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Back to Steinway decals
#2784207 11/24/18 05:11 PM
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So, now that it is officially illegal to buy a Steinway decal anywhere other than from Steinway parts dept...

Has anyone come up with a viable alternative yet?

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
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Re: Back to Steinway decals
P W Grey #2784253 11/24/18 07:11 PM
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I would suggest if anybody does they should only communicate it by PM because any mention of, or link to an alternative posted here will be shut down in no time.

Re: Back to Steinway decals
P W Grey #2784493 11/25/18 12:37 PM
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Is the Steinway parts department selling the decals for rebuilder use? I was under the impression that nobody was going to be selling them. At least if you can buy them from S&S that's better than nothing.


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Re: Back to Steinway decals
P W Grey #2784593 11/25/18 03:40 PM
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AFAIK yes.

Pwg


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Re: Back to Steinway decals
P W Grey #2784613 11/25/18 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by P W Grey
So, now that it is officially illegal to buy a Steinway decal anywhere other than from Steinway parts dept...

Has anyone come up with a viable alternative yet?

Pwg

If you find an alternative, would that be illegal? hmmm.
Edit: "would" = "wouldn't"

Last edited by Rick_Parks; 11/25/18 04:23 PM.

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Re: Back to Steinway decals
P W Grey #2784681 11/25/18 06:24 PM
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Quite frankly, I believe Steinway is simply playing the: "I have a big stick and if you try anything I'm going to hit you with it" game, knowing LEGALLY they don't really have a leg to stand on, and knowing that the average piano rebuilder does not have the resources available (or going to risk their resources) on this issue. Therefore, as long as they stand there with the stick in their hand (bluffing), no one is likely to call their bluff, and continue to cower in fear. It's a tactic that has been used many times.

It would require action from multiple fronts (preferably acting as one [relatively speaking]) to make it economically unwise for Steinway to take legal action. They could do it one by one (like ducks) but if faced with a flock of angry birds in unison, they are more likely to say: "Okay, let's not go there...it's not worth it".

I currently have someone looking into both the practical and intellectual issues involved.

As far as their factory decal is concerned, yes you can buy it and put it on, but it is solid brass and requires special application (basically you bury it in lacquer and then grind away until the brass is exposed). This is relatively easy when you are applying 4 coats of hot lacquer quite thick. Not so easy if you have to apply 15 coats to equal the required thickness (as many small shops would need to do).

Plus, it is the current issue decal, not a historically correct decal, and no soundboard decals.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
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Re: Back to Steinway decals
P W Grey #2784752 11/25/18 11:46 PM
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There never seems to be a shortage of rebuilders claiming their rebuilds are better than what comes out of the Steinway factory today. Why do they want Steinway decals? If they're claiming a better product shouldn't they be proudly putting their own name on the fallboard and soundboard after they work their magic?

I'm pretty sure I've seen Ed McMorrow say there isn't a piano manufacturer today that builds a piano the way it is supposed to be built. Not even Steinway. I would think he would be embarrassed to have one of his rebuilds say Steinway on it. So I was surprised to see him -- unless I'm terribly mistaken here -- arguing for legal action against Steinway for protecting their own trademark as a restraint of trade. I look forward to following his efforts to exact justice.

Re: Back to Steinway decals
Agent88 #2784760 11/26/18 01:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Agent88
There never seems to be a shortage of rebuilders claiming their rebuilds are better than what comes out of the Steinway factory today. Why do they want Steinway decals? If they're claiming a better product shouldn't they be proudly putting their own name on the fallboard and soundboard after they work their magic?

I'm pretty sure I've seen Ed McMorrow say there isn't a piano manufacturer today that builds a piano the way it is supposed to be built. Not even Steinway. I would think he would be embarrassed to have one of his rebuilds say Steinway on it. So I was surprised to see him -- unless I'm terribly mistaken here -- arguing for legal action against Steinway for protecting their own trademark as a restraint of trade. I look forward to following his efforts to exact justice.


What??!?

What is really weird is that there are people in the piano community that take offense that an instrument can be improved upon when that is a commonly accepted reality with many other products and even other kinds of musical instruments...

There are automotive people who restore/upgrade cars -- but it is still a Ford/Chevy/Rolls or whatever. Modified, supercharged and painted sparkle pink -- but still a whatever-it-was-before as opposed to brand-new-from-the-ground-up "Private-BrandZ-Whiz-Bang" car. Same for rifles, custom-built homes and... pianos.

One of the problems here is that far too many people have swallowed S&S propaganda that has no basis in any kind of on-the-ground reality -- and is, in fact, inconsistent with their own engineering/design changes that S&S has made from time to time -- not to mention outright manufacturing blunders. For example, the reality is that there is no question that most of us in the rebuilding trade can improve upon the S&S "D" straight from the factory I have evaluated that has the treble bridge glued over the edge of the belly rail. (Presently sounds really great ... from Middle C on down shocked ). But if that work were to be done, it would still be a Steinway -- not a "Somebody Else" brand. Just a much better Steinway than it was when it escaped the factory.

So, of course, one would want to put the Steinway name back on a piano made by S&S but perhaps done better as a rebuild/upgrade. For myself, when I build a piano, I'll put my name on it. When I rebuild a S&S, M&H, Baldwin or whatever... I will put the name of the manufacturer on it. Having tweaked an instrument to a higher level of performance than available from standard-issue doesn't make one instrument into another. It's just a superior example of what can be done with that particular design legacy.


Keith Akins, RPT
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Re: Back to Steinway decals
Agent88 #2784832 11/26/18 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Agent88
There never seems to be a shortage of rebuilders claiming their rebuilds are better than what comes out of the Steinway factory today. Why do they want Steinway decals? If they're claiming a better product shouldn't they be proudly putting their own name on the fallboard and soundboard after they work their magic?

I'm pretty sure I've seen Ed McMorrow say there isn't a piano manufacturer today that builds a piano the way it is supposed to be built. Not even Steinway. I would think he would be embarrassed to have one of his rebuilds say Steinway on it. So I was surprised to see him -- unless I'm terribly mistaken here -- arguing for legal action against Steinway for protecting their own trademark as a restraint of trade. I look forward to following his efforts to exact justice.



Let me start by saying that the following are my professional opinions, not that of all here perhaps, and certainly not speaking for the forum's administration [a miniature disclaimer here])...That said, there ARE indeed "better" pianos on the market than S&S- just a fact. Especially if you are referring to NY S&S rather than the German make. So, there are therefore technicians who HAVE made better pianos than S&S (oh- but then- they did put their name on it; unfortunately for S&S LOL).

This is aside from responding to the fallacy of your reasoning, which I do so now:

In your situation, as I see it (since you do not want technicians touching your S&S to make it better), you have TWO options:

1 Hire a Steinway "certified" technician (might have trouble if you are located somewhere that one does not exist) to put your S&S back into S&S certified condition (not making it "better" than S&S specs state) . If you knew anything about this technical trade by-the-way, you would realize that THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE, as a piano begins to degrade from the moment it is made, and it will never be able to be put it back to what it was EXACTLY (good or bad design) without making it either "better" or "worse" than when it was designed.
My assumption has always been that the clientele generally HOPES that when they hire a knowledgeable technician, that professional will strive for "better" (at least, that would be a logical assumption for most I think).
You see, "better" is determined by many factors: How the piano responds to touch, How the tone comes off the hammers through the strings-- all of these NEEDING IMPROVEMENT for any piano coming off a factory floor--- simple fact. I seriously doubt that you would truly want a S&S straight off the factory floor!

Your other option is of course:
2 Let your Steinway rot...
Since according to your claim, if your S&S (which is now out of tune, or the regulation is out of wack to where its hammers are double striking or worse yet, jamming against the strings) is touched by a technician to make it "better" than it is, then they should need to put their name on the instrument and not consider it to be a Steinway.


Besides, WHERE exactly do you draw the line on your definition of "better"? - voicing the hammers (which all S&S require after completion from factory) to make it sound better?.........How about tweaking the S&S specifications for the particular piano's regulation, in order to stop a particular problem in play for that particular instrument? Should I leave the hammer bobbling, if S&S says that that is the spec to set it and leave it?
Steinway is not God- far from it!

Further, if a S&S tech rebuilds a S&S with S&S parts, regulates it to S&S specs- great you now officially have "a S&S piano". But, you certainly do not have the original design in its original condition-- since they too will need to tweak to make better. The only difference is it is a "certified" tech-- $$$$$$$.

I am afraid that you are going to have a very UN-enjoyable experience with your Steinway piano with your preconceived notions...

To finish up-- S&S does have the right to protect their trademark (though I feel their stance is ridiculous in this instance; do they really think crooks are going to stop their crooked ways simply because S&S defends their trademark decals?...They will simply figure out where to get a decal (you can always find a way-- online), and continue their crooked ways. But, S&S have the right to put up all the guards against rebuilders and techs that they wish... And we techs out here have the right to band together and boycott servicing Steinways, and let the customers of S&S call in to HQ concerning their problems. The "flock" might just flock together at some point here, if pushed enough!

The "Big Stick" policy against the techs out here may just end up working like my brother's attempt to frighten off a thief that once tried to steal my niece's bike out of our garage. There had been a previous bike stolen from our garage in a back alley. So, my brother ingeniously rigged a silent alarm. It was set off that night, and we raced out of the back of the house (my brother grabbing a big stick), round the corner of the garage into the alley, only to be faced with a gang of perhaps 7 older teens/young adults. There was one youngster who was indeed at the garage door, breaking in to make off with a bike (having been encourage by the others I'm sure). My brother smacked his Big Stick on the ground to scare the kid he was approaching.........The stick promptly shattered into a tiny stub in his hand. Thankfully the would-be thief was a young boy, who was scared to death, and ran off... Yet, it was the gang that was in the alley with the youth that I then had to convince not to pummel my brother!


Parks and Sons Piano Service
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Re: Back to Steinway decals
Rick_Parks #2784839 11/26/18 08:31 AM
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I guess the moral of the story is to "carry a big stick", but never try to make it bigger than it really is. You might just end up with a useless fragment of wood on your hands.


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Re: Back to Steinway decals
Rick_Parks #2784851 11/26/18 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Rick_Parks
.......If you knew anything about this technical trade by-the-way, you would realize...

And if I had thought more before I typed that I would not have been so unkind as to put your level of knowledge into question. Not right. I apologize for the thoughtlessness.

Last edited by Rick_Parks; 11/26/18 09:15 AM.

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Re: Back to Steinway decals
Rick_Parks #2784876 11/26/18 10:25 AM
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Re Rick Parks extensive and well done comments...

One thing to add:

The Steinway Concert and Artist department does the same kind of thing that outside technicians do. They take a brand new factory piano (and they get their pick!) and then, using well-understood techniques, proceed to tweak and improve the factory piano into one suitable for C&A usage. So... the concept exists within Steinway itself.


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Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair
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Re: Back to Steinway decals
P W Grey #2784893 11/26/18 11:04 AM
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AFAIAC, this is not primarily (if at all) about IMPROVING Steinways, it is about being able to cosmetically restore the historical appearance of an older Steinway.

Improving them us a whole other ball of wax.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
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Re: Back to Steinway decals
P W Grey #2784902 11/26/18 11:28 AM
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The issue is whether an owner of a Steinway piano has the right to restore the original appearance of a private piece of property.

I think the law is clear on that and the Steinway company cannot stop someone from doing that.

I also think they cannot stop a private seller of parts the right to sell parts that provide returning it to original appearance. The can require that these sellers report any misuse of Logos to defraud people.

What Steinway can do is restrain people from misrepresenting their work as being "authorized" by Steinway. Steinway can also control the use of their Logo. One often sees piano stores with the Steinway logo on banners and they are not an authorized dealer. If I were in charge of Steinway that would stop. I would also not allow technicians to call themselves "Steinway Technicians" unless they actually work for the company and are representing it. But the question of whether people have the right to restore the logo on their piano is clear enough, they do. If Steinway wants to restrict that they have to buy those rights from the piano owners. No one signs an agreement to only allow Steinway to restore appearance as far as I know.

The agreement Decals Unlimited signed with Steinway may have doomed their business model. But if they choose to argue the agreement was not enforceable they may have a case regarding sale of duplicate decalcomania since people have a right to restore the appearance of property they own.

Disclaimer: I am not an attorney


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Re: Back to Steinway decals
P W Grey #2784965 11/26/18 02:24 PM
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So where did the catch phrase that describes a Steinway as "A diamond in the rough" come from?
Any diamond needs artistic tooling and shaping to bring out its beauty.
Whats the implication of that?


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Re: Back to Steinway decals
Rick_Parks #2785127 11/27/18 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Rick_Parks
Originally Posted by Agent88
There never seems to be a shortage of rebuilders claiming their rebuilds are better than what comes out of the Steinway factory today. Why do they want Steinway decals? If they're claiming a better product shouldn't they be proudly putting their own name on the fallboard and soundboard after they work their magic?

I'm pretty sure I've seen Ed McMorrow say there isn't a piano manufacturer today that builds a piano the way it is supposed to be built. Not even Steinway. I would think he would be embarrassed to have one of his rebuilds say Steinway on it. So I was surprised to see him -- unless I'm terribly mistaken here -- arguing for legal action against Steinway for protecting their own trademark as a restraint of trade. I look forward to following his efforts to exact justice.



Let me start by saying that the following are my professional opinions, not that of all here perhaps, and certainly not speaking for the forum's administration [a miniature disclaimer here])...That said, there ARE indeed "better" pianos on the market than S&S- just a fact. Especially if you are referring to NY S&S rather than the German make. So, there are therefore technicians who HAVE made better pianos than S&S (oh- but then- they did put their name on it; unfortunately for S&S LOL).

This is aside from responding to the fallacy of your reasoning, which I do so now:

In your situation, as I see it (since you do not want technicians touching your S&S to make it better), you have TWO options:

1 Hire a Steinway "certified" technician (might have trouble if you are located somewhere that one does not exist) to put your S&S back into S&S certified condition (not making it "better" than S&S specs state) . If you knew anything about this technical trade by-the-way, you would realize that THAT IS IMPOSSIBLE, as a piano begins to degrade from the moment it is made, and it will never be able to be put it back to what it was EXACTLY (good or bad design) without making it either "better" or "worse" than when it was designed.
My assumption has always been that the clientele generally HOPES that when they hire a knowledgeable technician, that professional will strive for "better" (at least, that would be a logical assumption for most I think).
You see, "better" is determined by many factors: How the piano responds to touch, How the tone comes off the hammers through the strings-- all of these NEEDING IMPROVEMENT for any piano coming off a factory floor--- simple fact. I seriously doubt that you would truly want a S&S straight off the factory floor!

Your other option is of course:
2 Let your Steinway rot...
Since according to your claim, if your S&S (which is now out of tune, or the regulation is out of wack to where its hammers are double striking or worse yet, jamming against the strings) is touched by a technician to make it "better" than it is, then they should need to put their name on the instrument and not consider it to be a Steinway.


Besides, WHERE exactly do you draw the line on your definition of "better"? - voicing the hammers (which all S&S require after completion from factory) to make it sound better?.........How about tweaking the S&S specifications for the particular piano's regulation, in order to stop a particular problem in play for that particular instrument? Should I leave the hammer bobbling, if S&S says that that is the spec to set it and leave it?
Steinway is not God- far from it!

Further, if a S&S tech rebuilds a S&S with S&S parts, regulates it to S&S specs- great you now officially have "a S&S piano". But, you certainly do not have the original design in its original condition-- since they too will need to tweak to make better. The only difference is it is a "certified" tech-- $$$$$$$.

I am afraid that you are going to have a very UN-enjoyable experience with your Steinway piano with your preconceived notions...

To finish up-- S&S does have the right to protect their trademark (though I feel their stance is ridiculous in this instance; do they really think crooks are going to stop their crooked ways simply because S&S defends their trademark decals?...They will simply figure out where to get a decal (you can always find a way-- online), and continue their crooked ways. But, S&S have the right to put up all the guards against rebuilders and techs that they wish... And we techs out here have the right to band together and boycott servicing Steinways, and let the customers of S&S call in to HQ concerning their problems. The "flock" might just flock together at some point here, if pushed enough!

The "Big Stick" policy against the techs out here may just end up working like my brother's attempt to frighten off a thief that once tried to steal my niece's bike out of our garage. There had been a previous bike stolen from our garage in a back alley. So, my brother ingeniously rigged a silent alarm. It was set off that night, and we raced out of the back of the house (my brother grabbing a big stick), round the corner of the garage into the alley, only to be faced with a gang of perhaps 7 older teens/young adults. There was one youngster who was indeed at the garage door, breaking in to make off with a bike (having been encourage by the others I'm sure). My brother smacked his Big Stick on the ground to scare the kid he was approaching.........The stick promptly shattered into a tiny stub in his hand. Thankfully the would-be thief was a young boy, who was scared to death, and ran off... Yet, it was the gang that was in the alley with the youth that I then had to convince not to pummel my brother!


You have created straw men arguments and claimed I said and argued things I did not.

Re: Back to Steinway decals
Agent88 #2786168 11/29/18 06:48 PM
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Perhaps there were a few straws in there in places... LOL I was purposefully overplaying some of the examples.

As Peter said, this is not a matter of which you and I are arguing anyway- it appears to be a matter of cosmetic restoration.

But, unless I am mistaken, the essence of what you were saying was that if we think (or in some people's case boast) to improve a Steinway design in the rebuild stage, why would we want to get a Steinway decal since we claim it is "better"... That's the point that I saw. I was attempting to demonstrate through examples how that is really a rather silly thing to throw out in a forum of rebuilders.
If we find something Steinway did wrong (as I said, they are not God)- whether purposeful (how did the 1962 experiment go for them?) or accidental-- and we solve it, or "do it right" (or as some might say "better than Steinway did it")- why should we be denied a decal to put on it. It is still a Steinway, only fixed.
I think we all just want to rebuild them as best as can be done, and sell the things as what they are. I would think a piano mfg would be happy that their mistakes are corrected, and their decal is being affixed to something that is now properly finished.


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Re: Back to Steinway decals
P W Grey #2786180 11/29/18 07:19 PM
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On the other hand, there are some rebuilders who produce instruments considerably worse than original. Should they be allowed to put the original logos on their botch jobs?
S&S Customer Service advised me that the script logos were stencilled, not decals. That may just be their excuse for not providing them. If anybody out there has an original, not rebuilt, example, take a look and tell us if the soundboard logo is ink, paint, or decal. My guess is lithograph.

Re: Back to Steinway decals
edferris #2786236 11/29/18 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by edferris
On the other hand, there are some rebuilders who produce instruments considerably worse than original. Should they be allowed to put the original logos on their botch jobs?


A true statement... But, this discussion and topic is a lot like the gun-control topic... You are never going to stop the crooks- so you are taking it away from the rule-abiding-technicians.


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Re: Back to Steinway decals
P W Grey #2786456 11/30/18 12:43 PM
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FYI, as it turns out, there are plenty of dry transfer companies who will be happy to make a decal with anything you want on it. You send the artwork, they'll make it. If Steinway wants to sue them all, let them.

Problem solved.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
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