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I tested a Bosendorfer Vienna Concert. I didn't like it. I have a Schimmel K219, and love it. I guess I'm stupid. The salesman was telling me how much better the VC was compared to the Schimmel. They had another K219 in the store, and I played it, and liked it better.
What I didn't personally like on the VC: 1. Keys were not as smooth to the touch as the Schimmel, and yes they cleaned the keys for me. The VC is around 5 years old, I have looked at it for awhile. It hasn't been rented out, or at least that's what they told me. 2. Sustain didn't seem as nice as the Schimmel 3. Action was heavier than the Schimmel even though they both use the same action. I know it can be adjusted. Good techs are far and few between, and I live in a remote area.
A Schimmel K280 which they don't carry in the store was not available for testing. The VC just didn't convince me that I should spend that kind of money for something that didn't make me love it the instant I played it. What I have noticed about Schimmels, I have played on a number of K 219's is the consistency. They all felt just like my piano. But I am no expert. So call me dumb, but I don't get why the VC is superior to the K series Schimmel. The K280 is significantly cheaper than the VC. I wish someone had one to test. Oh well...
They offered me full purchase price for my piano to trade "up" to the VC. Can't see trading, happy with my K219 for what it's worth.
Finding 9 footers to compare is difficult. Stores don't carry them. For obvious reasons.
Oh yeah, I tested A Yamaha 7'6? Still like my K219 better, but I digress.
Type of music I play is pretty much strictly classical. Still taking lessons at 68 years old. Hopefully till I drop, and not to soon, hopefully...
Just because Bosendorfer is a very expensive and prestigious piano doesn't mean everyone will like it or if someone doesn't like it they have bad taste/judgement. It's not as though your Schimmel is some inexpensive, low rated piano. Far from it.
It's even possible the particular Bosie you tried is not in the best condition or has some issues. My tech told me how once, to his great embarrassment, he broke three strings while tuning a Bosendorfer. He only later found out that the strings were defective on some of their pianos from the same period. IOW, no matter how great a maker is, they can still make a mistake.
It's possible the dealer would attempt to lighten the touch and improve the sustain on the Bosie even though you don't commit to the piano. Sometimes this can be done with relatively little work. The feel of the key surfaces is probably not possible to change although you might get used to it. Actually, it might be possible to sand them is some way but the dealer would never do that unless you committed to the piano. You also might get used to the heavier touch of the Bosie after a couple of hours or a week.
Epee, you are not stupid and I don't call you dumb. You have a fine piano that you love. That is a great thing, congratulations. This experience should be gratifying for you in that it confirms your love of the Schimmel.
Is there any particular reason that you were thinking of trading up to a Bosendorfer?
Well to my mind a 9 footer from the time I was little was the Holy Grail of pianos. I know l lived in a fantasy world about nine foot pianos to this day. For now I'm thrilled with my Schimmel, and haven't played on anything I personally consider better, but, always a but, it would be fun to play on a K280 out of curiosity. Oh well...
Thanks for taking the time to post. Greatly appreciated.
Epee, you are in a wonderful situation! You own a piano that you love! It seems to me that you can completely disregard the Bosendorfer salesperson’s opinion that the Bosendorfer VC is better than the Schimmel. We are all entitled to like what we like, and Schimmels are very nice pianos. 219 cm is a very nice size, too. I certainly agree that if you are not absolutely floored by the Bosendorfer, paying that kind of money seems unwise.
When I was shopping this spring, I was also struck by the consistency of the Schimmels I played. The Schimmel dealer didn’t have 2 pianos of the same model, but between the models (and they make quite a few!) there really seemed to be a remarkable consistency of tonal qualities and touch. I had read about the consistency of Yamahas and Kawais, but the Schimmels seemed to me to be much more consistent. At least that was my experience, with pretty small sample sizes.
Certainly no expert here but from the two Schimmel K series I played a few years back, you have a fabulous piano. If the Bosendorfer VC didn’t quite meet your expectations, oh well, you saved yourself considerable cash and still have a really nice piano to play whenever you want.
All in all, you had a good shopping experience because what you have at home is more enjoyable than what you found at the dealer. I consider that a big win!
Congratulations on your Schimmel.
J & J Estonia L190 Hidden Beauty The reason I’m old and wise is because God protected me when I was young and stupid.
You have owned the Schimmel K219 for a time and you probably chose it because you love it. If you are using a fine technician, they will likely continue to make small adjustments that satisfy you. This should enhance your enjoyment of the piano, which is a very fine instrument.
One thing I can say is that a Bösendorfer 280vc is different than a Schimmel K219. If the Bosie is in a showroom and has never been rented, I would assume it is prepared to perform well in a large room in a home (as opposed to on stage). I would make the decision to really bring out the strength of the 280vc that might not be explored from a stage, namely all the shades, colors, and magic that this piano offers between ppp and mf. The 280vc can be as loud as any other concert grand when so prepared, but we have placed several in homes because of the combination of that strength and breadth of tone, along with the beauty in the dynamic levels they will likely be playing in quite often.
This is speculation based on what I would do - I do not know how your dealer feels.
Bottom line - if YOU prefer the Schimmel, keep it. It is a very fine piano, Just for fun though, try exploring the 280vc and seeing how it is asking YOU to play. I would definitely approach pieces of music a bit differently given the palette of possibilities in the 280vc. Good Luck!
Just for fun, here is a video of a recording happening in the Bösendorfer selection room. my friend and colleague Hugh Sung was the pianist and he shares his thoughts on the experience:
A dealer even more exuberant than Rich stressed that pianos are aimed at completely different environments and playing styles. You have those that sing in a small/medium room, some that effortlessly reach the back of the Metropolitan opera, and still more that require you to work as though you were trying to fill a stadium, irrespective of actual sound.
So it is entirely possible that the Schimmel is scratching your itch in ways that others will not. Although, as Rich says, there's no harm in looking around and seeing what else is available. It is part of your education as a musician, and might point up things you can do or hear differently. I know that, as a violinist, it has been a very useful exercise to try different fine bows, for example. Some bits of technique that are unnecessary or unrewarded by one stick could be essential to get the best from another.
Anyway, there might be a point when you finally 'get' what others see in Bosendorfer, or Steingraeber, or Bechstein. But if not, save your money and keep having fun.
Thanks everyone for the help. I will keep looking, and hopefully before I kick the bucket get to play on a Schimmel K280, or some of the others in the near future. For now I'm completely happy with my Schimmel.