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Joined: May 2001
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Originally Posted by tre corda
Why, I would ask, is it almost scary to say anything positive about Piano Buyer lately in this place? Why is one made to feel insecure about posting the ratings lately?
That is not the case about either PB or its ratings. Only one or two people routinely say something negative about PB.

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Originally Posted by brdwyguy
As the OB - who said anything about rebuilt, old, restored, refurbished, etc etc etc Pianos? I NEVER DID!

All I asked was is there or could there be a a list of the Years that Brands made their VERY BEST PIANOS?
Why is that so difficult to understand?

Sometimes, too many people on the forum OVER analyze questions & Comments! GEES!

There is no such list, and there cannot be. If there is one, it is wrong.


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Whatever!, perhaps you could something positive about the OP's post.

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What is asked for would be interesting but there are very few people having knowledge of sufficient pianos of even one of those brands, let alone all of them to truly know how they change over the years (think how we argue even over just models from the current production year). Doubly difficult as pianos from 1900 onwards were requested and specifically for a rating based on how good they were and not as they are now or after restoration - there are not many of us with personal knowledge of pianos when they were new in 1900 smile

Still, it would be interesting if we had such a list. Although we would never agree there might be some interesting discussions ...

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thank you gwing- i think you understood the spirit of my op!


1961-1964: Lester or Emerson Upright
1969-1992: Westbrook Spinet
1991-2021: Schomacker Model A (1912) "Schoowie"
2021-Present: Steinway Model A (1912) "Amalia"

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There are doubtless specialists who can provide some useful info, but so much of a piano's usefulness has to do with service and use, even beyond the individual manufacturing. So there was a golden age for Steinways (and a period when they were less inspiring or reliable), but the golden age M in my household needs to have the action completely rebuilt because of the verdegris corrosion, while the teflon model at my mother's still sounds surprisingly good, after having not been tuned for 20 years. After the $$ are put into the 1930 model, it may well be better (leaving aside the size difference), but who knows?

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Originally Posted by gwing
What is asked for would be interesting but there are very few people having knowledge of sufficient pianos of even one of those brands, let alone all of them to truly know how they change over the years (think how we argue even over just models from the current production year). Doubly difficult as pianos from 1900 onwards were requested and specifically for a rating based on how good they were and not as they are now or after restoration - there are not many of us with personal knowledge of pianos when they were new in 1900 smile

Still, it would be interesting if we had such a list. Although we would never agree there might be some interesting discussions ...

Exactly. This is a fraught discussion. It's like trying to compare opera singers today vs the golden age of the 30s. At the end of the day it all boils down to expert (and not so expert) opinion. Better to just enjoy the piano you have (or more accurately the pianist you have). Equipment alone is pointless without skill laugh

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Originally Posted by gwing
What is asked for would be interesting but there are very few people having knowledge of sufficient pianos of even one of those brands, let alone all of them to truly know how they change over the years (think how we argue even over just models from the current production year). Doubly difficult as pianos from 1900 onwards were requested and specifically for a rating based on how good they were and not as they are now or after restoration - there are not many of us with personal knowledge of pianos when they were new in 1900 smile

Still, it would be interesting if we had such a list. Although we would never agree there might be some interesting discussions ...

Maybe you can look at prizes that manufacturers won for their pianos. I like the idea, because there were good brands back then that are a bit unknown now. Some brands are not being restored because they don't have a big name now, while back then they were serious competition to those now more famous brands.

Last edited by Josephine83; 04/27/22 05:04 AM.
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Originally Posted by Josephine83
Maybe you can look at prizes that manufacturers won for their pianos. I like the idea, because there were good brands back then that are a bit unknown now. Some brands are not being restored because they don't have a big name now, while back then they were serious competition to those now more famous brands.
Prizes might be some indication but the problem with prizes, especially a long time ago, is that the contests were filled with all kinds of chicanery like bribing the judges. This is clear if one reads some of the books about the history of Steinway.

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You can only really give best general periods for certain brands, mostly driven by when changes of ownership occurred. For example Chickering was among the leading brands in the late 1800's up until around 1930 or so, before the company became part of Aeolian and specific quality gradually wore off to become just another brand. We're speaking of eras here, not particular years. These are generally well known for most high end brands. Sometimes there are specific years that are best avoided, like the Steinway teflon bushing, but these are the rare exceptions.


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And you have the brands that were taken over by the Eastern Bloc, to be restored in fits and starts later (or not).

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This thread is fascinating to me.

I'm not steeped in the history of instruments, but other than knowing that "old Stradvarius and Gueneri violins are great," I have a huge mental block about "golden age" and historic pianos being better than modern instruments, maybe because I've only heard them through the filter of the recording technology of the day. Kind of like seeing photos before the 1960s in black and white. But of course there were so many more skilled artisans steeped in the craft than there are today.

Is is really evident in woodworking/finishing that older instruments were built to finer, more exacting standards?


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