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Buying a grand... (Read 7416 times)

Offline outin

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Buying a grand...
« on: May 29, 2016, 04:31:58 AM »
How can it be so hard... I have been trying to get it done for the past 4 years and I am still stuck with my upright :(

Once again this week I decided to step up my game and looked at the options of used grands. I think I must mention that unlike in many other parts of the world, the selection of used good quality smaller grands is rather poor in Finland, because people have always had more uprights and most grands are in institutions.

Anyway I went to check out a Blüthner baby grand yesterday. It's from the 50's and it's not in pristine condition but it is cheap and at the moment I am desperate to get a grand to practice with. Since I live in a flat the really big grands are out of the question. It was not well tuned but it felt suitable for my hands and there were no major problems with the action. Felt 100 times better to play than my upright.

But then I made the mistake of trying out a 170 Bösendorfer that just happened to be there...the difference in sound was like night and day...I loved it. It's from the 70's-80's. And a lot more expensive. I could get a new Estonia 168 for just a few thousand euros more. So now I have no idea what to do again...I could afford the B if I sell my upright.

To make this even more complicated I have been told about 3 other grands that might be suitable. An 1981 175 cm Schimmel that would cost about half of the Bösendorfer and 1928 170 cm Steinway that would cost a little less than the Bösendorfer. The downside is that these are further away and I don't think it would be possible to try them out in my home. The dealer of the Bösendorfer actually would let me do that. But it's still very expensive and I could just buy the Blüther and upgrade some years later when my conditions might be changed. A small grand would not be that difficult to get rid of.

I hate making such decisions because when I get my hands on nice grands I just want them all...I like variety :(

Offline huaidongxi

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #1 on: May 29, 2016, 07:13:18 AM »
looking at a couple of photos of mid-1980s schimmel 175's, was surprised to see only two pedals.  you deserve the full grand piano experience, no ?  and it sounds like that piano is still much higher in price than the bluethner.  as for the steinway M, it might be an exceptional instrument, but it is one of their mid size, mid price range and very popular models, with potentially lots of variation between instruments with more variations due to the age of the piano and its upkeep.  and from what you've written it sounds like you already love the boesendorfer.  does an instrument like that at its price appear in your market very rarely ? it seems there's a bit of market scarcity pressure at work, and you're the only relevant judge anyway.  if you can't 'settle' for the bluethner without yearning for the boesie, you might have to be patient and wait to see what else appears in the market closer to your budget.  however, the satisfaction of having a grand you really enjoy more than your upright, and didn't strain the budget might erase the potential boesie deprivation.  as you commented, market scarcity would make it easy to sell later.

Offline outin

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #2 on: May 29, 2016, 10:31:03 AM »
looking at a couple of photos of mid-1980s schimmel 175's, was surprised to see only two pedals.  you deserve the full grand piano experience, no ?  and it sounds like that piano is still much higher in price than the bluethner.  as for the steinway M, it might be an exceptional instrument, but it is one of their mid size, mid price range and very popular models, with potentially lots of variation between instruments with more variations due to the age of the piano and its upkeep.  and from what you've written it sounds like you already love the boesendorfer.  does an instrument like that at its price appear in your market very rarely ? it seems there's a bit of market scarcity pressure at work, and you're the only relevant judge anyway.  if you can't 'settle' for the bluethner without yearning for the boesie, you might have to be patient and wait to see what else appears in the market closer to your budget.  however, the satisfaction of having a grand you really enjoy more than your upright, and didn't strain the budget might erase the potential boesie deprivation.  as you commented, market scarcity would make it easy to sell later.


The Schimmel is the only one of these with 3 pedals actually... But having the 3rd pedal is not that important...

I guess my problem is that Bosies are extremely rare here and a used one in my price range may not come up again...I tried a new one in a shop last year and loved that as well, but the price would be way out of my range...

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #3 on: May 29, 2016, 11:01:37 AM »
I don't know outin, if you keep going around ( and you certainly have) trying grands and are getting a repeat love for the Bosndofers, maybe that is your brand. nothing wrong with them anyway, they are a good reputable brand.

And you always have liked the Estonia line.

A very critical element for you is action.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline outin

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #4 on: May 29, 2016, 11:19:48 AM »
I don't know outin, if you keep going around ( and you certainly have) trying grands and are getting a repeat love for the Bosndofers, maybe that is your brand. nothing wrong with them anyway, they are a good reputable brand.

And you always have liked the Estonia line.

A very critical element for you is action.

I don't feel I have enough experience though. The few places to try out used grands have very few better ones. The new Grands in piano shops are almost always Yamahas or Kawais or European marks actually made in China. The new Bosie I tried was in Stockholm and even they only had that one. Since pianos are individual I feel I should have my hands on many more before making a decision, but where to do that...I think this is the main reason for my indecisiveness...

If I bought the Blüthner and then stumbled into something perfect it would not be the end of the world because it's not that expensive (everything is relative of course). But something used that costs closer to 20000 euros is a different matter...it's a big decision and I have trouble making it :)

EDIT: Just talked to the dealer. He'll make an offer on my upright and I will go there again on Wednesday...This time to really try out the Bosie. At least I am making some progress...

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #5 on: May 30, 2016, 09:54:50 AM »
Can't wait to hear your take on all that when Wed is over !! You're obviously not leaving the piano experience and you've also not been 100% satisfied with the upright experience. You know I pray, regardless of anyone else's view on that , I will be praying this goes well for you and that you can feel comfortable coming to terms with one of your choices/options. Maybe a calm resolve will come over you, you've been on this track for a long enough time to know what you want, lol.

On a grand you can physically look inside and see the condition of the hammers and most of the sound board. Look for separation  and cracks in the sound board. Looking in from the top you will see physical splits or separation, IE space over the surface of the sound board if there is any. Looking up from the underside, you will see ribs or cross bars against the bottom side of the sound board, look that the board hasn't separated from any ribs, they should be tight against it. Hammers should be full looking and damper pads not tattered. The sound should be clear, not muddy, especially in the bass. You shouldn't hear buzzing or wringing sounds anywhere, unless it's a bell like clarity, some grand pianos have that sort of tonality especially in the upper mid tenor and it's natural for them ( I actually like that when i find it, it has a mesmerizing affect on me, I can work all over that tone playing with touch) . I hope the shop has the sense to tune the piano for you so you don't have to listen to odd overtones. Look that the tuning pins are standing proud to the harp, the string windings on the pins should be spaced well above the harp, not almost touching it. If they are very low then the pins have been driven into the pin block to gain tightness, not all together bad but the next loose pin will then require more serious action taken.  And you know what you want in terms of action, I don't need to explain that. Against some common pre disposed opinions around here , some grands do have very light action . I have a certain disdain for an action I have to fight with but I don't care for it feather light either but that's me. Good luck outin !
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline indianajo

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #6 on: May 30, 2016, 11:26:29 AM »
Gee, I don't see the need for a grand.  I can get my console pianos to repeat a single note at 338 bpm, (two hands) are you faster than that? 2 notes per click of the Seth Thomas metronome at 168.   I think the speed limitation is me, not the action. I'm 66 but I don't remember being any faster younger.  
The middle pedal single note sustain is the only thing I miss on a grand.  
Bosendorfers have a distinct ping and thinner strings.  As such they are high maintenance, requiring more frequent tuning and string replacement in roughly 10-20 years instead of the 50-80 years of a Steinway or Yamaha.
Plus grands project the best tone out at the audience with the lid up, and uprights can bounce it off a hard wall 6" away right back at you. My Steinway 40 console has cloth covered holes in the front rail to allow good treble tones to pass through to the player.  The Sohmer is so bright against the wall It doesn't need holes. The only thing uprights lack is powerful bass, but I find my two pianos have very satisfying bass, even though I know intellectually that the bass on my 40"ers is a beat tone of two higher frequencies, instead of being a "real" monotone.  Some uprights go for the monotone bass, and I've found the Yamaha and Everett 44" versions of this to be rather boring and subdued. The whole 1982 Steinway 44" upright tone was subdued. The Steinway 44" probably needed a hard wall behind it to sound like anything to the player, but I played it in an open floor mall store.        
There is a black 194? Sohmer "baby grand" near me for $400 this weekend.  It "needs restoration" which might mean it has child damage to the case or might mean some of the action is sticky.  You can buy a lot of felt for $18000.  My 1982 Sohmer console with the Pratt Read action is one of the two consoles I own that will repeat at 338 bpm. The other is the 1941 Steinway 40", but not every key on that one.   My piano teacher had a mid size Sohmer grand, 7' maybe,  when I was a student. 
That piano had very suitable action for a 90 lb adolescent with spindly hands.  
I don't have the room for a grand and moving one in would be about $1000-2000 since 5 other keyboards would have to be moved to get the grand in the back room out of the way. I've got 1 arm this month until my injured tendons heal up. I'd have to hire qualified pro movers while I'm out of action.    I'm going to let this grand piano pass, despite the once in a lifetime price, and concentrate on learning to repair the worn bits of the action on the Steinway.  
Best of luck.  

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #7 on: May 30, 2016, 11:48:08 AM »
Hmmm, I don't know why a woman can't buy what she has dreamed of buying for more than 3 years now, without interjection to the contrary. There are some decent uprights out there but it's not part of her dream. And I'm not sure under what authority we hear that a Bosendorfer is any higher maintenance than any other decent piano, in fact this article would kind of support stability within the case as a selling point. And anyone who doesn't love a singing tone in a nice grand ( or any piano) would be a rather odd piano lover. The same article speaks of that about Bosendorfer.

Here it is:

http://www.coloradopianobuyersguide.com/bosendorfer_features.htm
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline indianajo

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #8 on: May 30, 2016, 12:01:55 PM »
Great tone, plus
great floor footprint, minus
moving cost of grand, minus
dealer support- plus care free
                         minus the cost
driving the neighbors crazy projecting sound through the apartment wall, minus. 
I can see wanting a piano with great tone and speed, but I have two of them. 
The grand market is crashing in price around here, WARNING Sohmer is not a bargain brand, it is just forgotten. 
The world is being taken over by boring sounding Yamaha uprights.  There is no rule that one has to buy one. 
Estonia, Petrof, no opinion, there are none around here.  Kawai uprights sound better than Yamaha to me, but not like the two I own. Not nearly as good as a 1946-1982 Baldwin Acrosonic 40 either. 

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #9 on: May 30, 2016, 01:57:49 PM »
170cm is a decent size too.

Indianajo, when I got my grand I moved the clutter out and made the living room my piano room. It was pure desire to own a decent grand and that would sit square in my living room in plain view. I sold the old upright. Moving cost me 0. Not everyone's circumstances are the same as one particular individuals, be that yours or mine ( and I don't mean financial, I did this on a shoe string raising 5 kids a long time ago and on a less than average income for that time ). I was committed and devoted to own a grand piano, period. We can make up all kinds of reasons not to do something but when we "raise up" a true desire, it just seems that a way falls in place against every odd.

We can be and often are our own worst enemy, we shoot ourselves in the foot with doubt. Doubt is a sure fired tool of the devil ( and if you don't believe there is a devil, cool, call it a self imposed demon of defeat then) either way, it seeks us no good in life . Sometimes we just move forward with simple faith ( my particular faith is channeled to one I believe to be way more in charge of things than I am)  and it all works because it was supposed to work. Something you could have done a long time ago was probably doable all along. Once you step forward, things fall in place and that stupid demon was defeated rather than you.

The lady is wanting a grand piano, it's on her heart and it has been for a long time.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline outin

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #10 on: May 30, 2016, 07:03:34 PM »
Thanks hfmadopter!
Of course things did get a bit more complicated again because I talked to my tech today. He thinks I should check out a few more options before deciding on this one and I guess he is right. So I'll try to arrange another piano trip before going to see the Bosie again, just to be a little more certain that it is what I really want. But I did also start to think how little difference there is on the price of this one and a new Estonia...
So my idea of a cheap little grand just to immediately get a better practice tool has suddenly vaporized...sigh...

@indianajo
There are a few reasons why I feel the need to get a grand. Maybe some uprights may be just as good, but I have not met such upright yet.

I am a sucker for resonant acoustic sound with beautiful overtones. But I really dislike the way the sound from an upright hits straight at me when I play. I am a bit over sensitive in my hearing and too loud feels almost physically painful. It's a little difficult to do anything for a harsh and loud upright, if I dampen the sound it just gets stuffy.

It's also a matter of playing technique. I have long, structurally weak fingers (hypermobile joints) and small hand span. With my handshape I end up playing very deep into the black key area and I have found that grands are much easier to play there. Practicing with my upright has caused me a lot of unnecessary tension over the years. I play with grands every week on my lessons, but it's difficult to drop the habits that I develope at home just to be able to play the notes audibly.

My upright really has a poor repetition, maybe because of the installed silent system. Playing the trills in my Scarlatti pieces nicely seems impossible. Yet I can do it on my lessons. If I will have to change my piano anyway, I really see no reason to get another upright. I live alone and can use the space in my flat anyway I want and it really isn't a problem for me to devote one third of my living room to a piano. I am also prepared to do whatever needs to be done with the acoustics. The neighbours will have to deal with it. There's no-one downstairs and the people upstairs are quite noisy themselves. I doubt they really care if I play 1-2 hours or even more daytime. I still have a digital for early morning and late night practice. But a digital could never replace an acoustic for me.

And just to be clear, I do not like the appearance of a grand piano at all, so it's definitely not a furniture issue...uprights look much nicer  ;D

Offline indianajo

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #11 on: May 30, 2016, 08:08:42 PM »
Women definitely do have better hearing, less damaged, than most men.  My upper frequencies stop at 14000 hz even though I've worn earplugs in loud areas ever since ROTC camp in 1969.  However, when I had perfect hearing age 13 and played an ultra-bright Baldwin Acrosonic against a tile wall in a school cafeteria, I just played softer.  I really like a bright sound.  My Mother had a rather dull 1947 Everett, which morphed in the 80's into the Yamaha prototype sold here. 
As far as banging the fingers against the back board, I've done that on pianos I do not respect.  Not on the three I've talked about here. But you can't get those 3 models where you live, certainly not for the $300 a typical Baldwin Acrosonic goes for here. (The 1941 Steinway 40 sells for $4500 in galleries). I also have very weak fingers comparatively for a man, and find most of the grands I'm allowed to play, too stiff for me.  Maybe the average grand is lighter than that. That Steinway 44 studio I tried in 1982 was waay to heavy a touch for weak old me.  And I was 32 then, and in the US Army.   
Sorry to hear your piano is slow.  I've used some  of those over the years, but never bought one.  Some are quite respected by their owners, who play undemanding repretoire.
 Do try to  get out there and try some different pianos.  Not just what the dealer is pushing this week.    A trip to Germany or CZR might be in order if you have the vacation time, just to hear what is available out there. Moving a grand is minimum $600 here, and you might have a stair or elevator in an apartment which runs the costs up, so be sure you find what you want the first time.   
Enjoy the shopping experience,

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #12 on: May 30, 2016, 08:42:19 PM »
Thanks hfmadopter!
Of course things did get a bit more complicated again because I talked to my tech today. He thinks I should check out a few more options before deciding on this one and I guess he is right. So I'll try to arrange another piano trip before going to see the Bosie again, just to be a little more certain that it is what I really want. But I did also start to think how little difference there is on the price of this one and a new Estonia...
So my idea of a cheap little grand just to immediately get a better practice tool has suddenly vaporized...sigh...



Well you have played two Bosendorfers you know you like. You could do worse than moving forward with those as your model to beat and or look for more of as you look around. At that, you're further ahead than last time then, because you know you can fall back on Bosi !

Which model/size Estonia will you be looking at ?

Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline huaidongxi

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #13 on: May 30, 2016, 09:49:07 PM »
as a bystander on the faraway eastern (relative to Midway island) shore of the pacific, am relieved to hear that patience is the course chosen for now.  time to start believing that there's a beautiful estonia 190 cm grand(have not heard a bad word about this piano) at a price that won't break your credit in your future.

did my serious piano shopping more than ten years ago.  with the size of our bungalow, and understanding Indianajo's valid point about facing the soundboard directly with an upright, plus the tradition of fine large uprights serving composers and top level pianists since the golden age of piano, did not focus on grands until my dear spouse expressed her strong preference for one.  with the deterioration of my hand and wrist tendons since buying our vintage grand, am very glad we have a piano with a light, responsive action, easier to play than any upright in my experience.  its tone is both sweeter and mellower than any upright I've tried, probably the top German uprights come close but they cost more than what we paid for our grand and its restoration.

Indianajo, should you ever travel to northern calif contact me and you have my invitation to play our grand -- stride piano and other music you favor would sound great on it.

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #14 on: May 30, 2016, 10:58:20 PM »
My grand is vintage and it's natural action is quite light but I weighted it slightly. It's still certainly not heavy and the weights removable or even moveable along the key core shank.

There are many differences in action between grands and uprights, not the least of which is key core length. The long key cores of a grand action changes the fulcrum behavior and if you are fully used to it you can feel the difference right away in an upright. And longer grands tend to have even longer cores than shorter grands, so this is part of the decision making process that will be felt, even if previously not knowing why, as length increases in a grand .

Additionally, is soft pedal action, which on a grand you can use as much for tonal color change within your composition as you can for quieter sound. On an upright, or most I know of anyway, depression of the soft pedal alters the throw of the hammer, moving them closer to the strings. On a grand the whole key bed shifts to the right. So now  one string is removed from sounding except for sympathetic over tone, because of that position change. It gets to be quite the tool and something I do miss, be that on digital or upright, compared to playing my grand. And if the grand is regulated well, all this comes together as a way different experience from an upright for sure. It's just different and that's that.  It's not all about strike speed or repeat. But in that regard on a grand you don't have to let a key fully up to re-strike a note either, which again has an effect on color. It's just how it is and anyone can argue about it till blue in the face but when you get used all this working together the change is noticeable. Course too, some folks hammer out their music, they don't do the fine touches for tonal color, it's wham bam. And if that is how someone plays or their music of choice and or personal compositions call for, then none of this matters anyway !

Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline outin

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #15 on: May 31, 2016, 04:18:33 AM »
Well you have played two Bosendorfers you know you like. You could do worse than moving forward with those as your model to beat and or look for more of as you look around. At that, you're further ahead than last time then, because you know you can fall back on Bosi !

Which model/size Estonia will you be looking at ?



The 168 cm parlour grands. The others are too big and too expensive.

Offline outin

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #16 on: May 31, 2016, 05:02:21 AM »
Women definitely do have better hearing, less damaged, than most men.  My upper frequencies stop at 14000 hz even though I've worn earplugs in loud areas ever since ROTC camp in 1969.  However, when I had perfect hearing age 13 and played an ultra-bright Baldwin Acrosonic against a tile wall in a school cafeteria, I just played softer.  I really like a bright sound. 

I like brigthness in upper registers as long as it's soft singing brigthness (how do you even try to describe these things in words?) but any metallic or harsh tones make it unpleasant. I have noticed that I can hear upper frequences better on one ear than the other (If I want to hear the crickets in my bedroom with the other ear I need to go to the window). But this may not be an age thing since I remember having some frequencies weaker already as a teenager. Could be the several ear infections I had.

A good piano tone goes deep into my brain and the sensations are almost physical. I cannot really explain what makes one piano so appealing and another not. But clearly the Bosie had a very firm, full and long sustaining singing sound in the individual notes of the middle register compared to the other grands there. It just kept going endlessly without changing much. I don't want a piano with a strong first attack that then dies out quickly. I like to play slow singing music. The overall tone was nothing but dull, when I listened to the dealer play it I almost wanted to go inside the piano to just enjoy the richness of the sound world. Then he played the same thing on another one and I remembered that I don't like that piece ;) But of course this may be just because I have not had much access to higher quality grands that are not Yamahas. I may feel the same from any Steinway...Yet even when recorded I am instantly drawn to the sound of some pianos, no matter what piece is played or who is playing. Others just leave me cold.

Offline ted

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #17 on: May 31, 2016, 10:07:58 AM »
Reading this thread reminds me of how completely personal is the interaction between a player and the instrument. You can perform every logical investigation and inspection, get technicians and experienced pianists to examine and test them for you, but in the end, if you don't feel the magic when you play it, if a piano doesn't infuse you involuntarily with uncontrollable surges of ideas, then you haven't yet found the right one, no matter how famous the name.

That is why I still have the Weinbach I bought at twenty-four. After the first thirty-four years I had reduced its action to tatters. I could have afforded a new one, anything I wanted. I wouldn't have had to work on the waterfront for three years first as I did back then. For months I did the rounds of all the piano shops and thrashed them all. Nothing, not even the really famous makes evoked the old magic. So I had it completely rebuilt ten years ago, and I've never regretted it.

I just tell this story to illustrate the point that it isn't all about famous names, technical knowledge, a lot of money or what certain notes do or do not sound like. The human response is a terribly complicated, chunked phenomenon, different from, and greater than the sum of its component parts. The ear and the heart override those things. A friend bought a new Fazioli a few years ago but I wouldn't swap with him. It's a beautiful piano, absolutely perfect, but the magic doesn't happen when I play it.

In short, beyond all the commonsense mechanical facts and the opinions of knowledgeable people, which are worth having, just go with your feelings.

I cannot really explain what makes one piano so appealing and another not.


Of course you can't, just trust that response completely. Use the force.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #18 on: May 31, 2016, 10:41:19 AM »
I would think that 165 and up would be very decent, that translates to 5'5" and larger.  165 is about my lower limit. So 168 should be nice.

You describe something above, that you don't find in all brands and model of pianos, Outin. And if you like slower and melodic music and intermingling of harmonics etc, then of course what you are describing would very much be desired ( that long singing tone). C. Bechstein comes to mind as well, done up correctly, good strings, good sound board, proper tuning and voicing, it should have a bell clarity in the upper register and very rich bass. Bluthner to some extent, though it will probably be warmer in tone in the mid register and bass than the Bosendorfer. And much depends on the individual piano and how it was set up at that. It sounds like that Bosendorfer sings to your heart. Some of that singing may be how the pianist used the pedal too. Even so, if a piano can't sing then all the pedal in the world won't bail it out.

Again Estonia ? Hmmm, i don't know what to expect there, having no experience.

I bet you would love a Shigeru Kawai, very few used ones around and a new one more than twice your budget but just sayin. Again that clarity in the upper end of the keyboard, silk smooth action but crisp. I love them but surely they are not in my retiree budget !

I personally dislike a muddy bass and short singing upper register. Some builders seem to concentrate on that mid section tone and leave the two ends stranded. My own grand at this point could use re-stringing , especially the bass but generally it sounds very much like a Steinway O-L-M, somewhere between those. It has a powerful tenor to soprano and slightly above. The very top register a little woody but still sings. If I set the piano up with the top open coming out from a corner of the room, seating in the room facing the corner, then that strong tone will bounce off the wall and clock my right ear and it will ring for two days after. I have it set up instead to project across the room and that works fine, great actually, especially with the top up on the low stick. I also play it with the top down and just the music rack area opened up sometimes. That gives a slight muffling sound fairly warm tone. On a grand the sound board is on the bottom, a lot of sound is projected from up under the piano, you can feel the vibrations of that in the core of your body as it emits out from under. An upright has an open back and that hammers the wall behind the piano. I think that hammering would be more offensive to a neighbor than a melodic grand singing in the next apartment. If you have a dynamic grand you can play softly at that and with soft pedal you might mesmerize yourself in the process. And yet , sure open it up, get into the music and you could fill a concert hall.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #19 on: May 31, 2016, 11:00:25 AM »


In short, beyond all the commonsense mechanical facts and the opinions of knowledgeable people, which are worth having, just go with your feelings.
 

Of course you can't, just trust that response completely. Use the force.


You're right Ted. My grand is a 1898 Henry F Miller ( thus my handle in the forum HFM adopter), it too is up for rebuild here before replacement. That would be my choice. HFM was a popular option back in the day, it was a quality piano and many tuners dub it the poor mans Steinway, because much of the design features are very similar. there is a rebuilder down the street from my house and he too feels they are a very well made piano. The new ones made today are made in China or someplace and not the same piano at all. You got to go back to around 1926 and back to get the real deal.

But on another note, these days I mostly play on my digital with Pianoteq software. I do a lot of my own compositions and changing piano types, brand s or even just the way I have them set up ( I have about 8 flavors of the Steinway D setup, for instance), well that changes the mood of my creativity and I'll come up with a whole different improv because of that , even though it's in the same key I was just playing in previously with another model. This is a valuable tool to me, I can't own that many grand pianos !

Your piano is sounding good !
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline ted

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #20 on: May 31, 2016, 11:31:34 AM »
My grand is a 1898 Henry F Miller

Wow, that would have character !

The new ones made today are made in China or someplace and not the same piano at all.

Yes, I know. The piano shop were cheeky enough to suggest I trade in my Weinbach for a Wertheim made in Korea. Good grief, who are they kidding ? For one thing, the touch on them is shockingly light, no control at all. I played one in the shop for about an hour, all sorts of different stuff, and I couldn't "take off", just no response.

But on another note, these days I mostly play on my digital with Pianoteq software. I do a lot of my own compositions and changing piano types, brand s or even just the way I have them set up ( I have about 8 flavors of the Steinway D setup, for instance), well that changes the mood of my creativity ....

I see. Yes, that would certainly alter the creative process. I've never tried it but I don't think I'd be very good at it.

Your piano is sounding good !

Thanks, yes, I think so too. Luck probably can't be ruled out though. Jonathan Mason is an exceptional tuner and technician, at least in Auckland, and he said it is the best result of a rebuild he has managed. Some rebuilds are disasters. He says it is a very stable piano and should see me out, which event I hope is far enough in the future to record a few hundred more CDs.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline outin

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #21 on: May 31, 2016, 01:10:29 PM »

That is why I still have the Weinbach I bought at twenty-four. After the first thirty-four years I had reduced its action to tatters. I could have afforded a new one, anything I wanted. I wouldn't have had to work on the waterfront for three years first as I did back then. For months I did the rounds of all the piano shops and thrashed them all. Nothing, not even the really famous makes evoked the old magic. So I had it completely rebuilt ten years ago, and I've never regretted it.

I very much like the sound of your piano, Ted.

I do also like very old (historical) pianos because of their different sound. But I am aware that they are high maintenance and don't keep their tuning well. If I ever have to time, money and room I would like to get one though, in addition to my other pianos...I think I am really not a one piano woman, the more the merrier :)

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #22 on: May 31, 2016, 02:01:10 PM »

Yes, I know. The piano shop were cheeky enough to suggest I trade in my Weinbach for a Wertheim made in Korea. Good grief, who are they kidding ? For one thing, the touch on them is shockingly light, no control at all. I played one in the shop for about an hour, all sorts of different stuff, and I couldn't "take off", just no response.


Yes Ted, but people are dumb or just looking for the deals. The guy down the street has a particular brand, that slips my mind off hand, it starts with an H, but Chinese. You can buy a brand new and overly shiny 5'7" which would be a 165cm more or less for $7,900 US. The thing is, he says he can't fault one really ( I know him well enough that he would speak with me this way honestly), yeah it's cookie cutter made but he says because it's all computer laser cut pieces they fit like a puzzle, very consistent , very stable instruments, real wood, real laminates, no particle board etc. . Course they all play and sound pretty much the same, the first boring one sounds about the same as the next boring one ! He has  various rebuilts in the shop too ( that's his real business, rebuilding) and they sit and sit in the shop because they cost more and don't have the dazzle/bling of these other "things". So people buy the new spiffy shiny ones for less. He had a really good condition Mason and Hamlin in there, it sat and sat, asking $11,000 ( not rebuilt  but nice) it might still be there, I haven't been there in awhile. Ya know here is the thing, these piano's will catch on and you watch, slowly the prices will rise, just as cars have done. Well if you think about it, that is how Kawai came to America too.

As a matter of fact, another rebuilder I know sold Kawai back then and said just about what I just said now about them ( well machine cut, lasers weren't popular yet) ! Of course don't count the shigeru in with the rest, but overall, a Kawai is a decent piano today.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #23 on: May 31, 2016, 03:25:38 PM »
outin, tomorrow is Wed already, would you be seeing and trying the Bluthner or the the Bosendorfer, both, maybe more than those ? I may have gotten the wrong idea of which it was ( not that it's any of my business).
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline outin

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #24 on: May 31, 2016, 03:47:57 PM »
outin, tomorrow is Wed already, would you be seeing and trying the Bluthner or the the Bosendorfer, both, maybe more than those ? I may have gotten the wrong idea of which it was.
I'm on holiday so I seem to change my plans every day :)

I am not quite well, having a flu, so I decided to go to Helsinki on Thursday to try out one Schimmel and two Steinways. That's all I could find in the capital of this country...what a periphery. Then I will try the Bösendorfer more seriously again on Friday. On Saturday I will leave for my summer cabin for 3 weeks, so no more piano shopping until I get back.

One thing I am sure of now, I won't be getting something cheap that is just "ok" (the Blüthner). I have an idea of something better now so I won't feel comfortable with it...

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #25 on: May 31, 2016, 04:18:32 PM »
Hope you're feeling better !

I seems to skipping a lot of the bugs that have been around these parts since spiking my coffee and tea pretty heavy with ginger and other herbs and sweetening with local honey.. Seems to have knocked down the arthritis flare ups too.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline outin

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #26 on: May 31, 2016, 04:38:22 PM »
Hope you're feeling better !

I seems to skipping a lot of the bugs that have been around these parts since spiking my coffee and tea pretty heavy with ginger and other herbs and sweetening with local honey.. Seems to have knocked down the arthritis flare ups too.
I don't get flus much anymore. But I think my immune system was compromised from several weeks of stress and too little sleep. One of my cats nearly died from kidney failure after a routine operation (neutering). Has miraculously recovered but it took quite a lot of intensive treatmeant, both from the vets and myself. Added to that all the projects I had to finish at work before going on holiday plus the piano homework... I had to steal time from my sleep which is never good :(

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #27 on: May 31, 2016, 05:03:56 PM »
I don't get flus much anymore. But I think my immune system was compromised from several weeks of stress and too little sleep. One of my cats nearly died from kidney failure after a routine operation (neutering). Has miraculously recovered but it took quite a lot of intensive treatmeant, both from the vets and myself. Added to that all the projects I had to finish at work before going on holiday plus the piano homework... I had to steal time from my sleep which is never good :(

True.

We had to put yet another cat down this spring. That's number four in a little over a year. They were all getting some age on them and it seems each ones buddy went , then that one left behind being the next to get sick, over you name it for symptoms.

Get well anyway !
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline irrational

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #28 on: June 02, 2016, 08:10:45 AM »
I also think you have a connection to the Bosendorfer. When I first played one the sound and feel just immediately connected to me and I found an upright which I could afford.

Another thing is that my technician is always talking excitedly about how the Bosendorfer just responds perfectly and exactly to anything he does with the action, making it supremely adjustable and fine-tunable to your needs.

My thought is that if the Bosey is in pretty good condition, you will be happy now and happier in future that you bought it.

As another note perhaps, if you want a newer or larger piano in future, the Bosey will likely fetch a higher price and be easier to trade. But that depends on country and region a lot.

Offline adelebrooks

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #29 on: June 02, 2016, 08:35:29 AM »
I became a happy owner of a Fazioli piano, F212 model, from Euro Pianos Naples http://europianosnaples.com/. After a lot of research and consulting with experienced pianists, I chose Fazioli as my dream piano. They are not the most expensive European brand piano - but worth every penny.  Lucky to have Euro Pianos Naples in my area as so few dealers carry this brand.  My pianist friends are lining up to visit.  Can’t get over the clarity of the sound. If your budget is enough recommend to buy the same model. I think you will not regret)))

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #30 on: June 02, 2016, 10:24:00 AM »
My HFM is 180+ cm, I can totally rebuild it for 10-12K us and partially rebuild for less accordingly. So I have no need to buy a grand piano, this is as good as a Steinway L,O,M or somewhere in between those. So I don't want for a whole lot out of it. But I listened to a lot of various grand pianos online yesterday, all upper level grands. For my money Bosendorfer and C.Bechstein stood out consistently. They just have that presence about them, and ability to build and build from PP-FFF with superb clarity and tonal character . Each a little different, so personal preference prevails there.

There were other nice ones too but none quite matched these ( I did not listen to Fazioli but I know of someone who records on one in the genre of music I create , so I have an idea of that brand). I did listen to Estonia, be a nice chamber music piano. It has nice tone but it is not a Bosey or Bech. I did not find it's special redeeming quality, other than just nice tone, like I found in those other two brands. I'm sure it's different in real though but still, those others just stood out period.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline visitor

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #31 on: June 02, 2016, 10:37:03 AM »
Outin following this and hope you feel better and find your right instrument.

I think you should , you owe it to yourself to try a couple of other pianos too if you can find them
1. Shigeru kawai, cannot praise these enough, it s a holy grail grail type instrument. A used one i think is probably the top value for a tier one instrument in the world. I have played these and estonia and much as i love the stoney, if i could squeeze into a shigeru, i honestly might.

2. Have not played but only read and heard incredible things about august forster. Try to get a viewing of one if these in for comparo and perpective

3. Let us kow what comes of it and what you decide.  :)

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #32 on: June 02, 2016, 01:59:37 PM »
You never know, there was a lady in here a year or two back who looked all over and at all sorts of brands, looked into rebuilding Steinway's in terms of cost etc. And then she landed on a Kawai RX that was just singing to her heart. And the shop it was in had this particular piano for some time I guess ( I believe it was a left over new show room RX). They knocked off a couple of K on the deal and it now became the deal she couldn't refuse. Last we knew she had that delivered , set up , tuned to her house and that was that. She was in love and to my knowledge, we haven't heard from her since, lol !

We have a Kawai dealer about 35 mile away and I don't even go there afraid of what I might see. They might have a Shigeru in there ( one of my favorite instruments) and I'll find myself financing the foolish thing ! So I just don't tease myself.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline outin

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #33 on: June 02, 2016, 02:27:44 PM »
I am on my way back home from Helsinki... And not that much wiser.

The Schimmel was very uncomfortable for me to play so that one is out of the question...then  tried the 2 old Steinways. The M was just sold while I was there. But it's ok, preferred the other one, an O model from 1919. I think I could get it in a reasonable price. But it was just fine, did not wow me.  After trying out quite a few new grands as well (even a 77000 euro Bosie) I came to the conclusion that new pianos sold there all sounded horrible. So a used one it will be if I don't go and get the Estonia or suddenly get very rich... No sense paying huge money for something that needs to be played in and a lot of other work to not hurt my ears. And no guarantee it will ever please me.

@Visitor
A Shigeru Kawai in Finland? No chance, this is Yamaha land :(
The August Forster I tried in the other shop had a nice mellow sound and played very well in the lower dynamic range. But I hated the pedals, they were too close to each other and I doubt I would get used to it.

 I think I have at least decided that whatever I buy it's a European one.

So right now I practically have 5 options:
1 The Bosenforfer which is quite expensive
2 The old Steinway O
3 The Bluthner which is cheap and would most probably be upgraded one day
4 A new Estonia which would leave me in a big debt
5 Just wait until I find something that is both wonderful and cheap. Which is highly unlikely but one never knows.

I have contacted all the major dealers now (there really aren't that many).



Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #34 on: June 02, 2016, 03:17:27 PM »
I can only speak for myself, and I can say that if the difference in cost put me into a piano that I just really wanted to sit at and play and practice on and was going to increase my creativity vs one that just fixed say, the action, over what I own now ? For that I wouldn't mind and might even expect a small payment option, especially if I was single and didn't have other hobbies to bury money in or outside family obligations to cover etc.. It wouldn't be worth "big dept" though, I couldn't afford that anyway, being on a relatively fixed monthly income. Only you know all that stuff and not our business.

Now that said, you probably know what your heart really desires. And that is most likely to be the most satisfying pick, at least of your present 5 options..

Also, I'd say you learned a fair amount if you think about it. Some options are off the list, and that you did not know of before.

Surprised since you are square in Yamaha territory you haven't hit on any Yamaha grands ( G3's , C2's and such, just thinking out load).
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline quantum

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #35 on: June 02, 2016, 09:51:37 PM »
Have you tried out a C. Bechstein?  Really wonderful instruments.  The one I have played numerous times has a combination of both power and subtle delicacy I have yet to encounter in other instruments.

Since you are in the land of Yamaha, have you tried the S series?  They are rather different then the instruments commonly found in music schools. 

Regarding used instruments, I echo your sentiments completely.  Playing a broken-in instrument is just so much more inviting to me, even if the action is not perfect.  The piano in my home was purchased used.  My own search for a grand that would be a good fit (financially, musically and size wise) took a good 10 years - but it was an incredible adventure and learning experience.  Best wishes to you.

Made a Liszt. Need new Handel's for Soler panel & Alkan foil. Will Faure Stein on the way to pick up Mendels' sohn. Josquin get Wolfgangs Schu with Clara. Gone Chopin, I'll be Bach

Offline huaidongxi

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #36 on: June 02, 2016, 11:05:21 PM »
the steinway M and O models were both engineered/designed by H.Ziegler.  the O and its american variation L are widely considered among the finest grand pianos under six feet, and you are probably in the great majority to prefer the O over an M in comparable condition.  there have been quite a few O's made over the years and another might appear close to you. it sounds like you have temporarily resolved to be patient for a used piano that reaches your sweet spot musically.  a sensible decision.

Offline outin

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #37 on: June 02, 2016, 11:26:16 PM »


Surprised since you are square in Yamaha territory you haven't hit on any Yamaha grands ( G3's , C2's and such, just thinking out load).

Over the past years I have tried plenty of Yamahas in a reasonable size range and disliked the sound or touch of every one of them. So I have concluded that they are not an option for me. My teacher has one and I hardly ever play it anymore because I very much prefer the touch of her iBach.

Offline outin

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #38 on: June 02, 2016, 11:32:06 PM »
Have you tried out a C. Bechstein?  Really wonderful instruments.  The one I have played numerous times has a combination of both power and subtle delicacy I have yet to encounter in other instruments.

Since you are in the land of Yamaha, have you tried the S series?  They are rather different then the instruments commonly found in music schools. 

I am not sure if I have run into one of those... I think after yesterday I am just more convinced that a Yamaha is not an option for me.

I did run into a very old Bechstein 2 years ago and I did like it but because of the age and condition my tech recommended against it. Would have needed a lot of work and was also slightly larger than what I was looking for.

Offline outin

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #39 on: June 02, 2016, 11:44:25 PM »
the steinway M and O models were both engineered/designed by H.Ziegler.  the O and its american variation L are widely considered among the finest grand pianos under six feet, and you are probably in the great majority to prefer the O over an M in comparable condition.  there have been quite a few O's made over the years and another might appear close to you. it sounds like you have temporarily resolved to be patient for a used piano that reaches your sweet spot musically.  a sensible decision.
I think  you people still don't realize how small the market for used grands is here... It might take years for me to run into another O I could afford and even more to meet another Bosendorfer. There was a newer O being rebuild at the shop and after finished the price will be in the 30s. So while patience is good it may also be my worst enemy.

If I could travel to mainland Europe I could certainly find plenty of fine pianos. But such a trip is out of the question due to my health and time restrictions. Also I am not comfortable buying something not seen by my tech...

Offline kawai_cs

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #40 on: June 02, 2016, 11:59:47 PM »
Hi Outi, wow, good for you, you are getting a grand piano!!! I don't have enough time to read the whole thread right now but what I understood is that you are looking at a Boersendorfer that is slightly more money that you wanted to spend but you liked it a lot.
I would go with a Boersendorfer grand piano! I love that brand. I haven't played very many grands though, however every time trying pianos at the store Boersendorfers where my favorites to play bc of the key action and beautiful, rich tone.
Whereas every time I played a Steinway I would hate it. I may be weird LOL

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Offline briansaddleback

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #41 on: June 03, 2016, 12:12:55 AM »
I may be weird LOL


no, you ARE weird.
Work in progress:

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Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #42 on: June 03, 2016, 12:14:01 AM »
I get it outin, I'm hearing you.

Steinway O's are nice, however to me they don't have that tone in the upper register of the Bosendorfer or especially a C. Bechstein ( not any Bechstein but a C.Bechstein). I'm not surprised at your reaction. Mind you they are still a nice piano though and worth massaging to the right person looking for one. Also, massaged to taste it might be a bit of a different instrument. Not trying to confuse the issue though. Oh hell, you know you loved the Bosey. Second time round too !

Going to try the Estonia and get that out of your system next maybe ?
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #43 on: June 03, 2016, 12:20:31 AM »
Hi Outi, wow, good for you, you are getting a grand piano!!! I don't have enough time to read the whole thread right now but what I understood is that you are looking at a Boersendorfer that is slightly more money that you wanted to spend but you liked it a lot.
I would go with a Boersendorfer grand piano! I love that brand. I haven't played very many grands though, however every time trying pianos at the store Boersendorfers where my favorites to play bc of the key action and beautiful, rich tone.
Whereas every time I played a Steinway I would hate it. I may be weird LOL



Steinways are not the easiest instrument to set up, adjust action etc. And if that isn't done they are very rough to play, what should be a jewel turns to unpolished pewter.
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #44 on: June 03, 2016, 01:09:03 AM »
Gee, I wonder why C. Bechstein has such a draw on me, might be a bit much presence in an apartment situation though:

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" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline outin

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #45 on: June 03, 2016, 01:17:21 AM »
I get it outin, I'm hearing you.

Steinway O's are nice, however to me they don't have that tone in the upper register of the Bosendorfer or especially a C. Bechstein ( not any Bechstein but a C.Bechstein). I'm not surprised at your reaction. Mind you they are still a nice piano though and worth massaging to the right person looking for one. Also, massaged to taste it might be a bit of a different instrument. Not trying to confuse the issue though. Oh hell, you know you loved the Bosey. Second time round too !

Going to try the Estonia and get that out of your system next maybe ?


I don't think an Estonia is an option right now. I would need to save some first and saving is not something I am good at...easy come easy go...  ;D


I am still having the flu, woke up on the middle of the night feeling pretty lousy. So had to get up and play a little... I won't cancel tomorrow though. But I must not make the final decision in this condition. Don't trust my ears or my brain fully. I might just think of a price I feel more comfortable with and throw an offer on the bosie...

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #46 on: June 03, 2016, 01:37:22 AM »
I don't think an Estonia is an option right now. I would need to save some first and saving is not something I am good at...easy come easy go...  ;D


I am still having the flu, woke up on the middle of the night feeling pretty lousy. So had to get up and play a little... I won't cancel tomorrow though. But I must not make the final decision in this condition. Don't trust my ears or my brain fully. I might just think of a price I feel more comfortable with and throw an offer on the bosie...


I give you credit for even attempting this with that flu !
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline outin

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #47 on: June 03, 2016, 01:46:51 AM »
I give you credit for even attempting this with that flu !

Flu or not now I have the time for all these visits to piano shops...
Don't want to postpone going to the cabin more and I realize that if I wait until my vacation is over it might be another year before I have the time and energy for this sort of project again :)

Offline hfmadopter

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #48 on: June 03, 2016, 11:14:49 AM »
You'll kick that flu eventually LOL.

Good luck today !
Depressing the pedal on an out of tune acoustic piano and playing does not result in tonal color control or add interest, it's called obnoxious.

Offline outin

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Re: Buying a grand...
«Reply #49 on: June 03, 2016, 07:25:28 PM »
You'll kick that flu eventually LOL.

Good luck today !

I am not feeling well, so just a short update. I have decided against the old Steinway O for several practical reasons. I also decided that I want that grand before the summer is over. That means I have 2 options left.

I played a lot today with both the Bösendorfer and the Blüthner. Both are comfortabke for my hands and now it's a choice between them. Negotiated the price for the Bosie as much as I could and he'll give me a good price for my upright. But the Bluthner really isn't such a bad option for a first grand and would be a comfortable size and price. So I'll think about it a couple of weeks and then decide which one it will be.

I did also record a little to be able to listen later but too tired to do anything with the files today, I can post something tomorrow.