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 Post subject: Revision
PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 2:39 pm 
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I'm quite excited having resolved to have my Gaveau revised properly. Last time, about 5 years ago, only the hammers were renewed, and some work done on the keyboard and sustaining pedal. This time, it will be completely re-stringed and the mechanique will be throughly revised, with new damper felts, etc, and the hammers intonated. It's a lot of money to shell out but I except a lot of it, finally a responsive instrument with lighter action and a fuller and brighther tone, and no more tuning problems. Work will start next week or so, it should be completed by the end of may or maybe half june. I hope it will be as good as I hope it will (hm, that's a daft sentence, reading back...) I'll have a replacement instrument for the time being, of course. That will be fun, too.

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 3:16 pm 
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wow - that is exciting! Your piano may come back sounding totally different/better than it does now and so you will want to re-record everything yet again! :P

So I take it your piano will be taken out of the house to get worked on? Do you know what kind of replacement piano you will have in the meantime?

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 3:30 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
wow - that is exciting! Your piano may come back sounding totally different/better than it does now and so you will want to re-record everything yet again! :P

There is that danger, yes. But, I habitually want to re-record everything anyway, so it's not a big deal.
I was told it will not sound totally different - just better. Have to trust the guy on that. The strings will be of top quality, hand-spun by a local master string maker.

pianolady wrote:
So I take it your piano will be taken out of the house to get worked on? Do you know what kind of replacement piano you will have in the meantime?

I'll hop into the piano chop saturday and pick one that I like - insofar as it's available for the task.

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:24 pm 
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techneut wrote:
I'll hop into the piano chop saturday.

:shock: Noooo..don't do it! :lol:

Take photos of your piano getting refurbished and your loaner piano if you can.

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Thu Apr 15, 2010 8:54 pm 
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That would be a good idea.

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 6:48 pm 
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Congratulations on this great news! I love makeovers... and piano makeovers are the best of them all. :D I look forward to hearing your piano's new sound.

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 3:25 am 
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Hi Chris,

My Baldwin went through a partial rebuilding in 2007 as you might recall. Because it was nearly 25 years old (much younger than your Gaveau), it needed less, but the job was still about $5,500 U.S., so not inexpensive. Luckily my tuner is also a technician and piano rebuilder with many years of experience, so the Baldwin was in good hands. What was done was this: Ronsen Wurzen hammers, shanks and flanges; Arledge Bass Strings; Mapes International Gold wires for the treble bridge; Chrome plated tuning pins one size larger; Crescendo wurzen conical key punchings on the front rail; Crescendo "accelerated" key punchings on the balance rail; replacement of about a dozen natural key coverings; and full regulation of the piano's action.

Here are some things I learned:

1) It is really best to move the piano out of the house to the rebuilder's shop. I started by having the work done in the home believing it would be OK, but little did I anticipate how noisy the restringing is when the new tuning pins have to be hammered into the pin block! My wife was quickly an unhappy camper, so I had to move the piano out ASAP. Otherwise, I might have been moved out. :lol:

2) If the existing pinblock will not be replaced, it's better to hand crank the old tuning pins out of the block rather than taking the easier route of reverse drilling them out with an electric drill attachment. Why, especially where it's less labor intensive just reverse-drilling them out? Because hand cranking them out produces less friction and heat than reverse drilling, and is thus less damaging to the pinblock. You'll appreciate the heat aspect when you hand crank the first pin out. If you drop it into the palm of you hand, it'll burn! :shock: Reverse drilling makes them even hotter. To save expense, the rebuilder showed me how to do it properly, and I then cranked most of them out myself while he attended to other tasks.

3) Here is something you many not have anticipated: The rebuilder will tune the piano at least a couple of times just before you get the piano back. But it will NOT have tuning stability unfortunately. So be sure you have a good tuning lever on hand, as you'll be fixing a lot of notes yourself as you practice. He'll have to return to re-tune at fairly short intervals at first, which will gradually become longer as the piano regains full stability. This phenomenon could take more than a year. The strings have to fully stretch and conform around the hitchpins, bridge pins, and the tuning pins. The wires have to bend to micro-tolerances. If you want to accelerate the process somewhat, tune sharp to concert pitch rather than A440, thereby putting more tension on the strings. It's a bit more shrill in the room, but once stability is reached, you can drop it down to A440.

4) Make sure you get new felt strips under the strings directly in back of the tuning pins (some of the old strings might have worn completely through the felts, and especially the cloth under the copper-wound strings in the low bass such that they're actually contacting the metal plate. (This won't be apparent until the old strings are removed exposing the grooves--or holes--in the cloth.) Also be sure you get new damping ribbons in the waist-string area between the hitchpins and bridges in the tenor section of the scale. These aren't just for looks--they help control spurious and unpleasant vibrations. If the piano returns minus the ribbons, you'll notice it in the sound immediately!

I hope that helps.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:33 am 
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Thanks a lot for that David !

Indeed my grand will move out to the workshop. It seems hardly practical to re-string an instrument at the customer's home...

It will be collected this evening, and I'll have a nice 1912 Grotrian Steinweg Braunschweig as temporary replacement. Completely revised into new condition, with Renner action, Abel hammers, double-wound bass strings, the lot. A marvellous instrument from which I'm not at all sure I'll want to part when the time comes !

You raise some good points there. Although I trust my technician unconditionally, and these things probably go without saying for him, It can't do harm asking him about them, which I'll surely do.

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:03 pm 
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Hi Chris,

I'm glad that was helpful.

Yes, that old rebuilt Grotrian could be fabulous. If you really get attached to it, maybe the rebuilder could finish the work on the Gaveau, which will then have a higher appraised value, take it on consignment to sell it for you, and then you could apply the proceeds to the Grotrian. But who knows, once the Gaveau is finished, you might like it so much you'll want to stick with it. Or... might you have room for both pianos? :lol: You have some interesting possibilities there!

David

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:32 pm 
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Rachfan wrote:
Yes, that old rebuilt Grotrian could be fabulous. If you really get attached to it, maybe the rebuilder could finish the work on the Gaveau, which will then have a higher appraised value, take it on consignment to sell it for you, and then you could apply the proceeds to the Grotrian. But who knows, once the Gaveau is finished, you might like it so much you'll want to stick with it. Or... might you have room for both pianos? :lol: You have some interesting possibilities there!

Room for 2 grands, haha, if only that were true, plus the financial room. I wish I'd studied to be a dentist now :P
To keep the Grotrian would cost me €7,500 extra (after having paid the revision, that is). I'm not sure I have that money. Actually I'm sure I haven't, unless I sacrifice the rest of our piddling savings...
So yeah, I can only hope the revised Gaveau will make me real happy...

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 8:10 pm 
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Well yesterday evening they came and took my Gaveau away. Bit of a struggle to get it out the door onto the gravel path, then make the turn. They were not happy bunnies for a little while there :)
So now I'll have to make do for a while with a shiny Grotrian Steinweg as seen in the pictures. Plays wonderfully smooth but I've to get used to the sound, action and pedal which is all very different.


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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 10:15 pm 
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Chris, I'd like very much to hear the sound of this apparently beautiful piano, could you post some random excerpts?

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2010 11:03 pm 
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Hi Chris,

Me too! Could you please play/record something so that we can hear the Grotrian?

David

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Last edited by Rachfan on Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:01 am 
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Rachfan wrote:
Me too! Could you please play/recording something so that we can hear the Grotrian?


Me three! And nice pics - thanks for showing us.

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:32 am 
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Very pretty piano! I second (or third, or fourth!) the motion to hear some excerpts. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:16 am 
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Hi Chris,

I'm curious, what is the length of the Grotrian? Hard to determine from the picture. You can give it in metric if that's more convenient, and I can convert it to English measure. It sure looks formidable!

David

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:41 am 
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Ok, I'll try and record something today. So far I'm not convinced I like the sound better than that of the Gaveau.

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:46 am 
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Rachfan wrote:
I'm curious, what is the length of the Grotrian? Hard to determine from the picture. You can give it in metric if that's more convenient, and I can convert it to English measure. It sure looks formidable!

It's 1.85 m long, just like the Gaveau. Somehow it looks much bigger and bulkier though. Partly because the bend on the right side is not smooth but rather sharp (could be art deco design, given the age). Also, the far end is 1.5 cm higher from the floor than the front
(keyboard) end. Looks pretty strange - 1.5 cm drop over 2m looks really skewed. Maybe it's the design, or there's something wrong with the legs.

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:00 pm 
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OK, that would be about 6 feet 2 inches, almost the same as my Baldwin. That's considered to be a parlor grand, larger than a medium grand, and truly excellent for a home. It should have a very ample sound. Where it's so recently revised, probably it would need to be played for several months until the hammers become grooved to hear its true voice. I can't wait to hear a recording.

That elevation at the tail end is very odd indeed. Next time you're speaking with the rebuilder, you should probably ask about that where it's so curious. If it's not the leg, it would seem like a strange design as to function.

David

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Last edited by Rachfan on Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:26 pm 
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Ok, I recorded and videotaped some stuff this afternoon on the Grotrian. I hope that gives an idea of the instrument. It's brighter and smoother but not quite as burnished and characterful as the Gaveau. Plays very nice though. But I do miss my sostenuto pedal, just a bit. Not that I use it that often, but still. As for the Chopin, sorry I'm a E-flat man, always have been, always will be. As for the Kapustin, a couple of fluffs here, but this does not replace my current recording of it. Not very original choices here... but I had not really practised anything for recording. I did not change anything in the recording and postprocessing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enL06fBUVYE ... Chopin - Preludes Op.28 - 20: Largo (1:33)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfSezSIYSY8 ... Debussy - Preludes Book I - 8: La fille aux cheveux de lin (2:24)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kA2ba95n-3o ... Kapustin - 24 Preludes and Fugues Op.82 - 19: Prelude and Fugue in A major (5:02)

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:15 pm 
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I went straight to the Debussy since I love that one. Except, it cut off before the end. :shock:
The piano sounds nice, though. I think the bass notes are good, but the very high treble notes don't sound enough. Could be just me, though, or else your playing :P .

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:41 pm 
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Hi Chris,

Thanks for posting those recordings on the Grotrian! I listened to all of them and I think the piano sounds great! The tone has a bit of a "nasal" quality which is valued by many pianists. The base and tenor are rich and the treble is a little darker than some other pianos, but I think it helps it to blend better with the rest of the scale. Monica mentioned that the high treble sound is weak. I suspect that the new hammers are still fuzzy up there and just need to wear in more. The Grotrian seems richer in overtones than most of the other European pianos, some of which seem to have a thinner, simpler or more pure tone in comparison. So it's almost more like the complex American sound. (This should not be surprising as the Steinwegs became the Steinway's building the NY Steinway pianos.) It'll be interesting to compare the Gaveau once the rebuilder finishes his work on it.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:56 pm 
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Thanks both for the feedback.
I've fixed that with the Debussy track. I canceled uploading because I forgot the ID3 tags, then forgot to re-upload. It's ok now.

I too noticed that the some notes in the middle and treble are a bit weak. As David says that will probably come around, I don't think it's been played much since the revision (but I intend to change that :)
It sure will get interesting once the Gaveau is done. By then I may well be used to this one and not too keen on changing back - and the Geveau will have changed too. Hmmmm....

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:45 pm 
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Hi Chris,
it´s really a very good sound of that old Grotrian-Steinweg. Absolutely clear and precise and your playing sounds much more differenciated than on your Gaveau (in its old state). These recordings have more dynamic and nuances. That´s a typical feature of the Grotrian-Steinwegs, I think, that they have a splendid differenciation of tone (of course, they need a player, who knows to do this). I like especially how you play the Debussy, btw. You should record more of the preludes (but may be you still have). With a length of 1, 85 m this sound is really good, of course, the discant isn´t as full as the bass region is, that´s absolutely normal for this size. If I compare your replacement instrument with my Grotrian-Steinweg-grand it´s a quite big difference still, of course. My one has a length of 2,26m, it´s the "Concert"-model, and it´s clear, that there is more brilliance in the discant and also the bass sounds fullier. (My one is built in 1980, also in Braunschweig, of course.)
I like the camera angle in your videos, it´s always nice to look people on the fingers, isn´t it?! :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:28 am 
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Congratulations Chris! You look like one happy customer in the pix! What a beautiful instrument. A good test is to compare recordings of the same piece, same mics, etc. from the Gaveau with the Grotrian.

I had a few questions:
1. How are you finding the action on the Grotrian piano?...
2. Are you planning to buy the Grotrian and sell the Gaveau or return the Grotrian and reclaim the Gaveau?...

When the dollar was strong against the Euro about 15-20 years ago, the U.S. was importing quite a few German pianos - August Forster, Grotrian, Bluthner, and Feurich. Unfortunately, I was still in school and couldn't afford it at time, However, I played a beautiful Grotrian 208 at the piano dealer - if I remember, it sounded very close to your Grotrian 192/185 in tone and timbre. It had a modern piano sound - the timbre was bright, clear. The bass had a robust with a bronze timbre (like Steinway). The midrange was slightly nasal, but clearer than Steinway. The highs were bell like, but thinner than the American Steinway, but comparable with the German Steinway. I find the Grotrian's Renner action stiffer than Steinway or August Forster. The U.S. piano dealers only import Schimmels now in any decent quantity because of the lousy exchange rate.

Quote:
Room for 2 grands, haha, if only that were true, plus the financial room. I wish I'd studied to be a dentist now. :P
If you did, the trade off would be that you'd be so busy that you wouldn't have any time to enjoy your music.

I am surprised no one has asked this question: Who is the cheerful young lady? I didn't know you had a genie piano - looks like she just popped out of the Grotrian... :D

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 10:52 am 
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88man wrote:
Congratulations Chris! You look like one happy customer in the pix!

I guess that is as close to looking happy as I am ever likely to get.

88man wrote:
What a beautiful instrument. A good test is to compare recordings of the same piece, same mics, etc. from the Gaveau with the Grotrian.

Yes that is why I re-recorded that Kapustin pair I did some weeks ago. I must sit down and listen closely. Although I think the Grotrian yet needs to find its own true voice.

88man wrote:
1. How are you finding the action on the Grotrian piano?...

It's great, very light and smooth. I can suddenly differentiate between piano and pianissimo, which I never could on the Gaveau. Also the una corda sounds nice on this one, it never did on the Gaveau.

88man wrote:
2. Are you planning to buy the Grotrian and sell the Gaveau or return the Grotrian and reclaim the Gaveau?...

Not planning anything yet... but it's a possibility I need to consider. I may well get too attached to this one to let it go again. I'll make a point of playing the Gaveau when it's done, before I'll let them bring it back.

88man wrote:
I am surprised no one has asked this question: Who is the cheerful young lady? I didn't know you had a genie piano - looks like she just popped out of the Grotrian... :D

Hehe, that's my daughter, she's a bit of a poser :D She was about to leave for school but just popped in and decided we needed to take some pics. As young daughters are, she's not always that cheerful ... her nickname is 'moaning minnie' :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 8:09 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
Hi Chris,
it´s really a very good sound of that old Grotrian-Steinweg. Absolutely clear and precise and your playing sounds much more differenciated than on your Gaveau (in its old state). These recordings have more dynamic and nuances. That´s a typical feature of the Grotrian-Steinwegs, I think, that they have a splendid differenciation of tone (of course, they need a player, who knows to do this). I like especially how you play the Debussy, btw. You should record more of the preludes (but may be you still have). With a length of 1, 85 m this sound is really good, of course, the discant isn´t as full as the bass region is, that´s absolutely normal for this size. If I compare your replacement instrument with my Grotrian-Steinweg-grand it´s a quite big difference still, of course. My one has a length of 2,26m, it´s the "Concert"-model, and it´s clear, that there is more brilliance in the discant and also the bass sounds fullier. (My one is built in 1980, also in Braunschweig, of course.)
I like the camera angle in your videos, it´s always nice to look people on the fingers, isn´t it?! :wink:

Thanks ! Indeed I can do better dynamics on this one, that was clear from the start. I've always held the Gaveau (partly) responsible for my flat dynamics, and this maybe proves at last I was right. I haven't played much Debussy lately and was just looking for something I could record easily (still took a couple of takes though...) Yes I may do more Preludes, I know book I very well. But where to find the time....

I like these videos better than my previous ones, it's always nice not to have to see my ugly pointy head :lol: Though the camera should more pan to the left where most of the action is. Camera drives me crazy ... after not even an hour of recording my SD card will be full and the battery empty. And I get no indication of either, it just switches off and deletes whatever track it was recording. This makes video recording a bit precarious. Should learn to play without errors right from the start.

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 3:41 am 
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As we talk about the differences between the Grotrian and Gaveau, it makes me think of the broader marked and fascinating differences among piano brands and their timbres. I'm not sure which was the chicken and which was the egg--the piano or the "school of playing", but I think the latter--that is that piano sound reflects a particular culture of pianism. In other words, pianos were probably designed and voiced to reflect the pedagogical/performance demands of the times.

In France there were Pleyel, Erade and Gaveau pianos. In the Paris Conservatoire there was the "French School" of teaching with emphasis on a hand position of curved fingers, pearly passage work in Mozart, and a tendency toward a drier almost nonlegato sound in playing that came down from Pierre Zimmerman, Antoine Marmontel, Louis Diemer, and Marguerite Long. And it seems too that the pianos of the day supported that approach in playing the music of Saint-Saens, Faure, Debussy as well as the more classical, cooler works of Ravel. As to pianos, it seemed as though the harpsichord and clavier sound had not been entirely lost in the French pianos to some extent. Thus, it was difficult to play legato on the Erade (although Paderewsky tried for years believing he could make that piano sing). Pleyel seemed somewhat bright and lacking a profound depth found in some other pianos. Gaveau was the most versatile of the three. In fact if Artur Rubinstein could not get a Steinway for an engagement, he would select Gaveau.

Now move over to Germany with its "sturm and drang" and composers like Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann with all their heavy drama. That called for a bigger, more solid piano sound like Grotrian-Steinway, Hamburg Steinway, Bechstein, etc. used to good advantage by Hans von Bulow, Carl Reineke, Emil von Sauer, etc. Here again, I don't surmise that artists simply adapted to pianos such as they were, but rather that the pianos were designed to best produce the music of that culture.

I guess if I had a big house and plenty of money, I'd want a Baldwin SF10 (7') and a NY Steinway B (6'11") in my music room. Any Germanic music would be played on the Steinway. All impressionistic music would be reserved to the realm of the Baldwin. The pianos could then fight over Mendelssohn, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and Scriabin. :lol:

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Last edited by Rachfan on Sat Apr 24, 2010 4:05 am, edited 4 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:22 pm 
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Interesting stuff you wrote there, David. If only one could choose the best piano for each piece.... But I guess few pianists can afford that luxury.

Indeed the German instruments are more advanced and sophisticated mechanically than the French ones, in particular the action. My technician also said so. Whatever good work he does on the Geveau, it will never quite play like a Renner-powered instrument.

Going back to the tips you gave me earlier, I put these questions onto my technician. Being a splendid craftsman with high standards and a very good reputation, he seemed a bit bemused by them. He'd never consider replacing only parts of the felt and leaving other parts in. It just wouldn't look right, if nothing else. And removing pins by hand (or electric drill, if such is at all possible) is not even allowed. The pins and block can get way too hot even then, and there's a large risk of conically deforming the pin holes. He uses a specially designed hydraulic device which makes only 50 rpm and uses up so much compressed air that the whole process is very slow, giving the pinblock ample opportunity to cool off in between replenishing the air tank.

The tuning stability of the Gaveau should be pretty good, it will have been re-tensioned (?) at least 4 times, and it will be tuned at least twice, so there should not be a need for a lot of extra tunings. Although obviously there can (typically in the first year) be the odd little thing that needs to be fixed.

So, that does put my mind to rest :)

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:37 pm 
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Hi Chris,

On Renner actions: I recall when I bought the Baldwin new, only the two large grands had Renner actions, while the three smaller models had Baldwin actions (actually Pratt-Reed which was bought by Baldwin). Now I believe they all come through with Renner actions. When I've tried pianos like Yamaha with Renner actions, I admit that I've marveled at the precise evenness, but the touch seems just a tad lighter too. Right now I'm working on a fast piece. If I had a Renner action, it might be more facile to play. But with the regular and slightly firmer action, I have better control. So that might be a pro and a con.

That's interesting about the hydraulic tool that runs on compressed air to extract the old pins. I recall that my tech contacted the Baldwin factory and spoke with one of the technical service reps. The only options mentioned were reverse drilling (not recommended) and hand cranking, which they much prefer. So I'm thinking that the tool you mention might not be in use on this side of the pond.

I'm glad he'll replace all the felts and ribbons. It's the only way to go to do it right.

Yes, I know that my fellow too retentioned the strings several times and tuned them twice before returning the piano. Even at that, the strings were still stretching for about a year until they finally stabilized (that is, as much as can be expected in this crazy climate!). Baldwin's have AcuJust hitch pins (very different from ordinary hitch pins) which might have accounted for some of that. You might want to keep a tuning lever handy nonetheless. I'm going to bet that you'll need it every now and then until the piano totally settles.

Sounds like he has everything well in hand there.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Fri Apr 23, 2010 10:10 pm 
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techneut wrote:
Quote:
I've always held the Gaveau (partly) responsible for my flat dynamics, and this maybe proves at last I was right.


Yes, that´s indeed a certain proof! If I would be you and would have the 7500 Euro or whatever you mentioned to need for to get this Grotrian, I would buy it. (But, of course, I´m not you and you are not me. :wink: ) I don´t know the mechanique, but from the sound it´s clearly the better instrument (and it´s a wonderful instrument at all, I personally am really a fan of Grotrian-Steinwegs, and this old restored one has truely something like personality!). On the other hand we don´t know, how your Gaveau sounds after the revision, may be it´s better than the Grotrian then.
I had a Kawai GS 60 before I bought my Grotrian. I became more and more unsatisfied with it, because the strings became so unpure (they could not be tuned properly anymore). So, I also would have had to recruit the strings. But just in that time my piano technician told me of that offer of the old lady, who wanted to sell her Grotrian-Steinweg-grand, which I have now. So, I could sell my old Kawai and had to pay 3000 Euro in addition to what I got for my Kawai for to buy my Grotrian-Steinweg from that old lady. And I´m totally happy with it. (With my Grotrian, not with the old lady. :lol: ) It´s a marvellous instrument, very similar to a Steinway. The difference between a modern Steinway and a Grotrian-Steinweg is, that the tone of the Grotrian doesn´t sound as noble, but for this the Grotrian has a more sensitive and natural touch and sound. It´s nearer to the sound of the grand-pianos of 19th century, but the possibilities of differenciation of tone are the best of the world IMO (better than on some Steinways, which I have played).

Quote:
Though the camera should more pan to the left where most of the action is.


Yes, that´s a mistake I often make still, too, but on the other hand it´s also nice to have the whole keyboard in the picture (I´m always afraid to cut something off, because the perspective could become to narrow when paning more to the left).

Quote:
Camera drives me crazy ... after not even an hour of recording my SD card will be full and the battery empty. And I get no indication of either, it just switches off and deletes whatever track it was recording. This makes video recording a bit precarious.


Don´t you have an electricity cable for your camera? I never do record at home with the battery, though I have one, which is for 2 1/2 hours. But it´s much more comfortable to use directly the electrity cable, so you don´t have to care about changing the batteries. I have the impression, that your camera makes sharper pictures than my one somehow. I wonder what could be the reason.

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:13 am 
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Quote:
It's great, very light and smooth. I can suddenly differentiate between piano and pianissimo, which I never could on the Gaveau. Also the una corda sounds nice on this one, it never did on the Gaveau.
Hi Chris, for me, the action is paramount in a fine sounding instrument, almost equal to the sound. I am glad that you like the action on the Grotrian. At the end, I won't be surprised if that might be the deciding factor in your decision. You should be able to get at least 5-10 more dynamic shadings from ppp to fff over your other instrument. It will allow you to have complete dynamic control of a piece, and you'll notice that the piano will not be the limiting factor in a performance. You'll feel like you're playing better. However, Not all Renner actions are created equal, it really depends on the manufacturers specifications to Renner. Steinway, Grotrian, August Forster, etc. all vary in their touch.

The balance of tone/timbre will be a matter of your taste once the Gaveau is restored and then you can compare with certainty. It will not be an easy decision to make. This is certainly an anxious time wondering what the outcome might be.

In general, good test tracks are pieces with wide dynamic and frequency ranges. This is what I use to judge.
-Chopin Etude Op. 10, No. 1 in C: for timbre
-Chopin Nocturne Op. 9a in B-flat minor (first page): for tone, action
-also check for repeated fast notes.

For your favorite, Bach, you might want to zoom in on the quality of the middle register in the 2 pianos at the end. Don't make a hasty decision. Listen on several occasions under different weather conditions too. To really be objective, record individual forte notes in the bass, middle, and upper registers on both pianos and compare the overtones on a FFT (fast fourier transform) analysis in your editing software. This will also quantify the tone/timbre balance. At the end, it will be a matter of taste.

Quote:
Hehe, that's my daughter...
God Bless! I hope she takes after her father in music. Perhaps she might like to pursue dentistry some day...

Chris, David, and Andreas: you all present great information here.

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:56 am 
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Rachfan wrote:
Sounds like he has everything well in hand there.

Yes, I have 100% confidence in that.

I'm puzzled you say that a somewhat heavier action would give you more control than a very light action. I marvel at the control I suddenly seem to have now. I was warned that this one plays extremely light, but I have no problem with that, I love it. But yes it's all to easy to hit a note too hard and make it sound harsh.

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:55 am 
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88man wrote:
Quote:
Chris, David, and Andreas: you all present great information here.


I would like to give back the compliment. Also your information concerning recording technique is always great.

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:00 pm 
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Thanks all for your interest !
musicusblau wrote:
If I would be you and would have the 7500 Euro or whatever you mentioned to need for to get this Grotrian, I would buy it.

Indeed, I am afraid it may well have to come to that.

musicusblau wrote:
Don´t you have an electricity cable for your camera? I never do record at home with the battery, though I have one, which is for 2 1/2 hours.

Stupidly, there's no input jack for an external adapter. The batery doesn't even give me an hour of recording time. I'm severely disappointed in that crap battery, it's empty when you blink and then take hours to get recharged.

musicusblau wrote:
I have the impression, that your camera makes sharper pictures than my one somehow. I wonder what could be the reason.
I would have thought such an inexpensive camera could never compete with a real camcorder of maybe 5 times the price. I have of course chosen high definition recording, as opposed to VGA, which could explain both the higher quality and the short battery life.

88man wrote:
Hi Chris, for me, the action is paramount in a fine sounding instrument, almost equal to the sound. I am glad that you like the action on the Grotrian. At the end, I won't be surprised if that might be the deciding factor in your decision.

Quite probably. The new possibilities more than compensate for the change in tone (which I suppose will get better after a month of playing, and maybe another tuning).

88man wrote:
Listen on several occasions under different weather conditions too. To really be objective, record individual forte notes in the bass, middle, and upper registers on both pianos and compare the overtones on a FFT (fast fourier transform) analysis in your editing software. This will also quantify the tone/timbre balance. At the end, it will be a matter of taste.

I'm more of a gut man, and won't approach it so scientifically. That will make it even harder to decide (even though I got an A level for Fourier and Laplace transformations in a previous life :lol: )

88man wrote:
God Bless! I hope she takes after her father in music. Perhaps she might like to pursue dentistry some day...

Hehe no, she doesn't give a toss for classical music, except the odd bit that has featured in some movie, ad, or clip. A typical MTV kid, though her taste is not half as bad as that of some that age. No dentistry, she studies food sciences. Our son is studying to be a pathologist :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 3:33 pm 
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I second Andreas' return compliment to George above.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:06 pm 
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I second David's endorsement of Andreas' compliment to George :D

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Sat Apr 24, 2010 9:43 pm 
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well, I've got you all beat by about a thousand times. George knows what I'm talking about. :wink: :)

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:20 pm 
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Techneut wrote:
Quote:
Stupidly, there's no input jack for an external adapter. The batery doesn't even give me an hour of recording time. I'm severely disappointed in that crap battery, it's empty when you blink and then take hours to get recharged.


What about buying a second battery, which you could charge while you record with the other? So you could replace always directly the battery, if it´s empty.

Quote:
I would have thought such an inexpensive camera could never compete with a real camcorder of maybe 5 times the price. I have of course chosen high definition recording, as opposed to VGA, which could explain both the higher quality and the short battery life.


Could also be the quite bad insolation (illumination) in the corner of the living room, where my grand-piano stands. Mostly I record in the evening and I only have a stand lamp besides my piano. The lamp on the ceiling is broken, but it´s directly over the grand-piano. So, I haven´t repaired it until now, because I´m afraid to fall on my Grotrian or to let drop the lamp, which could cause a very expensive damage. (And I have to admit, I was too lazy until now to move the grand to the side, because it doesn´t stand on its rolls, but the rolls are on small coasters and it´s not possible to put it on its rolls, because there is a floor of tilings under it, which could break by the rolls. So, it´s a bit complicated to move the grand to the side. I think, I would need three or four men to lift it up and to carry it on the side. An additional man would have to replace the coasters, before the grand could be put on the floor again. :roll:

Quote:
I second David's endorsement of Andreas' compliment to George


A good way to say it directly! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:38 pm 
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musicusblau wrote:
What about buying a second battery, which you could charge while you record with the other? So you could replace always directly the battery, if it´s empty.

I thought of that. But they're ridiculously expensive. Sony accessory shop sells them at $49.99 !!! :evil: Can probably do better elsewhere.

musicusblau wrote:
(And I have to admit, I was too lazy until now to move the grand to the side, because it doesn´t stand on its rolls, but the rolls are on small coasters and it´s not possible to put it on its rolls, because there is a floor of tilings under it, which could break by the rolls. So, it´s a bit complicated to move the grand to the side. I think, I would need three or four men to lift it up and to carry it on the side. An additional man would have to replace the coasters, before the grand could be put on the floor again. :roll:

Bit of a problem there ! I'd just climb on top of it and get going :D

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:50 pm 
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Techneut wrote:
Quote:
Sony accessory shop sells them at $49.99 !!! :evil: Can probably do better elsewhere.


May be you can find a good offer on ebay?!

Quote:
I'd just climb on top of it and get going :D


Sorry, I don´t understand at hundred percent what you mean here with "it" and "get going". Do you think, I should climb on my Grotrian? I only can do the repair by climbing on a ladder. Okay, I will be brave and do it next time!

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Sun Apr 25, 2010 6:20 pm 
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Quote:
88man: Chris, David, and Andreas: you all present great information here.
musicusblau: I would like to give back the compliment. Also your information concerning recording technique is always great.
Rachfan: I second Andreas' return compliment to George above.
techneut: I second David's endorsement of Andreas' compliment to George.
Pianolady: well, I've got you all beat by about a thousand times. George knows what I'm talking about.
Matters like this are easily resolved among friends with a simple toast across the table. If we keep going our merry way, by the end of the evening we may just intoxicate ourselves into singing Verdi's Libiamo (Drinking Song). I just wish we could sit across one another at a much smaller table. Cheers to all of you! <"Ching"> :P

Chris, if you're intent on this camera, then Andreas has a point with the second battery. Yes, $50 is steep. If your camera battery has many charge cycles on it (over ~70) then it's not going to give you much recording time. I've replaced my Canon battery on my point and shoot after a few years. These Li-Ion packs lose charge capacity after a while. I've been lucky with ebatts.com before. Here's their Sony page: http://www.ebatts.com/sony_digital-camera_models.aspx

Honestly, there's no way you'll get an hour on battery power. Video mode uses a lot of power because the sensor is on all the time as opposed to the short burst in camera mode. If you're serious about video, my advice is to have a camera that allows for DC input to sustain an uninterrupted supply. With a 4-8GB card you'll be set for hours. This way your mind will be on the music, and not on the camera. It's hard enough as it is to worry the music, let alone the video, audio, angle, lighting, levels, running time, memory, battery, tripod, noises, etc. It can be a mood killer! :?

Quote:
techneut: I got an A level for Fourier and Laplace transformations in a previous life.
I am impressed but not surprised! 8)

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:41 pm 
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88man wrote:
Matters like this are easily resolved among friends with a simple toast across the table. If we keep going our merry way, by the end of the evening we may just intoxicate ourselves into singing Verdi's Libiamo (Drinking Song). I just wish we could sit across one another at a much smaller table. Cheers to all of you! <"Ching"> :P


That would be so much fun! Wish we could do it....

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:57 pm 
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88man wrote:
Honestly, there's no way you'll get an hour on battery power. Video mode uses a lot of power because the sensor is on all the time as opposed to the short burst in camera mode.
That had never occurred to me yet ! :oops:

88man wrote:
If you're serious about video, my advice is to have a camera that allows for DC input to sustain an uninterrupted supply.
I had no choice in this camera, it was my employer's award for 20 years of service (how pathetic is that....) Anyway I guess I am not that serious about video.

88man wrote:
With a 4-8GB card you'll be set for hours.
Hm.... I have 16GB and it seems to fill up PDQ. I'll have to check how much it actually contains when it says it's full. Perhaps I've been ripped. Although it came in what looked like the original packing.

Anywa thanks for the tips !

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Mon Apr 26, 2010 9:54 pm 
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88man wrote:
Quote:
Matters like this are easily resolved among friends with a simple toast across the table. If we keep going our merry way, by the end of the evening we may just intoxicate ourselves into singing Verdi's Libiamo (Drinking Song). I just wish we could sit across one another at a much smaller table. Cheers to all of you! <"Ching"> :P


Cheers to you, George! Ein Prosit der netten Runde! (English=Cheers to the nice cycle of friends!) Image

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 2:42 am 
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Hi Chris, I am curious what European line you're using for the bass strings in your Gaveau?

I am wondering if I should restring my 1985 NY Steinway B?... A few bass notes could use some rejuvenation in their timbre, as they are becoming slightly flat. I already replaced the lowest F with Mapes (supplier to NY Steinways) last year. The improvement doesn't approach the rich bronze timbre of the neighboring strings which are still "original." There are certain notes such as low E-flat, F-sharp, G that have that "Killer Sound" - gutsy, deep, bronze timbre, harmonically rich, sustain. The piano is 25 years old and I am at the generational limit of the original strings. I am afraid that if I restring the entire bass section, I may lose that "killer sound" in the desirable areas for good... I am looking into Ari Isaac Profundo, HellerBass, Arledge, JD Grandt, and a few others as possible sources of bass strings.

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2010 4:09 pm 
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Hi George,
My bass strings will be hand-spun strings by Barth-Jan Kooij, a Dutch master string maker not unlike Ari Isaac I guess. This is what my technician uses by default, I did not really have a say in it (not have I tried to). As I've always loved the bass sound of my Gaveau I have a nagging fear that it may sound different. But I was assured the sound will only get better. I'll have to take his word for it. One has to trust these guys ! I am not going to agonize about my brand of strings :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2010 4:05 pm 
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Thanks, Chris. If the bridge is transferring the string vibration to the soundboard, etc. and you have decent number of plate resonances and modes of vibration as before, then yes, you should get MORE of the same.

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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Fri May 21, 2010 3:42 pm 
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Just received these photos of the ongoing revision. It's starting to look real spiffing with the new pins and strings. Amusingly, the pins would not come out with the hydraulic winch alone. They had to be pushed from the underside too.


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 Post subject: Re: Revision
PostPosted: Sat May 22, 2010 4:40 am 
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Wow, no wonder it costs so much to have a piano refurbished!

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