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Estonia Pianos
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Joined: Aug 2007
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squonk Offline OP
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I was wondering...I happen to page through the Supplement, and started to wonder how many inches make a difference in a grand piano. For example, there is a 5'7 and 5'8 Bohemia. Essex has 5'1 and 5'3 models. Boston has 5'1 and 5'4 models. The Kawai RX-2 and 3 differ by 3 inches.
We've often advised people who are looking in the neighborhood of 5' pianos to go up to 5'6 at least, and try for 6' at times. The differences above won't make or break things based on room size. To those who have played the brands, do these 1-3 inch differences make a whole lot of difference, and if not, how much seems to (generalizing, only, of course)?


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my experience was with Yamaha.

GC1/C1 which are 5'3" and C2 which is 5'8". There's a difference in tone but i really don't think it was a significantly better difference to justify the $ difference.
however, C3 (6'1") is quite a bit better in tone quality. A lot of ppl would say that's because C3 has crossed the 6' threshold.

My Kawai experience was the same with RX-2 vs. RX-3.
Not significantly different.

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Quote
Originally posted by squonk:
To those who have played the brands, do these 1-3 inch differences make a whole lot of difference, and if not, how much seems to (generalizing, only, of course)?
Your question is a completely subjective one. I am affraid my response may raise the ire of many. Anyway, here goes!

Size is merely one (1)component in piano building. If EVERYTHING else were to be equal, bigger would be better. Problem is, nothing is ever quite equal.

In a scale design, the guage of piano wire, tension scale, bridge placement, and pin placement all have effect on the overall sound. You might have two different makes of pianos using the same SIZE and QUALITY of materials, and have unique sound characteristics. Why? Piano companies value different characteristics in their sound and manipulate the design for it.

Within a specific brand there might be more of a consistancy, yet the larger and more expensive models (such as the C3 example given) a great deal of care is taken to produce specific harmonic response or accentuate specific intervals. Another term for this is 'partials". These scale designs, once the desired formula is achieved, typically stays the same for decades. in Yamaha's case, the 4'11"-5'3" pianos have had many model changes. The the C2 (5'8") and up was developed about 20 years ago and will likely continue for years to come. Baldwin's current scale has been the same since 1960.

Here is my message: find the piano that produces the pleasing sound you desire regardless of size. There is NO WAY a 5'7" Pearl River will ever sound like say a Baldwin M at 5'2" or a Steinway S. Choosing a piano on size is stupid! Buy the best piano you can and consider size secondarilly. This forum has always made too much of size in my opinion.


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squonk Offline OP
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I think I should repharse the question a little. I'm asking about pianos within each specific brand, not across brands. Why would Bohemia make 2 pianos only 1 inch in difference? Why are the Essex piano's only 2 inches in difference? And so on. The same dealer has to sell these models side by side and convince a customer that the 1-2 inches matter.


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Quote
Originally posted by squonk:
Why would Bohemia make 2 pianos only 1 inch in difference? Why are the Essex piano's only 2 inches in difference? And so on.
Yamaha also makes a C1 and a GC1 that are EXACTLT the same size (5'3"). There are differences in the scale design and a few other less significant features. As I said before, it isn't all about size.

Now, you make a very valid point in regard to some of the cheaper brands (particularly from China). Does it make sense for Hamilton (Baldwin's cheap piano) to sizes of 5-1, 5-4, 5-8? No. My guess is they can cheaply make different sizes to compete at a "price point" with just about every size made anywhere so they might be competitive in a bid situation. People can get way too caught up in "spec" shopping. What does a piano company in Dong Bei, China have to lose?

So then you begin to realize that these pianos are not special in their scale design. They are merely covering every base with a PSO (piano shaped object) with little regard to tone. An inch would make very little difference if you had two identical pianos in quality and scale.


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I think 5'8" is the shortest I've tried in stores that still sound really rich and full.

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Dennis,

Well-answered and explained as usual.
I also agree with you about too many
ppl got stuck on the "size" aspects of a grand/baby grand.

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Are you referring to the Essex 173 and 183? According to the Piano Book, one is made is Korea and the other China by different manufacturers.

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I agree with Zom. For the typical brand, it is difficult to detect a difference past 5'8" (except for pure loudness and projection, of course!)


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