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Why is the Steinway V so deep?
#3020445 09/02/20 03:56 AM
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Hi,

the steinway v upright has more depth than any other upright I know of. It's 67.5cm and while there are a number of others at 66cm (Steingräber 138), 65cm (Bösendorfer and Blüthner), the majority of uprights are significantly below that and even pianos like the Sauter 130 are just 60,5 cm - so it obviously isn't necessary for powerful sound.

I'm starting to wonder why that is the case? I don't think some piano builder woke up and thought. "67.5cm - this is what I MUST do".
Is it key stick length? Is it action and soundboard?
The wooden beams at the back of the piano seem to be thicker than in some other pianos...

Is this a thing with older models? the V has been around with unchanged dimensions for quite a while... maybe space considerations were just not a thing in the early 20th century?

Re: Why is the Steinway V so deep?
Keybender #3020464 09/02/20 05:24 AM
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67 cm. is just over 26”, and the model V was no exception in American piano design at the time.

In the late 19th c. and the early 20th c., particularly American manufacturers, made their best upright pianos massive. The structure was quite overbuilt and many manufacturers and sellers equated the massiveness of the back posts, etc. as a sign of quality.

The early 20th c. Matchless Cunningham was no exception. Our early brochure dedicated 2 pages to that discussion alone.

My 2 cents,


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Re: Why is the Steinway V so deep?
Rich Galassini #3020481 09/02/20 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Rich Galassini
67 cm. is just over 26”, and the model V was no exception in American piano design at the time.

In the late 19th c. and the early 20th c., particularly American manufacturers, made their best upright pianos massive. The structure was quite overbuilt and many manufacturers and sellers equated the massiveness of the back posts, etc. as a sign of quality.

The early 20th c. Matchless Cunningham was no exception. Our early brochure dedicated 2 pages to that discussion alone.

My 2 cents,

I suspected that it's mostly the beams, thanks for providing further evidence!

Re: Why is the Steinway V so deep?
Keybender #3020644 09/02/20 04:29 PM
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The largest uprights I have ever seen was the Canadian Bell pianos.I saw these in well known piano restorer/rebuilder in Vancouver.
I cannot even imagine what the dimensions of these were ,
perhaps made in the late 19th or very early 20th century. I also saw a satin ebony instrument in a different store at 132 (at least ) Steinways upright, a beautiful instrument. I really wanted to try it , because I heard a sales person playing it earlier and it had had a lovely rich ,but mellow tone.I presumed it must be a NY Steinways but it could have been a Hamburg.
Trouble is I only saw it on my way out and I already had overstayed my visit in that store.That was in 2017 so I do not recall too much detail.

Re: Why is the Steinway V so deep?
Keybender #3020651 09/02/20 04:50 PM
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The Steinways I saw was also an older piano , and yes the cabinet had quite a bit depth to it ,and height.

Re: Why is the Steinway V so deep?
Keybender #3020671 09/02/20 06:12 PM
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Greetings,
Why is it so deep? For better response, faster repetition! If memory serves,(as opposed to echoing), the older Steinway vertical pianos were built with the string plane not on a vertical axis, but, rather, leaning forward, from the bottom to the top. This angular arrangement meant that the hammers were approaching the strings more like a grand, and could take advantage of the gravity in their return. Less spring needed for the hammer.
These, and the Heintzmans may have been some of the most well-engineered uprights there were. There is nothing in them by chance.
Regards,

Re: Why is the Steinway V so deep?
Keybender #3020676 09/02/20 06:17 PM
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I have never noticed a particular lean to the string plane of Steinway pianos. But then, I have never noticed that they are deeper than the average upright of the period when they were designed. Perhaps that is not true, as Steinway was one of the first companies to design and make practical upright pianos.


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Re: Why is the Steinway V so deep?
Keybender #3020682 09/02/20 06:36 PM
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But why did they put a short round bottom board on so that when you move it it falls forward? Whose brilliant idea was that?

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Re: Why is the Steinway V so deep?
P W Grey #3020685 09/02/20 06:38 PM
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It is not a round bottom board. It is part of the plate casting.


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Re: Why is the Steinway V so deep?
Keybender #3020732 09/02/20 10:17 PM
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Very old Steinway uprights had a bottom flange on the casting that extended under the wooden back assembly. This does make placing a dolly under them very "tippy".

But the "newer" Steinway uprights made without a bottom flange from about 1900 to 1935 also had uneven bottom board levels which also makes them "tippy" on a dolly.

I am presently rebuilding a 1908 vertegrand that I made a new, thicker bottom board that makes for a level dolly ride.


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Re: Why is the Steinway V so deep?
Keybender #3020747 09/02/20 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Keybender
Hi,

the steinway v upright has more depth than any other upright I know of. It's 67.5cm and while there are a number of others at 66cm (Steingräber 138), 65cm (Bösendorfer and Blüthner), the majority of uprights are significantly below that and even pianos like the Sauter 130 are just 60,5 cm - so it obviously isn't necessary for powerful sound.

I'm starting to wonder why that is the case? I don't think some piano builder woke up and thought. "67.5cm - this is what I MUST do".
Is it key stick length? Is it action and soundboard?
The wooden beams at the back of the piano seem to be thicker than in some other pianos...

Is this a thing with older models? the V has been around with unchanged dimensions for quite a while... maybe space considerations were just not a thing in the early 20th century?
Sauter Masterclass 130 is 61 cm deep. The regular Sauter 130 is stated by my dealer as being 61 , on the Sauter website as 60. I am not going to argue about 1 cm .

By the way the August Forster 125 has a depth of 60 cm .
Steinways(Hamburg 124V) is 67 yet Essex 124 is also 67 cm
I am not suggesting Essex has any real relationship to Steinways, but am not sure if these dimensions are as important as you suggest. I think the complete construction of an instrument should compaired .But most important is the actual playing and listening to an instrument.
While I do not like modern Steinway (NY) uprights much , I admire what I have heard of thier older models.I do really love the NY Steinway grands and I am sure I would love a Hamburg grand.
I have never played a Hamburg grand (unless they were the ones at university which I attended which is a possibility.) I have heard Hamburg grands in Europe at concerts of course.I am not familiar with modern Hamburg Steinway uprights.

Last edited by Lady Bird; 09/02/20 11:13 PM. Reason: spelling
Re: Why is the Steinway V so deep?
Keybender #3020749 09/02/20 11:19 PM
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August Forster 134 has a depth of 60 cm as well if you are interested.Steingraeber 130 has a depth of 60cm

Last edited by Lady Bird; 09/02/20 11:25 PM. Reason: spelling
Re: Why is the Steinway V so deep?
Lady Bird #3020778 09/03/20 02:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
[quote=Keybender]I am not familiar with modern Hamburg Steinway uprights.

They're certainly not as bad as this forum seems to suggest. My main gripe with them is that they, like all new uprights, are very very loud. The rest is a matter of taste.

Thanks for the measurements on the Förster.

This all fits Rich's statement - it's probably what people did at the time and doesn't have to do with the actual sound and rather with perceived quality / sturdiness.

I just checked mine and the tuning pins are about halfway between front and back of the main case and there is at least a centimeter or so of additional space between the big beams and the rear end of the case. The big beams at the back really are impressive, maybe I should spend more time looking at them laugh

Re: Why is the Steinway V so deep?
Keybender #3020782 09/03/20 03:32 AM
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I have heard your first recording on your piano (when it was still in the dealer) , you playing it -- yes a tone like "liquid " really beautiful ,but different to the tone of many pianos made today.
So wishing you many hours of beautiful music !
Your piano narrowly escaped being bombed , being made when it was .One day perhaps we will kow its exciting history.

Last edited by Lady Bird; 09/03/20 03:37 AM. Reason: spelling
Re: Why is the Steinway V so deep?
Lady Bird #3020791 09/03/20 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
August Forster 134 has a depth of 60 cm as well if you are interested.Steingraeber 130 has a depth of 60cm

Current Kawai K800 is 65cm, getting close to that old Steinway.

Re: Why is the Steinway V so deep?
Keybender #3020845 09/03/20 09:57 AM
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According to Steinway it's because the plate slopes forwards a bit so that the hammers fall away through gravity thus increasing the action speed.

Re: Why is the Steinway V so deep?
Joseph Fleetwood #3020892 09/03/20 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by gwing
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
August Forster 134 has a depth of 60 cm as well if you are interested.Steingraeber 130 has a depth of 60cm

Current Kawai K800 is 65cm, getting close to that old Steinway.
Of course if you have tried any of the current NY Steinway uprights, I would not worry about that .
Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
According to Steinway it's because the plate slopes forwards a bit so that the hammers fall away through gravity thus increasing the action speed.
What they say has often not been the case. BDB never saw anything " leaning " and gravity actually being used .

Re: Why is the Steinway V so deep?
Keybender #3020900 09/03/20 12:18 PM
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The tilt of the action and the tilt of the string plane do not need to be the same. The tilt of the floor would make a difference, as well, and I have never seen a manufacturer that makes a big deal of that.


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Re: Why is the Steinway V so deep?
Keybender #3020910 09/03/20 12:55 PM
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I mean, Steinway does make a big deal out of things. While they make fine pianos, they do like to talk up the features a bit sometimes! NY does it in a way that Hamburg doesn't, but then Hamburg doesn't include a lot of the 'patents'.

Re: Why is the Steinway V so deep?
Keybender #3020988 09/03/20 04:58 PM
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Quote
Why is the Steinway V so deep?

It’s a very thoughtful piano


-Bill L. - former tuner-technician

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