Greatest British Upright Piano

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Britpiano
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Greatest British Upright Piano

Post by Britpiano » 18 Oct 2014, 23:36

Hi everyone,

Am interested to hear everyone's views on what they think is the greatest British upright piano in terms of tone, performance and quality of construction.

There are many manufacturers and models over the years to select. In more recent times there was the Knight Savoy the Broadwood Barless (manufactured by Ladbrooke pianos) and also the Welmar 126/Model B in the 1980's and 1990's aimed at the higher end of the market.

I'd like to propose the Danemann HS2 which although not as large as more recent 'top end' British pianos had a quality and feel that could really take on some of the German manufacturers.

What is everyone else's opinion on this? Any counter-suggestions welcome....

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Re: Greatest British Upright Piano

Post by Gill the Piano » 19 Oct 2014, 17:24

One of the loveliest sounding pianos I ever played was an 1890s Chappell upright. It was huge, it was beautiful and it sounded like a really good grand.
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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Re: Greatest British Upright Piano

Post by Barrie Heaton » 22 Oct 2014, 12:01

A bit far off and still in the planing stage... But the UK Piano Page is going to hold a mini piano fair in July 2016 at the ABPT piano convention. we hope to have manly the smaller makes Like Broadwood, Daleforte, Cavendish, Venables and others we are making it free to the Great unwashed to come and do a side by side comparison.


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Re: Greatest British Upright Piano

Post by joseph » 24 Oct 2014, 11:41

I've owned two English uprights in my life - a 1953 Challen, and a 1984 Knight. The Knight was solidly built, but it was always too bright, and the tone, frankly, was never that good. I had it from 1996 until 2002. The Challen I have had since 1992 and actually it's still in my parents house. While I wouldn't call it the greatest, or even a great piano (which I reserve for the likes of Fazioli or Steinway), it has a rounded warm and clear tone, holds its tuning and has a well balanced action. Well, it did have but I played it out, and it now needs an action overhaul and regulation. The string work is still OK, and the tone is still good. I'm not actually about to spend money on it because I have two excellent grand pianos.

So for me, one of the best English pianos has to be Challen. I've also enjoyed playing some Broadwoods, Welmar has always been pretty good, and Kemble from both pre and post Yamaha's take over in the 1980s when the pianos became virtually Yamahas with a different badge on them, and I've never had a bad experience with a British Yamaha - even though it's a hybrid Japanese-English piano.

I've never really liked Danemann pianos all that much, but I've only played their grands and not their uprights.

Of the English grand pianos, I've played some very old ones, like Broadwoods and Collards from the 1840s, which were good but can't be compared to a 20th Century instrument. Same with the English Erard.

There were grands built by Chappell, Rogers, and Challen that I've played that have all been quite good. Most of them are baby grands but I've played nice concert grands from Challen and Chappell, and Welmar produced a decent sounding 6' grand that seemed to me to be based on Bluthner's model 6 although it's not comparable to a Bluthner style 8 or new model 6.

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Re: Greatest British Upright Piano

Post by Britpiano » 10 Nov 2014, 20:37

All,

Thanks for hearing your views so far. Would like to hear from anyone else who is a regular on the forum.

Re: 2016 piano fair; that sounds like a great idea. The industry really needs to self publicise the skills it has and the manufacturing that still takes place in the UK.

Does anyone know if Clive Pinkham still produces pianos? Phil John in Wales was also building some pianos based on the leftover work in progress from when the British Piano Manufacturing Company went bust.

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Re: Greatest British Upright Piano

Post by Model V » 10 Nov 2014, 21:14

Played a few Welmars which I liked a lot. They always seemed to be a cut above (Bluthner heritage?)

One of the best was a massive Hopkinson that was restored. Magnificent it was!

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Re: Greatest British Upright Piano

Post by Lauren295 » 11 Nov 2014, 11:07

I prefer the Yamaha upright piano. It's always exceptional in their beauty and emerging acoustic with advance technology.

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Re: Greatest British Upright Piano

Post by joseph » 18 Nov 2014, 21:31

Yes, Yamaha uprights are excellent, but they're not British. I think the OP was asking which of the classic British uprights (Broadwood, Challen, Welmar, Knight, Hopkinson, Chappell, etc) do we think were the greatest, up to and including the 1990s Barless Broadwood, and the new pianos from Broadwood/Cavendish.

I can't speak for the new pianos being made because I haven't heard one in the flesh, but if money was no object I'd say a new Yamaha upright YUS1, 3 or 5 would be better than pretty much any of the British pianos reconditioned. Personal opinion only, feel free to totally disagree....

But I tell you what, for sheer warmth and impressiveness of tone, I have also played a very large Hopkinson upright that seemed to just have 'something'. It didn't have the clarity or responsiveness of a new Yamaha (it was nearly 100 years old), and it didn't have a particularly great action (it was nearly 100 years old..... so it probably DID have a great action when new), but it had something, just something special. I don't know what it was.

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Re: Greatest British Upright Piano

Post by BOAT2212 » 13 Apr 2015, 00:32

I just found a Erard ser.#14441 please advise. David 305 962 1495

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Re: Greatest British Upright Piano

Post by Colin Nicholson » 15 Apr 2015, 08:35

if number is right, dated around 1839.
Upright or grand ??
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