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Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709775
01/29/18 12:00 PM
01/29/18 12:00 PM
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Indianapolis
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I definitely think Option 1 is your best bet for many reasons giving the architectural features of the room and the placement of the organ for both acoustical and aesthetic reasons.

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Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709782
01/29/18 12:21 PM
01/29/18 12:21 PM
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Richmond, Virginia
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For the time being I would opt for Option 1. If that radiator gives off too much heat in the winter, consider moving it in the future if it is not too expensive.

Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709805
01/29/18 01:27 PM
01/29/18 01:27 PM
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Rural UK
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Personally I'd go go for option 1, but there's nothing to stop you moving it around to find out which one suits your lifestyle. I guess it's all down to whether the floor is going to mark from the castors, and that's probably down to how it was laid with laminate.

Currently, I have solid oak flooring which won't compress when you wheel a piano over it, and hence doesn't mark. My experience with Victorian and Georgean floorboards is that they nearly always mark / deform through compression, so I've always had 200mm x 200mm x 18mm plywood castor blocks to spread the weight, particularly when on a carpet. You can paint them the same colour as the carpet, or even better, glue a carpet offcut to the top.


The English may not like music much, but they love the sound it makes ... Beecham
Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709811
01/29/18 01:36 PM
01/29/18 01:36 PM
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Arvada, CO
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I would go with Option 1 or 3, as that should provide sufficient clearance from the radiator while allowing the piano to project its sound out into the room.

A window covering on the window, such as drapes or a cellular shade, can prevent sun-bleaching of the piano if the window gets direct sunlight.


Colin Dunn
2018 Sight-Reading Challenge Longest Winning Streak: 21 days
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Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709973
01/30/18 02:30 AM
01/30/18 02:30 AM
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Hi Jack,

Though I don't have any suggestion, I wish to say thank you so much for the photo. Your music room is soooo beautiful ! Thanks for sharing.

Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2709991
01/30/18 05:28 AM
01/30/18 05:28 AM
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barbaram Online content

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I would get a quote for moving the radiator, it's often not that expensive, especially when considered in the context of your overall piano budget

Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2748537
07/01/18 12:45 PM
07/01/18 12:45 PM
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Jack Knuckle Offline OP
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Thanks to all the contributors to the thread above. I visited several piano stores in my hunt for the perfect piano within my budget. In the end and after playing many different pianos I narrowed down my options to a new Feurich 178 or a restored "big four". The difficulty I encountered with the latter was that there was an abundance of lovely looking Bechsteins, Bosendorfers, Bluthners and Steinways at every price point that were described as "fantastic condition" or "recently restored" but when I actually got to see them most were just tired, poorly regulated or tatty looking and of the few that were completely rebuilt they tended to be way outside my budget or simply not as appealing to play or listen to as I had hoped.

Eventually I came across a Bechstein Model V in a privately listed sale that looked stunning from the photographs. Inquiries established that it had been totally rebuilt by SAP in Poland with case restoration, new Abel hammers, mostly new action and a restring whilst retaining the ivory keys and soundboard just last year. It also had a comprehensive regulation and voicing to a smaller room than mine, so it is easy to play without being too light, and by default is quite soft and restrained whilst having the capacity to unleash great power. Burr walnut inside the keyboard lid and rim only added to the visual appeal. I arranged to see it and was in love within a few moments of starting to play - it had the perfect combination of a stunning visual appearance, beautiful tone and a buttery smooth clean action. It is now sitting in my living room next to the organ, and whilst I was sad to see the upright go as it had been in my family for over a century, realistically there was no space for two pianos and there really was no contest between a straight strung overdamped upright that couldn't stay in tune versus what is effectively a brand new Bechstein.

As it was almost a foot longer than what I had measured for, it did end up being in direct sunlight through the French windows. However, I kept the curtains closed until I was able to rectify the sunlight problem, and used an externally-fitted reflective window film that cuts out heat and light transmission by around 80% - enough for the piano lid to remain cool to touch even in direct summer sunlight yet with limited effect on visual light so the garden is still clearly visible (except at night, which is when the photos below were taken). It is far enough away from the radiator not to be a problem though we won't have that on full any more in winter and it can be moved on the laminate floor if access to the action was ever needed for regulation though I don't anticipate that being necessary any time soon.

So the moral of the story is that perseverance will reward you if you are not in a hurry - I saw and played a few pianos prior to this that I would have been very happy buying though had they all been on sale together I would without hesitation have bought the Bechstein. I have consistently been impressed more by Bechsteins than any other high end piano and am delighted to finally own one. To anyone considering it I'd say it was definitely worth selling both my kidneys to pay for it ;-)

Incidentally a few people asked above about the organ - I built it myself and it is entirely digital in sound production, utilising the Hauptwerk virtual organ software program. The facade pipes are real (as in, rescued from a redundant pipe organ - but they merely conceal speakers behind them.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2748541
07/01/18 01:18 PM
07/01/18 01:18 PM
Joined: Feb 2013
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Seething - just seething with envy.

Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2748546
07/01/18 01:31 PM
07/01/18 01:31 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 2,286
In the Ozarks of Missouri
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In the Ozarks of Missouri
What a "sweet" piano and setup you have-congratulations!


[Linked Image]
Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2748547
07/01/18 01:37 PM
07/01/18 01:37 PM
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 463
Rural UK
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I'm glad you happenstanced on the old fishtail Bechsteins. IMHO they are one of the best mid-sized pianos of pre-WWI, and I had around 20-30 of them through my hands over a 15 year period, many moons ago. I think this would have been one of the last fishtails before the 'modern' models A --> E, if the fall board is original - I'm sure you will have looked up the date from its serial number. I know of a dozen of them in private hands of that age, and they just keep going and going and going ... and sound very nice, even if the action on many need attention.

I had a rebuilt model IV - all 7' 4" of it (everything except soundboard replaced) for nearly 20 years, before moving to a 1985 S&S 'D'. The only things I did 'wrong' were to have its case stripped and black polyestered, and red felt used throughout instead of that blue / green (which I've never much liked). By the look of the photos, that's one of the best finished I've seen in years, and I'm sure it plays as well as it looks.

Good stuff.


The English may not like music much, but they love the sound it makes ... Beecham
Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2748579
07/01/18 04:03 PM
07/01/18 04:03 PM
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Gorgeous!


It’s never too late to be what you might have been. -George Eliot
Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2748583
07/01/18 04:21 PM
07/01/18 04:21 PM
Joined: Jun 2015
Posts: 767
Melville Saskatchewan
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Melville Saskatchewan
What is that wooden doodad on the wall just behind the piano lid?

I initially thought it was one of those things churches use to display the hymn numbers, but the more I look at it the less it looks like that.


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We got both kinds of music: Country and Western!
Casio Celviano AP-650
Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Fareham] #2748587
07/01/18 04:35 PM
07/01/18 04:35 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 53
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Jack Knuckle Offline OP
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Originally Posted by tend to rush
Seething - just seething with envy.


Haha - but don't assume that because I have a house large enough to accommodate a 6 foot 7 inch grand piano and a four manual organ I must be loaded. I live in the dodgiest part of my town and drive a twenty year old car but am very particular to ensure I get my priorities right!

Originally Posted by Fareham
I'm glad you happenstanced on the old fishtail Bechsteins. IMHO they are one of the best mid-sized pianos of pre-WWI, and I had around 20-30 of them through my hands over a 15 year period, many moons ago. I think this would have been one of the last fishtails before the 'modern' models A --> E, if the fall board is original - I'm sure you will have looked up the date from its serial number. I know of a dozen of them in private hands of that age, and they just keep going and going and going ... and sound very nice, even if the action on many need attention.

I had a rebuilt model IV - all 7' 4" of it (everything except soundboard replaced) for nearly 20 years, before moving to a 1985 S&S 'D'. The only things I did 'wrong' were to have its case stripped and black polyestered, and red felt used throughout instead of that blue / green (which I've never much liked). By the look of the photos, that's one of the best finished I've seen in years, and I'm sure it plays as well as it looks.

Good stuff.


Interesting comments thanks. Roberts pianos in Oxford rate the Bechstein V as being among the very best pianos ever made, and not only because when restored they come out so well. I looked at but passed on a couple of theirs before selecting this but what they had restored was also of very fine quality. I take your point about the felt - mine is all green which goes well with other things in the room and I vastly prefer it to the ghastly pale blue felt of later Bechsteins (could anyone confirm if green was the "correct" colour in Bechsteins of this era as most of the ones that I have seen prior to 1905 are green?) At what point did the fallboard decal change from "C. Bechstein - Hof-Lieferant Sr. Maj des Kaisers u.Konigs Berlin" to "C. Bechstein"? I've seen several Vs from around 1094, just before the change to model B, with the shortened "C. Bechstein" label, and a few from the 1890s with the longer label. My piano's serial number dates it to 1900, the year that Mr C. Bechstein died. My fallboard letters are definitely inlaid brass rather than decal though I suppose the fallboard might have come from a later model if they are interchangable. I prefer the simplicity of the shortened title in any case.

I expect there are a few non-period features on mine. At the top of the side legs of earlier Vs is a sort of scroll design whereas mine has a much simpler molding. I think the lyre legs are original though I've seen Vs with turned legs and Vs with square profile but curved legs like a real musical lyre. Of course the black polyester finish is modern, but I really like it. I can't imagine that the best French polisher would be able to create such a perfect mirror finish, which is what I presume it would originally have come with if it was finished in black. Friends who have seen it but aren't sufficiently knowledgeable about pianos to recognise the significance of the fishtail end all think it is brand new and are stunned when I tell them it is nearly 120 years old. The hammers and shanks are Abel, the tied action has been replaced with capstans and the strings Paulello - I doubt they would have been available in 1900! The bench is new but designed to complement the octagonal legs of the piano. So how much of the piano (apart from the case, keys and soundboard) is truly 1900 Bechstein and how much is 2017 SAP? I don't know - but also I don't really care. SAP have done the most fabulous restoration/rebuild and if this is typical of their work then unreservedly I can give them the highest praise.






Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2748603
07/01/18 06:16 PM
07/01/18 06:16 PM
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 9,280
Phoenix, Arizona
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Phoenix, Arizona
It appears that "Option One"( which you ended using) was the most popular option among those responding to your original post. Thank you for following up and letting us now how everything turned out. Glad you were able to keep the corner cabinet in the room. The piano is beautiful - and your home built organ is impressive. Wishing you many heppy years of music making !! thumb


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Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2750443
07/09/18 01:53 PM
07/09/18 01:53 PM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 695
Indianapolis
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GC13 Offline
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Indianapolis
What a lovely piano! Congratulations on your new instrument.

Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2750504
07/10/18 01:46 AM
07/10/18 01:46 AM
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 463
Rural UK
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Fareham Offline
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Rural UK
Originally Posted by Jack Knuckle
Of course the black polyester finish is modern, but I really like it. I can't imagine that the best French polisher would be able to create such a perfect mirror finish, which is what I presume it would originally have come with if it was finished in black.


I have no idea if it's true, but I was told in the 1960's by a specialist French polisher, that Bechstein had a finishing shop for the cases that was 70,000 square feet in size (around 2 acres). They had 3 or 4 guys whose job was to add a layer of polish to each case in turn and then move on to the next piano and repeat the dose. He thought that it took around 10-15 minutes to put on a coat, and a piano might have 2 or 3 coats each week. The piano would stay in the case finishing shop for around 15 months, going in as a raw case, and coming out with the 'piano finish' - which Rolls-Royce attempted to emulate on their cars. The thick outer veneer was traditionally pear wood for the black stained cases, presumably chosen for its ability to take stain evenly.

Originally Posted by Jack Knuckle
So how much of the piano (apart from the case, keys and soundboard) is truly 1900 Bechstein and how much is 2017 SAP? I don't know - but also I don't really care. SAP have done the most fabulous restoration/rebuild and if this is typical of their work then unreservedly I can give them the highest praise.


I think that's exactly the right attitude to take. There is an old legal saw about the validity of changing parts which asks if an axe which has had its head and shaft replaced at different times is still the original axe, when clearly none of the original still exists. Of course, like most philosophical arguments, you can debate that one forever and a day. My own view is that it's the combination of the soundboard and rim which goes to make up the character of an instrument, and as long as they are left pretty much as originally built, then it continues to be the same piano.

But then, what do I know ?


The English may not like music much, but they love the sound it makes ... Beecham
Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2750723
07/11/18 05:35 AM
07/11/18 05:35 AM
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 1,082
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barbaram Online content

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Congratulations on your beautiful piano!

Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2750975
07/12/18 01:35 PM
07/12/18 01:35 PM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 2,725
SE USA
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SE USA
Dang! That turned out well! Much envy.


WhoDwaldi
Howard (by Kawai) 5' 10"
Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2751271
07/13/18 05:18 PM
07/13/18 05:18 PM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 41
New York, NY
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What a beautiful piano! I would say option 5, because you have more space for your arms and piano is protected from sun light. You have a wonderful music room! Congratulations!


"Men can do all things if they will" ...Kenji...
Re: Where in the room should I fit a grand piano? [Re: Jack Knuckle] #2753437
07/23/18 07:12 PM
07/23/18 07:12 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 704
Louisiana, USA
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I much more impressed by the organ. Is that French door used at all?

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