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Here’s a query for anyone who owns or has impressions of playing a Steinway model C —7’5” grand... do you like this Steinway models’s scaling , does it have more sound compared to the model B ? Do you own one that has been partially or fully restored ? I become lured by this model C because It’s a bit longer than the 7 foot model B. However it’s definitely a vintage age from the New York Steinway production so there’s a strong possibility a restoration would be quite necessary plus reevaluating the panels finished sound . Thanks for any observations !

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Coda9,

I see you are in San Fran. , but I have to ask anyway - Are you talking about a new piano or a rebuilt piano?

You should also know that there were several iterations of the Steinway C. Since you mention a 7'5" I assume you are talking about pianos that were made after 1886 (or thereabouts - I am home without my reference and am going by memory). If so, this piano is really a scaled down model D more than it is a larger B. The company was looking for a "more concert grand piano" performance in a smaller footprint.

Now in 1892-ish, an updated version of the C was introduced. This is likely the piano most have played because there were more of these made than any other version of the C.

I look forward to your reply,


Rich Galassini
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Hello Coda9,

I love the American Model Cs and am mixed about the Hamburgs with some that I have experienced being wonderful and others not so much. They stopped production of the New York Cs around 1917 IIRC, and made a few more on special order maybe through around 1940.

Because of the age of the NY Cs they require extensive rebuilding. Also, because they are so rare, most rebuilders have little experience with them compared with more common models like the B, the O and the L for example.
I agree with Rich that the older Cs were basically scaled down Ds, but in general the Cs are less of a concert grand in terms of overall power and volume then even the Bs, unless they are modified for extra power. Of course, they have plenty of power for a home environment and even a recital hall.

FWIW, A couple of years ago in the DC area, the great Irish Pianist John O'Conor when performing Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto ( with a smaller than modern orchestra. One of a similar size to what would have been experienced during Beethoven's time ) chose a PianoCraft rebuilt Steinway C over a concert grand and was quite generous in his praise of the instrument. The hall was not huge, seating only around 500. Had it been a larger hall and/or larger orchestra a Concert grand would have likely been more appropriate.

Here are some videos of a New York Steinway Model C originally manufactured in 1887/88 that we comprehensively rebuilt. The stunning rosewood finish does not show up very well on the videos but I think you can get at least a good idea of the piano's tonal qualities and the music is quite beautiful. Enjoy! I will be curious as to your thoughts.





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Here's the thread about my C:

Hamburg Steinway C-227

Hope this may help, as there were many opinions about this model.


Last edited by trandinhnamanh; 03/26/20 02:34 PM.

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I haven't played that many Cs, but the ones I have played have been very beautiful. They kind of have the tone profile of the D but somehow more rounded and sweeter, if that makes sense. They seem to be more balanced than the B.

I'm talking only about the Hamburg C because I've never seen a New York C in the flesh, restored or otherwise.

I still get misty eyed thinking about the Hamburg C we had in Glasgow, new in probably 1988 when the new conservatoire building opened. It had one piece ivory on the white keys, and it was an absolute joy to play. Up until about 2000, nobody practiced on the piano and it was only used for certain concerts, and it was voiced and fully regulated every year by Ulrich from Steinway. The problem was that one of the piano students got themselves a Steinway key cut and started using it for practice, and then many other students started to join in. Very quickly the hammers went hard and the tuning had to happen more often, that was a shame. They sold the piano in something like 2006 when they moved over to leasing pianos. I say they should have kept that one, it was a really special instrument, and with the right maintenance it maybe would still be in good condition today. Soundboards last a long time in Scotland because we have such boring weather.

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Originally Posted by joe80
I haven't played that many Cs, but the ones I have played have been very beautiful. They kind of have the tone profile of the D but somehow more rounded and sweeter, if that makes sense. They seem to be more balanced than the B.


I totally agree with that description when referring to a properly rebuilt American S&S C.

Cheers Joe,


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Originally Posted by joe80
I haven't played that many Cs, but the ones I have played have been very beautiful. They kind of have the tone profile of the D but somehow more rounded and sweeter, if that makes sense. They seem to be more balanced than the B.


I totally agree with that description when referring to a properly rebuilt American S&S C.

Cheers Joe,


Since we’re on lock down I’m just curious. Was there a rumor that Steinway was bringing back the “C”? If so, is the reason because at that size the sound is as Joe describes?

Last edited by j&j; 03/27/20 04:15 PM.

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Originally Posted by j&j

Since we’re on lock down I’m just curious. Was there a rumor that Steinway was bringing back the “C”? If so, is the reason because at that size the sound is as Joe describes?


The C is currently built in Hamburg, j&j. I do not know of any plan to build them in NYC, but I am not in the factory. There were whispers of that a number of years ago, but I would guess that nothing is happening with that at this time, because I think I would have heard something about it..

As you know - I do not work for Steinway. smile


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Originally Posted by j&j

Since we’re on lock down I’m just curious. Was there a rumor that Steinway was bringing back the “C”? If so, is the reason because at that size the sound is as Joe describes?


The C is currently built in Hamburg, j&j. I do not know of any plan to build them in NYC, but I am not in the factory. There were whispers of that a number of years ago, but I would guess that nothing is happening with that at this time, because I think I would have heard something about it..

As you know - I do not work for Steinway. smile


But Cunningham Piano has rebuilt more than a few. wink
Thank you.


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Thanks for everyone’s contribution to this thread so far it’s produced fascinating sound impressions . The 1888 restored model C from PianoCraft Seemed to produce a rich string sound dominant character seemed to produce a rich string sound dominant character , while the 1900 model C from Piano Works seeed to have a bit more crisp sound quality but with a beautiful bass. The photos of the Hamburg piano were breathtaking — shows the length very well . And the history of production is very welcome . In the past week I found an ad on craigslist for an 88 key Steinway model C, with minimal “ refurbishing “ asking around $20,000. I sent a query but have yet to receive answers to my questions .
My impression ( from hearing these videos) of this model C compared to a Steinway D doesn’t agree that it has as much magnitude and potential expansiveness . It seems more to have a character particular to its scale design. But I’m still very curious and hope to listen to more sound samples of this model C .

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I think there is one at Holywell in Oxford. Quite uniform in the top 5 octaves, then boomy all through the bass. Too big for that beautiful hall, and very industrial-sounding. Sadly, it's fairly new, and everyone seems quite proud of it. If there was a room that could make good use of a gently-voiced Bechstein or Bluthner (or Grotrian?), that is the one.

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Our local performance center has a Hamburg C

It is un frigging believable

On Jan 28 Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Midori performed 3 Beethoven Violin Sonatas. I sat there stunned by the piano’s gorgeous tone.


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Originally Posted by j&j
Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
Originally Posted by joe80
I haven't played that many Cs, but the ones I have played have been very beautiful. They kind of have the tone profile of the D but somehow more rounded and sweeter, if that makes sense. They seem to be more balanced than the B.


I totally agree with that description when referring to a properly rebuilt American S&S C.

Cheers Joe,


Since we’re on lock down I’m just curious. Was there a rumor that Steinway was bringing back the “C”? If so, is the reason because at that size the sound is as Joe describes?

There are always new Steinways rumours!
You ask whether we like the sound .Well the video sound is not really good .
While at times I can hear the treble ,the bass is often too soft to judge.

Last edited by Lady Bird; 03/28/20 12:11 AM. Reason: Spelling
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And that’s always been a bit of a problem for me. A piano sounds very different to my ears when I’m playing it or listening to it be played when I’m right there than when I listen to recordings, even with high grade headphones. I’m sure thankful I went piano shopping last October rather than trying to shop with virtual visits to the showroom.


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Originally Posted by Coda9
Here’s a query for anyone who owns or has impressions of playing a Steinway model C —7’5” grand... do you like this Steinway models’s scaling , does it have more sound compared to the model B ? Do you own one that has been partially or fully restored ? I become lured by this model C because It’s a bit longer than the 7 foot model B. However it’s definitely a vintage age from the New York Steinway production so there’s a strong possibility a restoration would be quite necessary plus reevaluating the panels finished sound . Thanks for any observations !


Oh, are you looking at the one in Boulder Creek?

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I love the C. I think of it as more laid back than the D. Of course it depends on voicing.

Last edited by johnstaf; 03/30/20 06:17 AM.
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I always think of a C as a B that wants to be a D.

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Originally Posted by OE1FEU
I always think of a C as a B that wants to be a D.


What about a D that wants to be an A?😁

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thepianoforever has a review of a really gorgeous one owned by John Browning. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jdy7x85H7o

And that fed into some really nice discussions Browning had of Russian technique, all illustrated on the same instrument.

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I had no idea that was a C. I've seen John Browning's demonstrations on this piano. This pale mahogany (? is quite rare nowadays. John Lill's Steinway appears to be a similar shade in photos I've seen.

Last edited by johnstaf; 03/30/20 11:56 AM.
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