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Starre Offline OP
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I just want to post an update after living with this piano for 2 months: today I practised Beethoven fifth piano concerto and it sings lovely, very clear and great lustre in the top octaves. Bass is not super clear but robust and powerful with some grunt. From middle C and two octaves up it really sings with good sustain. Here in Europe I think you get good value considering the prize, I know it is more expensive in USA but compare to Bechstein, Blüthner, Steinway and such and it is definitively cheaper. Yes those pianos are probably even better than Seiler but I have played a few of them and the difference is not super big, I even say that Seiler has some unique qualities. Do not skip trying a Seiler if you are looking for a piano. I plan to visit Germany next year and hopefully I can visit the Seiler factory then.

Last edited by Starre; 12/04/21 04:45 PM.
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A few days ago it was time to tune the piano again, same person as last time. He said it was settling in fine and getting better, and I can only agree. I am a little surprised that this happened since the difference was not hard to hear. One note has irritated me but a few seconds work with a needle and it was fine, I am happy with the person tuning, he did a nice job. The brightness in the treble that bothered me is now not really a problem, my tuner did not want to change anything yet, saying that in the long run I might actually like it the way it is. So I am really glad I decided to buy my piano unheard which was rather scary, lovely to have good acoustic piano!

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Originally Posted by Starre
The brightness in the treble that bothered me is now not really a problem, my tuner did not want to change anything yet, saying that in the long run I might actually like it the way it is.
It's amazing how much a great tuning does for voicing. Recently, I upgraded my Indonesian-made Seiler to a barely used German-made model that made a long trip to get here on some rough roads that shook it out of tune. It sounded dead on arrival, and harsh due to hardened hammers. It was tuned, badly, by the only tuner I could find in a hurry, after which it still sounded dead and harsh. My wife was wondering if I made a mistake with this "upgrade." It then got tuned a few weeks later by a decent tuner and sounded much better. Shortly thereafter, I reconnected with a tuner that's done work for many well known performers, and it now sounds magical and bell-like (oh boy can this guy tune). As for the overall feel of the instrument compared to the Indonesian model, it's much more precise, as I'm sure your German-made Seiler is.

Long story short, a great tuning makes a huge difference in the sound of the voicing, I've found.

After doing a great deal of research, I still three-needle-voiced the hammers, later (but not on their crowns), with wonderful results, but that's a story for another day.

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Starre Offline OP
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Congratulations! Which model is it?

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ES-186 MA

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Wow that is expensive and I guess you tried before buying? The store which I bought my piano from has one 186 for sale, not new but probably in vg condition. I just need more space 😊.

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It's ten years old and hardly used. My impression is it sat lonely in a room in some rich people's home like an ostracized orphan for most of that time but was at least regularly tuned. I did not try it first but heard it played in a HQ video made by a dealer of high repute. The price was very reasonable, and with some money down I was able to finance the rest at a low rate without having to put the home on the line or anything like that. The piano is the only collateral. I've insured it at replacement cost, per the Piano Buyer catalog's suggested maximum price for a new one. The ED-168 that preceded this is for sale on consignment with the dealer. The hammers were clearly only lightly used, but they had hardened quite a bit over those ten years, so I voiced them very moderately on the shoulders with a three-needle tool to give them a little cushion and take the edge off. Now all is bliss.

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^ To be clear, I voiced the ES-186, not the ED-168.

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Great, take care of it which I am sure you will, seems like a good upgrade 👍.

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Forgot to thank you for the grats, earlier, Starre, so thanks. The reason I mentioned the voicing is you had mentioned the overly bright tone with your Seiler on arrival, much of which I understand has since subsided. The reason I did my own voicing is, like you, I found tuner/techs are reluctant to get involved with that. When they are, it's mainly limited to a few pokes with a chopstick needler. My sense is that techs tend to be leery of getting involved with voicing because they don't want to disappoint their customers and then not be able to go back.

I could hear the desired tone in my head, decided it was possible with these fine hammers, and then set about researching how to achieve it.

First thing that was done was the pre-voicing procedure from Renner per the image, below (our hammers are Abel's, I believe, but the principle is the same). My understanding is Seiler does something like this at the factory; however, if it was done, the hardening of the hammers long ago canceled out the benefits of this procedure:

[Linked Image]

The other part of my research was to purchase André Oorebeek's The Voice of the Piano, which is a book that comes with a DVD, and study all the material. Based on that, I did what he calls "make a cushion" on every hammer. Basically, this means giving the hammers a tennis ball feel to them, so they're springy and their impact with the strings feels satisfying to the hands and ears. What this entails is using a 3-needle tool to stab anywhere from 20-25 (low bass) to 5-10 (high treble) stitches per cushion area while 3 hammers are pinched together with your other hand (for mutual support) and supported by a voicing block of wood. The needle tool when "making a cushion" should always be pointed toward the inner tip of the hammer (where all the triangles meet in the image below).

[Linked Image]

The section of the hammer between the two cushion areas is known as the crown. It is what Japanese voicers at Yamaha refer to as the Holy Drop, meaning don't touch it. In the image above, and in practice in Mr. Ooerbeek's DVD video, the cushion area goes from 9:00 o'clock to 11:30 on the left, and 3:00 o'clock to 12:30 on the right. I, however, was so paranoid of violating the Holy Drop that I only went from 9:00 to 11:00 and 3:00 to 1:00, respectively (protocol is to go from low to high on the shoulders).

The results were incredible At last, the tone I imagined when setting out on this venture is here. It's near-concert grade with a full dynamic range that is pleasant and singing to the ear, powerful when needed but not harsh, and a long sustain. I'm currently refining five, short pieces to make a video with over the summer and share.

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Interesting, what seems easy is most of the time not if you want good results. I will wait until next tuning to discuss this with my tuner.

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MrSh4nkly,
I had no idea you upgraded to a an Seiler ES 186! That sounds like a wonderful piano.Has it settled down yet? So now you both have German Seilers! Since there are no active Schimmel upright members around, perhaps I could join your Seiler club?


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.


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I see no "club" but maybe if we get more members with a Seiler piano, who knows...

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Originally Posted by Starre
I see no "club" but maybe if we get more members with a Seiler piano, who knows...
Who knows, and why not a "European Piano Club?" Not really workable here I know.They are expensive, still they are special. Many prefer them to what else is offered, and for good reasons too! No amount of "puppetearing" will stop people from buying them;."Long may they reign!"
(perhaps it's the wine, gone straight to my head) I usually only have a half a glass once a week, but we went out for lunch.(a friend's birthday and before I knew it, a full glass of wine was poured by the server) 😃


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.


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Originally Posted by MrSh4nkly
The other part of my research was to purchase André Oorebeek's The Voice of the Piano, which is a book that comes with a DVD, and study all the material.

This is an excellent book! thumb


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Starre, I promised you a video so you can hear the results of the voicing technique on my Seiler SE-186 described above. Here it is. This is my first video, and it was intended to only be a test, but I like how the sound turned out and decided to keep it, so pardon the underwear. No sound filters have been applied to the recording. As aforementioned, this SE-186 sounded awful on arrival. It had been shaken out of tune over a very long trip. The hammers were hard as rocks from many years of dormancy. I don't think it had ever been voiced other than the little Seiler does at the factory. This was an upgrade from a Seiler ED-168, but it sounded so bad when it got here my wife cringed when she heard it, thought it was really a downgrade, but didn't want to tell me. Now that it's perfectly tuned and voiced, she adores it.

Others have said they were underwhelmed by Seilers in this or that showroom. I have a feeling about why that is. As you know, their soundboard technology is unique in the industry. The downside to this, I believe, is that if the instrument isn't perfectly tuned it sounds thin and dead, and if it isn't well-voiced it sounds particularly harsh. If, however, it is perfectly tuned and well-voiced, a Seiler will sing with deep, resonant harmonics like no other. You and other forum members be the judge:


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Nice synth (oscillator, filter-sweep) effect at LINK!

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Originally Posted by SouthPark
Nice synth (oscillator, filter-sweep) effect at LINK!
Ha thanks for noticing. This was done by simultaneously pressing and holding the soft and damper pedals just before the final arpeggiated chord is laid down (only time the soft pedal is used during the whole piece), then slowly releasing them. To be perfectly honest, once the chord is finished after both pedals are pressed, the soft pedal can be released immediately. The effect is dependent on the damper release only. This doesn't work if the soft pedal isn't used though.

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Nice to see you back MrSh4nkly!
Your piano sounds like a rich tone, very nice too. I remember we visited Dijon a small town in France when we were much younger.(in the 80's) One day we came across a tall statue of Rameau.(unexpectedly) So I guess he lived there.I just thought you may be interested. It's nice to see you back.That's quite a piano! Regards, Tre


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.


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Thanks, tre corda. Funny how you "came across a tall statue of Rameau" in Dijon as he was a very tall guy. Fun fact: Rameau's last words, not far from his 81st birthday, were, "What the devil do you mean to sing to me, priest? You are out of tune."

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