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Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
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Just up the road from you in Thailand, I’ve been playing my locally-bought SK-3 for 7-ish years in living rooms similar to what you describe for hours/day, usually with all sliding glass doors fully open to the outside just 2 or 3 meters from the salt pool; over 5,000 hours of pure enjoyment so far.

So I can report that “muffled” impression of which you speak is merely a *first* impression at the dealer (especially as my ears had been accustomed to the standard, full-size, thin-sounding, used Yamaha upright @ home) and that what you’re hearing is a rounded/fat sound.

I’m strictly jazz/pop and do alot of LH, 5 note, rootless chording so you can imagine it’s crucial how far south my LH can travel without muddiness. So on a visit to my home, the official master technician did some quick magic and I got almost a full extra octave down there for these thick chords. And smacking a single note down there produces so many overtones...I feel like Stanley Clark (funk bass popping sound, yeah...).

On the action, again *wow,* never been happier, specifically w the dynamic range my RH soloing can produce, like soft-loud-soft when doing an 8 or 16 note run. Very pleasing, being able to create that sense of emotion with single note runs.

Last edited by krewster; 05/01/22 05:41 PM.
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They have a Sauter Delta available and a number of other top tier brands in Hong Kong.I am sure you could order a Delta through them.
https://www.tomleemusic.com.hk/products/sauter-185delta?_pos=2&_sid=8e7d18ae7&_ss=r

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Sorry I meant you could order a Sauter Omega through them.One of these store branches may just have an Omega in stock.When it comes to warranty work you may need, I think you would find the manufacturer very helpful in relation to your situation.

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Thanks all for the input. Just got back from Singapore; quite a tiring trip hence the lack of updates. Certainly met a number of interesting piano people...

Anyway, it's looking like a:

Blüthner Model 6 - Again, "new" because it's never been sold but the piano was likely made in 2004/2005/2006. Sounded good to me but the action might've been a little stiff and the piano costs at least 14 to 15k USD less than a new one.

August Förster 190 - Would be a brand new one from the factory; it is cheaper than the Blüthner and the overall price is slightly less than 55k USD.

Sauter Delta 185 - Brand new from the factory but would have to wait until next year to acquire it. Costs a bit more than the Förster.

I did manage to try a used, 15-year-old Estonia L190 and was not particularly impressed. That might've been because it was used but I don't know. Anyway, I'm not favorably inclined towards Estonia because their customer service is atrociously bad. I've attempted to contact them through multiple channels and have been completely ignored. Ugh.

Any thoughts?

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I’d expect the Bluthner to be the finest piano there…best reputation (also has the richest sound based on what I’ve heard in recordings). But I haven’t played any of these brands (let alone these specific pianos). Maybe the action could be lightened a bit. It’s also possible you’d get used to it pretty quickly.

Otherwise it mostly just comes down to which one you prefer.

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Do you like the sound of the Bluthner? Whatever you end up spending is going to be a significant amount and it's more than likely you'll like it. There's always a risk with ordering a new piano directly that you've never played though of not actually loving the sound very much.

That's why some would suggest if you decide to order a brand new one from the factory that you actually travel to the factory and pick one you absolutely love.

Last edited by Aritempor; 05/19/22 03:24 AM.
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How do you rate the Bluthner and the Forster?


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Putting aside the Estonia, the other 3 are all nice pianos. I did not play the Forster but i do know the other 2. For the Sauter it has been a long time, but my recollection is that it sounds very clear and articulate with a silvery tone which is quite specific to several Sauter pianos. The Bluthner will have more warmth in the mid bass and maybe more harmonic complexity, it has brilliancy also but not the silvery tone of the Sauter. At the end it is really down to personal preferences.


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Originally Posted by Withindale
How do you rate the Bluthner and the Forster?

PW cut me off before I finished this. Sidokar is right and Aritempor's visit would work well if the manufacturers have the pianos on show for you to choose

If it were me I'd decide between the Bluthner and the Forster as they available and then see if I wanted to wait for a Sauter.

Last edited by Withindale; 05/19/22 07:47 AM.

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Originally Posted by Withindale
How do you rate the Bluthner and the Forster?

Thanks for your insights all!

Blüthner - I liked the sound of it, resonant and warm; as I said, the action was a bit stiff and I don't know if it is naturally like that or whether that was due to age. I'm a bit scared of getting a piano that old even though it's supposed to be "new" - wouldn't a piano of that age already be showing a bit of wear and tear? If they don't discount the price further (they said the piano's only been in the showroom since 2010 but a serial no. of 151083 likely indicates the piano is older than that), I'm not sure if the piano would be a good value buy or not.

Förster - I unfortunately did not get to try the 190, only the 170 (which is too small for me), but I'm encouraged because the smaller model had a lovely, light action and a pleasant, silvery tone. The treble was maybe a bit thin; the Blüthner had perhaps a richer sound with more depth.

The Delta I also did not get to try; it seems like they had every size but the 185! However, I'm again encouraged because the Alpha 160 had a resonant sound with much projection. The dealer exhorted me to have titanium pins added if I buy the Delta (at extra cost) - he said that it would make a lot of difference in the sound but I've no idea if that's true or not?

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Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
The dealer exhorted me to have titanium pins added if I buy the Delta (at extra cost) - he said that it would make a lot of difference in the sound but I've no idea if that's true or not?

When I was shopping, I tried a Sauter Delta with the Ti pins. Honestly, without A/B testing next to a model without the Ti, I have no idea how you'd even notice what impact it has, if any.

I would just approach whatever model you test on it's own merits, whether the pins are Ti or cardboard...


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Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Thanks for your insights all!

Blüthner - I liked the sound of it, resonant and warm; as I said, the action was a bit stiff and I don't know if it is naturally like that or whether that was due to age. I'm a bit scared of getting a piano that old even though it's supposed to be "new" - wouldn't a piano of that age already be showing a bit of wear and tear? If they don't discount the price further (they said the piano's only been in the showroom since 2010 but a serial no. of 151083 likely indicates the piano is older than that), I'm not sure if the piano would be a good value buy or not.

Not sure I understand the situation. You mean that they have it in store for 12 years and never managed to sell it ? What about 2004-2010 then ?

I am not sure what stiff means for you. Everybody is using different terms. I assume you dont mean heavy but which has some sort of inertia or shows some difficulty to push the action ? if thats the case, I would assume that is due to the number of years without usage, which is not a good sign or could be a problem of humidity. I would have it checked by a tech, as it may be a sign of internal problems in the action. At least in mine, I dont feel anything unusual. The Bluthner piano are supposedly of lesser quality before 2005 or so though by that date, they were probably back to their top level. Normally it would have a Renner action.


Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
The Delta I also did not get to try; it seems like they had every size but the 185! However, I'm again encouraged because the Alpha 160 had a resonant sound with much projection. The dealer exhorted me to have titanium pins added if I buy the Delta (at extra cost) - he said that it would make a lot of difference in the sound but I've no idea if that's true or not?

A question for an expert ! but even if it does, the question is whether you will like the change.


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do you try playing yamaha sx pianos in Singapore?

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That sounds like a really frustrating trip, without pianos you totally (or even somewhat) liked, or even the correct models in stock. And it sounds like you’re still stuck buying a piano you haven’t played, in most cases.


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Hmm...I figure, maybe it's worth having a tech look at the Bluthner. Might only cost $100 or so, and you'd have all your questions answered.

From there, you might not need to spend money on any techs, because you'll be getting something new from factory. A tech inspection, tuning, and other work, would presumably be covered with the new sale price, after the piano is delivered (should you decide to go that route, e.g. with a Sauter or Forster).

FWIW even though you aren't getting to play on the exact pianos in the case of Forster and Sauter, these will be new from factory. They will be of a high quality and any additional customizations to voicing and regulation needed can be made later on.

Am I also correct in understanding that you can make custom requests from the factory in many cases, like "voice mellower in treble" or "medium key weight" -- something to this effect?

In any case, I gather that voicing and regulation work are not such a big deal for experienced techs, and are fairly small tasks in the big picture, relative to the work it takes to build or restore a piano. It shouldn't hold you back from getting the brand and piano you want, just due to logistics, that they have to order one from the factory, as a different copy from one you'll be demoing...

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Originally Posted by tirta
do you try playing yamaha sx pianos in Singapore?

Yes, the SX3 (which is all they had and none from the CF range were available).

I wasn't very impressed to be honest. From my point of view, most European-made pianos I've tried have more depth in the sound. Yamahas are clean and light but the overall sound is a tad thin and lacking in complexity.

All IMO, of course.

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Originally Posted by Sidokar
Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
Thanks for your insights all!

Blüthner - I liked the sound of it, resonant and warm; as I said, the action was a bit stiff and I don't know if it is naturally like that or whether that was due to age. I'm a bit scared of getting a piano that old even though it's supposed to be "new" - wouldn't a piano of that age already be showing a bit of wear and tear? If they don't discount the price further (they said the piano's only been in the showroom since 2010 but a serial no. of 151083 likely indicates the piano is older than that), I'm not sure if the piano would be a good value buy or not.

Not sure I understand the situation. You mean that they have it in store for 12 years and never managed to sell it ? What about 2004-2010 then ?

I am not sure what stiff means for you. Everybody is using different terms. I assume you dont mean heavy but which has some sort of inertia or shows some difficulty to push the action ? if thats the case, I would assume that is due to the number of years without usage, which is not a good sign or could be a problem of humidity. I would have it checked by a tech, as it may be a sign of internal problems in the action. At least in mine, I dont feel anything unusual. The Bluthner piano are supposedly of lesser quality before 2005 or so though by that date, they were probably back to their top level. Normally it would have a Renner action.


Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
The Delta I also did not get to try; it seems like they had every size but the 185! However, I'm again encouraged because the Alpha 160 had a resonant sound with much projection. The dealer exhorted me to have titanium pins added if I buy the Delta (at extra cost) - he said that it would make a lot of difference in the sound but I've no idea if that's true or not?

A question for an expert ! but even if it does, the question is whether you will like the change.

The saleswoman claimed that most apartment dwellers don't have the space for such a big piano, hence the Blüthner being unsold for so long. Not a very believable reason, IMO. She also insists that the piano was opened and crated in 2010. From my research, a serial number of 151083 likely indicates that the piano is quite a bit older. I can't say for certain, however, because Blüthner has not been immediately forthcoming about serial numbers and ages since about 2003. Once I know exactly how old the piano is, I'll be making a counteroffer to the saleslady (she's already dropped the price a fair bit once).

When the keys are pushed on the Blüthner the feeling isn't as light as, say, a Schimmel or a Yamaha. I'm not an expert so I can't say whether Blüthners generally feel like that or whether that's the piano's age talking. I'll no doubt have the piano thoroughly evaluated by a technician if I get serious about buying it.

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Originally Posted by chromaticvortex
Am I also correct in understanding that you can make custom requests from the factory in many cases, like "voice mellower in treble" or "medium key weight" -- something to this effect?

The Sauter dealer is the only one who's proffered that this can be done.

Honestly, he was so passionate and sincere in delivery that I feel almost obligated to get a Sauter! At the very least, he convincingly makes the Sauter sound (in every which way) like a brand that's an octave above all others.

It's a pity that the Delta is 5 cm shorter and that one would have to wait so long to finally get it.

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Originally Posted by RiverwayInca35
It's a pity that the Delta is 5 cm shorter and that one would have to wait so long to finally get it.

Well...


If you're going to consider a custom order and put up with the associated wait, there is always the Omega wink


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Sauter sounds like they're good at marketing...there's one across town (an Omega from 2016) I've been wanting to try. But I'd have to masquerade as a "prospective buyer", I suppose. I also want to try a Fazioli there. https://www.northwestpianos.com/collections/grand-pianos/products/sauter-omega-220-73

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