Overstrung v oblique strung

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Celestite
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Overstrung v oblique strung

Post by Celestite » 03 Oct 2009, 23:13

Hi Guys!

The wanderer returns! Can I pick your highly respected brains, please? :piano;
I'd like your thoughts/professional opinions on oblique strung pianos as opposed to overstrung pianos. I am very reluctantly looking at the possibility of trading my model B Bechstein in for an upright and will be looking for something which as closely resembles the touch and sound of a grand as possible (yes, I know it's not going to happen easily but I'm going to give it my best shot - I did once find a wonderful old Bluthner upright which did a pretty good job). I've come across oblique and overstrung Bechstein uprights but they're spread all over the country so before I go travelling I need to get as much background information as possible. My preferred options are either Bechstein, Bluthner or Steinway but I think I may also go and find a Grotian Steinweg or two to try if I really cannot find anyway of hanging on to my model B.

Your comments would be very much appreciated, thanks.

Celestite

PS Hope you're all fine and dandy x

PianoGuy
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Re: Overstrung v oblique strung

Post by PianoGuy » 04 Oct 2009, 07:42

I would be very wary of any elderly Bechstein unless it's been expertly restored with a new wrestplank. The wrestplank design of these old models is flawed, with a concentration of pins around the frame break (the bit separating the covered strings and the steels) and a parallel arrangement in the bass. This means that the wood of the wrestplank has more drillings than the grain can support, and cracking leading to bad tuning stability can occur. I reckon a good 30 to 40% of unrestored ones have detectable wrestplank problems. In this respect, the oblique strung versions are ever so slightly more hardy, but they are exceptionally tall and ungainly with a thin tone. In general, Bechstein build quality was nothing special and Blüthners are streets ahead in this respect, but again have their problems. If you want a Bechstein, the large-ish Model 8 is the king, and the smaller Model IV (often un-labelled) and the Model 9 can also be nice. The Model IV was copied (either under licence or as a direct crib) by Rogers in London and their version is better built and will always be cheaper, but they're staggeringly rare, and have no kudos. If the badge on the front isn't important, top English make from the pre-war era can often outperform these German instruments, so look out for a good Chappell, Challen or Rogers in any case.

Also extend your search to other makes and look at a few modern pianos. There has been progress in piano technology over the last seventy years you know!
PG

The opinion above is purely that of PianoGuy and is simply the opinion of one person ....

If you're buying a piano, try as many as you can and buy the one you like, not a similar one of the same type.

Celestite
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Re: Overstrung v oblique strung

Post by Celestite » 04 Oct 2009, 09:43

Hi PG

Thank you so much for your advice.I've seen several model IVs for sale and was going to have a look at them. I hadn't realised the connection between Bechstein and Rogers, so thanks for that. I'm not the slightest bit bothered about the name on the front - it's purely the sound and feel of the instrument which matters to me (I'm a player and teacher :) ) I had a lovely old Bluthner upright prior to the model B which was by far and away the nicest upright I've ever played. I loved it when I first played it as an unrestored wreck so it was even better after it had been restored. If it turns out I can keep the model B, all well and good but if not, I intend to have a jolly good time visiting some of the reputable showrooms trying out everything they have. Who knows, I might surprise everybody and end up with something I'd never even considered!
As for newer pianos, I've yet to find one with a tone I like and I really don't like the feel of the polyester (or whatever it is they use) keys. For me they kill the connection between my fingers and the instrument (I'm not sure if that makes sense but I would liken it to wearing rubber boots in a thunder storm to stop the conduction :shock: )
When I was at college they had a couple of older Yamaha uprights which were surprisingly nice to play. They had a different material on the keys (couldn't tell you what it was) and a much more mellow tone than the modern ones. I really don't like the brighter tone normally associated with Yamahas and yes, I know Bechsteins are noted for their bright tone, but I've been really lucky with both the model Bs I've had in that they've had an unsually mellow tone.
Ooh, I could go on all day about different pianos, but the dolcit tones "Mummy, let's see how well this water squirts if I do this" have just sung out from my three year old in the kitchen so best I go investigate! Thank you again for all your advice - I'll keep you informed.

joseph
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Re: Overstrung v oblique strung

Post by joseph » 04 Oct 2009, 12:28

Yamaha and Kawai are both excellent pianos that can be voiced in a way which suits you. I'd look into them to be honest. The money you'd pay for an older Bechstein or Steinway or Bluthner may be better spent on a new Yamaha. I hear what you're saying about new pianos but when they've been set up properly they out perform any older instrument by miles to be honest.

Celestite
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Re: Overstrung v oblique strung

Post by Celestite » 04 Oct 2009, 13:16

Thanks Joseph. I'm going to keep an open mind and just enjoy the fun of the hunt! I'm still hoping to keep my Bechstein but resigned to the fact it's unlikely to happen so the quest begins.

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