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I can see you're a wee bit out of practice, and fighting the piano should not be what it's all about. Let hope Dave Stahl sorts it all out for you. I don't imagine it will be that quick.

Most people keep their original strings at least until they've got round to contemplating serious other work such as replacing hammers or action, so when you've got your action and hammers all set up nicely, you may come to love the strings you've got. Personally I've always preferred the warmth of the copper wound bass notes.


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Yea I'm definitely fighting the brightness quite a bit with my right hand and it is affecting my playing. I noticed that the recording sounds more balanced that how I hear it from the bench, probably since I have a glass window right behind the bench, I'm probably perceiving more of the high frequency sounds which exacerbates the already bright sound. The ideal setup for this piece is very mellow voicing in the treble with very shallow key dip and light touch. This keyboard is weighted 41-53g, but I think taking another few grams off across the board would feel better for difficult repertoire.

I'm not going to replace strings on this piano. The bass is already so good there would only be maybe a tiny improvement. The copper strings do sound a little more "in tune" which works well when you have big chords, even if it doesn't sound as good when individual notes at the left end of the keyboard are played.

However I am looking into picking up an older piano that could use new strings and that's a perfect opportunity to try some very unconventional bass strings.

Last edited by trigalg693; 03/07/18 04:58 AM.
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Okay, Dave Stahl tuned my piano, and it's sounding much better now (though still needs voicing and regulation). However I figured I could probably eek out some Chopin op.10 no.1, so here it is (along with the 1st Godowsky transcription). The bass sounds really muddy in the Godowsky's low full chords. However octaves are sounding great. I think stainless steel wound strings would do much better.

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...-10-no-1-and-godowsky-transcription.html

Last edited by trigalg693; 03/14/18 05:13 AM.
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Hi Trigalg,

Every once in a while I Google for Phoenix 212 to see what's new with Richard and HWF. This time my search returned this thread, which is hillarious. Now I can say "So you're the one." like in Top Gun. Richard told me it happened again and that he was done using the shipping company that transported our piano. Same model as you, simpler finish since my wife and daughter wanted all ebony and the plain desk, but ours got dropped by American Airlines and Richard had to get a new one for us too.

Our original piano was dropped in May of 2016. We got the replacement in January or February of 2017. If you want a recommendation on someone to service your Phoenix, Larry Buck is great. He spent 2 full days regulating and voicing ours, well, my daughter's 😉, and it's wonderful now. Hope you enjoy yours as much as she loves hers!


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So how is your piano holding up?




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Hi Miguel,
I'm not sure who that is addressed to, but ours is "holding up" spectacularly. Doesn't get played nearly enough, but despite two North Carolina summers where we often have the doors or windows open a lot, it's still tuned better than our prior piano would have been after 3 months. It did get tuned a couple of times as the strings settled in.

The action is still good per my daughter. Even with a damp chaser, our M&H AA would have required tuning 3 times and some voicing in that time frame. This one just needs a touch up tuning and some minor voicing. Pretty amazing actually, and I love not hearing odd harmonics or longitudinal modes anymore like I did with the AA.

I suspect the tuning stability is due to the sound board and not the stainless strings.I think ours are stainless wound. I honestly haven't looked since it moved in.


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You are lucky. I had a rebuilt done and major issues with the treble bride caps failing and also hammer strike line is off. They took care of the bridge cap issue by replacing them with carbon fiber but not so much help on the strike line issue. I will be posting full review shortly.




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Oh totally missed this, yes I heard all about your ordeal from Richard too! The Phoenix gets played every half a year or so since I moved and left it at the parents' house. The replacement really did not have the voicing dialed in well, but after a bunch of fiddling it's almost there. The strings are still stretching so it goes a bit flat every time. Action regulation seems to be going strong 2 years later, though of course it has only been played maybe 70 hours.

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Today I got a strip of felt in the mail and made a proper bass backscale mute. I found a picture of a Steingraeber with no felt either, so maybe it wasn't a fluke, but after someone pointed out the "howling" noise I couldn't stand it anymore and put a towel over it. I'm not sure if there's any way you're supposed to do this, I just weaved it through the strings and swallowtailed the ends.

[Linked Image]

My tuning lever disappeared but I bought (a better) one and will hopefully record some stuff in a few weeks. The piano sounds amazing, though after playing digital pianos for a while the bass doesn't have the punch I'm used to.

Last edited by trigalg693; 05/26/20 08:54 PM.
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I thought the whole point of Carbon fiber, and WNG parts was so humidity would no longer be an issue.

I've played on a few carbon fiber pianos and after realized it was not a timbre that grew on me. I went to a store that had two identical pianos side by side a few years back, so the comparison of the carbon fiber with the phoenix agraffe bridges next to its traditional copy was interesting. To hear the changes in tone, richness, and depth the change of materials made was educational.

-chris


"Where TONE is Key, and Mammoths are not extinct."

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Originally Posted by Chernobieff Piano
I thought the whole point of Carbon fiber, and WNG parts was so humidity would no longer be an issue.

Well yea, that and carbon fiber is theoretically more durable than wood, so hopefully it'll still sound great in 50 years while wooden boards lose strength and crown. Since the frame is wood, I'm sure it is affected by humidity, but Larry Buck's regulation has held through 2 years temperature and humidity swings, and its 4th tuning has held reasonably well (only down a few cents over half a year).

I think my favorite thing about this piano is the boomy bass, which I'm told is possible due to the thin carbon soundboard. Wooden boards are much thicker and damp the bass. The timbre is so-so; I think I might prefer the top half of a Bosendorfer. The ability to produce a wonderful mellow ppp and a bright and powerful fff, combined with exceptional sustain make me very very happy. I realize a lot of that is in the hammers, but the sheer power is hard to find in other instruments.

The Phoenix D3D action has magnet assisted jack reset and stronger hammer flanges which I'm sure make it even better, but I have no complaints about the WNG's performance. Difficult etudes are effortless to execute at high speed, and controlling the sound and tone is easy.

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So what is the connection between Steingraeber and Phoenix pianos ? I know Steingraeber use carbon fiber sound boards and have some connection to Hurstwood farm but that is about all.

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The Phoenix pianos have gone through a lot of iterations but they all use Steingraeber frame/rim/plate/lid. Steingraeber on the other hand has used soundboards, CF honeycomb lid, and bridge agraffes from Phoenix, where the piano gets "Steingraeber-Phoenix" on the fallboard. Everything else is done by Phoenix I think in Poland and some finishing touches in England.

Current Phoenix pianos have a carbon fiber bridge cap in the trebel which I don't think Steingraeber uses. I think they used to have Steingraeber install the soundboard and the bridge since the trebel bridge looks identical to Steingraeber.

You can get a Phoenix soundboard/bridge retrofit on many other pianos though, and they sometimes put Phoenix branding on it (such as the Bluthner they called "Phoenix Opus").

Hurstwood Farm is the name of Richard's farm and is a dealer carrying his own Phoenix pianos, as well as a lot of Steingraebers, and some other pianos.

Last edited by trigalg693; 05/28/20 03:15 PM.
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Is there an option for a hybrid? I mean, suppose you love the Steingraeber sound(board), but wouldn't mind having an action that was immune from weather changes. Would they plant the carbon fiber action into a conventional Steingraeber, or would Phoenix do a slightly less than thorough re-make?

I guess a related question is how you now find this piano to behave vs your memory of a regular Steingraeber?

Third question-- is an upright an option for some kind of fussing from Phoenix?

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Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
Is there an option for a hybrid? I mean, suppose you love the Steingraeber sound(board), but wouldn't mind having an action that was immune from weather changes. Would they plant the carbon fiber action into a conventional Steingraeber, or would Phoenix do a slightly less than thorough re-make?

I guess a related question is how you now find this piano to behave vs your memory of a regular Steingraeber?

Third question-- is an upright an option for some kind of fussing from Phoenix?

You can buy a real Steingraeber with a Steingraeber soundboard with composite/carbon fibre action parts. It is standard for us to order Steingraebers with traditional Renner actions but Steingraeber will use WNG action parts if a client requests it.


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Any advantage to that? Does the composite in the hammers, etc., help with performance, sound, or reliability in summer weather-- or all of the above? Any downside you've noticed?

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Originally Posted by Maestro Lennie
Any advantage to that? Does the composite in the hammers, etc., help with performance, sound, or reliability in summer weather-- or all of the above? Any downside you've noticed?


Hammers are always traditional. It is the hammer shanks, wippins, back checks, that are composites or carbon fiber.
At this moment, we find the traditional parts to allow for superior performance. It is also standard for Steingraeber to use the traditional parts and soundboards in all of their concert instruments. In rebuilding we use composite/carbon fiber parts when a client requests them and if a piano is going into an unusually unstable climate.

There are real advantages for resisting temperature and humidity changes in things like carbon fiber soundboards, laminated soundboards, and using composites for actions, but at this moment, the best in action and sound performance still comes from traditional materials. This is likely due to design and experience rather than the materials themselves. Steingraeber is getting amazing knowledge and experience in these areas on someone else's dime but still ultimately chooses to use traditional materials for their showcase pianos.


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I actually wasn't aware Steingraeber would build pianos with WNG actions in them, but actions are mostly custom work anyhow so there doesn't seem to be a reason why not. There is actually a third option right now, which is the Phoenix D3D action (stronger hammer flanges, magnets in the jack and knuckle for faster repetition), which I'm not sure if you can get on a Steingraeber. And yes, there are Phoenix uprights, they're basically Steingraebers again just like the grands.

The stiff WNG hammer shanks are a good feature IMO, you seem to get less distortion since the hammers don't twist under heavy blows. The rest of the action I haven't had long enough to say for sure, but it's supposed to hold regulation better. In my experience with my other pianos, worn knuckles are the biggest obstacle to getting good action performance, and WNG actions will still wear through them, though maybe more slowly since I assume the jack and repetition lever surfaces are smoother. After abusing one key pretty badly for undisclosed reasons, I got the pin a little loose and it makes a faint clicking noise, so it's not literally bulletproof, but at least it doesn't do weird things like felt does with humidity changes.

As far as the sound goes, I think the carbon board has a more meaty bass with stronger fundamental, but I find Fazioli, Bosendorfer, and Steingraeber to have a warmer "singing tone" in the mid range. Hammers might play a role, I have Abel Premium Natural hammers, not sure how others compare. What I didn't like about the Steingraebers I played was they lacked dynamic range and bass power compared to the Phoenix.

There is a way to get the best of both worlds, you can have the Phoenix bridge on a Steingraeber board, or a Stuart and Sons with a thin wood soundboard and bridge agraffes. The low-downbearing bridge increases sustain and makes the bass richer. If you don't like the "howling" of bridge agraffes, you can also get the Phoenix carbon fiber bridge cap. There's a guy with a Bosendorfer Imperial with the D3D action and carbon fiber bridge cap with normal bridge pins on all sections, I'm sure it sounds fantastic though I haven't played it.

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Originally Posted by trigalg693
The stiff WNG hammer shanks are a good feature IMO, you seem to get less distortion since the hammers don't twist under heavy blows.

I really don't like the feel and timing of overly stiff shanks, be they wood or carbon fibre. When I first played the WNG parts I noticed this immediately and the folks at WNG were convinced that the stiffer shank had lots of sales features. I think they heard from enough pianists other than myself and introduced an option of more flexible shanks a couple of years ago which was definitely a smart move on their part.

Originally Posted by trigalg693
What I didn't like about the Steingraebers I played was they lacked dynamic range and bass power compared to the Phoenix.

I have had the opposite experience.

Originally Posted by trigalg693
you can have the Phoenix bridge on a Steingraeber board, or a Stuart and Sons with a thin wood soundboard and bridge agraffes. The low-downbearing bridge increases sustain and makes the bass richer. If you don't like the "howling" of bridge agraffes, you can also get the Phoenix carbon fiber bridge cap. There's a guy with a Bosendorfer Imperial with the D3D action and carbon fiber bridge cap with normal bridge pins on all sections, I'm sure it sounds fantastic though I haven't played it.

If one is going to get the bridge agraffes on a Steingraeber, you'd better be really sure that is the sound you like. It really changes the piano and makes it something not universally appreciated. I cannot comment on the Stuart and Sons since I have not heard one in person although I am told it takes some getting used to at a minimum. Along these lines, we did just rebuild an old Sohmer grand piano from around 1920 that had bridge agraffes ( yes these date back to the 19th century in American pianos ) and it turned out to be a really nice sounding and interesting piano and only a bit different sounding from the bridge agraffes.


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Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
If one is going to get the bridge agraffes on a Steingraeber, you'd better be really sure that is the sound you like. It really changes the piano and makes it something not universally appreciated. I cannot comment on the Stuart and Sons since I have not heard one in person although I am told it takes some getting used to at a minimum. Along these lines, we did just rebuild an old Sohmer grand piano from around 1920 that had bridge agraffes ( yes these date back to the 19th century in American pianos ) and it turned out to be a really nice sounding and interesting piano and only a bit different sounding from the bridge agraffes.

Yes, I agree. I think the key feature is whether or not they are longitudinally damping. I believe some iterations of bridge agraffes that have materialized on some pianos aren't (Richard Dain told me Hailun/Feurich had made a bridge agraffe equipped piano before, with a different design). I'm not sure how the Stuart ones work, but I hope I get a chance to hear a Stuart someday. For what it's worth, I think the non-Phoenix E272 is better than the Phoenix E272, and that piano has the agraffes on every note, not just up to C5.

I'm very insensitive to tuning so I am not bothered at all by the bridge agraffe sound. I like the long sustain they give and find most pianos with normal bridge pins "short of breath" due to short sustain, including Faziolis. Now it's possible that Richard Dain's carbon fiber bridge cap can give great results in the bass section, I just haven't gotten the chance to hear it.

As far as dynamic range goes, I found the Steingraebers at Hurstwood Farm to be dramatically weaker than the Phoenix, so I'm surprised you had the opposite experience, Keith. IIRC Steingraeber fits Ronsen hammers while Phoenix fits Abels, so that might be a big part of the difference. If you played a Steingraeber-Phoenix that had the same hammers as a normal Steingraeber I suppose the experience could be quite different.

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