My favorite piano - Tell us why!

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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:06 am

Each of us has a piano or pianos that we're used to and like. But, what is it about that piano, or any other, even if you don't have that particular one, that makes you fond of it? Is it the action, the sound, the stability or any other attribute of the piano? If you had an infinite amount of money, which one would you buy? What piano brands do you recommend to others? I'm not so much interested in getting a buying guide here or in developing an argument that one piano brand is "superior" to another. Rather, I'd like to hear what made you fall in love with a given piano or brand, even if you don't own that particular type. :)
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby Beckywy » Mon Jan 30, 2006 2:03 pm

I loved the Shigeru of Kawai - but that all changed when I played on a Bosendorfer last year. That piano can make anyone sound good. It had such a beautiful and rich tone. Very responsive action...I drool just thinking about it.
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Postby Stretto » Mon Jan 30, 2006 4:54 pm

Probably the number one thing that would make me choose a particular piano as a more "favorite" to me over others is the action or touch, secondly the sound. One thing I can't stand is a sluggish or heavy action. I'd almost play some terrible sounding clunker than a piano that I have to use all the strength I can muster just to press a key down :laugh: .

As far as expense, if cost were not an issue, I would have purchased a grand facing my front bay windows so I could look outside as I play. As far as brand, I haven't checked for a long time and would have to research what particular brand I would go with. Of course, perhaps near a bright sunny window wouldn't be the best place to put a piano anyway. I did hear something about baby grands that made me steer clear of them but I can't remember what it was.

I also can't imagine spending a ton of money on a piano unless I were a concert pianist. If I can't get a grand, then I'm happy with mine because I think I got a good deal on it and don't have any complaints about it. If it's served me faithfully for 10+ years without causing me a complaint then I have to remain loyal although most would classify it as a starter piano. I'm happy because I got the most piano I could get for the money I wanted to spend.

Of course if someone wanted to give me a nice grand . . . but I wouldn't want to part with my "faithful friend".

By the way mine is called a Kawai CX-5H. When I was looking to buy, I wasn't necessarily set on Kawai or a brand new piano but again it just happened that I felt I got a good deal on it for what it was. I told the story elsewhere here on the forums but I was going to walk away as everything was a little over twice my budget even with the amount they were originally willing to take off and I was disappointed there weren't any better deals as it was advertised as a huge "sale" (of course when I got there I realized it was a dealer gimmick). When leaving, they asked me to do an exit survey as to why I didn't buy. I told them I expected to find better deals from what the ad led me to believe and the price I wanted and the next thing I knew I had a piano.


One good point I've heard is that if one has a "dream" piano in mind, it's best to get it as early as is feasible and play on it longer, as it had been put to me in making a dream a reality, "one doesn't get any younger!"

For me, going with no piano at all for an extended amount of time has made me appreciate any piano. I like to play the old, forgotten pianos sitting in the corners of old homes or churches, etc. I always wonder what kind of story they have to tell.

Pianos all seem to have their own character or "personalities" and it's fun when one passes by a piano to sit down and unlock the mystery of it's character both good and bad.




Edited By Stretto on 1138725896
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Postby minorkey » Mon Jan 30, 2006 7:31 pm

I have a special fondness for my grandparents' old piano (Kranich and Back, 1896), which has been in my parents' home for about 40 years. It's a big, old upright that needs some TLC, but it got me started. And many family members have, and are still, tinkering with it.

As for my current "dream" piano- that's easy. Schimmel produces a ~7 ft grand (? "Special Edition") that is a dream to look at and play. Talk about a piano that makes you drool- if I owned it, I'd probably never leave the house! I would urge anyone who has the opportunity, to try it out. Fantastic feel, action, and sound.
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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Tue Jan 31, 2006 9:55 am

Although my opinion reflects, in part, the fact that I own one, I really like the older (pre-WWI) Mason & Hamlins (rebuilt and reconditioned, of course). They have a wonderful cantabile tone and a richness in the lower registers that is just gorgeous. As a side benefit, they have a special structure, officially called a "tension resonator" but mostly known as a "spider", on the underside that maintains the crown on the soundboard. They have become quite expensive, but if you can find one, it is worth having.
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby Stretto » Tue Jan 31, 2006 10:24 am

Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Editor wrote:Although my opinion reflects, in part, the fact that I own one, I really like the older (pre-WWI) Mason & Hamlins (rebuilt and reconditioned, of course). They have a wonderful cantabile tone and a richness in the lower registers that is just gorgeous. As a side benefit, they have a special structure, officially called a "tension resonator" but mostly known as a "spider", on the underside that maintains the crown on the soundboard. They have become quite expensive, but if you can find one, it is worth having.

Dr. Zeigler,

How did you go about finding your (pre-WWI) Mason & Hamlin? Did you have it rebuilt and reconditioned or was it already rebuilt when you found it?

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Postby Dr. John Zeigler - PEP Ed » Tue Jan 31, 2006 10:40 am

Stretto wrote:How did you go about finding your (pre-WWI) Mason & Hamlin? Did you have it rebuilt and reconditioned or was it already rebuilt when you found it?

I used a piano restorer in the Chicago area that I knew by reputation. They had several pre-WWI M&H's in different models in their stock. I chose the one I wanted (based on condition, mostly) in person and then had them restore it to like-new condition. That included new strings, new felt, new hammers, some work on the action and a complete refinishing of the cabinet, among other things. They did an excellent job and I ended up with a superb instrument for a fraction of the cost of a "comparable" new piano (Steinway, Bosendorfer). They took care of arranging transport from Chicago to New Mexico.

They are still in business, though I don't know what their current stock includes. If you're interested in learning more, send me a PM and I'll give you some more info. I don't want the thread to turn into advertising for anybody, even adventitiously, so that is the best way to do it. :)
All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. - Albert Einstein
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Fri Feb 03, 2006 4:32 pm

I have not tried out any new pianos in a long whil., because I cannot afford to buy one!
I have a Steinway studio given to me by my Mother in law many. many years ago. It had been purchased for her Brother in law's children but had been in the basement, unused for a while. It seems to be all right - major work does twice in the last 40 years or so. It does not hold tune as I would like.
I also inherited an Aeolin spinet from my Mom about 20 years ago, that I gave to my musical daughter. At first I had loaned it to a student - for three years - as she just owned a keyboard. We made a deal the family would keep it in good working order and they paid for the move there and when I wanted it (had a place for it) I would pay the move back. My Mom's father owned the Aeolin Piano Co in NYC. It is good for a spinet. Even the piano tuner likes it.
Growing up we had a Stainway baby grand. I loved it but could not tell you technically why. When we moved to Washington DC, my parents sold it to our tuner and I cried. I was 12 years old. In one and a half years we were back in Conn. but no baby grand! I have wished MANY times that I had it, even though I have a small condo, I would just put it right in the middle of the room!
I have played several pianos in homes and schools, but they are usually in bad shape. So I am not really being very helpful on this question.
:p
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Postby Cy Shuster » Mon Feb 06, 2006 3:55 pm

Hello!

This is my first post here. I'm happy to find this forum.

I certainly miss the Steinway concert grand that I used to maintain for a community college. There's just an amazing difference in the control, power, and shadings of sound possible in those instruments. The keys are over two feet long, for example!

I've also played a Baldwin SD-10 concert grand that I really liked, because of its tone, and responsiveness.

I'm a piano tuner and technician who grew up in New Mexico, lives in Boston, and has family in ABQ.

--Cy--
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:06 pm

Welcome Cy,
Glad to have your input on this site. Do you play the piano for pleasure?
Do you come West of Boston to tune pianos?
Joan, Acton MA
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Postby Cy Shuster » Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:43 pm

I do play for pleasure, just for myself. That's how I got into the business. After many years playing the piano, I was astonished to find out details about how pianos work. Having that knowledge has helped my playing, and so I'm excited about sharing it.

Please contact me privately about business through my website (globe logo); I don't think that's a proper use of this forum.

--Cy--
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Postby 108-1121887355 » Tue Feb 07, 2006 10:48 am

Cy
I am always erring on this site - sorry. When I reply, I am sometimes in a rush and just write my thoughts. I was not trying to do business - just interested to find a tuner I might be able to reccomend in this area.
Thanks for your reply - I play the piano but could not begin to tune one!
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Postby Cy Shuster » Tue Feb 07, 2006 7:46 pm

Well, I couldn't begin to teach, either! :-)

--Cy--
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Postby pianoannie » Tue Feb 07, 2006 11:49 pm

I have a Boston grand that I adore. It plays like a dream and has the prettiest tone (imo) of the many pianos I considered before buying this a couple years ago. (and I tried just about every kind you could name). The only complaint I have about it is the sound the damper makes (my tuner calls it the "characteristic Steinway swish"). Does anyone know what I'm talking about? It's not noticeable when I'm playing loudly, but when I play soft I hear the "swish".

I play on a Yamaha grand at church, and it has a great feel too, but it is a bit too bright for my preference.
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Postby Cy Shuster » Wed Feb 08, 2006 4:45 am

Are you talking about a noise you hear when you first push down the pedal? That kind of "swish" can be caused by incorrect damper alignment on the strings, or wear of the damper felt over time.

If you slide back the music desk (or peek from the tail of the piano), you may be able to tell whether any part of the damper felt extends below the strings (check the V- or W-shaped dampers in the middle of the piano). If it is, that can cause the "swish", and your technician can pull the action and trim them.

Sometimes the damper felt gets hard with age, and that also causes noises as they move away from the strings.

--Cy--
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