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Estonia Pianos
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Dear all

I am a long-time lurker, but first-time poster.

I am a lifelong amateur pianist. In 2000, I bought a new Estonia 168, after much research. I have loved it.

Over the last few years, I have been working much more seriously on improving my pianism, and am now studying with a fantastic teacher, practicing 2-3 hours/day consistently, and really feeling benefits.

Because I bought my Estonia 168 before the improvements Dr. Laul made in the 2000's, and because of the intense piano work I am undertaking, I am considering upgrading to a new and larger Estonia 190.

I keep the piano in a library/bedroom, and there would be space for the 190. But the main reason to make the change would be for improved sound, rather than to fill a room with more sound.

I mostly work on 19th and 20th century classical rep, particularly Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin and Schubert. I do find my current piano fine. But I'm wondering whether experienced pianists who have upgraded to larger sizes, and, particularly, people very knowledgeable about Estonias, might have advice. I certainly know I need to play the new piano, and see if I fall in love with the sound.

Thanks.

David

Last edited by Prof. David M; 09/29/21 11:58 AM.
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Ooohh! An invitation to feed the habit...

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Originally Posted by Prof. David M
I mostly work on 19th and 20th century classical rep, particularly Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin and Schubert. I do find my current piano fine. But I'm wondering whether experienced pianists who have upgraded to larger sizes, and, particularly, people very knowledgeable about Estonias, might have advice. I certainly know I need to play the new piano, and see if I fall in love with the sound.
David. I've only auditioned Estonias in a dealer showroom, but the larger ones are definitely more satisfying to play than the smaller ones. About 15 years ago I moved up from a newish 5'7" grand (Korean built Weber) to a newish 7 foot semi-concert grand (American built Mason and Hamlin). For a good many reasons, the larger instrument is better. While it is naturally louder and more powerful than the smaller grand, the sound is more complex and I can do more with it musically. Moving from a 168 to a 190 of the same brand of piano may not be quite as dramatic as the change I experienced, however, the newer Estonias are definitely a step above the models of 20 years ago, so it is definitely worth considering. Do you teach at Amherst College? My cousin is on the faculty there.


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Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
Ooohh! An invitation to feed the habit...
As far as habits go, it's a good one !!


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Originally Posted by Prof. David M
I mostly work on 19th and 20th century classical rep, particularly Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin and Schubert. I do find my current piano fine. But I'm wondering whether experienced pianists who have upgraded to larger sizes, and, particularly, people very knowledgeable about Estonias, might have advice. I certainly know I need to play the new piano, and see if I fall in love with the sound.

Thanks.

David

I think jump from 168 to 190 cm instrument is very noticeable, you will hear the different not only with bass notes, but with everything else. One would think that Estonia sound and quality has improved over 20 years, and maybe your current instrument starts to be past it's prime already? Go for it.

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Since it sounds like you are contemplating a change, why not visit piano dealers near you and play lots of pianos? I love my new Estonia L210, but if I were in your shoes, I’d try lots and lots of different pianos and see if anything in your price range appeals more than your current instrument.

I haven’t played any older Estonias, so I can’t comment from experience, but it does seem like there were many further (and significant) changes made to the piano models after you purchased yours. The other question I’d have is whether you’re had your piano voiced/regulated by a good technician in the relatively recent past. A 20 year old piano that’s been played as much as you are playing it may benefit from this kind of attention, if it hasn’t gotten it. It may be that this is enough to get the piano back where you are really enjoying it.

Also, is 190cm the maximum the space will accommodate? If the space can take something a little larger, you may want to check out pianos nearer to the 7 foot range.

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Go for the 7 foot Estonia. It will make a world of difference.

Rich


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I bought an Estonia L190 two years ago. I compared it to a Schimmel C168 although I really wanted to try the C189 or even a K190, neither of which was available to try. The sound difference between the longer Estonia and the shorter Schimmel was noticeable. Also the smaller Schimmel was a bit higher priced than the Estonia. I was told I could order the bigger Schimmels but it wouldn’t qualify for the “sale price”. This made my decision very easy. A beautiful piano with a beautiful sound on sale and Id get a fair price for my trade-in. Plus the Estonia was a “hidden beauty” with bubinga veneer on the rim, under the lid, the music desk and underneath the fallboard. I bought the Estonia and absolutely love it. This was 5 months before the COVID lockdown hit.

Personally I wonder why Estonia’s aren’t flying out the dealers’ door. I do know that the Estonia piano production is only 200 to 300 pianos a year, most of which is sent to North America so I guess I’m blessed with the opportunity to own such a great piano. Like Rich D said if you can afford and have room for the 7 footer, go for it! Best Wishes and keep us posted.


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Oh and welcome to PianoWorld as a first time post.


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Thanks to all who "fed the habit" so far, and responded.

My current L168 is in good shape. I think I definitely need to go and try out the L190. Convincing my family members that the piano upgrade is worth the expense and inconvenience of the move will not be easy. Essentially, even with a good deal, the extra 9" of piano would cost a fair bit more net than my original piano purchase in 2000. We don't have space or funds for anything larger than 6'3", although it is certainly tempting.

Warm wishes to all.

Last edited by Prof. David M; 09/30/21 02:35 PM.
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Is there a local dealer that would take your current piano for a trade-in? Otherwise I'd imagine you could be either housing two pianos or out of a piano in the swap process.


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I would think that an Estonia dealer would be the logical agent to move the old one, whether through consignment or a straight-up trade. They're the ones with customers looking at Estonias.

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Personally I wonder why Estonia’s aren’t flying out the dealers’ door.

How do you know this being true?
Curious.....

Norbert


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Do they have dealers in Europe or UK? I see that there are some placed in various corners of Oxford, but I don't know if there is a dealer within a thousand miles.

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David, please keep us updated as you look at pianos.

With regard to the family dynamics, I will say that your family might surprise you. My family was initially somewhat tepid about the idea of me getting a grand piano. My money was mine to spend, but there were a lot of initial comments about ‘baby grands’ being a better fit for the space, and didn’t my clavinova sound unbeatable, etc.
However, as I started looking, they could see how excited I was about the process, and they were on board by the time I made my decision. When they saw and heard the piano in our home, they understood why I had been so excited. Their response to the piano has been very positive. They love how it looks and sounds… and there have been no comments about a ‘baby grand’ being better or saving money (believe me, I would have heard A LOT about it if they felt that way smile ).

Don’t be shy about letting them know this is important to you. Involve them in the process if you think that would help them feel invested in the decision (or help them understand why it’s important to you).

People buy cars much more frequently than every 20 years, and not necessarily because the old car has bitten the dust. You play your piano a lot, and if you find something that is within your budget that you will enjoy much more than your current piano, I think it’s worth the upgrade.

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Originally Posted by Norbert
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Personally I wonder why Estonia’s aren’t flying out the dealers’ door.

How do you know this being true?
Curious.....

Norbert

It could and should be true. When I bought mine two years ago the Yamaha dealer said they get one or two in this location per year. Probably most of the Estonia’s going to Classic Pianos are shipped to Portland but one or two are sent to Pianowerkes. I’ve been told that Albuquerque isn’t really a “piano town”. Maybe you’re taking orders for many more.

Plus, Estonia isn’t that well known yet. I hope that the Estonia factory is still busy building beautiful pianos and shipping them nearly as fast as the piano is crated.

Last edited by j&j; 10/01/21 09:48 AM.

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Originally Posted by Sgisela
David, please keep us updated as you look at pianos.

With regard to the family dynamics, I will say that your family might surprise you. My family was initially somewhat tepid about the idea of me getting a grand piano. My money was mine to spend, but there were a lot of initial comments about ‘baby grands’ being a better fit for the space, and didn’t my clavinova sound unbeatable, etc.
However, as I started looking, they could see how excited I was about the process, and they were on board by the time I made my decision. When they saw and heard the piano in our home, they understood why I had been so excited. Their response to the piano has been very positive. They love how it looks and sounds… and there have been no comments about a ‘baby grand’ being better or saving money (believe me, I would have heard A LOT about it if they felt that way smile ).

Don’t be shy about letting them know this is important to you. Involve them in the process if you think that would help them feel invested in the decision (or help them understand why it’s important to you).

People buy cars much more frequently than every 20 years, and not necessarily because the old car has bitten the dust. You play your piano a lot, and if you find something that is within your budget that you will enjoy much more than your current piano, I think it’s worth the upgrade.

Thanks so much for this upbeat experience with involving the family. I appreciate hearing your story.

As for me, we'll see -- I am the only one who plays and is likely to play (as the young adults in our family are aging out of full-time residence). I don't think we'd put the new piano in the living room, so it would remain in a study that doubles as a guest room. And I get why, even if we can manage it financially (we are a dual-income family so it's the family's money), it may seem like a stretch. But I definitely am going to play the larger piano and see how much better it seems in terms of subtleties of sound and touch.

The Estonia L190 is the only larger grand in my price range that I think I shall love. The 2000 L168 has really been an excellent piano for me. But I am like a steamroller at the moment, practicing more and more each day, and planning my first-ever recital in a few months, a big step after so many years of sporadic playing.

And yes, the dealer would presumably take the old piano and put the new one in its place.

Warm playing and listening to all,

David

Last edited by Prof. David M; 10/01/21 11:25 AM.
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Just wondering whether a bit of regulation would be a win win for the time being?


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How big of a room is your library\bedroom for which you are planning to place the 190 (if you get it)? A bigger piano needs a big room to sound its best, especially in the bass area.

Look at a frequency chart and note the wavelengths of the fundamental tones. C1 has a wavelength = 34.431 ft and C2=17.215 ft. You need room for these notes to develop and not crash into a wall before hand. It wouldn't reach its potential in a smallish room.

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As an owner of an Estonia L190 who played a 168 when shopping, the difference in sound is significant. The 168 was nice but the 190 can jump out of the box. It has greater greater dynamic range in that it can play both louder and softer. The newer 190s also have the benefit of having overall lighter and faster actions. That change was made in the around 2010 - 2012. I've also played the L210 which is a stunning instrument and well worth at least checking out.


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