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NEW YORK STEINWAY D WITH RENNER ACTION
#2988311 06/06/20 01:01 AM
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My college has a 1997 Steinway D, made in New York, that was bought used for the college around the middle of the decade (2010-2020). It was mainly used as a workhorse piano, for choir and other stuff, and we would usually use the other brand new Steinway D that we have for piano recitals. Thus, this ‘97 piano was mostly overlooked.

Earlier today, there was a malfunction in the action, so my tech friend had to open it up to fix it. And to my surprise, I saw the Renner logo all over the action. On the whippen, there’s a number written, 19.12.07, and I’d assume that was when the action was created or installed. The renner logo was printed on the whippen and the hammer shanks, and the hammer has a blue underfelt within. The rest of it, like the key stick, looks a lot older than the action.

Compared to the new Steinway D that we have which is super mellow, this D with the renner has a bright tone, a little bit too bright for my taste but not that bad. For my ears, I think it has a different sound from the Hamburg Steinways that I’ve heard in recordings, but it’s close. Nonetheless, she’s easier to play than the New York action that we have. A lot easier. The NY one felt stiff and uncooperative, although I like her round tone. The renner action gives a lot more control, I can change my dynamics on my long trills from pp to ff better.

Any opinions on these actions? Or is it just that the superior action is regulated better?

Ps. Sorry, I have pics but I don’t know how to upload them here.

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Re: NEW YORK STEINWAY D WITH RENNER ACTION
hammerklavierx #2988319 06/06/20 01:29 AM
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Both actions are fantastic if well looked after.

Re: NEW YORK STEINWAY D WITH RENNER ACTION
hammerklavierx #2988347 06/06/20 05:16 AM
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grin


Hamburg Steinway & Sons C-227
Yamaha Stagea Electone ELS-02X
Re: NEW YORK STEINWAY D WITH RENNER ACTION
hammerklavierx #2988364 06/06/20 07:41 AM
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Before comparing actions, it might be interesting to think about other reasons the Renner action might be brighter than the Steinway one. While I don't sing, my spouse does, and judging from attending rehearsals, the piano used for rehearsals takes a beating. A "workhorse" piano will be played often and hard, which could easily make the tone brighter as the hammers get pounded. The rehearsal piano action is also older; age makes actions easier as well as pounding.

The more I think about it, the more I think that the comparison you are making will not yield reliable information about the relative merits of the two actions.

Re: NEW YORK STEINWAY D WITH RENNER ACTION
hammerklavierx #2988371 06/06/20 08:46 AM
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If the piano also has Renner Blue hammers in addition to the Renner action, that could explain the tonal difference you are hearing. Those hammers are quite hard and do not yield as malleable a tone as original Steinway hammers. Of course, with the right tech, they might be made to sound nice. The D I heard with Renner Blue hammers was disappointingly one-dimensional.

Re: NEW YORK STEINWAY D WITH RENNER ACTION
Rank Piano Amateur #2988502 06/06/20 03:21 PM
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I also use a NY Steinway B in one of the practice rooms, and I believe it has the NY accelerated action. That one has a beautiful, silky action, on the lighter side. And the tone of that is gorgeous. Of course it won’t have all the overtones of the D but it’s absolutely amazing, really easy to control the dynamics. I wish I could hear it on a hall with some good reverberation.

The piano was owned by one of the 5 Browns siblings, so I suppose it was well regulated in its earlier years. I just wish every piano feels that way, which will never happen.

Re: NEW YORK STEINWAY D WITH RENNER ACTION
violarules #2988507 06/06/20 03:27 PM
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I do think the hammers needs a bit of needling and “opening up the tone”. It’s weird because the new D is getting a weak and dull soprano area, and the booming lower mid section is not helping. She was regulated only once in the 5 years of being in the college, and was supposed to be regulated by a steinway tech last March but coronavirus happened.

Re: NEW YORK STEINWAY D WITH RENNER ACTION
hammerklavierx #2988579 06/06/20 07:06 PM
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It makes sense that a NY instrument with a Renner action and (likely) Renner Blue hammers sounds too bright given the characteristics of the NY rim and soundboard. The fact that they have not been voiced recently--and the Renner rocks seem to need needling down every five months, not every five years--does not help, but it is just not the best theoretical combination.

A better combination might have been a Renner action with NY hammers. Robert Estrin had an example of this combination, video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmI7d85hykw. Robert is a salesman, but his affection for this unique instrument seems genuine.


1926 Hamburg Steinway R (home, rebuilt in 2015)
1986 Hamburg Steinway C (church, "loaner")
1902 New York Steinway D (church, rebuild pending)
Re: NEW YORK STEINWAY D WITH RENNER ACTION
hammerklavierx #2989627 06/10/20 07:20 AM
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Although the hammers could be Renner Blues, I think it is a mistake to assume that. There are a variety of makers out there, some of which would also use a blue underfelt.

I happen to feel that NY S&S hammers would be a fine choice, or the Renner hammers made for the Hamburg pianos could work beautifully as well.

In any case, the question of a brand new Steinway D that you describe as "stiff and uncooperative" bothers me much more. I have heard that quality control is improving in the NY factory. However, with the variety of fantastic concert instruments today it boggles the mind how many people, even a few professionals, just accept deficiencies from this maker as a part of life.

That is less so than it has been in the past, certainly, but it is still there.


Rich Galassini
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Re: NEW YORK STEINWAY D WITH RENNER ACTION
hammerklavierx #2989633 06/10/20 08:27 AM
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You guys wont believe this but I bought that Steinway from Robert Estrin. It was built in 1967 with Teflon action. In the early 2010's it was re-strung and fitted with a new Renner action with NY S&S hammers. Sounds great!

Re: NEW YORK STEINWAY D WITH RENNER ACTION
bxrdad1 #2989679 06/10/20 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by bxrdad1
You guys wont believe this but I bought that Steinway from Robert Estrin. It was built in 1967 with Teflon action. In the early 2010's it was re-strung and fitted with a new Renner action with NY S&S hammers. Sounds great!
Small piano world. Congratulations. I have listened to dozens of Robert's videos of concert and semi-concert grands, and yours was the best. It contributed to my decision to buy a NY D core to rebuild with a Renner action but NY-protocol hammers.


1926 Hamburg Steinway R (home, rebuilt in 2015)
1986 Hamburg Steinway C (church, "loaner")
1902 New York Steinway D (church, rebuild pending)

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