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    #31
    Where did Ivers & Pond fall in the offerings? Full disclosure: I have an Ivers square grand, and my mother's Ivers & Pond upright. I know they were Boston makers, but did a fire destroy the factory or just the records?

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

    Comment


      #32
      Originally posted by darditti View Post
      Well-known examples of Steinway's marketing and legalistic aggression have been to prevent the German company Grotrian-Steinweg selling their pianos under their proper name (which predates Steinway's) in the USA, and attempts to prevent anyone else restoring a Steinway with other than 100% Steinway parts, and then reselling it as a 'Steinway'.

      The net result of these savvy and aggressive tactics has been that they have established and maintained this position of top brand recognition in this small field.

      In truth, Steinways are mostly good pianos, but over-valued. There are plenty of great piano brands, and even the mass-produced pianos made in the world's largest piano factories in China are now by and large perfectly acceptable (which they were not at first).
      We had the debate every time we got a new Steinway into the shop about the '100% Steinway' crap. When the brand new pianos were coming from the factory with such poor QC that we had to add shims, center pins, bushings and other odds and ends just to get the piano up to snuff, the pianos were no longer 100% Steinway. By Steinway we had ruined the new piano (as it had non-Steinway supplies in it) but it was required to get the piano to behave the way Steinway specified and pianists expect.
      Sam
      Home: Allen ADC-4500 Church: Allen MDS-5
      Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, TC Mixer, ADC TC SF2, and MOS TC SF2, ADC TC Cad/Rvt, MOS TC Cad/Rvt, Organ Database, Music Library, etc. PM for unlinked files.

      Comment


        #33
        Originally posted by jbird604 View Post
        Then somewhere along the way it all fell apart as demand for home pianos collapsed. One by one these companies closed up, and very few are left today. Steinway of course, the eternal survivor. Yamaha and Samick both produce pianos in the US now. Not sure about Mason & Hamlin, though I saw a video not many years ago showing their US plant producing boutique pianos for the high end. Are there any others still actually building pianos here? I'm sure I've left some out.
        In addition to Steinway and Mason & Hamlin there is Charles Walter in Eklhart, IN. Family owned, Walter makes one vertical and two grands.

        Comment


          #34
          Thanks for that info, MarkS. I wondered about Charles Walter. Sometime in recent years I played one of those and found it very nice.

          Michael, Ivers & Pond was probably a very good builder back in the day. I've seen a lot of the big uprights they built in the early 20th century, and they seem to be of the highest quality.

          Like nearly all the rest, I & P apparently got into dire straights when the depression struck. The name was, I believe, one that the Aeolian group bought out and began to use on the fallboards of some of their pianos. As I recall, I & P was positioned as an intermediate quality piano by Aeolian during that time, better than Cable or Winter, but not up there with Chickering, etc.

          Of course the ranking given a brand name by Aeolian doesn't reflect on what the company had once been when they built fine hand-crafted pianos in their own factory. It was sad to see Aeolian using so many grand old brand names on pianos that were definitely way beneath the standards of the original builders.
          John
          ----------
          Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
          Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
          Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
          Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
          https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

          Comment


            #35
            Interesting thread. I think I'll add my two cents to it.

            I personally own a Knabe console, of which I am very proud. I have no idea if Knabe made it themselves, or if this is one of the many brands owned later by another company, but it is one nice piano. it sounds better than many of the uprights and grands that I have played recently.

            Our local piano dealer has several Steinways sitting on his floor, that I assumed he has worked over, and while they play pretty good and sound pretty good, I can't see paying almost twenty thousand dollars for one when he also has a Beckstein available for one fourth the price that comes close to matching the tone, and plays very well.

            The church that I formerly served as Minister of Music sold their Knabe six foot grand several years ago for several thousand dollars. It had never been rebuilt, and had sat in the church fellowship hall for well over fifty years. To this day I mourn not having the space in my home to take that piano, It played nicely, had a huge tone, especially in the bass, and was as nice a piano as I have ever played. It only lack a little work in the uppermost octave, which was not resonant like the rest of the piano.

            Steinway sounds a lot like Allen Organ Co. in their aggressiveness in the legal arena.
            Mike

            My home organ is a circa 1990 Galanti Praeludium III, with Wicks/Viscount CM-100 module supplying extra voices. I also have an Allen MDS Theatre II (princess pedalboard!) with an MDS II MIDI Expander.

            Comment


              #36
              Steinway has the same status as strata violin in terms of status among the pros. I think its rather due to the mythology and the glowing terms that is often thrown around about the instruments.

              At the same time it goes to show how todays sociaty tends to veiw things that are manufactured is nothing but cheap in garbage but when you put the handmade sticker on it people assume its going to be high grade.

              When an instrument is flawed in some ways i think its great is because you the preformer can create your own set of skills tailored to that instrument but at the same time what makes a skilled preformer is someone who can sit down at any keyboard and make a good preformamce regardless of what quality an instrument is.
              Instruments:
              22/8 Button accordion.

              Comment


                #37
                When I played my Steinway in the music store, I had to marry it....right then, right there. I've never been disappointed with it.

                Comment


                  #38
                  Since Steinway was mentioned here quite a bit- there's a lot of 'noise' going on in the PTG (Piano Technicians' Guild) Forum about S & S; it seems that they have now made the S & S decal unavailable to anyone but themselves, by removing the licensing of it. This prevents any independent rebuilder (some of whom do better work than the S & S factory on rebuilds) from putting a decal on a S & S grand they have rebuilt. IIRC, S & S has also threatened legal action against independent rebuilders who use non-S & S parts and then call their piano a "rebuilt S & S". If interested, check the PTG Forum for more info- quite a few techs now have a *very* bad taste in their mouth for this (what they consider to be) bullying...

                  Forgot to post the URL: http://my.ptg.org/communities/commun...7-111903beaddf

                  Also see https://steinwaygrand.com/blogs/stei...-of-its-pianos
                  Last edited by beel m; 01-11-2019, 09:13 AM.

                  Comment


                  • samibe
                    samibe commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yeah. I can understand trying to protect their brand from being used on shoddy rebuilds or knock-off pianos. I do not understand their lack of QC, though. It puts too much work in the hands of a dealer who may or may not have a reasonably competent tech (let alone at tech fully trained in the Steinway method) on staff. If Steinway is willing to do that to their own brand, then their efforts to limit what rebuilders can do is just petty.
                    Last edited by samibe; 01-11-2019, 01:41 PM.

                  • beel m
                    beel m commented
                    Editing a comment
                    samibe, I hear you. But I find it curious that only S & S is taking what some see as dracionian action like this, including legal threats. Re: your dealer comment, right on. I worked for a guy who had three different department store p & o concessions, plus several stores... nary a tech in sight. The only work that ever got done was the in-home tuning by a piece-work tuner who was good, but usually home by noon or so after -5- 'toonings' (of new pianos!) Of course the floor pianos in all these locations were waay out of tune, but the salesmen knew how to double-talk around that, if the would-be customers noticed.

                  • Admin
                    Admin commented
                    Editing a comment
                    If you wish to protect your brand, you cannot be selective about enforcing it, otherwise your trademark becomes invalid as you're are legally obligated to enforce it to maintain it. I'm sure Steinway is more concerned about counterfeits and knock-offs than the odd piano rebuilder, but all professions have their share of unscrupulous people, even in (especially?) in the music business.

                  #39
                  Right about enforcement, Admin, which the PTG members were hitting on if you read their blog... a company is around since 1853, IIRC, and suddenly in December 2018 it gets serious about protecting its trademarked name.
                  I'm not so sure S & S isn't too concerned about the "odd piano rebuilder" as they are aggressively pushing their "factory restorations" and those rebuilders stand in the way of maximizing their income. We have one right here in Philly and many of us feel their work is equal to or even better than S & S factory restorations, and less expensive. When I worked for the S & S dealer 45 years ago, this was not a factor as S & S 'factory restorations' were non-existent, or nearly so; when they redid the White House piano they made a big fuss over it, and one of the reasons was it (factory restoration) was extremely rare at that time. Now, it's a major profit center and they can't be enjoying competing with all those high-end rebuilders.

                  Comment


                  • Admin
                    Admin commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Times change and the economic realities with it. The number of pianos sold per year was at least an order of magnitude greater a century ago than it is today. Adapt to the present or perish.

                  #40
                  Originally posted by Jay999 View Post
                  When I played my Steinway in the music store, I had to marry it....right then, right there. I've never been disappointed with it.
                  How are the children; Currier & Ives?

                  Originally posted by beel m View Post
                  it seems that they have now made the S & S decal unavailable to anyone but themselves, by removing the licensing of it. This prevents any independent rebuilder (some of whom do better work than the S & S factory on rebuilds) from putting a decal on a S & S grand they have rebuilt.
                  Obviously, Steinway sees a hidden pot of gold somewhere I seem to be missing. It will be very curious to see how this action affects the overall bottom line of the company over the next few years. I would like to compare sales figures and numbers between now and then.

                  Michael
                  Last edited by myorgan; 01-12-2019, 07:46 AM. Reason: Add double-quote.
                  Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                  • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                  • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                  • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 4 Pianos

                  Comment


                    #41
                    Two pipe organ builders I'm very close to, are very happy to do rebuilding and restoration work these days, due to diminished new organ sales. Twenty five years ago they would have turned their noses up at rebuilding and restoration work. But these days, they're glad to get the work, and aggressively looking for such work...it's their 'bread and butter". Also, such work keeps highly skilled workers on the factory floor, rather than loosing them to a competitor.

                    Is this, perhaps, the reason that Steinway insists on factory rebuilding and restoration work? I have no knowledge of Steinway's sales figures, but I would think an "all Steinway" piano department in as many colleges and universities as possible, would help keep those sales figures up. As the old saying goes...."When times get tough, the tough get going"...etc.

                    Many years ago, I worked my way up to a partnership in a music store. We sold Wurlitzer pianos, and Conn organs. During the Christmas rush, we usually had a truckload of Wurlitzer pianos delivered to us from the factory, and these pianos were sold out to the bare walls by Christmas eve. Those pianos came in, fairly well regulated...certainly well enough for the average musician to sit down and play, and find it acceptable to pass on to a happy family, giving a child a new piano as a Christmas present. Usually, those pianos were tuned once on the floor, checked over for an OK regulation, and then went out the door as a newly sold piano.

                    However, during "slow season", when our pianos sat on the showroom floor for a longer period of time, our piano technician stayed busy, by performing a much more thorough regulation on those same model pianos. When he finished up a piano, it was a totally different instrument. Much more refined in touch, a much better balance from bass to treble, and the voicing, from note to note, was astonishing! And all of this, due to refinement of a piano by a dealer's piano technician.

                    I have come away from that experience, knowing that most pianos, after a century of scale development, and research in hammer density, can sound so very much better, if given over to a fine piano technician, with plenty of time (and salary!), to finish up what the factory left undone.

                    I understand completely, the statement we've all heard from time to time...."There are good Steinways, and there are bad Steinways", and I have witnessed bad Steinways that no amount of technician improvements could make better. But I do feel that a good Model B Steinway, finished by an excellent piano technician, (and yes, in a dealer's store), is pure Heaven to play.

                    But I have also witnessed a lowly Wurlitzer 40 inch console piano, finished by an excellent piano technician....it too, can be a fine playing and sounding piano. I wonder how many pianos have been criticized, that have not had the chance to be finished to their highest possibilities......

                    Comment


                      #42
                      For what it's worth, I currently own and play a very old Stieff baby grand (probably 100 years old) which has turned out to be an unexpected pleasure. The piano was given new keytops a number of years back and the action must have been worked on because it is wonderful - not too stiff and not too loose. The tone quality is even from bass throughout the treble. I honestly can't complain except for may be a few pins in the block that probably need to be tightened as well as a few treble strings that are just a tad "wild" when trying to tune them. I love this piano every bit as much as any quality Yamaha that I have ever played. I wouldn't go so far as to compare it with a Steinway, but I can tell you this. I came extremely close to acquiring an older baby grand Steinway (probably from the 20's or 30's) from my home church. I loved this piano for sentimental reasons of playing it as a young child, but the tone was EXTREMELY bright -almost too much, and it would be have been overbearng in my living room now that I look back in comparison to what I currently have. My Stieff has a much more pleasant tone quality than the Steinway (which ended up being purchased by a piano company and shipped off to England to be refurbished). Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, as John so eloquently stated in an earlier post in this thread.
                      Craig

                      Hammond L143 with Leslie 760

                      Comment


                        #43
                        Though I've posted a couple of opinions already on this thread, I heard a Steinway over the weekend that sure did try to make a believer out of me. The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra has recently purchased a brand spanking shiny new 9' Steinway, and we heard a very fine artist play it Sunday in a lovely presentation of the Chopin piano concerto #2. I have to say the piano really did shine, and as a technician I had to be very impressed with it.

                        If there are any issues with this particular piano, they sure didn't intrude in this program. We sat on the main floor, row "V" (so rather far back), but had a good view of the stage, and the hall's excellent acoustics allowed us to hear it well.

                        I can't tell you in any quantifiable way how this piano might stack up against another concert grand somewhere, but I will say that the artist was able to elicit absolutely flawless performance from it at the softest levels imaginable, with every key apparently responding perfectly to his fingers. I never heard a note that didn't come out at the precise level called for, precisely matched to the rest of the scale, nor any sign of any lack of responsiveness in the action to the most delicate touch. Any piano technician can understand the extreme degree of perfection that has gone into the regulation of the action and the voicing of the hammers to make this possible. And when he called upon it to thunder and roar, it did so with authority. And everything in between. And the tone was as beautiful, clear, and sweet as I have ever heard. I can't imagine any piano serving the artist any better.

                        Whether or not a Baldwin or Yamaha or Bosendorfer or Fazioli or anything else would've sounded any different or performed any better or worse, I can't say. But I do know that it was quite lovely. A ham-fisted player like me probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference either, if playing it myself. So unless a piano is going to be played by the most skilled musicians in the most demanding circumstances, it probably doesn't make a great deal of difference. But this Steinway sure seemed out to prove itself in this case.

                        John
                        ----------
                        Church: Allen MDS-45 with Allen MIDI-DIVISION-II expander
                        Home: Allen Renaissance R-230 with expanded four-channel audio and MIDI-DIVISION-II
                        Shop: Bunch of organs in varying conditions, some good, some not...
                        Half of an incredible two-man organ service team -- servicing all the major digitals in Arkansas churches
                        https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds...97551893588434

                        Comment


                          #44
                          I noticed since I was a little kid that each piano has its own unique tone, and there is usually a very distinct change in tone when a note has one, two, or three unison strings. I got my first chance to play a Steinway when I was in college. Altgeld Hall at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. The immediate thing I noticed was that the tone quality was the same from one end of the keyboard to the other, regardless of the number of strings per note. To me, that was amazing.

                          Also, this was one of the beater pianos in one of the unlocked practice rooms at the conservatory. I wasn't a music student but often stopped in between classes to jam or work on a song I was learning. This Steinway was a grand about 6' long and looked like it needed some TLC. In fact, a few notes were even out of tune, but I fixed that later on since I learned how to tune pianos when I was in high school. I digress, but the fact that this piano obviously had some high mileage on it and wasn't deemed important enough to lock up for the real music students, yet it still played and sounded great, convinced me that it was a quality instrument and probably worth some bug bucks, as is.
                          Hammond RT-3, Estey circa 1903, Baldwin Acrosonic spinet piano, Fender Rhodes Mark I 73 stage piano.

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