choosing a medium grand

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seeker
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choosing a medium grand

Post by seeker » 11 Dec 2011, 18:04

We are looking a medium-sized grand with a budget of £5000-10000. Currently we are between a Gors and Kallman (new, 5'8'') and wendl and lung 178 (new). We play both song and classical music and I have played since the age of 5 so have a reasonably good standard. We have both only ever had uprights before and never bought our own piano yet so would appreciate some advice.

Firstly, what do others think about those makes?
Secondly, we noticed that the Gors and Kallman has more resistance than the Wendl and Lung and therefore it is easier to play complex quiet pieces on the latter. Will the Gors and Kallman loosen up with time and, if so, does that mean that the Wendle and Lung will become too loose?
Thirdly, does anyone have any specific suggestions about other pianos that might be suitable without breaking the bank?

Thanks in advance!

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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by NewAge » 13 Dec 2011, 11:38

A little surprising the experts have not yet commented on this.

I'm unable to comment on the Gors & Kalmann as I've never played one.
I am familiar however with the Wendl & Lung 178, having auditioned one on several occasions. I found it an incredible piano for the price - both for looks, tone and touch, and I've yet to read bad comments. Both examples I tried were exceptionally well-prepared by a local dealer/tuner who has an excellent reputation. At the time I also tried a new German Seiler grand that had recently come into the showroom and was listed at an amazing sale price - albeit far more expensive than the W&L (almost double in fact ). In terms of quality the Seiler was clearly the better piano, although I really preferred playing the W&L. To be fair I questioned my findings with the owner, who openly admitted that he needed a few more hours to fully prepare the Seiler, but with a wink he confirmed 'his' W&L was already top-notch.
I personally would be very happy with 'the right' W&L 178 fully prepared.

I believe that the Wendl & Lung (brand name) will be discontinued, and several new and redesigned models should appear under the Feurich name. This could work to your advantage in getting a 'special' discount on a W&L.
Regarding choices of other pianos, I suggest you check out The Piano Buyer supplement. http://www.pianobuyer.com/
In any case play as many different brands and models as you can, and remember no two pianos sound alike, even of the same make/model.
Good luck in your search. Pls let us know what you finally decide upon.
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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by seeker » 15 Dec 2011, 17:42

Thanks for replying, seems like everyone else is on holiday!

We will be getting a 15% discount on the Wendl and Lung so I think that is pretty good. Am going back to try it again with a few music books but have a feeling it will be our final choice as it wins on looks as well as having what feels like a more sensative touch.

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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 16 Dec 2011, 11:27

One good point about Grand pianos versus Uprights is they are much more social instruments. You are looking into the room and not facing the wall. Also they are lower and don`t block the view. In terms of furniture they always win. Surprisingly the smaller Grands have less tone than some uprights as the strings are shorter . I`ve just read that . Something to add to the mixture.

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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by joseph » 19 Dec 2011, 13:19

Some smaller grands have weaker tone than some larger uprights, that's true, but I think the W and L 178 should be fine for tone, people seem to love them.

The thing about uprights is that you can't control the sound in the same way, because of the limitations of the action, and they certainly don't have anything like the same level of repetition.

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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by Withindale » 19 Dec 2011, 14:17

joseph wrote:The thing about uprights is that you can't control the sound in the same way, because of the limitations of the action.
Yes, the repetition issue is well known, but would you be so kind as to explain in what other way(s) the control of sound differs between uprights and grands?

My reason for asking is that I recently dipped into Louis Kentner's Piano, an excellent book published in 1976. He writes that, except for practical reasons, "the upright piano has no artistic justification whatsover." but he does not say why.

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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by joe » 19 Dec 2011, 19:05

joseph wrote:Some smaller grands have weaker tone than some larger uprights, that's true, but I think the W and L 178 should be fine for tone, people seem to love them.

The thing about uprights is that you can't control the sound in the same way, because of the limitations of the action, and they certainly don't have anything like the same level of repetition.
Would not have either of them only people who love them are the retailers cause there is a good profit margin and the odd teacher looking for "a bung"for giving out the wrong advice,far too expensive for what they are.

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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 19 Dec 2011, 20:47

Look for the label on the side."One careful lady owner ".Bargain.

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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by NewAge » 19 Dec 2011, 23:53

joe wrote:........people who love them are the retailers cause there is a good profit margin and the odd teacher looking for "a bung"for giving out the wrong advice,far too expensive for what they are.
I can't agree with you there Joe!
I'm neither a retailer or a teacher. I do however know a decent grand piano when I inspect one and play it though. If (and I emphasize that word) they are prepared well they certainly are not too expensive if one appreciates that a decent discount can and should be negotiated from the indicated retail price.
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by rgreig » 20 Dec 2011, 22:00

The tricky bit I think is knowing how good the piano will be in 10 years time.

I would suggest calling Richard Reason at the London Piano Auctions and asking him how much he would expect a 10 year old W&L to go for.

Robert

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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by joe » 21 Dec 2011, 06:03

I save you the phone call,not anywhere near the SSP even with a whacking artificial discount, £800 to £1,800 minus transport and a 20% handling charge,worthless musical investment.

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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by joseph » 21 Dec 2011, 16:09

Withindale,

The point he was making about uprights is that the sound generally drums against a wall, and is enclosed inside the case unless you can take the front panels off - which is difficult as the music desk is integral to the front panel.

The action of an upright tends to be much slower, and the hammer seems to be in contact with the key a bit less than on a grand, because the grand works on gravity. Yes, I know the hammer isn't in direct contact with the key on either, I'm talking about via a system of levers of course.

The uprights seem to have more in the way of 'lost motion' which is when you press the key slightly and nothing happens because the key hasn't quite reached the action.

There are uprights out there which are of course very good, and some of the big Steinway and Bechstein uprights in particular, have a fabulous tone, but really, they're not quite like grands.

I would say that to say an upright has no artistic merit whatsoever or whatever he said, is perhaps an overstatement. For instance, Charles Rosen, another fine pianist, keeps on slating other makes of pianos in his book on the hidden world of the concert pianist, with statements like 'For those that could tolerate playing another instrument other than a Steinway' etc. It's all a bit out of proportion.

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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by Withindale » 21 Dec 2011, 23:43

Joseph

Thank you for your considered comments.

Having dismissed uprights, Kentner only has well regulated fine grand pianos in his mind. Later on he goes on to say, "Similarly the sound of a melodic line depends on the disposition of the slight voluntary irregularities with which a player gives every phrase expression and eloquence."

Since accomplished pianists, such as yourself and Kentner, are bound to chose grands, most uprights have to put up with one or tunings a year and occasional regulation. As a result most of them will have the lost motion you describe, and other shortcomings.

Most uprights don't have balanced keys which must make grands easier to play. There may be a technical reason for this (slower return?) but the Fandrich vertical is one exception. A small weight at the front of the key made a big difference to the feel on my upright when I tried yesterday evening.

I suppose its potential for tuning, voicing and regulation should be an important factor in choosing a medium grand or any piano.

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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by Withindale » 22 Dec 2011, 11:22

Withindale wrote:I suppose its potential for tuning, voicing and regulation should be an important factor in choosing a medium grand or any piano.
Coincidentally ChickGrand has justed posted about the potential of Chinese pianos in this thread about Brodmann and Ritmuller:
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthre ... ost1810393

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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by joseph » 22 Dec 2011, 12:53

Well, my technician came round shortly after I bought my piano, and set it up. He took the top action off, gave it a full regulation, set the hammers to the strings - basically regulated and tuned it within an inch of its life, all at the expense of the shop I bought it from who agreed to have that high level prep done for me - a matter of course for this company it seems.

Anyway, my tech said 'there's absolutely nothing wrong with this piano whatsoever, the action design is as good as any and the tone is excellent'. Even my other tuner who only likes Steinways but has agreed to sell Wendl und Lung pianos because he finds them the best of the lower priced pianos, said that my piano has an excellent tone and touch 'although it pains me to admit' he added with tongue in cheek.

The chinese are producing some excellent product, that's already hard on the heels of the japanese instruments. The japanese pianos are still a cut above build wise (compared with mine, I haven't seen the latest Brodmanns or Wendls), but you know, who needs a piano to last a century? We wont last that long! :piano;

Probably within the next decade the chinese instruments will be better than the japanese ones, because of the financial investment being poured into the factories over there. Yeah, there's a lot of rubbish being made over there, as there is in Japan (there are some less famous japanese pianos that I just can't stand to be honest) and even here (the last of the BPMC pianos were pretty shoddy sometimes....) but quality/price ratio will out, and the consumer will ultimately decide.

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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by Barrie Heaton » 22 Dec 2011, 20:21

Withindale wrote:
Withindale wrote:I suppose its potential for tuning, voicing and regulation should be an important factor in choosing a medium grand or any piano.
Coincidentally ChickGrand has justed posted about the potential of Chinese pianos in this thread about Brodmann and Ritmuller:
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthre ... ost1810393
if this or any Weston forum was going in the late 50s, to 70s we would be slagging off Japanese pianos as utter rubbish now look at them - Chinese pianos can only improve and look how much they have come in the last 5 years, of course Japanese pianos will also still continue to improve However, there is the line to cross from mass to hand built pianos and that incurs a big cost factor.



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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by joe » 23 Dec 2011, 06:30

[quote="joseph"]Well, my technician came round shortly after I bought my piano, and set it up. He took the top action off, gave it a full regulation, set the hammers to the strings - basically regulated and tuned it within an inch of its life, all at the expense of the shop I bought it from who agreed to have that high level prep done for me - a matter of course for this company it seems.

Anyway, my tech said 'there's absolutely nothing wrong with this piano whatsoever, the action design is as good as any and the tone is excellent'. Even my other tuner who only likes Steinways but has agreed to sell Wendl und Lung pianos because he finds them the best of the lower priced pianos, said that my piano has an excellent tone and touch 'although it pains me to admit' he added with tongue in cheek.



Sounds great Joseph but you forgot to add the tech who set your piano up preps and tunes for the company you bought the instrument from and the other tech is supplied with pianos from the same company hardly impartial as they all work in tandem to try and dupe the public into buying grossly overpriced pianos which they solely distribute and are using any form of social networking to farther this aim using you as their tool.

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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by joseph » 23 Dec 2011, 11:52

That's a pretty harsh statement, Joe, and frankly, out of order.

My tuners work for themselves. They are fully self-employed. Now, it may be that they have an association with one or more piano retailers, but, I'm guessing that you, too, have an association with a piano retailer and guide your public into buying certain instruments. Nothing wrong with that, is there? No.

Anyway, I didn't ask their advice when I bought my piano, I played as many as I could within the price range and went for the one that I liked best. Knowing a little bit about pianos (but, obviously not as much as a technician, I appreciate that), I figured that as long as the components were of a good quality - mainly, the soundboard, pinblock, strings and action, felts, frame and case etc, I know I've missed a bit, and as long as the components were put together in a decent way, and the piano was well serviced then it would be a good enough instrument for my purpose.

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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by joe » 23 Dec 2011, 13:30

[quote="joseph"]That's a pretty harsh statement, Joe, and frankly, out of order.

My tuners work for themselves. They are fully self-employed. Now, it may be that they have an association with one or more piano retailers, but, I'm guessing that you, too, have an association with a piano retailer and guide your public into buying certain instruments. Nothing wrong with that, is there? No.

No hidden agenda here,apologises if you think am out of order,and the detail all in your reply :oops:

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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by NewAge » 01 Jan 2012, 00:37

Here's another delighted new Brodmann owner.
http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthre ... ost1815324
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

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Re: choosing a medium grand

Post by mdw » 01 Jan 2012, 12:59

A realistic review would be 6 months or a year in. I dont think you are going to get many people 2 weeks after delivery saying ohh dear I made a bit of a mistake, I spent thousands on the wrong piano . I think in that position most people would keep quiet on a public forum as they would look a little silly. So by just looking at the positive posts it may give a slanted view. Not saying its a bad piano just with only one shop selling it iver never come accross one to tune so cant comment on VFM etc. I would guess its been positioned in the dealers range to fill a gap and soak up profit from that price sector that wasnt being covered by other stocked brands. Nothing wrong with that either.

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