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Kimball Bösendorfer?
#2803360 01/18/19 01:41 AM
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https://livingpianos.com/pianos/kimball-bosendorfer-semi-concert-grand-r21402/

I'd be interested in some opinions on this. My son loves the Bösendorfer sound and touch. Even used, a 200 from 1995 would be in the $50k range. Is it possible that this Kimball would even come close? The reason I ask is if it were, it might be worth it to fly down to Santa Ana to check it out. I've read mixed opinions on line, finding one that says they were still mediocre but rebuilt theirs to sound as good (https://www.usedpianocenter.com/inventory/2017/3/5/kimball-model-670-s), and other proclaiming their wonders as "hidden gems". Anyway, I value the opinions of this board more than salespeople, and I'm skeptical to begin with. Worth a plane ticket or should I keep squirreling away the cash for a Yamaha (or Petrof...)?

Last edited by squidbot; 01/18/19 01:41 AM.

Now learning: Chopin C# minor Nocturne (posth), Mozart Sonata in C K. 545, R. Schumann Fantasy Dance, Joplin The Chrysanthemum
Instruments: Yamaha N1X, Kawai ES110, Roland GO:PIANO, Piano de Voyage
Re: Kimball Bösendorfer?
Chrispy #2803372 01/18/19 03:28 AM
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I've heard about this series of Kimball pianos based on the Bosendorfer design for years but have yet to play one.

Anyway, the old saying can apply to here: "sometimes it's too good to be true."

If the Kimball-Bosendorfer pianos were "that great", how come they're not being sold for more? Just a thought.

Anyway, I'd love to hear about other people's experience. smile

Michael

Re: Kimball Bösendorfer?
Chrispy #2803403 01/18/19 05:46 AM
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I am sorry. I know Robert Estrin and he is a very excitable guy, but there is mis-information in his description. First, Kimball did not own Bösendorfer. I understand his mistake if he wasn't active in the industry at the time, but this is an important difference. Jasper International owned both Kimball AND Bösendorfer (and other companies as well). The difference is important because the association between the two manufacturers was common ownership. One did not own the other. Production, R&D, personnel, etc. was separate.

I do not mean to say that Kimball did not take advantage of the association. Their marketing took full advantage. Also, French Lick, In. was the home of Jasper and it was the home of Kimball. It became the American office for Bösendorfer and they had a selection center there for Bösendorfer pianos. (The same did not happen in Vienna for Kimball).

Finally, the Viennese Classic was never hand built like Bösendorfer pianos. This series of piano was all over the map in manufacturing quality but I have never sat down at a Viennese Classic and thought, "Wow. This is close to a Bösendorfer." The closest these pianos came to that is actually using a similar plate design to the Bosie. This piano appears to use a similar plate design as a Bösendorfer 200, but it is not single strung and it does not have the removable Capo D'astro that all Bosies have.

Listening to the piano, I would never mistake this piano for a Bösendorfer and Robert Estrin would not either. My advice - Do not consider a piano unless you go there and play it in person. But do not expect a Bösendorfer sound and touch if you do.

My 2 cents,



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Re: Kimball Bösendorfer?
Chrispy #2803462 01/18/19 08:57 AM
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Good insights from Rich Galassini!

Our church owns a Kiimball Viennese Classic -- the smaller version just under 6 feet. We no longer use it,, but it is not in horrible shape. It just needs regulation and voicing. It's a decent piano for a Kimball -- probably one of the best they ever produced, and the quality on this particular one is good, BUT it's no Bosendorfer!!

The 7 foot version that Mr. Estrin has is probably a better piano than the 6 foot version, but I doubt it's anything close to a Bosendorfer. I have friends who are professional pianists in Nashville, TN. Back in the day, Kimball had an exclusive relationship with the Grand Ole' Opry House, so semi-concert Kimball's were the only pianos allowed on the stage. Everyone I know hated playing them. They just weren't performance level instruments, based on what I know.

But your son might enjoy it. Do you know anyone in that area who could give you an evaluation before you invest the time and money to make the trip? You should definitely play it 1st yourself and have it inspected by an independent technician before purchasing it. If Living Pianos happens to have a Bosendorfer in stock, you could play the Kimball along side the Bosendorfer to compare. There's nothing better than a side-by-side test. ;-)

Also, look up some of our on Rickster's posts about his Kimball Viennese Classic. He really enjoyed his. But I don't know if he would say his was close to a Bosendorfer.

Last edited by GC13; 01/18/19 08:58 AM.
Re: Kimball Bösendorfer?
Rich Galassini #2803480 01/18/19 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Jasper International owned both Kimball AND Bösendorfer (and other companies as well). The difference is important because the association between the two manufacturers was common ownership. One did not own the other. Production, R&D, personnel, etc. was separate.

I do not mean to say that Kimball did not take advantage of the association. Their marketing took full advantage. Also, French Lick, In. was the home of Jasper and it was the home of Kimball. It became the American office for Bösendorfer and they had a selection center there for Bösendorfer pianos. (The same did not happen in Vienna for Kimball).


Wow, Jasper must have been into everything! Way back in my gearhead days, I remember Jasper being a big supplier of automotive engine blocks, rebuilt engines, transmissions, etc. I'm sure those did not contain any Bosendorfer parts! grin

So, the loose association as mere holdings by a common owner, seems very likely and consistent with my knowledge of them.


Ralph

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Re: Kimball Bösendorfer?
Chrispy #2803506 01/18/19 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by GC13
Also, look up some of our on Rickster's posts about his Kimball Viennese Classic. He really enjoyed his. But I don't know if he would say his was close to a Bosendorfer.

Thanks for the honorable mention, GC13. Yes, I have posted several threads and many comments regarding the Kimball Viennese model grand piano I owned for a while, which was the 5'8" model. I also had the opportunity to play the 6'7" model; I don't think it was quite 7', but still a nice size. It played and sounded nice to me too.

Rich Galassini is the real authority here, but as an amateur player and dabbler, I must say that I was impressed with the Kimball Viennese model I owned. But I didn't pay a lot for it and would say it is a decent piano for a casual player, if purchased at the right price.

I've never had the privilidge of playing a real Bosendorfer, but I have played several Steinways, Yamahas and Kawais. The Kimball Viennese is not a Steinway either, or a Yamaha or a Kawai, but it was a decent sounding and playing piano for my purposes. The plate did resemble the Bosendorfer plate with the large, round sound holes, and it had the Schwander action, which felt good to my amateurish hands and fingers. It had a laminated sound board and it did hold a tuning very well.

But to be marketed as a Bosendorfer sibling/copy is likely a bit of a stretch. smile

Just my .02, which is worth what it cost... smile

Rick


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Re: Kimball Bösendorfer?
Rich Galassini #2803531 01/18/19 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
I am sorry. I know Robert Estrin and he is a very excitable guy, but there is mis-information in his description. First, Kimball did not own Bösendorfer. I understand his mistake if he wasn't active in the industry at the time, but this is an important difference. Jasper International owned both Kimball AND Bösendorfer (and other companies as well). The difference is important because the association between the two manufacturers was common ownership. One did not own the other. Production, R&D, personnel, etc. was separate.

I do not mean to say that Kimball did not take advantage of the association. Their marketing took full advantage. Also, French Lick, In. was the home of Jasper and it was the home of Kimball. It became the American office for Bösendorfer and they had a selection center there for Bösendorfer pianos. (The same did not happen in Vienna for Kimball).

Finally, the Viennese Classic was never hand built like Bösendorfer pianos. This series of piano was all over the map in manufacturing quality but I have never sat down at a Viennese Classic and thought, "Wow. This is close to a Bösendorfer." The closest these pianos came to that is actually using a similar plate design to the Bosie. This piano appears to use a similar plate design as a Bösendorfer 200, but it is not single strung and it does not have the removable Capo D'astro that all Bosies have.

Listening to the piano, I would never mistake this piano for a Bösendorfer and Robert Estrin would not either. My advice - Do not consider a piano unless you go there and play it in person. But do not expect a Bösendorfer sound and touch if you do.

My 2 cents,




Thanks for the clarification, Rich! I remember that back in the 1970's, our local Kimball dealer used a marketing slogan that read, "There's a little Bosendorfer in every Kimball." That lead to my inaccurate assumption that Kimball owned Bosendorfer. How did the relationship between the 2 companies work when projects like the 1984 Olympics, 1989 Superbowl, and product placements like The Tonight Show and The Grand Ole' Opry House work?

Re: Kimball Bösendorfer?
Chrispy #2803534 01/18/19 11:14 AM
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I tune the first "Kimbaldorfer". It is the 5'8" model and it does have a Bosendorfer plate with removable capo. It was a prototype Kimball exhibited at NAMM show back in the late 1960's. It has a Schwander action from England.

That said, it does not comparable to a Bosendorfer. Not a horrid piano if properly serviced but, no Bose either.


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Re: Kimball Bösendorfer?
Chrispy #2803659 01/18/19 04:30 PM
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Thanks everyone for your feedback, it's pretty much what I expected, and saves me a plane ticket. But it never hurts to ask, once in a super wolf blood moon, a thing that sounds too good to be true isn't smile


Now learning: Chopin C# minor Nocturne (posth), Mozart Sonata in C K. 545, R. Schumann Fantasy Dance, Joplin The Chrysanthemum
Instruments: Yamaha N1X, Kawai ES110, Roland GO:PIANO, Piano de Voyage
Re: Kimball Bösendorfer?
Chrispy #2803759 01/18/19 09:08 PM
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squidbot, there are nice used boesendorfers around at attractive prices, if you summon up the budget. saw a very good condition model 200, approx. 25-30 yrs old (mature youth for that level of piano if well kept), last year at a dealer asking a bit over $40 k.


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