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Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway?

Posted By: Tacoma David

Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/11/08 11:38 PM

Supposedly New York and Hamburg Steinway & Sons pianos (companies owned by the same parent co.) are more or less the same...but yet I realize that in fact the pianos are different. Can anyone point out the most significant differences between the two, either currently and/or in years past? Materials used, soundboards, action, etc? Having recently acquired a 1928 Model O Hamburg Steinway (for the church) I'm interested to learn about similarities and differences. Now that New York has reintroduced the Model O (replacing the L?) which it dropped in 1923, I'm wondering also if anyone knows why this happened.
Tacoma David

David Dahl, Director of Music Ministries
Christ Episcopal Church, Tacoma, WA
Posted By: duncantwo

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/11/08 11:44 PM

do a search on the forums for "hamburg new york steinway" and you will find more information than you could ever read. that has been a favorite topic of discussion over the years.

how much the current differences will apply to your 1928 piano, though, is something that may be more difficult to answer. if this a rebuilt piano that your church purchased, it is likely you have a new action, soundboard, etc...
Posted By: Craigen

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 12:04 AM

Currently S&S seems to be making an effort to standardise the two factories production. In the past:
NY had diaphragmatic soundboard Hamburg did not.
NY had accelerated action Hamburg used an action produced by Renner.
NY had rims made of maple Hamburg had rims of beech and birch.
NY had NY produced hammers Hamburg used hammers from Renner.
Hamburg embraced high luster laquer finishes and later polyesther finishes.
Hamburg fits and finishes were/are superior.
In spite of the same or nearly the same scale designs, Hamburgs sound European and NY sound domestic.
Posted By: M&B

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 01:10 AM

Hamburg is used in most Concert Halls NY it is not.
Posted By: piqué

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 02:05 AM

the biggest difference in the tone comes from the hammers. hamburg uses a renner designed for them, which are a hot pressed, very hard hammer. new york uses a cold pressed hammer produced at the factory in astoria. these hammers are hardened with lacquer rather than compression.
Posted By: Tacoma David

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 04:45 AM

Thanks for the replies thus far, which are very informative. I know that the piano was restored in a Los Angeles shop (but have not been able to determine exactly which one). I'm working on that. I know the piano has a new Renner action, strings, pin block, but don't know if the sound board has been replaced. Would it be exceptional to continue using the original or much more typical to replace the sound board at 80 years? I understand that the "life" can go out of them, but I wonder if there may be significant exceptions to that...that is, are there tests to make at the point of a piano's rebuilding? The piano has good color, good sustain, and certainly does not lack for power (when called upon). Thanks to all of your for your responses thus far.
David (Tacoma)
Posted By: BDB

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 05:32 AM

Soundboards last indefinitely. There are many pianos with full, rich tone that are 80 years old or older with their original soundboards.
Posted By: pianobroker

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 08:44 AM

Tacoma David
What I was told 2+ years back was that the N.Y. factory had consulted with the Hamburg factory in hoping to improve the power and sustain of the N.Y.mdls. The Steinway O and short A have always been in production in the Hamburg factory. They evidently decided to streamlinre the mdls. of both factories and discontinue the "L" in N.Y. Both the most modern (curved bass bridge /duplex scale) "O" and the "L" though different in the shape of their tail,size etc. still retain the exact same bass string scale.

Keep us informed,I'd love to know who restored this piano in 1999 in that we are also in L.A. I know everybody as for restoration and everybody knows us.
Posted By: Keith D Kerman

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 01:37 PM

Here is a link to a thread on some of the differences.

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?/topic/1/3578.html#000000
Posted By: sophial

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 03:43 PM

Quote
Originally posted by M&B:
Hamburg is used in most Concert Halls NY it is not.
Both NY and Hamburg Steinways are used in concert venues
Posted By: Rich Galassini

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 04:55 PM

pique said:
Quote
the biggest difference in the tone comes from the hammers. hamburg uses a renner designed for them, which are a hot pressed, very hard hammer. new york uses a cold pressed hammer produced at the factory in astoria. these hammers are hardened with lacquer rather than compression.


Although what you said is true, pique, I would add that there is alot more happening than just hammer differences. A technician with intimate knowledge of either hammer can get the desired tone from that hammer. There is a "Hamburg tonal model" that would persist, imho, even with another hammer.

It might take a little more work to get there, given, but these pianos perform the way they do because that is how the Hamburg staff wishes them to perform.
Posted By: Keith D Kerman

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 06:30 PM

Excellent point, Rich.

We have never put NY hammers on a Hamburg Steinway, but we regularly put Hamburg Steinway hammers on NY Steinways. Even before voicing, the NY piano retains its character and would not be confused with a Hamburg Steinway by someone with experience on both pianos.

Design differences such as soundboard thickness, soundboard speaking shape, rib taper, number of ribs make the biggest difference. This is assuming equality of workmanship. We have observed quite a difference in workmanship between Hamburg Steinway and NY Steinway as well.
Posted By: piqué

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 06:35 PM

understood, rich. i was just trying to point to the most basic tonal difference that is heard. but of course all those other factors keith mentions are components as well. and certainly it should not be construed that a ny piano with hamburg hammers is going to sound just like a hamburg piano.
Posted By: piqué

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 06:39 PM

now i have a question to those of you who use hamburg hammers in ny pianos:

i've always been given to understand that hammers are selected based on the totality of the string scaling design. and perhaps most importantly, the level of tension in the strings.

my understanding is that lower tension designs require a softer, lighter hammer, and that higher tension designs demand a heavier, harder hammer.

are the hamburg and new york scale designs significantly different when it comes to string tension?

i would have thought that with the more brilliant sound of the hamburg piano, the string tension would be higher, hence they need the harder renner hammers.

if that is so, isn't the use of the hamburg hammers in the new york piano incompatible with the new york scale design?
Posted By: Keith D Kerman

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 07:07 PM

Quote
Originally posted by piqué:

i've always been given to understand that hammers are selected based on the totality of the string scaling design. and perhaps most importantly, the level of tension in the strings.

are the hamburg and new york scale designs significantly different when it comes to string tension?

i would have thought that with the more brilliant sound of the hamburg piano, the string tension would be higher, hence they need the harder renner hammers.

if that is so, isn't the use of the hamburg hammers in the new york piano incompatible with the new york scale design?
Off the top of my head, I don't think the Hamburg pianos have a higher string tension. I seem to remember the bass sections actually having a lower tension in certain models. With that being said, soundboard impedance is a major factor in determining the hammer you choose.

Also, hammer weight and shape in addition to hardness are huge factors. It is dangerous to oversimplify hammers into categories based on hardness.

OK, so the answer your question regarding Hamburg Steinway hammers being incompatible with NY Steinway pianos is.......it depends.

Certain models of NY Steinway sound terrible with Hamburg Hammers. Certain models sound wonderful. In general, the larger Steinways work well with Hamburg hammers, and the smaller ones don't sound as well with Hamburg hammers.

There are a couple exceptions.
Posted By: pianobroker

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 07:40 PM

Keith
Are you refering to strictly Hamburg Steinway hammers not being compatible with the smaller N.Y. Steinways or also including Renner Premium Blues obtainable from Renner U.S.A.? If I remember correctly the Hamburg hammers being denser,bigger and wider are not worth the so called upgrade for fit and touchweight issues on the smaller Steinways(S and M) I still think G3 Renner Premium Blues sound consistently fine on a N.Y. S or M, better than most.Hammers are such a personal,subjective thing.
Posted By: Keith D Kerman

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 07:48 PM

PB,

Yes, I am speaking specifically about Hamburg Steinway hammers. Quite different from the Renner blues.
Posted By: jazzwee

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 07:54 PM

Quote
Originally posted by sophial:
Quote
Originally posted by M&B:
[b] Hamburg is used in most Concert Halls NY it is not.
Both NY and Hamburg Steinways are used in concert venues [/b]
And I even posted a link from NY Times showing the artist picking from the pool of Hamburg vs. NY Steinway concert grands.

I would imagine that in the US this would be mostly NY D's and probably the opposite in Europe.
Posted By: Tacoma David

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 09:28 PM

Dear all who have responded thus far,

The several responses regarding Hamburg hammers, Renner premium blues, etc, now have me quite intrigued to find out what was used in this 1928 Hamburg O's restoration. Also, "pianobroker" suggested taking a photo beneath the piano to be able to determine if the soundboard is original.
I will do this. Perhaps my technician, Mike Reiter, can answer some of these questions if I cannot locate the restoration firm in Los Angeles that did the work in 1999.

Thanks everyone, I'm learning more and more.
David in Tacoma

PS The tuning stability is a little less desirable than I had hoped for; however, our church fluctuates between 70 on Sunday and sometimes a low of 45 during the week, with humidity fairly constant.
Maybe we need a Damppchaser. (The walls are unfinished cement, with stone aggregate floor--its a 1969 church with architecture from the period known as "Brutalism". The acoustic is great...about 2 1/2 seconds reverberation half full of people.
Posted By: jazzwee

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 09:42 PM

Tacoma, hearing a Hamburg being played regularly might assure that I always go to church laugh That's some lucky church.
Posted By: pianobroker

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 09:43 PM

Ask your tech,I'd be very surprised if he could not tell you whether the soundboard is new or original. Now the difference in whether Steinway Restoration installed the board vrs. an independent rebuilder may take a keener eye or more expertise but still not a rocket science.
Posted By: Tacoma David

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 10:13 PM

Just learned from speaking with the former owner of the piano that it IS the original soundboard.
Now I need to learn whether "getting a new Renner action" means Renner Premium Blue hammers or something else (as in Hamburg hammers).

Does anyone know just how common a Hamburg Steinway is in this country (realizing that they do need to be shipped from Germany). I would assume there might be 50 NY Steinways to 1 Hamburg (but maybe this is not possible to know anyway).
David in Tacoma
Posted By: Keith D Kerman

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 10:44 PM

A Hamburg Steinway from 1928 is extremely unusual in the States. Maybe 1 in 1000.
It is a bit different when one is speaking of an older Hamburg Steinway, as the NY Steinways from that period were superb. The perception about Hamburg Steinways being better is something that developed from the 1960s to present.
People were not actively trying to get Hamburg Steinways in the States until the last couple of decades.
Posted By: Tacoma David

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 10:59 PM

Does anyone know of a Mr. Daniel Ene, piano technician (trained in the Hamburg Steinway factory) living in the Los Angeles area? I just learned that he was the person who restored this 1928 Hamburg Steinway.
Posted By: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 11:04 PM

I found this when I googled his name.
I have never heard of him.


Piano Revival
Tuning · Repair · Refurbish · Rebuild

Daniel Ene
Trained in Hamburg at the
Steinway & Sons Factory

Tel./Fax (818) 894.8765
Pgr./Voice Mail (818) 820.3171
Posted By: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/12/08 11:13 PM

Quote from Keith D Kerman

_________________________________________________
A Hamburg Steinway from 1928 is extremely unusual in the States. Maybe 1 in 1000.
__________________________________________________


We see more old Hamburg Steinways here in Vancouver than perhaps big cities in the U.S.
Perhaps due to immigration??

I just purchased a 1929 and I have coming in a model "A" that was born Feb 08, 1908 in Hamburg.
Just had it's 100 birthday this week!!
This client owns a 18 year old "B" and has decided to sell the "B" and restore her "A" She does not need both pianos and loves the "A"
I may post a picture tonight of the action. I have yet to see a cleaner all original action.
She purchased it 23 years ago in Germany for $1,100
Posted By: LJC

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/13/08 12:10 AM

Keith, I have a Hamburg built in 1968 and note that the soundboard is evidently a European spruce. I understand they are now using Alaskan Sitka as is NY. Does this make a difference in sound? Just curious about it.
Posted By: jazzwee

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/13/08 12:31 AM

Has anyone tried a new NY O (which uses the same scale as Hamburg O now)? I would be curious to see if the sound changed.

The obvious characteristics of the Hamburg are (a) Longer Sustain, (b) Bell Like Tone.

It's not just the hammers because we've already tried side by side comparisons of NY and Hamburg with Renner hammers and the characteristics of the Hamburg remained.

Presumably new Hamburgs and new NY's have the same wood now. So if the scale is the same, the wood is mostly (or totally?) the same. Do they sound the same or is there some further issue?
Posted By: pianobroker

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/13/08 01:07 AM

Having owned many many vintage Steinway grands over the years we have personally restored only a handful of VINTAGE Hamburg mdls.1(M) 3(O)s,4(A)s 2(B)s 2(C)s and a pending present restoration of a 1921 Hamburg (O) that I recall. Maybe more! maybe not! Not that many considering !
Posted By: Tacoma David

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/13/08 05:00 PM

Was able to locate Mr. Daniel Ene of Los Angeles, a German born man trained in the Hamburg factory,and the person who restored the piano. I was able to ask him several questions about the restoration of the piano.

Indeed the piano does have its original soundboard; the hammers are new Renner Premium Blue.
He didn't recall whether he replaced the pin block.
He also services Grotrian pianos, as it turns out.

In his opinion the newer Hamburg B's "are the best balaned pianos available today anywhere" (a strong statement, to be sure).

Also learned that our Model O has new Yamaha key covers; apparently the old ivory was not usable.
Now perhaps I can uncover more of the piano's history through Steinway records (??)
Cheers,
David
Posted By: Tacoma David

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/14/08 03:34 AM

The person who rebuilt the piano (I learned) is Mr. Daniel Ene.I was able to reach by phone this morning Mr. Ene in North Hills, CA (L.A. area) who indeed trained with Steinway in Hamburg. We spoke at some length about the rebuilding he did in 1999. He retained the soundboard, used Renner Premium Blue hammers. The piano seems to have originated from San Francisco.
I have photos to post of the piano (from Photobucket) if I can figure out how to import them into Piano Forum.
David in Tacoma
PS: Of current pianos on the market, he spoken especially highly of Hamburg B's.
Posted By: Craigen

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/14/08 07:29 PM

IMO it is more common for West coast rebuilders to retain decent soundboards than East coast rebuilders. The more radical seasons and steam heat on the East coast is harder on boards.

Daniel Ene does not appear in my most recent PTG roster book. However, there are several fine techs that are not certified or belong to the organization.

I have spent over thirty years in the business. All of it on the West coast. I have even worked for several S&S dealers over the years. I have seen thousands of pianos and worked on more than I can remember. In all of that I have seen less than two dozen bona fide Hamburg Steinway & Sons pianos in the U.S.
Posted By: Tacoma David

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/14/08 07:55 PM

I also learned yesterday that the person who sent the piano to Daniel Ene for rebuilding found it in San Francisco (my home town until age 19), where fog and humidity apparently are favorable to soundboards. So you are right about the West Coast pianos having a good chance to retain their boards. (I have a good friend here who owns a 1920's New York B with its original board (with good crown), that came from San Diego. He is an organ builder (pipe organs), but has enjoyed rebuilding his B (tuned in Kellner temperament, by the way...same as the Brombaugh organ in my church..a mild unequal temperament that truly works in all keys)

The keyboard of our O has been recovered with the best of Yamaha's non-ivory covers (looks and feels good)

By the way, the name on the fallboard has Steinway & Sons done with inlaid brass instead of a decal.
Wonder if this was / is usual for Hamburg Steinways?
David in Tacoma
Posted By: Norbert

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/14/08 08:12 PM

Most Hamburg Steinways we've seen on the Canadian West Coast have been brought in recently by wealthy Asian immigrants - as is well known, they don't even sell U.S. made Steinways in their countries.

Many of these pianos have endured high humidity and often show it, at least in some parts.

Comparing pianos, especially German pianos of older vintage to new ones is like comparing a 1968 Audi to one made today.

Any rebuilt piano is just "what it is", no more, no less. There's little if anything 'typical' about them.

Comparing current production identical or eqivalent models by same maker such as a Hamburg versus U.S. Steinway, is a completely different ball of wax.

Lot's has been written about this particular topic here before.

They are pianos not only with 2 different tone colours but, as some claim, two entirely seperate identities.

Perhaps this is why a good number of dedicated pianists travel regularly to Germany to pick one of the Steinways from there or another piano by one of its great makers.

Norbert
Posted By: jazzwee

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/14/08 10:24 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Norbert:
Comparing pianos, especially German pianos of older vintage to new ones is like comparing a 1968 Audi to one made today.
Norbert
Maybe you missed my point Norbert, or maybe you're not referring to me but of course there's some specific things to compare.

It's easy enough to compare a Vintage Hamburg O to a Vintage NY O or L. At least I've done that and the difference is very identifiable.

Through a posted broadcast in a NY Times link, I posted last year recordings of Hamburg and NY concert grands. I can tell you that even with the limitations of the recordings, the characteristics of the Hamburg and NY were audible. And I'm sure you agree with this as you have made comments about the unique Hamburg sound before.

People who have vintage Hamburgs have commented on differences here and so far all of us have agreed with each other about the characteristics (sustain, bell like sound).

What I was getting at though is that in 2007, Steinway dropped the L's and now produce the Steinway NY O, same scale as Hamburg O. They both use the same wood as was made clear in the book by James Barron (Sitka from Alaska).

So now we have the same soundboard wood. Same scale. Don't know about the hammers used in NY. But what's interesting here is that there are less parameters that are modified. Thus someone visiting a Steinway dealer could easily verify what a new NY O sounds like compared to the prior NY L (which I'm sure they'll also have available in inventory).

This might reveal if the uniqueness of the Hamburg is in the scale, wood, hammers, or none of the above (i.e. quality of construction).

Surely there are some Steinway dealers here who could even answer this right?

Pianomadam? Do you have a stock of new Steinway O's to check?

Do the new O's have different sustain and tonal quality than the recent L's? If the new O's have the characteristics of the Hamburg O then we can speculate that the difference is in fact in the scale (I don't believe it's hammers because of a test I did on vintage Steinways).

This is interesting information here because rarely do you have such closeness in models (from the same company), yet with a different sound. It makes for a nice science experiment.
Posted By: whippen boy

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/14/08 10:39 PM

I'd think that it would be pretty tough to categorically say the new "O" sounds like 'this' compared to the old "L" (or any other such comparison).

I've found that Steinways can sound dramatically different from each other, based on age, condition, and for new pianos, prep.

So unless we have some dealers here that have lots of new Hamburg pianos sitting next to lots of new (and old) NY pianos, we may not easily know the answer to how these models sound different from each other.

If anyone can find a fairly large sample of new Os and new-ish Ls to play, I'd be curious to hear their impressions.
Posted By: Norbert

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/14/08 11:14 PM

jazzwee:

No difference of opinion here, only wanted to emphasize that it would perhaps make more sense to compare apples to apples.

So many people talk about the "characteristics" of a brand when the piano serving as example in the discussion has in fact lost all or most of its original lustre.

Or it has been rebuilt perhaps become something entirely different than it once *was*.

The comparison of more comparable pianos, such as would be a newer type Hamburg versus a newer type New York model Steinway would thus make more sense IMHO - or if you wish - the same pianos of at least similiar vintage being in similiar condition.

The other day one of our customers told us he heard an 60 years old Grotrian-Steinweg grand but wasn't overly taken by its sound. The piano was in a municipal venue, poorly maintained and serviced.

When he tried a new one here, he was blown away.

So much for *brand judging* without some more qualification.

Hope this helps....

Norbert smile
Posted By: Tacoma David

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/14/08 11:48 PM

Looking forward to a chance to visit the Seattle Steinway dealer, Sherman & Clay, to indeed try out one or more new New York O's (as well as any remaining L's). And Jazzwee, you are right; apples of the same vintage make for a more logical comparison of sound, given that every piano will yield its own personality to a certain extent. Of course (as Perri found out and most of us know), the voicer and the tuner certainly have an influence on what we discern with our ears.

Can anyone answer my question about the name on the fallboard; as I mentioned, our '28 Hamburg's name is in larger letters than New York instruments, and is done with in-laid brass as opposed to a decal. Was (and is this?) standard for Hamburg instruments then, and what about now?
(Jazzwee, is your 1919 done like this as well?)
David in Tacoma
Posted By: jazzwee

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/15/08 12:54 AM

Norbert,

Albeit a limited sample size, it is interesting that ALL owners of Hamburgs on this forum, vintage or newer have characterized the piano and many have heard the recordings from NY Times.

So, even in my case, having a rebuilt, the sound I heard on the recordings was very similar when I compared ones of the same vintage. Thus, I am able to make a general commentary about the sound profile.

I am certain I cannot make a commentary of Vintage vs. New Hamburg side by side as I have not had that experience. Although I have a pretty good understanding of the sound difference of my piano against new NY's since I did have that experience.

And from again that limited sample size, I concluded that my rebuilt has not lost its luster (that's why I bought it). It would be more amazing if someone would tell me that my rebuild has lost it's luster a little as that would mean it would have sounded TOO amazing when it was new. laugh (and I certainly feel no loss today).

I think though that there could be truth in the statement that older rebuilds my not shine as well as rebuild technology was in a baby stage long time ago (not even including lack of access to parts like Renner actions). Your 60 year old Grotrian could have had beat up hammers/action, or no crown on the soundboard, so that's not a good comparison to current day rebuilds where those kinds of issues are addressed.

Whippen Boy,

I am truly curious though about what happened to the Steinway NY O after adoption of Hamburg scales. Yes these pianos have variations but it's better than zero knowledge right? Right now, we have no idea if the new scales have significantly changed NY O's.
Posted By: jazzwee

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/15/08 12:58 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Tacoma David:
Can anyone answer my question about the name on the fallboard; as I mentioned, our '28 Hamburg's name is in larger letters than New York instruments, and is done with in-laid brass as opposed to a decal. Was (and is this?) standard for Hamburg instruments then, and what about now?
(Jazzwee, is your 1919 done like this as well?)
David in Tacoma
David, since mine is refinished with glossy black, the refinisher has the choice of keeping the in-laid brass or clearcoating a decal. My rebuilder I believe gives multiple options.

Since yours is wood, then brass in-laid may have been original. Not uncommon.
Posted By: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/15/08 02:09 AM

Dave,


Your Hamburg when new, had a brass inlaid fallboard.
Posted By: whippen boy

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/15/08 07:41 AM

The 20-year old Hamburg "C" I play has inlaid brass letters.
Posted By: pianobroker

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/15/08 08:13 AM

All Hamburg Steinways(I believe) have inlaid brass script on the fallboard. When you refinish a piano in high gloss black Polyester or Polyurethane acrylic it is near impossible to mask off the letters to perfection before shooting the primer coat and your base coat(black). In the factory the brass script is pressed into the base coat. and sometimes before a clear coat. In a wood finish or a ebony satin finish one can clean the color from the brass script before shooting the final clear coat.
In Jazzwee's piano the modern contemporary script was more appropriate in that it was not an art case.
Posted By: Tacoma David

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/15/08 05:00 PM

Yes, the inlaid brass is in contemporary script larger size than NY Steinways) and is very well preserved. The piano is a refinished walnut--somewhat more reddish than one thinks is wlanut-- (the prior owner called it "flamed walnut"), with the typical (I assume) vertical grain veneer around the perimeter of the case -- each piece being about 18 inches or so...truly beautiful wood. The fallboard has exquisite wavy grain (looks similar to rosewood) as does the music rack. I suppose German walnut is somewhat different than American walnut (someone looked at our casework and said, "Oh that looks like balck walnjt" (but I don't think that is what it is).

Also, do you experts know if it was more usual to supply only two pedals (damper, una corda) for these earlier Hamburgs?

And one more question for the experts: "Una corda" means one string, but my tech friend, Mike Reiter, says that sometime in the 19th c. it became common practice to shift the keyboard from three to two strings instead of to only one. What do you folks know about that?

After choir practice last night, I had to put the lid up and play for another half hour. The sound of this piano is truly stunning...and it really captivates my "soul" somehow...hard to explain.
(Yeah, yeah, I know I sound too sentimental now...can't help it!)

Loving this piano, and to think that four months ago I had never been aware at all of Hamburg Steinways.
Tacoma David
Posted By: pianobroker

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/15/08 05:10 PM

Talking to my newly recruited tech to our restoration team, who also preps the new Steinways at the Steinway dealer told me they are using N.Y.hammers /action parts on the new N.Y."O" and "A". I was mistaken and misquoted on a prior post.
That definitely will account for a major variable in sound and touch between N.Y. and Hamburg "O" and "A". The Hamburg "O" scale I'm sure is the same as the latest N.Y. scale before discontinuing the "O" for the "L" in 1923 (curved bass bridge with duplex bars). as for the top end. The action stack dimensions are obviously different being made by Renner.
Now where is Pianomadam when you need her ?
Now as for the exact differences between a Hamburg A and B vrs. NY, I can tell you later in that I'm getting a brand new Hamburg A and B in an hour. Don't freak out Steinway dealers! Just a one time opprotunity /very complicated transaction.
Posted By: Norbert

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/15/08 05:23 PM

Quote
Now as for the exact differences between a Hamburg A and B vrs. NY, I can tell you later in that I'm getting a brand new Hamburg A and B in an hour.
I hope you know you will have to sell them as 'used'.....

Been there, done that.

Norbert shocked
Posted By: whippen boy

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/15/08 05:26 PM

Well I'm entirely smitten with the Hamburg "C" - partly because it has such a fantastic tone, and partly because it is still so rare in the US. I guess it is now the only model not being manufactured in the US?
Posted By: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/15/08 05:34 PM

David,

This 1929 Hamburg Steinway I have also has the vertical grain on the sides in a type of, I believe Walnut veneer. Not really sure what kind of wood it is. The color is quite faded and I have not had another Steinway like it.

The bottom of the lid looks like figured Mahogany. The inside rim is definitely mahogany.

Does yours look like this?

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]
Posted By: jazzwee

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/15/08 08:00 PM

David sent me his pictures and they appear to be a darker/redder shade. Rod, your music desk is different looking than mine and David's. Both of ours don't have that geometric pattern.
Posted By: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/15/08 08:16 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Tacoma David:
The piano is a refinished walnut--somewhat more reddish than one thinks is wlanut-- (the prior owner called it "flamed walnut"), with the typical (I assume) vertical grain veneer around the perimeter of the case -- each piece being about 18 inches or so...truly beautiful wood. The fallboard has exquisite wavy grain (looks similar to rosewood) as does the music rack. I suppose German walnut is somewhat different than American walnut (someone looked at our casework and said, "Oh that looks like balck walnjt" (but I don't think that is what it is).
__________________________________________________


Thanks Jazz,

I know the wood is a diffrent color. This one is very light and will be darker when we refinish it.

I am checking if the wood he was describing is similar to the one I have posted a pictures of.

Also this one has sustenato. 3 pedals.
Posted By: pianobroker

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/15/08 09:25 PM

Rod, you're gonna find that piano is satin polyester, kinda similar to Kawai's satin finish in the eighties with a shellac type top coat. We refinished one just like that.Couldn't strip it like a regular lacquer piano.
Got my new Hamburg Steinways in.(A & B) Will give a detailed analysis as for the present differences N.Y.vrs.Hamburg later on.
Posted By: jazzwee

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/15/08 09:31 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Rod Verhnjak:
Quote
Originally posted by Tacoma David:
[b] The piano is a refinished walnut--somewhat more reddish than one thinks is wlanut-- (the prior owner called it "flamed walnut"), with the typical (I assume) vertical grain veneer around the perimeter of the case -- each piece being about 18 inches or so...truly beautiful wood. The fallboard has exquisite wavy grain (looks similar to rosewood) as does the music rack. I suppose German walnut is somewhat different than American walnut (someone looked at our casework and said, "Oh that looks like balck walnjt" (but I don't think that is what it is).
__________________________________________________


Thanks Jazz,

I know the wood is a diffrent color. This one is very light and will be darker when we refinish it.

I am checking if the wood he was describing is similar to the one I have posted a pictures of.

Also this one has sustenato. 3 pedals. [/b]
What year is this one Rod?
Posted By: LJC

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/15/08 10:10 PM

The action stack dimensions are obviously different being made by Renner.
Hamburg doess not use the accelerated action and that is the difference but I have heard they will be, I suppopse they will be getting their actions from New York.
Posted By: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/15/08 11:10 PM

Quote
Originally posted by pianobroker:
Rod, you're gonna find that piano is satin polyester, kinda similar to Kawai's satin finish in the eighties with a shellac type top coat. We refinished one just like that.Couldn't strip it like a regular lacquer piano.
.
__________________________________________________

Jazz, The piano was made in 1929.

Tony, It's not polyester. Its a lacquer product. It strips just fine.
Posted By: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/15/08 11:15 PM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by LJC:
The action stack dimensions are obviously different being made by Renner.
Hamburg doess not use the accelerated action and that is the difference but I have heard they will be, I suppopse they will be getting their actions from New York.
[/QUOTE
__________________________________________________


You really think they will switch to New York Parts.
The key boards from both come from Kluge owned by Steinway.
I doubt Hamburg will stop using Renner stack parts.
Changing to accelerated balance punching could be done very easily. That I could see being done.
Posted By: LJC

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 12:06 AM

Rod, I was told at S&S that it was not yet announced that they will be using the accelerated action in Hamburg. I don't know if they started to or not. I would think they will use the Renner hammers to keep the same sound but I dont know. I do know they are using the same plates now. Overall this merging is having a good effect on NY. The new A is very good and the B was improved. I havent tried an O yet.
Posted By: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 12:46 AM

I would think they "Hamburg" would continue to use Renner hammers, shanks, whippens and back action even if they do change to the accelerated balance rail bearings. That in itself is a very easy modification.
Posted By: Norbert

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 12:54 AM

Quote
The action stack dimensions are obviously different being made by Renner.
Hamburg doess not use the accelerated action and that is the difference but I have heard they will be, I suppopse they will be getting their actions from New York.
With all respect, buy this is the kind of B.S. is floating around in North America all the time to give the impression the U.S. model is somehow superior to the Hamburgs.

[no offense to LJC who's simply restating this often heard line..]

Wonder what they would say to that in European Steinway dealerships where they are reluctant to even take U.S. models in trade.

They obviously must somehow like slower actions over there....

Norbert shocked
Posted By: whippen boy

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 12:55 AM

Here is a photo of the music desk on the Hamburg C:

[Linked Image]

It has the same contour as Rod's 1929 Hamburg piano.
Posted By: Tacoma David

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 12:57 AM

Rod,
Great to see the photos of your 1929 piano. Yes, the name on the fallboard looks exactly the same.

I can imagine that before our 1928 instrument was refinished it may have been more the color of your piano seen in the photos you posted. As Jazzwee says, the Tacoma instrument is redder (made that way, I believe, at the request of the person who became the owner prior to us).

I'm still not sure how to post photos (sorry to be such a dolt at this), so Jazzwee, if you wish to post the photos I sent to you, please feel free to do so within this topic...since you know how.

I also hope to take some additional ones, perhaps with lower res (since all but one of the photos I sent to you were high res, and I suspect that might be a problem for posting here ??)

I appreciate the flow of information that has taken place here between so many of you, and I feel much more informed about the piano than before. Would that your Hamburg O's were closer geographically such that we could all try each other's piano in close succession.
David (in Tacoma)
Posted By: jazzwee

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 02:37 AM

Quote
Originally posted by whippen boy:
Here is a photo of the music desk on the Hamburg C:

[Linked Image]

It has the same contour as Rod's 1929 Hamburg piano.
Whippen boy, mine is exactly like yours and David's. But Rods has sharp corners around the rounded areas,

Look closely at the corners. Rod's looks more geometric. However, they are definitely Hamburg shaped. It's one of the more notable stylistic differences of Hamburgs vs. the NY that are absent that corner 'wing'.

Whippen Boy, I'm jealous -- I want a bigger one...
Posted By: jazzwee

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 02:38 AM

Norbert, I don't feel less 'accelerated' laugh

This has to be one of those examples of a 'marketing' feature.
Posted By: Norbert

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 02:40 AM

Correct! thumb

It certainly *is*.

Norbert shocked
Posted By: jazzwee

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 02:46 AM

Notice how the rating of this thread was hit earlier today...More drive-by shooters.

Whoever you are: If you don't like Hamburgs then don't read this thread or speak up and don't be a weasel. I'm sick and tired of people like you whose only words are an anonymous rating.
Posted By: Alex Hernandez

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 03:11 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Keith D Kerman:
Quote
Originally posted by piqué:
[b]
i've always been given to understand that hammers are selected based on the totality of the string scaling design. and perhaps most importantly, the level of tension in the strings.

are the hamburg and new york scale designs significantly different when it comes to string tension?

i would have thought that with the more brilliant sound of the hamburg piano, the string tension would be higher, hence they need the harder renner hammers.

if that is so, isn't the use of the hamburg hammers in the new york piano incompatible with the new york scale design?
Off the top of my head, I don't think the Hamburg pianos have a higher string tension. I seem to remember the bass sections actually having a lower tension in certain models. With that being said, soundboard impedance is a major factor in determining the hammer you choose.

[/b]
As the scale moves from bass to tenor to treble the string tension increases on every piano.

Keith really hit the nail on the head with his comment about the impedance of the board. Since the hammer has to drive the board, how free the board is determines in great part the hammer philosophy that the maker may choose.

If the board is very dense with the resident impedance established at a very high percentage of it's tensile strength then a harder hammer is needed to drive the board.

I think the lack of a diaphragmatic board in the Hamburg instrument supports the contention that the Germans do a better job at establishing a soundboard/plate/inner rim relationship and therefore the board works efficiently with out the need to loose mass in order to move.

Fascinating subject, I'm glad I found it.
Posted By: piqué

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 04:06 AM

and so therefore wouldn't hamburg hammers be inappropriate in the new york models?
Posted By: Alex Hernandez

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 04:12 AM

Quote
Originally posted by piqué:
and so therefore wouldn't hamburg hammers be inappropriate in the new york models?
Not necessarily, you very correctly brought up the fact that N.Y. Steinway lacquers their hammers to harden them, a hot pressed Renner establishes it's compositional character in a different way, even though they may still be lacquered somewhat.

I would be interested to hear Yamaha or Imadegawa hammers on a new york Steinway, after some extensive voicing the result may be surprising.
Posted By: jazzwee

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 04:12 AM

Alex Hernandez, are you saying you think it's a matter of build and not materials?
Posted By: jazzwee

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 04:15 AM

Whippen Boy, I looked again more closely and my 'wings' are much smaller than all of yours, almost modern looking (funny to say about a 1919 piano laugh )
Posted By: Alex Hernandez

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 04:17 AM

Quote
Originally posted by jazzwee:
Alex Hernandez, are you saying you think it's a matter of build and not materials?
No, I'm not. I am saying that you can't separate one component of the scale and attribute the tonal character as belonging solely to it.

Wool fibers also play a big role as long as the production and prep process doesn't destroy them.
Posted By: curry

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 05:13 AM

I played a NY D a few years back with Imadegawa hammers. They were certainly an improvement over the S&S stock hammers.
Posted By: Norbert

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 05:50 AM

Quote
I played a NY D a few years back with Imadegawa hammers. They were certainly an improvement over the S&S stock hammers.
This is bordering on blasphemy....

Norbert :t: laugh
Posted By: jazzwee

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 06:48 AM

Norbert, there's a rebuilder over that uses only Tokiwa hammers on Steinway rebuilds...

I had to admit that whether or not it sounds good, I'd feel a little uncertain about that piano. Rebuilder claims that he can make the touch much lighter.

It probably works great but I suppose most would consider this heresy laugh
Posted By: whippen boy

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 08:29 AM

Quote
Originally posted by jazzwee:
Whippen Boy, I looked again more closely and my 'wings' are much smaller than all of yours, almost modern looking (funny to say about a 1919 piano laugh )
I went looking for your wings laugh but don't see them in your photo. Can you point me to other photos of your piano?

Oh, never mind - I just did a search and found this thread: Jazwee\'s piano

I see what you mean - your music desk is very 'moderne' looking!

I'm the guy that also plays a model "O" - but it is not a Hamburg.

I see your piano has that simple molding around the sides (at the bottom edge) - that's the only thing that makes your piano seem a bit older.
Posted By: pianobroker

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 09:17 AM

Alex makes a valid point which I strongly agree. When one performs many restorations on particular mdls.whether Steinway or different manufactures of specialization one can see a pattern develop as for compatibility or incompatibility of the relationship of hammer and soundboard impedence. There are many other variables aside from soundboard and hammers but the combination of the two reflect greatly on tonal charactor. As Keith had mentioned earlier which I am also in agreement,ex.Hamburg Steinway hammers can sound better in certain applications based on the size of the piano. Lately I can hear the difference in a new Bolduc soundboard vrs. a new Alaskan Sitka Spruce board,which we do both with the same hammer combination. Of course,a great bellyman could make an orange crate sound good. You go with what works based on the client's personal,subjective preferance.

Rod, I didn't realize that Hamburg Steinway (1929)was that old. The one we did looked very similar but was from the 1960's. Hamburg factory definitely switched to polyester by than.
Jazzwee's 1919 Hamburg O was all original when I acquired it and it too was lacquer.
Posted By: jazzwee

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 09:31 AM

whippen boy, yeah that bottom trim gives it the art deco look of the period but very restrained. David's has the same bottom trim though the music desk is more elaborate.

I kinda' like having an unusual piano.

According to the Steinway records (from Steinway), my piano was originally mahogany and was originally brought to NY.
Posted By: Mat D.

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 04:00 PM

Concerning hammers....I replaced my Renner Blues in my M&H BB w/NY Steinway D Hammers.....MUCH improved.

I had the option to use the Hamburg Renner hammers, but I was afraid it would be a mismatch w/the BB....seems the BB sound is better suited to the cold pressed design....my tech has voiced them up slowly and beautifully....Along with the hammer change was the Stanwood action upgrade (with accelerator springs)....The Steinway hammers are heavier than the orig Blues, but with the Stanwood action design this is no problem, an asset, in fact....The bass on my BB is like no other i have heard....yet it is balanced with the rest of the scale.....

my experience w/Steinway hammers.
Mat D.
Posted By: LJC

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 04:02 PM

Norbert and Jazzwee- I disagree, the NY action is faster than the Hamburg action. As for the hammers it is my understanding that NY is hardening them more at the factory now. Rod-You are probably right but if S&S goes forward with using the NY parts in the Hamburgs they might do it in stages as you suggest. Could an existing Hamburg action be modified to an accelerated action?
Posted By: whippen boy

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 05:49 PM

By the way, the Hamburg "C" (I have been mentioning) has been Stanwoodized and has NY hammers - the touch is great.

So in that sense, it is not really a true Hamburg.

It is just about time to be re-strung, so that will be an interesting process.
Posted By: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 06:32 PM

Quote
Originally posted by LJC:
As for the hammers it is my understanding that NY is hardening them more at the factory now.
_________________________________________________

The new hammers from Steinway New York are quite hard. I was disappointed with the last set I used on a "B" last November. My client was wanting that mellow sound and they were brighter than a Young Chang hammer. Mind you I was able to voice them down with little trouble, just lots of time.

I rather build up brightness, than bring it down.

I personally like using the Able Natural felt.
_________________________________________________

Originally posted by LJC:

Rod-You are probably right but if S&S goes forward with using the NY parts in the Hamburgs they might do it in stages as you suggest. Could an existing Hamburg action be modified to an accelerated action?
_________________________________________________

I do not believe Hamburg will go in stages. I did not suggest that.
I believe they "Hamburg" will continue to use Renner stack parts.
I could see them using the accelerated bearings for marketing reasons.
The bearing are a $20.00 balance rail part that they keys pivot on in place of a round felt punching used by all other piano manufacturers and rebuilders. That bearing is what makes the action "Accelerated" nothing else.
To install them in a Hamburg is doable.
I don't know anyone that does on a regular basis.
The improvements are hard to justify.
I have done it when requested by customers, that believe it is an improvement.
Posted By: LJC

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 06:52 PM

They believe will continue to use Renner stack parts.

We'll see, what I heard came from an S&S employee.

Ron, I take you found little difference after the accelerated parts were installed?
Posted By: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 06:58 PM

Quote
Originally posted by LJC:

Ron, I take you found little difference after the accelerated parts were installed? [/QB]
_________________________________________________

Why is it, even with my name visible, people still call me Ron? :rolleyes:

I find little difference if any in the accelerated bearings. And they are a pain when leveling keys.
Posted By: LJC

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 07:10 PM

I guess because there are so many more Rons than Rods. No offense intended.
Posted By: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 07:28 PM

None taken. thumb
Posted By: Anne Francis

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 09:37 PM

And because there's an "n" sound in your surname (I speak as a guilty party myself. And as someone whose name is routinely spelled wrong, or actually what I get most often is people assuming that Francis is my given name. It sounds so rude to be called by your surname by someone you've just met!

Just out of curiosity, ROD, is your surname pronounced with a 'j' like 'jello' or a 'y' sound like 'maniac'?
Posted By: Anne Francis

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 09:40 PM

Sorry, I'm just visiting this thread for the first time. I forgot to say that a few months ago I went with a friend to see a 1926 Hamburg "O" in original condition in a rebuilding shop. It sounded wonderful; all it was getting was new pins. (I was hoping she'd buy it, but she was nervous about its age, and ultimately she bought a 2-year-old Shigeru.)
Posted By: Supply

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 10:40 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Alex Hernandez:
As the scale moves from bass to tenor to treble the string tension increases on every piano.
Alex, are you saying that on a piano with one string in the bass having a tension of 200 lbs, that all the strings in the tenor and treble have more than that?

This is how your post can be understood, and I would strongly disagree. Can you clarify this for us?
Posted By: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/16/08 10:59 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Anne Francis:


Just out of curiosity, ROD, is your surname pronounced with a 'j' like 'jello' or a 'y' sound like 'maniac'?
__________________________________________________

Both ways, when my father immigrated here from Europe he pronounced his name with a 'Y' and the immigration officer told him that was too difficult so now you will pronounce it with a 'J'

If you spell and read it like this "Vernjack" that is how it is most often spoken.

So depending on ones back ground my last name has been and is pronounced both ways.

I get called Vern all the time people think my last name is Jack.
Posted By: LJC

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/17/08 12:00 AM

If Ron and Vern are the worst things people call you then you are doing alright! smile
Posted By: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/17/08 12:34 AM

That's for sure!!!
Posted By: pianobroker

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/21/08 09:32 AM

Upon receiving my brand spanking new Hamburg Steinway B & A. I gotta say these make new N.Y. Steinways look and sound quite inferior.The attention to detail is night and day between the two. The obvious cosmetic differences that I see that aren't acknowledged on the technical data Steinway website are;
Intense prep as for prepping the harp prior to guilding.
Industrial chrome plated duplex scale bars,plate bolts and nose bolt caps
Meticulous prep as for the polyester finish(extra thick)Meticulous fit as for case parts
Aluminum trap work levels
Aluminum pedal lyre plate
Sostenuto installed on the belly rail
Perfect string coils
#1 tuning pins (European standard)
Complete Renner action stack including back checks,let off buttons etc.
Recessed cheek block screws
Under carriage of piano painted in black satin polyester
Precision soundboard fit. No need for quarteround on the straight side.
Allenhead screw security leg locks
Robust brass casters
Triple lid prop in black satin polyester
Mahogany veneered inner rim
Adjustable music desk /leather trim
Superior German plastic keytops
Attention to detail is overwhelming. The soundboard,beams,keybed from underneath manufacture are performed with meticulous precision. Maybe later with more time and assistance.I can assess the structural and scale differences between the two.
As for sound I gotta say the Hamburg Steinways are well worth the extra premium if $ is no object and the sound floats your boat No lack of power,sustain or dynamic response in either Hamburg mdl.In some respects the Hamburg Steinway is moving toward a higher automotive standard.
Posted By: Starting Over

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/21/08 11:46 AM

Very informative PB. Maybe I missed it but why do you have 2 new Hamburg Steinways? Are they your personal pianos or are you a now a dealer for Hamburg Steinway?
Posted By: jperiod

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/21/08 04:08 PM

There was an article in the PTG archives a while back where a tech had been to the Steinway factory in Hamburg and saw a soundboard being manufactured. He gave the impression that the Hamburg soundboard leans more to the Rib Crowned technique as compared to the compression crowning technique reportedly used in NY Steinways. I know that this can start a whole new heated debate about SB techniques, but if true that would be a pretty big difference between the two.

JW
Posted By: piqué

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/21/08 04:12 PM

what do you mean that he saw a soundboard being manufactured at hamburg? my understanding is the boards are manufactured at a soundboard maker. they may be shaped and prepared at the piano factory, but i don't think they put the board together.

anyone have different info?
Posted By: bitWrangler

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/21/08 04:39 PM

Quote
Originally posted by pianobroker:
Upon receiving my brand spanking new Hamburg Steinway B & A. I gotta say these make new N.Y. Steinways look and sound quite inferior.The attention to detail is night and day between the two. The obvious cosmetic differences that I see that aren't acknowledged on the technical data on Steinway website are;
Intense prep as for prepping the harp prior to guilding.
Industrial chrome plated duplex scale bars,plate bolts and nose bolt caps
Meticulous prep as for the polyester finish(extra thick)Meticulous fit as for case parts
Aluminum trap work levels
Aluminum pedal lyre plate
Sostenuto installed on the belly rail
Perfect string coils
#1 tuning pins (European standard)
Complete Renner action stack including back checks,let off buttons etc.
Recessed cheek block screws
Under carriage of piano painted in black satin polyester
Precision soundboard fit. No need for quarteround on the straight side.
Allenhead screw security leg locks
Robust brass casters
Triple lid prop in black satin polyester
Mahogany veneered inner rim
Adjustable music desk /leather trim
Superior German plastic keytops
Attention to detail is overwhelming. The soundboard,beams,keybed from underneath manufacture are performed with meticulous precision. Maybe later with more time and assistance.I can assess the structural and scale differences between the two.
As for sound I gotta say the Hamburg Steinways are well worth the extra premium if $ is no object and the sound floats your boat No lack of power,sustain or dynamic response in either Hamburg mdl.In some respects the Hamburg Steinway is moving toward a higher automotive standard.
Sounds like the power of having true competition.
Posted By: jperiod

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/21/08 05:18 PM

Quote
Originally posted by piqué:
what do you mean that he saw a soundboard being manufactured at hamburg? my understanding is the boards are manufactured at a soundboard maker. they may be shaped and prepared at the piano factory, but i don't think they put the board together.

anyone have different info?
Here is the link to the post on PTG.
http://www.ptg.org/pipermail/pianotech/2005-June/174195.html
Posted By: Keith D Kerman

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/21/08 05:28 PM

Quote
Originally posted by piqué:
what do you mean that he saw a soundboard being manufactured at hamburg? my understanding is the boards are manufactured at a soundboard maker. they may be shaped and prepared at the piano factory, but i don't think they put the board together.

anyone have different info?
Hamburg Steinway gets soundboard blanks as do most manufacturers. They do not glue togethor the soundboard panels and make the blank themselves.

Jperiod is speaking of the manner in which they belly the board by using a pre crowned rib ( rib crowning ) as opposed to the way NY Steinway bellies a soundboard using a flat rib ( compression crowning )
I have heard that Hamburg has gone to this approach of late as well, which is a big difference from New York.
Posted By: duncantwo

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/21/08 06:34 PM

interesting post, keith. is one method considered superior to the other? for instance, what do other top manufacturers do (steingraber, bosie, fazioli, bluthner)?

also, have hamburgs always been more expensive? it seems everyone thinks this, but when the exchange rate was .85 Euro to $1 back in '01, could a hamburg have been had for about the same price as a NY?
Posted By: pianobroker

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 02/22/08 01:22 AM

Quote
what do you mean that he saw a soundboard being manufactured at hamburg? my understanding is the boards are manufactured at a soundboard maker. they may be shaped and prepared at the piano factory, but i don't think they put the board together.
From my reliable source, both New York and Hamburg Steinway do not buy their soundboard panels premade/preglued. The 1/2" spruce is glued (glue ring)or clamped,planed,sanded and pressed(attached to the ribs)all in the factory. I have pics of a soundboard panel being made from spruce in the Hamburg factory.Upon ordering our latest shipment from the supplier of Alaskan sitka spruce (Steinway's source)he told me they had just recently shipped a traincar of lumber to Steinway in New York. Sitka spruce is than routed to Hamburg from New York. Before establishing a relationship with the soundboard panel suppliers my bellyman would make his own panels acquiring the spruce from a local supplier. Not a big deal, so I hear if you are set up for it. Now companies like Mason & Hamlin do actually purchase soundboard panels from Bolduc like most other piano manufacturers and most independent rebuilders. But as for Steinway,would they admit to buying soundboard panels premade if that was true ?. I doubt it.Just so happens they don't. Keith, thanx for the tip on Hamburg using precrowned ribs compared to N.Y.compression crowning their boards.
Sugar pine being much softer and flexible than Spruce, it makes sense why they use Sugar Pine(ribs)in a compression crowned soundboard.
Posted By: Rod Verhnjak

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 03/13/08 08:11 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Rod Verhnjak:
I would think they "Hamburg" would continue to use Renner hammers, shanks, wippens and back action even if they do change to the accelerated balance rail bearings. That in itself is a very easy modification.
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I was wrong & I will tell you why.

I'm in Portland this week for our regional piano technicians guild conference.
Just took a class presented by Steinway.
We were told that Hamburg Steinways will soon cease using Renner action parts and be changing to the use of parts made in the Steinway factory in New York.

Renner will continue for now manufacturing the parts for the upright pianos.

I am surprised by this but Steinway wants control of the supply of it's parts and to me that does makes sense in the quickly changing world of piano manufacturing.

I am now going to go and enjoy the exhibit hall where we have many pianos and parts/tools to enjoy.
Posted By: pianobroker

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 03/14/08 02:07 AM

Very interesting! Next thing you know they'll discontinue selling the N.Y. parts to the independent rebuilders assuring the piano public that nobody can restore a Steinway with "Steinway parts" because they are only available through Steinway Restoration or for new Steinway warranty issues etc.etc.
I guess the independent rebuilders are getting a little too proficient.They may feel they need that extra edge over the competition in the future.
Losing sales from proceeds from the parts counter may be beneficial in the long term. I guess we'll stock up on NY hammers or buy them through the black market. frown As for the action parts, no great loss. Only SPECULATING to the extreme. This will make the Hamburg personel work a bit harder in making the NY parts work. It may backfire on Hamburg's reputation as for their level of piano excellence and meticulous precision using N.Y. action parts. They'll probably be sourced anyway in the future to the Chinese and the consumer unfortunately will never know.
Rod,Thanks for the tip,will have to seek more info from our informant at Steinway Restoration. laugh
I hate buying hammers in quantity,they can get stale like bread.
Posted By: LJC

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 03/14/08 09:25 PM

Pianobroker_ Are you suffering from depression?
Posted By: Starting Over

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 03/14/08 10:44 PM

PB, I think you may be reading a bit too much into this. :rolleyes:

Besides, if the Steinway parts are inferior, what rebuilder would want to use them anyway?
Especially once they start making them in China... smokin
Posted By: pianobroker

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 03/15/08 07:09 AM

Depression! The Steinway dealer in our turf has reason to be depressed! laugh
We are so....... busy,we have no time or reason to be depressed. Working 24/7 we have no life for the time being. Business is through the roof !. The only dilemna is trying to find quality time to practice being around pianos all day. My only other dilemna is whether I should keep my new Hamburg Steinways or sell one or two ?.Hmm...... wink
Posted By: John v.d.Brook

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 03/15/08 09:45 AM

Hi pianobroker,

Just visited your web site and found this comment:

Quote
Last Updated on 10/2/03
You must be busy! laugh
Posted By: LJC

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 03/15/08 01:44 PM

My only other dilemna is whether I should keep my new Hamburg Steinways or sell one or two ?.Hmm......
I can't answer that, I can only say keep one of them for yourself! Glad to hear your pianos are selling well!
Posted By: pianobroker

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 03/15/08 04:46 PM

Quote
Hi pianobroker,

Just visited your web site and found this comment:


quote:
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Last Updated on 10/2/03
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You must be busy!
John,Funny thing! You're absolutely right! In the process of doing a complete facelift of my website. Everybody is getting on my case and ragging on me for not updating my site. Certainly justified! Stay tuned!All those Steinways were sold years ago! Got all new stuff 10 times over. We weren't even doing new soundboards back in 2003. While my website is in the stoneage,my Steinways and our hitech restoration division is definitely not.
laugh shocked laugh
Posted By: pianobroker

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 03/16/08 06:29 PM

Quote
Besides, if the Steinway parts are inferior, what rebuilder would want to use them anyway?
Especially once they start making them in China...
Any reputable rebuilder knows the lack of quality consistency of NY Steinway parts compared to Renner,Tokiwa or even the Chinese Renner copy.
The typical Steinway buyer may be insistent on "original Steinway parts" though in reality may be of a lesser quality than other superior aftermarket parts. It's all in marketing the piano subsequent to the restoration to the Steinway buyer. Renner is the only manufacturer of action parts that is acceptable in the marketplace as for restoration of a Steinway grand. The rationale is that; Hamburg Steinways presently use Renner action,Hamburg Steinways are
known for their superiority over NY Steinways as for manufacture,precision,attention to detail etc.Hamburg Steinway at the presnt exchange rate costs near double a NY Steinway.Therefore in the marketplace it is acceptable and justified in using Renner action in a restoration of a NY Steinway grand. I know restoration firms that charge more $ in using NY Steinway parts not for the reason that they literally cost more but the extra labour involved in making them work. At present,good luck in selling a restored Steinway if one discloses the fact of Chinese action parts in the restoration no matter how good it plays and performs.
As for the most discriminating player which is seeking a custom upgrade of a Steinway grand restoration,other parts may very well be more appropriate for the player's application. I'm sure those options are dealt with very precisely between the rebuilder and the client commisioning the rebuild. Thats my spin on the market in that I deal with the Steinway buyer on a daily basis.
Posted By: Starting Over

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 03/16/08 09:28 PM

PB, I think you know my post was in jest wink but let me reply.

First, I agree that the market isn't ready for new or rebuilt Steinway pianos using Chinese parts but it was you that suggested that this could be Steinway's next step. I'd be surprised if that happens.

As for the use of NY Steinway action parts in restoration, they may well be more difficult to work with but that apparently doesn't affect the quality of the final product. Properly installed and regulated NY Steinway actions are among the finest available, whether in new Steinway pianos or in those rebuilt using them, including those restored by S&S themselves. So, maybe the problem with the NY parts is more for the rebuilder than for the customer. My personal preference is for Steinway grands restored using S&S parts simply because the best rebuilt Steinway pianos I've played were rebuilt using all S&S parts. Turns out Renner parts are no guarantee of a quality rebuilt - I've seen several that I wouldn't buy that included them. Of course, this likely reflects more on the rebuilders than the parts; both are important.

As for Hamburg S&S changing from Renner to NY S&S made parts, changes in the supply chain happen all the time in manufacturing of all products. If it's true, I'm sure they'll be fine.
Posted By: LJC

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 03/16/08 11:10 PM

You guys may be interested to know that S&S NY has invested in allot of new equipment including CNC machines. I think the new parts will be high quality. BTW I saw this new equipment on the factory tour.
Posted By: Starting Over

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 03/17/08 12:13 AM

That is probably why they're making the change to NY parts in Hamburg then. They're investing in their plant.

That's a good thing.
Posted By: sophial

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 03/17/08 01:17 AM

yes, I don't think Hamburg would use them if they weren't just as good or better than what they were replacing.
Posted By: WangMcL

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 03/18/08 10:22 PM

Hi, I learned of this forum from reading Grand Obsession. I have a Hamburg Steinway Model C purchased in 1978. I wanted the sound of a grand, but in a smaller size. While the baby grand was smaller, it didn't have the sound of the grand, so the C was the best option - smaller, but with the sound (almost) of a grand. I love my piano although my daughter plays it more than I do as arthritis and bad eyesight have hit. She's at college level so it's like having my own personal concert pianist in my back room ;-)

I have the piano tuned every year (my experience with tuners is another story in itself) to a lower pitch so it has a warm, deeper voice (?)

I bought the piano from a guy called Fenton and he had some really great stories to tell about Steinways. I can't vouch for the truth of his stories, but they make interesting reading.

According to Fenton, Columbia bought Steinway in the '60s? '70s? (don't remember exactly when) and wanted to mass produce Steinways. They went to Hamburg and told the technicians to start churning them out; the technicians listened, ignored them and kept hand producing their 40 quality pianos a year. The quality of the US "mass produced" Steinways was not as good as the Hamburg Steinways, and several European concert pianists refused to come to the US because they refused to play the US Steinways. Aficionados wanted the Hamburg Steinways, so Columbia banned them from being imported into the US. Fenton got past Columbia's ban by transferring his Hamburg pianos from his Strasbourg store to his SF store. Columbia sued him but the court said he could do anything he wanted with this stock.

As I said, the above was what Fenton told me. A Steinway tuner told me only some of it was true, so as I said, I can't vouch for the veracity of Fenton's story.

The Steinway tuner said the Hamburg C is much desired, and several clients would buy it if they could get their hands on one.

One post asked about the investment value of Steinways. I bought the C for $35,000 in 1978 and the replacement value now is $110,000, so I think it's a good investment.

But then, we don't buy pianos for their investment value, do we? but because we love them .....
Posted By: SCCDoug

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 03/18/08 11:51 PM

WangMcL

Even at just the rate of inflation rate, an investment of $35,000 in 1978 would yield over $118,000 today. Any decent return over inflation would have resulted in a far greater return. Sorry, but 'investment' it was not.

BTW Hamburg builds far more than 40 pianos a year. I think closer to 1,500.
Posted By: Olek

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 03/19/08 12:11 AM

Slight dimentionnal changes between hamburg and Ny SS whippen makes for some behaviour changes when Renner parts are used , but I've been told they produced a new serial of parts more suiteable for the differnent models , ages and sizes , recently.

Possibly Steinway hamburg will find cheaper to use NY parts, (because they buy the parts from Renner actually and the dollar is low ...) assuming they are what they expect to be. The wood is different, the bushing cloth is different, the cloth is different, the spring is different the leather is different the pinning concept is differnt.

Does not mean they will not work fine if all the dimensions are respected. But this is a very strange story as Steinway Hamburg know fairly well that a the tyniest change inside the instrument will produce a lot of changes in the way it works and sound. and they are maintening a standard.

Changes occured yet when they begin to use CNC machine for the rims, they where not expected but where remarked.

We will see - BTW I received free samples from the NY factory, but as they wrote the value of a set of parts on the box, the customs asked me more than if I ordered a set of shanks at Renner's !
Posted By: Olek

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 03/19/08 12:17 AM

In Europe there is not really such thing as Original S&S part, as the parts for the older models where discontinued , you only can order 16 mm shanks, even a new stack have the modern geometry.

But their hammer heads have more felt in the shoulders than all Renner copies I could find even good ones, the weight of their shanks is also a bit more and thicker than the Renner replacement.

For a relatively recent Steinway the "original " parts are adviseable, but you have to deal with the stack, and with older ones with the keys as well.
Posted By: Olek

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 03/19/08 12:20 AM

Quote
Originally posted by SCCDoug:
WangMcL

Even at just the rate of inflation rate, an investment of $35,000 in 1978 would yield over $118,000 today. Any decent return over inflation would have resulted in a far greater return. Sorry, but 'investment' it was not.

BTW Hamburg builds far more than 40 pianos a year. I think closer to 1,500.
Of course it is, because you have played it all the time !!!
Posted By: SCCDoug

Re: Question: Differences between Hamburg and New York Steinway? - 03/19/08 12:45 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Kamin:
Quote
Originally posted by SCCDoug:
[b] WangMcL

Even at just the rate of inflation rate, an investment of $35,000 in 1978 would yield over $118,000 today. Any decent return over inflation would have resulted in a far greater return. Sorry, but 'investment' it was not.

BTW Hamburg builds far more than 40 pianos a year. I think closer to 1,500.
Of course it is, because you have played it all the time !!! [/b]
I agree - no one should ever regret spending money on a piano. I just get a bit tired of the Steinway as an 'investment' sales job. The NYSE Dow average was only 757 points in March of 1978. Today it is 12,294.
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