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Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: willpianist] #2847698
05/13/19 09:21 AM
05/13/19 09:21 AM
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Columbus, GA
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S. Phillips Offline
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One of the reasons fine pianos have a good sound is that they spend a lot more money on the rim, soundboard, beam and bridge material. These are things that really cannot be upgraded easily or at all.

The action is only one portion of the piano's ability to produce sound.


Sally Phillips
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Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: willpianist] #2847720
05/13/19 10:35 AM
05/13/19 10:35 AM
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Georgia, USA
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Originally Posted by backto_study_piano
I was taken to task by a technician about 8 or 9 years ago when I told him that I was considering upgrading to a Steinway (Hamburg). I suspect he realised he'd lose a customer, but he openly stated that getting a Steinway would be wasted on my level of playing. I immediately changed technicians.

Ouch! That hurt just reading it, backto_study_piano. However, I've learned from my own personal experience that some people can be rude, inconsiderate, mean and nasty. You didn't deserve that comment and it reveals the flawed nature of that technician's character more than anything else.

And, I agree with BDB and others... if you have the funds to buy the highest quality acoustic piano made, then you qualify for it. smile

It is, however, interesting to read about performance piano parts. But I'm still working on my piano performance fingers, which need a lot of work. smile

All the best,

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: willpianist] #2847742
05/13/19 11:31 AM
05/13/19 11:31 AM
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Seattle, WA USA
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I have a customer who asked me to take his late 1970's Kawai 7' piano, (I can't remember the model but it comes with 26 overstrung notes), and completely redo the belly to get a rid of the nasal tone.

I put my version of a "Steinway" style soundboard in it with new crown conformed bridges. I also crown conformed the inner rim. I converted 6 or so of the highest wound string notes from bi-chord to tri-chord.

I also replaced the hammers with Ronsen and increased the action leverage by using shanks with the knuckle located closer to the center pin, (like Steinway did for about 120 years).

The rim is laminated luan mahogany.

The piano has a gorgeous, warm, tone without any of that pinched, nasally sound these pianos all had from the factory. It sounds like a cross between Chickering and Steinway.

One would have to conclude that the contribution of rim and beam material plays a very small role in tone quality.

I prefer maple rims as the certainly hold the plate bolts better, but this could be solved by installing a T-nut of some sort in the rim bottom and using machine bolts for plate bolts.


In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
According to NASA, 93% of the earth like planets possible in the known universe have yet to be formed.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com
Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: willpianist] #2847747
05/13/19 11:57 AM
05/13/19 11:57 AM
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Oakland
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I had a customer recently who was dissatisfied with her Steinway, which had new hammers installed recently by someone else, who was not returning to try to fix it. She was wondering whether she should replace the piano. I listened to it, decided it was not too bad, and told her that we should try tuning and voicing it. So I did that, and she was happy with it. I charged her an extra $75 over my usual tuning fee. If she had not liked it, at least she would not be out much.

She got my name from a neighbor who was thinking of replacing her C3 Yamaha with a Steinway, when I told her that we should try regulating and voicing the Yamaha first. That neighbor still has the Yamaha.

The upshot is that more people will "qualify," in the sense that I gave above, for a better piano if they just have good maintenance done by a competent technician, than by having tons of work done.


Semipro Tech
Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: willpianist] #2847800
05/13/19 02:27 PM
05/13/19 02:27 PM
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if you can though, it's always better just to buy a piano you like, rather than buying one and thinking you're going to upgrade it.

buying a piano that requires work because you are desperate to have an early 20th Century Steinway, Bechstein, or whatever, and then having it rebuilt, is a different scenario, but buying new and upgrading the parts is probably not all that wise.

Think about this:

There are certain makes now having the rims and frames produced in the far-east by Parson's, and Hailun. They're good enough rims and frames I suppose. Some are completely built by Parsons, and others have soundboards and actions installed in other factories. How good are these pianos? Do they compare to a new Hamburg Steinway? In my experience they don't compare to a new Hamburg Steinway at all although they can be made to sound a bit like one, in a kind of imitative way. That's not to slate the Chinese pianos at all, it's just to say that they're not comparable to the best of the best, and there's a reason why they are priced as a budget option.

Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT] #2847845
05/13/19 05:29 PM
05/13/19 05:29 PM
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North Vancouver
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Lady Bird Offline
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
j&j, Your are welcome. Yamaha's are not my favorite candidate pianos. The plates are made from too hard metal that damages the tone and the strings. Not much a rebuilder can do about that except go even further into the piano and install upside down agraffes in the capo section. Doable but even more costly than.

I just want to say that I really appreciate you and other technicians
sharing your knowledge with us.
When tone is mentioned I find really interesting.You mentioned the
tone of Yamaha pianos is " damaged "by the hard metal used in the
plate.What I have noticed is that many people really enjoy the tone
of Yahama pianos.Tone is often described as bright, mellow,strident,
singing,warm,pure etc .I see tone as being like a colour on an artists
pallet.There have been performers who enjoy perorming on Yamaha pianos even in classical music.So I guess I see it as a little harsh to say that the tone of Yamaha pianos has been " damaged". I realise that if one has a Yamaha piano one would have to have it voiced every now and then because one would not want to listen to an "over bright "piano for too long ! Too much purple may give you a headache ,but too much of a warm tone may lack purity !
I myself do like the sound of many European pianos but I can enjoy many a well voiced Yamaha piano.As I said I do appreciate technicians sharing like this.

Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: willpianist] #2847893
05/13/19 07:46 PM
05/13/19 07:46 PM
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Lady Bird Offline
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OK I forgot the "performance " part of it.So you are no doubt referring to those that were not the high level performance Yamaha grands !

Last edited by Lady Bird; 05/13/19 07:47 PM. Reason: Missing word
Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: willpianist] #2848025
05/14/19 09:08 AM
05/14/19 09:08 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 975
Southwest
j&j Offline
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Fortunately for mediocre pianist me, my Yamaha is tuned and voiced regularly. My piano technician is an artist in his own right. I want my C3 to sound and play it’s very best. I was wondering if by replacing the strings and hammers, I could get closer to the sound of an S3x. According to how I read Ed McMorrow’s response, it would take much more work and expense than I would be willing to have done because of the too stiff plate. So if I want the sound of an S3X, I should go back to the dealer and trade in my C3 for that S3X.
Realistically I still enjoy the way my C3 sounds and plays. Instead of buying the S3X, the money would be better invested going back to the university and studying piano full time. Mediocre playing and technique don’t sound much better on a Steinway Hamburg than on a Yamaha C3. I mean really, who am I kidding but myself and my wallet.
It’s like the golfer that keeps buying new clubs and the latest putter. If s/he just spent more time at the driving range or putting green their game would improve far more than buying new clubs.
Piano technicians absolutely need piano-side manner. I’ve only met one piano technician that was as rude as Back_to_study_Piano’s. Ouch! I might have just spent the fortune to buy the Steinway Hamburg just to spite him. ****And then have to work two side jobs to replace the hit to my retirement savings. 😪


J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
Pianos - the reason God made trees!
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Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: j&j] #2848034
05/14/19 09:36 AM
05/14/19 09:36 AM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,171
Queensland, Australia
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Originally Posted by j&j
... Piano technicians absolutely need piano-side manner. I’ve only met one piano technician that was as rude as Back_to_study_Piano’s. Ouch! I might have just spent the fortune to buy the Steinway Hamburg just to spite him. ****And then have to work two side jobs to replace the hit to my retirement savings. 😪

He was my ex-tech after that.

Yes, I did end up with something of the calibre of the Hamburg - a Braunschweig instead (Grotrian). And enjoying it thoroughly. And, yes it was actually part of my retirement planning from decades ago, boosted by some investments which went well with the GFC.


Alan from Queensland, Australia (and Clara - my Grotrian Concert & Allen Organ (CF-17a)).
Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: willpianist] #2848057
05/14/19 11:30 AM
05/14/19 11:30 AM
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Southwest
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Congratulations backto_study_piano! That’s the fairytale ending that we piano nerds dream about! That is really wonderful.


J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
Pianos - the reason God made trees!
[Linked Image]
Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: willpianist] #2848061
05/14/19 11:37 AM
05/14/19 11:37 AM
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joe80 Offline
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I know so many people who are amateurs who buy expensive pianos, and they get pleasure from them. Perhaps they have other professions which allow them to comfortably afford a new top-tier instrument, or perhaps they save because it's what they've always wanted. I'm of the view that if you can afford something and you want it, then you should buy it. If it wasn't for that, most piano stores would have to close down.

Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: j&j] #2848156
05/14/19 06:10 PM
05/14/19 06:10 PM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 1,579
North Vancouver
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Lady Bird Offline
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Originally Posted by j&j
Congratulations backto_study_piano! That’s the fairytale ending that we piano nerds dream about! That is really wonderful.

If you wanted you could try something like just having the hammers changed to a "better" hammer.I know this is just a wild suggestion but a technician could suggest perhaps what effect this would have on your C3.
I just suggest this because people here do,do this and seem pleased
with the result sometimes.Your piano is probably fine as it is.
Just something you could ask about ?

Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: willpianist] #2848160
05/14/19 06:35 PM
05/14/19 06:35 PM
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Southwest
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Thank You LadyBird. It would be something to consider whenever the C3s hammers get worn. The sound is still very good. I was just fantasizing out loud of achieving a Bösendorfer sound on a Yamaha frame inexpensively. The piano experts here are still giggling hysterically. You know, putting Porsche tires on a Subaru.


J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
Pianos - the reason God made trees!
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Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: willpianist] #2848168
05/14/19 07:08 PM
05/14/19 07:08 PM
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North Vancouver
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Lady Bird Offline
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I understand but I was just thinking of the YUS5 upright
with its mellow tone..(I know this is an upright )
Is the improvement in tone due to the German piano
wire and the special hammers ?
Nothing wrong with a bit of fantasy,even if I have no
doubt made the technicians have a bit more of a laugh
Someone may yet build a Yama-dorfer.

Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: willpianist] #2848301
05/15/19 05:06 AM
05/15/19 05:06 AM
Joined: Dec 2016
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Thanks all for the responses, I have learnt quite a lot! What Lady Bird said is exactly what I was thinking, how German wires and hammers make the YUS5 Yamaha Upright sounds quite European.

Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: willpianist] #2848430
05/15/19 10:27 AM
05/15/19 10:27 AM
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Southwest
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When Yamaha upgraded the C series in about 2012, they used different German???? hammers and changed the strings. They may have made other improvements but I don’t know. These pianos became the Cx series which has a warmer tone and more clear treble section. The price increased about $14,000 dollars. I noticed a bit of difference between my C3 and the C3X but TO ME, it certainly wasn’t worth $14,000 extra on top of the standard C3 price. I know that’s blasphemy here on PianoWorld. For that kind of price jump I’d be checking out the C5, that didn’t become a C5X yet.
So You are right LadyBird. When my hammers get too worn, I would look at replacing the strings and hammers with the new and improved Renner hammers and whatever improved hand wound strings and it should sound warmer with the more clear treble. It will probably cost a good chunk but if I play a piano long enough, stuff gets worn out and needs replacing. With better stuff. A “suped-up” C3. 😊


J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
Pianos - the reason God made trees!
[Linked Image]
Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: j&j] #2848501
05/15/19 03:38 PM
05/15/19 03:38 PM
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Posts: 565
Rockville, MD
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There's a book (and DVD) that the OP might find of interest: "The Voice of the Piano" by Andre Oorabeek - http://www.thevoiceofthepiano.com/about_book.shtml.

The English version may (still) be out of print.
I got access to it through an inter-library loan.

On the DVD, Oorabeek goes through what HE does to voice Renner hammers on... a Yamaha (C3 I think, or maybe a C2.... it's been a while).

If you listen carefully with good headphones or through good studio monitors, you can hear the changes, subtle and not so subtle, as he goes through the steps.

So, yes, I think changing hammers MIGHT improve the sound of the OP's Yamaha provided he could find somebody who knew how to do the necessary installation, fitting and voicing work.

Something else that made a very nice difference on my own piano was to get a new set of bass strings from Gregor Heller's company, Hellerbass, in Germany. The sound, to my ears, is improved - it's still got an American growl, but it's also very clean, like Hamburg. I don't know how much difference it would make on a recent Yamaha grand, because I haven't tried it.


Andrew Kraus, Pianist
Educated Amateur Tuner/Technician
Rockville, MD USA
www.AndrewKraus.com
www.YouTube.com/RockvillePianoGuy
Twitter at @IAmAPianist

1929 Steinert 6'10" (Close copy of New York S&S "B")
Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: willpianist] #2848521
05/15/19 05:38 PM
05/15/19 05:38 PM
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Sorry willpianist is the OP. I certainly apologize for hijacking the thread. I’ll look up the book. It might be a good read.


J & J
Yahama C3 PE
Casio Privia PX-330
Pianos - the reason God made trees!
[Linked Image]
Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: j&j] #2848573
05/15/19 09:00 PM
05/15/19 09:00 PM
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Lady Bird Offline
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Originally Posted by j&j
When Yamaha upgraded the C series in about 2012, they used different German???? hammers and changed the strings. They may have made other improvements but I don’t know. These pianos became the Cx series which has a warmer tone and more clear treble section. The price increased about $14,000 dollars. I noticed a bit of difference between my C3 and the C3X but TO ME, it certainly wasn’t worth $14,000 extra on top of the standard C3 price. I know that’s blasphemy here on PianoWorld. For that kind of price jump I’d be checking out the C5, that didn’t become a C5X yet.
So You are right LadyBird. When my hammers get too worn, I would look at replacing the strings and hammers with the new and improved Renner hammers and whatever improved hand wound strings and it should sound warmer with the more clear treble. It will probably cost a good chunk but if I play a piano long enough, stuff gets worn out and needs replacing. With better stuff. A “suped-up” C3. 😊

J&J I really am not sure if I am correct.Perhaps a technician may comment more about turning a C3 (which is a very good piano)
into the an even better sounding piano.I know Ed McMorrow does not favour the Yamaha pianos,but perhaps he or someone may give
us more information ?
Larry Fine does not grade the YUS5 any higher than the U1 or the U3
which I also find amazing ? Piano Buyer somewhere talks about the
more bright tone in Yamaha and I remember reading that it has something to do with metal that the plate is made from.
The question still remains that the YUS5 has a more mellow tone.
Is it the piano wire and the hammers?
No doubt this piano will get brighter and have to be voiced now and
then but this is also the case with some performance grade pianos.



Last edited by Lady Bird; 05/15/19 09:03 PM. Reason: Missing word
Re: Piano upgrade with "performance parts"? [Re: willpianist] #2848581
05/15/19 09:38 PM
05/15/19 09:38 PM
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OK I know I do not know enough to criticize Larry Fine and I
am sure there are very real reasons for where they in Fine's grading
They just sound so different to the other Yamaha upright pianos.

Last edited by Lady Bird; 05/15/19 09:39 PM. Reason: Missing word
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