I finally did it: I made up my mind, which is not something I do often.
So I bought a Steinway V-125 from around 1941 (there apparently is a good story of how it got to Switzerland but I don't know it yet).
I was torn because I connected with it about 10 seconds after I first touched it but it was a) big and black and b) potentially very loud for my small 3x5m living room.
The dealer was kind enough to reserve it for me so I shopped around a bit. All in all, I must have played 20-25 different, all very good, pianos - but not a single one spoke to me like this one did (although the other Vs were close). We measured the living room and built a mockup, I recorded other pianos to get a sense of loudness in comparison to my (then) Steinway Z. I just was not ready to commit to having this noisy monolith in my living room. The dealer asked me if it would be okay to lift the reservation since there was another potential buyer who wanted to look at it after the company holiday - so naturally, I said "sure". There is a good used market for Steinway Vs in a great variety of conditions and prices. So I thought I would make up my mind and find another one and eventually be ready to commit without any pressure.
So I played other Vs from between 1938 and 2018 and started to notice that they are very similar but not the same and, of course, there wasn't one that clicked as much.
- I really liked the look of a (walnut?) brown 1938 but it would have to be restored just for me, in the end, I figured that was to risky.
- There was a very nice sounding one from the 60s (I love the look) but the black keys were so narrow - nah.
- There was a 1994 one that was somehow unremarkable.
- There was a new 2018 model which was almost as good but simply too expensive and I didn't like the keytops.
- The last one I played was a nice one from 2005 which was a bit expensive but primarily in shade of brown that wouldn't fit with any living room I would want to live in.
So about 3 weeks after I lifted the reservation, I tried to call the dealer, leaving a somewhat desperate message on their answering machine and sent them an email that, if it wasn't sold yet, I definitely wanted it. They were officially on holiday, so I got a bit nervous. Fortunately, the dealer called me back and gave me the good news. He would have it delivered only 5 days later.
It's completely re-done, hammers and strings look immaculate, as does the casing. The ivory keys are perfectly white and the regulation is spot on. It's like a fine sports car, it reacts to the smallest inputs with precision and you know that, if you want to, it will give you a lot of power.
I always thought of myself as a Bösendorfer guy but well, what can you do?
It's perfect for my midlife crisis - like an affair, only way more time consuming and more expensive.https://photos.app.goo.gl/kqQLyvtXy3HHprfv7