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Are Steinways overrated? (Read 17061 times)

Offline keitokyun

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Are Steinways overrated?
« on: February 18, 2016, 06:33:13 AM »
Steinway and Sons, the most prestigious piano manufacturing company on earth. Is it overrated? (this is intended to start and argument between Steinway fanboy/girls and the rest)

Offline adodd81802

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Re: Are Steinways overrated?
«Reply #1 on: February 18, 2016, 11:11:59 AM »
.
"England is a country of pianos, they are everywhere."

Offline hbofinger

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Re: Are Steinways overrated?
«Reply #2 on: February 20, 2016, 02:52:52 PM »
There are really three types of Steinways:

1. The rebuilt 1920s Steinway with junk parts that the rebuilder wants $45k plus for, because its a Steinway
2. The new Steinway from New York that is a piece of junk that the dealer wants $80k plus for, because it is a Steinway, and
3. The new Steinway from the Hamburg, Germany factory that costs over 120k Euros and is, simply put, the best piano out there

So yes, I think the average Steinway is way, way overrated, but if you get the real thing it can't really be beat. They are a rare find though in the U.S.

Offline indianajo

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Re: Are Steinways overrated?
«Reply #3 on: February 20, 2016, 04:29:34 PM »
No.
The Steinways that get on stage are excellent. there may be others I don't hear.  Let the shopper inspect his intended purchase, carefully.  Steinways are not known for falling apart quickly. There has been some variation in initial sound quality, more some years than others.  All wood does not grow the same.  
The studio 44" Steinway I tried out in 1982 was excellent, but too heavy for my wimpy forearms. The sound at the bench wasn't great, but maybe it was out the back where the audience would be.  I was playing in an open mall store, with no hard wall behind the piano to reflect the soundboard tone to me.  The Steinway 44" had the  proper weight to train for playing the grands, as above. I play consoles built to a much lighter standard, in halls no larger than 300 seats.  Steinway grands are suitable for 1200 seat halls without amplification. The Sohmer console I bought in 1982 projects the best sound at the player.
The beat to death Steinways from music schools are like any fine product used to much.  A lot of quality parts need to be replaced.  The rebuilder needs to be as good a voicer as the guy at the Steinway factory, not likely.  
There is no doubt that orientals work cheaper.  Oriental suppiier factories ( and final assemblers in one or two countries) also are permitted to pollute the air and water,  use up workers and throw them away after they are injured with trivial payment, etc etc etc. Oriental workers typically are housed 4 to a room.   If former supplier employees complain too much many of them disappear.  Read the news.  Certain countries grab resources from neighbors and suppress the minorities that lived there.   BBCnews runs an informative website.     I won't attend concerts played on pianos from certain countries. I won't play them, or sing in churches that buy them and use them in services.
The origIn of internal parts from pianos assembled in certain oriental countries that are actual democracies headed up the weath curve, I am unable to determine.   I won't buy one.  I am quite certain oriental countries are not making actions from US hardwood, cases from US hardwood and soundboards from US spruce, which have been proven over hundred year histories and "life tests", to be suitable for making pianos. We do export some walnut logs from my country to the orient for veneer surfaces.   I've played a lot of pianos made 1900-1983 with no issues other than some having faster actions and some having better soundboards scale and case design.  Not all great pianos were Steinways, prior to 1985 and the great globalization.

Offline hbofinger

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Re: Are Steinways overrated?
«Reply #4 on: February 21, 2016, 01:31:06 AM »
I am going to be really rough here (ok, I already have been, sorry   :P0)

I've had concert pianists from Germany, one of them a pupil of Wilhem Kempff, go off on what is being sold as a Steinway here in the US. And then, my own technician, who is American and Steinway trained. "All you are buying is a name, to impress..." Simply a huge, huge difference in what is a Steinway and what is really a Steinway. Go to Vienna, Austria, to the Steinway dealership there across the street from the Musikverein and the Bösendorfer showroom across the street, and be blown away what a real B sounds like. You'll be likely to throw up when you are back in the US and try the standard offerings.

I know, I sound rough... ;-)

Offline kawai_cs

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Re: Are Steinways overrated?
«Reply #5 on: February 21, 2016, 07:33:37 PM »
Sounds like you are already against Steinway?



He advertises for Yamaha.
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Offline distantfieldrelative

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Re: Are Steinways overrated?
«Reply #6 on: February 23, 2016, 12:05:08 AM »
The best piano I've had the chance to speak with was an 1849 Broadwood.
Beautifully restored and regulated to near perfection.
Sometimes I can only groan and suffer and pour out my despair at the piano.

Offline keitokyun

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Re: Are Steinways overrated?
«Reply #7 on: February 23, 2016, 02:02:53 AM »
He advertises for Yamaha.
I don't advertise for Yamaha, i just think that Yamaha makes very good piano's for it's price. With the proper maintenance and very good voicing, you can make any (mechanically decent) piano sound very good. Personally, I see Bosendorfer, Bechstein, and Steinways on the same level. All having magnificent action, sound quality and projection abilities, Bosendorfers being my favourite.

From my standpoint, i do feel that Steinway is overrated due to Steinway's magnificent marketing abilities. Steinway, as a company produces roughly 4,000 pianos a year and most of them are either a hit or a miss. I have played on many Steinways, both New York and Hamburg, and have only come across a select few that blew me away.

So far the best piano's I have played are: an Imperial Bosendorfer owned by my piano teacher's friend, the New York Steinway in the practice room of the Walt Disney Concert Hall (i havent had the chance to tough the one in the concert hall), a Yamaha G3 in a mueseum, and a considerably old, well maintained Bechstein D in a church.

I also strongly agree with what hbofinger said. America's standards for pianos and value for classical music is just too low. It is amazing how a small austraian piano brand that you may have never heard of can blow your expectations away.

Offline huaidongxi

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Re: Are Steinways overrated?
«Reply #8 on: February 24, 2016, 09:57:38 AM »
decades ago, had to move across the country, liquidate everything to return to school, and sold the 'baby grand' yamaha that to this day is the instrument that has seen most use from me.  for the period that I tried to continue playing without an instrument, was a flying dutchman in search of a decent public piano for some years.  in brief, have played quite a few steinways, large uprights to medium but not concert grands, mostly u.s. made.  to put it simply, over the years there have been so many u.s. steinways made, probably too many poorly maintained, that no accurate generalization can be made about them. 

when we bought an old bungalow and settled in, my wonderful spouse who also took lessons as a kid and enjoyed playing, told me to find a good instrument, and tried out literally dozens of used steinways, mostly in piano stores that had tuners/techs to maintain them. those were so highly variable that my feeling about 'name brand', it's just a baseline.  our budget did would not justify a bechstein, boesendorfer, german steinway (haven't played a grotian), mainly because there are far fewer of those used in the market, and my dear spouse really really wanted a grand piano, despite my explanation that comparable $$ could get a very fine upright.  u.s. steinways are simply more variable than those three euro makers.  more than a few aren't really artisan instruments, despite what their marketing would like us to believe, but more like mass produced products.  a fair number can be temperamental (pun intended because the temperament is critical) to keep in tune, and all of us who attend concerts have probably heard them.  serious players who perform professionally, including the official 'steinway artists' will recall very specific instruments they really liked, which is indirect indifference to the majority of pianos with the same brand name. 't'would be an exaggeration to call the brand overrated, however, because there are 100's of very fine instruments out of that huge base number that are still around.

as far as yamaha, we should always remember 'slava Richter favored them, and he played (and was recorded on a few) many many marginal instruments in his career.  a number of serious jazz players own yamahas, and plenty of recording studios use them.  when we were shopping for grands, there were virtually no used yamahas on the market.  as far as the uprights, they weren't nearly as satisfying to me (mass produced stuff), actually preferred pleyel uprights of the new instruments tried out.

Offline iansinclair

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Re: Are Steinways overrated?
«Reply #9 on: February 24, 2016, 09:45:54 PM »
There is a rather small group of piano players -- I refuse to call them pianists -- who take great delight in bashing Steinway, particularly Steinways made in the United States.  There is an equally small group, give or take, who refuse to consider that not all Steinways -- made in the US or Hamburg -- are equal.

It would appear that the OP is among the former group.  Unfortunate, as it suggests that he or she has a tightly closed mind, which is a very sad thing to have.

That said, not all Steinways are created equal.  Nor are all Yamahas, which seem to be the preferred make of the OP, nor Bechsteins, nor Bosendorfers, nor Estonias, nor Fazziolis, nor... the list goes on (older Baldwins could be on the list, too).

If one is a wise pianist, one will consider the instrument, regardless of the name on the fallboard, and think about how does it sound?  How is the action?  Is this the instrument I can express my music on?  If it is, wonderful, it's the right piano -- for you.  If it isn't, I don't care what kind of piano it is, it isn't the right instrument -- for you (someone else might just love it!).

Of course, if you are a wannabe or a hack, it is great fun to be able to say "I have a Steinway grand" or "a Bosendorfer" or whatever -- and equally great fun to say, with a condescending sneer, "oh.  You have a Steinway.  They're junk".  Or "you have a Knabe.  They're junk".  Or -- substitute any piano maker you want.

Ian

Offline bronnestam

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Re: Are Steinways overrated?
«Reply #10 on: February 27, 2016, 06:32:34 PM »
Here are the two best pianos I have ever played. Don't worry, it is not me on these clips. But the pianos are those very instruments I talk about, not just "same brand". McLachlan plays a Steinway in Manchester, UK, and Gimse a Shigeru Kawai in Vänersborg, Sweden.
I have also tried some Steinways that were not at all as good as this one, but no question it is a very good brand ... If I had all the necessary resources I would probably buy a Shigeru Kawai, though. Or maybe one of the best Yamahas, I am very fond of them too.
But this very Steinway in Manchester ... I sneaked in at midnight, I just planned to test it a little, but I was sitting there for more than an hour, totally enchanted. It was a perfect piano.




Offline rmbarbosa

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Re: Are Steinways overrated?
«Reply #11 on: March 11, 2016, 04:42:03 PM »
I have a grand Bluthner, 100 years old. It was my mother`s piano.
It sounds superbly!

Offline visitor

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Re: Are Steinways overrated?
«Reply #12 on: March 11, 2016, 04:51:02 PM »
best to separate american steiny w hamburg kids.  and on american, certain decades produced better nicer instruments.   also, a refinished instrument some really good shops can produce a refinished piano better than the original when new. food to think about.

if you're going american, one should really look at mason hamlin, wow, good pianos. loved almost every single one i played.

less common but superb as well and i would consider are charles walter. i played a new one at a steinway shop in town, was priced in same neighborhood vs steinway, it was marvelous. heirloom quality instruments. love charles walter.

Offline briansaddleback

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Re: Are Steinways overrated?
«Reply #13 on: March 22, 2016, 02:19:06 AM »
Steinway? I love this brand of piano.  Even the refurb ones as long as they're regulated and voiced well. I talk to a few pianists and teachers and they all appreciate Steinway pianos.  Not once have I heard any one of these serious musicians say that liking a Steinway attributes to one being a "fanboy" or whatever this trendy internetz term is.  I guess I'll learn these terms more if I spend ton more time on the web.  Gotta go take care of important things. Bye.
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Offline shostglass

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Re: Are Steinways overrated?
«Reply #14 on: March 22, 2016, 05:46:16 AM »
Steinways are pretty good pianos and there is a reason why they have been in business for so long. However they can't beat a well built Faziol (but a FaziolI will burn a huge hole in your wallet.

Offline withindale

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Re: Are Steinways overrated?
«Reply #15 on: March 23, 2016, 12:19:28 AM »
Many who prefer the tone of a good Steinway to the best Fazioli has to offer would not agree :'(

Offline richard black

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Re: Are Steinways overrated?
«Reply #16 on: March 30, 2016, 09:21:35 PM »
I've probably played more pianos than many folks here - doesn't mean I know everything, obviously, but I do have some experience of Steinway and others...

The only senses in which Steinway are arguably 'over-rated' are two very specific ones:

1 Second-hand Steinways sell for a _helluva_ lot of money, even in heavily used condition.

2 Some people will cheerfully assert that no other make comes anywhere close. This is clearly rubbish, and several other companies produce pianos (for concert hall and other purposes) which are certainly comparable.

A Steinway concert grand is a wonderful thing. They vary - I've occasionally been involved in selecting a rental instrument from a handful on offer, and very seldom does one find two instruments that are really hard to tell apart. That's all to the good, frankly. And of course eventually they wear and get worked on and come to differ even more.

Some of the smaller grands are not to everyone's taste. I'm seldom hugely impressed by the Model A, for instance, but it's very much a taste thing and there is never anything one can define as being 'bad' unless of course we're talking about instruments badly in need of repair.

Steinways - all models - are astoundingly robust. I often play on a Model C in a dance studio which looks as if it has been to hell and back a couple of times. It isn't a fine concert instrument but it works all across the keyboard and, while tonally a little uneven, is surprisingly responsive. Most makes, after such a life, would probably be in bits.

All that said, I've had lots of lovely experiences with most of the other 'big name' brands, certainly including Bösendorfer and Fazioli, and also quite often with old and/or forgotten-brand pianos that have led a lucky life or been well restored.
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Offline iansinclair

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Re: Are Steinways overrated?
«Reply #17 on: March 30, 2016, 09:45:41 PM »
Very well put, Richard, on all counts.  Thank you!
Ian

Offline john21wall

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Re: Are Steinways overrated?
«Reply #18 on: April 08, 2016, 12:58:37 PM »
Beautiful and amazing this instrument.
obrzezeogrodowe obrzeża trawnikowe sklep

Offline tmmyt

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Re: Are Steinways overrated?
«Reply #19 on: April 24, 2016, 05:03:21 AM »
Hi There

Am coming late on this thread, they'r great, but overpriced. I think there are some good alternatives