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Joined: Sep 2004
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Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
There are many factors involved here. Firstly the piano is made of natural materials, and so not two will be identical, even with all the techniques used to dry out woods to the exact humidity, and finding as closely matched grains as possible, and even with the highly automated processes of the Yamaha factory, you won't find two the same, even if it's only that the hammers on two different instruments will be voiced differently.

Here's a question to float out there: A Yamaha S6X and a Yamaha C6X are, in terms of much of their design, identical. The rims are made from different materials, but their build is extremely similar. The actions are the same although the hammers are upgraded on the SX series, and there are other upgrades that warrant the price difference. I wonder, if in the hands of an extremely competent technician like, for example, Peter Salisbury from the Royal Festival Hall in London, how close could the C6X come to the S6X? Would it at that point be just a matter of preference? It's important to note here that preparation by Peter Salisbury wouldn't come cheap, it would be like having Franz Mohr prepare your New York Steinway in the 70s or 80s, but it's an interesting point. I would say the only rule for the preparation would be the hammers and strings would have to be the original factory ones and not replaced, as some technicians do replace hammers on concert grands in order to achieve a different tone.

Anyway regarding the Bösendorfer - I've touched on this on previous posts, someone had asked about New York Steinways and in a certain respect a Bösendorfer falls into the same category. When you first play a Bösendorfer, assuming it has been optimally prepared, it does exactly what you tell it to do. If your technique isn't ready to take on a Bösendorfer, and by technique I mean your actual sound production, how you play on a single note and not just how fast you can play scales and arpeggios. These pianos require and demand that you have complete command over your technique or they just won't respond all that well. Now, the same can actually be said for Yamaha premium pianos. There is a Yamaha sound that all Yamahas share, a DNA if you like. From the GC1 to the CFX, this sound exists in all Yamaha pianos. The difference is that the higher up the range you go, the more options there are in the sound if you have the technique to achieve that sound. If you line up a C6X, an S6X, and a CF6 and you could put Nelly Akopian or Vera Gornostayeva (RIP Vera) in front of them and get them to play each one in turn, you'd find that each piano had a greater range of colours as you moved up the range. If you put an average conservatoire student, or pre-college student, or amateur pianist in front of them and asked them to play the same piece, you'd hear a pretty similar range of sound in each instrument. A good musician with a good technique can unlock things in a piano's sound that an average amateur or even average conservatoire student simply can't. The best pianists in competitions, as the years go on, find more in their playing and learn more about how to do this - which is why someone like Ben Grosvenor played phenomenally well in the 2004 Young Musician competition but plays far better now, even though his basic facility might be similar to what it was back then (he played Ravel concerto aged 11, he had a phenomenal facility back then!).

Regarding the 1940 Bösendorfer, to say something like, are you paying for something quite fragile that won't last - well anything made in 1940 is by now very old, that's 80 years. A house made in 1940 will have required work over the years and will probably have had two or three replacement roofs (depending on where you live in the world), it'll have been painted many times, it will have had floor joists replaced, it will have been decorated and painted several times, and the original owner is most likely already dead. Any 80 year old piano is way past its best and is probably a candidate for a full rebuild PROVIDING it's a good/well known make of instrument in the first place!

Just being controversial here as you were, but I suspect you're not experienced enough with pianos, but go out into the world and play lots of different instruments, improve your playing, and see what world can open up to you in terms of sound.

I always wonder when someone talks about how one plays a single note. The only difference in sound a pianist can make is how loud the note is played. The key is pressed and escapement occurs, after which the hammer is disconnected from the key, and the sound is therefore not affected by previous key motions, except for loudness. Of course, one can play legato or staccato, pedaling has an effect on the sound coming from the piano, and so forth.

Last edited by Roy123; 01/08/21 05:34 PM.
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Originally Posted by Roy123
Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
There are many factors involved here. Firstly the piano is made of natural materials, and so not two will be identical, even with all the techniques used to dry out woods to the exact humidity, and finding as closely matched grains as possible, and even with the highly automated processes of the Yamaha factory, you won't find two the same, even if it's only that the hammers on two different instruments will be voiced differently.

Here's a question to float out there: A Yamaha S6X and a Yamaha C6X are, in terms of much of their design, identical. The rims are made from different materials, but their build is extremely similar. The actions are the same although the hammers are upgraded on the SX series, and there are other upgrades that warrant the price difference. I wonder, if in the hands of an extremely competent technician like, for example, Peter Salisbury from the Royal Festival Hall in London, how close could the C6X come to the S6X? Would it at that point be just a matter of preference? It's important to note here that preparation by Peter Salisbury wouldn't come cheap, it would be like having Franz Mohr prepare your New York Steinway in the 70s or 80s, but it's an interesting point. I would say the only rule for the preparation would be the hammers and strings would have to be the original factory ones and not replaced, as some technicians do replace hammers on concert grands in order to achieve a different tone.

Anyway regarding the Bösendorfer - I've touched on this on previous posts, someone had asked about New York Steinways and in a certain respect a Bösendorfer falls into the same category. When you first play a Bösendorfer, assuming it has been optimally prepared, it does exactly what you tell it to do. If your technique isn't ready to take on a Bösendorfer, and by technique I mean your actual sound production, how you play on a single note and not just how fast you can play scales and arpeggios. These pianos require and demand that you have complete command over your technique or they just won't respond all that well. Now, the same can actually be said for Yamaha premium pianos. There is a Yamaha sound that all Yamahas share, a DNA if you like. From the GC1 to the CFX, this sound exists in all Yamaha pianos. The difference is that the higher up the range you go, the more options there are in the sound if you have the technique to achieve that sound. If you line up a C6X, an S6X, and a CF6 and you could put Nelly Akopian or Vera Gornostayeva (RIP Vera) in front of them and get them to play each one in turn, you'd find that each piano had a greater range of colours as you moved up the range. If you put an average conservatoire student, or pre-college student, or amateur pianist in front of them and asked them to play the same piece, you'd hear a pretty similar range of sound in each instrument. A good musician with a good technique can unlock things in a piano's sound that an average amateur or even average conservatoire student simply can't. The best pianists in competitions, as the years go on, find more in their playing and learn more about how to do this - which is why someone like Ben Grosvenor played phenomenally well in the 2004 Young Musician competition but plays far better now, even though his basic facility might be similar to what it was back then (he played Ravel concerto aged 11, he had a phenomenal facility back then!).

Regarding the 1940 Bösendorfer, to say something like, are you paying for something quite fragile that won't last - well anything made in 1940 is by now very old, that's 80 years. A house made in 1940 will have required work over the years and will probably have had two or three replacement roofs (depending on where you live in the world), it'll have been painted many times, it will have had floor joists replaced, it will have been decorated and painted several times, and the original owner is most likely already dead. Any 80 year old piano is way past its best and is probably a candidate for a full rebuild PROVIDING it's a good/well known make of instrument in the first place!

Just being controversial here as you were, but I suspect you're not experienced enough with pianos, but go out into the world and play lots of different instruments, improve your playing, and see what world can open up to you in terms of sound.

I always wonder when someone talks about how one plays a single note. The only difference in sound a pianist can make is how loud the note is played. The key is pressed and escapement occurs, after which the hammer is disconnected from the key, and the sound is therefore not affected by previous key motions, except for loudness. Of course, one can play legato or staccato, pedaling has an effect on the sound coming from the piano, and so forth.


It’s absolutely true that the only think one can control is the speed of the key and therefore the speed of the hammer strike. What’s required is a technique that can allow an appropriate balance to occur between the notes, and a good singing legato line will be helped by a piano with a beautiful tone, and a piano that isn’t too harsh will allow a murmuring accompaniment with an incisive singing melody when required.


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. . . and you achieved that, magnificently, at that recital on the big, vintage Bluthner.

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I think I went to the same place as the OP a while ago and tried the Yamahas and the Bosendorfers...Yes the SX were really nice it was the first piano the SA encouraged me to try and he was quite excited to talk about it. I think it was the S3X though, not the 6.. also agree the bosendorfer 200 was mediocre, but did you try the 214 VC at the back though? I find that the difference is very substantial and the price is not that much higher. At that price point I would get the VC. But I agree that the SX is great great instrument and value for money.
The old Bosendorfers on the floors were meh. They had nice veneers though, but they were for customers looking for furniture piece..I'm sure with some preps they can a bit better ..

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I also have been to this shop... I think it's the only seller of Bosendorfer in Sydney. My favourite piano on the floor was the Yamaha S3X. I enjoyed the Bosendorfer (I think I tried the 200) but found the huge price difference not justifiable for my preferences/playing ability.

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Yes, that is so true.

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