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Author Topic: Is Steinway D too big for my room?  (Read 676 times)
tinctoria88
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« on: August 05, 2017, 12:04:48 AM »

I'm hoping to buy a used Steinway D (or B or C) but am re-assessing how a "D"would work in the 12 foot X 24 foot room with hardwood floors.  My husband is also inspired to buy the long length of bass strings in a Steinway D.  It's best location would be at one end of the 12 ft. width so that the projection could travel across the 24 ft. length of this room.

There's a possible 1963 Steinway D that  may be for sale.  It has all original parts in the action & soundboard, but my tech reported it had been played "aggressively" causing some strings to break in the treble & be replaced.  Haven't heard it yet, but I'm worried about its past life of aggressive treatment.

 Any observations on room size issue and instrument having been roughly handled would be welcome.
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iansinclair
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« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2017, 02:07:00 AM »

Much as I love the Ds'... in that room I think you'd be happiest with an A.  It is shorter than the D, true -- but many people (myself included!) think that of all the big Steinways, it has the best balance of tone and power from top to bottom.  Your room is somewhat smaller than the one my A is in (15 feet by 30 feet, 8 foot celiing, heavy rug on most of the floor but hard plaster ceiling) and the A is really more than ample for that space.  The B would also work -- and there is a debate as to which (A or B) has the better balance.  But on the whole, I'd go for the A...
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Ian
malcolmdominique
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« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2017, 03:22:10 AM »

I have a 9 foot baldwin in a room that is a little smaller than yours I believe. But I have carpet. I love 9 foot pianos because the bass will always outperform smaller pianos hands down I think. I love my 9 foot and have no issue with it. The only thing I would warn, especially since you have hardwood floors, is that you want to be careful depending how it is voiced. If the piano is voiced aggressively (meaning brightly/loudly as if it were prepped to be able play a Rachmaninov Concerto and cut through the Chicago Symphony) then it will just be too much for the room if you have hardwood floors. You won't be able to stand it. But I think a 9 foot would be great!
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tinctoria88
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« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2017, 08:53:10 AM »

Thanks you both for your wonderful experience with your instruments, both A and D Steinways.  As I'm wanting ample bass , that's why I'm seeking that length of bass strings in a D.  But voicing has already been discussed with the piano technician who will rehabilitate this possible purchase.

What about my concern that the instruments had strings replaced in the treble due to a player breaking them?  Do either of you have any experience  considering how agressive overplaying might affect a piano's future health--even with my technician rehabilitation?
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iansinclair
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« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2017, 04:04:51 PM »

On the broken strings -- it is almost impossible (I won't say it's impossible...) to break a string by playing aggressively.  However, there are three things that can break strings, and do, and the treble seems to be a bit more sensitive: the first is "prepared" pianos, where for various reasons people add nuts and bolts or screws or other oddities to the strings to make particular sounds.  Don't laugh; it's done.  The problem is that these can knick the string, and create a weak point -- which will break.  Another is improper tuning.  The strings must be handled with a certain amount of care; you're not torquing down the wheels on a tractor.  It's rare.

The third is corrosion -- rust.  If the piano has been in a humid environment, it is quite possible that the strings have gotten rusted.  If that is the case, you have a problem.  Not a complete deal killer, but it certainly should be examined with care, as it may be that the instrument will need to be restrung.
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Ian
malcolmdominique
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« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2017, 01:24:27 AM »

For the breaking strings, I have to say that, it is very possible for strings to play if you are a very aggressive player. In school, I broke string a string one at least one piano every semester when I was playing prokofiev and Liszt pieces for hours a day. It was almost always a different piano too. During a recital a couple years ago, I broke a string on a Steinway D that was very new. So it is very possible. Aggressive playing, can break strings, but has no effect on the future health of the piano. Strings can always be replaced. Pianos were built the way they are today because players like Beethoven and Liszt destroyed early pianos. 9 foot pianos today are "1000lb monsters" that will break your arms long before you are able to harm them haha.
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quantum
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« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2017, 07:36:43 AM »

However, there are three things that can break strings, and do, and the treble seems to be a bit more sensitive: the first is "prepared" pianos, where for various reasons people add nuts and bolts or screws or other oddities to the strings to make particular sounds.  Don't laugh; it's done.  The problem is that these can knick the string, and create a weak point -- which will break. 

A side note.

One music prof I know also had concerns about the potential harm of preparing pianos could cause.  So a tech was brought in to witness and scrutinize the complete process of preparing a piano.  The response from the tech was clear: strings undergo far more stress during installation as compared to following proper procedures for preparing a piano.  If one takes care with the preparation, there should be nothing to worry about.

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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
iansinclair
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« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2017, 05:12:36 PM »

A side note.

One music prof I know also had concerns about the potential harm of preparing pianos could cause.  So a tech was brought in to witness and scrutinize the complete process of preparing a piano.  The response from the tech was clear: strings undergo far more stress during installation as compared to following proper procedures for preparing a piano.  If one takes care with the preparation, there should be nothing to worry about.



That's a big if.  Yes, if one takes care -- preferably using a tech, or having a tech background, there should be nothing to worry about.  If one does not take care, one can knick the string.  Boing...  usually not until considerably later.
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Ian
indianajo
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« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2017, 05:52:33 PM »

I wouldn't worry about replaced treble strings.  They are easily matched in tone.  If a piano is tuned infrequently, ie several years apart, it is easy to break treble strings tuning it.  One has to pull up in pitch so much.  I've done it twice on pianos not tuned in years.  I found music wire from the industrial supply house matches easily in tone to a Sohmer & a Baldwin Hamilton (upper market console pianos).  
The real question about "aggressive" players, is how deeply the hammer felts are pounded in.  The ones in the middle octave will almost certainly be deeper than the ones on the ends.  Check yourself to see how much the mismatch the depth  in hammer notches is.  If not much, the piano doesn't have that many hours on it aggressive (forceful) player or not.  If the mismatch is deep, think about how many hours you are going to play before re-felting is required.  Even in retirement, I don't play that many hours to worry about it, if the tonal match is still okay between middle notes, upper bass notes, high treble notes.  
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tinctoria88
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« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2017, 12:29:34 AM »

All your observations about myconcern of the broken streble strings are very welcome.  I forgot to say that my piano tech made the comment about why the treble strings were replaced.  He noticed the replaced strings in some "under the lid" intensive photos.  His speculation was that the piano had had an aggressor player break these strings.  He's also speculating about the action needing to be replaced.  But I really want more info from the broker selling this instrument.  Surely there's info about the instrument's life history!  Comparative to a motor vehicle's past history of accidents, maintenance, etc.
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beemer
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« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2017, 09:38:36 AM »

Could also have been the result of aggressive tuners Smiley

Ian (I tune my own Blüthner)
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