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Originally Posted by Minnesota Marty

Re: Steingraeber Phoenix --

Originally Posted by thetruthseeker
What the heck??? Never knew something like this existed! Wow.... that piano looks amazing. Wonder if it sounds as good as it looks.

In a word - YES!!!


I find the tone, especially in the middle and tenor, to be quite fat and heavy for my preference. Thickness seems to be something it can do in spades, but lightness, singing, and transparency perhaps not so much. The case work is uniquely stunning however.


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Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
BDB,
I have to differ some about your assessment of what "wears" in a piano. The bridge caps get stressed from humidity changes and sometimes even worse-beat up by technicians convinced hammering-the-strings-down-into-the-wood-fixes-false-beats. Then they definitely need remaking.


One technician damages a piano because of some theory that doing something will make the piano better is not a justification for another to possibly do more damage to the piano. But frankly, what you call damage probably gets done in the first year or so that the piano is strung, so by that logic, the bridge cap should be replaced every year.

Quote
Often they are not well made from day one-and careful layout and workmanship will produce a clarity, warmth and sustain that preserving the originals won't.


That has nothing to do with wear. Besides, why would anyone want to start with a piano that never originally had clarity, warmth or sustain, or any other property that someone claims that they can give a piano. Why not just get a better piano to begin with?

Quote
Pin-blocks wear from the tuning process and if you want the best feel, you can't beat a new quarter-sawn, five-ply, hard-rock-maple pin-block. Oversize pins work but they don't tune with the same ease of control.


The only thing that matters to the owner is whether the piano stays in tune. If a tuner cannot get the piano to stay in tune because the pins are too large, the owner needs another tuner, not a new pinblock.

Quote
I do think we may disagree about what you describe as "work perfectly well".


Probably. I make a living differently than you do, so my opinions are not colored by my own economic concerns.

Still, one thing is true: No matter how many people say that you have to do something to make a piano sound or play in a particular way, it only takes one person who can make it sound or play that way without doing it to disprove that it is necessary. Not everything goes by majority vote. Another example was a story that a newspaper columnist around here told, about a shrine that was surrounded by hundreds of crutches that people had thrown away after visiting it. Someone wrote some graffiti next to it, "One artificial leg would be sufficient!"


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Originally Posted by Paul678
Originally Posted by bkw58
Wurlitzer tried a cast iron "pin block" for, I think, a couple of years in the 1930s. Apparently, it did not do well for them. Have worked on a couple. Not easy to deal with. Then, of course, there was the M&H Screw Stringer.


So cast iron pin blocks never really caught on,
because of all the problems they had?

Also because they were more expensive to make?


Thanks, Paul.
With respect to Wurlitzer, the "pin block" was actually the cast iron plate itself. No wood. The holes in the plate were simply "threaded" to receive the tuning pins. Over time these had a tendency to strip out. Not impossible to repair, but annoying in the middle of tuning. In tuning procedure, there is no pin setting, just raise or lower to the desired pitch with test blows to equalize string tension. (Similar in tuning technique to the M&H Screw Stringer, but otherwise altogether different. Traditional tuning pins and lever were not used in the M&HSS as the technology was not the same.) I can only guess that Wurlitzer tried the "plate pin block" method as a cost-cutting measure. I do not know why they dropped it exactly. Perhaps problems with tuning pins stripping out occurred from the outset. Use of a traditional tuning hammer probably exacerbated the problem.


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Wow... Thank you all so much, and wonderful comments Craig and Ed! Really appreciate it. Well, I'd have to say that my wife is definitely a traditionalist when it comes to authenticity, even in her playing style. As are so many other pianists, she has great respect for the early musicians e.g. Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Hyden, etc. which is part of the reason why we have this early D to begin with. She wanted a playing piano, one that would be close to the music of the era, but she did not want to go too far back in time on an instrument because of the differences in builds prior to 1860's i.e. too primitive.

Therefore, I'm quite certain that she will likely want to stay 100% authentic to the instrument so I doubt that she will ultimately go for the CF action, but I thought it to be an intriguing idea so that's why I wanted to ask ya'll for your opinions. In fact, what Craig said about Bill Shull's approach to keeping things original, we will likely be talking with him about this when we begin our calls to rebuilders.

As far that the question of - Does this D really need a total rebuild or could it be freshened up? Well, the piano is mostly original and has simply been maintained over the centuries. It has it's "issues" as one might expect, but nothing completely out of wack. The board has a few very old repairs, but all and all it still throws out the sound ok. With that said, it is possible that a "refresh" is all that is required and if we can get away with doing that, that would be fine with us. However, this is something we will be discussing with the builder as well as several local techs to get their opinions, just as I have done on this forum.

Ultimately, it is what is best for this piano and the pianist that will be playing it. It is played on a daily basis for at least 2-3 hours a day. My wife understands that if a total rebuild is needed then it will likely change the way this piano sounds and feels to her, but she is prepared for that change and getting used to it, considering the action etc. have 100+ years of wear/repair to them so it does have its "quarks" from time to time, so we're hoping that only positives come out of the work that will ultimately be done. But, this is why it is VERY critical that we find the best builder who will do his/her utmost to preserve the feel and sound of this piano, and/or even improve it. Even if it's only a "refresh" job, this concern would still play a role in our minds.


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I am surprising no one suggested that Steinway do the restoration. If it were my piano thats where it would go. They would replace the sound board, the complete action but probably not the key set unless they have to and refinish everything. Then you have a Steinway rebuilt piano and if you need to sell it thats a good marketing point. My understanding about the carbon fiber action parts is that you would need to modify the action frame to use the parts. That is not something I would do.

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There are W,N&G composite action parts made specifically for use on a Steinway. They fit well. No modification required.





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BDB,
So your opinions are not colored by any financial interest and mine are? What proof of this do you have?


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Well, I admit it is an assumption, but it is based on my financial position compared to the national average, as well as the fact that I scrupulously avoid anything that hints of advertising, and you tout your services even to those who are nowhere near your service area. That seems like desperation and unsound business practice.


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Originally Posted by thetruthseeker
my wife is definitely a traditionalist when it comes to authenticity, even in her playing style. As are so many other pianists, she has great respect for the early musicians e.g. Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Hyden, etc. which is part of the reason why we have this early D to begin with.

Therefore, I'm quite certain that she will likely want to stay 100% authentic to the instrument so I doubt that she will ultimately go for the CF action,

As far that the question of - Does this D really need a total rebuild or could it be freshened up? Well, the piano is mostly original and has simply been maintained over the centuries. It has it's "issues" as one might expect, but nothing completely out of wack. The board has a few very old repairs, but all and all it still throws out the sound ok. With that said, it is possible that a "refresh" is all that is required and if we can get away with doing that, that would be fine with us.

Ultimately, it is what is best for this piano and the pianist that will be playing it. It is played on a daily basis for at least 2-3 hours a day. My wife understands that if a total rebuild is needed then it will likely change the way this piano sounds and feels to her, but she is prepared for that change and getting used to it, considering the action etc. have 100+ years of wear/repair to them so it does have its "quarks" from time to time, so we're hoping that only positives come out of the work that will ultimately be done. But, this is why it is VERY critical that we find the best builder who will do his/her utmost to preserve the feel and sound of this piano, and/or even improve it. Even if it's only a "refresh" job, this concern would still play a role in our minds.


Greetings,
A few points: an 'early D' is no closer to authentic than a brand-new one if you are talking about Mozart and Bach. It will have a less balanced sound than a modern one,but is so many light-years away from a fortepiano that it matters little whether it was an old or new D.

Inre authentic action. The CF parts offer a choice between optimizing tradition or performance. I will guarantee that the new factory parts will be different from the ones that the piano was originally built with, so the only thing you are keep authentic is the brand name.

Inre "Throwing out sound"; I have never seen a soundboard this old that produced any acceptable level of tone in the fifth octave. It may have a big bass, but soundboards are non-durable, at least,when they are built like these were. They may be able to be loud with hard hammers, but it will be near impossible to create a full-voiced tonal response out of this old of a board.

With a new action, the piano will be completely different in feel and tone. There will be no "preserving the tone", but,rather, creating a new one. Same goes for the parts, the old ones are either worn too loose or beginning to tighten up with verdigris. If you are going to pursue a performance level response from the action, 'freshening up' will not get you very far. What would a tech do? Repin the hammer line? replace hammers? rebush the keys? Refelt the keyframe? I ask because the key bushings' resilience is a factor in how the keys feel. The amount of cushion left in the balance punchings has its effect, and the friction, or lack of it through out the action determines how damped the motions of the various parts are.

And when you get through all of that, you are faced with the prospect of the new factory hammers being totally different from the ones that were original. I think you would need Ronsen Weikert hammers if you wanted to keep it near where it began.

Don't think that keeping it "all factory" is going to put it back where it was when it was built, they don't sell those kinds of parts.

Regards,

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All excellent advise from very exceptional professionals. Has the OP made a decision on the rebuilder I wonder?


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Ed, I was told for a D the frame would need a modification. Maybe that has changed but it was correct at the time I was told that.

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Originally Posted by LJC
Ed, I was told for a D the frame would need a modification. Maybe that has changed but it was correct at the time I was told that.


Might be. Al Sanderson, in his study of the scales, simply said, "They learned a lot about how to build a piano between 1870 and 1890".

The 3/4 plate has little to stabilize the pin block/stretcher assembly on these pianos. If it is not done exactly right, the tonnage involved pulls it out of shape, rendering the piano basically useless.
Regards,

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