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Re: Steinway Model S (and other baby grands?) [Re: Beemer] #2723233
03/21/18 03:27 PM
03/21/18 03:27 PM
Joined: Jun 2008
Posts: 2,907
SoCal
Plowboy Offline

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Originally Posted by Beemer
Gary,

Thanks for the link. I'm obviously missing the technique to find a specific post. I tried using the forum search for the number and for Steinway Model S New but nothing was found. How did you find it?

Ian


In the upper left corner of the page is a search box. I just entered 'Steinway Model S New" #2646371' referred to upthread.

I'm not qualified to really have an opinion, but int he 5 minutes I spent on a Steinway S I thought it was quite nice. And quite expensive!


Gary
Essex EUP-111 at the mountains
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Re: Steinway Model S (and other baby grands?) [Re: piano_seeker] #2723250
03/21/18 04:02 PM
03/21/18 04:02 PM
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GC13 Offline
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Kawai makes some very nice smaller grands in the GX line. Yamaha makes the C1X at just over 5 feet. You might audition these as well.

I personally like Steinway pianos and own a Model B, but I purchased it used for much less than a new Model S. I would definitely play as many pianos of various makes and models as possible before dropping that kind of money for a new piano of kind. Each piano is different. No 2 Steinway Model S pianos will be exactly alike.

Re: Steinway Model S (and other baby grands?) [Re: piano_seeker] #2723551
03/22/18 03:38 PM
03/22/18 03:38 PM
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George Smith Offline
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piano_seeker I think you will be very happy with the Model S. I think the key phrase is "was quite smitten by it." That's what happens when you find the right instrument for you. As I've stated elsewhere my Steinway Model B is the 8th piano that I've owned and it is clearly my dream piano.

Please get a grand. The only good reason I can see to get an upright is simple lack of space or lack of money. I've owned 2 digitals but don't recommend those either.

In the late 90s and early 2000s I owned an almost new Model S. I loved it! It's a "real" Steinway. The tone, action and tuning stability were superb in every way. The bass still has that distinctive NY Steinway growl but certainly not as much clear fundamental as a B or D. Unfortunately my consulting business failed and we lost pretty much everything but the dog. Then it was years of cheap apartments, cheap pianos and slowly rebuilding.

I always think it's wise to own a cover and something like a Dampp-Chaser but don't forget that Steinway designs predate pervasive air conditioning. They are not fragile in any way and some Steinway innovations had to do with ensuring that the woods and construction methods result in a piano that works in a wide variety of physical environments. I wouldn't worry that much about your current housing or placement of the piano.

I get it that we all have different tastes and economic means. As an artist and musician, however, certain instruments "speak" to me and become extensions of my brain. It's a combination of tone and playability. For me when it comes to pianos it's Steinway, for saxophones it's Selmer, for guitars it's Martin. I've owned lots of other instruments and often found myself fighting both my lack of ability and the instrument itself. Steinway has a promotional video on YouTube called Perfection & Passion. About a minute in, someone says "the beautiful Steinway plays better than me." I can totally relate to that. There is lots of good advice on these forums. But mine is simple: if you connect with an instrument buy it in peace and enjoy.

Re: Steinway Model S (and other baby grands?) [Re: piano_seeker] #2723662
03/23/18 03:34 AM
03/23/18 03:34 AM
Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 319
CA
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Piano seeker, I think you are very wise to post your concerns, and have gotten some really solid advice. I do question your statement about the S having a greater dynamic range than the D. Dynamic range from longer keys is most noticeable in the piano's ability to expand the pianist's range of expression, especially between ppp and mf. There is no question that any 8 ft grand has multiples of dynamic range compared to a 5ft grand. I experienced this the first time I played a 7ft Bosie 214VC. I felt the piano was playing for me, when in reality I was playing a piano that was able to produce what I was putting into it (and probably a whole lot more!). This certainly is not unique to just the Bosie, but to pianos with a large dynamic range in general.

Re: Steinway Model S (and other baby grands?) [Re: piano_seeker] #2723668
03/23/18 04:52 AM
03/23/18 04:52 AM
Joined: Nov 2009
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joe80 Offline
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If you like the model S, you won't be disappointed, they are good pianos in their size range. There are others you should look at of course.

Firstly, don't throw out the idea of a Yamaha C1X or a Kawai GX1. They're also good pianos in their size range, albeit cheaper than the Steinway.

Next you should consider the Phoenix 170. How about a Blüthner Model 11 or even 10? The Bösendorfer 155 is excellent. There's a Bechstein B160 which I'm certain will be a good instrument.

The problem with baby grands isn't necessarily that the bass isn't so good. Yes, the bass will be weaker than on a larger grand, but the problem is finding one that sounds balanced. I don't mean that a Steinway is better balanced than a Yamaha. I mean that the individual piano, regardless of brand, needs to be tuned, regulated, and voiced so that it sounds and feels balanced. I was recently practising on a Steinway M, usually I don't like the Steinway M, but this particular one was so well regulated and voiced that I wasn't aware it was 'only' an M until I checked inside after about 30 minutes of playing. My mind didn't focus on the 'deficient' bass because the piano was properly voiced. Does that make sense?

In every conversation about pianos, on a forum, we can be very general about brands. We can all say we've seen several Steinway S, or B, or Blüthner model 6, and we can say that the Steinway B is good and the Model 6 not so good, or however we feel, and we can even make statements regarding the general characteristics of the sound of each piano. However, that is so general as to be almost unhelpful, because the technician who works on the piano is as important as the brand of piano. You can't make a Blüthner sound like a Steinway, it's not in each others design to be the same, but you can improve sustain, tuning, action feel, make it more or less bright or mellow, change the strike point, change the hammer weight, tap the strings down on the bridge, and a plethora of other things that can transform a piano from a pile of mush to a singing musical instrument, or transform a metallic sounding box of nails into a warm and beautiful smooth sounding piano.

Re: Steinway Model S (and other baby grands?) [Re: Sanfrancisco] #2738110
05/20/18 12:57 AM
05/20/18 12:57 AM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 14
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piano_seeker Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Sanfrancisco
Piano seeker, I think you are very wise to post your concerns, and have gotten some really solid advice. I do question your statement about the S having a greater dynamic range than the D. Dynamic range from longer keys is most noticeable in the piano's ability to expand the pianist's range of expression, especially between ppp and mf. There is no question that any 8 ft grand has multiples of dynamic range compared to a 5ft grand. I experienced this the first time I played a 7ft Bosie 214VC. I felt the piano was playing for me, when in reality I was playing a piano that was able to produce what I was putting into it (and probably a whole lot more!). This certainly is not unique to just the Bosie, but to pianos with a large dynamic range in general.


I was a little confused reading this, and then realised what was going on! I was saying in my original post that the dynamic range of the S was much better than the K-52 and the 1098. I wasn't comparing it to the D.

Re: Steinway Model S (and other baby grands?) [Re: piano_seeker] #2738114
05/20/18 01:15 AM
05/20/18 01:15 AM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 14
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piano_seeker Offline OP
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Thank you everyone once again for the very thoughtful responses. I really appreciate the kindness and generosity on this forum.

Wanted to report back on my further exploration. I got to try some Blüthner grands, and I have to say they were pretty amazing. Each one had its own personality, of course, but every one was special. I really liked the brooding character, and it seemed to suit the lyrical, melodic stuff I was playing that day. The treble was quite rounded and bell-like, and the bass had something to it. Not sure how to describe it - not muddy but whole?

I also tried a very nice Model M. While it was an exquisite instrument, beautifully made and even, the tone wasn't for me. Where the Blüthners were sensitive, I felt this was very loud.

I then went back to try the model S. And somehow in the intervening weeks it had changed. Previously it had felt like an extension of me (like someone alluded to above), but the second time around it felt like it needed a lot of 'touching'. And now I'm questioning what I can know, if anything at all!

To sum up, I'm thinking of giving the Blüthners another try. I suspect I wouldn't be able to play the actual one I'd be buying though, which makes me hesitate. They're more expensive than the S&S, and to buy something like that unseen...?

Re: Steinway Model S (and other baby grands?) [Re: piano_seeker] #2738119
05/20/18 01:33 AM
05/20/18 01:33 AM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 395
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John305 Online content
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Not sure why you think you wouldn’t be buying the model you try out on the floor? That’s typically how a piano is purchased, right off the showroom floor. If I was spending that kind of money I would only buy the exact piano I played and fell in love with, not the same model fresh from the box, so to speak.


It’s never too late to be what you might have been. -George Eliot
Re: Steinway Model S (and other baby grands?) [Re: John305] #2738121
05/20/18 01:44 AM
05/20/18 01:44 AM
Joined: Mar 2018
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piano_seeker Offline OP
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Originally Posted by John305
Not sure why you think you wouldn’t be buying the model you try out on the floor? That’s typically how a piano is purchased, right off the showroom floor. If I was spending that kind of money I would only buy the exact piano I played and fell in love with, not the same model fresh from the box, so to speak.


Because the dealer doesn't have the smallest grand in stock. They'd have to order it.

Re: Steinway Model S (and other baby grands?) [Re: piano_seeker] #2738125
05/20/18 02:09 AM
05/20/18 02:09 AM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 4,122
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Retsacnal Online content

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Usually you want to buy the one you play, but at least play one of the same model. Especially going shorter than what you tried, the delivered piano is going to be different.


"If it sounds good, it is good." - Duke Ellington
P E R F O R M A N C E over p r o v e n a n c e

Re: Steinway Model S (and other baby grands?) [Re: piano_seeker] #2738184
05/20/18 09:08 AM
05/20/18 09:08 AM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 395
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John305 Online content
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Originally Posted by piano_seeker
Originally Posted by John305
Not sure why you think you wouldn’t be buying the model you try out on the floor? That’s typically how a piano is purchased, right off the showroom floor. If I was spending that kind of money I would only buy the exact piano I played and fell in love with, not the same model fresh from the box, so to speak.


Because the dealer doesn't have the smallest grand in stock. They'd have to order it.



I thought you said you played the model S and you really liked it. Sorry if I’m not following. Did they sell the model S that you initially played and liked so much?

Last edited by John305; 05/20/18 09:09 AM.

It’s never too late to be what you might have been. -George Eliot
Re: Steinway Model S (and other baby grands?) [Re: John305] #2738237
05/20/18 01:14 PM
05/20/18 01:14 PM
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piano_seeker Offline OP
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piano_seeker  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by John305
Originally Posted by piano_seeker
Originally Posted by John305
Not sure why you think you wouldn’t be buying the model you try out on the floor? That’s typically how a piano is purchased, right off the showroom floor. If I was spending that kind of money I would only buy the exact piano I played and fell in love with, not the same model fresh from the box, so to speak.


Because the dealer doesn't have the smallest grand in stock. They'd have to order it.



I thought you said you played the model S and you really liked it. Sorry if I’m not following. Did they sell the model S that you initially played and liked so much?


No worries. In this case, I meant the Blüthner - their dealer doesn't currently have a small grand in their showroom, so if I wanted to buy one it would be unseen. The model S is still available in the showroom.

Re: Steinway Model S (and other baby grands?) [Re: piano_seeker] #2738265
05/20/18 04:05 PM
05/20/18 04:05 PM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 157
sroreilly Offline
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Originally Posted by piano_seeker

To sum up, I'm thinking of giving the Blüthners another try. I suspect I wouldn't be able to play the actual one I'd be buying though, which makes me hesitate. They're more expensive than the S&S, and to buy something like that unseen...?


if the bluthner and steinway are equiavalent sizes the bluthner should be the same or cheaper in price, but you may have to negotiate some.

Re: Steinway Model S (and other baby grands?) [Re: piano_seeker] #2738328
05/21/18 12:48 AM
05/21/18 12:48 AM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,097
New York
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trigalg693 Offline
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New York
To me it sounds like you don't have enough experience on different pianos to tell the difference given you liked the S, then played some Bluthners, then noticed the S's deficiencies afterward.

Sounds like you live in a big city. Assuming you're a fairly competent pianist, try to find a friendly dealer that will let you spend a good amount of time on their 7-9 foot pianos, trying a bunch of different ones. That will get your ear accustomed to what most people consider "good balance", and your fingers used to a responsive keyboard with quality hammers (bigger pianos tend to be prepped better and have higher quality parts). Now that you have in your head what a piano is "supposed" to do, you should be ready to see what compromise needs to be made on a small piano. Does the bass have good power and dynamic range? Qualitatively, how do the notes at the extremes sound? Do you like how the keyboard feels under your fingers?

I have a similar problem with cooking fumes because I'm in a tiny studio in the NYC area now. I haven't gotten around to it but I was going to wrap activated carbon filter around a fan to provide some extra fume extraction, as well as running another fan on the window to vent air out. Venting air out poses another problem, which is that there's no more humidity control (my 5000 BTU window AC can't keep up). Also, using the stove will overwhelm the AC as well. I don't have a piano yet but I did order a hygrometer so I can keep an eye on this kind of stuff. It would be a good idea to keep the piano lid shut and a piano cover over it.

I don't think it's a good idea for you to go for a higher end piano from what I can tell, it's going to be sitting in a harsh environment, and you're severely limited on size, so the bang for the buck is really really poor. I think you should look at a Yamaha C1X or Hailun 161 or Kawai GX1 if you insist on going with a new piano. The only baby grand I've ever seen with what I personally consider satisfactory power in the bass is the Phoenix 170, but that's half a foot longer than what you said would fit.

Last edited by trigalg693; 05/21/18 12:55 AM.
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