Yes, the piano came yesterday! I didn't post about it yesterday because I was literally playing it the ENTIRE day!
For those of you who just want to see photos, here is an imgur link since I don't even know how to post photos here: https://imgur.com/a/vPZlep2
I will post YouTube links for a sound sample once I get my recording stuff tested and set up. The room is so ambient that I am trying to decide between close-mic'd quality and natural reverb quality. I took a dozen sound samples yesterday, but now I need to work with them.
Anyway, back to the prose-style update:
I took the day off of work. The piano showed up about 8:30am, which was great because they gave me a five-hour window, so it came almost right away. I took photos of the delivery but not a video because I was too anxious to think about video composition. Yes, I think about those things, knowing the whole world could potentially view it via YouTube, so I didn't take a video at all. They were so fast to deliver and set up the grand that it took longer to get the Walter upright out of the basement studio than to set up the grand. They even took the extra time to position the piano within a millimeter of where I wanted it. I guess this would make sense, but they always seem like they are in a hurry. They are the premiere movers from here to Chicago--they have five teams and said that they move 35 pianos every single day. Every. Day. They do all the high-end moving and very complicated moves that no one else will touch. The craziest part was when they had to go up three stairs into the house. They just lifted the grand up and in. Lifted it. Two feet or more into the air. This thing is 5'8" and heavy for a typical grand. I know that they know what they are doing, but that is over 325 pounds per person. Good grief. They did struggle with the Walter, though, which is extremely heavy for an upright of its size. But my stairs into the basement studio are very steep, and each stair is a different height and depth. 1939 house, after all. And they had to go up.
As soon as I played a note, I was so impressed with how the piano sounds in the dining room. We were so worried that we would have to spend all kinds of money designing and installing room treatments, but we don't have to do a single thing. The natural reverb is just the right amount. It truly feels like I am playing in a professional small recital hall. I know that may sound like an exaggeration, but it isn't. I know YouTube videos/recordings will never be able to relay how it actually sounds in the room while playing, but so be it. It's just incredible. You will just have to take my word for it.
This has to be the best-prepped and best-condition PETROF Model IV still in existence. I am sure of it. I am proudly a very experienced-picky customer, and my dealer is the best Bosie-prepper and S&S rebuilder from here to Chicago and beyond, and he knew he needed to impress me because I am a very vocal poster here, and I wouldn't stop bugging him if it wasn't right, but most importantly because my piano is my soul, and after 43 years I really wanted a modest instrument that fit the bill, while never being able to buy a new Bosie or S&S rebuild from him. While the "Roman Numeral Era" PETROF pianos were certainly hit or miss--some spectacular; some just terrible--I feel like I struck gold finding mine, and I would prefer mine to the current incarnations of a PETROF of the similar size hitting almost six-figures. It’s in amazing condition, feels amazing, and sounds amazing. Again, you will just have to take my word for it.
This piano is definitely European in that you put in a little, and it gives back A LOT. You need to really know what you are doing. Was it on these forums that someone posted a quote from a professional concert pianist that said a boisterous American S&S is like playing with training wheels, but then you play a European piano like Faz/Bosie/Petrof and it's like the training wheels are removed? That is certainly the case with this piano. Wow. If your arm weight isn't perfectly controlled when articulating slurs and phrases, this piano will laugh at you. If you go from a few notes to larger chords and aren’t in complete control of the sound of added notes, the piano will spit in your face. You need to understand the differences among the different registers of the piano. But it's worth it.
And like a typical Euro piano, the warm, soft tone gets much brighter as you play harder, as it should, but a lot of American and Asian pianos do not do this. It's like having built in timbre effects. But, anyway, it's like driving a powerful racecar...you need to be careful because if you floor it, then you will quickly get into trouble. And I am still getting used to the singing treble. I am not used to pianos like this. I need to be very careful. And the bass is there but not over-powering. But I was able to stumble through parts of the Rach g minor Prelude with plenty of power if I needed it. It's there, but it isn't in your face unless you ask for it. But in the middle and upper registers--if you ask for a singing line, you will get it without much effort, but you had better be careful with what you wish for, because it will give you more than you need if you aren't paying attention.
The sound is so unusual. Woody. Earthy. Warm. Soft. Unlike a lot of Petrof pianos that come with over-lacquered hammers from the factory, expecting the dealer to tweak them. My dealer did all the necessary prep on this used piano. He put as much effort into this 23yo Petrof as he does his brand new Bosies and S&S rebuilds. Why? I don't really know, but it came without additional cost of the piano, and I appreciate it far more than I can articulate here. Despite the amazing condition of this piano, he does want to re-hammer it, though, just to make it even better—not because it needs it right now. He has the hammers all picked out and everything; I just need to tell him to go ahead. I will probably wait a few years, though. I am not sure why he is so attached to this piano—probably because he would have been the guy who literally sold this exact piano back in 1998, and knowing what he knows now and didn’t know back then, maybe it’s a second-chance for him to make the piano the best it can be. It is certainly in much, much better condition now than when it was sold new.
What was even more wonderful yesterday than playing the piano was realizing that my kids are going to have the experience of a conservatory/performance-quality instrument from the very get-go. My 10yo is the pianist in the family while the 12yo is the clarinetist, but they both will have access to this quality of piano from the start. I learned piano on a toy-ish keyboard and my mother's accordion books and eventually organ books. I got a real piano with I was 13 because I started actual piano lessons, and the keyboard I had didn't have enough notes. My parents scraped together $50 a month to pay for a small Kawai console that was on clearance for $3,000 in 1991. I wore that thing out in less than a year, and my tech didn't even want to bother spending time on it, but I dragged that piano around with me until 2017 when I got the Walter. It served its purpose, but had I known I was college/pro-bound, it would have been nice to have a better instrument until I got to use the college resources (and later the studios' resources). Anyway, my kids get a nice piano from the very start. My 10yo already said that he is never going to move out when he is an adult because he doesn't ever want to not live with the new piano!
As far as my now-gone Walter. Good riddance. I don’t really know what to say or what I should say or what I can say on a public forum such as this. When I tested them out, they were used from the 1990s and they were incredible. But my 2017 Walter was not the same Walter that I tested. Not even close. They are a great brand and everything, but I don’t know. I know way more about them and some issues that they are having (not just mine) that sort of changes my opinion. I am not in a position to get into it as I am just a nobody on the Internet, but I can say that my Walter needing to be re-pinned is not a one-off thing. Nor are the weird notes in the tenor. I heard some sound samples of other pianos with close serial numbers to mine, and they all did it—I could even hear it on a crappy YouTube recording. Plus I got to play another one in person. Great brand, but they aren’t the same Walter from the 1990s when I think they were their best. That is all I will say about it, I guess.
Looking back four years, I was trying really hard to convince myself that my Walter was amazing. It was all I could fit into my studio and afford at the time, and when it was delivered with issues from the get-go, I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I had no other options, like I didn’t deserve better, so I had just better shut up and appreciate what I got, and three techs said there was nothing to do. But it was never okay. It was never anything close to the used ones I tried from the 1990s. It wasn’t the same piano whatsoever. I am not bashing the brand; I will still recommend them to people who want a grand-piano sound in a 46” case and all that, but it wasn’t the piano for me no matter how hard I tried to convince myself that it was.
On the bright side, I would never have been able to step up to a grand piano had I not had the Walter in the first place. I am not at liberty to share numbers, but the Petrof never would have happened without the four years of the Walter.
But I don’t need to worry about that Walter anymore! Never! Now to just get through my workday so I can play the PETROF again! Having this new piano makes me want to go back and relearn every single piece I ever learned and performed over the past few decades. And even though modern classical piano music is still my main jam and it sounds good on the PETROF, I have to admit that I played music standard to the canon yesterday for the first time in over 20 years! It’s crazy to play Chopin and be able to voice the melody so easily. And to play Lieb 3 and voice the inner melody among the busy accompaniment without any effort at all. Not to mention the modern music sounding less abrasive! It’s all so wonderful to play!
Well, it looks like this post is also 1998 words, the same year as the PETROF and same as my post that started this whole thing!