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Posted By: opus64 Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/18/19 03:56 AM
Hello,

After decades on digitals and most recently the Kawai NV10, I am finally getting an acoustic. I have room for up to a 7' grand. While I am still learning/reading the rich history and intricacies of grand pianos as well as playing different ones as much as I can, I would appreciate any input from all the great experienced folks here.

My goal is to get a grand that (1) feels and sounds great which is mostly subjective of course (2) is in good shape and can take the abuse for years of hopefully daily practice and (3) it would be nice if it was still worth something if ever sold it/traded it down the road.

Option 1: Steinway B
I am a fan of the Steinway D sound and as far as I have seen this is the closest I can get. I found a 1996 Steinway B (all original) that appears to be very lightly used. I have linked some pictures and if anyone experienced cares to take a look I would appreciate any comments:

1996 Steinway B Pictures

I absolutely love the sound of this piano, it is my favorite in terms of sound. It's hard to describe but it has that 'bell' sound in the upper register. The action is phenomenal as well. However is there any concern with it being 23 years old with all original parts? Despite the NV10 being relatively new i'm already having problems with loose hammer heads so i'm worried a 23 year old instrument might be asking for trouble for heavy use.

One disadvantage is that I will have to keep the NV10 for headphone practice. It is a disadvantage not because I dislike the NV10 but because now I'll have 2 actions and it takes up space in the same room.

Option 2: Yamaha S5X or S3X
I played a Yamaha S7X and was very impressed by it, it is really something else. An S5X or S3X seems like a good, practical option. The sound is great although I do subjectively prefer the brighter sound of the Steinway. However this path has an advantage in that I can get it with the silent system(no diskclavier), practice on the same acoustic action and trade-in the NV10. I am unsure if the silent has any negative effect vs the same piano without it. When I played it, the action seemed slightly heavier in silent mode but it was very close. This path is also more expensive, since it is new, and I am unsure years from now if it would be worth as much as the Steinway.

Any thoughts? Should I follow the heart or brain?
Originally Posted by opus64
Hello,

After decades on digitals and most recently the Kawai NV10, I am finally getting an acoustic. I have room for up to a 7' grand. While I am still learning/reading the rich history and intricacies of grand pianos as well as playing different ones as much as I can, I would appreciate any input from all the great experienced folks here.

My goal is to get a grand that (1) feels and sounds great which is mostly subjective of course (2) is in good shape and can take the abuse for years of hopefully daily practice and (3) it would be nice if it was still worth something if ever sold it/traded it down the road.

Option 1: Steinway B
I am a fan of the Steinway D sound and as far as I have seen this is the closest I can get. I found a 1996 Steinway B (all original) that appears to be very lightly used. I have linked some pictures and if anyone experienced cares to take a look I would appreciate any comments:

1996 Steinway B Pictures

I absolutely love the sound of this piano, it is my favorite in terms of sound. It's hard to describe but it has that 'bell' sound in the upper register. The action is phenomenal as well. However is there any concern with it being 23 years old with all original parts? Despite the NV10 being relatively new i'm already having problems with loose hammer heads so i'm worried a 23 year old instrument might be asking for trouble for heavy use.

One disadvantage is that I will have to keep the NV10 for headphone practice. It is a disadvantage not because I dislike the NV10 but because now I'll have 2 actions and it takes up space in the same room.

Option 2: Yamaha S5X or S3X
I played a Yamaha S7X and was very impressed by it, it is really something else. An S5X or S3X seems like a good, practical option. The sound is great although I do subjectively prefer the brighter sound of the Steinway. However this path has an advantage in that I can get it with the silent system(no diskclavier), practice on the same acoustic action and trade-in the NV10. I am unsure if the silent has any negative effect vs the same piano without it. When I played it, the action seemed slightly heavier in silent mode but it was very close. This path is also more expensive, since it is new, and I am unsure years from now if it would be worth as much as the Steinway.

Any thoughts? Should I follow the heart or brain?

I wouldn't worry about the potential resale value "years from now". Trying to predict anything that far away is difficult, and the piano market has changed considerably over years. Plus - don't forget the STEINWAY will always be 23 years older than the 2019 piano.

That said - taking fiscal matters into consideration, get the piano you'll enjoy playing for "years from now". If you get one you don't end up enjoying, that will mean another purchase down the line.

I believe you can get a silent action in a Steinway - I saw one in an "A" Hamburg in a showroom (I think it was an A) a few years ago. There used to be one advertise on this actual page - maybe a SEARCH in PianoWorld (or GOOGLE and include the word PianoWorld) might find it.

I don't recall playing an S series Yamaha (none within 2000km), but they're in the same mould as the Shigeru KAWAI, which you could look at too.

There are many, many other brands of piano which would probably suit your wishes.

I wouldn't rush, I took about 4 years to get my dream piano (buying one in the meantime which I upgraded) - and in the meantime, have a look at other makes of equivalent pianos in PianoBuyer:
https://www.pianobuyer.com/Resources/Piano-Brands-Profiles

Or here - where you can sort by size, colour, quality and price:
https://www.pianobuyer.com/Searchab...n=True&PlayerAddOn=0&PercentOff=
[I think this might open up to something like what you might be looking at - adjust if you wish]
Posted By: Hakki Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/18/19 06:29 AM
Quote
I absolutely love the sound of this piano, it is my favorite in terms of sound. It's hard to describe but it has that 'bell' sound in the upper register. The action is phenomenal as well. However is there any concern with it being 23 years old with all original parts?


IMO you should ask yourself whether you might regret not buying this piano after you buy the Yamaha S5X.
Buying a piano is a long term process. I suggest you to play as many pianos as you can before making your final decision. Also if you decide to buy used, definitely have it checked by an unbiased technician.
I've never heard someone say, several years after a purchase "I sure wish I bought the piano I didn't like as much and saved a small amount of money" I do hear the opposite.

Steve
Posted By: dhts Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/18/19 12:40 PM
It's good to hear from someone else looking to make the switch. I hadn't played an acoustic for decades having played digital pianos but have had two visits to piano stores of late comparing the top end DP's labelled Hybrids with acoustic grands I know where I'm heading. I refer to Hybrids in that way as I think what Yamaha have done with the Transacoustics are really true hybrids.

At present, though each time I go into a store my budget seems to magically increase much to my wife's concern, the S5X is more than I'd want to spend but I've had a couple of sessions on the C3X and really like it. Like you I'm wrestling with the silent/two piano debate. Viewing this as a keeper piano, I'm somewhat put off by the silent option given the electronics are only guaranteed for 2 years in the UK, whereas you'd want the piano to have a lifetime of decades with care. As you've already got the NV10 and like it I might be tempted to go the 2 piano route - have you tried Kawai grands as this would presumably go a large part to addressing your concern of having two different actions to contend with ?
Originally Posted by dhts
It's good to hear from someone else looking to make the switch. I hadn't played an acoustic for decades having played digital pianos but have had two visits to piano stores of late comparing the top end DP's labelled Hybrids with acoustic grands I know where I'm heading. I refer to Hybrids in that way as I think what Yamaha have done with the Transacoustics are really true hybrids.

At present, though each time I go into a store my budget seems to magically increase much to my wife's concern, the S5X is more than I'd want to spend but I've had a couple of sessions on the C3X and really like it. Like you I'm wrestling with the silent/two piano debate. Viewing this as a keeper piano, I'm somewhat put off by the silent option given the electronics are only guaranteed for 2 years in the UK, whereas you'd want the piano to have a lifetime of decades with care. As you've already got the NV10 and like it I might be tempted to go the 2 piano route - have you tried Kawai grands as this would presumably go a large part to addressing your concern of having two different actions to contend with ?

There probably isn't a problem with having 2 actions. I've encountered situations where a student only ever plays their own piano - apart from when they go to the teacher for a short time (relatively). I've suggested to people to play a variety of pianos on occasions. Whether the 2 KAWAIs will be similar, I doubt it - a grand and an upright from the same manufacturer can be quite different.

But, yes, try the KAWAI - they have more-or-less competitive pianos for most YAMAHA products. Some people prefer one over the other. The GX-3 is the equivalent of the C3X - the numbers more-or-less match. Not sure about there, but I think KAWAI has a 12 yr warranty here.

With the electronics of the silent system - I probably wouldn't have a concern. I've had YAMAHA products which, electronically have gone perfectly for decades, we had a lot of electronic keyboards in the school I worked, and the YAMAHA were the best from a reliability, bearing in mind that they weren't looked after well. And - if the worst happens and it stops, you've still got a lovely piano.
Posted By: One Ohm Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/18/19 01:26 PM
You pose a very interesting question. Do you listen to your heart or brain? For me that is always a tough one to answer since both feelings and opinions can change over time.

I purchased a new Yamaha S7X last year (no silent option stuff). I started my search thinking that I did not want a Yamaha. However, these new SX models are something very special, in my opinion. A good Steinway B can be wonderful. No question about it. My only frustration with Steinway is that they are not very consistent. If you find one that really speaks to you, then it should be a serious consideration.

I have not played the S5X, but if it is anything like my S7X then it has a better action than the Steinway, for sure, and it is built with more attention to detail and craftsmanship. However, that may not be important if you are not inspired when you play it. Keep in mind that pianos will change a little when you get them into your home and play them a lot. My S7X has actually improved with time playing. I had my piano tech recently do a subtle voicing after I had played it every day for 10 months. The piano is even more beautiful sounding and resonant than ever, in my opinion.

Now, I'm not trying to sell you on the Yamaha, I'm just letting you know I am very happy with it. In general, I would say follow your heart, but let your brain inject information into the conversation while you take enough time to determine if your feelings are lasting. Like dating...best not to get married after only one date.

Good luck. Choosing a piano is a lot of fun!
The B's just not that old, and hammers appear lightly used.
Originally Posted by backto_study_piano

There probably isn't a problem with having 2 actions. I've encountered situations where a student only ever plays their own piano - apart from when they go to the teacher for a short time (relatively).


Quite the opposite, having two or more actions to play on is a very good thing. It develops your ability to adapt to different instruments. People who only play one piano -- as I did my first few years -- get a major shock when they try to play a different one, and everything falls apart...
Posted By: GC13 Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/18/19 05:34 PM
I'd follow your heart and go for the Steinway B, especially if you prefer that sound. If it checks out with a technician, I wouldn't worry about the age especially if it has seen very little use. It's past the Teflon era, so you should be good for a very long time. I played a Yamaha S7 recently, and I did love the sound of that piano, but the Steinway B sound is still where my heart is.

I'm in your area, so I'm going to send you a private message to your in box.
Posted By: GC13 Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/18/19 05:47 PM
Originally Posted by GC13
I'd follow your heart and go for the Steinway B, especially if you prefer that sound. If it checks out with a technician, I wouldn't worry about the age especially if it has seen very little use. It's past the Teflon era, so you should be good for a very long time. I played a Yamaha S7 recently, and I did love the sound of that piano, but the Steinway B sound is still where my heart is.

I'm in your area, so I'm going to send you a private message to your in box.


To add to what I said earlier. I enjoy getting out and about and playing lots of pianos, and I can appreciate the beauty and strengths of many of them. However, I personally have never regretted my decision to purchase my Steinway B.
I found buying your first grand and having it be a keeper to be difficult and costly. I played a lot of pianos over 3 years and still made mistakes. I went from a N1 to N3 to Wm Schimmel 180 to finally an 210 Estonia. I initially thought in a high rise apartment only a digital would work. I was wrong. On the N3 I found myself playing without headphones most of the time and with an auxiliary subwoofer it was just as loud as any acoustic with no neighbor complaints. With the Schimmel, which I played for a total of 3 hours in the showroom over many visits, after 6 months I realized it didn't have a "big" enough sound (not a matter of loudness). I bought the Estonia almost on an impulse after playing it 1/2 hour in an out of town shop. 2 years later I am more convinced then ever that this will be my keeper. The first two were moveup trade ins, so little money lost. With the Schimmel the dealer didn't stand up to the trade up policy so I lost an appreciable amount.
So- how could I have just bought the Estonia first? I'm afraid I can't give opus64 any easy answer. From what I read on PW variations of my experience are unfortunately not uncommon.
Fwiw , I've owned two Yamahas - '85 C7e and a '97 S6 - before I acquired my D in March of 2006. I recently played the CFX next to a Bosendorfer 290VC, and I've played the CF6 quite a few times as well. I haven't played the SX pianos yet.

While Yamahas were and still are great pianos, once you own and are accustomed to the NY Steinway sound and tone - Yamahas sound pretty vanilla, at least to my ears now. The thickness and complexity of the tone, the entire player connection -- Steinway is just an entirely more refined and sophisticated musical world imo.

It took me actually about 5 years of ownership before "that sound" really started to become ingrained in my musical psyche, after owning and playing Yamahas in recording studios and live gigs. Now, while I can appreciate a great sounding and playing piano, there are many, it simply isn't a NY Steinway.

I do feel pop/rock type players are less sensitive to these qualities as opposed to Jazz and Classical players.
Posted By: AaronSF Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/18/19 07:25 PM
I've played a lot of badly rebuilt Bs, well rebuilt Bs, and relatively new Bs like the one you're considering. A really great Steinway B is hard to beat.
Posted By: Simplex77 Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/18/19 08:32 PM
I am also searching for my first grand. If you're not financially constrained and you found "the one," then follow your heart. Two pianos / two actions is not a problem, at this price and at 7' pianos you've already justified the space in your house, and I think switching actions is healthy for a pianist.

If you are worried about price or just stressed about the choice, then remember that despite the common analogy buying a piano is not marriage, there are no lawyers/broken lives involved if you decide to upgrade later. Buying your dream piano your first time is high pressure, just find something you like. Then, several years down the line you will have more experience to help you decide what really matters if/when you want to upgrade. Just relax and enjoy piano shopping!
Posted By: One Ohm Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/18/19 10:58 PM
Well, there you go. "...Yamahas sound pretty vanilla...Steinway is just an entirely more refined and sophisticated musical world..."

You don't want to be one of those vanilla sounding people. You want to be refined and sophisticated! Go with the Steinway BS. wink

Seriously though, a good steinway B is wonderful. Just make sure you are getting a good one. And post some pics and recordings for us to enjoy! smile
Posted By: Fidel Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/19/19 02:09 AM
A Hamburg Steinway B with a Renner action? Jeebus just buy it already. A B was my 2nd grand piano and imo the B model is one of the easiest types of grands to play: don't have to fight the bass to get the treble heard. It is in a sweet spot.

My piano is a true 7 footer and you wouldn't think 2 inches makes a difference but it does. The full 7 footers are harder to play, it's more like handling a 9 footer: the bass demands to rule.

Buy it. Life is short. Don't wait.
Originally Posted by One Ohm
Well, there you go. "...Yamahas sound pretty vanilla...Steinway is just an entirely more refined and sophisticated musical world..."

You don't want to be one of those vanilla sounding people. You want to be refined and sophisticated! Go with the Steinway BS. wink

Seriously though, a good steinway B is wonderful. Just make sure you are getting a good one. And post some pics and recordings for us to enjoy! smile


David, I obviously hit a nerve on my post and I assure you that was not my intent. I don't post my words like that lightly but only from what I feel are 21 years (combined), and I can't estimate how many thousands of very intense, focused practice hours on two of Yamaha's finest instruments. Not to mention all the years in the trenches as a Professional Musician, playing their pianos in almost every context known to a working musician.

I stand by my comments, maybe vanilla is too harsh but I do feel an experienced pianist can hear the more complex sound of the Steinway over a Yamaha, any Yamaha. Whether that sound appeals to everyone is of course highly subjective.

I put in many hours on Jazz chord voicings and harmonic materiel that crosses over to being more Impressionistic to atonal outside the traditional Jazz realm. I feel that is one area that gives me somewhat of an identifiable voice in the Jazz world. There's a place in my brain that still has a file on how all of those voicings sounded on my S6. The same applies to the Chopin, Debussy Etudes and pieces from the Bach WTC I've worked on for a few decades. Not that I consider myself a Classical musician. I'm a Jazz guy that works on that stuff.

When I brought the D into my life 13 years ago, my musical instincts resisted. Before I sold the S6, I had both for about 5 months and I wasn't enjoying the Steinway at all. It was a foreign being. I almost sold it ! But like I posted, after a few years, my ears started relaxing, the piano started blossoming and I began hearing new nuances, in even the most simple chord voicings, that it was like a rebirth for me.

A simple Gm7b5 to C7 b9 to FmMaj7, transposed to all 12 keys, was like a revelation ! The Dominant 7 +11 chords, a staple in any Jazz pianist's vocabulary, sung and took on an entirely different color compared to the Yamaha.

At 65, I don't have the stamina I did, even in my early 50s, to put in 4-5 hours every day...and then go do a gig at night. But for the couple hours I still try to get in every day, I hear my piano ( and my wife makes the same comment) as being much easier and less fatiguing on the ears then the Yamahas.

Again I apologize if you were offended. I've listened to some of your SX7 recordings and your piano sounds very nice indeed. I know you're proud of it and you should be. thumb
Posted By: GC13 Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/19/19 12:39 PM
Originally Posted by Dave Ferris
Originally Posted by One Ohm
Well, there you go. "...Yamahas sound pretty vanilla...Steinway is just an entirely more refined and sophisticated musical world..."

You don't want to be one of those vanilla sounding people. You want to be refined and sophisticated! Go with the Steinway BS. wink

Seriously though, a good steinway B is wonderful. Just make sure you are getting a good one. And post some pics and recordings for us to enjoy! smile


David, I obviously hit a nerve on my post and I assure you that was not my intent. I don't post my words like that lightly but only from what I feel are 21 years (combined), and I can't estimate how many thousands of very intense, focused practice hours on two of Yamaha's finest instruments. Not to mention all the years in the trenches as a Professional Musician, playing their pianos in almost every context known to a working musician.

I stand by my comments, maybe vanilla is too harsh but I do feel an experienced pianist can hear the more complex sound of the Steinway over a Yamaha, any Yamaha. Whether that sound appeals to everyone is of course highly subjective.

I put in many hours on Jazz chord voicings and harmonic materiel that crosses over to being more Impressionistic to atonal outside the traditional Jazz realm. I feel that is one area that gives me somewhat of an identifiable voice in the Jazz world. There's a place in my brain that still has a file on how all of those voicings sounded on my S6. The same applies to the Chopin, Debussy Etudes and pieces from the Bach WTC I've worked on for a few decades. Not that I consider myself a Classical musician. I'm a Jazz guy that works on that stuff.

When I brought the D into my life 13 years ago, my musical instincts resisted. Before I sold the S6, I had both for about 5 months and I wasn't enjoying the Steinway at all. It was a foreign being. I almost sold it ! But like I posted, after a few years, my ears started relaxing, the piano started blossoming and I began hearing new nuances, in even the most simple chord voicings, that it was like a rebirth for me.

A simple Gm7b5 to C7 b9 to FmMaj7, transposed to all 12 keys, was like a revelation ! The Dominant 7 +11 chords, a staple in any Jazz pianist's vocabulary, sung and took on an entirely different color compared to the Yamaha.

At 65, I don't have the stamina I did, even in my early 50s, to put in 4-5 hours every day...and then go do a gig at night. But for the couple hours I still try to get in every day, I hear my piano ( and my wife makes the same comment) as being much easier and less fatiguing on the ears then the Yamahas.

Again I apologize if you were offended. I've listened to some of your SX7 recordings and your piano sounds very nice indeed. I know you're proud of it and you should be. thumb


Well said, Dave! When it comes to musical taste and piano taste, I'm a "to-each-his-own" kind of guy. I know that not every Steinway that comes out of the Astoria factory is a stellar instrument, but when they get one right it is a thing of beauty. When I chose mine, I was comparing my model B to a Yamaha C7 right beside it. I had always thought my favorite piano was a C7, but that day changed my thinking forever. After playing that model B, the C7 sounded very vanilla as you said, very plain. The color palette of the B was almost limitless. I have never played a S7X, but I have recently spent some time on a S6, and I did really enjoy that piano. It definitely had a broader color palette than any "C" series piano I've played. I also think the new CF and CX series is a step up from the old C-series -- closer to an "S". But I personally still prefer a Steinway over a Yamaha, especially when playing solo.

I personally wish that every single mention of Steinway here on PW didn't bring out the "Steinway-basher", "all Steinways are garbage" attitude. I don't mind the fans of other instruments singing the praises of the strengths of those pianos against the weaknesses often found in Steinway pianos. Comparing the merits of any two pianos is a very healthy thing here on PW. And I'm the 1st to admit that when dealing with older and rebuilt Steinway pianos, one really has to know their "stuff" and do their research. We definitely need to educate the public on the fact that the name Steinway on the fallboard doesn't necessarily mean it's a world class instrument. I know many here on PW hold the position that the only way Steinway name has the reputation and recognition it has is because of their product placement and marketing techniques which is true to a degree. We see these types of things in all industries. At the same time, I'll don't believe that Horowitz, Van Cliburn, Gould, Gershwin, Connick, Lang Lang and the like would play junk. The same can be said of any C. Bechstein, Yamaha, Bosendorfer, Kawai, Fazioli artist -- and I could name several more. All of the top piano brands have their position in the market place because of the quality of the instruments they produce. Our goal in advising piano purchases and owners here on PW should always take an objective tone to it to guide them to make the best decision for them personally.

Just me .02 wink
Posted By: One Ohm Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/19/19 02:03 PM
Whoah guys...lighten up. The only nerve you hit was my funny bone. That is why I put the wink at the end of the sentence. I was also playing on words from all the posts that use " "Steinway Bs are...", or " I have played many Steinway B's...", etc. I changed it to BS for a joke. Anyway, sounds like you may be the ones being sensitive. In both my posts I encouraged the purchase of the Steinway. Also, the S7X is not the only piano I have owned, or own, or have spent a lot of time on. Just like you wink I will spare you my music resume, favorite chords and piano practice hours. That is what I call proof-by-intimidation. Did I mention I have a PhD? wink
Posted By: jeffscot Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/19/19 02:06 PM
Originally Posted by GC13
I personally wish that every single mention of Steinway here on PW didn't bring out the "Steinway-basher", "all Steinways are garbage" attitude. I don't mind the fans of other instruments singing the praises of the strengths of those pianos against the weaknesses often found in Steinway pianos..

Just me .02 wink

“Steinway-basher”s probably come out to even the playing field with the “Steinway-embellishers”. wink

Plus you and Dave both admit to not having played the Yamaha SX series.
Posted By: adamp88 Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/19/19 07:15 PM
Originally Posted by Fidel
A Hamburg Steinway B with a Renner action?


It's a NY Steinway.

That said, if the tone of it really speaks to you, and you can afford it, I'd go for the Steinway, without much concern to the age of the parts. And having two different actions to practice on should be seen as a bonus, not a downside.
Posted By: agraffe Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/19/19 08:15 PM
OT, but vanilla is actually exotic, the fermented fruit of an orchid, and complex, comprised of hundreds of aromatic compounds that make the culinary product hard to imitate artificially. So there, Yamaha! Put that in your Steinway and smoke it!
Posted By: One Ohm Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/19/19 08:32 PM
Originally Posted by agraffe
OT, but vanilla is actually exotic, the fermented fruit of an orchid, and complex, comprised of hundreds of aromatic compounds that make the culinary product hard to imitate artificially. So there, Yamaha! Put that in your Steinway and smoke it!


wink wink smile wink wink
Posted By: j&j Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/19/19 09:06 PM
There’s a bunch more Yamaha bashers than Steinway bashers on Piano World. That’s OK. I still enjoy the stability in my Piano’s tune and regulation. Yes I love vanilla.
Just me 2cents as this thread hit a special nerve with me. I think the original posters inclinations are terrifically on. I recently tried a bunch of Steinway Bs in 3 Steinway Gallery’s. I love Stwinways since childhood and always thought the Yamaha c series ( what I grew up with),
we’re always good, well made, bang for your buck pianos, but simply
not in the class of a Steinway as far as tone, touch, and possibilities.
Of all the Bs that I tried in the 3 stores , most of the Bs I thought were mediocre. One was Spectacular. Different planets.
The couple of SX Yamahas that I tried, I would also say were spectacular. Nothing like Yamahas C series I grew up with.
Beautiful warm tone ( not bright), even as one could want .. etc.
So the OP has probably got it exactly down to my 2 in that range.
Yes, if you find that one NY B that truly is something.. absolutely !
But..the other 4 I played in the same couple of days..I’d rather get a Yamaha SX
Posted By: opus64 Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/20/19 05:23 AM
First of all, thanks everyone for taking the time to respond! For someone inexperienced as myself it is incredibly useful to hear your varied perspectives and experiences.

After reading this thread, i'm not sure why I was concerned about having 2 actions. The NV10 would be a practice piano, if anything it is going to make better practice. Also, I will reach out to a local technician to come take a look at the ones I am really interested in. There has already been a few (small) things I have noticed that I really have no idea whether they are normal, or just the way something is regulated, or an actual problem.

The plot thickens. As part of my plan to play anything in range, today I drove to Chupp's in northern Indiana. They had a couple of all original (both new and old awaiting restoration) B's and a nice selection of restored Steinways from the model M to the D including an A-2 and A-3. I spent a few hours by myself playing all the restored pianos side by side in as much detail as I could, for instance playing the same piece/segment on all them one after the other.

I was blown away. They had that distinctive bright Steinway sound but it was the action that really clicked with me(this is not a Teflon pun). I can't fully explain why, maybe because many of the components in the action are new and I'm comparing them with original pianos that have years of use on them? The actions were smooth and fluid with no 'clunkyness' or overt friction to them. This reality truly hit me when, while playing, I realized that some motions that I struggle with constantly on the NV10 and pianos I've tested like specific trills and fast runs, I was doing rather effortlessly on these actions. I'm not sure if this is a good thing technique-wise, because I could argue that I should be able to do it on any action, but it was certainly fun.

I was also again surprised by how different the character of each instrument was, even when comparing 2 B's side by side. I am amazed by the enormous range of voicing and action possibilities even for the same 'model' of piano. I enjoyed playing them so much I would be happy taking any of them home.

Shopping for pianos is good fun.
Originally Posted by opus64
... Shopping for pianos is good fun.

I agree entirely - eventually it gets to decision day, and ... no more shopping. In my case, at my age, with a dream piano, my piano shopping days are over.

Enjoy the shopping - and eventually the dream piano.
Posted By: j&j Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/20/19 01:45 PM
Piano shopping is good fun, once you’ve narrowed down your choices and don’t have to drive great distances to compare pianos. So a quick tip here: narrow down your choices quickly. I know of buyers that chased down lots of different pianos in a tri-state area and became tired and confused. Comparing 3 to 4 top contenders is far more meaningful than running around keeping track of 8 top contenders. Best of Luck.
Originally Posted by j&j
Piano shopping is good fun, once you’ve narrowed down your choices and don’t have to drive great distances to compare pianos. So a quick tip here: narrow down your choices quickly. I know of buyers that chased down lots of different pianos in a tri-state area and became tired and confused. Comparing 3 to 4 top contenders is far more meaningful than running around keeping track of 8 top contenders. Best of Luck.

You're right - I had 5 pianos on my "serious" list plus another 3 which were maybe - at the same places. The 5 stayed there for a few weeks, the other 3 fell off, the 5 became 4 when one was sold, I dropped one off, -> 3 another -> 2 at which point I almost had to flip a coin (Grotrian 7'4 or rebuilt D Steinway).
Posted By: Grandman Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/21/19 04:57 PM
Originally Posted by One Ohm
Whoah guys...lighten up. The only nerve you hit was my funny bone. That is why I put the wink at the end of the sentence. I was also playing on words from all the posts that use " "Steinway Bs are...", or " I have played many Steinway B's...", etc. I changed it to BS for a joke. Anyway, sounds like you may be the ones being sensitive. In both my posts I encouraged the purchase of the Steinway. Also, the S7X is not the only piano I have owned, or own, or have spent a lot of time on. Just like you wink I will spare you my music resume, favorite chords and piano practice hours. That is what I call proof-by-intimidation. Did I mention I have a PhD? wink


One thing to note is that the S7X is 6.5 inches longer than the steinway B, and so not the proper comparison. It is the steinway model C at 7'6" that is the proper comparison.
Posted By: jeffscot Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/25/19 02:02 PM

Here is a few guys praising the sound of the S7X.
Shawcross keeps calling it a 7 footer, but it’s 7’ 6”.

And the last video is on the S5X.




Posted By: opus64 Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/25/19 03:59 PM
Well, I have another interesting option. I have the opportunity to get a new (used once)2018 Steinway B hugely discounted. It is about 6k more than a new (already discounted) S5X, and "only" $13k more than a rebuilt one. Even though it is more than I was looking to spend, I'm having a hard time talking myself out of it given how much I like the sound and how much these instruments seem to go for decades later.

It seems like almost too good of a deal, i'm going to have a tech look at it but if it is really that good of a deal it probably won't last long. Then again it might not be unusual, i would be curious to hear any thoughts.
Posted By: One Ohm Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/25/19 04:18 PM
If you like the sound, action and potential of the piano, go with it. Having a tech check it out is a good idea. If the instrument excites you then you will love it. A Steinway B would be a dream piano for anyone. Sounds exciting!
Posted By: jeffscot Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/25/19 05:05 PM
Originally Posted by opus64
Well, I have another interesting option. I have the opportunity to get a new (used once)2018 Steinway B hugely discounted. It is about 6k more than a new (already discounted) S5X, and "only" $13k more than a rebuilt one. Even though it is more than I was looking to spend, I'm having a hard time talking myself out of it given how much I like the sound and how much these instruments seem to go for decades later.

It seems like almost too good of a deal, i'm going to have a tech look at it but if it is really that good of a deal it probably won't last long. Then again it might not be unusual, i would be curious to hear any thoughts.

According to PianoBuyer, there should be about a $35k difference in price between the Model B, and S5X.
Hard to believe using the Model B once would drop the price 29k!?

Of course, how much it goes for “decades later” is going to depend on the condition.
You’ll have to spend a bunch of money, to keep it worth a bunch of money.
And then if Steinway gets sold to the Chinese . . . wink
Posted By: EP Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/25/19 06:39 PM
Just keep in mind that you never really know how it's going to sound until you have it in your room.
Posted By: opus64 Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 04/25/19 08:25 PM
Well, I got a chance to go back and look at it in more detail and I have some more information but also more questions. First, here are some pictures for those interested:

Steinway B (2018?) Pictures

I tried to gather more information on how it was used and they said it was used for performances at a local Jazz venue, sounds like it wasn't just 'one' performance.

They mentioned over email that it did have some 'light scratches' on the music desk. I took a look and it indeed has scratches but not just the music desk, practically every face of the body I looked at. They do seem like light scratches but there are quite a lot of them. They said that those surface scratches 'buff out' and they would do it for free, but i'm not too sure how easy it is to do that and how good the result will be. I'm not sure how common this is, is it like waxing a car or is it more elaborate like a refinishing. Most of the piano is the 'satin' look that is polished in one direction, while the fall board seems to be the glossy look. The fallboard looks perfect, it is the rest of the piano that has the scratches. From the pedals one can also tell it has been played quite a bit.

Another question I have is the serial number. Few of the Steinway serial number lists I have found go to recent years, but the one I did find puts the year at 2015 not 2018. Which seems kinda misleading since they explicitly said it was a 2018.

Either case, seems like the discount is making more sense now.
Posted By: AaronSF Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 05/05/19 09:59 PM
The Steinway B in the photos was manufactured between 2016 and 2017, so is 2-3 years old.

If the case has a few superficial scratches, the dealer can probably buff most of them out for you. I wouldn't sweat some scratches and modest use at jazz venues. Depending on what they're asking for the instrument, you may have a good deal. Also, since the piano is a couple of years old, it will be "broken in," which is a good thing. It means the strings have settled in and the hammers have been firmed up. Personally I prefer modestly used pianos to new ones for this reason and because they are typically well discounted. It should require minimal voicing and regulation.

By the way, my piano dating app has a news section which says the Steinway Gallery in Madison, WI, is closing and having a clearance sale. Since you're in Indiana, I thought you might want to check it out.

Steinway in Madison WI Going Out of Business Sale
Posted By: Carey Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 05/06/19 05:24 AM
Originally Posted by opus64
From the pedals one can also tell it has been played quite a bit. .
From the photo, it appears as if a hole has been worn in the sustain pedal. Is that true? Or has the brass finish simply been worn down due to excessive use? Modest use is one thing....excessive use is another.
Posted By: Norbert Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 05/10/19 12:19 AM
What's the conclusion in this case? Did I miss it?
Quote
Then again it might not be unusual, i would be curious to hear any thoughts.

Thoughts are fine and dandy but decisions must still be made by each buyer on an individual basis. IMHO there is only limited usefulness for "thought" that can be offered: it's such a field of personal opinion, preference and often also "perception"
Of course, as they say" perception is reality"... smirk
At same time it sometimes really does pay to look at the "price" of goods and see "what else" same money can buy on market at same time. This is where things often start to make much more sense although this is not always fully used in the decision making process. However, it's the very point when "smart decisions" replace vague or inconclusive personal opinions and preferences.
To me, a house costing $ 500,000 that is more comfortable for me than one for 1 million, makes a lot of sense.
Perhaps it's time to look at pianos same way.
It may not only help making a sound decision but the rewards can be huge....

Norbert smile
Posted By: j&j Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 05/10/19 02:12 PM
Just my humble opinion here but to the inexperienced piano shopper, new piano prices are quite shocking. On one of the YouTube videos showing a Yamaha, Bosendorfer, and a Steinway, the Steinway was the median home price in the USA. In Norbert’s example, he can stay in the $500,000 home and buy the Steinway and still keep cash for other things. Or maybe keep the 1/2 mil home and open an entire Hailun studio in the finished garage.
As I glance through the Piano Buyers pricing database, when I see a brand whose pricing seems reasonable, it’s a crappy stencil brand. All of my dream pianos are a quarter million. A quarter million! I quietly give a little appreciative pat to my Yamaha as I walk by. I paid cash so it’s all mine.
Posted By: edferris Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 05/10/19 02:18 PM
A rule from used-car buying may be appropriate here: If it needs work, the seller should get the work done. If the scratches can be buffed out, why hasn't the seller buffed them out?
Posted By: Norbert Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 05/10/19 07:43 PM
Quote
If the scratches can be buffed out, why hasn't the seller buffed them out?


To justify their "discount" on pricing. I know dealers who put scratches on every second piano in their showroom.
"Perception is reality" It works every single time.

Norbert tired
Posted By: Lady Bird Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 05/11/19 02:40 AM
I cannot even imagine any of the reputable dealers in Vancouver who would deliberately scratch there expensive pianos.Well perhaps when I was looking for a piano no one was scratching !
I never saw any scratched pianos.
Perhaps Norbert did not mean Vancouver?
Posted By: Lady Bird Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 05/11/19 06:59 AM
Perhaps this happened a few years ago ???
Canadian piano dealers, I think are on the whole trustworthy

Posted By: Beemer Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 05/11/19 09:13 AM
Originally Posted by Norbert
Quote
If the scratches can be buffed out, why hasn't the seller buffed them out?


To justify their "discount" on pricing. I know dealers who put scratches on every second piano in their showroom.
"Perception is reality" It works every single time.

Norbert tired

Or in my case brought a scratch to my attention on a brand new $42,000 Blüthner I was buying
Ian
Posted By: Lady Bird Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 05/11/19 04:39 PM
There were no "great "discounts going when we bought either. We were able to trade in a previously bought Yamaha U1 at the full
value we bought at the store towards the Sauter.
We chose the floor model which had been there a few months
rather than a newly arrived one from the warehouse.
With the price we could have bought a grand to replace our old
Kawai grand.That piano however was irreplaceable as it was a
gift from my parents.Besides I know longer need a grand I am retired from teaching.




Posted By: j&j Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 05/11/19 05:52 PM
Originally Posted by Norbert
Quote
If the scratches can be buffed out, why hasn't the seller buffed them out?


To justify their "discount" on pricing. I know dealers who put scratches on every second piano in their showroom.
"Perception is reality" It works every single time.

Norbert tired

Norbert - how does that work? Does the factory give the dealer a “scratch and dent” discount so he can pass some of the savings to the customer and keep a few extra dollars on the sale? Otherwise, why would anyone scratch a new piano?
Posted By: j&j Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 05/11/19 05:59 PM
My mother trained me well. I was having trouble typing the words “scratching a new piano”. It makes me shudder. It’s like “keying a new car”. It hurts to even think about that.
Posted By: Lady Bird Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 05/11/19 11:07 PM
Yes but the terrible thought of dealer
doing it deliberately makes one shudder !
Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Yes but the terrible thought of dealer
doing it deliberately makes one shudder !


Yes, that is really sickening!
Posted By: Learux Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 05/12/19 05:24 AM
That is not a lightly used piano. The sustain pedal has a hole in it.
Originally Posted by Learux
That is not a lightly used piano. The sustain pedal has a hole in it.

Haha, not a hole, but the brass has been polished a bit from where the foot contacts it. It did look like a hole at first, but I've never seen a hole in the sustain pedal from use.
Posted By: opus64 Re: Buying first grand and torn, thoughts? - 05/12/19 08:20 PM
Thank you all for your posts! I read this a little late but I have reached out to the Madison WI dealer. The 'scratched' B was sold, however I think I am now closer to making a choice.

First, I did find another dealer 2 hours away that is giving me a really good deal(even better than the 'scratched' B) on a new B, this one looks truly new, it is intact. The action is great, however, to be honest it didn't really wow me in terms of sound when I played it, and I am having real trouble in my city finding a tech to go look at pianos let alone one that is 2 hours away. Nothing other than tuning has been done to it, so it could very well be that once it is serviced it will sound great. Here are some pics if anyone is interested:
New Steinway B

However, I continued shopping, playing and even recording all the pianos I could find. I went back to play all the restored Steinways which impressed me the first time. I found that I was still very impressed by how they sound and play, even comparing them to brand new Steinways and other brands. However, there was one piano in particular that really stood out, I think it has such a beautiful sound, it is my favorite. It is a 1925 Steinway B which has been completely restored.

I'm so in love with the sound that I am almost ready to pull the trigger but there is one thing I wanted to ask others about. This particular piano has significantly wider sharps that I am used to. I found that it is much harder to reach in between the black keys and I do not have particularly wide fingers. I have heard that this is not uncommon of this era piano. The rebuilder offered to reshape the sharps which are the original ebony and have been restored(the whites have been replaced).

Has anyone experienced this before and in your experience is it something that one can get used to? I'm a little hesitant to change the original keyboard geometry but it will be easier to do it now than after it is in my home 2 hours away.
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