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Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340038
11/19/03 11:03 PM
11/19/03 11:03 PM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 363
Illinois (Chicago Area)
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KevinIQ77 Offline OP
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Good evening all.

After some probing (e-mail to Geneva International and a message to the dealer), the owner of the dealer selling the Petrof confirmed that the Petrof IV I was considering does have Imategawa hammers. I was under the impression that he did not think that they were a good match for that piano, and that's the first he's learned that a recent Petrof had such a hammer.

Because this particular Petrof has been on the floor since 2002, and the owner thinks that I'd be happier with hammers that are more appropriately voiced for a Petrof grand, he will get another Petrof IV with Abel hammers (his preferred hammer), brand new, out of the box, and sell it to me at the same price if I like it. That seems like a very good faith effort to get my business.

In the meantime...I revisited the Estonia 5 ft 6 in. The dealer came down in price a little, but it's still $2K more than the Petrof. I really like the Estonia; I think it's a great piano. But I don't think it's $2K MORE piano than the Petrof, even though the salesperson indicated that Petrofs are of lower quality (less attention to soundboards used, pinblock problems). If the price difference had be lower, I probably would have bought the Estonia.

Instead, since the Petrof dealer is trying to be so accommodating, I'd like to give the Petrof another chance. I may have missed the boat on the Estonia (it had two deposits on it, in addition to mine), but I like both of these pianos very well and think I could be happy with either.

The quest continues...but I am tempted to throw in the towel!!

Kevin

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Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340039
11/19/03 11:48 PM
11/19/03 11:48 PM
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Posts: 345
Calgary
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I'm a fan of the Petrof, however with the choice between a Petrof IV and the Estonia, I would go with the Estonia. If its' a recent Estonia, it should have the Renner hammers and action.

That in itself is worth the 2K right there, assuming that the hammers and the action on the Petrof IV is not Renner. smile

Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340040
11/20/03 01:33 AM
11/20/03 01:33 AM
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Surrey, B.C.
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While this is clear logic, some people may still prefer,of course, to go the other way.

It's as usual, a matter of personal taste.

However,if Petrof really uses Imagedawa hammers, I would consider this certainly a European first.

I know that some people pay a small fortune for having their pianos rebuilt with top quality German action and hammers. :rolleyes:

At least, Estonia comes with those already when brand spanking....

...NEW! wink

norbert


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642
Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340041
11/20/03 10:24 AM
11/20/03 10:24 AM
Joined: Oct 2002
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Illinois (Chicago Area)
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KevinIQ77 Offline OP
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My impression is that Petrof's use of Imategawa hammers is very unusual, but I don't have numbers.

I will have to admit that I'm annoyed that a manufacturer would use a variety of components and not inform the customer or dealer. Althought I think Petrofs are excellent pianos, I'm starting to see why some dealers prefer the Estonias to the Petrofs. They don't like surprises and inconsistencies any more than consumers do.

If the Petrof dealer had been difficult to work with and had made all sorts of excuses as to why it's ok to have Imategawa hammers in that particular piano just to make the sale, then I would have bought the Estonia without hesitation. However, since the Petrof dealer is working very hard to make a sale, and I do think the Abel hammers would complement the Petrof, I want to give him a chance.

This decision is VERY difficult. I wanted to buy that Estonia...as Norbert points out, all of the "advertised" components are in the piano, I played it, and it's ready to roll. The next Petrof IV is a mystery...it's not yet available at the dealer, and so I haven't played it, and what if it has some "surprise" components/problems? Then I will have gambled and lost out on on the Estonia.

I must admit that I have a twinge of "non-buyers remorse" this morning.

Kevin

Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340042
11/20/03 11:34 AM
11/20/03 11:34 AM
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Indiana
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Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340043
11/20/03 11:45 AM
11/20/03 11:45 AM
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Olympia, WA
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Olympia, WA
According to their website, Prambergers have "Platinum Touch Actions", "Special Knuckle Designs", "Hexagonal Hammer Shanks", and "Felt from Around the World."

No Renners, Abels, Isaacs, Imagedawas, or any of this other stuff.

Felt from Bangladesh. confused

(One might be tempted to actually play the pianos and decide which of them one likes better. NOT!) cool

Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340044
11/20/03 11:51 AM
11/20/03 11:51 AM
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Posts: 14,221
Louisiana
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How do you like the tone of the Petrof with the Imadagawa(sp?) hammers? They are not sub-standard hammers, and many re-builders are quite fond of them.

I like the Estonia piano, but I also like the Petrof IV, and for 2K less, ....

All things being equal, that's 2K worth of piano lessons, or enough for a Damp-Chaser, and a butt-load of tech fine-tuning.


www.coffee-room.com

Over 1.4M (and counting) posts where pianists discuss everything. And nothing.
Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340045
11/20/03 12:01 PM
11/20/03 12:01 PM
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Posts: 1,731
Indiana
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Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340046
11/20/03 12:03 PM
11/20/03 12:03 PM
Joined: Sep 2001
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Olympia, WA
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Everything from Bangladesh has a bright gold sticker on it! (At least the advertised components aren't a "mystery".)

I am waiting with baited breath for the septagonal hammer shank design (was that one of the Steinway patents?) cool

Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340047
11/20/03 12:37 PM
11/20/03 12:37 PM
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Kevin,

Some manufacturers have switched from one supplier to another for various reasons, but this sounds like a situation in which the manufacturer uses whatever is in stock that day. One of the two hammers probably sounds better in a Petrof IV. But which is it? And why doesn't the manufacturer just stick with that supplier?

If it is to give the consumer a choice, then sell the piano as two different models.

However, two thousand dollars is too much to ignore--and the Petrof is bit bigger. I could have sworn that Estonias cost less than Petrofs when I was shopping in January.

What do the other Petrofs/Weinbachs at the dealer use for hammers? Can you tell, despite the piano size differences, what hammers are used? Do you like the sound of the Petrof IV with the Imedagawa hammers? Maybe that is enough.

By the way, does the dealer still have that magnificent Foerster 190? I would have loved to have owned it, but 40K was way out of my range.

Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340048
11/20/03 12:44 PM
11/20/03 12:44 PM
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Indiana
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Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340049
11/20/03 01:14 PM
11/20/03 01:14 PM
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Illinois (Chicago Area)
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Jolly,

I liked the sound of the piano -- AFTER it was voiced and regulated. I still detected a somewhat "harsh," almost metallic, sound when I pounded down on the keys, particularly in the treble. Before it was voiced, it was harsh/metallic and unpleasantly bright up and own the keyboard. But voicing made a huge difference...for the better.

The tech and the dealership's owner both said that they would not choose Imategawa hammers, as good as they may be, for a Petrof. In other pianos, they can be a good match. The just get too hard and create an unpleasantly bright sound sooner than other types of hammers. The tech said that they don't hold the voicing as well as Renner or Abel. The owner (who is also a technician) likes the Abel hammers for Petrofs and confirmed that he could get one for me with them.

And the $2K difference cannot be ignored...I've been checking around, and some very helpful people (recent buyers, techs, and even some dealers) have informed me that the price of the Estonia's a bit high. If I want an Estonia, I'll have to pay the premium to get it.

MarkS,

The metallic tone, even after voicing, may have been a foreshadowing of the tone yet to come on that piano. I don't know what types of hammers are in the other Petrofs and Weinbachs on the floor; I didn't ask. I'm not really picky about the name of the hammer -- Renner blue seems to be one of the hot names right now -- but I do know that spec sheets state that Petrof grands have "Petrof/Renner" action, and I consider hammers part of the action.

The dealer has an impressive Forster (I forget which model -- probably the one you mentioned), but it's way too big and $$$$ for me!!! (Lucky the person who can own that magnificent piano!)

Thanks to all for the feedback and insights.

Kevin

Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340050
11/20/03 01:54 PM
11/20/03 01:54 PM
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Alex Hernandez Offline
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lb,

If the hard pressed imadegawa hammer is a better fit for the piano what does that say about the soundboard itself?




Blüthner USA, LLC
Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340051
11/20/03 03:12 PM
11/20/03 03:12 PM
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Indiana
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Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340052
11/20/03 03:25 PM
11/20/03 03:25 PM
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Alex Hernandez Offline
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lb,

Sorry, I should be more specific.

If the function of the soundboard is to amplify and resonate the energy from the strings, then isn't it's ability to distribute and hold onto that energy for as long as possible an indication of it's quality?

And isn't quality defined by not only the type of spruce used but the skill in achieveing this function?

Won't a maker ability to overcome the rigidity on a board effect the hammer he chooses?

If a soundboard is to rigid won't it benefit from a hotpressed hammer's ability to deliver more energy into the soundboard?




Blüthner USA, LLC
Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340053
11/20/03 03:34 PM
11/20/03 03:34 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
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North County San Diego CA
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I am very much with lb on this issue. I have always maintained that the most important factors in judging piano quality are company "commitment to quality" and "know how". All the sales points about the brand of this part or that, or who the scale designer is all fly out the window in the real world, as the worst pianos can be built from the best brand name parts, while a great piano can be built from parts no one ever heard of before.

I don't care what brand of hammer goes in. The question is does the maker know what they are doing with them? If they do know what they are doing with them, then it won't matter what brand they are. And if they *don't* know what they are doing with them, it still won't matter, unless they just happen to get lucky.

The same thing goes for rebuilders as well. I cannot respect the idea that the quality of rebuilding is to be judged by how many old parts were taken out and new parts put in or what the brand of those parts is. This kind of information tells you very little of what is useful to know.

Regards,

Rick Clark


Rick Clark

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Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340054
11/20/03 03:46 PM
11/20/03 03:46 PM
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Alex Hernandez Offline
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So we all agree that the makers vision for the piano should dictate the parts used.

But doesn't the quality of materials and execution of design also dictate materials used to some degree?




Blüthner USA, LLC
Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340055
11/20/03 04:37 PM
11/20/03 04:37 PM
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Okemos, MI
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10% or 15% the cost of the piano, amortized over decades...ya gotta get what you want, not what you'll just be "satisfied" with. You worry about it now, but once you get the piano home you'll never think about it again. No one ever does.

You can also try shopping around for a cheaper price. I took an 18-hour bus ride to buy a car once. You won't have to go that far to save $2K. smile


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Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340056
11/20/03 08:09 PM
11/20/03 08:09 PM
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North County San Diego CA
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Alex,

My point is that the maker with high-quality intentions and know-how already knows how to select the right materials and parts for the job, and how to put them into the condition needed to achieve the desired end result. The end user need not be concerned about what forest the wood came from or under what national flag the hammer was created.

The high quality maker also excels at execution and does not have to depend heavily on gimmicky sales talk as regards
the "famous" piano designer, design "features" etc.

However, a mediocre piano maker needs to brag about the brand of the parts, or the forest of the wood, or the country the part comes from in order to impress the consumer with something. They don't have a lot to brag about in terms of the actual skill of designing and building great pianos.

On the subject of hammers for instance, I don't know of any "bad" hammers available through my parts suppliers these days. Abel, Renner, Imadegawa, Ronsen, Yadda, Yadda, and Yadda. But we both know that some people make much better pianos than others, and the brand name of the parts has almost nothing to do with it.

Anyway, that's the point I am trying to make.

As to specific subjects such as the selection of very expensive or scarce soundboard woods, from Stradivarius forests (or whatever the hype is), I think each specific subject should be argued separately. If we're talking about soundboards for instance, I think there are a lot of long-standing beliefs about wood selection that have very little credibility in terms of what can be proven scientifically. They are craftsman's beliefs that have been passed down over many generations, but that doesn't mean the original reasoning behind them is correct. For instance, the evidence seems to show that the concept that you need X grains-per-inch for a good soundboard is total hooey. And the idea that some Stradivariusness will rub off on a piano that got their sounboard wood from the same forest as the violins is to me comedy-- partly for what we are supposed to assume about the piano, but also because of what we are suposed to assume about the Stradivarius instrument ( a whole 'nother subject that could use a good dose of iconoclasty IMHO)

Regards,

Rick Clark


Rick Clark

Piano tuner-technician
Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340057
11/20/03 11:58 PM
11/20/03 11:58 PM
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Calgary
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Kevin,

See what sort of deal you can get in a PIII. The ones I've seen recently have the Renner action and Renner Hammers. The dealer may even swing you the deal of a lifetime that you can't refuse. Then your destiny will become more clearer.

At the same time, shop the Estonia around and even see what other dealers can swing you on the 6'3". On a larger piano, you may find the tone and sound differences dramatic. On the mid fives range, the bass strings seem to cut off a tad short.

If I was you, I would get on that phone and phone Dealers within a few states and get pricings, and details. Price compare, research, ask questions, get comfortable, and make that purchase! smile

Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340058
11/21/03 09:44 AM
11/21/03 09:44 AM
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Kevin,

I wonder if the other Petrofs have that same metallic sound. In other words, can it be attributed to the hammers or to the rest of the piano? That might influence your decision. Maybe the dealer has Petrofs (other sizes of course) with Abel or Renner hammers which sound fine. Then you might be comfortable with the purchase of a Petrof IV with Abel hammers.

Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340059
11/21/03 11:35 AM
11/21/03 11:35 AM
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Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340060
11/21/03 12:16 PM
11/21/03 12:16 PM
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Illinois (Chicago Area)
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KevinIQ77 Offline OP
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lb,

You bring up some interesting points. I will have to say that I have heard a lot of negativity from primarily the Estonia dealer about almost every other piano in the industry that I considered, all of which have been in Larry Fine's Tier 2 list. Of them all, Petrof is the most often criticized.

The Walter/Mason and Hamlin, Steinberg, Petrof, Yamaha, etc. dealers that I have visited were very professional: they did focus on what made their pianos great, but they did not rip apart the competition.

I do need to say that I did like the Petrof IV with the Imategawa hammers after it had been voiced. The first time I played it, though, it sound harsh and metallic -- just kind of "ugly," but I thought it had potential. After voicing and regulating, it played and sounded like a different piano. However...when I did "bang" the keys, I STILL heard that brightness/metallic harshness, particularly in the treble, but not nearly to the same degree.

The tech said that those hammers will harden and need voicing sooner than the other types, and over the long term, the "harshness" will worsen and voicing won't stop the problem -- only new hammers will.

Kevin

Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340061
11/21/03 12:50 PM
11/21/03 12:50 PM
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Sorry that my comment seemed ridiculous. Yes, I am an Estonia owner. However, I did not recommend that he pay 2K extra for one. Quite the contrary. Nor do I think that he should be pressured by the Estonia dealer. Having been through that tactic with car dealers and real estate agents, I've resolved that if anyone tries it again I will withdraw my offer and let the other individual go ahead and buy it.

I still believe that apparently random selection of parts raises questions. I haven't forgotten those who paid a premium for an Olds Rocket V8 and got a Chevy motor instead. The major difference here is that the piano manufacturer has not been deceptive. Obviously the manufacturer does not feel that there is any qualitative difference and therefore doesn't make any claim as to what hammers are used. In such circumstances it is reasonable to expect them to use whatever is readily available or cheapest at the time.

However, the dealer himself was negative about the hammers...and has done a better job of planting doubts in the customer's mind than anyone else. With a little luck, the Petrof IV in the warehouse will be just what Kevin wants.

I'm glad that this dealer is willing to work with him. They weren't much interested in negotiating with me on any piano except a Weber WSG 57. It wouldn't surprise me if that is the very same Foerster 190, nine months later. What a piano!

Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340062
11/21/03 12:55 PM
11/21/03 12:55 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Kevin:

I do need to say that I did like the Petrof IV with the Imategawa hammers after it had been voiced. ... However...when I did "bang" the keys, I STILL heard that brightness/metallic harshness, particularly in the treble, but not nearly to the same degree.

...

The tech said that those hammers will harden and need voicing sooner than the other types, and over the long term, the "harshness" will worsen and voicing won't stop the problem -- only new hammers will.

Kevin,

I have had the good fortune to try out bunches of new Petrofs recently before knowing anything about what hammer or what action or whatnot they put inside, or where and how they wer made. And with that uninformed (hence in this case also arguably less biased) frame of mine, I came away also thinking that the Petrofs have more "metalic" quality in its tone.

That entirely subjective observation was discussed here:

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=005047#000016

All hammers get brighter the more they are played. It's just a matter of degree.

If a piano sounds good to you, go for it. If it's not good enough for your ears, keep shopping. I believe very strongly that whien buying a musical instrument, a piano buyer's fingers and ears should have more say about which piano to buy than specifications, brand names of components, or even the brand name of the whole piano.

Good luck! smile

Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340063
11/21/03 02:12 PM
11/21/03 02:12 PM
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Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340064
11/21/03 05:29 PM
11/21/03 05:29 PM
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Alex Hernandez Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by lb:
Alex

Your use of selected adjectives like hard pressed is obviously meant to plant negative seeds in peoples minds, it also exposes your bias in this case.
lb, the conclusions you have reached are wrong. The manner in which you present them can only be looked on as an attack.

I posed questions in this thread that were meant to invite intelligent discussion about the piano, it's components and the bearing their quality has on it's performance.

Are you suggesting that a cold pressed and a hot pressed hammer sound the same out of the box? Are both hammers going to deliver the same tone on the same piano? This isn't a question of quality as much as taste. The issue of quality I raised was directed at the soundboards preparation and installation.

BTW I didn't mean to say "hard" but hot pressed". This was a stupid oversite on my part.

Quote
Originally posted by lb:
It seems that the Estonia dealers here are trying to take a perceived weakness in a competitor and blow it out of proportion.
Don't confuse me with anyone else here lb.
I am very comfortable speaking clearly and for myself. My comments were in no way intended to mold a perception about any of my suppliers or their competitors. Their instruments speak for themselves; good or otherwise remains the decision of the person sitting on the bench.

Quote
Originally posted by lb:
The discussion was about hammers and Norbert expanded it to actions and now you go to soundboards. We also had a ridiculous comment about day to day use of materials from someone that just happened to be an Estonia owner. Coincidence? Before you guys drag this thread to the casters or the cartons used for packing the piano, lets clear up some things.
lb why not address each question individually? Why assume some evil Estonian conspiracy when infact we all had separate reasons for bringing up these valid points.

Quote
Originally posted by lb:

No, you didnt consider anything except taking the all to common occurrence of most salesmen not knowing the specifications of their pianos, and blowing it out of proportion.
lb you don't know me, my work or my skill set.
You don't know my training or history with my makers. To suggest I don't know my pianos is very puzzling to me. Would be so kind as to justify this remark?

Quote
Originally posted by lb:
Norbert is notorious for this, but Alex I thought you were above it. Lets address the hammers and actions and then if you would like we can discuss soundboard quality.
lb, Norbert and I were making different points for perhaps different reasons.
The instruments ability to project and resonate (soundboard) is relevant to this conversation and worthy of discussion.


Quote
Originally posted by lb:
Anatoli Stulove one of the most prominent researchers in the field of piano acoustics and piano hammers has determined, and published, that Imadegowa, Renner, and Abel hammers when ordered to the same specifications are equal in performance and quality.
I would love to read this study, is there a link?

Quote
Originally posted by lb:
Dr. Siegfried Hofman, the President of Renner said, and I quote The heart of an action is the wippen, and if the action has a Renner wippen it is a Renner action. Where the rest of the parts come from and where it was assembled is of little significance.
This sounds like a company president protecting the integrity of his product regardless of the skill set of the worker who puts it together. I think it strains anyones credibility to suggest that the quality of the hammer,shank,knuckle or bushing cloth have no effect on the actions perfromance. This is not an argument that would be made by a high level technician working in the field day to day.

Quote
Originally posted by lb:
Alex, I would like you and Norbert to prove these guys wrong. If you could, use facts and statistics, but please refrain from using salesmen opinions and selective adjectives, and Norbert put your court jester personality on the shelf for a while.

lb
lb, Norbert Martin is his own man and can speak for himself. He and I were making different points for perhaps different reasons.

My opinions come from my experience in the field servicing pianos in the home, in schools and on the concert stage.

I suggest you receive them as such let's resume this discussion as professionals.

Also lb would you reveal who you are and what your track record is? I have been open about who I am from day 1 on this forum. I would like you to consider returning the courtesy.




Blüthner USA, LLC
Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340065
11/21/03 07:13 PM
11/21/03 07:13 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,406
Surrey, B.C.
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Norbert  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,406
Surrey, B.C.
O.k. I accept the invitation: let's talk about casters then for a moment.

It's the perfect place to 'show class' for a manufacturer should he happen to mean it.

To put on a $15.00 caster on a $20 k plus piano or a $ 50.00 one,IMHO, also tells something about the manufacturer's intention when building 'the rest of the piano'.

Or a $ 10.00 lid hinge as opposed to one that is easily twice,three times the price.

How about benches?

Let's shove a $ 50.00 wooden marvel in front of the piano as long as the piano can be sold as "world class-handbuilt piano" to the unsuspecting customer.

But there's one consolation for those who see me as a ruthless marketeer for Estonia here:

Estonia prices are going up in 2004..no question!

And will leave a whole lot of ....er..

" genuinely cheaper " pianos behind in their way!

Ende gut, alles gut! smile

norbert


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642
Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340066
11/21/03 07:24 PM
11/21/03 07:24 PM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 4,271
Olympia, WA
S
shantinik Offline
4000 Post Club Member
shantinik  Offline
4000 Post Club Member
S

Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 4,271
Olympia, WA
When is Indryk going to install a "Platinum Touch Action"? eek cool

Re: Petrof Hammer Update (Surprise!!) #340067
11/21/03 07:27 PM
11/21/03 07:27 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,406
Surrey, B.C.
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Norbert  Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,406
Surrey, B.C.
If this happens to refer to...ahem...Pramberger,I have bad news.

They are coming now with genuine and complete platinum coated RENNER actions!!

norbert laugh


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642
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