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#3158795 09/22/21 11:42 PM
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Hello everyone! I continue to do endless research on Steinway pianos and the differences between NYC and Hamburg Steinways. So I have a few questions!

Does anyone wish to share what they know are the differences?
Does anyone here have a Hamburg Steinway or played one?
Is anyone in San Diego County and know if there is one to try out and play? I know the Steinway showrooms won't have them. They want to sell NY pianos, which I completely understand.

Thank you!

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I'm sure they'd be happy to sell you a Hamburg too.
The dealers probably don't care where they're made.


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Originally Posted by Nitam80
Hello everyone! I continue to do endless research on Steinway pianos and the differences between NYC and Hamburg Steinways. So I have a few questions!

Does anyone wish to share what they know are the differences?
Does anyone here have a Hamburg Steinway or played one?
Is anyone in San Diego County and know if there is one to try out and play? I know the Steinway showrooms won't have them. They want to sell NY pianos, which I completely understand.

Thank you!

I am a lay person, so there are more knowledgeable forum posters here who can provide a much more in-depth opinion. On the other hand, over the years there have been posts discussing the difference that I am, more or less, quoting from my imprecise memory here.

First of all, each factory has its own long history, and manufacturing practices would change/evolve over those years. So categorical comparison (like all NY vs all Hamburg) may not be valid. If you have any particular pianos/vintages in mind, narrowing down the comparison may make more sense.

Steinway, in recent years, has been trying to make production in both factories more similar. The exteriors for sure have been more alike, although not exactly the same. In the most simplistic way, the current production's main/significant difference probably comes down to only the hammers (felt) being used. Hamburg's use Renner's hammers that is provided to Hamburg factory's specs; NY's use inhouse production. With Steinway's acquisition of Renner and news (somewhere in this forum) that actions in NY will be made by Renner too, there is a possibility that this difference will be mitigated too.

Traditionally it was said that Hamburg's factory prep is better than NY's factory prep. The last time I've been to our local Steinway gallery, albeit a few years ago, I think the NY factory prep had improved.

Europe/Asia/anywhere outside Americas forum posters will have more experience in Hamburg Steinways in general. With that said, I bought one Hamburg B that was rebuilt by PianoCraft here in US.

Steinway dealers (or Steinway-owned showrooms) in US, by default, sell NY Steinways. They can get Hamburg Steinways for you too, if so requested. I didn't take that route, but my local Steinway gallery manager confirmed that.

It may not be that rare to have a Hamburg Steinway in major conservatories or university music department in US. Outside of that indeed it can be harder to find one to try.


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If you do a Google search for Hamburg Steinway California you will find a couple for sale. Don’t know how far they are from the Op

They are not new but are sold by dealers


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I have tuned and played Hamburgs from several eras, and like the New York ones, they have varied over the years. My impression is that there is less difference between the two factories now than there has been in the past.


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Originally Posted by Davdoc
Europe/Asia/anywhere outside Americas forum posters will have more experience in Hamburg Steinways in general.


We do, but most of us have never even seen a NY Steinway, so Steinway piano means only Hamburg Steinway for us and comparison is not possible.

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Nitam, I wouldn't assume the showroom doesn't have a Hamburg Steinway. Hamburg Steinways are considered a better piano and they have a higher price tag to goes along with it. I strongly recommend comparing them for yourself (an interesting comparison) and always keep in mind that no two Steinway pianos are alike.


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Dave B -

"Hamburg Steinways are considered a better piano..."

I would be interested to know in what respects they are considered better? What is better about them specifically?

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Nitam80,

Here's a link to a concise explanation from a concert pianist/professor I know (Hamburg vs NY Steinways).

It's obviously just one person's point of view so take it for what it's worth; however, I did study with the same professor as him at the University (she was the piano area chair who oversaw making it an all Steinway school, including selecting the new Hamburg D's for the concert hall) and she has expressed a similar point of view to me re: Hamburg vs. New York Steinways. These opinions are from people who own one of each (NY & Hamburg) and have played on both types many times throughout their careers, so at the very least it might be a helpful perspective for you.


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Hamburg Steinways used to have a reputation for being built with better care and offering higher initial quality, requiring less regulation off the showroom floor, etc than NY pianos. However, that difference has narrowed in the last couple decades. Some people cling to the old notion that Hamburg models must somehow be better because they are made in Europe.

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I ordered a new Hamburg D in May 2021 and I am still waiting for it. I was told the other day it looks like mid-late October will be the ship date from Hamburg to the US.

I played a 2007 Steinway Hamburg D in concert a couple years ago, not knowing it at the time. It was a 5 piano concert, and there were 4 NY Steinway D C&A's and 1 Hamburg Steinway D C&A on stage. The NY D's were less than 5 years old, and this Hamburg D was 12 years old at the time. All 5 of us were blown away by the Hamburg. It was Kissin's requested piano when he's touring in the US as well as used by many renowned Steinway artists in recordings. I was actually interested in purchasing it but couldn't pull the trigger at the time, and Steinway ended up selling it to someone else, so it's no longer in the C&A program.

I had an amazing opportunity to purchase a 2021 Hamburg D for a great price, which will also give me instant equity as well as a brand new instrument under warranty. I only ever played that one Hamburg a couple years ago, but that piano was so special that it convinced me to go for a Hamburg D.

Generally speaking, Hamburgs sell for about 30% more than NY's here in the US.

As far as their appearance, I've been told by my local dealer that the NY's are finished very similar to Hamburgs now, and they will be homogenizing more in the near future too. I will have a more definitive answer once the new piano arrives.

Andrew

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Sounds exciting. Best of luck on getting a "good one".

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Originally Posted by andrewlapp
I ordered a new Hamburg D in May 2021 and I am still waiting for it. I was told the other day it looks like mid-late October will be the ship date from Hamburg to the US.

.....


Generally speaking, Hamburgs sell for about 30% more than NY's here in the US.

.....

Andrew

Congratulations on the purchase again! I am sure it is going to be a stunning instrument.

BTW I am surprised by the price differential. I always thought that MSRP of Steinways, which is the same as SMP in Mr. Fine's publication, differed by about USD 5K to 10K depending on the model and the exchange rate. That was more or less in line with what my local dealer quoted me, if my memory is fine. That wouldn't be anywhere close to 30%. One factor I can think of is, again based on what the dealer told me, that the US dealers have to sell Hamburg ones at MSRP, while they can do some discount on NY ones (yes they do offer some discount, if not as large as other brands). My understanding is that Model D tends to discount a little more than other models, because of the size. Maybe that's how the 30% difference comes up.


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As many people know, the easiest way to distinguish a New York from a Hamburg Steinway, at a distance, is the shape of the cheeks on both sides of the keyboard. In New York pianos they are sharply angled, in Hamburg's rounded. This is evident in this video of Tiffany choosing a "D" : The first one on the row is New York. Interesting that the next five are all Hamburg's, in spite of being in Astoria.

[video:yahoo]
[/video]


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Thanks so much for posting the video of Tiffany’s piano selection— very informative 😊


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Originally Posted by Vikendios
As many people know, the easiest way to distinguish a New York from a Hamburg Steinway, at a distance, is the shape of the cheeks on both sides of the keyboard. In New York pianos they are sharply angled, in Hamburg's rounded. This is evident in this video of Tiffany choosing a "D" : The first one on the row is New York. Interesting that the next five are all Hamburg's, in spite of being in Astoria.

[video:yahoo]
[/video]

Thanks for the sharing the video. On the other hand, the most most recent NY production comes out with rounded cheek too.

I think for those most recent ones, the remaining distinguishing exterior features are the brass plate on the pedal lyre (NY only), the plate bolts ("tall" in Hamburg's), and maybe the color of the plate screws (brass in Hamburg's and chrome in NY's).


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Thank you for this video. This is really helpful. I actually watched this video back in April and liked her choice of the piano. At the time, I didn't know about the distinction of the edges on the keyboards. It is helpful to know when watching videos of pianists. The sound of all her pianos were slightly different. For me, the first (NY) was gentle and less resonant (of course this is a video, not live). I preferred her final choice, especially when she played the Liszt Consolation on it. All lovely...just different.
And yes, it is very interesting that they had several Hamburg's on site in Astoria.

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Please don’t get this topic going again. LOL


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Also interesting that the edges are similar now and her video is late 2020 so perhaps they were all NY made....

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I believe NY is incorporating (or will be incorporating) the round edges a well. As far as I know, the only differences to still look for to identify a Hamburg D is the lid lock on the side of the case, the key lock above the fallboard, the design of the top corners of the music rack, and I believe there are still 3 different size prop sticks for the lid vs. 2 on a NY piano).

Some of these things may be changing, but these were differences that picked up on through observation over time.

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