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Other American Brands and their sound
#3027639 09/21/20 08:19 PM
Joined: Oct 2019
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I was listening to a few videos of rebuilt grand pianos at work and heard a nice video of a rebuilt Chickering parlor grand. Also listened to a few Knabe concert grands as well. All of them had somewhat different types off sound to them, but all were actually very good! I especially liked the sounds of the Knabe's. Living Pianos as well as a few other youtube channels have good video recordings of other makes of pianos other than the usual giants of industry here in the US. Have any of you played any other American brands that you liked or thought had good tone? I just have a feeling that S&S/M&H/Baldwin has become the standard for what the American sound can sound like at its best, but the idea of what the American sound was at the turn of the century until after the depression was much different for other makers. Was that the case?

As an example, I have a 6'8" Behning from about the mid 1920s. It sounds very pure and clean in the trebel, if not a little bright. Very much like a modern piano would sound to my ears. On the other hand, I have a Henry F Miller of roughly the same size(maybe bigger) from the early 1880s whose tone I cant really describe. Not bad, just different. Haven't heard a modern piano that sounds anything like it yet. At least not in the mid to upper trebel. The closest was a rebuilt Stainway model K(or vertigrand I dont remember) from about the same late 1800s time period.

Re: Other American Brands and their sound
D.P. #3027661 09/21/20 10:48 PM
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Hi D.P.,

There are some really beautiful American pianos out there. I too am a fan of vintage Knabe pianos, as well as Chickering and others. By the way, IMHO, vintage Masons, Baldwins, and Steinways all had different voices as well.

There is only so much one can glean from a video though. Why not go out and play some of these pianos? Evola Music in your area might have something to check out. If you go there tell Jim Evola I was asking for him. I haven’t seen him in years!

Good luck,


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila., Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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Re: Other American Brands and their sound
D.P. #3027802 09/22/20 10:27 AM
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Thanks for the reply Rich. Evola Music in fact had a 6'4" Chickering grand there they rebuilt not too long ago. It's found a new home since then. I keep track of what they have so if I stop by I'll send your regards.

Reeder's has had some nice rebuilds when I was there last. I never thought to try them. Very nice people out there.

Sadly Covid has caused health concerns so trying out pianos without intent to buy is greatly discouraged at most places. From talking to some of the people at different stores, unless a piano is in great shape or costs very little to get into sellable condition, non major brands rarely make it to the show room floor. Most get disposed of. So most of what I'll find are modern pianos and big ticket items. Anything else is rare.


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