM me.


Dale,

You are the man!

I was very serious about my factory tour offer, let me know when and I'll arrange it.




Blüthner USA, LLC
Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? #252977
06/28/07 09:30 PM
06/28/07 09:30 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,205
Nor California Sacramento area
D
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Dale Fox  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
D

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,205
Nor California Sacramento area
Quote
Originally posted by Alex Hernandez:
Fanny,

Fanny! What's wrong with my fanny? Did my pants rip?


Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding
Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? #252978
06/28/07 09:36 PM
06/28/07 09:36 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,205
Nor California Sacramento area
D
Dale Fox Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Dale Fox  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
D

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,205
Nor California Sacramento area
Quote
Originally posted by Dale Fox:
Quote
Originally posted by Alex Hernandez:
[b] Fanny,

Fanny! What's wrong with my fanny? Did my pants rip? [/b]
Apologies to Fanny. Just kidding alex.


Dale Fox
Registered Piano Technician
Remanufacturing/Rebuilding
Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? #252979
06/28/07 10:16 PM
06/28/07 10:16 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 34
F
Fanny Offline
Full Member
Fanny  Offline
Full Member
F

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 34
I didn't notice anything wrong with your fanny, Dale. Maybe you should PM Alex... I think he's too much of a gentleman to tell you in public. smile

(Will PM you, Alex - thanks!)

Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: pianistical] #2516220
03/01/16 06:42 AM
03/01/16 06:42 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,897
J
joe80 Offline
2000 Post Club Member
joe80  Offline
2000 Post Club Member
J

Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,897
This thread is 9 years old, but it makes an interesting point about piano restoration (once all the B.S. is cut out of it), so that's why I'm resurrecting it.

Most rebuilders who are rebuilding pre-WW2 Bluthners will not install a cylindrically crowned soundboard. The pre-WW2 instruments didn't have this feature anyway, or at least if they did it was never called that, so it's not necessarily stylistic to a rebuilt piano. The Blüthner factory in Leipzig will install one, and turn the piano into a hybrid of a modern/historic Blüthner. There's nothing objectively wrong with this because the pianos still sound excellent.

It's a bit like the question of whether you should rebuild a 1900 Steinway B with a diaphragmatic soundboard and accelerated action, when these were never features of the 1900 Steinway B anyway. Yes it can be done, and done beautifully, but the piano being returned to the owner or offered for sale is a modern instrument in a historic case. Nothing wrong with that, but it's not a 1900 Steinway anymore.

Mind you, is any fully rebuilt piano totally historically accurate? The question should be 'is this piano good?'

Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: pianistical] #2516246
03/01/16 08:51 AM
03/01/16 08:51 AM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,892
London
D
David-G Offline
1000 Post Club Member
David-G  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
D

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,892
London
Joe, this is an interesting subject for discussion. It would be very helpful for those of us like me who are unclear about details of soundboards, if you could clarify some points.

I take it that pre-WW2 Bluthners did not have cylindrically-crowned soundboards, whereas modern ones do. Is that correct?

Also - what exactly is a cylindrically-crowned soundboard? I take it that this describes the shape? How is the cylindrical crown produced?

But also, presumably the soundboards of pre-WW2 Bluthners had crown of some sort. Did these early models have crown of a different kind? Was the end result different? Was it done using a different process?

Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: pianistical] #2516285
03/01/16 11:01 AM
03/01/16 11:01 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,897
J
joe80 Offline
2000 Post Club Member
joe80  Offline
2000 Post Club Member
J

Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,897
Well, all soundboards on all pianos were built with crown. I remember at the historical keyboard instrument museum in Vienna, the curator explained to us that the trouble with historical fortepianos is that the soundboards have often lost their crown, but that they preserved the original instruments in tact rather than restoring them because it was important to preserve the information on what types of woods was used, etc, for the next generation etc. These pianos in there are not concert instruments anymore, they are retired museum pieces.

Of course, early Bluthners had crown in the soundboard, pre WW2 Bluthners had crown, as did pre WW2 Steinways. Interestingly enough, some Bechsteins from that period were made with really poor crown on the soundboard from the outset, which is why the Bechstein sound was often regarded as having a delicate treble (IMHO - poor treble) and a resounding bass. When Colin and Paul Leverett rebuilt Bechstein pianos from that period, they ignore the fact that the original board was made without crown and install a soundboard crowned to their spec, which having played them, is more musically satisfying to my ear even if it isn't historically accurate (which again raises the question of aesthetics - what should we be going for in a rebuild? In my opinion it should be the best musical instrument it can be, but others, not incorrectly, state it should preserve the original tone).

The cylindrically crowned soundboard, if I'm not mistaken, is something like, if you were to take the shape of the soundboard to its logical conclusion it would create a giant cone, with the wide point being where the bridges would be, and the low thinner point being at the keyboard side of the piano, but given that only a small part of the cone is used, you can't see with the naked eye that it is that shape. A bit like the same reason why you can't see the curvature of the earth - it's too big and we only see a very small part of it at any one time (unless it's actually flat.... haha!).

As to how the soundboards are crowned in the rebuilds at piano restorations ltd, or how they are crowned by other rebuilders, or how they were crowned by Bluthner in the early 20th Century, I don't actually know. I hand on heart don't know the processes used, whether it's rib crowned or compression crowned, or both, and actually I haven't asked the Leveretts how they do this - all I know is I like the sound of their completed pianos, which have a very pure and even tone throughout the range.

There are, incidentally, many Bluthners out there (and other makes) with original soundboards that still sound good today, albeit a bit more rough around the edges than a fully rebuilt one.

I would say overall, that the difference between a modern Bluthner 6'3 and a pre WW2 one (rebuilt or not), is that the modern one will project more - it might be perceived as a bit noisier if the instrument isn't properly prepared, but with the right voicing and regulation it should sound clear and pure. Over all there's a lot about the sound of a new one that shares the DNA with the old ones, but it's a more focused and projected tone. Whether a new one is a better piano than an old rebuilt one is a matter of taste, pure and simple, and I think that is true of all rebuilt vs new pianos. My personal preference is for older restored ones and that is because when a piano is built for projection, it loses some of the sweetness in the tone, and in a small room, you don't need projection. Some people though, for their music, and their preference, really need that projection and find the sweetness of tone limiting. Actually the 6'3 is perhaps not the best example, as it really seems to make more of a difference on the larger pianos - the 7'8 and the 9'2 - both of which need to project in the concert hall.

How is the cylindrical crown produced? I don't know. I have no idea if they have a mould, or if they have a concept and they bend it into shape using the ribs, or what they do. I know that it's mounted inside the piano in a slightly different way, and you can see pictures of how it's mounted inside the Bluthner brochure if you have access to one. It may well be on their website too.

I would like, actually, for the technicians on the board to chip in here and clarify and correct some of the things I have said, because I'm a pianist not a tech, although I have some limited knowledge about what is going on, but limited knowledge is a dangerous thing, and I could be way off the mark. Rich Galassini or someone who has actually installed boards on these instruments could step in here and explain these things in greater detail. I think we have a Bluthner dealer in Canada who has rebuilt at least one pre WW2 Bluthner piano, and will know the details in the soundboard that I can't quite articulate properly.

Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: pianistical] #2516286
03/01/16 11:13 AM
03/01/16 11:13 AM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,904
Seattle, WA USA
E
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Ed McMorrow, RPT  Offline
4000 Post Club Member
E

Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,904
Seattle, WA USA
I have replaced one Bluthner soundboard in my career as a rebuilder. My belly process is based on what I understand was used at NY Steinway. But of course it is not identical to any manufacturer because the fixtures and other details are different. It does produce Steinways that sound like Steinways. And the Bluthner did sound like a Bluthner when I finished.

If you think about "cylindrical" crown and the stated goal of maximizing crown at the bridge, you will see that because the bridge is curved it cannot perfectly follow the edge of a cylinder or an arc along the diameter of a sphere. So the talking points all get mushy when examined.

If you want to maximize crown in the treble, you help that by gluing the treble ribs first. That is what I do.


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: rebuilds [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2516292
03/01/16 11:29 AM
03/01/16 11:29 AM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 801
K
Karl Watson Offline
500 Post Club Member
Karl Watson  Offline
500 Post Club Member
K

Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 801
Ed:
As usual, your remarks are interesting and thought provoking, even to a pianist who understands next to nothing about the instrument's mechanism.
However, there is one thing you said that resonates powerfully with me. You referenced rebuilding where the end result was characteristic of the original maker.
I almost never hear rebuilt VINTAGE Masons or Chickerings that have retained their original and very distinctive tonal format.
It seems that there are quite a few successful Steinway and Baldwin rebuilds, at least relatively speaking.
This is just my opinion and NOT meant to start a bitter debate.
Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

Last edited by Karl Watson; 03/01/16 11:30 AM.
Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: Legalpad] #2516513
03/02/16 12:33 AM
03/02/16 12:33 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 3,616
🎹
Retsacnal Online content

Platinum Supporter until Feb 18  2015
Retsacnal  Online Content

Platinum Supporter until Feb 18  2015


Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 3,616
🎹

Originally Posted by Legalpad
As an attorney, I am trained to be able to sort out fact from fiction.


Please forgive me for an off-topic sort of observation, but the above is the most gut-bustingly funny thing I've read in a long time! ha


if you're content with A V E R A G E . . . then just do what everyone else does
Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: pianistical] #2516570
03/02/16 06:47 AM
03/02/16 06:47 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,130
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Offline
Platinum Subscriber
Rich Galassini  Offline
Platinum Subscriber

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,130
Philadelphia/South Jersey
This deserves its own thread because rebuilding to original specs, rebuilding to modern specs., or rebuilding to your own "better than both" specs. are the three ways one can rebuild a piano. There are reasons to do any of the three, but what is best? That will differ from model to model and opinion to opinion.

The rebuilders goals really should be known by the client whether you are considering rebuilding your own piano or shopping for a rebuilt piano.

By way of Bluthner pianos, we have rebuilt several Pre-WWII Bluthner pianos. These instruments are beautiful and are fantastic "high classical period" pianos. They did not have the patented "cylindrical soundboard" design of the modern Bluthner pianos and, frankly, performed differently than modern Bluthner pianos.

I totally appreciate the beauty of modern Bluthner pianos, but they are different beasts now.

My 2 cents,


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:
https://www.youtube.com/user/CunninghamPiano
Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: Rich Galassini] #2516579
03/02/16 07:30 AM
03/02/16 07:30 AM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,892
London
D
David-G Offline
1000 Post Club Member
David-G  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
D

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,892
London
Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
By way of Bluthner pianos, we have rebuilt several Pre-WWII Bluthner pianos. These instruments are beautiful and are fantastic "high classical period" pianos. They did not have the patented "cylindrical soundboard" design of the modern Bluthner pianos and, frankly, performed differently than modern Bluthner pianos.

I totally appreciate the beauty of modern Bluthner pianos, but they are different beasts now.

Rich, I know that this is difficult, but I wonder if you might try to put the differences into words?

Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: pianistical] #2516652
03/02/16 11:34 AM
03/02/16 11:34 AM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,904
Seattle, WA USA
E
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Ed McMorrow, RPT  Offline
4000 Post Club Member
E

Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 4,904
Seattle, WA USA
No rebuilder can accurately claim to rebuild a piano to be exactly like the way it was originally made. This is because no rebuilder has the original fixtures and patterns. (Not even the present factories use the same jigs and fixtures used 100 years ago.) And because anytime you make an analog copy of something you introduce error due to unavoidable measurement inaccuracies. (There are additional reasons but I want to be brief.)

A rebuilder can make a very informed plan to rebuild a piano and use organized procedures that will insure that the original design intent is adequately matched or even improved upon. The same can be said of any new piano maker if they so choose to invest in accurate work.

It is a very interesting question Karl Watson raises about what makes a specific brand have unique sound features. It is also very expensive to properly investigate and answer it with absolute certainty. How humans perceive musical tone is still an area of uncertainty and with imprecise ways to generate quantized data.

I do feel confidant to say that replacing a soundboard can be done to return a tired, dead sounding piano to a competitive state with a finely made new piano. It is the tone regulation procedures employed in rebuilding the action that are even more important in my experience.


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: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: pianistical] #2516976
03/03/16 04:34 AM
03/03/16 04:34 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,897
J
joe80 Offline
2000 Post Club Member
joe80  Offline
2000 Post Club Member
J

Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,897
Regarding the question of the difference between vintage rebuilt, and new Blüthner pianos, my own experience tells me that the vintage Blüthners were built to sing more, and while they can be very powerful, they don't have the same focus on projection as modern instruments. To that end, they're a bit like a cousin of the Bösendorfer piano. Of course, I'm describing tone, and the build of Bösendorfer is entirely different, but it suits, as Rich has already said, a high classical sound, like Bösendorfer.

The modern Blüthner, also a beautiful piano, doesn't sing as well as the vintage Blüthner (in my opinion), but makes up for it with focus and projection. The new Blüthner has the sound of a modern piano, but still with the Blüthner blueprint. For my own personal preference, I wish they'd go back to a more singing sound, even if they don't quite go back to the 19th Century way of making pianos, but of course my preference doesn't mean that what they are doing is wrong in any way. Some of the best prepared new Blüthners are some of the finest pianos you'll find anywhere, but I just like that glow that the vintage instruments have.

Regarding the question of whether it's possible to rebuild a piano back into what it was when it was new, the answer is most certainly no, it's never going to be exactly the same as it was. It simply can't be. It can be rebuilt to having the signature tone of that make and model, of course, but it won't be exactly the same piano as it was when it was new. Any rebuilder who has experience rebuilding Steinway pianos for instance, which have remained largely unchanged in design since the early 1900s, knows that they can make a 1900 Steinway B sound like a 2015 Steinway B, rightly or wrongly.

Rich, I'd add that the final way of restoring a piano could be the conservation method, but this isn't a method I'd use for anything other than a museum. I mean by that keeping as much of the piano original as possible. Debussy's Blüthner was given new hammers and new strings, for instance, as was Grieg's Steinway, but nothing else. Just enough to keep it playable. Grieg's piano has even been used for recording by Leif Ove Andsnes, but then it's a piano that has been kept in a fairly constant environment for 130 years, and probably hasn't suffered all that much from swings of humidity. That said, I can't imagine that it has the same sound as when it was new. I haven't heard a recording of Debussy's Blüthner but I think Roy Howatt has used it for some things. These are exceptional cases though - exceptional in that the piano is so historically important it's probably best to preserve it rather than attempt to put it back into service.

Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: David-G] #2517001
03/03/16 07:04 AM
03/03/16 07:04 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,130
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Offline
Platinum Subscriber
Rich Galassini  Offline
Platinum Subscriber

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,130
Philadelphia/South Jersey
This is turning into a GREAT thread! (again).

Originally Posted by David-G

Rich, I know that this is difficult, but I wonder if you might try to put the differences into words?


That is a great question and I will try.

The vintage Bluthner pianos had an intimacy about the tone that made them a pleasure to play. These instruments would not fill a hall that seated 3500, but they weren't meant to, IMHO.

Today's Bluthner is part of a homogenized trend of tone that has been happening for decades now within our industry. In trying to be a "modern piano" that would carry in a large hall, Bluthner lost a part of the beauty that I loved about the vintage instruments.

As a comparison that joe80 made to Bosendorfer, I have to say that there is a difference between these two pianos. Bosendorfer, IMHO, has done a better job of preserving the tone that made them a special voice 100 years ago.

As an example, here is a video made at The German Society of Pennsylvania. This society's membership includes some very successful people, many of whom are well educated and very musical. They all had opinions on what piano to choose for their concert space so it took them 2 years to boil their choice down to 2 possibilities, either a Bosendorfer or a Bluthner.

One of the members had a connection to Christian Bluthner and, though that connection, had a Bluthner 7 ft. (I believe a model 4) sent in and I sent a Bosendorfer 214. The Society hired several pianists to play the two instruments and give their opinions so they could choose the finest final product for their purposes. (This is a process I wish MORE would go through).

I was allowed to make a very short video of part of the process. You can hear the differences between the instruments. The pianist in this clip is Tim Ribchester. Also, I was using in body mics. on a video camera from the mezzanine of the hall. These are not professional recordings, but you can still get an idea of the difference in tone:





There are certainly beautiful things about both instruments, but The German Society chose the Bosendorfer. In part, because they believed that it had a better tone for the music they intended to perform in their hall, which seated about 350, I think, at total capacity.

Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
No rebuilder can accurately claim to rebuild a piano to be exactly like the way it was originally made. This is because no rebuilder has the original fixtures and patterns. (Not even the present factories use the same jigs and fixtures used 100 years ago.) And because anytime you make an analog copy of something you introduce error due to unavoidable measurement inaccuracies. (There are additional reasons but I want to be brief.)


Of course that is true, Ed. What I was referring to is the spirit of the endeavor.

For instance if one wants to reproduce the original design of a 1924 Steinway M belly one can get very close. Remember that Steinway used to do exactly that in their house rebuilds? One can fit a modern M board into that same 1924 M. That is possible, but it will require modification of the rim to allow for placement of ribs and modification of the frame to allow for bridge placement.

I will stay brief as well, but I wanted to clarify what I meant.

My 2 cents,



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:
https://www.youtube.com/user/CunninghamPiano
Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: joe80] #2517004
03/03/16 07:17 AM
03/03/16 07:17 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,130
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Offline
Platinum Subscriber
Rich Galassini  Offline
Platinum Subscriber

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,130
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted by joe80

Rich, I'd add that the final way of restoring a piano could be the conservation method, but this isn't a method I'd use for anything other than a museum.


Absolutely! This is something that is much more popular in Europe than in America. BTW, Leif is a wonderful player. I just met him in January here in Philadelphia.

In America we always want to replace everything. New, new, new. I have high respect for rebuilding with preservation in mind. In Vienna I visited a shop that routinely completely disassembled the action of a grand, cleaned it, reglued all the joints, rebushed and releathered, refelted the original hammer cores, etc. I totally appreciated the final result.

I know this is more than what you described, but you got me thinking.


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:
https://www.youtube.com/user/CunninghamPiano
Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: Rich Galassini] #2517028
03/03/16 08:39 AM
03/03/16 08:39 AM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 801
K
Karl Watson Offline
500 Post Club Member
Karl Watson  Offline
500 Post Club Member
K

Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 801
Rich:
This is a marvelous topic for us to debate and your examples, poor as they are, do illustrate your point excellently.
In your last you wrote that "Bosendorfer, IMHO, has done a better job of preserving the tone that made them a special voice 100 years ago." I agree, although I believe that Bosendorfer is guilty of doing some of the same, resulting in louder and more generalized, less distinctive tone. They've done LESS of it. As for the Bluthner, I'm not saying that it's a bad piano. FAR from it. It's a glorious, beautiful piano, but it has none of its pre-War quality (tone, touch).
Most pianists feel that, especially with concert grands, the size of our modern halls coupled with the heroic output of the modern orchestra, makes this necessary.
Thanks for these illustrations and thanks for wading knee-deep into this debate. As always, you do so with your own, unique zeal and love of the instrument. You always manage to communicate "Joy of Music."
Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY


Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: pianistical] #2517129
03/03/16 01:46 PM
03/03/16 01:46 PM
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 377
D
DiarmuidD Offline
Full Member
DiarmuidD  Offline
Full Member
D

Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 377
I had a pre-WW2 model 1 Bluthner (9ft). It definitely had a mellower, warmer sound than the modern ones. I think the newer Bluthners have more of a bell like tone which, as people have mentioned before, projects more and competes better with other modern pianos in a concert hall environment. The older sound is really lush though and heard in a living room I think it's hard to beat. It's also a great sound in ensemble playing. I only gave up mine because I moved to a smaller place and couldn't house it any more.

Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: pianistical] #2517156
03/03/16 03:05 PM
03/03/16 03:05 PM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 454
Chesterfield. MA
C
Craig Hair Offline
Full Member
Craig Hair  Offline
Full Member
C

Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 454
Chesterfield. MA
We practice that third third form of restoration: conservation or more precisely "conservative restoration". We try to not only preserve the original makers design and intent, we try to preserve the piano itself. A museum will practice restorative conservation, the aim being to alter the instrument as little as need be to make it just functional enough to perform at a minimal level for purposes of dramatic presentation. Some museums will not even go that far. In conservative restoration the end goal is a an instrument that is fully as functional, mechanicly and acousticly, as when it was new. This is far more invasive than any simple consevation, but shares the goal of preserving as much of the material piano as possible. The two great hurdles to performance lay in the action and, most especially, the soundboard. I'll, skip the action,for now.

Flat old soundboards can have a sweet clear tone, if everyting is still secure. This, we feel, is a result of the aging of the wood, and the natural changes that come with such long seasoning. The wood in the old soundboard has become lighter and stiffer. It has become more responsive to high frequency impulses. Were the same piano somehow instantly fitted with an identicly flat board made of new wood, the tone would be duller and more hollow. This acoustic capacity in the old tone wood is what allows these old pianos to be musical despite the loss of crown and bearing.

When these old boards have the crown restored, they not only retain that clarity of tone, but gain the strength, sustain, and balance through the scale that comes from a mechanicly functional soundboard. The process: steam extraction, and dismantling and so forth is quite invasive, and seems quite drastic. But given that the board that came out is the board that goes back in, this process is actually very conservative, and amounts to an acoustic adjustment.

The oldest piano we have done this on just happens to be a Bluthner from the early 1870s. I think it is a little too early for the "cylinricaly crowned' question, though the board is very interesting with its distinctive rib scale. It does bear on the question of the difficulty in working on older bluthner soundboards, among others.

In this piano, the plate was covered by the inner rim; the case needed to be dismantled just to gain access to the board. After that, the soundboard was exposed on all edges except the spine, where it is inserted deeply into the case; actually working as a layer of the inner rim. If the spine had not already been falling apart, some surgical proceedure would have been required to get the soundboard out whole. And even if saving the soundboard is not the prime concern, something would have to be done to make clearance for the mounting of a new one. A piano with either or both of these features offers coniderable reason to be content with the board as it is.

Had the Bluthner been in better shape, we may have deferred; but as it was a basket case, there was no residual usefulness left to risk. We were free to see how well a piano of this age, and this design responds to the process.

It may be impossible to restore a piano to a faithful as new condition, philosophicly. We, however, have found that, when every effort is made to conserve both the components and design of the original piano, the result is a piano of individual, balanced, and ,we hope, largely original character. The Chickering seems to sound like a Chickering should. And the Bluthner sounds like what I imagine a Bluthner of this era should. Both are beautiful, and neither sounds anything like the other. If we had redesigned them both according to any preconcieved ideal, it may well be that they would have come out sounding a bit more like one another. I doubt that either would have been improved, and I suspect that both would have lost something essential. We think that the original designs incorporated an original balance. Perhaps a new balance can be worked out within the strictures of a piano's case, but we have had the most worthwhile results from persuing the original.













Craig Hair
Hampshire Piano
Chesterfield, MA
Conservative Piano Restoration
Watch us on YouTube
https://plus.google.com/u/0/105412259108667869462

Sometimes, all you can hear is the cat snore.
Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: Karl Watson] #2517180
03/03/16 04:12 PM
03/03/16 04:12 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,130
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Offline
Platinum Subscriber
Rich Galassini  Offline
Platinum Subscriber

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,130
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted by Karl Watson
Rich:
This is a marvelous topic for us to debate and your examples, poor as they are, do illustrate your point excellently.
In your last you wrote that "Bosendorfer, IMHO, has done a better job of preserving the tone that made them a special voice 100 years ago." I agree, although I believe that Bosendorfer is guilty of doing some of the same, resulting in louder and more generalized, less distinctive tone. They've done LESS of it.


Well said, Karl!

Yes, Bosendorfer also bear some guilt in this area, but less of it, I think.

Originally Posted by Karl Watson

Most pianists feel that, especially with concert grands, the size of our modern halls coupled with the heroic output of the modern orchestra, makes this necessary.


Agreed.

Can I add that your professional background as a performing musician gives you a unique perspective in this regard, Karl? Thank you for your contributions to PW. You improve almost every thread you dive into.


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:
https://www.youtube.com/user/CunninghamPiano
Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: pianistical] #2517203
03/03/16 06:10 PM
03/03/16 06:10 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,897
J
joe80 Offline
2000 Post Club Member
joe80  Offline
2000 Post Club Member
J

Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,897
Hi Rich, that's a very interesting video. In the video I find the Bösendorfer far more beautiful than the Blüthner and here's why (and totally agreeing with your observation that Bösendorfer has preserved their tonal profile over the years)...

The Blüthner, as fine sounding as it is, seems a little out of balance. The brightness that they've built into the piano - either through voicing or through actual build (I'm not sure what) starts to come across as a shrill voice, and the pianist doesn't quite seem as comfortable with the instrument. This is a complaint that has been fired at Blüthner for quite a while now - their pianos are coming out of the factory sounding incredibly harsh, which is not Blüthner's golden tone at all. I know that Christian Blüthner thinks that pianos should have a bright tone, and I also know that with many hours of preparation that the new Blüthners can sound far more beautiful than they do when they come out of the factory, but I feel that they're really missing something these days. Not every piano needs to fill a 3500 seater hall, (as you've said), and I think that the piano world needs fine sounding grands with an intimate voice as much as it needs concert beasts. ESPECIALLY in practice rooms and teaching studios.

I must say though that virtually every new Bösendorfer I have played in the past 10 years has been a beautiful piano, with Blüthners being quite hit or miss. When they hit, they really hit and get it right. When they miss it's awful. I don't know if it's preparation, inherent build, soundboard, or what. I suspect it's that they want to move away from the idea that they are quiet drawing room instruments (actually they were never 'quiet', even the pre-1930 pianos can pack a punch if needed), and move into the concert hall, but they've done it in a way that turns their back on too much of what made them beautiful in the first place.

Just my two cents. I still respect the brand a lot, I still think they produce some of the most beautiful pianos, but I think they need to come back on track with the sound otherwise they could end up in financial trouble if they lose the respect of musicians.

Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: Rich Galassini] #2517223
03/03/16 07:34 PM
03/03/16 07:34 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,892
London
D
David-G Offline
1000 Post Club Member
David-G  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
D

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,892
London
Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
This is turning into a GREAT thread! (again).

It is indeed a great thread - and of very direct interest to me. Thank you all for your contributions, and Joe especially for resurrecting the thread.

Rich, your two videos are really most interesting. And would be more so, if I knew which was the Blüthner and which the Bosendorfer! I may have missed where this was stated - but could you clarify?

Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: joe80] #2517227
03/03/16 08:03 PM
03/03/16 08:03 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,892
London
D
David-G Offline
1000 Post Club Member
David-G  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
D

Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,892
London
Originally Posted by joe80
The Blüthner, as fine sounding as it is, seems a little out of balance. The brightness that they've built into the piano - either through voicing or through actual build (I'm not sure what) starts to come across as a shrill voice, and the pianist doesn't quite seem as comfortable with the instrument. This is a complaint that has been fired at Blüthner for quite a while now - their pianos are coming out of the factory sounding incredibly harsh, which is not Blüthner's golden tone at all. I know that Christian Blüthner thinks that pianos should have a bright tone, and I also know that with many hours of preparation that the new Blüthners can sound far more beautiful than they do when they come out of the factory, but I feel that they're really missing something these days. Not every piano needs to fill a 3500 seater hall, (as you've said), and I think that the piano world needs fine sounding grands with an intimate voice as much as it needs concert beasts. ESPECIALLY in practice rooms and teaching studios.

A few years ago I spent some time in the Blüthner showroom in London. My impression was that the tone of the modern Blüthners is indeed rather different from my piano of the early 1880s, and from the classic “mellow” Blüthner sound of the early 20th century. It is hard to describe these things, but my feeling was that the modern instruments had something of a hard icy brittle edge to the tone.

There was, however, a Model 1 concert grand in the showroom, and this was very different. No icy brittleness at all - the tone was warm and sparkly, and having (I thought) something of a kinship to the sound of my piano. This was a special and very lovely instrument. It was the preferred Blüthner of Artur Pizarro, who played it on a number of recordings. The piano had been specially voiced for him, over a period of years, by Bruno Torrens, Blüthner’s chief concert technician; and I was told that it had taken continued voicing over this long period to arrive at its current perfection. The difference between this piano and the others in the showroom was astonishing. I was amazed that this difference could be achieved by voicing.

These observations seem entirely consistent with Joe's comments.

A year or two later the time had come for Pizarro to have a new instrument, and I was told that the new Model 1 would be provided with two actions, one of which would be voiced to Pizarro’s taste and only used by him, while the other would not be voiced in this manner and would be used for other concerts.


Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: pianistical] #2517306
03/04/16 05:01 AM
03/04/16 05:01 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,897
J
joe80 Offline
2000 Post Club Member
joe80  Offline
2000 Post Club Member
J

Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 2,897
David this is true about the model one. It is still a Blüthner. There was a model 1 with two actions but unfortunately the showroom stored the second action incorrectly and the key bed warped.... not under the current management it has to be said.


Re: Are rebuilds of Blüthner fitted with a cylindrical soundboard? [Re: David-G] #2517317
03/04/16 05:53 AM
03/04/16 05:53 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,130
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Offline
Platinum Subscriber
Rich Galassini  Offline
Platinum Subscriber

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,130
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Originally Posted by David-G

Rich, your two videos are really most interesting. And would be more so, if I knew which was the Blüthner and which the Bosendorfer! I may have missed where this was stated - but could you clarify?


So sorry David. Bosendorfer is on the left. Bluthner is on the right.


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:
https://www.youtube.com/user/CunninghamPiano
Page 3 of 3 1 2 3

Moderated by  Ken Knapp, Piano World 

(ad)
Sweetwater - Keyboards
Sweetwater
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Brodmann PE 121 vs. Kawai K300
by Timpskie. 11/15/18 12:20 AM
Recital 52 --- General Discussion Room
by AB Forum Recital. 11/14/18 10:44 PM
Recital 52 --- November 15, 2018
by AB Forum Recital. 11/14/18 09:06 PM
DIGITAL PIANO "SECONDS WAITED"
by ericco. 11/14/18 06:15 PM
Diminished scales and chords
by Tango. 11/14/18 03:02 PM
(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Petrof
Forum Statistics
Forums40
Topics188,337
Posts2,761,217
Members91,490
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
(ad)
Accu-Tuner
Sanderson Accu-Tuner
Please Support Our Advertisers
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

Sweetwater

PianoTeq Petrof
Piano Buyer Spring 2018
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers


 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2018 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.2