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Originally Posted by OE1FEU
Originally Posted by Jethro
I think you can do better than that 1880's Steinway.

How many of these have you played?
I've played a couple of beautiful rebuilt one's at a conservatory. Maybe not that old, but close. That 1880's Steinway would need a lot of work as others have been saying.


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Yes, no, and maybe...It all depends on what HAS been done, what HAS NOT been done, and the relevant facility of satisfying the prospective owner.

As Dr. John Sarno so eloquently stated: "a successful cure depends on an accurate diagnosis". Or, put another way: "if you put water in the radiator when the car is simply out of gas, you ain't goin' nowhere".

Personally, I would need 88 notes to be perfectly happy since I use all 88 notes. So, the piano MIGHT sound fantastic, play like a dream, sustain like nobody's business...but I need those top three notes to be permanently happy. Someone who only plays music written within 7 octaves A-A would see it differently because they don't CARE about those top three notes. For that person, it could be a dream piano (and it would be three less notes I have to tune).

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Last edited by P W Grey; 09/15/21 04:34 PM.

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Originally Posted by P W Grey
Yes, no, and maybe...It all depends on what HAS been done, what HAS NOT been done, and the relevant facility of satisfying the prospective owner.
And regarding the work that HAS been done, there is the question of how WELL it was carried out.


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Yes, that was of course implied in the "what has been done" 😊

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Originally Posted by P W Grey
Yes, that was of course implied in the "what has been done" 😊

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


I thought it was covered by "the relevant facility of satisfying the prospective owner!" wink
Perhaps it's subsumed redundantly! thumb


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Lol!

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Hi All, We did the inspection. Here is the report. The action and hammer also seems to have been replaced, the hammers still have a lot of life. There seems no major job need to be done on the piano, The tuning blocks, tuning pins are in great state, though the dynamic range, tone, sustain all seems to be on the lower side, bridge down bearing is good but there is no crown on the soundboard.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/13jG2m93foLEfFvi1AT8nx4_x1k8hKVOL/view?usp=sharing

I would love to see your opinions. Thanks.

Last edited by yonion; 09/16/21 12:06 AM.
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Originally Posted by yonion
Hi All, We did the inspection. Here is the report. The action and hammer also seems to have been replaced, the hammers still have a lot of life. There seems no major job need to be done on the piano, The tuning blocks, tuning pins are in great state, though the dynamic range, tone, sustain all seems to be on the lower side, bridge down bearing is good but there is no crown on the soundboard.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/13jG2m93foLEfFvi1AT8nx4_x1k8hKVOL/view?usp=sharing

I would love to see your opinions. Thanks.

It's hard to know the qualitative/subjective measurements used, or their magnitude, but I'd be concerned about the unevenness noted between the bass, tenor and treble (uneven tone? uneven volume? ??), the "too mellow" and "too soft" noted in in "sound quality", and there are an awful lot of "poor"s noted in the dynamic range test.

Perhaps those things can be addressed with voicing. ??? (he gives no opinion or recommendations as far as I can tell).

There are a couple of "poor"s noted in the action, but I assume (?) they could be remedied with regulation. ?? (Again, no opinion or recommendations)


Did he give you any sort of summary advice or guidance?


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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Did he give you any sort of summary advice or guidance?

If he did, would you trust it?

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I said this before. I don’t think this seems like the best choice for your situation. You have a son who is trying to advance his playing skills. The stuff about unevenness of sound quality in the chromatic scale test, poor dynamic range, and problems playing softly are issues that he will find frustrating/limiting/problematic, if they cannot be adequately addressed. If the tech thinks there are easy fixes for these deficiencies, then maybe consider it. But I think it’s risky. I think you will find pianos out there in your price range that present significantly less risk for your situation, although they may not say Steinway on the fall board.
The way I read this report was that despite having had several parts replaced in this old piano, the old piano has a number of issues. Whether these can be easily remedied is more than I know. Others with more knowledge can comment on this. I think the soundboard issues mentioned in the report could possibly be significant. Can the problems with sustain and tone/dynamic range be attributed to the soundboard? I’d be concerned that there may not be straightforward fixes to some of the piano’s problems. Again, if I were buying a piano for my kid to learn on, I would not buy this one.

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I am just trying to understand the piano and have no intention either way. I think both tone and volumn are uneven.

He said reshaping the hammer and voicing may improve the sound quality but he isn’t that sure about how much. I think he also mentioned regulation at some point. Basically his recommendation is to treat it as a normal piano. If you like the sound and price is good, then it is ok to buy but don’t think it is a Steinway and assume it is better than other pianos in any way when making the decision.

Of course this is his opinion and whether we should trust that is another question.

Originally Posted by Retsacnal
It's hard to know the qualitative/subjective measurements used, or their magnitude, but I'd be concerned about the unevenness noted between the bass, tenor and treble (uneven tone? uneven volume? ??), the "too mellow" and "too soft" noted in in "sound quality", and there are an awful lot of "poor"s noted in the dynamic range test.

Perhaps those things can be addressed with voicing. ??? (he gives no opinion or recommendations as far as I can tell).

There are a couple of "poor"s noted in the action, but I assume (?) they could be remedied with regulation. ?? (Again, no opinion or recommendations)


Did he give you any sort of summary advice or guidance?

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How many times snd by how many people need to suggest snd re-suggest that this may nit be the right piano?

The OP has a lot of information to make a decision based on willingness to assume risk, investment in updates or accept flaws. Each of us have varied tolerance, risk acceptance and finances. I don’t see what else can be said as the decision on whether or not to buy is very personal.


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Thanks. At this stage, I am more interested in understand the piano than buying it.

Hopefully the knowledge I gained in evaluating this piano can be used elsewhere later.

Originally Posted by dogperson
How many times snd by how many people need to suggest snd re-suggest that this may nit be the right piano?

The OP has a lot of information to make a decision based on willingness to assume risk, investment in updates or accept flaws. Each of us have varied tolerance, risk acceptance and finances. I don’t see what else can be said as the decision on whether or not to buy is very personal.

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Originally Posted by yonion
Thanks. At this stage, I am more interested in understand the piano than buying it.

Hopefully the knowledge I gained in evaluating this piano can be used elsewhere later.

Originally Posted by dogperson
How many times snd by how many people need to suggest snd re-suggest that this may nit be the right piano?

The OP has a lot of information to make a decision based on willingness to assume risk, investment in updates or accept flaws. Each of us have varied tolerance, risk acceptance and finances. I don’t see what else can be said as the decision on whether or not to buy is very personal.
I’m not a technician in my line of work but I do treat repetitive stress injuries and I have treated several piano performance majors and former concert pianists in my practice. You mentioned your concern over a too heavy an action for your child in a Kawai. For one I know from my own experience that the perception is real but whether or not it affects ones playing in any negative way I think comes down to just preferences. Any good action including the excellent one in Kawais would be fine for your child so long as it is up to spec and well regulated. It doesn’t matter if the action is perceived as light or heavy. The potential issue with the piano you are looking at is that the action is uneven and the sound production is uneven which means your son would have to compensate for the pianos misgivings which would cause him to play with tension which introduces risk for injury. You want an action and sound to be predictable- to do what you want it to do. Also there is a difference between a piano action being light because its components are worn and an action designed to feel light. In the former case more stress is transferred to the tendons of the wrist and fingers rather than absorbed by bushings and other components which can also lead to repetitive stress injuries. This is one of the factors that one of my student patients had to deal with in the lousy pianos he surprisingly had to practice on in one of our countries most prestigious music institutions.

Last edited by Jethro; 09/16/21 08:38 AM.

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Originally Posted by yonion
Thanks. At this stage, I am more interested in understand the piano than buying it.

Hopefully the knowledge I gained in evaluating this piano can be used elsewhere later.

Originally Posted by dogperson
How many times snd by how many people need to suggest snd re-suggest that this may nit be the right piano?

The OP has a lot of information to make a decision based on willingness to assume risk, investment in updates or accept flaws. Each of us have varied tolerance, risk acceptance and finances. I don’t see what else can be said as the decision on whether or not to buy is very personal.

That is a somewhat rare position for this Forum. Nearly everyone is concerned about the prospective piano and only that piano, that they intend to buy. Background research is a good thing.


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I feel sorry for your student patients. I though pianos at good schools are good. Maybe they works too hard?

I definitely don't want it happen to my son. Assume I bought the piano, which may not happen, I don't think I would want my son to practice on the piano in the current form, at least not for long. I am wondering whether regulation and voicing can solve most of the problems. I feel regulation and voicing isn't super expensive and are common work done before or after the transaction of a used piano.

Originally Posted by Jethro
I’m not a technician in my line of work but I do treat repetitive stress injuries and I have treated several piano performance majors and former concert pianists in my practice. You mentioned your concern over a too heavy an action for your child in a Kawai. For one I know from my own experience that the perception is real but whether or not it affects ones playing in any negative way I think comes down to just preferences. Any good action including the excellent one in Kawais would be fine for your child so long as it is up to spec and well regulated. It doesn’t matter if the action is perceived as light or heavy. The potential issue with the piano you are looking at is that the action is uneven and the sound production is uneven which means your son would have to compensate for the pianos misgivings which would cause him to play with tension which introduces risk for injury. You want an action and sound to be predictable- to do what you want it to do. Also there is a difference between a piano action being light because its components are worn and an action designed to feel light. In the former case more stress is transferred to the tendons of the wrist and fingers rather than absorbed by bushings and other components which can also lead to repetitive stress injuries. This is one of the factors that one of my student patients had to deal with in the lousy pianos he surprisingly had to practice on in one of our countries most prestigious music institutions.

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Originally Posted by Retsacnal
It's hard to know the qualitative/subjective measurements used, or their magnitude, but I'd be concerned about the unevenness noted between the bass, tenor and treble (uneven tone? uneven volume? ??), the "too mellow" and "too soft" noted in in "sound quality", and there are an awful lot of "poor"s noted in the dynamic range test.

Perhaps those things can be addressed with voicing. ??? (he gives no opinion or recommendations as far as I can tell).

There are a couple of "poor"s noted in the action, but I assume (?) they could be remedied with regulation. ?? (Again, no opinion or recommendations)

I'm pretty sure a number of/most forum members would recommend not buying an instrument based on how you hope it will sound after recommended work.

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Assume we keep the acoustic assembly untouched and only improve the action. The sound is only going to be better. Is it?

Originally Posted by tend to rush
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
It's hard to know the qualitative/subjective measurements used, or their magnitude, but I'd be concerned about the unevenness noted between the bass, tenor and treble (uneven tone? uneven volume? ??), the "too mellow" and "too soft" noted in in "sound quality", and there are an awful lot of "poor"s noted in the dynamic range test.

Perhaps those things can be addressed with voicing. ??? (he gives no opinion or recommendations as far as I can tell).

There are a couple of "poor"s noted in the action, but I assume (?) they could be remedied with regulation. ?? (Again, no opinion or recommendations)

I'm pretty sure a number of/most forum members would recommend not buying an instrument based on how you hope it will sound after recommended work.

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Originally Posted by yonion
Assume we keep the acoustic assembly untouched and only improve the action. The sound is only going to be better. Is it?
It's just very hard to predict how much and what kind of effect voicing would have. Also, weren't there soundboard/crown concerns? Perhaps work could make it better. As to how much better and whether or not it would be to your taste (and tastes can vary quite a bit), that's really hard to predict.

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Originally Posted by Jethro
It doesn’t matter if the action is perceived as light or heavy. The potential issue with the piano you are looking at is that the action is uneven and the sound production is uneven which means your son would have to compensate for the pianos misgivings which would cause him to play with tension which introduces risk for injury. You want an action and sound to be predictable- to do what you want it to do. Also there is a difference between a piano action being light because its components are worn and an action designed to feel light. In the former case more stress is transferred to the tendons of the wrist and fingers rather than absorbed by bushings and other components which can also lead to repetitive stress injuries. This is one of the factors that one of my student patients had to deal with in the lousy pianos he surprisingly had to practice on in one of our countries most prestigious music institutions.

What the doctor is accurately describing is the fact that the brain is lightning fast at predicting what it expects from note to note (precisely the same as predicting the height of stairs being ascended or descended). This occurs within the first few notes played (or the first step taken). If subsequent notes to not sync with what the brain expects, it starts slowing down it's function because it now has to make calculations repeatedly on the fly knowing in advance that they may not be correct since it has already learned from experience that it cannot rely on any consistency in this situation (you do this consciously when descending a set of stairs that you sense are uneven...you slow down and hold the handrail...why?...because you want to avoid injury in the process)...all being done unconsciously behind the scenes but burning extra calories and using more processing power than it normally would.

The cure for this in a stairway is to rebuild it and make the stairs all EXACTLY the same height. Then one can literally run up and down the entire flight of stairs, sometimes even skipping one or two in the process without even thinking about it. Why? Because the brain now knows it can rely on the distances calculated and memorizes it, no longer needing to calculate on the fly.

The cure for this in a piano is called Strike Weight Calibration and was introduced to us techs by David Stanwood. But this is only the FIRST step. One must also evaluate the overall geometry in the action, make changes (if warranted) and regulate all notes to extreme consistency as allowed by the design. Then, one needs to give attention to the key leading for final touch. (There's other stuff too...)

As detailed as this report is, I find it lacking in the fact that no measurements of knuckle/centerline, hammer/centerpin, strike point, action ratio, shank pin friction, hammer make, hammer width, tail length, etc. are anywhere to be found (unless I missed it...please correct me if I am wrong). These are all things that have significant bearing on how costly it might be to correct it. I have to wonder if the one doing this report is even familiar with any of this stuff. I suspect not.

Pianists who have thfe luxury of playing on an instrument thus prepared, often remark about how easy it is to play, the control that they have, and how they can do things on it with ease that they cannot on other instruments. Also, repetitive stress issues have remarkably disappeared in some as a result...largely (I believe) as a result of the internal brain stress relieved by not having to think so hard in compensatory ways.

Once again my .02

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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