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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
SMHaley, it's a Steinway A.

Ed, the rebuilder advised no tuning was needed after the move. I disagree. It really sounds out of tune. I also notice after playing for an hour, that a full octave in the bass has begun clicking when those keys are played.

I have 30 days to return the instrument, but I surely want to avoid that. However, my gut instinct is telling me this piano is not going to be able to meet my expectations.


Ah an A! As a piano student I learned on a 1910's A, an 1890's sort of B, an M, a 1950 Grotrian 207, and a Bosie 225.

In all honesty I think you should follow your instincts. Your instrument needs to "speak to you" in both tactile and auditory ways. An A, even an early one, can be quite a respectable instrument when shaped by the hands of the right technician. And if they have the lovely turned legs a feast for the eyes as well. But only you can decide if this is truly the right instrument and if you have faith in it shaping up to be more than it currently is... and spending more to get it there.

A flawless tuning is always the starting point. And if it has been recently restrung its going to be moving and settling for a good year. I would tune my restrung 7' Baldwin every 2 weeks... because its debut was on a time crunch for a major concert and I'm fussy.


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Originally Posted by Gadzar
It is crutial that you love the piano you're buying!

If you don't then do not buy it!

You're goint to spend many many hours at your piano and if you don't like it it will become a nightmare.

I sell used pianos and that's what I say to my customers. If you like how it feels and how it sounds then buy it, you can work on how it looks.

But do not buy a piano by the name on the fallboard or based
on how it looks, thinking that you can make it sound and feel the way you want, that is not going to happen.

You can refinish a piano, replace bad looking keytops, etc. But to change the way it sounds and/or feels is not that easy...

So you better buy a piano that already sounds and feels the way you want.


Buy the grand, not the brand.


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Chasingrainbows,
Clicking in an entire octave on a newly rebuilt piano? That's not a good sign. A couple of tests you can do to judge the tone regulation(after tuning) is to play the piano throughout its dynamic range and compass. Does the piano sound like two different pianos when played softly vs. loud? Does it sound like the same piano in the bass, mid section, and treble, or does it sound like three different pianos. Not all inclusive, but a start. A piano that has been tone regulated well, will maintain its eveness/balance of timbre in those tests.
As mentioned above the Renner Blues would not be my choice either. Two choices for me would have been Steinway hammers, or even better Ronsens. I say better, because Ray has really stepped up his quality and they are fantastic. Plus they are less expensive than the Steinway's, which are just overpriced, so thats a bonus. Both are cold-pressed, Renners are not.
You have recieved very good advice from fellow techs above, What are you going to do?

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Chasingrainbows,
The clicking is probably a loose up-stop rail or front rail, key-frame bedding issue or some other rather simple adjustment.

You need to get the piano serviced ASAP by someone you trust. You simply have too little information to presently judge the piano realistically. Calm down and call your technician. You do have one don't you?


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Ed, I do not have a technician. This area lacks any knowledgeable techs--just your basic piano tuners. First, I should have someone from the store come look at the instrument, shouldn't I? I also plan to get someone in to evaluate it of my choosing. There may be someone in PA that worked on pianos in the Bucks County school district.


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After all the helpful posts, I will give the rebuilder an opportunity to explain and hopefully, rectify the issues. I will not hesitate to return the instrument if I am not completely happy with the sound quality. It may not produce a typical Steinway sound, but reminds me more of a Mason and Hamlin sound, which would have been another option for me. Overall, it has potential, but it's not there yet. Unfortunately, I only have 30 days to decide for a refund.


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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
Ed, I do not have a technician. This area lacks any knowledgeable techs--just your basic piano tuners. First, I should have someone from the store come look at the instrument, shouldn't I? I also plan to get someone in to evaluate it of my choosing. There may be someone in PA that worked on pianos in the Bucks County school district.


If the store personnel are willing to come out and service it as well as address your areas of concern, then by all means. In my opinion there should be a "parts and labor" warranty that goes beyond the "if you don't like it return it in 30 days." I would look at that information very carefully. If they do not or cannot address your concerns then I would return it quickly (and at their expense). Its sad to say but there are some out there that do mediocre or less than mediocre work to instrument brands that are well known waiting to get an unsuspecting buyer.


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Chasingrainbows,
Try contacting Rich Galassini who posts on PW to get a tech who can represent you. He runs Cunningham Piano in Philly. You simply know far too little at this time to make any clear judgments. Get help.


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Chasingrainbows,
I don't know why Ed is coming down on you so hard. You've been posting for quite awhile, and are asking the right questions. And that's the important first step. Cheers

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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
Overall, it has potential, but it's not there yet.


A fine piano is a process not a static quantity. This should be repeated as a mantra for all pianists who are looking for a particular and fine quality of sound. There are too many mobile systems to expect to "get there" quickly, and once and for all.

Even if one auditions a piano carefully, at length, in the showroom, the sound in a piano migrates. A good tone regulator will calm it down and find a reasonable equilibrium point, but it will still be a moving target...moving most unpleasantly with shifts in the unison tuning. Unisons that are out of tune, ie not coupling and not reasonably still, will really not often sound obviously "sharp" or "flat" out-of-tune, but they will whine , moan, waver, and not couple with other notes in the piano, in a way that kills the treble especially, and makes the bass sound disconnected to the rest of the instrument.

Whether this piano is capable of producing the sounds you are looking for is a different matter. This is something that you can only discern after someone with chops has looked at and done some work on the piano.

Jim Ialeggio


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Unfortunately, all you fine technicians are out of my area!

Jim, I was given the novel "Grand Obsession" by Perry Knize. Although she found her dream piano, she was sorely disappointed when it arrived and spent endless hours travelling, importing technicians and researching to bring back the sound she fell in love with. So I understand what your're saying and agree.

chernobieff, It's ok. I think Ed's giving the facts with pure intentions smile


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There are good techs in most of NJ who should be able to help you with this. Send me a private message with where you are in Jersey and I might be able to refer someone to you.


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wcctuner, yes I will PM you!


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It would seem that my expectations of having that beautiful, sought after, "bell like" treble isn't realistic when one has a 1900 Steinway rebuilt. Is that correct? I wish the rebuilder told me that during the course of the rebuild. I did specify that on many occasions, as well as a powerful bass.


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Without hearing a piano that has what you consider a "bell like" treble, and without hearing the piano in question, I could not say whether it could be obtained in this piano or not. The terminology is vague. That is a characteristic of all discussions of piano sound, not just this one. You really have to work with someone who knows you and the piano.


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Chasingrainbows~~
Sorry you are going through this with your rebuilt Steinway.

Don't give up on getting your 1900 A to sound more like what you want. Sounds like those Renner blues might need more tone voicing.

I hope you've found a good concert-level tech with lots of experience who can help your piano achieve more the sound you want with super fine regulation, voicing, and tuning. That's what it will take - a good technician.

Look forward to knowing how things turn out.


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chasingrainbows - I am not a tech but I can tell you that the guys out here know what they're talking about! They have saved my family immesurably! We were going to go down the rebuild road as well, and yes there are fine rebuilders, but the bottom line as I understand it is - Play the piano before you buy it, and a rebuilt piano will sound differently than its original mfg. sound. These are the 2 key points that swayed us from rebuilding altogether, not that rebuilds are bad of course and there certainly are some fine rebuilders out there, just that the sound would be different and for my wife, sound is even more important than the mfg, even though she is a Steinway girl.

Good luck to you! I'm sure that with the right tech, and/or your builder, you'll get the sound you want - you just may have to be patient and work with it a bit longer...

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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
It would seem that my expectations of having that beautiful, sought after, "bell like" treble isn't realistic when one has a 1900 Steinway rebuilt. Is that correct?
It absolutely is possible to achieve a "bell like tone" in this kind of situation [assuming this is a quality rebuild]. But, it is all up to a technician, and if they know what they are doing in terms of tuning and hammer work. It usually means a lot of detailed work; it could be hundreds of hours of work. If the piano is not what you want right now, and you don't have access to a tech, then I'd send it back. Why gamble?

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Originally Posted by A443
Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
It would seem that my expectations of having that beautiful, sought after, "bell like" treble isn't realistic when one has a 1900 Steinway rebuilt. Is that correct?
It absolutely is possible to achieve a "bell like tone" in this kind of situation [assuming this is a quality rebuild]. But, it is all up to a technician, and if they know what they are doing in terms of tuning and hammer work. It usually means a lot of detailed work; it could be hundreds of hours of work. If the piano is not what you want right now, and you don't have access to a tech, then I'd send it back. Why gamble?


I'm assuming the rebuilder is available to the OP as the technician for this piano. The thing is, would you trust a technician who can't achieve the voicing Chasingrainbows wants, to have done a quality rebuild? Wouldn't the sensitivity to tone-shaping be part of the same skillset that makes them do a quality rebuild? I just find it hard to fathom that a guy who can build a quality soundboard, pinblock, action etc, doesn't also have the skills to voice the piano to the satisfaction of the customer. And if the piano is incapable of the sound desired, why didn't he pick up on this earlier and suggest a different instrument.

This just doesn't add up to me. The idea of getting a new tech in to bring out the tone of a rebuilt piano just sounds crazy to me. If the store technician isn't the same person who did the rebuild, why would he trust a technician who can't voice the piano to the customer's needs to do the final voicing? If the rebuilder can't get this piano to the required tone, I'd say cut your losses and send it back.

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Originally Posted by ando
Originally Posted by A443
It absolutely is possible to achieve a "bell like tone" in this kind of situation [assuming this is a quality rebuild]. But, it is all up to a technician, and if they know what they are doing in terms of tuning and hammer work. It usually means a lot of detailed work; it could be hundreds of hours of work. If the piano is not what you want right now, and you don't have access to a tech, then I'd send it back. Why gamble?


I'm assuming the rebuilder is available to the OP as the technician for this piano. The thing is, would you trust a technician who can't achieve the voicing Chasingrainbows wants, to have done a quality rebuild?


First of all its dangerous, if not foolish, to assume anything. We know nothing of the quality of work even tough for the sake of the OP, or any client, we hope for the best. Given the amount of extra tricks tried on this instrument already for the treble I have serious doubt.

There are many people out there who do only the belly work and can't tune at all. Some of those do fine work but all of the tonal and action sides of things has to be handled by another. The skill set for detailed regulation and tone building and the grunt work of belly and cabinet work are certainly different. However, it gives those who can do it all quite an edge - and there are some of those here as well.

In my opinion of what I know about turn of the century Steinway A's and what it takes to get them to more modern lines like I believe the OP is looking for, there is going to be more to it than little tuning tricks and jabbing more at the wrong kind of hammer. I fervently believe that the OP will be better served finding an instrument that is already most of the way there than spending thousands more probably redoing what has already been done with still no further guarantee that it can get all the way there.





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