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Steinway K-52 upright
#2983424 05/24/20 07:40 PM
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In the various threads I’ve seen on premium uprights, it is curious that there generally is a dearth of attention (positive or negative) given to Steinway uprights. I assume the K-52 has a following.


My chronological list of the top 20 composers: Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Wagner, Verdi, Brahms, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Debussy, Bartok, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich.
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Re: Steinway K-52 upright
Sweelinck #2983432 05/24/20 07:55 PM
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I'll lay it on the table: I've never played the American K-52 before, or any American Steinway Upright (lots of NY Grands). I've played quite a few of the Hamburg models, and always found them to be very nice.

The thing with premium uprights is that there seems to be only so good any upright can be due to the limitations of the action and the size. I don't know why for example the Bechstein Concert 8 gets a lot of praise when the Steinway K gets very little. I mean I know why the Concert 8 gets praise, it's because it's beautiful, but so is the Hamburg K. So in answer to your question, I don't know!

Re: Steinway K-52 upright
Sweelinck #2983446 05/24/20 09:16 PM
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I have played a new K-52 once and preferred the same size Boston 132 right next to it at half the price. I tried over and over to try to like the K-52 because I should like it, right? Nope. Couldn’t do it.

That’s a personal one-time experience only so take it for what it’s worth.


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Re: Steinway K-52 upright
Joseph Fleetwood #2983458 05/24/20 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
due to the limitations of the action and the size.

When I was piano shopping I learned about the difference between grand and upright actions, and how grands are considered generally better. I don't think I will ever reach a point
where my playing is hampered by an upright's action.

With your ability are there some pieces that you would not want to play on an upright specifically because of the limitations of the action? Or is it something more subtle and nuanced.
I would love to know.

Watching concert pianists they sometimes get into pieces where there hands become blurry because they are moving up and down so fast... would it be something like this where an
upright would be detrimental to getting the best performance?

Re: Steinway K-52 upright
Sweelinck #2983462 05/24/20 10:46 PM
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I tried this piano when I was trying higher end uprights.I made some notes but do not have them anymore. My Sauter 130 stood next to the K52.
I preferred my piano and cannot remember the comparison's off by heart.
The K52 had a beautiful cabinet and a good tone is what I remember.

Very recently I tried the K52 again.It had a good tone and good action but to me I much preferred my own piano and I certainly am very happy with the Sauter. I do NOT want to discuss what I did not
like about the Steinways K52 as a high end upright as I do NOT need any more conflicts or arguments about high end uprights. It is just tiring and it can go round and round.
The best upright I ever played was C Bechstein Concert 8 ,but the price was too high for me.

It may be of interest that out of all the Sauter models (including ones in Paris ) I ever played I preferred my own INDIVIDUAL piano.This includes other pianos of exactly the same model as well.
Some may say it is because mine is slightly older than the other.pianos or it is better prepped than
the other pianos.The voicing of my piano sounds different ,(except to one other piano )of the ones I
have tried. It could be that it is because some of the ones in dealers are still very new.

I have tried the 46"Steinways upright as well. Actually I tried two of these.One was a used older piano and I preferred it more to the very new one in the dealer. I do prefer the K52 upright to this model however.

Last edited by Lady Bird; 05/24/20 10:51 PM. Reason: Spelling
Re: Steinway K-52 upright
Sweelinck #2983464 05/24/20 10:58 PM
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I have also not been fully enamored with the K-52’s I’ve played but I understand it is very dependent on the year of manufacture. I did not want to bias the initial posting with that. It is probably the one high end upright that is common enough in the US to find them lightly used without too much difficulty.


My chronological list of the top 20 composers: Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann, Wagner, Verdi, Brahms, Dvorak, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, Debussy, Bartok, Stravinsky, Prokofiev, Shostakovich.
Re: Steinway K-52 upright
Sweelinck #2983512 05/25/20 04:22 AM
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Assuming it's the imperial equivalent to the metric K-132, I have played 2 pianos of that type. I found both of them to be very nice, the action feels a bit different from other high-end uprights. Initially I thought it was bad but when I played it again a while later, I already liked it.

Sound is great, very transparent and quite warm - it has that "universal" Steinway sound that works with all types of music.

What sets it apart from other pianos in its class is width and depth - it is very wide and the deepest upright I've seen by quite a margin. I'd say 1-2 inches more depth and 1 inch more width than some other pianos of the same height.

Re: Steinway K-52 upright
IntermedPianist #2983541 05/25/20 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by IntermedPianist
Watching concert pianists they sometimes get into pieces where there hands become blurry because they are moving up and down so fast... would it be something like this where an
upright would be detrimental to getting the best performance?

The biggest difference is in soft playing. If you want fast and soft together, a grand is much easier to play. Ravel's Ondine is a good example. Very fast repeated notes are also much easier on a grand.

Re: Steinway K-52 upright
Sweelinck #2983558 05/25/20 07:14 AM
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By the extensive reading this forum about top notch upright, Steinway is far from the top, which is being defined by Sauter, Steingraeber and Bechstein. There were also reported sevarl problems with tuning stability and others, and Steinway upright are claimed to be far too expensive to what they offer, and that you pay a lot for a name only. As uprights are supplement to their main production, which are concert grands, it's highly probable. I do not know though, whether the latest submission brought any changes. I read similar things about Boston as well, but read that their corrected the design.

And price for Steinway upright is massive. I think there is a reason, why Steinway is not being considred and written often abou as top-notch upright (in contrary to the other S&S, B. and S. mentioned earlier).

Interesting article from Wikipedia.... not sure how much of it is true... but looks like it's very old piano design...
Model K52 and Model K132 (1982–)
The Model K reappeared in 1982 as the Model K52, occupying the top of Steinway's vertical piano offering. The Hamburg factory followed with the similar Model K132. Although the modern Model K pianos have essentially the same dimensions and string scale of the original, the "Vertegrand" nomenclature was not retained.

William Theodore Steinway was in charge of the 1982 re-design, by which time the original plans had been lost and had to be re-created by dissecting an older Model K belonging to Steinway staff engineer John Boygos.[1] The only changes from the original 1903 design were those that had been implemented since 1930, including the Diaphragmatic Soundboard, Accelerated Action, and Hexagrip Wrestplank (pinblock), as well as a slightly modified stringing schedule.[1]

Last edited by impossiblejj; 05/25/20 07:23 AM.
Re: Steinway K-52 upright
impossiblejj #2983589 05/25/20 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by impossiblejj
By the extensive reading this forum about top notch upright, Steinway is far from the top, which is being defined by Sauter, Steingraeber and Bechstein. There were also reported sevarl problems with tuning stability and others, and Steinway upright are claimed to be far too expensive to what they offer, and that you pay a lot for a name only. As uprights are supplement to their main production, which are concert grands, it's highly probable. I do not know though, whether the latest submission brought any changes. I read similar things about Boston as well, but read that their corrected the design.
Quite a few misconceptions in the above paragraph I think.

1. The regular posters at PW are a tiny group of around a hundred so their opinion only represents a tiny group. There are other Tier 1 uprights like Bosendorfer and Bluthner you didn't mention.
2. Techs used to say that Steinway uprights were difficult to tune but I believe, according to Fine, the reason(s) for that problem have been corrected.
3. Some posters think Steinways are too expensive for what one gets but this opinion is certainly not universal. Many adore Steinways.
4. The main production of Steinway is not concert grands. I suspect that is the model with lowest number on units built/year.
5. The newly designed Boston pianos from starting a few years ago are supposed to be an improvement over the earlier Bostons. Most piano makers are constantly making improvements in their design but one shouldn't think of these as corrections in the sense there was a flaw.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 05/25/20 08:48 AM.
Re: Steinway K-52 upright
Sweelinck #2983596 05/25/20 09:10 AM
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Honestly, you just don’t see that many of them, even at dealers. Unfortunately, I’ve never played nor seen a Hamburg S&S vertical, and it is interesting to note they make other vertical models at that factory, opting not to produce the 1098/4510.

My impression was the K sound like a big, burly American piano with a “throwback” case design that I thought was cool. Because of the price tag, I was never really shopping the model, so I don’t have extensive seat time playing it. Other high end verticals have made more of an impression for whatever reason. To be fair, most of the handful I’ve played were treated like afterthoughts by the showroom with regard to prep.

Slightly OT— Since Astin Weight closed, we’re down to just 4 American made, production vertical models: the Walter (all based on the same internal design), the M&H 50 (and that’s a US final assembly of a globally sourced piano, if memory serves), and the Steinway K and 45”.


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Re: Steinway K-52 upright
Joseph Fleetwood #2983598 05/25/20 09:19 AM
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Joe:

To continue with the "lay it on the table" theme, the explanation is that very few Americans have played a Hamburg K. They are beautiful, beautiful pianos, and perhaps the nearest to the top Bechstein, in my opinion. Unfortunately, the Astoria K is a grossly overpriced and rather crude piano. The smaller uprights are horrors.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

Re: Steinway K-52 upright
Sweelinck #2983616 05/25/20 10:13 AM
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I haven't ever played one and that is the problem.

When I recently bought a new piano Steinway didn't even make it onto my shortlist to try (a) Because they haven't made the effort to get them onto the floor of any of my reasonably local piano dealers and (b) Because my assumption is that they are probably more than I want to pay and probably poor value for money ion an absolute sense. They haven't done anything to dispel this belief but have instead reinforced it by not disclosing their prices.

Maybe they are good pianos, maybe not. That doesn't mean I owe Steinway anything to make me want to spend time dealing with their inscrutable marketing policies.

Re: Steinway K-52 upright
Sweelinck #2983625 05/25/20 10:26 AM
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Not disclosing their prices? At least in Switzerland a lot of shops have new ones, and used ones are also fairly common. I have yet to see one without a price tag... They're just above 40k CHF new (~34k GBP) which is roughly what you'd pay for a Bösendorfer 130 or Grotrian 132 and less than a Steingräber 138.
Steinways policies are indeed strange and reason enough to exclude the piano from any shortlist.

Re: Steinway K-52 upright
IntermedPianist #2983642 05/25/20 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by IntermedPianist
Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
due to the limitations of the action and the size.

When I was piano shopping I learned about the difference between grand and upright actions, and how grands are considered generally better. I don't think I will ever reach a point
where my playing is hampered by an upright's action.

With your ability are there some pieces that you would not want to play on an upright specifically because of the limitations of the action? Or is it something more subtle and nuanced.
I would love to know.

Watching concert pianists they sometimes get into pieces where there hands become blurry because they are moving up and down so fast... would it be something like this where an
upright would be detrimental to getting the best performance?

Honestly it's just that playing uprights isn't as comfortable so perhaps I might play a little slower on most of them, but it's not impossible. If I'm practising on a good upright I don't normally think "gee I wish I was playing a grand", and I'm usually just in the moment with the practising.

Re: Steinway K-52 upright
johnstaf #2983643 05/25/20 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by johnstaf
Originally Posted by IntermedPianist
Watching concert pianists they sometimes get into pieces where there hands become blurry because they are moving up and down so fast... would it be something like this where an
upright would be detrimental to getting the best performance?

The biggest difference is in soft playing. If you want fast and soft together, a grand is much easier to play. Ravel's Ondine is a good example. Very fast repeated notes are also much easier on a grand.

True

Re: Steinway K-52 upright
Karl Watson #2983648 05/25/20 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Karl Watson
Joe:

To continue with the "lay it on the table" theme, the explanation is that very few Americans have played a Hamburg K. They are beautiful, beautiful pianos, and perhaps the nearest to the top Bechstein, in my opinion. Unfortunately, the Astoria K is a grossly overpriced and rather crude piano. The smaller uprights are horrors.

Karl Watson,
Staten Island, NY

Exactly, the Hamburg Steinway K is as beautiful as the Bechstein, Blüthner, Sauter etc. It's a wonderful piano and it's easy to see why it costs as much as it does.

By the way Hamburg definitely produced a 132cm upright through the 50s - 80s, but whether it was the same as the 1982 K, I have no idea. You sometimes find them for sale in Europe.

Re: Steinway K-52 upright
Sweelinck #2983666 05/25/20 12:01 PM
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I wonder how the Hamburg and New York K52/132 etc differ. At all? As Hamb D and ACD?

Thanks

Re: Steinway K-52 upright
Keybender #2983667 05/25/20 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Keybender
Not disclosing their prices? At least in Switzerland a lot of shops have new ones, and used ones are also fairly common. I have yet to see one without a price tag... They're just above 40k CHF new (~34k GBP) which is roughly what you'd pay for a Bösendorfer 130 or Grotrian 132 and less than a Steingräber 138.
Steinways policies are indeed strange and reason enough to exclude the piano from any shortlist.

I did find a dealer that listed prices for the Boston and Essex but not the 'real' Steinways they sold. Steinways UK don't advertise the prices and there is a limit to how much time I wanted to spend looking :-)

Re: Steinway K-52 upright
gwing #2983681 05/25/20 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by gwing
Originally Posted by Keybender
Not disclosing their prices? At least in Switzerland a lot of shops have new ones, and used ones are also fairly common. I have yet to see one without a price tag... They're just above 40k CHF new (~34k GBP) which is roughly what you'd pay for a Bösendorfer 130 or Grotrian 132 and less than a Steingräber 138.
Steinways policies are indeed strange and reason enough to exclude the piano from any shortlist.

I did find a dealer that listed prices for the Boston and Essex but not the 'real' Steinways they sold. Steinways UK don't advertise the prices and there is a limit to how much time I wanted to spend looking :-)

I get that. It's just really odd they don't list them. Is that a UK aristocracy thing? If you have to ask, you can't afford it anyway? smile Maybe in our rich Switzerland, 40k just isn't considered a high price;)

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