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Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2704679
01/13/18 07:47 PM
01/13/18 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
It is not part of regulation. It is basically making sure the parts are the right size/height and positioned correctly. Hammer weight and action balancing is related.

Hey, it sounds like Ed McMorrow should be in on this discussion. smile

According to Ed, no piano has the correct hammer size and weight, except the ones he rebuilds.

I think the direction of this thread is getting off topic, but it does make for an interesting, and educational read...

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
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Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Osho] #2704702
01/13/18 11:02 PM
01/13/18 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Osho
Do you have any pictures showing examples of 'bad geometry' and 'good geometry'?

The problems wouldn't necessarily be apparent in a photo.


I M A G I N A T I O N is more important than knowledge -Albert Einstein
Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2704712
01/14/18 12:20 AM
01/14/18 12:20 AM
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Arvada, CO
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I don't mind some of the off-topic things like the action geometry discussion. I started this thread because sometimes inexpensive pianos are surprisingly good. Getting more insight into how pianos are made and what factors influence the quality of a good piano is always helpful...


Colin Dunn
2018 Sight-Reading Challenge Longest Winning Streak: 21 days
Organizer, Denver Area Piano Group (https://www.meetup.com/Denver-Area-Piano-Group/)

Starr Artist Grand
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Schafer & Sons SS-69
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Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Keith D Kerman] #2704740
01/14/18 05:43 AM
01/14/18 05:43 AM
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Portland, OR
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Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
Originally Posted by twocats
Keith, is this basically optimizing the hammer mass and key weights for that piano? So, not part of regulation but a pre-regulation setup?


It is not part of regulation. It is basically making sure the parts are the right size/height and positioned correctly. Hammer weight and action balancing is related.

Thanks for the explanation! This is very interesting.


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Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2704774
01/14/18 11:42 AM
01/14/18 11:42 AM
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Yes, this thread has been an interesting read...

With that said, I'll add that I find it hard to believe that the action geometry of a new piano built by a manufacturer that has been in business for a long time, and has built thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of pianos, could be so wrong in the first place. I have worked in manufacturing during the early part of my working career and I do know that mistakes can happen, and, with an assembly line type of manufacturing, a mistake can be replicated to affect many units/pianos. But in my own mind, I would think that a really messed up new piano action where the entire geometry of every note is flawed to the point of adversely affecting the playing and perhaps the tone of the instrument, is a rare event and doesn't happen very often.

When I bought my Baldwin R (circa 1999) I was told to be weary of buying it because the action was made in Mexico and was plagued with problems. Well, I bought it anyway, and the action plays as well, if not better, than any piano I've ever owned. The action on the Baldwin R is at least as good as the action on my Yamaha C7. On the other hand, perhaps I'm so inexperienced at playing that I don't know what a good action feels like; but I know what a good action feels like to me.

For some reason this conversation reminds me of a piano advertisement video I watched once on the Rick Jones Pianos website. Rick was playing a very nice, older Kawai grand in the 6 foot range, or maybe bigger. After he played the piano, and mentioned the price, he added that the action of the Kawai was very heavy; heavier than most. He said there were some things that could be done to improve the action, but it was a heavy action. I admired his honesty about the heavy action. Rick Jones has a very good reputation for honesty, which is one reason his business is so successful. On the other hand, you would think that with them being the rebuilders and refurbishers, he would have know why the action was so heavy and what to do about it. I don't know, maybe the entire action geometry was wrong, but I doubt it.

So, I guess it's buyer beware 100% of the time when buying an acoustic piano. Hence, back to my original statement that buying any piano has a certain amount of risk involved; it's a gamble either way. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose... sometimes the naysayers are right and sometimes they're wrong. smile

Just my .02.

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2704792
01/14/18 12:26 PM
01/14/18 12:26 PM
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New Hampshire
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Mess ups like this happen because the people doing the work often do not have a complete understanding of the ramifications of any specific error. They are trained to do one thing, or one set of things, and once it leaves their hands it's up to the next person in line to "make things work". Maybe they can, but maybe they can't. Few people in the factory have the complete knowledge. By the time it reaches the end of the production line it may be deemed too late to change.

Action geometry is particularly sensitive to this. Think of the workings of a fine watch (not a digital one, but one with gears, etc). The principles in action geometry are essentially the same as this. The slightest defect in the wheels, gear, levers, etc. will have ramifications in performance. Only an expert would be able to decipher what was wrong and correct it.

Pwg


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Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Rickster] #2704804
01/14/18 12:47 PM
01/14/18 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Rickster
Yes, this thread has been an interesting read...

With that said, I'll add that I find it hard to believe that the action geometry of a new piano built by a manufacturer that has been in business for a long time, and has built thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of pianos, could be so wrong in the first place. I have worked in manufacturing during the early part of my working career and I do know that mistakes can happen, and, with an assembly line type of manufacturing, a mistake can be replicated to affect many units/pianos. But in my own mind, I would think that a really messed up new piano action where the entire geometry of every note is flawed to the point of adversely affecting the playing and perhaps the tone of the instrument, is a rare event and doesn't happen very often.

When I bought my Baldwin R (circa 1999) I was told to be weary of buying it because the action was made in Mexico and was plagued with problems. Well, I bought it anyway, and the action plays as well, if not better, than any piano I've ever owned. The action on the Baldwin R is at least as good as the action on my Yamaha C7. On the other hand, perhaps I'm so inexperienced at playing that I don't know what a good action feels like; but I know what a good action feels like to me.

For some reason this conversation reminds me of a piano advertisement video I watched once on the Rick Jones Pianos website. Rick was playing a very nice, older Kawai grand in the 6 foot range, or maybe bigger. After he played the piano, and mentioned the price, he added that the action of the Kawai was very heavy; heavier than most. He said there were some things that could be done to improve the action, but it was a heavy action. I admired his honesty about the heavy action. Rick Jones has a very good reputation for honesty, which is one reason his business is so successful. On the other hand, you would think that with them being the rebuilders and refurbishers, he would have know why the action was so heavy and what to do about it. I don't know, maybe the entire action geometry was wrong, but I doubt it.

So, I guess it's buyer beware 100% of the time when buying an acoustic piano. Hence, back to my original statement that buying any piano has a certain amount of risk involved; it's a gamble either way. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose... sometimes the naysayers are right and sometimes they're wrong. smile

Just my .02.

Rick


Rick, pianos and especially piano actions are incredibly complex things. Even good piano technicians with years of experience who don't set up piano actions or don't do really high level work on piano actions beyond some very basic regulation are astounded when they start learning what is involved in this area. I think if you were shown even a small fraction of what really goes into it your mind would be blown.

It is getting very difficult for me to address your comments respectfully. There are several things in which I dabble about which I know very little beyond what is good enough for me is fine. I would hope I would have enough sense to not be overly opinionated on these topics and especially I would hope I would be self aware enough to not advise others, especially those who might have radically different experience and knowledge as well as entirely different standards and uses for the exact things in which I dabble.

Buying a piano is a risk like anything else in life. Getting out of bed is a risk. Staying in bed is a risk. Simplistic over generalizing is a risk. The more knowledge and expertise one has or has access to, the lower the risk. Of course, the less important a purchase is to someone, the less one cares and the less the associated risk matters.


Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales - vintage and used Steinway, Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Baldwin
www.pianocraft.net
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Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2704825
01/14/18 01:43 PM
01/14/18 01:43 PM
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Georgia, USA
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Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
It is getting very difficult for me to address your comments respectfully.

I'm sorry to hear that, Keith. What I infer regarding your comments is that you don't like my opinions, my philosophy, my advice or my dabbling into things you deem me to be ignorant and you an expert. Fair enough. But remember, you are the one who started the piano action geometry argument. It is my opinion that you brought that subject up to steer novices like me, and many others, away from inexpensive big pianos with no snob appeal. So be it.

On the other hand, I do have a lot of respect for you here on PW and always have had. If you don't like what I have to say, then say so. It won't hurt my feelings.

It is also my opinion that when threads like this come up, many of the dealers and professionals seem to be intimidated and threatened in some way and have to step in and defend the piano business and the piano professionals. They often have to point out that they know pretty much everything and the average piano customer knows nothing.

This is a piano forum where things regarding pianos is discussed. Not every member here is an expert. But that doesn't mean a non-expert is an idiot and knows nothing at all about pianos. As for me, yea, I know very little. But I do know a little. In terms of me giving bad advice here on PW, you're not the first to suggest that I give bad advice. The thing about an internet forum like Piano World is that everyone has an opinion, for better or worse. And, if you read the news, some of the best experts in the world give bad advice on occasion; some more so than others.

Whether or not anything I've had to say in this thread is coherent and of value is for those who read my comments to decide. I honestly think I make a good point on occasion. Whether or not you agree with anything I have to say is up to you. And, as always, I'm up for rebuttal and debate, in a respectful manner. Again, I'm sorry to hear it is getting difficult for you to address my comments respectfully.

And, for the record, what you had to say about wrong action geometry on big pianos with no snob appeal is a valid point. Your comments about wrong action geometry can also apply to big pianos with plenty of snob appeal.

All the best,

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Rickster] #2704842
01/14/18 02:36 PM
01/14/18 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Rickster
Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
It is getting very difficult for me to address your comments respectfully.

I'm sorry to hear that, Keith. What I infer regarding your comments is that you don't like my opinions, my philosophy, my advice or my dabbling into things you deem me to be ignorant and you an expert. Fair enough. But remember, you are the one who started the piano action geometry argument. It is my opinion that you brought that subject up to steer novices like me, and many others, away from inexpensive big pianos with no snob appeal. So be it.

On the other hand, I do have a lot of respect for you here on PW and always have had. If you don't like what I have to say, then say so. It won't hurt my feelings.


I don't like when you casually offer opinions about things like action set up about which you know nothing that actually will dramatically affect most people's piano ownership experience. I don't like you offering opinions about the likelyhood or unlikelyhood of a problem with a piano from a piano manufacturer supported only by your having worked in manufacturing at some early point in your career. I was going to offer my opinion of the likelyhood that the work in manufacturing you did had anything to do with piano manufacturing, especially at the level of action set up, but since I have no idea of your actual manufacturing experience I will refrain from commenting on it since I am ignorant on the subject.

Originally Posted by Rickster
It is also my opinion that when threads like this come up, many of the dealers and professionals seem to be intimidated and threatened in some way and have to step in and defend the piano business and the piano professionals. They often have to point out that they know pretty much everything and the average piano customer knows nothing.


It is my opinion that you come across as threatened by having your opinions challenged.

Originally Posted by Rickster
This is a piano forum where things regarding pianos is discussed. Not every member here is an expert. But that doesn't mean a non-expert is an idiot and knows nothing at all about pianos. As for me, yea, I know very little. But I do know a little. In terms of me giving bad advice here on PW, you're not the first to suggest that I give bad advice. The thing about an internet forum like Piano World is that everyone has an opinion, for better or worse. And, if you read the news, some of the best experts in the world give bad advice on occasion; some more so than others.


Who said non-experts are idiots? I don't think you are an idiot and I think you are an expert at knowing what you like personally in a piano and the risk you are willing to take personally. I felt that some of your comments beyond that needed some context and additional perspective. Yes, an internet forum is a place for everyone to offer an opinion regardless of merit. It is also a place for others to comment on your opinion as you have with mine and I have with yours. As for the best experts in the world giving bad advice, of course. One of my favorite expressions is here is some free advice worth twice the price.

Originally Posted by Rickster
And, for the record, what you had to say about wrong action geometry on big pianos with no snob appeal is a valid point. Your comments about wrong action geometry can also apply to big pianos with plenty of snob appeal.

All the best,

Rick


My comments about wrong action geometry can apply to any piano with wrong action geometry at any price. I think you think I am a piano snob, and I am. But I am not a snob about pianos that are better because they have snob appeal, or pianos that are more expensive. I am a snob about pianos that perform well regardless of price and I have written on this forum ad nauseum that less expensive pianos with superior design and adequate workmanship and materials will beat more expensive pianos with superior workmanship and superior materials but inferior design and this is not a rare thing.
I am also a snob about how I define a piano as working well and that has in no small part to do with what I consider to be high performance demands made of the piano.


Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales - vintage and used Steinway, Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Baldwin
www.pianocraft.net
check out http://sitkadoc.com/
www.twitter.com/pianocraft https://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460
Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2704853
01/14/18 03:20 PM
01/14/18 03:20 PM
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Georgia, USA
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Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
I don't like when you casually offer opinions about things like action set up about which you know nothing that actually will dramatically affect most people's piano ownership experience.

Keith, I've said absolutely nothing about the intricacies or technical aspects of setting up a piano action, nothing. I'm not sure what you are talking about. If I mentioned piano actions, I spoke in generalities and commonalities that apply to all pianos.

Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
I don't like you offering opinions about the likelyhood or unlikelyhood of a problem with a piano from a piano manufacturer supported only by your having worked in manufacturing at some early point in your career. I was going to offer my opinion of the likelyhood that the work in manufacturing you did had anything to do with piano manufacturing, especially at the level of action set up, but since I have no idea of your actual manufacturing experience I will refrain from commenting on it since I am ignorant on the subject.

It seems to me that some manufacturing concepts and methods in any mass production assembly process is similar, whether pianos or automobiles. If you want to know, I worked at a General Motors assembly plant for 13 years back when I was younger. Hence, my comments about the assembly process and how things can go wrong that affects many units, whether pianos or automobiles. Again, I was speaking in generalities and similarities to basic manufacturing processes.

Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
It is my opinion that you come across as threatened by having your opinions challenged.

Not at all Keith. I'm entitled to my opinion just as you are entitled to yours. You can disagree with me and challenge my opinions till the cows come home. You can tell me I'm wrong, as long as you provide some basis or factual foundation for your disagreement; in fact, you can tell me I'm wrong even if you do not have any factual basis or foundation for doing so, if you so choose. Hey, I know I'm not always right, and I am as far from knowing everything as the east is from the west. I'm here to learn more so than any other reason, and I've learned a lot about pianos here on PW.

Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
Who said non-experts are idiots? I don't think you are an idiot and I think you are an expert at knowing what you like personally in a piano and the risk you are willing to take personally. I felt that some of your comments beyond that needed some context and additional perspective. Yes, an internet forum is a place for everyone to offer an opinion regardless of merit. It is also a place for others to comment on your opinion as you have with mine and I have with yours. As for the best experts in the world giving bad advice, of course. One of my favorite expressions is here is some free advice worth twice the price.

You are right, Keith, you never used the word "idiot", and I certainly didn't mean to put words in your mouth. But some things can be inferred by comments that are made. Insinuation may be a good word to use in this instance.

Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
My comments about wrong action geometry can apply to any piano with wrong action geometry at any price. I think you think I am a piano snob, and I am. But I am not a snob about pianos that are better because they have snob appeal, or pianos that are more expensive. I am a snob about pianos that perform well regardless of price and I have written on this forum ad nauseum that less expensive pianos with superior design and adequate workmanship and materials will beat more expensive pianos with superior workmanship and superior materials but inferior design and this is not a rare thing.
I am also a snob about how I define a piano as working well and that has in no small part to do with what I consider to be high performance demands made of the piano.

I never thought you were/are a piano snob. When you say you are a piano snob, those are your own words and not mine. And, if you go back and read my comments in this thread, I stated that anyone who wants to be a piano snob can be a piano snob if they choose, and there is nothing wrong with that; it is their prerogative to be or not to be a piano snob. I can be friends with a piano snob or a non-piano snob. smile

I hope these comments have addressed some of your concerns. Feel free to challenge my opinions here on PW regarding anything and everything. I'm actually pretty easy to get along with... smile

Rick





Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2704857
01/14/18 03:26 PM
01/14/18 03:26 PM
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RIck,

I think we have beaten this dead horse sufficiently. I think in all the years we have both been posting here this is the first thread we have had any problems with each other. That's not bad. Let's move on.


Keith D Kerman
PianoCraft
Rebuilding & Sales - vintage and used Steinway, Mason & Hamlin
New Steingraeber, Estonia, Baldwin
www.pianocraft.net
check out http://sitkadoc.com/
www.twitter.com/pianocraft https://www.youtube.com/user/pianocraftchannel

keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460
Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2704862
01/14/18 03:34 PM
01/14/18 03:34 PM
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Georgia, USA
Rickster Offline
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Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
RIck,

I think we have beaten this dead horse sufficiently. I think in all the years we have both been posting here this is the first thread we have had any problems with each other. That's not bad. Let's move on.

Well, I don't think I'd call it a problem between us, Keith. A slight disagreement of opinions, perhaps?

And, I suggested moving on (away from wrong piano action geometry) several posts ago.

Now back to "In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal". grin

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2704953
01/14/18 09:44 PM
01/14/18 09:44 PM
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Yes, pianos can leave the factory with problems. I know this 1st hand relating to the stringing of my S&S B. As I have told before, it's a 1981 model B - teflon era - when Steinway was well-known to have quality problems. It was chosen as a C&A instrument, and evidently got a lot of play. I'm the 3rd private owner. Indications are that it never went thru any major work. It may have had a new set of hammers put on at some point, but desperately needed a new set when I got it. I resisted the idea of more extensive work. I wanted to save the whippens and just do hammers, shanks, and flanges. A couple of the techs here strongly advised me to go deeper and I resisted, thinking here just had to be a way around it. After a lengthy discussion about action geometry, I decided to bite the bullet -- new WNG whippens, shanks, flanges and Rosen Wieckert hammers were ordered.

Back to the stringing issues from the factory. At the appropriate stage in the rebuild, he came and took the string height measurements, etc., and returned to the shop. Then he returned with the action to check hammer alignment and start traveling them. He had (blindly) set up the action stack and hammers according the Steinway B specks from 1981, but he quickly discovered that the hammers were not lining up to the strings correctly in the tenor at the V-bar, and the damper guide rail was also misaligned from the last treble break up -- granted, a short few dampers but still. Once he called it to my attention it was very evident to see that the stringing was not straight and spacing was off. He gave me options. I had a couple of string breaks in that register (a part of the decision to pursue new hammers), so I opted to do the job right. He moved the string around and cut the damper guide rail under the last strut of the plate to correct the stringing issues.

So in the factory at some point something was not done correctly. Damper guide rail, the original stringing done poorly, something. Then the subsequent manufacturing steps where done to match the poor quality work done earlier.

Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2704954
01/14/18 09:45 PM
01/14/18 09:45 PM
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As far as action geometric issues, here is a photo of the keysticks on a Steinway. This piano had up to 6 lead weights in each keystick. I like to see no more than 3 lead weights. The touch on this particular piano felt mushy and would tighten up considerably with trills and fast playing. While the action might have been alright for some people, the advanced pianists who were playing this piano complained bitterly. This has since been corrected on this piano. The most lead weights I have ever seen in a piano is 8 on a late 80's Baldwin R. All that inertia can tire out your fingers very quickly.


[Linked Image]

Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Ed A. Hall] #2704955
01/14/18 09:49 PM
01/14/18 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed A. Hall
As far as action geometric issues, here is a photo of the keysticks on a Steinway. This piano had up to 6 lead weights in each keystick.


That's exactly what my S&S B keys looked like before the stack rebuild.

Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2704956
01/14/18 09:53 PM
01/14/18 09:53 PM
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And that's Steinway -- which has been making Ds and Bs for many decades. If they can FUBAR these details, it seems eminently reasonable to believe that a maker specializing in inexpensive uprights and baby grands could also do so when they step out of the comfort zone to make their first few larger pianos.


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Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Ed A. Hall] #2704966
01/14/18 11:00 PM
01/14/18 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed A. Hall
...here is a photo of the keysticks on a Steinway. This piano had up to 6 lead weights in each keystick. <snip> The most lead weights I have ever seen in a piano is 8 on a late 80's Baldwin R. All that inertia can tire out your fingers very quickly.
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Perhaps you can repurpose them into a nuclear reactor containment vessel of some sort!


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Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2705004
01/15/18 03:13 AM
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Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2705045
01/15/18 09:18 AM
01/15/18 09:18 AM
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FWIW I have played quite a few new pianos with action problems from high end makers. I've already openly said on this problem that Blüthner went through a period in the early 2000s of putting the pianos out playing like trucks, lacking repetition and finesse, very heavy and sluggish, and it was all their pianos except the concert grand which had been prepared for a recording studio and even that piano wasn't that great. These problems seem to be non existent in the new pianos which play beautifully.

I've seen Bösendorfers from the mid 1990s to about 2010 that have had at least bushing problems, hammers not returning properly, not striking evenly, sluggish action, no repetition etc etc.

Hamburg Steinway about ten years ago made pianos with such heavy actions that Mitsuko Uchida approached Steinways in London and said if they didn't fix it she was going to abandon Steinway for Yamaha. Talking of which I've even played some Yamahas which haven't been all that, including very recently a new CFX which frankly wasn't up to the mark and was regularly maintained by Yamaha technicians.

Fazioli in the UK went through a period about 15 years ago of their pianos sounding and feeling absolutely terrible. There was a concert hire instrument going around London that nobody wanted to play except to be seen to be playing a Fazioli.

High end makers who have been making pianos for decades sometimes make mistakes, and not insignificantly, many piano technicians in the UK are lazy, and many firms are not investing enough money into the preparation of these pianos. We're actually known for this over here. Steinway London has probably, now, the best team of concert technicians working in their hire department out of all the concert technicians in London. This is part of the reason why Steinway is the number one concert piano in the UK, even Yamaha lag very far behind them in terms of what's out there being played by the professional soloists. There are a few independent technicians who are also excellent but they're more likely to be brought in by a particular pianist on a particular instrument rather than by a hire company. I've known of new instruments to undergo basically a full action rebuild which is very expensive.

Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2705077
01/15/18 11:21 AM
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And there you have it...stuff happens, sad but true.

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Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2705083
01/15/18 11:38 AM
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I'm going to put this in a new thread also. There was a series of NY Times articles back in 2003 - 2004 by reporter James Barron. The first installment was titled "How Does a Piano Get to Carnegie Hall?" It chronicled the Steinway process of case number K0862 (the factory identifier before the serial number or C&A number is assigned), a model D, from rim bending to delivery at Carnegie. I'd search "Steinway K0862" on their website to get the full list of articles. Be aware that they only allow so many articles to be read before the require a subscription. I was able to purge my browser history a couple of times to get around it. ;-).

What I found interesting in this article series was toward the end when the piano was in the final regulation & voicing stages. Employees in the factory seemed to have a high opinion of how K0862 was developing so it was chosen to go to the famed Steinway piano bank at Steinway Hall for C&A services which provides and cares for the house instrument at Carnegie. Contrast that to Ronald Coners, the chief concert technician who replaced famed Franz Mohr, when he evaluates the piano now known as CD-60 for the 1st time.

I found the articles well written and very informative, being the piano nerd that I am. There are several articles and they are lengthy. There's a lot of information in there about the Steinway business too.

http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/11/nyregion/how-does-a-piano-get-to-carnegie-hall.html

Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2705133
01/15/18 01:59 PM
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How many 6.5 feet and larger grands are sold in the U.S. every year? I'm guessing in the state I live in, less than 25, and I bet that's stretching it. A lot.


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Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Keith D Kerman] #2705546
01/16/18 08:29 PM
01/16/18 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
Originally Posted by twocats
Keith, what does “wrong action geometry" mean?


A piano's action is a series of intersecting levers. The relationship between these levers is the action's geometry. They need to be set up in a way that considers many different factors that affect touch and tone. I am having a bit of a hard time trying to explain this effectively as there are many considerations including the desired hammer weight which affects both tone and touch, the desired amount of mass in the keys for balancing purposes, the desired amount of weight for moving the key, the force with which the key will return, etc etc. If the set up of the action's geometry is off, it may result in a piano that is difficult to play or too easy to play. It may lack power or responsiveness or control or feel odd or some combination.

Is that helpful?


Let me take a shot at a layman's explanation:

Mass is the science word for weight. It takes more work to make heavy things move fast, but it's hard to control the motion of things that are too light. That's why golf is played with golf balls -- a bowling ball would be too heavy, a ping pong ball would be too light.

The key is a lever that you push on, which pushes all the levers along the way to the hammer. For every millimeter you push the key, the hammer moves farther, like about 5 mm or so. The higher the ratio, the lighter the hammers have to be. An extra 2 grams at the hammer feels like 10 grams on the key. Put heavy hammers on a high ratio, and you're trying to play golf with bowling balls.


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Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2707320
01/22/18 06:33 AM
01/22/18 06:33 AM
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Arvada, CO
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Colin Dunn Offline OP
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Who owns the George Steck name now?

Full 9’ concert grand, new old stock, $25K.
Link: https://www.ebay.com/itm/New-George...d-Piano-92-FREE-SHIPPING-NR/192430063547

And then a stencil brand, Schumann, 6’10”, for $5K.
Link: https://www.ebay.com/itm/GRAND-PIAN...-INSTRUMENT-WHOLESALE-PRICE/282812249007

The latter looks like it may be a Samick. Similar model name cast into the plate as the two Samick-made instruments I have.

Would be curious to play these.

Last edited by Colin Dunn; 01/22/18 06:35 AM.

Colin Dunn
2018 Sight-Reading Challenge Longest Winning Streak: 21 days
Organizer, Denver Area Piano Group (https://www.meetup.com/Denver-Area-Piano-Group/)

Starr Artist Grand
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Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2707329
01/22/18 07:02 AM
01/22/18 07:02 AM
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Geo Steck like many venerable u.s. piano makers became part of the Aeolian conglomerate, the brand then passing to Korean and later Chinese ownership. it might be currently in stasis, subject to resuscitation if the Chinese owners are inclined.

http://www.houstonpianocompany.com/blog/history-of-the-piano-george-steck-co

Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2707336
01/22/18 07:44 AM
01/22/18 07:44 AM
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OK, so the Steck is likely a Sejung piano, another Chinese make. Not surprising for the price range. What do they think of Sejung in China? This is another brand that has a mediocre reputation here on the forums. But ... it is a 9’ and probably better than their baby grands.

There is a cell phone video of a guy playing it. Hard to tell what the real sound quality is like from that. Bass seems pretty good and powerful. Wish they would get a good recording though...


Colin Dunn
2018 Sight-Reading Challenge Longest Winning Streak: 21 days
Organizer, Denver Area Piano Group (https://www.meetup.com/Denver-Area-Piano-Group/)

Starr Artist Grand
Kimball 6750
Schafer & Sons SS-69
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Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2707337
01/22/18 07:44 AM
01/22/18 07:44 AM
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I have played a few “modern” Steck grands. They weren’t something I’d recommend, though I’ve never seen nor laid a finger on their concert grand model (never knew it existed). The seller is a PW forum member, who has the screen name M.O.P. Nice lady, have spoken with her over the phone.

Don’t tell me that you’re going to become a poster who just starts plastering the forum with links to ads that you think are a good deal, for pianos you haven’t seen nor played...please?!?


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Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2707343
01/22/18 07:57 AM
01/22/18 07:57 AM
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Quote
Don’t tell me that you’re going to become a poster who just starts plastering the forum with links to ads that you think are a good deal, for pianos you haven’t seen nor played...please?!?


I do not think I am excessive or inappropriate with the ad links. There was another thread about funny Craigslist ads, usually people who thought scrap wood and metal was a valuable piano. That thread was all ad links.

Of course, I have not traveled all over the world to play all these pianos I mentioned. So yes, I have posted ad links for pianos I have not played, but I am only saying they look interesting or appealing. I would not advise anyone to buy any of these pianos without trying it out for themselves and/or having a tech look for problems. Check the reputation of the seller before committing to a purchase.

I have no commercial interest in any of the ad links I posted. Only others stand to benefit by either buying or selling a piano. Also, check out my other posts to see I have participated in many other threads on this forum for years.

What were the shortcomings of the modern Steck? Did you play the 9’2”or a different model?

Last edited by Colin Dunn; 01/22/18 11:41 AM. Reason: added quote and clarified some things

Colin Dunn
2018 Sight-Reading Challenge Longest Winning Streak: 21 days
Organizer, Denver Area Piano Group (https://www.meetup.com/Denver-Area-Piano-Group/)

Starr Artist Grand
Kimball 6750
Schafer & Sons SS-69
Samick SG-225
Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: Colin Dunn] #2707482
01/22/18 02:53 PM
01/22/18 02:53 PM
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Colin: You seem to think that just because a piano is big the bigness will compensate for the other short comings of some of the very lowest rated consumer pianos. I don't think this is true.

Re: In praise of big pianos with no snob appeal [Re: pianoloverus] #2707504
01/22/18 04:10 PM
01/22/18 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Colin: You seem to think that just because a piano is big the bigness will compensate for the other short comings of some of the very lowest rated consumer pianos. I don't think this is true.


I know "bigness" doesn't always compensate for other shortcomings. I overall preferred a friend's 5'8" Mason & Hamlin to my own piano (a rebuilt Starr that is 7'11"). However, I do have a general bigger-is-better mentality for grand pianos because in the price range that I can afford (think 4 figures, not 5-6), that yields the biggest upgrade in sound quality.

That said, I'm curious about just how good (or bad) these big concert grands by consumer-tier makes really are. I've never played a bad 9' concert grand. But I haven't encountered one of these affordable Chinese-made concert grands in the wild.

Who else, besides me, would want a no-name 9-footer? I immediately think that many working pianists or piano teachers would want one (as long as it plays well and is not just a big "furniture" piece). Most pianists and piano teachers are not wealthy, more like barely middle-class. I can see them spending $25K to get a concert grand where all the money went into building a piano, rather than paying multiples of the price for a status symbol.

It seems these no-name concert grands are somewhat rare. But what I find disconcerting is that discerning piano critics don't review these particular instruments. That would settle the question about whether it's just a scaled-up consumer-level baby grand, or if these companies actually lavish better materials and more attention on these models.

People just look at the name on the fallboard and dismiss it out of hand. This closed-minded rejection is a form of groupthink in the industry. That brings out my rebellious streak.

I want to see reviews of pianos the way audiophile magazines review stereo gear. Use the best and most expensive as a "reference," then compare the piano being reviewed against that baseline. Go into details about how the action compares to a Steinway, how the tone compares to Bösendorfer, how the quality of construction compares to Mason & Hamlin, etc. Don't just say it's low-rated consumer junk unless it truly is. But that assessment needs to come from reviewing a piano in-depth, not just making sweeping generalizations based on brand name rankings, country of origin, etc.

When the same budget could get you a premium name 46" upright or a consumer-tier 9' concert grand, I don't think it is obvious that the "better name" is always the "better piano."





Last edited by Colin Dunn; 01/22/18 04:16 PM.

Colin Dunn
2018 Sight-Reading Challenge Longest Winning Streak: 21 days
Organizer, Denver Area Piano Group (https://www.meetup.com/Denver-Area-Piano-Group/)

Starr Artist Grand
Kimball 6750
Schafer & Sons SS-69
Samick SG-225
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