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Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237486 10/10/05 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by GovernmentCheck:
I've got an old Henry F. Miller spinet. I know it's not the most desirable piano, but it does it's job. I won't be doing any concerts or anything, but it gives the kids something to practice on, and keeps the family entertained during the Holidays.
I have one of these too. My grandma's originally, then my mom's. Not sure the vintage, but per my tuner it's a Miller branded Aeolian, not a true Miller.

Action is sloppy, and it's having trouble holding pitch. Sound is all right - a step above a college practice room spinet. IMO.

I grew up on a very cool upright that had also been my grandparents' - and farther back, since it was ca. 1890 or so. Very dark sound, and we didn't tune it as often as we should. I came into ownership of it briefly in the mid-80's, but had to move to a townhouse that didn't have room for it, so we donated it to a church group.

I get to play a Kawai K grand at church - 6' I think - that's very nice, though its pegs tend to slip pretty easily, and it only sounds good with the cover closed. Playing a grand steadily for a year has really helped my chops!

Daf


I played in an 8 piece horn band. We would often get bored. So...three words:
"Tower of Polka."
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Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237487 10/10/05 08:21 PM
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I have a K Kawai 6'10" that is my pride and joy. Oh and I got it for an insane price. It's about 30yrs old now and it was made for the Japanese market. There was a fellow buying these grands (Kawai & Yamaha) from Japan in container loads. He got a list, and apparently bid on the full container or they had a total price and he either bought it or passed on it depending on the list. He had trouble selling pianos over 6'. I tried out 3 different pianos. One was a 7'4" K Kawai, one was a 6'6" or 8" Yamaha, and the 6'10" K Kawai. All the same price and the 6'10" had the best tone and feel.

I have had different tuners as well as store owners talk about the problems I would incure with a piano made for the Japanese market, none of which has come true. I could more than double my money if I decided to sell it. But that won't happen.

I do like the Mason & Hamlins that are out now.


Good luck in your search


Jimmy

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Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237488 10/10/05 08:30 PM
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I never had one, but one of these days I wanna 7 footer. The only downside I can see to having one is when people come over they want you to play it.

Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237489 10/10/05 11:10 PM
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I had an old Becker Bros up right grand for about 15 years. Finally sold it and bought a Kawai RX-3. I love it.


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Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237490 10/10/05 11:31 PM
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I have a 1956 Starck 4'10" baby that I bought back in 2001. I had grown up playing on my parents upright that my brother had pounded the hell out of, and I wanted my kids to have a nice instrument to learn/play on.
Nothing like the real thing baby.


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Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237491 10/11/05 08:35 AM
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I have a 1996 Bechstein/Zimmermann Z.1 upright with vario System (mute pedal, built-in digital piano, MIDI OUT). It combines a strong sound with the option to integrate it into my studio. A wonderful instrument.

Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237492 10/11/05 02:36 PM
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Hi Roland, is this the instrument you're thinking of replacing?
BTW, I sold a PM3 to a church on Saturday. Actually, I bought it for them. They promise to pay me back.


"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237493 10/11/05 04:51 PM
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I own a new Petrof III (6'4"). A couple of weeks prior, I sold my S90 because since all I play is classical, the new RD700SX appeared to be more to my liking. So I get the RD700SX, and I liked it alot. Better piano samples, much simpler interface, and better action than S90. So I'm fiddling with my new digital and a week later I find this Petrof and end up buying it.
Needless to say, the poor Roland now sits with his dustcover over the keys, unplayed except for rare occasions.
I remember when I first purchased my S90 and I complained about the heavy action as I was getting sore forearms. Now, playing on an S90 or a RD700SX is literally effortless. Whatever tempo I can achieve on the Petrof, I can easily play 20 to 30bpm faster on the Roland.
To me though, the biggest difference between playing an acoustic grand vs. a good digital is tonal/volume control. As well as a sustain that truly does. The grand gives much more.

Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237494 10/12/05 10:04 AM
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Hi gangsu, no I'm almost sure that I'm not going to sell it. It is too "nice to have" and I won't get enough for it anyway. I'm planning on buying a new board to replace my Yamaha S80 in the near future, but I didn't make my final choice. The GEM ProMega 3 is in the inner circle, that's for sure \:\)

Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237495 10/12/05 04:38 PM
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I have a Kawai baby grand that I absolutely love. I play it to keep my fingers strong, since even weighted electronic keyboards don't offer the same resistance. (see previous posts) Too bad it weighs so much or I'd drag it to gigs. Looks awful nice in the living room, though. I think that's the only reason my wife let me buy it.

DRD

Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237496 10/12/05 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Roland Genske:
Hi gangsu, no I'm almost sure that I'm not going to sell it. It is too "nice to have" and I won't get enough for it anyway. I'm planning on buying a new board to replace my Yamaha S80 in the near future, but I didn't make my final choice. The GEM ProMega 3 is in the inner circle, that's for sure \:\)
Your Bechstein/Zimmerman Z1 is a rare instrument. I can't find much on it. I'd keep it too!

So... it must be tough deciding on a digital piano.... I wish you luck. ?! ;\) \:\)


"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237497 10/13/05 02:30 AM
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Several years ago my wife and I went looking for a nice acoustic piano for our house. We went into this music store in the local mall, and there it was, a mint condition ebony 1961 Wurlitzer spinet. The store had moved it in to show customers the reason why they should buy an electronic piano instead of an acoustic, but it was in such great shape it defeted the purpose.
Prior to meeting this piano, all the spinets I had encountered had a thin, stringy timbre that I didn't like. This piano was different, sounding like it was much larger than it was.
It still has a place of honor in our music room, right next to my 1890s era pump organ.

I'm doing most of my playing on a Korg SP200 88 weighted action, but periodically I have to "Go Back Home" to the Wurlitzer.


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So God helped him and created woman.

Now everybody's got the blues."

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Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237498 10/13/05 09:16 AM
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Hi gangsu, here's a link in case you are interested:
http://www.bechstein.de/engl/EInstrumente/EInstrugo.html
There, click Zimmermann -> Uprights.

Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237499 10/13/05 11:31 AM
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My dad owns a 1979 7'4"(220cm) Bechstein grand, and the action is much lighter than Yamaha's digital collection. The sound is sweet, but not powerful enough for modern music. Great for classical music, though.
My mom owns a 1893 Bechstein 6'8"(203cm) grand, and that one sounds even better but the action is a bit uneven.
I personally like Kawai grands the best. The build quality is consistent, they sound fairly warm and the action is not too light or heavy. Yamaha's are good but the action is a bit too heavy for me and the sound a bit too bright. Their uprights are very nice.

Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237500 10/13/05 11:47 AM
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Thanks for the link, Roland. How would you compare your piano to the Bechstein line in terms of fit and finish?


"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237501 10/14/05 08:49 AM
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I would say the Zimmermann is kind of a budget Bechstein. At first sight it looks fantastic but when you open it you see that not all wooden parts are coated the same way as on the outside.

Technically, there is nothing to complain about. It has a very fine Renner action (60 grams touch weight). The make of the built-in electronics (MIDIfication and digital piano) is very good, although it requires an external AC adaptor to operate.

Sound-wise I honestly don't know about how they compare to Bechstein uprights. I compared it to some Yamaha uprights when I bought it and I liked its sound better. For about two years after purchasing the tuning did not remain stable for long so I had to have it tuned every three months or so. But meanwhile it stays perfectly in tune. It seems that it had to acclimatize quite a bit.

Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237502 10/14/05 12:46 PM
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Hi again Roland. \:D Eric must've found what he's looking for...

I read that Zimmermann was acquired by Bechstein in 1991, ....man, there's so much interbreeding amongst piano makers! It's hard to keep track. Your instrument isn't imported to NA, so no price guidelines to sneak a look at. It's a seller's market. ;\)

I'm impressed that you know the touch-weight of your piano. I have no clue about my own. It feels light. Normal is listed at 45-55 grams. Your piano, at 60, feels heavy then?

Interesting that you can buy a gadget for around $8k to install in any piano, that easily adjusts the touchweight to your personal preference. Read more here: Magnetic Balanced Action
I can think of at least one potential customer. \:D

As far as finish is concerned, I would expect the inside and out to be comparable to the casual eye. Not that the underside of a panel needs to be hand-rubbed or anything. Now you've made me curious to look inside a $45,000 Bechstein upright. It better be nice!

Keeping an instrument in tune can be a nightmare. Long cold winters, months of forced hot air, ughhh. I've got a room humifier that helps, but if I forget it for a day the level drops 30%. I've already talked to a friend of mine who's a tuner. When I buy my dream piano, he's tuning it once a month whether it needs it or not. In exchange for free lessons. ? Actually, it's either that or I buy a new furnace with a built-in humidifier. Or maybe I'll build a new house. Acoustically adjustable to optimize any style of ensemble, a perfectly controlled climate....

Talk to you tomorrow. \:D


"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237503 10/14/05 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by gangsu:
Eric must've found what he's looking for...
Nah, I'm still looking and trying to be a little bit miserly. I'm real close to grabbing up a new Charles Walter 1500, which is a beautiful piano with a great action and tone, but even deeply discounted, is about 2x what my original budget would sustain.

I'm keeping my options open and not rushing into the piano purchase. Thanks for all the comments and advice in this thread!

Regards,
Eric

Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237504 10/14/05 12:57 PM
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Ah, Charles Walter. Yes, I've heard good things about them too.

I respect your flexibility regarding price. All too often we decide on our budget before we have a clue. Happy Hunting!


"........! Try to make It..REAL! compared to what? ! ! ! " - BOPBEEPER
Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237505 10/14/05 02:36 PM
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Seriously Eric, if you can find a dealer that carries Ritmuller, I don't think you'll be disappointed.


A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237506 10/14/05 03:40 PM
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I own a 5'2" 1954 Christman and Sons Baby Grand that my parents restored for me. They had a business for many years of rebuilding/restoring player pianos. They still own about 7 pianos, one is an Underwood and Sons upright player with 102 organ pipes married to it. The piano had been in a mortuary for a while playing durge music. After they moved it home and got it playing in three days, it became the neighborhood karaoke bar. We collected about 500 rolls that would play on that piano. We were occasionally startled when the piano would start playing out in the garage when the family was all seated for dinner only to find one of the neighbor kids had come in the garage side door and made himself/herself at home. One piano that still needs restoration completed on it is an 8'10" Chickering Concert Grand made in 1924. Its early life was in the Grand Ballroom of the Elks Temple in Sacramento. The piano had seen many of the earlier Jazz and Big Band greats. My family purchased the piano when the Elks were auctioning off items to pay for the building restoration. I practiced this piano for a few years before I left my childhood home. The bass response on that piano would give me goosebumps. You know...you really play better on a really good piano. \:\)

Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237507 10/14/05 04:17 PM
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Clavinovaguyusa, great first post! Welcome.

I see less and less player pianos. My brother-in-law happens to own one but I don't think it works. He just uses it to place things on top of. I guess around 100 years ago they were quite the attraction in bars and restaurants. I wonder if musicians back then held them in the same esteem some of us today have for juke boxes and DJs .

Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237508 10/14/05 05:16 PM
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Sad to say that many player pianos were gutted because piano technicians didnt want to deal with replacing the lead tubing commonly used and spending the time removing and replacing a few hoses and screws to get the top action of the player mechanism out of the way during tuning and action work.

There are groups of people that still hold mechanical musical instruments in high esteem: The International and local chapters of the Automatic Musical Instruments Collectors Association. http://www.AMICA.org/

There are also groups of people worldwide dedicated to the preservation of music from the roll era. They are working on scanning the hole data from the rolls and converting it to midi data, or data that can be used to manufacture new rolls. Most of the early rolls were transcribed direct from the musicians live performance. So, the early Gershwin recordings were copies of a live performance. What better way for musicans to learn what the artist really wanted to express with his/her playing? Midi files from this work can be found at various locations on the web.
Maybe through their hard work, future generations will come to appreciate that era of music and the importance of perserving player pianos, by playing the music through their "perfect piano" samples and midi keyboards.

Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237509 10/14/05 05:29 PM
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Clavinovaguyusa, that's good to hear that piano rolls are being converted to midi. Midi is, after all, a digital version of the piano roll.

Piano rolls captured velocity, note-on, note-off, pedal down (x3 ?), pedal up (x3 ?), am I missing anything? Did they capture half-pedalling?

Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237510 10/14/05 06:34 PM
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Roll formats such as DouArt, Ampico, Solo Apollo, Welte Mignon did capture multiple levels of pedaling. The pedal coding on those players would control bellows that would move the hammer rail, or move the piano's keybed to the side to hit one less string, or both. The velocity of the pedaling was also recorded on the more expressive pianos. Advancements in digital circuitry and processing speed have given engineers components capable of integrating the same expression control into present digital controllers (Piano Disc, DiskClavier and QRS for example).

Its been a long time in coming. My baby grand used to have a cassette driven player on it (Marantz SuperScope)that had very limited levels of expression. (If the music was a live recording). The recordings made from most piano rolls at that time were played all at one level: LOUD. The only control of volume was with the recorders volume potentiometer that controlled the solenoid voltage.

Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237511 10/14/05 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Clavinovaguyusa:
Roll formats such as DouArt, Ampico, Solo Apollo, Welte Mignon did capture multiple levels of pedaling. The pedal coding on those players would control bellows that would move the hammer rail, or move the piano's keybed to the side to hit one less string, or both. The velocity of the pedaling was also recorded on the more expressive pianos. Advancements in digital circuitry and processing speed have given engineers components capable of integrating the same expression control into present digital controllers (Piano Disc, DiskClavier and QRS for example).

Its been a long time in coming. My baby grand used to have a cassette driven player on it (Marantz SuperScope)that had very limited levels of expression. (If the music was a live recording). The recordings made from most piano rolls at that time were played all at one level: LOUD. The only control of volume was with the recorders volume potentiometer that controlled the solenoid voltage.
I'm not following you about the volume - I thought the better piano rolls which captured live performances captured note-on velocity. Which would mean that each note would play at the volume the player played it. I also understand that some rolls were made manually, all at one volume, loud. That would be the equivalent of a midi file where every note had the same velocity, 127. Please enlighten me if i'm wrong about this.

I don't claim to know much about piano rolls, i've only read about them briefly here and there.

I'm also confused about the cassette-driven player - ???

Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237512 10/14/05 07:00 PM
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Huh. I always though you could control volume with the size of the hole in the paper...


I played in an 8 piece horn band. We would often get bored. So...three words:
"Tower of Polka."
- Calumet
Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237513 10/14/05 07:04 PM
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Piano rolls were one of the first forms of digital recording, I think we tend to overlook that.

Clavinovaguy, since you seem to be very knowledgeable about player pianos, I once read that the recording of a piano roll was done in half speed. Is that true? I realize today just about anything is possible, but back when the piano rolls were first made, were they all done that way?

I'm glad to hear that there are societies keeping all of this alive. I wonder if piracy was a problem back when those rolls were first made? Any information on that aspect?

Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237514 10/14/05 07:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dave Horne:
Piano rolls were one of the first forms of digital recording, I think we tend to overlook that.

Clavinovaguy, since you seem to be very knowledgeable about player pianos, I once read that the recording of a piano roll was done in half speed. Is that true? I realize today just about anything is possible, but back when the piano rolls were first made, were they all done that way?

I'm glad to hear that there are societies keeping all of this alive. I wonder if piracy was a problem back when those rolls were first made? Any information on that aspect?
I'm not sure if they were digital, dave. I think the size and position of hole were constantly variable, therefore, it was more like an analogue representation. Midi is a digital form of what a piano roll was. As I understand it, that is, and I could be wrong. I was wrong once before, I think it was some time in 1973.... \:\)

Re: Who owns a REAL piano? Tell us about it...
#1237515 10/14/05 07:27 PM
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The pitch could be shifted (transposed) without affecting the tempo and the tempo could be shifted without affecting the pitch. It may not have technically been digital, but it sure comes close enough for me.

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