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It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!
Hi everyone. It was time to replace my forty-one year old U3. With very fond memories of my giant 1888 Lipp upright that I had to sell when I moved country some years ago, I really wanted to go German again. In my price range, it would have to be an Asian-produced version. They are few and far between here, and even more difficult to access from where I am. It was going to have to be a Feurich 133 or Seiler ED 132. A few (very few) YouTube videos are available on each. On the official videos, the Feurich sounds very rich and warm. The Seiler less so. Much less so. One video suggested a slightly shallow, uncomplicated sound. Yet the Seiler seemed to have something that intrigued me on the Kim's Pianos video (although that recording has reverb added): a tone that can be both sweet and bright or even hard when required. Also, not only does it seem to be well designed and well made, but it is (in my opinion) easily the most beautiful looking new upright on the market (those lovely curved lines!). Getting to the Feurich was difficult, but I was today able to access the Seiler, after a drive of more than three hours. I went with some trepidation. I really wanted to like this piano: there was a good deal going on it, and it looks fantastic. But a thin, bright sound was exactly what I was trying to get away from (my old Yamaha).
Now to the points of interest. The piano was in Samick's distribution warehouse; recently received from Indonesia and having been made ready for sale. The room (some 12' by 12') was all concrete; not exactly a warm acoustic. But from the first note I played, I was taken aback. The instrument sounded rich and warm, even approaching the Feurich sound that I heard on the video. This was a sound I could easily live with. It really does show how important it is to hear and play a piano in person. No brainer, really.
The second point of interest. I particularly wanted a piano whose action allowed me to play softly. I tried Young Chan's top-of-the-line piano—the largest Albert Weber—some months ago. It sounded quite nice, but I could not control the sound and play quietly. The Seiler, on the other hand, was terrific. Without using the soft pedal, in that smallish room I could keep the volume down. That speaks something for the action, I think. There was a Johannes Seiler (126 cm) in the same room. I went over to it and tried the same thing. A very noticeable difference: I could not keep the volume down. It hadn't been tuned (in contrast to the ED, which had been prepared for me); maybe that makes a difference. I'm inclined to think, however, that the difference has more to do with the fact that the Johannes uses a different action (the Samick Premium action, I believe).
I was confused about what action the ED uses. I knew that both Seilers use Abel hammers. Merriam Music states that the ED uses Renner action components, but I hadn't been able to confirm that anywhere else. So I asked my wife to call the dealer in Samick's Seoul showroom. He told her that the ED uses a Seiler-designed action. Whether that means some of the parts are made by Renner, I do not know. Whatever, it seems superior to the Samick Premium action, although it might depend on how well the latter is regulated. The ED action was not perfectly regulated. I noticed some notes that didn't quite do what they should have done, but I am pretty confident that the action itself is good enough that some careful regulation will make it pretty good.
Finally, you might be amazed to know that Samick let me have this piano for 7200 USD; it includes two free tunings in the first year, a third tuning in the following year, and their best adjustable piano stool. I think I have good reason, after all these years, for finally being happy about my piano situation!
I hope some of this information will be either interesting or useful for someone.
Congratulations. I think the 132 is one of the more successful pianos in that line, having played a few. It also shows the folly of selecting an acoustic piano using third-party videos as the determining factor.
Congratulations, Kiwi! 🎉🎊🎈 🥳 My you enjoy your new piano for many years to come! And thanks for sharing your story on how you found the instrument. I’m so glad it exceeded the expectations from the video.
A new customer of mine with a Bosendorfer 130 bought a few years ago in Hong Kong said "Really, the piano chose me".
I have a customer not far from me who has a Seiler upright, made in Germany, which he bought when he retired some years ago. I think it is the most delightful upright I have ever played, including Bosendorfer and Steinway uprights.
Congratulations! Totally in love with my ED-168 that's breaking in very nicely. It's one of the eldest EDs but wasn't pre-owned (long story, but it made the rounds between warehouses to the showroom). The sound has a depth and warmth to it that's incredibly addicting, particularly in the middle bass. Other modern pianos seem cold and overly bell-like in the treble to me in comparison, Steinways especially. (Apologies in advance for any offense.) I think it may have something to do with Seiler's unique soundboard design. For what it's worth, I pulled the action before, and it has Renner's name on it (mine's a 2011). No idea how Seiler may or may not have modified or otherwise implemented that, but it does anything and everything I want it to do!
Congrats! I have a german built Seiler Primus 122 (SE 122) I bought only a few months ago and it has a sound of it its own which I have never heard on another upright piano, it took some time to learn how to get the most out of it but I like it alot. The action is responsive which I think is very important. The price here in Europe was very reasonable I think compared to a premium line Yamaha costing the same or even more.
Congratulations on your ED Seiler piano.Pianos of that height are often special for thier full tone.A number of years ago I tried the ED Seiler briefly.I remember a really lovely tone.The action was very light and responsive.So wonderful that you have found a beautiful piano!
...[the ED Seiler] is (in my opinion) easily the most beautiful looking new upright on the market (those lovely curved lines!). .
I did an image search to see what you mean, and surprisingly it does seem to have a different case from other Samick-produced pianos. However my favourite bit is the detail cast into the iron plate:
Nobody does that any more, and to me it says this piano is its own instrument, not just a different badge on some generic internals. The internet suggests the ED uses a Seiler scale design and unique soundboard construction, which supports that. Therefore, $7200USD sounds like not a lot to pay. =) Here's the Kim's Piano video for anyone interested. To me this isn't a bright and thin sound. In the first 20 seconds it sounds quite mellow, then the melody is just bright enough to stand out and sound clear. Depending on the environment and the type of music, I don't think you'd necessarily want the piano much less bright than this.
As far as I have seen the Seiler SE and ED Seiler pianos seem to have similar cabinet styles.Also the ED Seiler has Kitzingen embossed, with similar decorative aspects on the iron frame to the SE..On the side of the piano fallboard is marked "ED SEILER".The models also have similar names. Does the SE have "Made in Kitzingen" or is it just "Kitzingen" like the ED Seiler. My point is where is the plate made?
My piano's voice is my voice to God and the great unknown universe, and to those I love.In other words a hymn.That is all, but that is enough.Life goes on, despite pain and fear.Music is beautiful,life is beautiful.
Just curiosity, not a serious question.I guess Kitzingen on the ED Seiler is purely decorative.Shows where the company originated from.No need for any "explosions in mattress factories" 😀 Show us some pictures of your Seiler piano when it arrives.
It does. Or, here in Korea, it did. The company told us that some students who had tried or bought the piano didn't like what it did to the action. On that point, I cannot comment. I would guess the magnetic action is still available in other countries.
David Boyce: interesting. Obviously, while some aspects of a piano can be objectively evaluated (like how well the action functions, the sustain, and more), there will always be room for different sounding pianos to appeal to different tastes. Some people like Yamaha U3s. They are well made pianos, no question. I had no complaints about the action. Mine was well past its best and I just didn't care for the sound. It's not just that it was too bright (not surprising after more than forty years of being played), but the tone itself seemed a little shallow and uncomplicated. Only my opinion.