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#2981929 05/20/20 10:58 PM
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I wonder if anyone can address how much variability individual Bösendorfers of the same model have (as a general rule). I am auditioning a 225 tomorrow. I've asked my tech, but wonder what others have experienced. When I chose a Steinway model B, there were 6 or 7 to choose from, so my teacher and I did that. I'm not sure how easily that is done this side of the Atlantic. It may be a bit premature to ask before I play it again tomorrow. My initial impressions were very favorable, but I was distracted somewhat by the environment. I also played a Blüthner model 2 that was phenomenal (I could more easily relax and focus there).
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A lot. I recall walking into the SF showroom and finding none of them really impressive. I think the usual saying is 1 in 10 Bosendorfers are really exceptional.

If you have a lot of experience with nice pianos though, you should be able to know if it's a good one pretty quickly though. My personal experience is they all have a nice tone and power, but the range of color and dynamic range you get varies (more being better).

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As a general rule, the make of piano matters less than how well it has been maintained.


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Thanks BDB. Was hoping to hear from someone on the technical side. These are new pianos. I get frequent tunings, four a year at least) and have humidity controls in place.

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Newer pianos especially need regulation fairly often, not just tuning.


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Originally Posted by trigalg693
A lot. I recall walking into the SF showroom and finding none of them really impressive. I think the usual saying is 1 in 10 Bosendorfers are really exceptional.

I have never heard that "usual saying" in my life, trigalg693, at least not in reference to Bösendorfer pianos. Usually it is another brand that this saying is applied to, but I don't think that is so true today.

If any high end piano is prepared well, it's performance will improve dramatically in comparison to when the piano comes out of a box. I will suggest this (without really knowing your entire situation).

Bösendorfer pianos that are treated the same way you might treat a Mason, Baldwin, or S&S will not bear the same result. Bösendorfer hammers, for instance, should never be lacquered. These pianos come out of a crate, then out of a hermetically sealed "bag" inside the crate, than out of traditional wrapping, and they are well prepped at the factory. So they generally arrive at a dealership in tune and well regulated.

Here's the thing. The dealer might be tempted to just let them be, but that would be a mistake. Playing them for a bit and then going through the prep again can yield a more consistent piano, a more beautiful instrument, and one that will "hold" the work better as well. It could be that nothing had been done since the pianos arrived.

My 2 cents,


Rich Galassini
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My experience with Bosendorfers, at least new ones, has been primarily through Keyboard Concepts.

Originally Posted by BDB
As a general rule, the make of piano matters less than how well it has been maintained.

I've played some there that didn't knock me out all that much but years ago they had the great tech, Ed Whitting, come up from Orange County, and do extensive work on a 225. That particular piano highly stood out from all the other Bosendorfers, including an Imperial that had in their store for a long time.

Another fairly amazing experience was last year when I played the 280VC there. They had just un-crated it a few days earlier and put it on the floor with no work whatsoever done to it. The unisons in the high registers were a bit out but overall the piano was remarkably in tune. Regarding the voicing and regulation - there was nothing I found glaringly out. They had the 280VC positioned right next to a Yamaha CFX. While I love Yamaha pianos, this was simply not fair. laugh

The 214VC I played in their other store was outstanding as well. I was told that it had minimal prep on it. I would definitely recommend playing the 214VC if you have the opportunity.


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Originally Posted by trigalg693
A lot. I recall walking into the SF showroom and finding none of them really impressive. I think the usual saying is 1 in 10 Bosendorfers are really exceptional.
Bosendorfers have been rated among the top few pianos in the world for at least 20 years. When the Fine rankings were more based on tech and pianist reports they were often ranked as THE top piano in the world. In those years, Fine ranked the pianos in each tier separately and did not group them together. I find the idea that only "1 in 10 are really exceptional" beyond belief unless one's definition of really exceptional means something like "one of the best pianos I have ever played".

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Originally Posted by trigalg693
A lot. I recall walking into the SF showroom and finding none of them really impressive. I think the usual saying is 1 in 10 Bosendorfers are really exceptional.
Bosendorfers have been rated among the top few pianos in the world for at least 20 years. When the Fine rankings were more based on tech and pianist reports they were often ranked as THE top piano in the world. In those years, Fine ranked the pianos in each tier separately and did not group them together. I find the idea that only "1 in 10 are really exceptional" beyond belief unless one's definition of really exceptional means something like "one of the best pianos I have ever played".

The worlds most famous violins are stradivari, nobody would ever claim they were consistent in quality, in in ten of them are probably truly exceptional examples. All/most are probably better than anything you'll find produced new. What's the problem?

Disclaimer - I know nothing about violins.

I do know something about coffee. I blend and roast my own coffee. I like to think my coffee is better than anything I can buy. Every batch is in some way different, I would hate to be like a commercial blender and try to make the same consistent product time and time again, nothing would be more boring. I search closer to perfection with every batch I do, it is a deliberate choice, making everything the same is not a desirable thing *if* your goal is perfection.

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Originally Posted by gwing
The worlds most famous violins are stradivari, nobody would ever claim they were consistent in quality, in in ten of them are probably truly exceptional examples. All/most are probably better than anything you'll find produced new. What's the problem?
Did you mean "one in ten"?

Another person might say that if Stradivari violins are almost always better than anything produced new that means they're all exceptional. It depends on your meaning of "exceptional".

If Yamaha, Kawai, and other makers can make piano consistent in quality why can't Bosendorfer do that?

Does a piano have to be one of the top few pianos ones a person has every played to be exceptional? Unless one uses that definition and regularly plays many tier one pianos or just doesn't like the basic Bosendorfer tone, I think the idea that only 10% of Bosendorfers are
exceptional is extremely bizarre.

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Rich- thanks for your input. It has been prepped extensively I’m told. I wish It were not a time of plague or I’d fly over, as I have zero doubt that the pianos you have would be in best shape and that I would get good guidance and have clear communication. The example here is not 100% convincing to me somehow, and that is not a criticism. It’s just... I don’t know. At the least, I’m not there yet.

I have never played a Bösendorfer that wasn’t exceptional. 1 in ten sounds like the brand piano I have (but mine is a good one)! I urge any readers to oh no heed to that idea that 1 in ten are exceptional.

I also played the fazioli today that was superb, but the price is also superb ha! This is confusing as I have a piano I love and intend to keep. Hopefully things become clear to me.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I find the idea that only "1 in 10 are really exceptional" beyond belief unless one's definition of really exceptional means something like "one of the best pianos I have ever played".

Correct, my definition of "really exceptional" is "one of the best I have ever played". If you handed me any random new Bosendorfer, I would be at the very least quite happy with it, and the probability that I like it more than a random Steinway is almost 1.

However if you handed me a stack of cash and said "buy a piano, it must be a new Bosendorfer", I would have to go through around 10 before picking "the one". By contrast, I find Faziolis more consistent, and actually I think the same goes for Yamahas. You're more likely to get the maximum dynamic range and tonal palette on a Fazioli or Yamaha than a random Bosendorfer. I don't know if this is an inherent manufacturing issue or a prep issue.

This is based on multiple trips to Faust Harrison, SF Music Exchange, Colton Pianos (back when they were bigger), and a number of other dealers.

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"...I wish It were not a time of plague or I’d fly over, as I have zero doubt that the pianos you have would be in best shape and that I would get good guidance and have clear communication. The example here is not 100% convincing to me somehow, and that is not a criticism. It’s just... I don’t know. At the least, I’m not there yet. .."

I'm tempted to grant you an exception, since you have such an excellent reason for the trip.

Before we moved here, about 15 years ago, I was never much bothered by the sound of aircraft overflights. But San Jose made the foolish mistake of first building, then enlarging the commercial airport, which is right in the middle of town. When we bought this place, it wasn't so bad. But now, every ten or fifteen minutes, all day long, one airplane after another lands, and it really makes a racket.

They actually bought a whole residential neighborhood--- and demolished it--- rather than fix the problem.

Oh well. Keep your patience, if you can; this can't last forever. I think your forbearance will be rewarded, and I, for one, will look forward to your complete and detailed report, including photos and recordings, and (especially) your personal narrative from the keyboard.

I agree with you: I wish it were not a time of plague. The opportunity is there for us to make life better and safer, though. There are many things and practices which we might do well to rethink, just because preventing sick persons from routinely infecting others at work or play is accepted, or even enforced, because we don't care to trim our profit margins, or accept an inconvenience. It is not such a leap to think of what an enemy state or crazy person could unleash using bio-weapons, so much easier (and more deniable) than sending an army or a fleet of missiles.

Nurturing a norm where we have a decent regard for each other is not really all that expensive.... by comparison.

Anyway, best of luck with your piano search. Maybe you could write to the factory, or conduct a video conversation with them--- it could prepare the ground for your in-person visit.


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Originally Posted by Jeff Clef
Nurturing a norm where we have a decent regard for each other is not really all that expensive.... by comparison.

Jeff,

I love the thought of nurturing a new normal. Thank you for that.


Originally Posted by dhull100
Rich- thanks for your input. It has been prepped extensively I’m told. I wish It were not a time of plague or I’d fly over, as I have zero doubt that the pianos you have would be in best shape and that I would get good guidance and have clear communication. The example here is not 100% convincing to me somehow, and that is not a criticism. It’s just... I don’t know. At the least, I’m not there yet.

I have never played a Bösendorfer that wasn’t exceptional. 1 in ten sounds like the brand piano I have (but mine is a good one)! I urge any readers to oh no heed to that idea that 1 in ten are exceptional.

I also played the fazioli today that was superb, but the price is also superb ha! This is confusing as I have a piano I love and intend to keep. Hopefully things become clear to me.

Dhull,

Thank you for the kind words. I would be happy to have you visit anytime. I do have a suggestion. Here at Cunningham Piano, for local folks, we occasionally will let our client hear the piano in their home for a time. Although we have a showroom with spaces that approximate a home well, not every dealer does.

I assume you are dealing with Metroplex. Their showroom looks enormous from the photos I have seen. Why not ask them to place the piano in your home for a bit so you can play it and hear it in your space? If they would do that, I can't think of a better way to get to know a piano. I also know Darren and Hale there. They are good people to work with.

Please keep us posted and let us know your thoughts.

My 2 cents,


Rich Galassini
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Update, I've decided to go Italian. Please note that this does not reflect poorly at all on Bösendorfer or on the local dealer, make no mistake. I just decided to go with what I was sure I love as much as the piano it will live next to. I may make another post sometime this weekend after tomorrow's delivery.

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Originally Posted by dhull100
Update, I've decided to go Italian. Please note that this does not reflect poorly at all on Bösendorfer or on the local dealer, make no mistake. I just decided to go with what I was sure I love as much as the piano it will live next to. I may make another post sometime this weekend after tomorrow's delivery.

Congratulations! Collora's showroom is cavernous and pianos sound good there, but again, no room can make a bad piano sound good.

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Originally Posted by dhull100
Update, I've decided to go Italian..

Ah, the Fabbrini Steinway is an excellent choice ! smile

Seriously, congrats. An exciting time ! A B and a Fazioli next to each other...wow ! I've never played a Fazioli, of any size, that I wouldn't care to own.

Looking forward to seeing your choice.


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Congrats! A 228?

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Thanks, all. Yes an f228.

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Congratulations on your new Fazioli 228!

A fantastic piano, with power and projection.

Wish you many years of enjoyment with your new piano.

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