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Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
iObsessed #2979128 05/14/20 05:49 PM
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Well. just thought I'd add my observations on Golden Era vs new pianos. I have an 1882 Steinway A, rebuilt 30 years ago and it has a wonderfullly clear and overtone rich treble (almost chime-like) with fine sustain. The bass is richly resonant and powerful with delightful overtones with an almost vibrato effect. THe bass sustain is so strong that I have to be careful with holding a note or pedaling to prevent it being a drone for nearly 2 measures (although in some pieces I like it and hold it). The piano had a new soundboard 30 years ago by AC pianocraft, and IMO it sounds like it did before the board was replaced, but richer, louder and more sustain, and of course the treble was much improved. So, I believe it retains much of the flavor of a vintage piano, it's definately different than a new Steinway, more mellow, and i like it better.


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Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
iObsessed #2979628 05/15/20 07:51 PM
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There are thousands of reasons that a piano has one type of tone or another. There was never a golden age. There are good old pianos and good new pianos. There were tons of crap pianos made during the "golden age" and they are still crap. And of course there are new abysmal instruments that aren't worth the crate in which it is shipped.

Last edited by S. Phillips; 05/15/20 07:52 PM.

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Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
iObsessed #2979663 05/15/20 09:47 PM
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The quality is the best it’s ever been.

virtually all pianos now sold in the West are competently made and without major defects, and the differences between them are increasingly subtle and subjective.


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Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
Retsacnal #2979674 05/15/20 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
[quote:Larry Fine, in The New-Piano Market Today] The quality is the best it’s ever been.

This is confusing without context. Quality of what? All new pianos(unlikely Fine means this)? Quality of Chinese pianos? Quality of all Asian pianos(Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian)?

Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
Ed McMorrow, RPT #2979701 05/16/20 12:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
The one single difference that is most significant to this topic is that after WW1 and especially after WW2 piano hammers got heavier and harder. This also forced action makers to reduce leverage to bring the touch to an acceptable place.

Both of these changes reduced the dynamic range and control of the action.

Both of these increased the wear rate significantly.

And the only rational reason these changes were made that I can find was manufacturers kept trying to build a piano that needed no tone regulation in the factory.
Ed
I do not have the technical know how to fully appreciate your points about hammers, leverage and ware.I do however appreciate the information you always bring.
However I do know that Sauter spends considerable time in voicing and regulating thier pianos.This has often been mentioned by visitors to the factory. There are quite a few Sauter owners on the forum.We have had only one who felt the need to change the hammers on his Sauter grand to softer Abel hammers.So it stands to reason that the rest of us Sauter owners feel that attack is not more
than it should be.
One of the main things I liked about my piano was the long sustain in all the keys.This is a piano where sustain does not suddenly collapse.This a piano that sings ,I do not need any other softer Abel hammers.They are soft enough.

Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
iObsessed #2980045 05/16/20 05:44 PM
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Cross-post from a thread about scale, and tuning techniques:

I wonder if this could loop into the discussion of Golden Age vs New pianos on the other thread. Are the new batch of Yamahas, Schimmels, etc., too well-behaved? Are we missing the imperfections that our Schnabel and Rubinstein recordings trained us to want?

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...nsistent-string-tension.html#Post2979664

Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
iObsessed #2980076 05/16/20 07:02 PM
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I think I liked terminaldegree's answer to this question.
Piano rebuilders will no doubt have a great deal more
to say.
Perhaps we are missing the imperfections of the great
artist's pianos because of the recordings.

Last edited by Lady Bird; 05/16/20 07:12 PM. Reason: Missing word
Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
iObsessed #2980084 05/16/20 07:31 PM
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OK Maestro,
I am just joking, I hope you do find your dream piano !

Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
iObsessed #2980091 05/16/20 07:56 PM
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Unconnected to any pressing concern for my own pianos. Just an interesting question to ponder.

The recordings themselves are probably not the problem. The original 78s and hi-fi LPs could be remarkably good at communicating tone, before they were remastered and dribbled onto DynaWarp budget discs, decades later.

But if you go to the other thread, there is an interesting story of a Chippendale that had its scale completely redesigned during restoration. The tuner loved the result, and it was trouble-free for the first time ever in its long life. However, the studio stopped using it because it no longer had the same unique, if flawed and eccentric, sonic character.

Last edited by Maestro Lennie; 05/16/20 07:58 PM.
Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
Maestro Lennie #2980097 05/16/20 08:23 PM
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Chippendale? I guess that there was a stencil brand that used the name, but I doubt anyone would bother redesigning anything on one.

You cannot redesign a scale of an existing piano without changing so many other things that it is difficult to determine what made the difference.


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Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
iObsessed #2980100 05/16/20 08:29 PM
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Brain fart. CHICKERING.

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...nsistent-string-tension.html#Post2979806

And the relevant paragraph:
Quote
An example of this: I tuned a 9' Chickering, with the original scale, in a Nashville recording studio for a number of years. It had its original scale and it was impossible to tune an equal temperament that could be extrapolated from the center out to the ends. It had its own sound, and was used on quite a few successful records. When the pin-block could finally no longer be trusted to hold the tuning, I replaced it, and took the opportunity to have Dr. Al Sanderson, (developer of the Sanderson Accu-tuner, which has long been a standard of the industry), rescale it. With the new scale, the piano tuned like a dream, even progressions of the thirds, tenths, fifths, and clear octaves. Exactly what Dr. Al predicted. However, some producers thought that the piano had lost some of its character, and that it didn't "print" the same on tape. They preferred the original scale's sound, for reasons I never grasped.
Other pianos, such as Sohmer's of the early 20th century, and smaller Chickering I have rebuilt, showed a distinct improvement in sound, resonance, and harmonic clarity, with improved scales, so there is no real right answer to whether re-scaling is better.

Last edited by Maestro Lennie; 05/16/20 08:31 PM.
Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
iObsessed #2980120 05/16/20 10:16 PM
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Chippendale -- Chickering , Do not worry this phenomenon is happening to me ,more and more now
days., Our Golden Age is still here ,surely !

Last edited by Lady Bird; 05/16/20 10:17 PM. Reason: Spelling
Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
Maestro Lennie #2980124 05/16/20 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
Cross-post from a thread about scale, and tuning techniques:

I wonder if this could loop into the discussion of Golden Age vs New pianos on the other thread. Are the new batch of Yamahas, Schimmels, etc., too well-behaved? Are we missing the imperfections that our Schnabel and Rubinstein recordings trained us to want?

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...nsistent-string-tension.html#Post2979664
Are there any recordings of these flawed beauties you could post online.
(recordings of the slightly misbehaving pianos of Schnabel and Rubinstein )

Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
iObsessed #2983863 05/25/20 05:34 PM
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I thought I might add to this discussion that another difference that I believe exists between modern uprights and vintage uprights is in spring technology. Most (though maybe not all) vintage uprights have a fair amount of slop in their action and mediocre repetition speeds. My experience with my piano is that this is fixable. Replacing repetition springs if they are worn is one obvious point, but I think higher quality jack springs are available today than were used originally in most vintage uprights.

If you look at this page:

https://www.howardpianoindustries.com/vertical-piano-jack-springs/

the springs on the right are similar in design to what I’ve seen in most vintage uprights. The jack springs in my piano were replaced with the springs very similar to if not identical to the springs on the left with the 3rd tight coil in the middle. This made a night-and-day difference in action smoothness, control, and repetition. The action had to be re-regulated after the change. Total cost about 10 years ago, parts and labor, was $250 (mostly labor obviously given that a package of 100 springs is $13.50 today).

Perhaps a piano technician reading this will shed more light on the matter.


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Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
iObsessed #2984315 05/26/20 05:08 PM
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Chip & Dale piano!

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Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
iObsessed #2984721 05/27/20 04:36 PM
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I believe Tokai Piano Co. manufactured a line of vertical pianos called Chippendale Uprights.


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Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
S. Phillips #2984733 05/27/20 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by S. Phillips
There are thousands of reasons that a piano has one type of tone or another. There was never a golden age. There are good old pianos and good new pianos. There were tons of crap pianos made during the "golden age" and they are still crap. And of course there are new abysmal instruments that aren't worth the crate in which it is shipped.

That's actually the truth.

Also it's still my personal view that in general a new piano from a premium manufacturer is superior to a 100 year old factory rebuild from the same manufacturer and that has as much to do with my needs and expectations as a pianist, as it does anything else.

Aesthetics is a different question of course.

Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
Maestro Lennie #2984775 05/27/20 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
Brain fart. CHICKERING.

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...nsistent-string-tension.html#Post2979806

And the relevant paragraph:
Quote
An example of this: I tuned a 9' Chickering, with the original scale, in a Nashville recording studio for a number of years. It had its original scale and it was impossible to tune an equal temperament that could be extrapolated from the center out to the ends. It had its own sound, and was used on quite a few successful records. When the pin-block could finally no longer be trusted to hold the tuning, I replaced it, and took the opportunity to have Dr. Al Sanderson, (developer of the Sanderson Accu-tuner, which has long been a standard of the industry), rescale it. With the new scale, the piano tuned like a dream, even progressions of the thirds, tenths, fifths, and clear octaves. Exactly what Dr. Al predicted. However, some producers thought that the piano had lost some of its character, and that it didn't "print" the same on tape. They preferred the original scale's sound, for reasons I never grasped.
Other pianos, such as Sohmer's of the early 20th century, and smaller Chickering I have rebuilt, showed a distinct improvement in sound, resonance, and harmonic clarity, with improved scales, so there is no real right answer to whether re-scaling is better.
I read the whole of Ed Foote post about modern piano wire and tuning.It was interestestng Lennie,.Of course ,I am sure I did not understand everything though !
Are our modern pianos too well behaved ,I do not know but who knows, perhaps they are.
Perhaps they should be more "Chip and Dale"in thier behavior?

Last edited by Lady Bird; 05/27/20 07:20 PM. Reason: Spelling
Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
iObsessed #2984927 05/28/20 07:45 AM
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Some eccentricity is charming, and could, over time, come to be associated with quality. Imagine growing up believing that BMW was the VERY BEST car. Period. Anything other than that will be seen to be inferior, even if objectively better in one area or another. Lexus? Boring. Mercedes? Too smooth. Audi? Differently shaped seats. Bentley? Different 'new car' smell. Etc.

Another example-- I grew up thinking that good red wine was Bordeaux. Not only that, but I learned on some of the "classic" vintages of the 1960s, which were on the tannic side. Maybe unpleasantly so, in some cases. After that, seeing the virtue of fruitier Napa cabs took some effort. And I still prefer French, much of the time, although I will add Burgundies and Rhones to the mix.

To argue something a little different, some of the most interesting Strad violins are notoriously hard to figure out. Roman Totenberg, for example, spent a few years in the 1930s or 40s getting adjustments right on his new one (a late model) and tweaking his technique to make his work at its best. Would he have bothered if it were a first-class contemporary instrument with 5% of the Strad's retail value?

Right now there are a lot of good violins made for the price of upright pianos, while Strads are priced more like waterfront mansions. Is the increased quality of new ones because they are all better, or because good violinists are forced to work with luthiers to put them at their best?

Last edited by Maestro Lennie; 05/28/20 07:47 AM.
Re: Pianos today vs those from "the golden era"
iObsessed #2984952 05/28/20 08:27 AM
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Well perhaps they cannot afford a waterfront mansion.

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