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Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
cmb13 #2808365 01/29/19 08:48 PM
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Any piano with moderate usage for ten years is going to need some attention...EVEN IF STEINWAY REBUILT IT (as amazing as that may seem, TIC).

Also, going from a Boston upright to a serious grand is a significant change. Most novice players would have some difficulty initially. It would play itself. The OP is a novice player.

Yes, the real need is to evaluate it by the person you know and trust.

I had an A3 for some years (which I rebuilt and eventually sold). It was/is an exceptional piano. However, when it is out of tune it does not shine as it does when it is "perfectly" in tune. The tuning REALLY brings out its magnificent qualities.

Just sayin...


Pwg


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Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
cmb13 #2808368 01/29/19 08:52 PM
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There's no way any rebuilder can preclude subsequent abuse or disaster. We don't know who had the piano for the last ten years, or why they want to sell it.

You're right that if it plays extremely well, it's unlikely to need major work. But the piano is a black box to the player. If the result is other than excellent, only the tech can give you a useful opinion as to cost.


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Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
cmb13 #2808371 01/29/19 09:05 PM
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Ultimately, regardless of whatever anybody else tells you, it's probably best to think twice about buying the piano if you do not love the touch and tone.

Just because it may be a very good piano (Golden age Steinway, A3 scale design, rebuilt by Fandrich, etc.) doesn't mean it's the right piano for you. That kind of money is too much to spend on a piano you are not nearly completely happy with, and may just want to trade-in in 6 months.

It's a buyer's market out there; you may find a piano that you like better at half the price.

Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
cmb13 #2808381 01/29/19 09:45 PM
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[quote ] I'm just wondering if anyone can give me their thoughts on the piano, the lack of genuine Steinway parts, and the value. Thanks.
[/quote]

I know, this is very subjective.
But Why? Why when there are so many beautiful pianos by multiple makers. Pianos that you won't have nothing to be concerned with and perhaps offer you more possibilities musically speaking.
In my opinion, it is better to experience multiple instruments than looking for someone to convince you of something that you originally didn't like.


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Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
cmb13 #2808383 01/29/19 09:53 PM
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When you described that you weren't blown away and later described why. It is the same thing I hear over and over when techs redesign Steinways. What I hear a lot from pianists is the piano sounded smaller than normal. "Just doesn't deliver." or "has no meat" are common descriptions. Here's why- Steinways are originally made with compression crowned soundboards. Del does Rib Crowned soundboards. The original scaling has "flaws" but many believe those flaws are part of the Steinway sound and leave that design factor alone. Del changed the scale which changes the Steinway sound. The hammers are crucial, Steinway Hammers are cold Pressed, Abels in a Steinway give a different sound. If you're looking for a Steinway, you should pass. If you're looking for a Del Fandrich Piano then it could be a little on the high side. As Steinway's usually get a higher price.
-chris

Last edited by Chernobieff Piano; 01/29/19 09:57 PM. Reason: fix

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Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
cmb13 #2808393 01/29/19 10:29 PM
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All interesting comments and thought provoking. Maybe I'd grow into it with more experience....as a novice, I am admittedly not as good at transitioning from one piano to another rapidly as a more experienced player may be.

What Chris@Chernobieff mentioned was interesting....it's not even that it's not authentic, it's more a matter of that it's different than original, I surmised.

I suppose I may take the drive to play it one more time, and decide if I really love it or not. If not, should probably pass, if so than may take it. I called my tech to see if he's available to make the trip...awaiting response.

And I don't really want to knock this particular piano, just want to be sure, given the cost and hassle required to make the purchase, that it's right.

Thank you to everyone for the input and wisdom......nowhere else could someone gain insight from a variety of experienced people than in a national/international forum such as this.


Steinway A3
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Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
cmb13 #2808418 01/29/19 11:53 PM
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I definitely think you should play the piano again. Having bought a used Steinway B, I think the mid-$20k range would be an excellent price on a Steinway A3, provided it meets your expectations and has been well-cared for since the Fandrich rebuild. It may not be in top shape right now, but a highly-skilled technician may be able to bring it back to life. An inspection is key here before you decide.

On the "Steinwas" issue, I personally don't think that using non-Steinway parts necessarily makes the piano a "Steinwas". When I had my 1981 B partially rebuilt (action stack only), I chose to go with WNG Carbon Fiber and Ronsen Weickert hammers. Of course, the belly is all original. I discussed the fact that I didn't really want to depart from the Steinway sound with my rebuilder, and where I wanted to go with the rebuild. I had played many Steinway rebuilds with just about every possible combination of actions and hammers. We discussed them all and determined that the WNG/Ronsen direction would meet my expectations and it did. The tonal characteristics of the piano are very close to the original "Steinway" sound it had before the rebuild, but much better since the hammers were on their last leg -- which led to the rebuild in the 1st place.

In principle, what Chris@Chernobieff makes sense to me from my consumer's perspective. The "Steinwas" idea is a marketing tool to discredit all rebuilds not done by Steinway, and that's a shame. However, it is possible to completely depart from the "Steinway system", and end up with a piano that in no way resembles a Steinway at any point on the "Steinway sound" spectrum -- other than the name on the fallboard and plate. Without hearing the piano, it's hard to tell how it should be classified. I have played a couple of Steinway rebuilds that I would consider as "Steinwas" pianos.

In the end, the value of any used piano is based upon it's condition and what the used piano market will bear. Some consumers who have read the "Steinwas" propaganda will shy away from any piano that isn't 100% Steinway, and others who are more educated will not. I was concerned about it until I really became educated on the matter.

In my case, mine is a 1981 B from the teflon era. The action geometry (key weighting) was completely different from what even Steinway uses today, and the Steinway has since changed the way they themselves make hammers. So, parts meeting the original specifications of those used on my piano couldn't be ordered from Steinway. That was key in my decision to go with WNG/Ronsen parts. However, I think I would feel very differently regarding a soundboard replacement.

Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
cmb13 #2808420 01/29/19 11:55 PM
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Of course since I am a competitor of his and some may take my opinion as self-serving, but I have played several Steinways that Mr. Del Fandrich has rebuilt with a suite of design modifications and never been impressed with the tone. They don't sound like Steinway's. They lack "fullness".

My take is Del does not think the way a Steinway is made, works. I think that is absurd, but Del is entitled to do as he pleases for his customers if that is what they want.

I agree with Chris that a compression crowned board is integral to the Steinway sound and when properly done they last a very long time.

And of course I can be accused of ruining Steinways that I rebuild because I don't copy every detail. But I believe my changes are in harmony with the design evolution a careful student of piano design can discern in the Steinway oeuvre. For instance my patented Fully Tempered Duplex Scale solves the noise issue the Steinway patent of 1872 didn't address.

The way I configure Steinway actions is more true to original design intent than the current factory practices in Hamburg and NY. They have let the hammers get too heavy and to solve the resultant slow touch they have reduced leverage. This limits control, slows repetition, makes action regulation less stable, requires looser action parts.

I love the A3 scale. This was Henry Zeiglers brilliant peice of work. What he did was take a B scale and "cut" it down and it worked beautifully. When properly done they sound very close to a B in tone.


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Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
cmb13 #2808430 01/30/19 12:50 AM
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I love the "Refineway" name, rather than "Steinwas".


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
cmb13 #2808480 01/30/19 04:56 AM
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If you compare the Steinway L which was well tuned and well regulated (I assume given Faust Harrisons reputation) and played by a very good pianist versus the Steinway A3 of which it is even unlikely that it is well tuned and regulated, we don't know what the acoustics of the room were and it was played by yourself (and you indicate that your playing is on a very different level than the other pianist) it's not really a fair comparison.

If you are interested, compare them honestly. Either have the piano tuned and regulated and played by a very good pianist or don't compare.

When I was in the market for a piano my playing was much less advanced, hence I asked good pianists to play and if a piano was not in tune I didn't even consider listening carefully as the difference can be one of night and day. The difference is so great that I really dislike playing my own piano when it is out of tune (which hardly ever happens because when it goes slightly in that direction I ask my tuner to come along, I keep the temperature and humidity very stable and my piano holds a tuning very well.) Even then, when the tuner comes a long I try to take a day of and play piano all day long as it just sounds perfect that day and that "perfectness" wears of rather quickly and becomes very good and stable for quite some time. Hence, a piano that is not well tuned does not reveal it's potential and certainly won't blow anybody away.

Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
cmb13 #2808493 01/30/19 06:20 AM
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Here are a few thoughts. I have an excellent piano technician that I am very happy with and I've never had a reason to distrust him. When we discuss repairs rebuilding etc and I ask what makes my Steinway the piano that I love he says all of it. You can't isolate an individual piece and say that's where the tone comes from or this gives the touch magic. He also says that in his opinion the replacement parts coming out of NY are currently of the highest quality he's ever seen. Finally for every piano that I've ever bought (not just the Steinway) I knew pretty soon after I sat down to play it that it spoke to me and I was able to buy without doubt. I recognize that not everyone has this experience.

Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
cmb13 #2808517 01/30/19 08:20 AM
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I keep learning more and more!



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Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
cmb13 #2808533 01/30/19 08:45 AM
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When I said compare them honestly I meant to say compare them in a fair way. Honest and fair are the same word "eerlijk" in Dutch.

Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
cmb13 #2808535 01/30/19 09:00 AM
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As to the originial-or-not parts issue, comparing several brand NEW Steinways will elicit different responses in one person. This obviously applies to all pianos to some degree or other. Quality, design, and so forth are important, but they are irrelevant if you don't like to play the instrument you bought with your own money.

Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
cmb13 #2808540 01/30/19 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
I played the piano, but wasn't blown away, but in all fairness I had an ear problem (clogged) that day.

Some time ago I began to be worried about my Bluthner. It had started to sound thin and reedy. Then I realised that I had a significant build-up of ear-wax, and had my ears syringed. Transformation! The Bluthner sounded lovely again!

Moral of the story - until you have had your ear wax dealt with, it seems likely that you will not be able to judge the tone of the Steinway properly.

Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
cmb13 #2808542 01/30/19 09:25 AM
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I think the issue here is not the origin of replacement parts, but the partial redesign of the piano.

Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
cmb13 #2808543 01/30/19 09:29 AM
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I'm going to revisit it with my technician this weekend, and flushed out ears, and will report back! Thanks again for all the input!!!


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Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
Ed McMorrow, RPT #2808627 01/30/19 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Of course since I am a competitor of his and some may take my opinion as self-serving, but I have played several Steinways that Mr. Del Fandrich has rebuilt with a suite of design modifications and never been impressed with the tone. They don't sound like Steinway's. They lack "fullness".

My take is Del does not think the way a Steinway is made, works. I think that is absurd, but Del is entitled to do as he pleases for his customers if that is what they want.

I agree with Chris that a compression crowned board is integral to the Steinway sound and when properly done they last a very long time.

And of course I can be accused of ruining Steinways that I rebuild because I don't copy every detail. But I believe my changes are in harmony with the design evolution a careful student of piano design can discern in the Steinway oeuvre. For instance my patented Fully Tempered Duplex Scale solves the noise issue the Steinway patent of 1872 didn't address.

The way I configure Steinway actions is more true to original design intent than the current factory practices in Hamburg and NY. They have let the hammers get too heavy and to solve the resultant slow touch they have reduced leverage. This limits control, slows repetition, makes action regulation less stable, requires looser action parts.

I love the A3 scale. This was Henry Zeiglers brilliant peice of work. What he did was take a B scale and "cut" it down and it worked beautifully. When properly done they sound very close to a B in tone.



I notice that Mr. Del Fandrich does not post on here making negative comments on your rebuilds, Ed. Is it because he thinks you do a wonderful job, or is he too much of a gentleman to lower himself to getting into catfights?

Ed, your motto comes across on here as "I'm so great sometimes I amaze myself." I get a lot of complaints that you are consistently promoting yourself, and I try to cut you a bit of slack. But when seemingly every post you make turns into an advertisement for Ed McMorrow, we can't let that continue. How about if you make some posts and talk about things without even a vague mention of how you have a patent or how you do everything so much better than anyone else? Remember, you can do this voluntarily, or I can give you help.


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Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
cmb13 #2808747 01/30/19 07:11 PM
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CMB13,

Does your Boston upright sound different since you cleaned out your ears? If so, it is likely that the Steinway will also.

Earwax alters the profile of the ear canal and though it has little effect on speech recognition, it does seem to change the sound of music appreciably. I have seen this repeatedly. It can even make a piano sound like it's buzzing, when in fact it's not.

I cannot emphasize enough the need for the instrument to be IN TUNE. The true voice is there only when in tune (for fairly obvious reasons but often overlooked when buying or selling).

On the subject of Steinway per se, they are in the midst of "homogenizing" features between the NY and Hamburg instruments. Not sure yet if this will extend to hammers, but it would be very interesting if they switch over to Hamburg style hammers (probably not, but you never know...money talks and if it sells pianos...)

I predict a sale of the company in the not to distant future. The changes taking place point (IMO) in that direction. We shall see.

Again, the A3 is usually a great instrument. Hope it works out, but if not, there will be others.

Pwg


Peter W. Grey, RPT
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pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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Re: Steinway A3 - Golden Age Del Fandrich
cmb13 #2808783 01/30/19 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
I looked at a Steinway A3 that the revered Del Fandrich had rebuilt about 10 years ago. It is in very good to excellent condition. However, it doesn't have all Steinway parts, so I guess that makes it a "Steinwas". Of course, Del has an excellent reputation...

A3's seem to be uncommon, if not quite a scarcity. The seller wants around $31k, but would go to the $20s. I played the piano, but wasn't blown away, but in all fairness I had an ear problem (clogged) that day...

I read that as the REVEREND Del Fandrich and wondered about a famous piano playing priest who builds pianos? Took me a few posts to figure out Del is no priest.

Anyway if you're looking to be blown away and you weren't, that right there says you should walk away. When what you want isn't in the piano, keep looking.

I've played on a Steinway model L, model A and Model D in the last year. They were all good pianos, not great, not awful, just good. None of them would blow you away but all could make a fine instrument in the right space.

There are gobs of nice used grand pianos. Livingpianos.com has at least six currently that I would choose over a century old A3. Hope you get that ear cleared up.

BTW I think $31k is too high, it would have to be in the low 20s to pique my interest.


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