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My "Hamstorian" Steinway D from PianoCraft #2737883
05/19/18 07:21 AM
05/19/18 07:21 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,888
Northern VA, U.S.
ClsscLib Offline OP

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013
ClsscLib  Offline OP

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013

Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,888
Northern VA, U.S.
The funny thing is that I’ve never really been a Steinway fan. Yet today my piano – by all that is holy, my “terminal piano” – is a Steinway. I’m growing pretty fond of it.

I took up piano for the first time six or seven years ago, after many frustrating years as a symphonic double bass player. One kept hearing about these “melody” things but was too busy shoveling coal in the orchestral boiler room ever to meet one.

I was smitten by piano-playing almost from the start, and working now with an inspiring teacher stokes my enthusiasm higher than ever. Piano is not very forgiving to the elderly mind, but I find it to be good for my humility.

For the first few months that I played, and against the advice of some serious pianists, I used a hybrid acoustic/digital piano. In its way, it was a splendid instrument, but after playing serious vintage stringed instruments for decades, I quickly became dissatisfied with the digital sound.

I then acquired from PianoCraft in Gaithersburg MD a lovely Steingraeber C-212. It was a much better piano than I deserved then (or ever will deserve), but I liked it a lot. A couple of years later, I got the chance to trade it back to PianoCraft for a Steingraeber D-232, which – until a few months ago – was simply the best piano I had ever played. (Again, more piano than I will ever deserve, but I loved it.)

Late last Autumn, I got a call from Keith Kerman suggesting that I come in to meet a new creature in the PianoCraft bestiary, a completely rebuilt Steinway D. PianoCraft had done similar rebuilds for universities and concert venues, but Keith opined (admitting the possibility of parental pride) that this might be the best work that they had ever done.

I tried it. It was magic. PianoCraft offered me a great deal. My good friend SiFi – a much, much better pianist than I will ever be – tried it and gave it a thumbs-up. Now I’m looking at it in my music room (f/k/a our “family room”).

What is it, exactly?

To look at it, one would call it a brand-new Steinway D. The case (refinished in polished ebony high-gloss) and plate are original, made in 1979 in Steinway’s New York facility at Astoria, Queens. Everything else is new and customized to this instrument.

The piano has Hamburg Steinway action parts and Hamburg Steinway hammers. The piano also has a new keystick set from Detroit Piano Works (customized for this piano), with real ebony sharps and Kluge key covers. Otherwise, the action parts are Hamburg Steinway, installed in the original (restored) New York Steinway keyframe.

I cannot put out of my mind the notion that I now own a rare *Hamstorian* Steinway D.

The piano was originally matte ebony. When PianoCraft stripped the finish, they noticed a nice mahogany under the lid that was retained as a fun, subtle touch – the four black cross-braces contrast beautifully with the brown mahogany under-lid.

The soundboard is Sitka, sourced it from the same mill used by the other guys. The wood is from old growth (approximately 300-400 year old) trees, and I’m persuaded (for a lot of reasons that I won’t go into now) that it’s as “Steinway” as any factory instrument soundboard, and better than most.

The rebuilders’ intent here was clearly to pursue the best attributes of both the New York and Hamburg pianos. I think they’ve pulled it off rather well. I’ve never played a piano with a better action, and the sound, while fantastic today, is getting better each time I play the instrument.

This piano inspires me to work harder and to get better. Thanks, PianoCraft.

(Photos to follow if/when I can figure out how to post them.)


[Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins
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Re: My "Hamstorian" Steinway D from PianoCraft [Re: ClsscLib] #2737991
05/19/18 02:48 PM
05/19/18 02:48 PM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 185
Chicago
J
John305 Offline
Full Member
John305  Offline
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J
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 185
Chicago
Great story and please do post pictures. I personally love to see contrasting woods on pianos, especially under the lid and inside the rim.


It’s never too late to be what you might have been. -George Eliot
Re: My "Hamstorian" Steinway D from PianoCraft [Re: ClsscLib] #2738360
05/21/18 09:01 AM
05/21/18 09:01 AM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 459
G
GC13 Online content
Full Member
GC13  Online Content
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G
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 459
Congrats on your Steinway D! I'm sure it's an amazing instrument. I too, was not a Steinway fan until I was smitten by my Steinway Model B. Not all Steinway pianos are that "grand", but when they are done right, it's very hard to top one. I'd love to have the chance to play one rebuilt by the folks at PianoCraft. They do such amazing work! I'm looking forward to seeing pictures and a recording or two.

Last edited by GC13; 05/21/18 09:02 AM.
Re: My "Hamstorian" Steinway D from PianoCraft [Re: ClsscLib] #2738362
05/21/18 09:24 AM
05/21/18 09:24 AM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 3,500
Florida
dogperson Offline
Silver Subscriber
dogperson  Offline
Silver Subscriber
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 3,500
Florida
Congrats on the wonderful new piano! not 'good enough' for a outstanding grand? Phsaw, there is no piano that is 'too good' for any pianist... it is the piano that inspires you to play... and indeed, you are inspired. My motto 'I hope to play well enough to live up the expectations of my piano'.

Hope you will post pictures and audio. smile

Re: My "Hamstorian" Steinway D from PianoCraft [Re: ClsscLib] #2738498
05/21/18 07:49 PM
05/21/18 07:49 PM
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,672
Danville, California
F
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Furtwangler  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
F
Joined: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,672
Danville, California


Amateur Pianist and raconteur.
Re: My "Hamstorian" Steinway D from PianoCraft [Re: ClsscLib] #2738514
05/21/18 08:46 PM
05/21/18 08:46 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,888
Northern VA, U.S.
ClsscLib Offline OP

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013
ClsscLib  Offline OP

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013

Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,888
Northern VA, U.S.
That seems to be the one!


[Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins
Re: My "Hamstorian" Steinway D from PianoCraft [Re: ClsscLib] #2738517
05/21/18 09:02 PM
05/21/18 09:02 PM
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 369
D
DiarmuidD Offline
Full Member
DiarmuidD  Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 369
That's gorgeous. Voiced slightly on the softer side; warm and really seductive. I'm jealous, that is most certainly a "never need to upgrade" piano. Proof (for me at least) that some re-builds are better than some new pianos.

Re: My "Hamstorian" Steinway D from PianoCraft [Re: ClsscLib] #2738541
05/21/18 11:57 PM
05/21/18 11:57 PM
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,586
NYC
R
RealPlayer Offline
2000 Post Club Member
RealPlayer  Offline
2000 Post Club Member
R
Joined: May 2003
Posts: 2,586
NYC
Wow. Major congratulations from me!

Re: My "Hamstorian" Steinway D from PianoCraft [Re: Furtwangler] #2738727
05/22/18 07:35 PM
05/22/18 07:35 PM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,888
Northern VA, U.S.
ClsscLib Offline OP

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013
ClsscLib  Offline OP

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013

Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,888
Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted by Furtwangler


I also watched the following YouTube video of a different Steinway rebuilt by PianoCraft, this an 1877 Centennial concert grand. What lovely playing by Shaun Tirrell of the Chopin Mazurka, op. 17 no. 4! He really plays Chopin the way I wish I could someday play it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vI3pREwace0


[Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins
Re: My "Hamstorian" Steinway D from PianoCraft [Re: ClsscLib] #2738828
05/23/18 03:43 AM
05/23/18 03:43 AM
Joined: May 2017
Posts: 458
Rural UK
F
Fareham Offline
Full Member
Fareham  Offline
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Joined: May 2017
Posts: 458
Rural UK
Congratulations on the piano. Hopefully after a major 'refit' later this year, my 'D' will be able to aspire to such heights once again.

This is the first 'D' that I've seen (apart from mine) that has four braces on the underside of the lid. Most of them seem to have only one. Is there any particular rhyme or reason why the number varies ?


The English may not like music much, but they love the sound it makes ... Beecham
Re: My "Hamstorian" Steinway D from PianoCraft [Re: ClsscLib] #2738845
05/23/18 07:11 AM
05/23/18 07:11 AM
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,888
Northern VA, U.S.
ClsscLib Offline OP

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013
ClsscLib  Offline OP

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013

Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,888
Northern VA, U.S.
I had thought that four braces was the standard, at least for current and recent models. But I don’t claim to have made a study.


[Linked Image][Linked Image]
[Linked Image]

"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins
Re: My "Hamstorian" Steinway D from PianoCraft [Re: ClsscLib] #2738969
05/23/18 04:44 PM
05/23/18 04:44 PM
Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 269
Maryland, USA
D
Davdoc Offline
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Davdoc  Offline
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D
Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 269
Maryland, USA
Congratulations! Beautiful piano.


1969 Hamburg Steinway B, rebuilt by PianoCraft in 2017
2013 New York Steinway A
Kawai MP11

Previously: 2005 Yamaha GB1, 1992 Yamaha C5
Re: My "Hamstorian" Steinway D from PianoCraft [Re: ClsscLib] #2739001
05/23/18 08:12 PM
05/23/18 08:12 PM
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,034
Glendale, Ca.
D
Dave Ferris Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Dave Ferris  Offline
2000 Post Club Member
D
Joined: Mar 2007
Posts: 2,034
Glendale, Ca.
Sounds much different then my piano listening over the Neumann KH 120s and Benchmark DAC 3. Definitely a brighter tone then what I'm used to hearing on mine but very clear yet extremely rich sounding. I like it very much.

Congrats on such a fine instrument and great work by PianoCraft !


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