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New Estonia Grands #647675
02/08/03 03:11 PM
02/08/03 03:11 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 18
E
eric Offline OP
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There seems to be a lot of raving about the Estonia grands of today. Just curious to get some tech view about why this piano is performing so much better. I understand that they too have Renner action, but delivers a sweet and mellower sound. Could someone please review this piano from a tech standpoint on sound, action, materials, etc. - pros and cons. Furthermore, will these newer Estonias be easily maintainable in the future?

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Re: New Estonia Grands #647676
02/08/03 10:57 PM
02/08/03 10:57 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,253
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Offline
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Hello eric,

I think the key is that they get alot of technical TLC before they are let out of the factory. The pianos have been arriving at the dealership well regulated, artistically voiced, and in tune!

Also, the veneers and matching of grain has improved tremendously over the past few years.

Thats it in a nutshell.

Hope that helps.


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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Re: New Estonia Grands #647677
05/13/03 11:53 PM
05/13/03 11:53 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 15,433
Surrey, B.C.
Norbert Offline
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Since the Laul family took over the factory only few years ago, there's been a total committment to real perfection of the instrument in every detail.

Mr.Venno Laul,Senior,a man of great pride and distinction, is now personally head of their tough and uncompromising quality control department and there are few things that could escape these guys' eyes and/or attention these days.

It's one of the great accomplishments of the Estonia factory - and it certainly goes to their full credit - to bring the standard of their present pianos to absolute top notch world class in just a few short years.

I remember that one thing these guys did from the beginning was to really listen to us dealers out in the field.

And act on it.

They're now reaping the results of their effort.

norbert


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642
Re: New Estonia Grands #647678
05/14/03 07:50 AM
05/14/03 07:50 AM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 808
NL, Canada
Samejame Offline
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Norbert said,
Quote
to bring the standard of their present pianos to absolute top notch world class in just a few short years.
So, Norbert,

How far back do you go before you reach dates of manufacture to avoid with Estonia, (and Petrof as well for that matter, as they have both seem to have enjoyed a renaissance of sorts).

Jamie


"A cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing" Oscar Wilde.
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Re: New Estonia Grands #647679
05/14/03 01:46 PM
05/14/03 01:46 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 647
South Africa
Brian Lawson, RPT Offline
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South Africa
I've only seen and worked on Estonia's from the early 80's and they weren't great then. I think really becasue of the political scene of Russia at the time. Since then politics have changed and by getting US$ for their pianos and can afford to do more to them because their cost of living is very low. So, econmics and rightmindedness.
wink


Brian Lawson, RPT
Johannesburg
South Africa

http://www.lawsonic.co.za
Re: New Estonia Grands #647680
05/14/03 04:19 PM
05/14/03 04:19 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 11,253
Philadelphia/South Jersey
Rich Galassini Offline
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Brian,

You said it!


Rich Galassini
Cunningham Piano Co.
Phila, Pa.
(215) 991-0834 direct line
rich@cunninghampiano.com
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Re: New Estonia Grands #647681
05/14/03 06:51 PM
05/14/03 06:51 PM
Joined: Jul 2001
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Surrey, B.C.
Norbert Offline
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Samejame:

Estonia grands,at least since we had become dealer only seven years ago, have always been very nice but the improvements and attention to detail in especially the last 2 years have been nothing short of dramatic.

They're at a point now where, straight out of the crate,they're in perfect tune,perfectly regulated and voiced and virtually ready for delivery to customer.

And they start to seriously eat into my rather fussy and selective "German piano only" customer crowd.

"Bad boys"!! laugh

norbert


www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642
Re: New Estonia Grands #647682
05/14/03 08:21 PM
05/14/03 08:21 PM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 4,016
Madison, WI USA
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Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
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I am a technician of 34 years, never sold a piano in my life. This writer asked for the opinion of technicians, not dealers but what did he get? He got the usual dealer responses. Whatever piano it is, they get the same kind of praise from the people who sell them. I'm only surprised that there was no badmouthing from the dealers who don't sell them.

I particularly get concerned when I see this kind of comment:

"They're at a point now where, straight out of the crate,they're in perfect tune,perfectly regulated and voiced and virtually ready for delivery to customer."

It's been said about every brand, believe me.

I have tuned the new Estonia grands now for several years, whenever it was that they came on the market. Generally, my impression has been that they were nice. The dealer I do contract work for puts a lot more into preparation than most dealers do, that's why I choose to work for him. He is also an RPT of more than 30 years.

The comments I hear do agree with what's been said. The old Estonia factory under Soviet Communism put out a poor product. The new, independently owned, free enterprise for profit factory has a Nationalist fervor to the way it does business. It does listen to and act upon comments from customers, technicians and dealers and it does honor its warranties.

I have personally seen defects which were showing up be corrected. All technicians have pianos they look forward to tuning and servicing and those they love to hate. For me, the Estonias I service are always pianos I look forward to as better than average instruments. They are not the absolute pinnacle of quality but they are a very good buy for the money spent.

I'd suggest supporting a small manufacturer who is really trying hard to make a unique and high quality product rather than a mass produced, questionable quality product from South Korea or China.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
Re: New Estonia Grands #647683
05/15/03 05:48 PM
05/15/03 05:48 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 192
philadelphia
R
richard_dup1 Offline
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philadelphia
Bill said, "For me, the Estonias I service are always pianos I look forward to as better than average instruments. They are not the absolute pinnacle of quality but they are a very good buy for the money spent."

What pianos reach that "absolute pinnacle" level, in your experience?


Richard
Re: New Estonia Grands #647684
05/15/03 05:54 PM
05/15/03 05:54 PM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 3,770
Hamilton Twp, NJ
curry Offline
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Hamilton Twp, NJ
Richard,take a guess,you own one! laugh


G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
Dampp-Chaser installations, piano appraisals. PTG S.Jersey Chapter 080.
Bösendorfer 214 # 47,299 214-358
Re: New Estonia Grands #647685
05/15/03 06:41 PM
05/15/03 06:41 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 192
philadelphia
R
richard_dup1 Offline
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philadelphia
curry,
You certainly don't mean that silly Boesendorfer sitting in my living room! That's just a toy I'm enjoying until someone (a tech with 30+ years of experience, preferably) enlightens me with the pinnacle of pianistic perfectitude. laugh laugh

Seriously, how much, through a technician's eyes, does it matter whether you set off to work on a 10-year-old Estonia, a new M&H grand, or a 100-year-old Steinway? I imagine that my fingers & ears (as a player) tell me something starkly different from what you experience as a technician. Just because I love playing & listening to my Boesie doesn't mean that a technician will love working on it, does it? confused


Richard
Re: New Estonia Grands #647686
05/15/03 07:07 PM
05/15/03 07:07 PM
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 3,028
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Ariel Offline
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Speaking as someone considering an Estonia, I glanced at the postings in this Tech Forum which I have mostly stayed clear of (fearing it was too technical!).

As I read over the replies to eric, is appears to me that noone has really addressed his original questions, except in general terms - that is, (more) excellent prep and responsiveness from the company have made a huge difference especially in the last two years (plus some marketplace factors).

Granted, he asked a bunch of things - but could someone please address themelves to his inquiries about the components and materials - or don't they make a difference?

Also, I have heard from a large, highly reputable dealer who used to carry Estonias, that he is still dealing with problems from Estonias they sold only a few years ago - especially legs that snapped off and cracked soundboards. Even a current (large and reputable) dealer who has recently picked up the line, admitted to me that these problems had existed (but had supposedly been corrected).

Since these pianos were not that old, I think you need to be a bit more specific about eric's question about what cut-off date in Estonia manufacture, should be seen as a "watch out" point. Meaning before this date, the old Estonias are qualitatively worse than the new ones (about which so many have raved here, as eric begins by saying).

As I understand it, one of the main considerations in buying a new piano is not just how nice it sounds and functions (what Larry Fine calls "performance") but also reliability: how is the piano apt to hold up over time? Shorter lifespan than the industry average, same or longer? - an aspect(again according to Fine), very much dependent on quality of materials and also, of course, workmanship.

Could you also please comment on this aspect of Estonias as best you can - the last question eric was, I think, alluding to in his initial post? After all, even Estonia's staunchest advocates such as the dealers who posted here, stress they have only been really great pianos (especially for their price point) relatively recently.

But how durable are they? (I may need to turn this into a separate thread in the Piano Forum, where it really belonged to start with because of the larger audience)


If this is coffee, bring me tea. If this is tea, bring me coffee.
~Abraham Lincoln~
Re: New Estonia Grands #647687
05/15/03 08:28 PM
05/15/03 08:28 PM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 3,770
Hamilton Twp, NJ
curry Offline
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Hamilton Twp, NJ
Richard,I look at it this way.A top end piano is like an orchestra.If everything in the piano is functioning at peak performance level,damper regulation,action regulation,tuning,and voicing all in balance with each other, then the feel when playing is like getting into the zone.By zone I mean like reaching the big "O" laugh laugh ,if you know what I mean.As I recall,after playing your piano I needed to light up a Marlboro.


G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
Dampp-Chaser installations, piano appraisals. PTG S.Jersey Chapter 080.
Bösendorfer 214 # 47,299 214-358
Re: New Estonia Grands #647688
05/16/03 10:31 AM
05/16/03 10:31 AM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 192
philadelphia
R
richard_dup1 Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by curry:
Richard, As I recall,after playing your piano I needed to light up a Marlboro.
laugh laugh
I know what you mean! Maybe that's where that hacking cough came from after I got her set up in my living room. laugh

But that doesn't get to my point, curry. You're wearing your pianist hat when you talk about the big O. Can you imagine really looking forward to working on a piano, say regulating its action, that as a pianist you wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole?

Is an exceptionally well-built instrument (parts, labor, etc) always appreciated by a performer?
Are performers usually in agreement with technicians about specific pianos?


Richard
Re: New Estonia Grands #647689
05/16/03 03:29 PM
05/16/03 03:29 PM
Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 4,016
Madison, WI USA
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Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
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"What pianos reach that "absolute pinnacle" level, in your experience?

--------------------
Richard"

and

"Are performers usually in agreement with technicians about specific pianos?

--------------------
Richard"

Two good questions. Since I am a technician (not a dealer and only play a little), the pianos I may like to hear music from the most and those which are the most friendly to service may not be the same.

Many new Steinway and Baldwin pianos although great musical instruments are difficult to tune because of overly tight and jumpy tuning pins. They can really wear you down and out. I am much happier tuning Kawai pianos of all styles (in direct contradiction to an earlier post with which I completely disagree). I am especially fond of the high end Shigeru Kawai.

Other pianos I have liked recently are Shulz-Pullman and Shimmel. I tune a brand new Bechstein (rare around here) for a customer who really likes it and I also find it to be technician friendly.

The Walter verticals are really great little pianos in their class and are a breeze to tune and service. I like the grands too, they are one of the better grands on the market but are difficult to tune. The Walters say they have been working on that problem.

About the most tech friendly pianos I know of are Yamahas, especially the studio models because they are so easy to take apart and put back together. They are always a pleasure to tune but I would not have one myself and they are quite a ways down on the list for pianos I would recommend.

I don't care much for any Korean piano but they are fairly easy to service. To me, the Estonia rates about the same as the better Korean pianos both as a musical instrument and in serviceability but I still favor the Estonia, I suppose for personal reasons.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
Re: New Estonia Grands #647690
05/17/03 12:39 AM
05/17/03 12:39 AM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 14,237
Louisiana
Jolly Offline
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Bill Bremmer said:
Quote
I like the grands too, they are one of the better grands on the market but are difficult to tune.
Is the problem with the pins, like the Baldwin pins, or are there other issues?


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Re: New Estonia Grands #647691
05/18/03 12:30 PM
05/18/03 12:30 PM
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Boston
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Chris W1 Offline
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Boston
It was within the pat ten years, since becoming private, that some issue of scale design came up and has since been rectified, so I understand. A tech might be able to sum it up better, but I thought it to be an issue with string sizes and incompatable behaviour in the partials. I imagine Estonia uses computer software, as do some rebuilders, in setting the scale and that this was simply an oversight. For a recap, search estonia on ptg.org.

Larry fine's comments in the second/third? edition of the Piano Book alluded to loose tuning pins from his very limited survey (strictly Estonia responses). It doesn't seem many techs have complained about it in other circles and I don't know if the techs here would regard it as even a significant footnote.

Just because they use Renner parts I would think they belong in a quality zone above China and Korea. I know parts don't make a piano, but consistency still means a lot. Lastly, I have no experience with Asian parts.

Chris


Amateur At Large
Re: New Estonia Grands #647692
05/19/03 08:53 AM
05/19/03 08:53 AM
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Madison, WI USA
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Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
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The difficulty in tuning problem in Walter grands is due to very tight tuning pins and a rendering problem due to a steep angle from the termination point to the pin. The Walters say they have decreased that angle.

The loose tuning pin problem in Estonias was limited to tuning pins located near plate bolts. I am not sure if it meant structural weakness of the pinblock or contamination but whatever the problem was, it was showing up consistently but has now been remedied.

Any Estonia found with this problem should be repaired under warranty. Spot repairs can be done with oversize pin/CA glue (or epoxy) combination.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
Re: New Estonia Grands #647693
06/09/03 12:27 PM
06/09/03 12:27 PM
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byebye Offline
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I'm not a technician but I'll pass along what the technicians said about my new Estonia 190.

The technician sent by the dealer to tune the piano did not like it!! No kidding. I was concerned about the tuning pins and so I asked him. He said they were very tight which made tuning difficult, but that they were not jumping. That is what I hoped to hear.

My own technicians have installed a dampchaser but haven't tuned it yet. They were impressed with the thick rim and very thick plate (something which I hadn't noticed.) The only negative they had was a concern that the key level was not arched, but rather level--as if one had used the wrong side of the key level stick. They were very impressed with the tone of the instrument and noted that only time will tell how it works out.

If you go to the Piano Forum, look for MattG who has had an Estonia 190 for four years. He will tell you about his experience and may even connect you with his technician.

I'm crossing my fingers when I'm not playing it!

As for Petrof, I know someone who has a Petrof V purchased in 1971. The piano had to be re-pinned when it was new, but otherwise has had no major problems. It has been moved from Minnesota to Iowa, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Chicago. I played it a few months ago and it seemed just fine, about what I would expect from a 32 year old piano which has had little more maintenance than tuning.

Re: New Estonia Grands #647694
06/09/03 09:27 PM
06/09/03 09:27 PM
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Madison, WI USA
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Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
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It just so happens, I asked the dealer last Friday about that loose tuning pin problem when I was there to see him about another matter. He took me in to see one of the first ones that was off the line that was now in his inventory as a used piano (trade in).

He said it had a nice, firm feel to the pins. He said there had been no problem until someone at the factory got the idea to wax the plate screws so they would turn in easier. The turning in process produced heat and made the wax leech through the pinblock material.

This caused the condition where some tuning pins close to plate screws became loose and jumpy. Stopping the waxing technique solved the problem.

When repairs are made in instances where loose tuning pins are caused by contamination of almost any kind, CA glue proves helpful because it actually combines with and defeats the problem caused by the foreign matter rather than remain incompatible with it.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
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