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What does a big grand do for you in your home?
#2923135 12/15/19 12:52 PM
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I have only played three grand pianos.

A Steingraeber & Sohne in a showroom that was tuned just for the arrival of one of the S&S directors (that same dealer refused to tune three of his S&S uprights for me to try before buying)
A Yamaha Diskclavier Enspire in a cocktail bar. Nothing special
A Steinway Model B of indeterminate age and slightly out of tune in a friends house
Oh! and a Yamaha Clavinova "Grand" on a cruise ship, but i guess that does not count!

I am well aware of the action advantage of a grand, but in a UK domestic location I'm not yet convinced that the larger grands, say over 6 feet, have much better sound than my 48" Bluthner (When can we get the "u" diacritic to work again on PianoWorld?). Perhaps those here, who like me play high-end uprights might chip in with conversation on this topic.

A piano's low notes must be accompanied with beautiful sustained tone that balance the mid and upper ranges, but, in a domestic situation my upright piano provides more than enough volume and tone.

We in the UK do, on average, have smaller rooms than in the US, so the dimensions of a 6'6" grand plus the 3' for the technician is a significant issue. I could fit one in my lounge but:

a) I don't (cannot) play La Campanella
b) I don't (cannot) play Rach 3
c) I don't want to fall out with my neighbours
d) I need to keep my wife happy, as she does not play piano and values her space more than mine!

Being retired, I will never buy a bigger house, nor will Martha Argerich ever come to play for me except on YouTube subscription videos, so I'll continue to enjoy playing my Bluthner upright, whose low note sonority in my opinion are the equal of any "big grand" (except Bosendorfer Imperial) in a 24x12ft room.
Ian


I'm all keyed up
2016 Blüthner Model A
Re: What does a big grand do for you in your home?
Beemer #2923147 12/15/19 01:12 PM
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While my grand is not large with 6 feet in length, it is by far my favorite possession.


My piano gives me a feeling of sophistication that I feel little need for in other aspects of my life.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

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Re: What does a big grand do for you in your home?
Beemer #2923153 12/15/19 01:25 PM
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It sounds like you've never actually played a large top-tier grand piano, properly prepped. That will definitely change your perspective.
The low bass of my current 230cm grand is pretty delicious, and the treble keeps up with it just fine. I don't have a large home, just under 140 square meters, however the design has the kitchen, living room, and dining area all open to each other with a sloping ceiling that peaks fairly high. It's definitely the largest piano I can fit in here without having to reconfigure the living room.

Getting to regularly play and practice on concert grand and semi-concert grand pianos in decent condition makes playing pianos smaller than 190cm feel like a compromise. If I sold the current piano, I don't think I'd want to go shorter than 205cm, barring a very special example of a smaller piano.


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Re: What does a big grand do for you in your home?
Beemer #2923158 12/15/19 01:44 PM
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Well, he says he played a freshly tuned Steingraeber grand without giving the length. I suspect that qualifies as top-tier.

I can't play La Campanella either, but the easier pieces that I play all benefit from the extra bass quality and resonance that a "larger" grand can deliver. By "larger," mine is 192 cm, or approximately 6'3".

We all make our own individual tradeoffs between size and room space, however. Mine is actually in a small room by floor space (maybe 180 square feet). But the ceiling is high (17 feet), so it makes a good music room.


Piano Room

Re: What does a big grand do for you in your home?
Beemer #2923160 12/15/19 01:48 PM
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If no one felt a large grand had touch and tonal advantages over even a high tier 48" upright, not nearly as many large grands would be sold. Since you like Bluthner, maybe try a large Bluthner grand and compare it to your vertical.

Re: What does a big grand do for you in your home?
Piano*Dad #2923161 12/15/19 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
Well, he says he played a freshly tuned Steingraeber grand without giving the length. I suspect that qualifies as top-tier.

I can't play La Campanella either, but the easier pieces that I play all benefit from the extra bass quality and resonance that a "larger" grand can deliver. By "larger," mine is 192 cm, or approximately 6'3".

We all make our own individual tradeoffs between size and room space, however. Mine is actually in a small room by floor space (maybe 180 square feet). But the ceiling is high (17 feet), so it makes a good music room.


Piano Room


That does sound like a nice, cozy music room!



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Re: What does a big grand do for you in your home?
Beemer #2923162 12/15/19 01:49 PM
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All fine pianos need regulating and voicing in addition to tuning to really show what the piano can actually do. Simply tuning is insufficient to judge a piano on its complete merits. A larger instrument of fine quality will have longer keys in addition to the longer strings and larger soundboard. Properly regulated and voiced a large piano in a small space will sound better than a smaller piano in the same space.

Last edited by S. Phillips; 12/15/19 01:53 PM.

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Re: What does a big grand do for you in your home?
Beemer #2923213 12/15/19 04:26 PM
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A 24x12 foot room is more than enough space for a fairly large grand (though not 7+ feet perhaps). My room is 11 x 18 feet and I have a 5'8" piano in here. It sounds, and looks, so much better than my upright did. And, in addition to the sound which benefits listeners as well, for me specifically I love the action. Of course we all know I'm fairly biased toward grands so for me to say I like the sound and touch better on a grand than an upright may not be particularly relevant whome Still, if you've only played three grands, it's worth playing more. Prior to my experience of piano shopping this past summer, I had already played a fair amount of grands, in piano lessons, recitals, school pianos etc. so I already knew I liked the experience. But when I was piano shopping and had the chance to play a grand piano that costs almost as much as my house, that was prepped to perfection.... Well, if I could have that piano in my little living room, you bet I would jump at the chance! laugh

Impossible hypotheticals aside, whether you're sitting at an upright or a grand has a huge influence on the overall feeling and experience of playing, beyond the sound and touch. For example, now that I have a grand, I can actually make eye contact with my music partner when we play together. That was close to impossible when I had an upright, unless I turned my head all the way to the side and then I'd lose my place in the music. I can see out into my room now when I sit at my grand. With an upright, my back was to the room and to any guests who came to listen. These might seem like small things, but I love these aspects as much as any other aspect of playing a grand.

If you are happy with your piano, its sound and touch etc., than that's all that matters. Still, keep playing grands whenever you have the chance, you may encounter "the one" ...

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 12/15/19 04:27 PM.

Started piano June 1999.
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Re: What does a big grand do for you in your home?
Beemer #2923275 12/15/19 07:14 PM
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To me a top tier grand piano sounds better than most uprights I've heard, but I've never heard a Bluthner before in person. Perhaps if it serves all your needs there is no need to worry what a grand might sound like in your room. I upgraded to a relatively small 5 foot 11 grand Shigeru from a Kawai RX-2 and the overall build quality/tone is clearly superior in the Shigeru bass and treble, but it wasn't an absolute necessity for me to have made that upgrade. I enjoy music from all pianos.


Working on:

Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor BWV 1004
Preludio: Bach/Rachmaninoff E Major Sonata for Violin
Chopin: G Minor Ballade


Shigeru Kawai SK2
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Re: What does a big grand do for you in your home?
Beemer #2923298 12/15/19 08:15 PM
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All I can say is my piano compares extremely well to many 5'6 grands .I would prefer not to mention
brand names except to say there was a Bechstein grand (I can hear you sigh-) of about that size in Paris that was really quite something ! So I presume there are others .This was a new piano in a dealer .
It has been quite a few years since I played Steinways grands in good condition.,They were very nice!
Recently I played a 17 year old Petrof .This piano was an older model 4. On that day I had just" fallen
in love" The next time I visited that store was about a week later and the piano had "fallen a little out of tune" .(perhaps it only glowed STRAIGHT AFTER tuning )All I can say is that I realised my piano was a gem !
I understand Beemer and his joy in his Bluthner! Some of this comes my own inner decision not to replace my old Kawai grand with a different grand but to rather buy a European piano whichI loved the sound of !
Perhaps at this stage in my life I was looking for a tone that reminded me of the Seiler piano of my childhood. All I can say is my piano (to me ) is hard to beat ! So my Sauter 130 is my own personal
nightingale ! That is enough !

Last edited by Lady Bird; 12/15/19 08:19 PM. Reason: Missing word
Re: What does a big grand do for you in your home?
Beemer #2923301 12/15/19 08:22 PM
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Hi Ian
I do love my grand piano but there were certainly uprights that would have been equally wonderful to play and to own. I hope you will just enjoy yours and not wonder ‘what if’. You already have an awesome piano 🎹 . Treasure it!

Re: What does a big grand do for you in your home?
Beemer #2923311 12/15/19 09:07 PM
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Along with the action, a major advantage of a grand is its huge dynamic range. I have a 7 footer and there is no way for me to overpower the instrument. At the same time it's capable of extreme delicacy and softness.

Tone production on a grand is simply different than on an upright. It's not a matter of degree, it's a matter of type. Tone production (tone color) is so difficult to learn it's critical to have a grand to help develop it. Grand pianos are all about sound effects and colorization. And no its not just La Campenella that needs grand color, Bach's C Major Prelude and Beethoven's Moonlight and any Chopin Nocturne are major consumers of tone color. Frankly I can't think of any classical piece that doesn't benefit from a grand.

But, alas, semi-concert pianos are loud in a small room, often too loud. Mine is necessarily closed. And grands can expose technical flaws in both hands. This can be disconcerting for those who thought they had things down pat on smaller pianos or digitals. Then again when I play on a small piano I feel I'm going to break it and it's hard for me to play softly enough.

At the moment I'm studying Scarlatti & Haydn sonatas. A grand is not the instrument they were written for, but with patience they do work. Grands are extremely versatile and that's mostly why I love them.


Just do it. -- Nike
Re: What does a big grand do for you in your home?
Beemer #2923324 12/15/19 10:06 PM
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I see Ian mentions" big grand "., Recently I have played the " Ambient " Sauter grand in the dealer where I bought my piano. This is a semi concert grand (Maly ) which is just a truly magnificent piano.It is the second time I have played this piano and all I can say is that it is truly amazing.
This is the same dealer that imported the Hamburg Steinway and one of the technicians who prepared that piano , is that dealer's (Tom Lee Music) own resident technician !
One cannot really compair any upright to a semi concert grand. I remember the Steinways concert or semi concert grand at university when I had to play my final recital on .,just a different instrument
altogether. ( I hate to say )

Re: What does a big grand do for you in your home?
Beemer #2923327 12/15/19 10:22 PM
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True a concert or a semi concert grand voiced for a few thousand people in a huge hall would probably not be suitable for my house !

Re: What does a big grand do for you in your home?
Beemer #2923332 12/15/19 11:17 PM
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I have a Yamaha C7 semi-concert grand (7'4") in my music room (20'X20' with 10' ceilings), and I love it! It's an older model, but still sounds great and plays great, to me. It's by far the best piano I've ever owned, and I hope to keep it and play it for a long time to come. I'm a firm believe in living one day at a time, and it's good to plan for tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes.

I think if you have room for a big grand, and can afford a big grand, it can be a fantastically enjoyable and satisfying piano to have and own. As far as what it does for me, to own a big piano, it makes me smile and feel good when I play it. I have other nice pianos in my home, but if I had to choose only one, it would be the C7. The tone is rich, and clean and clear; not too mellow and not too bright. The sustain is good, and keytouch is nice; not too heavy or too light.

On the other hand, if you don't have room, or can't afford the bigger piano, that is why they make the smaller grand pianos. smile

Rick


Piano enthusiast and amateur musician: "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". Yamaha C7. YouTube Channel
Re: What does a big grand do for you in your home?
Beemer #2923334 12/15/19 11:49 PM
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I would love to hear a C7 semi concert Rickster ! Well.perhaps one day I shall.At that size a piano is
truly amazing .However whether small or big ,nice upright or grand, a piano is just an amazing instrument with so much potential.

Re: What does a big grand do for you in your home?
Beemer #2923338 12/16/19 01:17 AM
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I had an interesting conversation in Steinway London with the salesperson there. The Boston 193 grand piano is/was the same price as the Model K upright. She said that the model K (Hamburg I'm talking about) is an excellent piano with exceptional build quality and tone, and if you don't have the space for a grand and want the finest sounding piano possible, then get a Model K.

She went on to say that at the end of the day, the model K is still an upright, and even with its very good action it still has the limitations of an upright, and that for a serious pianist who had the luxury of space, a 178 or 193 Boston grand would be a better choice then a Steinway Model K upright.

It really does help to play on a grand piano action. There are limitations with the repetition and the tone of an upright, even a very good one. There are many uprights that I really enjoy working on, and the Blüthner Model A is a great piano in its own right. However, any upright is only going to take you so far, and there comes a point where if you really want to fly, in terms of tone production and in terms of technique, you really need to experience a good grand on a regular basis.

The question comes up on a fairly regular basis, is a top-tier upright better than a low-tier grand, or is a top-tier baby grand better than a low-tier semi concert. The question has come up more often with instruments like the Feurich/Hailun 218 being cheaper than some top-tier uprights, and a Yamaha C7 being cheaper than a Steinway M. There isn't one answer to the question really. There's a question of physics in that the longer piano is usually better than the shorter one and the grand is usually better than the upright, but the question of how well designed each individual model is, and how well that design is executed can often become more important than the size of the piano alone.

Re: What does a big grand do for you in your home?
Beemer #2923339 12/16/19 01:30 AM
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Yes I know I overdid it ! Sorry !!!
I said --- Sauter a number of times , a mega dealer's name ,mentioned the Hamburg Steinways and thier technician in connection with them and most of all trampled on people's toes !

I hope you know this thread is a potential mine field Beamer !

Last edited by Lady Bird; 12/16/19 01:32 AM. Reason: Missing word
Re: What does a big grand do for you in your home?
Joseph Fleetwood #2923341 12/16/19 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by joe80
I had an interesting conversation in Steinway London with the salesperson there. The Boston 193 grand piano is/was the same price as the Model K upright. She said that the model K (Hamburg I'm talking about) is an excellent piano with exceptional build quality and tone, and if you don't have the space for a grand and want the finest sounding piano possible, then get a Model K.

She went on to say that at the end of the day, the model K is still an upright, and even with its very good action it still has the limitations of an upright, and that for a serious pianist who had the luxury of space, a 178 or 193 Boston grand would be a better choice then a Steinway Model K upright.

It really does help to play on a grand piano action. There are limitations with the repetition and the tone of an upright, even a very good one. There are many uprights that I really enjoy working on, and the Blüthner Model A is a great piano in its own right. However, any upright is only going to take you so far, and there comes a point where if you really want to fly, in terms of tone production and in terms of technique, you really need to experience a good grand on a regular basis.

The question comes up on a fairly regular basis, is a top-tier upright better than a low-tier grand, or is a top-tier baby grand better than a low-tier semi concert. The question has come up more often with instruments like the Feurich/Hailun 218 being cheaper than some top-tier uprights, and a Yamaha C7 being cheaper than a Steinway M. There isn't one answer to the question really. There's a question of physics in that the longer piano is usually better than the shorter one and the grand is usually better than the upright, but the question of how well designed each individual model is, and how well that design is executed can often become more important than the size of the piano alone.


Yes I had a wonderful Kawai grand ! But of course "boutique upright owners" must know thier place !

Re: What does a big grand do for you in your home?
Beemer #2923345 12/16/19 02:21 AM
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I think the purpose of my concert grand is probably unique.


Currently working towards "Twinkle twinkle little star"
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