2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 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!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Petrof Pianos
Petrof Pianos
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
Who's Online Now
29 members (Bett, chopinetto, dcbluepiano, Carey, David B, DSC, Deltajockey, anotherscott, 7 invisible), 355 guests, and 340 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4
why is steinway considered the best?
#2531593 04/18/16 12:15 AM
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 8
D
DjonnyR Offline OP
Junior Member
OP Offline
Junior Member
D
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 8
Now don't get me wrong steinway piano does have a beautiful sound and touch but why does everyone want one? That almost every concert hall have one? Why is steinway have more (at least more) prestige than any other piano brand?

I mean there is some other as good or depend on the opinion better than steinway such as fazioli, bosendofer, seiler, schimmel, bluthner, shigueru kawai, yamaha cfx etc

I know shigeru kawai and fazioli are yound compare to them but my question is simple.

Why is steinway considered the ''cadillac'' of piano, the most prestigious, what they did so different, better advertising? Or just their quality that is better over any other company in the past?

Personally ive player on a seiler full grand a years ago and loved it more than any other steinway ive player but that just my opinion :P


Yamaha Clavinova CLP-330
Kawai K-800
(ad int) Petrof Pianos
Petrof Pianos
Re: why is steinway considered the best?
DjonnyR #2531600 04/18/16 12:54 AM
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 5,663
E
5000 Post Club Member
Offline
5000 Post Club Member
E
Joined: Dec 2012
Posts: 5,663
It takes great piano technicians to make great pianos.

But there is no simple answer to your question. Opinions will vary.

As a piano technician and modest pianist, I always enjoy a well made Steinway. But I also enjoy many other fine pianos. I do find staying true to the general elements of design and manufacture traditionally employed at Steinway work well with other makes in satisfying pianists as well.


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: why is steinway considered the best?
DjonnyR #2531611 04/18/16 02:14 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,310
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,310
It may not be that Steinway is "the best" but that it is often perceived as the best piano.

I think - but only as an observer - that part of the success of Steinway and its apparent ranking as "the best" comes from its early marketing strategy going back to the first decades of the last century. Steinway, through its advertising, successfully convinced the general public that it was the best at a time when other international brands were less known and certainly less advertised (in North America) than Steinway. Steinway ads from the early decades spoke not only of the quality of the build of their instruments but of the "investment" move of buying a Steinway piano.

Secondly, again through marketing to a large degree, Steinway found its way into many of the world's concert halls and recording studios. Could that be a question of numbers? Is it that, in the beginning of the twentieth century, Steinway was producing larger numbers of pianos and, with their marketing, was able to open the doors of concert halls to get themselves firmly established as the piano of choice?

The concert-going and record-buying public has become so attuned to the Steinway sound that that sound is the sound of preference of so many who attend concerts and who listen to recordings.

Steinway, I believe before other brands, engaged in what is known as the "Steinway Artist" program which, along with its other strategies, put the Steinway piano - once again - in the forefront of the public mind. Steinway Artists are among some of the most prominent performers on the circuit today and their contractual obligation as Steinway Artists means that they perform on nothing but Steinways and, hence, the listeners' familiarity with and preference for the Steinway sound.

All that said, I am the first to admit that there is a great thrill that comes from playing a well-prepped, well-regulated Steinway B or D. Some of them are absolutely fabulous instruments. But that can be and should be said of other high-end pianos.

It does beg the question, though, when we hear of how many people suffer grave disappointments when playing some Steinways, about Steinway's factory quality control. I've not enough experience with dozens and dozens of Steinways to speak with any authority on the subject, but I have played some new ones, M's and L's that seem totally lackluster to me. Is this poor manufacturing standards, is it lack of sufficient factory prep, or is it lack of dealer prep? Some have said, and I don't know whether or not there is any truth to the "legend" that Steinway doesn't prep its pianos at the factory as well as other manufacturers do, so that the dealer can prep the instrument to the purchaser's liking. That has often been quoted as the reason that some new Steinways are disappointing: they just haven't yet been properly prepped.

Does it boil down to, originally, a question of marketing and continued market saturation?

Now, let's let some of the more knowledgeable people address the question.

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
Re: why is steinway considered the best?
DjonnyR #2531613 04/18/16 02:51 AM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 162
S
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
S
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 162
To me Steinway tone vibrates as though it has a binaural beat. If you're not familiar with that look it up. Put simply, they just sing. It's not overbearing and you don't get sick of it. A pleasure to play. Although 'bad' Steinways of course exist, I am referring to 'quality' Steinways.

Re: why is steinway considered the best?
DjonnyR #2531620 04/18/16 04:34 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,586
J
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,586
First of all Steinways do build a fine piano, and in particular their Hamburg factory has a level of quality control second to none, but yes, perhaps equal to a few others (Fazioli, Bösendorfer).

Secondly though, in the middle of the century, many of the factories in Germany were bombed out and many fine makes simply were not able to re-establish themselves. Then there were those who found themselves on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain - notably Petrof, Blüthner, August Förster, and of course Bechstein's reputation was tarnished due to some Nazi connections, although over the years they were able to re-assert themselves. Bösendorfer was always too small to be a major player on the concert circuit because they didn't have enough instruments. Yamaha and Kawai didn't produce full sized concert grands in any numbers until quite a bit later on, and that left the only real competition in Europe anyway, as Steinway. I know it's a slightly different story in the USA where Baldwin was considered the alternative, and perhaps Mason and Hamlin (although I see the Baldwin name more often in old videos), but it seems that neither of them had the marketing power that Steinway had.

My guess is that the massive surge in marketing in the middle 20th Century (so, 1935 to 1975 say?) has been enough to propel Steinway and Sons into the stratospheric position that they enjoy to this day. Of course it's backed up with a high quality product, and now pianists (and to a degree, public) are used to the sound and touch of Steinway more so than many other pianos, to the point where if a piano doesn't sound and feel like a Steinway, then it seems too alien for many players, and there are quite a few technicians who don't really understand what to do with an alternative make.

In short, high quality product plus expensive marketing.

Re: why is steinway considered the best?
Joseph Fleetwood #2531623 04/18/16 04:59 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,005
P

Gold Supporter until November 11 2014
1000 Post Club Member
Offline

Gold Supporter until November 11 2014
1000 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 1,005
Originally Posted by joe80

My guess is that the massive surge in marketing in the middle 20th Century (so, 1935 to 1975 say?) has been enough to propel Steinway and Sons into the stratospheric position that they enjoy to this day. ...


You know, in this period, Steinway was incredibly weak, taking out loan upon loan to stay afloat, and a determined competitor could have easily blown them away.

American competitors made even bigger mistakes such as moving their plants to where costs were cheaper--quality suffered as a result. Japan and Germany went to war and were blown to bits in result, interrupting their efforts in piano manufacturing for years.

So in as much as it is Steinway's success, it was their competitors' failures and circumstances, speaking of this period.


phacke

Steinway YM (1933)
...Working on:
J. S. Bach, Toccata (G minor) BWV 915
(and trying not to forget the other stuff I know)
Re: why is steinway considered the best?
DjonnyR #2531624 04/18/16 04:59 AM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 2,511
W
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
W
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 2,511
Yes to the above in concert halls and recital rooms. Many pianists, especially in Germany I believe, prefer another brand for their own use, some more expensive e.g. Steingraeber.

Last edited by Withindale; 04/18/16 12:16 PM.

Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm
Re: why is steinway considered the best?
DjonnyR #2531633 04/18/16 05:49 AM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 12,169
Platinum Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Platinum Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 12,169
This is a great question. Part of Steinway's marketing was simply to pay artists to play their pianos, or to give them away.

For instance, on opening night at Carnegie Hall the piano used was a Knabe. Within a week the Steinway family had made arrangements to give the hall a concert grand piano. This was the beginning of placng pianos in high profile areas for them. Piano placements were a common marketing strategy.

Paderewski was a great S&S salesman in the early 20th C. He toured the USA (which was literally arranged by Steinway) and was paid a figure like $38,000.00 in 1902 plus a percentage of the ticket sales (lots of money in 1902) to play the Steinway piano on that tour.

These are just two examples of how the company marketed. In fact. at The Wharton School here in Philadelphia, the Steinway brand is studied as they did things in the 19th C. that nobody else anywhere did until the 20th C.

Two great books that discuss their really cut throat marketing methods are "Steinway & Sons" by Lieberman and "The Steinway Saga" by Fostle. Both books used the corporate records of Steinway as sources. They are good reads but also delve into the dark side of this company's marketing, like bribing judges at competitions, etc.

I hope that helps,


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila., Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct
rich@cunninghampiano.com
Visit our Online Store
The Science Channel documents our piano restoration
Re: why is steinway considered the best?
DjonnyR #2531634 04/18/16 06:05 AM
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 5,501
W
5000 Post Club Member
Offline
5000 Post Club Member
W
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 5,501
Quote
>Why is steinway considered the ''cadillac'' of piano, the most prestigious, what they did so different, better advertising? Or just their quality that is better over any other company in the past?


Who are you quoting?

Last edited by wouter79; 04/18/16 06:05 AM.

[Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image][Linked Image]
Re: why is steinway considered the best?
DjonnyR #2531643 04/18/16 07:24 AM
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 527
G
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
G
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 527
Originally Posted by DjonnyR

Why is steinway considered the ''cadillac''


I think part of the answer is in that analogy right there. Is Cadillac, a GM brand, still considered the top car brand in the world? Most will say no. But the name has a legacy that still resonates with people as having prestige because back in the 1950's to 1980's, that's what people with money had. Steinway is kind of like that.

Still excellent, but there are many worthwhile contenders out there that have since caught up or even surpassed them. Unless some scandal ruins it (think Volkswagen...) prestigious brand names tend to have staying power in people's minds.


What do snowflakes and Chickerings have in common? There are no two exactly alike!
Re: why is steinway considered the best?
DjonnyR #2531648 04/18/16 07:43 AM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 4,147
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 4,147
I have tried to resist the bait.

Hamburg Steinway is regarded by me, and some others, as being equal to the other top tier european brands- such as C Bechstein, Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Grotrian Steinweg and a few others.

NY Steinway is very good. It is probably the best US made brand and is almost as good as the european brands.


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
Re: why is steinway considered the best?
DjonnyR #2531653 04/18/16 08:05 AM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,659
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 1,659
I'm trying not to take the bait, either, LOL. I personally think it's because they are expensive, and lots of people think expensive = the best. I've played a lot of Steinways and find the uprights not that great at all, and the grands not leaps and bounds above other well known brands I've played. I'm sure some are fantastic, but I've not played any of them.


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: why is steinway considered the best?
phacke #2531661 04/18/16 08:30 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,586
J
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,586
Originally Posted by phacke
Originally Posted by joe80

My guess is that the massive surge in marketing in the middle 20th Century (so, 1935 to 1975 say?) has been enough to propel Steinway and Sons into the stratospheric position that they enjoy to this day. ...


You know, in this period, Steinway was incredibly weak, taking out loan upon loan to stay afloat, and a determined competitor could have easily blown them away.

American competitors made even bigger mistakes such as moving their plants to where costs were cheaper--quality suffered as a result. Japan and Germany went to war and were blown to bits in result, interrupting their efforts in piano manufacturing for years.

So in as much as it is Steinway's success, it was their competitors' failures and circumstances, speaking of this period.


That's interesting, I didn't know that much about it. Although, the troubles in the European factories at the time meant that in Europe, Steinway was the only option (which is what you've said I suppose, but in a different way). The pianos coming out of some of the European factories at that time were often somewhat unmusical and made from poor materials.

I wonder if though, that Steinway was able to make some of the best concert grands ever (and they have, and they do), because they built so many that they really perfected the art of making large pianos. Yes, I know that you get some Steinways that are a bit under-powered, some that are a bit stodgy, some that are this and that, etc, but when Steinways gets it right, and hits the bullseye, they really come up with a piano that competes on a concert stage like few others can.

Re: why is steinway considered the best?
DjonnyR #2531672 04/18/16 09:08 AM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 887
K
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
K
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 887
Friends:

Reading the above, it's clear to me that Joe and Rich have answered this question clearly and with a broad view of the piano scene. They have stated the facts, at least as I know them.

Concert pianists have always been tempted by other fine instruments whose marks constitute a roll-call of many of the famous, mostly German houses. In America, Baldwin made many splendid concert pianos. Mason & Hamlin, the OLD firm, built pianos of unique quality and tone, instruments that were prized by their owners.

I think it would be somewhat of a challenge for a touring pianist to depend upon another concern other than Steinway to provide instruments across the world. In some places one does have a wider choice, more or less, but no company can rival Steinway in its ability to support its artists.

Another important point is the volume required to play with a modern, especially American, symphony orchestra. For the Romantic and Modern repertoire, it's really got to be a Steinway, in my humble opinion.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

Last edited by Karl Watson; 04/18/16 09:09 AM.
Re: why is steinway considered the best?
DjonnyR #2531686 04/18/16 09:55 AM
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 301
T
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
T
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 301
The history of Steinway and other major brands is rather fascinating, and it seems a combination of skill, clever (and sometimes ruthless) marketing, and a bit of fortune in that it survived the decline in piano sales and the Great Depression, and it was in a better position than many of its competitors after WWII.

It has changed ownership a few times, however. It was once part of CBS and is now merged with Conn-Selmer. (I believe Selmer was the buyer but then adopted the Steinway name for the new parent company). Since then I think a private equity firm acquired the whole company.

The marketing is particularly interesting, both in how Steinway was (and still is) able to create and maintain a roster of "Steinway Artists" that no other company can match. Much of this has been due to the company's artist relations being very helpful and supportive, but at the same time it has occasionally been known to drop an artist or make things a little more difficult should one play or publicly express an interest in another company's pianos.

I am also a bit fascinated by the "All Steinway" schools program, particularly as the one I attended is now one of them (but it was not when I was there).

It's also apparent that having its pianos recorded and performed on has made Steinway become the general expectation of how a piano is supposed to sound.

Last edited by Tim P; 04/18/16 09:57 AM.
Re: why is steinway considered the best?
DjonnyR #2531723 04/18/16 12:17 PM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 2,511
W
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
W
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 2,511
Originally Posted by Withindale
Many pianists, especially in Germany I believe, prefer another brand for their own use, some more expensive e.g. Steingraeber.

Comparative USD prices v Steinway B (Piano Buyer MSP)


Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 140cm
Ibach, 1905 F-IV, 235cm
Re: why is steinway considered the best?
PhilipInChina #2531759 04/18/16 01:59 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 11,146
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 11,146
Originally Posted by PhilipInChina
I have tried to resist the bait.

Hamburg Steinway is regarded by me, and some others, as being equal to the other top tier european brands- such as C Bechstein, Bluthner, Bosendorfer, Grotrian Steinweg and a few others.

NY Steinway is very good. It is probably the best US made brand and is almost as good as the european brands.


Yet you couldn't resist. grin



Re: why is steinway considered the best?
DjonnyR #2531764 04/18/16 02:09 PM
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,586
J
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Nov 2009
Posts: 3,586
I'll take the bait as well and say, actually, while I know that the Hamburg quality control is regarded as better, the NY instruments I've played, at Steinway in London, have been as beautiful as the Hamburg Steinways. They have a different voice, which is to be expected because they're made of slightly different materials, and follow a slightly different execution of design, but they're both excellent pianos. In fact the best B I've ever played was a New York B.

Re: why is steinway considered the best?
DjonnyR #2531773 04/18/16 03:12 PM
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,762
R
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
R
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,762
By the end of World War II, piano production in Germany and Austria was virtually obliterated and Steinway's main European competitors, Bechstein, Blüthner and Bösendorfer were silenced and had to restart. Steinway and Sons in New York was intact and production prospered in the post war years.

Of course the quality of the Steinway product has been assured hegemony on concert platforms by exclusivity branding through "Steinway artists", a shrewd promotional tactic by the company.

Personally, I would like to see more diversity in the use of concert pianos. There is a special magic in hearing Mozart and Schubert played on a Bösendorfer for example. Listen to Angela Hewitt playing Bach on her preferred Fazioli. Shigeru Kawai and Yamaha are producing exciting new concert grands which can rival Steinway and Sons'instruments. It is like food; we should embrace diversity and savour the differences!

Last edited by Robert 45; 04/18/16 03:13 PM.
Re: why is steinway considered the best?
DjonnyR #2531782 04/18/16 03:35 PM
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 473
D
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 473
It's all been said in this thread already. A very good product, very good marketing and almost a monopoly in terms of classical piano recordings make it THE sound you expect to hear when listening to a classical piano CD or concert. I'm a fan of the sound, it's a good balanced sound, not too complex nor too uncoloured. And the bass in larger Steinways can get very growly and snarly, which is a sound I like a lot.

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4

Moderated by  Ken Knapp, Piano World 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Karsten Collection
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
New Topics - Multiple Forums
How do you play this notation?
by dcbluepiano - 09/20/20 12:27 AM
Chopin is the greatest of all time
by chopinetto - 09/19/20 11:56 PM
Angela Hewitt playing a Steinway
by astrotoy - 09/19/20 08:59 PM
Yamaha CP4 repair
by bluzkeez - 09/19/20 08:54 PM
Howto download vst in MacWas
by IosPlayer - 09/19/20 08:49 PM
What's Hot!!
News from the Piano World
3,000,000+!
------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics201,723
Posts3,004,800
Members98,600
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
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 - 2020 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4