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#616121 - 02/08/02 09:46 PM Schimmel problems
raven Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/08/02
Posts: 6
Loc: Virginia
If anyone can advise, please do. I'm getting desperate.

I own an 8 year old Schimmel 130 upright, which I bought new. It is, of course, a beautiful instrument; however, it has never been playable. It has been repeatedly tuned, regulated, and voiced, and has a complete Dampp-Chaser climate control system, but it will not play. My technician is at his wit's end. There are strange buzzing and twanging and clumping sounds in some of the strings; some of the keys when depressed will not return properly; I have to use a very heavy touch on all the keys; repetition, trills, and turns are impossible to execute; when a key is raised, it stays up and will not return to a resting position.

My specialty is Chopin -- waltzes, preludes, and nocturnes -- which often require a delicate touch and many trills and turns. I sit in front of that gorgeous piano and cry because I cannot make music with it. I am neither a technician nor an accomplished musician, just a rather mediocre piano player, but I want this piano to sing like it was intended to sing. Today I was at a piano store in town, playing their display pianos, and even the cheapest little Conover Cable made my Schimmel sound horrid and me sound like an accomplished pianist.

Does anyone have any suggestions for my Schimmel?

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#616122 - 02/08/02 10:11 PM Re: Schimmel problems
reblder Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/21/01
Posts: 1237
Loc: Sherman Oaks, Calif.
All these problems should be called to the attention of the dealer who might in turn have another tech check this out. They're all correctable in fact and if there are in fact defective strings, the warrantee should cover that also.

#616123 - 02/08/02 11:06 PM Re: Schimmel problems
Palindrome Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/22/01
Posts: 3917
Loc: Chicago, IL USA
I've emailed the URL for this page to Schimmel, at their website (www.schimmel.de). Perhaps that will produce some results. Good luck with your sad situation.
There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians

#616124 - 02/09/02 01:01 PM Re: Schimmel problems
raven Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/08/02
Posts: 6
Loc: Virginia
Thanks, guys. I wish I could contact the seller, but he went out of business a couple of years ago. I have spoken by phone with the eastern regional rep, who is in the process of contacting Schimmel in Germany to see what they might provide. Hopefully, something will come of it. Thanks again.

I'll post the results, in case anyone else is having a similar problem. \:\)

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#616125 - 02/15/02 02:07 PM Re: Schimmel problems
Wayne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/01
Posts: 73
Loc: Houston, Texas

Have you heard anything for Schimmel yet? I am looking at a 130T myself.

#616126 - 02/21/02 12:56 AM Re: Schimmel problems
raven Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/08/02
Posts: 6
Loc: Virginia

No, I haven't heard a thing. I spoke with the rep in PA last week, and he said he hadn't received any word from Schimmel, either. Said he would call me as soon as he knew something.

Maybe it would have helped if the local dealer hadn't gone out of business, but I doubt it, since their tech never would come look at the piano. Schimmel pianos have an excellent reputation, but I can't say anything positive about customer service, at least here where I live. My own tech is waiting to hear from the regional rep, too, so we can decide where to go from here.

If you live in an area where there is a reputable dealer close by with a good tech, you should have no problem with a 130. If you're a good classical pianist, though, and if you have the room, think about a grand, even a used one. For what you have to pay for a new Schimmel upright, you probably can find a decent grand. If I had it to do over, that's the route I'd take, even if I had to pay a few thousand more.

#616127 - 02/22/02 01:48 AM Re: Schimmel problems
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 15233
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
I am plain puzzled!

What was that piano like in the showroom?

Schimmels are internationally known for complete excellence and total perfection in manufacturing!

You'd better tell them we're watching this
episode on the Forum...and better get some action.....

Something is VERY wrong here!!

Hit'em hard and....keep us posted!!

Norbert Marten
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642 www.eliteheritagepianos.ca Edmonton, Alta dealers for Estonia,
Brodmann 780-405-8908

#616128 - 03/03/02 12:23 AM Re: Schimmel problems
Wayne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/01
Posts: 73
Loc: Houston, Texas

I agree with Norbert, the Schimmel is a high quality piano right out of the factory.

How was the piano when you played it in the show room? I have played several Schimmel uprights and grands, and all were outstanding. I am very surprised that you have not received a response from Schimmel yet. I do find it very strange that the dealer would not send a tech to look at your piano. Perhaps they were already in the process of going under. You waited long enough and I believe you will have to contact Schimmel in Germany for some action. Here is a link to e-mail them but I would also write them at their factory.

Wilhelm Schimmel Pianofortefabrik GmbH
Friedrich-Seele-Straße 20

Have you followed up with your tech or regional rep lately? Did you verify that Schimmel in Germany is aware of your problem? The Germans do not stand for problems not being resolved and I am guessing that they have not been informed of your problem. Once they are aware of your problem and if this problem was no fault of your own, Schimmel will take care of it.

I did play a 130T a few weeks ago, what a wonderful instrument. Yes, it does come with a price tag and that was the only thing that kept me from taking it home. The craftsmanship is outstanding and the sound was clean and clear. As with most things you get what you pay for and the 130T is worth it. Unfortunately, I guess could not afford it. I ended up buying a Petrof 126. The Petrof has a rich and warm sound, it is not built like the Schimmel but then again I am not paying for one either.

#616129 - 03/05/02 11:37 AM Re: Schimmel problems
raven Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/08/02
Posts: 6
Loc: Virginia
Wayne and Norbert,

I spoke with the regional rep a few minutes ago, and he says that Schimmel will take care of the problems through my tech. What a relief.

In hindsight, I divide the responsibility for the problems between the dealer and myself. They didn't have my 130T in the showroom, so I didn't see or play it before I bought it. I bought it on the strength of Schimmel's reputation. The dealer promised that the piano would be regulated and tuned by their guy before delivery, but it wasn't. Then he wouldn't come to my house to do the work. Then they told me to find my own tech, and they would pay for whatever needed to be done, which I did and they did. My tech is good, and the only RPT in this rather rural area. He has spent a lot of time and effort trying to help me, and is waiting for word to replace the loose center pins and whatever else needs doing. Hopefully after the seasonal temperature and humidity changes and other vicissitudes, and some hard work by my tech with the help of the regional rep and Schimmel, my piano will be the one I hoped I bought in the first place. If it is, it will be worth the price and the hassle. I've always preferred playing uprights, for some reason, but have been on the verge of going after a grand. If things work out, thought, I'll keep my gorgeous upright, and will play it as long as my fingers will move.

I appreciate all your responses. They have been very comforting and reassuring, and helped me keep my hope and determination and my Schimmel. \:D

#616130 - 03/08/02 03:27 PM Re: Schimmel problems
Wayne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/01
Posts: 73
Loc: Houston, Texas
Glad to hear that everything is starting to come together for you. I knew Schimmel would come through for you.

I am very interested in what the tech has to do to solve your problem so please keep us updated on your progress.

#616131 - 04/17/02 11:21 AM Re: Schimmel problems
raven Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/08/02
Posts: 6
Loc: Virginia
Finally. Now my Schimmel sings, thanks to the regional rep and my longsuffering tech. The repetition problems in the higher octaves were fixed by resetting the hammer checks closer to the strings. They had previously been set according to Schimmel specs, but the hammers were checking too far from the strings to enable fast repetition. The buzzes were removed by loosening the offending bass strings and giving them a twist (I'm not sure what the technical term is for that). Most of the clicks were a result of the key slip being too close to the keys, which was easily remedied. A mysterious buzz that happened only when playing the third F up from middle C turned out to be a loose nut in the piece that holds the action supports. My tech also carefully loosened and lubricated the keys at the rail so that they fall back into position when raised.

We're going to do another tuning soon, since the weather has changed. My Schimmel has always played better during the summer months, and it loves humid weather. It has held its tuning, but we're going to do it again.

So far, so good. The only glitches in my Chopin renderings are my own. Happy day.

Thanks again for your interest and help. I love my Schimmel. It just took awhile.

#616132 - 04/17/02 02:15 PM Re: Schimmel problems
Wayne Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/01
Posts: 73
Loc: Houston, Texas
Great News \:D

#616133 - 04/19/02 01:10 AM Re: Schimmel problems
David Burton Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/28/01
Posts: 1759
Loc: Coxsackie, New York
I insist again, and this is by no means the only saga of its kind I’ve heard, that all this “right from the factory” stuff one hears is no substitute for on site prep by the dealer and as one “develops” one’s piano, by your chosen piano technician. And as far as “adjustments to manufacturer’s specs” goes, each and every piano is different, even identical models, especially among the really fine makes like Schimmel, and therefore adjustments must be made based on the individual piano’s requirements. Anyone who reads this thread, and I certainly hope all potential piano buyers on this website do so, should come away with the following considerations:

1. Buying a piano sight unseen is risky.
2. Taking delivery of a new piano that is in obviously poor playing condition should be avoided. THE DEALER HAS NO LEGITIMATE EXCUSES. The piano must play, be in tune, must sound without extra noise, the pedals must work without squeaking, etc. they try and get away with it. What would they be if they were selling new cars that were out of tune? No, insist on a piano that has been adequately prepared to be sold.
3. Buying any piano solely based on reputation is likewise foolish. We have tried for as long as I have been contributing to this forum, to nail down exactly what characteristics define a particular manufacturer’s piano. With few exceptions, it’s pretty difficult.
4. Even with YAMAHA, known for its consistency, the points above still apply.

I remember going into a Petrof dealer a while back. He had a few V’s and a few VI’s. HE WOULD ONLY LET ME PLAY THE PIANOS THAT WERE IN ADEQUATE PREP. When I approached one that wasn’t, he closed the piano and gave me a firm look, “no, it’s not ready.” I thanked him for that.

If you buy a new piano from a dealer, I don’t care what it is, INSIST ON ADEQUATE PREP.
David Burton's Blog

#616134 - 04/21/02 11:55 AM Re: Schimmel problems
Larry Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 9217
Loc: Deep in Cherokee Country
Schimmel is an excellent piano. Every problem you described should have been caught and fixed on the first visit by the servicing technician. None of them were rocket science, none of them were complicated. I think your problem was more the technician you are using than the piano itself, and as a result of his fumbling around it only aggravated things in your mind, and scared you about your piano needlessly. I can't imagine the things you describe as problems not being found on the first visit by a first year student tech.

That said, now that you've got your Schimmel in top shape, I'd recommend that you shop around for a technician to use in the future who is a little more capable than the one you've been using.
Life isn't measured by the breaths you take. Life is measured by the things that left you breathless

#616135 - 04/22/02 12:29 AM Re: Schimmel problems
raven Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 02/08/02
Posts: 6
Loc: Virginia
Well, I admit to feeling like I've been eaten by wild dogs and pooped over a cliff in this whole mess. Living in the armpit of the US like I do doesn't help when one is looking for a primo piano technician. There just aren't any. That's no excuse, but I took a long shot gamble, and lost. Of course, the piano is fine now, I think, but it certainly shouldn't have taken so long. This has been a very expensive and exhausting lesson, believe me. I hope anyone else in a similar situation will get a clue from my experience; I also hope no one else is so stupid as to do such an asinine thing as buying a high priced piano, sight unseen, with no one to work on it. Not one of my better moments, for sure.

Advice and scoldings appreciated, appropriate steps will be taken.


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