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I am considering buying a Ritmüller GH160R. But after reading a lot of old threads here on PW about small grands, I am getting second thoughts.

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1340531/Re:_Why_a_large_upright_over_a.html#Post1340531 (and similar posts made by Del and others)

Although even the GH148R got praise for it's bass in

http://www.pianobuyer.com/fall10/96.html

and I guess the GH160R would be even better, there are still a lot of posts about the compromises made in a 5 ft 3 (160 cm) grand.

I am upgrading from a 47" (120 cm) Nordiska upright. I don't even know if the 160 cm Ritmüller is a clear, unambiguous upgrade in bass, in treble, in tone etc.

Is the 160 cm too much of a compromise? And if so, where is the sweet spot for a "shortish" grand for the living room? I guess you could just say "as long as possible". But reading posts from Del and others, it seems that it is a case of diminishing returns after a certain point. Also, there is quite a difference in price...
It depends on the design of that particular small grand. Some sound quite good, some sound quite bad, you have to find the individual piano that has the sound you want in the space you have available.

I don't know the Ritmuller pianos at all incidentally, but I have played good and bad examples of baby grands.
From this page.

...For the new models, Thomma created new rims, plates, and stringing scales. The rims all have rather wide, flat-nosed tails, a shape that allows the bass bridge to be placed farther from the rim. In addition, the tails of the bass strings, between the back bridge pins and the hitch pins, are longer. This arrangement permits the bass bridge to vibrate more freely, among other things giving the bass sound greater clarity. Although this phenomenon was amply demonstrated by all three pianos, it was especially noticeable on the 5' 3" model, which lacked the "muddy" bass often characteristic of small grands. ...

Of course, we would all own a Bosendorfer, a Steinway and/or a Fazioli if we had the budget. I'm not saying the GH160 is incredible, but depending on your budget it could be amongst the best candidates, especially as you mentioned elsewhere you're looking for a dark and more "classical" sound. As always, don't buy one before trying it for yourself.
Traditionally, 6 feet has been the "minimum" for a lot of people. That said, there are a variety of shorter pianos, and some are better than others. Some of the newer designs have been well received. Ultimately, though, it's your ear that needs to be pleased.
pinkfloydhomer - Have you considered going "up" a size? I have a GH170R. You woudn't think that roughly 10 centimeters larger would make such a sonic difference, but it does. I tried several GH160Rs (different finishes), but they didn't sound as good as the GH170R! Strangely enough, my dealer had a GH188R as well, but I still preferred the GH170R. The GH170R is considered "parlor-sized" rather than being in the baby-grand category. If you're not absolutely "space-constrained" you might want to try it and other brands like the Hailun 178. They generally would run a couple of grand more. Good Luck in your search! grin
The trade off between length and cost is a completely personal decision. Only you can decide where your sweet spot is. In most cases, the quality of the piano at a given length and not just the length is an important consideration.

And remember that review in the PB is only one person's opinion even though that person is well qualified since they are a RPT. The reviews in the older Piano Book were often based on the opinions of many qualified people.
The Ritmüller GH160 is a very nice piano with Duplex scale, IMHO quite superior to many other pianos by same size.
Smaller grands often have pretty harsh trebles: the 5'3 Rit definitely has "not"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkNGRbEWT4o

However, agreeing with Emissary: if can afford the 5'7 GH 170, go for it.
It's a truly beautiful, almost stunning sounding piano.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JikZbTZCbRc

Norbert
Traditionally, around 5 feet has been the maximum for a lot more people than those for whom 6 feet has been the minimum.
The point of diminishing returns is usually around 7-9 feet. Some people prefer the 7 foot sound better than the 9 foot sound (although the bass in a 9 foot piano is almost always better).

The bass is where a 5 foot piano is really going to suffer. In some pianos of that size, it sounds bad all the way up to middle-C. Pay attention to that and see if it's something you can live with.

If you can't hear the weak bass, then don't buy a piano until you can. Once you can hear it, then you'll really appreciate what you're getting.
Originally Posted by phantomFive
The point of diminishing returns is usually around 7-9 feet. Some people prefer the 7 foot sound better than the 9 foot sound (although the bass in a 9 foot piano is almost always better).

The bass is where a 5 foot piano is really going to suffer. In some pianos of that size, it sounds bad all the way up to middle-C. Pay attention to that and see if it's something you can live with.

If you can't hear the weak bass, then don't buy a piano until you can. Once you can hear it, then you'll really appreciate what you're getting.


Sadly, once you've developed "golden ears", everything is now a compromise between the size of your wallet and the size of your room!
What I want to know is this: Would a Ritmüller GH160R be a clear upgrade from my current Nordiska 120CA upright, or would the Nordiska actually be better in some respects?

If the GH160R is too much of a compromise, I would seriously consider the GH170R (or even the GH188R, I don't have room for any longer than that), although the price I am offered in Denmark is very high.

But... The prices I have been offered are not very compelling.

By the same dealer, I've been offered the Kawai GE-30 for $15600. The SMP in pianobuer.com is $22190.
The prices he is offering on the Ritmüllers is GH160R $12600, GH170R $16800, GH188R $21000. The SMP in pianobuyer.com for GH160R is $13190, GH170R is $15590, GH188R $18990.

If seems to me that even the GH188R should cost less than the GE-30. He is offering me the GH170R for more than the GE-30. If he could offer me the GH188R for less than his offer on the GE-30, I would probably take the GH188R, or at least the GH170R. But I don't want to be or feel ripped off.

http://www.pianobuyer.com/fall14/228.html
http://www.pianobuyer.com/fall14/238.html
http://www.pianova.com/en/products/list/grand-piano/ritmueller/gh160r - keep shopping?

PS $12,500 for a GH188 in Germany (before negotiation and carriage to Denmark) - ask your dealer to sharpen his pencil!
Originally Posted by Withindale
http://www.pianova.com/en/products/list/grand-piano/ritmueller/gh160r - keep shopping?

PS $12,500 for a GH188 in Germany (before negotiation and carriage to Denmark) - ask your dealer to sharpen his pencil!


Thanks, I wrote the above dealer about the GH160R about his best price and shipping to Denmark. I am still awaiting his response.

Where do you see $12500 for GH188R in Germany?
Googled for Ritmueller Flugel. Several came up. Model designations vary. Good luck.
Originally Posted by Withindale
Googled for Ritmueller Flugel. Several came up. Model designations vary. Good luck.


I've done that a million times, can't find GH188R at $12500.

And yes, there are older models called Ritmüller 188 or Ritmüller GP 188 etc. Those are not the same. I am looking for the GH-XXXR line of pianos.
Pinkfloydhomer, would you be so kind kind as to spell out the differences between a GH188A and a GH188R?
Originally Posted by Withindale
Pinkfloydhomer, would you be so kind kind as to spell out the differences between a GH188A and a GH188R?


I, too, have bumped into many different variations on these Ritmüller names. I think most of the "variations" are older models. On every current official Ritmüller site and in pianobuyer.com, only the GH188R and 148, 160, 170, 212, 275 versions are mentioned.

I wouldn't assume that GH188A is the same model. Most search results on this name results in Kayserburg GH188A.

I guess you are hinting at this page http://www.piano-dubbel.de/Klaviere/Fluegel-neu-gebraucht/Ritmueller-Fluegel

1) I wouldn't assume that it is the same piano
2) There seem to be some confusion in the text by the GH188A, the paragraph mentions the Salon 160 at the same time.

But I did find these other pages

http://salaomusical.co.ao/es/pesquisa/?bxMrc=51&/ritmuller
http://www.musiccentar.com/i-7437/ritmuller-gh-170r-grand-piano

Hopefully I can negotiate a more reasonable price from my local dealer.
pinkfloydhomer - Stick to your guns and insist on obtaining a GHXXXR model. I've noticed that in other parts of the world, Ritmuller pianos without the R designation are often Pearl River models that have a Ritmuller sticker slapped on them. The same goes for some Kayersburg models as well. Here in the US, the Kayersburg line has just a few models available and are very high-priced, relative to their corresponding Ritmuller and Pearl River models. The prices your dealer are quoting seem very high to me. I don't know why your dealer seems to be giving a bigger discount off the SMB for the Kawai GE-30. You would think he could match that same discount to the Ritmullers. They'd still be a little pricey, but a bit more reasonable.

One of these days, I'm going to figure out how to put the umlaut over the "u" in Ritmuller!!!! grin
Ritmüller ;-)

I just hold the U down until it gives me the options of û ü ù ú ū
the last option obviously doesn't fit with the forum's format smile
uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu ... on a PC try http://vulpeculox.net/ax/
On my Danish keyboard, I just press the umlaut key first, it doesn't result in a character by itself, then I press the u. It produces ü smile

On topic:

I am not considering any other version than GH-XXX-R.

What I am considering is:

1) How many compromises are there in the 160 cm version and how much of an improvement will it be compared to my 120 cm (47") upright?

2) Are the prices offered by my local dealer reasonable?

About 1) I don't know yet?

About 2) I think it is safe to say that I should be able to get a better price.
Originally Posted by pinkfloydhomer
1) How many compromises are there in the 160 cm version and how much of an improvement will it be compared to my 120 cm (47") upright?


One clear improvement is the action. With a good grand action (and I'm sure the Rittmüller action qualifies as "good") you have better control over repeated notes and fine nuances.

To know if the sound will also be an improvement, only your ears can judge. Don't be swayed by the idea that bigger is necessarily better: play different instruments and try to forget the size or the brand name and just listen to the sound.

I'm a professional pianist, I've played many baby grands and they've been anything from dreadful to delightful. In any case, the same goes for the bigger ones as well. There's nothing intrinsically bad about a 5 ft grand and the sound is a matter of personal taste: have a look at Piano Tastings: does size matter? and see Hugh Sung preferring a 5'1" Steinway S to a 6'10" Steinway B.

A personal note. When I was about 11 years old it became obvious that piano playing was going to be a very important part of my life, so my parents decided to buy me a secondhand grand piano. I tried many pianos but there was one I kept coming back to: a 5' Richard Lipp, built in 1913. I tried some bigger name pianos (Blüthner and Bechstein, for instance), and some longer models, but the Lipp was one I fell in love with, so that's the one we bought.

I still have it, it's always moved with me, fitting into the smallest apartments. Over the years it's had new strings, new hammers, I can't remember exactly. I've never regretted the decision to but it. It has a wonderful action and the sound just suits my taste.


MRC, sounds reasonable. I would always trust my ears. What you're saying is effectively that the "old rule" of at least 6 feet is not that firm, at least to you.

Also, this dealer let's me upgrade or "sidegrade" within five years to another piano of the same or higher price for the difference in price. That gives me some security.
Originally Posted by pinkfloydhomer
What you're saying is effectively that the "old rule" of at least 6 feet is not that firm, at least to you.


I'm saying that the "old rule" of at least six feet is nonsense smile

Consider this: any piano is, in some way, a compromise. How can you expect one instrument to be perfect for playing all styles of keyboard music from the 18th, 19th 20th and 21st centuries? If I had unlimited resources (money and space) I'd have different pianos for different styles of music.

An example: last summer I practised for a week on a 1904 Erard with parallel strings. For Ravel and other impressionistic French composers I can't imagine anything better. The sound is refined, the bass notes are clearer (with less "oomph") than any more modern grand I've played and I could use a lot a sustain pedal without it sounding murky. It doesn't take so kindly to Brahms or Rachmaninoff, though.

Newt Sunday I'm accompanying a singer. For the concert we have a big Estonia grand, a powerful beast that would probably be great for playing Prokofiev concertos on, but for Lieder it's not so easy to get the intimate sound I need. I've been practising Strauss's "Wiegenlied" at home and I can honestly say I prefer playing it on my little Richard Lipp. The Lipp wouldn't hold its own in a Prokofiev concerto, but for chamber music and Lieder it has a wonderful warm tone that marries perfectly with the sound of a cello or the human voice. The Estonia grand is a great instrument, but I wouldn't want it in my living room.
I don't need volume, most of the time there is too much of it for my living room. But I need good tone, also in the bass.
Originally Posted by pinkfloydhomer
I don't need volume, most of the time there is too much of it for my living room. But I need good tone, also in the bass.


I've never played a Ritmüller, but I've played plenty of other baby grands from reputable brands that had excellent bass notes. I think you should try to get away from the idea that there are specific compromises that prevent a 5'3" from being better than a certain quality level "X": you can find first-rate baby grands just as well as you can find awful 7 foot pianos.

There's no "measure of compromise" that will tell you if the tone of the Ritmüller can or cannot be significantly better than that of your Nordiska. It could be better, but you must let your ears be the judge of that. Take some pieces that you find frustrating to play of the Nordiska and play them on the small Ritmüller. If they still frustrate you, see what difference it makes to play them on the larger model.
Knowing most or all of the pianos mentioned above, our choice for Ritmuller was after realizing the piano is truly in a class of its own [almost.. wink..]

It's not something we made up out of the blue:after adopting Ritmuller we eventually "lost" another make that had sold well before. Sometimes you win, sometimes not - customers speak for themselves - they *should*: it's called "choice"

Let best one win - isn't it what it's all about?

By the way: our confidence with Ritmuller refers to ALL models including the UH upright and GH grand series.

Other alternative in same league I personally know of are perhaps Baldwin and Brodmann [there may be few more] - but all those will cost invariably more.

[for which $$ you can of course buy the larger 5'7 Rit 170.. help ]

Whatever is the right piano is something that can only be decided by buyers themselves. But when comparing many models and really doing the "test" the outcome - at least for us - is later often the same:

Here are some who have reported about their own take on things:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubb...%20over%20-%20Ritmuller.html#Post1900408

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1522168/1.html

Teacher owning 4'11 grand:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubb...rom%20Heritage%20Pianos.html#Post1652122

Norbert
Originally Posted by pinkfloydhomer
I don't need volume, most of the time there is too much of it for my living room. But I need good tone, also in the bass.


I second the "grand action is better than an upright" reply. IIRC, you also mentioned in another thread about your Nordiska regulation limits and unsatisfactory repetition. This will improve quite a bit with a good baby grand.

Finally, if you prefer not too much volume, you should probably focus on smaller models.

Out of curiosity, I asked about the difference between the Ritmüller GH188A and GH188R through the UK distribution channel. They are in fact the same piano.
Originally Posted by Bosendorff
Originally Posted by pinkfloydhomer
I don't need volume, most of the time there is too much of it for my living room. But I need good tone, also in the bass.


I second the "grand action is better than an upright" reply. IIRC, you also mentioned in another thread about your Nordiska regulation limits and unsatisfactory repetition. This will improve quite a bit with a good baby grand.

Finally, if you prefer not too much volume, you should probably focus on smaller models.


I would say exactly the opposite. Small pianos tend to be as loud, but not as soft.
Quote
I would say exactly the opposite. Small pianos tend to be as loud, but not as soft.


This may be true for others but not Ritmuller.

In fact, their 5'3 GH grand gets sometimes criticized for being "too soft"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkNGRbEWT4o

Norbert
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