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Steingraeber is a brand that has just recently hit my radar. Extremely low production volumes, hand-made in Germany for over a hundred years, gotta be totally steeped in tradition, no?

But man, they embrace some "weird" stuff. Magnetic actions, Sordino pedal, Mozart rail, knee lever, transducer soundboard system, aluminum lids, carbon fiber soundboards, welcome support for "New Music," including endorsement of arguably anti-snobby techniques, like "no front cross struts for New Music and Contemporary techniques" of...what, reaching into the top and plucking strings pizzicato fashion? And black/white colored dampers so you can tell which string corresponds to which key? There's even...a restaurant in the factory, or something?

I dunno. I guess I was expecting something a bit more...old school? Stodgy? I don't know what half of the stuff they're doing is, but I kind of love it, especially the fact that it's coming out of a family-owned, boutique maker. I gotta find a dealer nearby and try one of these gems.
Interesting. Any links?
Yeah, they've got some weird stuff here! https://www.steingraeber.de/en/innovationen/


Sordino - felt between the hammers: steingraeber.de/en/innovationen/sordino/
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Mozart Rail (drops the key dip): https://www.steingraeber.de/en/innovationen/mozart-rail/
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Carbon fiber soundboard: https://www.steingraeber.de/en/innovationen/carbon-fibre-soundboard/
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Aluminum core lid: https://www.steingraeber.de/en/innovationen/sound-projecting-lid/
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Magnetic upright action: https://www.steingraeber.de/en/innovationen/sfm-upright-piano-action/
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Key-colored dampers:
[Linked Image]

Just kinda wild and "embracing the new" in a refreshing way...
I like the features except for the hollow lid. I'm not sure you could do this anymore:

I recommend also playing the Steingraeber. They definitely also just have a nice sound, are wonderfully built. It is easy to get distracted by innovations, but after all it is sound that matters ;-)
Yes, they are beautiful instruments to play. I believe that a lot of the things you mentioned (with the exception, perhaps, of the magnetic components on the uprights) are ‘custom’ options. I believe there was a sordino pedal on the concert grand that I saw, but the other Steingraeber grand pianos were ‘just’ absolutely stunning, beautiful-to-play pianos without any novel features.
I'm slightly biased, but they are exquisite pianos in my opinion, with or without innovative options.
Worth remembering that all the things we love about pianos were once innovations.
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Aluminum core lid: https://www.steingraeber.de/en/innovationen/sound-projecting-lid/
[Linked Image]

Just kinda wild and "embracing the new" in a refreshing way...


I like this aluminum lid idea! It surely must be lighter than MDF. thumb

I think it's a novel solution to the problem of increased lid weight in modern pianos.
I have to say, I thought the lid on my E272 was lighter than expected, yet it pre-dates the aluminium design. I wonder whether it was an acoustic innovation first and foremost with the weight saving a side effect.
Originally Posted by Ppianissimo
It is easy to get distracted by innovations, but after all it is sound that matters ;-)

Yes! thumb
Originally Posted by Neil_UK
I have to say, I thought the lid on my E272 was lighter than expected, yet it pre-dates the aluminium design. I wonder whether it was an acoustic innovation first and foremost with the weight saving a side effect.

Two thoughts on this:

One, I forgot to mention that I was curious about the acoustic factor, whether the aluminum lid is more reflective as claimed, and/or if it matters (perhaps when the lid is raised and "aimed" at an audience. ??).

Two, I don't think perceived weight increase would be linear with the length of your piano, since the longer part tapers towards the hinge, and the width at the point where you lift would essentially help lever it up (i.e. most of the weight is in the forward part with the fly lid compounding the total, if that makes sense).


Oh, and a third thing: Welcome to PianoWorld, Neil_UK!
I've played on some pianos with extremely light lids, including some odd art-case designs where the lid and the left rim are a single piece. I've never really known how much of a difference it makes, sitting at the bench....

And yes, regardless of innovations, I'd really like to experience a "plain vanilla" Steingraeber. It just struck me as a maker that is more than a notch or two lower on the pretentious scale, where every decision has to be backed by 200 years of established European guild tradition!
Vanilla can be absolutely heavenly!
Originally Posted by Retsacnal
Oh, and a third thing: Welcome to PianoWorld, Neil_UK!

Thanks smile
Originally Posted by Gombessa
I've played on some pianos with extremely light lids...

And yes, regardless of innovations, I'd really like to experience a "plain vanilla" Steingraeber.

Lighter lids on large European and Asian grands would be a very welcome change. It's getting a bit out of control...the one on my Schimmel K230 is a bear to raise, and recovering from a relatively recent shoulder injury, the one on the Fazioli 308 I'm getting ready to play in a concert, tomorrow night, was no picnic, either! I really enjoyed having the Magic Lid installed on my Shigeru SK6 that I used to own, and do miss what it did.

Yes, it's fun to see what sorts of innovations they are trying at Steingraeber, and at the NAMM show they seemingly always brought a prototype of something new they're trying. But as for the "plain vanilla" piano underneath, I have to say in the 7 foot size class I love almost every model 212 I come across. For that matter, I almost bought a used 205 (the model which preceded the 212), some years back. One of my very favorite pianos at that specific size range. Pricey, though.
There’s an interesting model of a Steingraeber grand in Pianoteq.
A friend of mine has a Steingraeber. I played it. It has a very sweet sound.

John
Originally Posted by Fleer
There’s an interesting model of a Steingraeber grand in Pianoteq.

I think Steingraber's factory AdSilent implementation is a modeled Pianoteq sound, perhaps the same one?
Originally Posted by Gombessa
Originally Posted by Fleer
There’s an interesting model of a Steingraeber grand in Pianoteq.

I think Steingraber's factory AdSilent implementation is a modeled Pianoteq sound, perhaps the same one?
Good point indeed.
I owned two "plain vanilla" Steingraebers -- the C-212 (7 foot) and D-232 (7 foot 7 inches). Both were spectacular, especially the D-232.
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
I owned two "plain vanilla" Steingraebers -- the C-212 (7 foot) and D-232 (7 foot 7 inches). Both were spectacular, especially the D-232.

That's why I would be interested in your comparisons with Fazioli and Bosensdorfer. To be specific, though facile, how would you rate them for clarity and resonance?
I first played a Steingraeber in 1998 and have done several times since then. They are extraordinary pianos with a distinct voice, and the highest level of craftsmanship.

Introducing a moderator onto a piano isn’t really innovative but I like some of the other things. The Mozart rail is a nice idea, this concept was actually introduced to them by Richard Dain who’d been doing it on his own Bösendorfers for quite some time. Fazioli pianos have a similar but not identical thing with their fourth pedal except while the Fazioli pedal lifts the hammers closer to the string, it doesn’t alter the touch depth.

The coloured damper heads are a good idea, and the lighter more reflective lid is a nice innovation too. Other makers do have some similar ideas so we will see how it catches on over time. Nice pianos regardless of these innovations.
Originally Posted by Joseph Fleetwood
Introducing a moderator onto a piano isn’t really innovative but I like some of the other things.

Just got back from a concert at the Wigmore Hall - Sir Andras Schiff playing Haydn on a fortepiano (McNulty copy of a Walter). Hearing Schiff's subtle use of the moderator has been a revelation.
Possibly some of us is interested in the article:
https://www.pianistmagazine.com/new...sed-as-one-of-the-brands-of-the-century/
The virtual tour on Steingraber website is also a nice exploration
https://www.steingraeber.de/en/about-us/virtual-tour/
Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
I owned two "plain vanilla" Steingraebers -- the C-212 (7 foot) and D-232 (7 foot 7 inches). Both were spectacular, especially the D-232.

That's why I would be interested in your comparisons with Fazioli and Bosensdorfer. To be specific, though facile, how would you rate them for clarity and resonance?

Honestly, my observations about Bosendorfer and Fazioli aren't worth the pixels. Early in my search for the first acoustic piano, I played nearly everything on the market, and my choice boiled down to pianos by Fazioli, Grotrian, and Steingraeber. I loved the clarity of the Steingraeber sound, especially the clarity of the top two octaves, and -- especially in the D-232 -- the beautifully dark richness of the lower register.

Fazioli makes an amazing piano, and perhaps the action is to be preferred over anything else now available. I've loved listening to the tone color of some Bosendorfers I've heard.

I moved on to a Steinway Hamburg/Astoria "hybrid" rebuild a few years ago because I loved (and still love) that particular piano, for which I had to trade in my D-232. But there were qualities of that wonderful Steingraeber that I've never heard in any other piano.
Here is a nice demonstration of both the Mozart rail and the sordino on a Steingraeber concert grand. http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...zart-rail-demonstration.html#Post3199653
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Originally Posted by Withindale
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
I owned two "plain vanilla" Steingraebers -- the C-212 (7 foot) and D-232 (7 foot 7 inches). Both were spectacular, especially the D-232.

That's why I would be interested in your comparisons with Fazioli and Bosensdorfer. To be specific, though facile, how would you rate them for clarity and resonance?

Honestly, my observations about Bosendorfer and Fazioli aren't worth the pixels. Early in my search for the first acoustic piano, I played nearly everything on the market, and my choice boiled down to pianos by Fazioli, Grotrian, and Steingraeber. I loved the clarity of the Steingraeber sound, especially the clarity of the top two octaves, and -- especially in the D-232 -- the beautifully dark richness of the lower register.

Never mind Bosendorfer and Fazioli, you have put your finger on precisely the two points I had in mind.

As you may know Richard Dain puts thin soundboards into the Steingraeber bodies of his Phoenix pianos at Hurstwood Farm in Kent. He had two ten year old E-272s side by side there last autumn, one had a spruce soundboard the other carbon fibre. The sound of both was as you describe. Richard has always had Uwe Steingraeber modify the bodies he supplies. I suspect one or two of the mods made their way into your D-232.

About your switch to a Steinway. Some years ago Jürg Hanselmann put recordings on YouTube of his Romance on a Steingraeber and on a Steinway. When I asked him which he preferred, he said it depended on his mood or the weather.

Gombessa, the OP, is off to try Faziolis, Bosendorfers and Steingraebers. Let's see if the final choice is one of each.
Originally Posted by Withindale
Gombessa, the OP, is off to try Faziolis, Bosendorfers and Steingraebers. Let's see if the final choice is one of each.

If I choose one piano, chances are I can move it into our home. If I choose three, I'll probably have to fit all of them into a studio apartment.... shocked
One thing I find amazing is the "relative youth" of the Steingraeber brand, meaning they went from an almost invisible firm in the 80's/90's to constantly being in the top 5 or top 10 of modern manufacturers. You would almost believe they've been one of the top dogs for decades judging by their reputation.
Youth is indeed relative, Yojimbo. Steingraeber has been around since 1852, and havebuilt only about 40,000 piano in all that time. I don't think they began being known in the U. S. until the early 2000's. I had never heard of them before I saw their pianos at the NAMM show in 2000 in Anaheim. I was hugely impressed with the tone and quality of the instrument.

I like your moniker, Yojimbo. You must be a Kurosawa fan. (Me too). Great film, and a great cast - Toshiro Mifune, Isuzu Yamada, Takashi Shimura, Tatsuya Nakadai, and others
I actually heard about Phoenix Piano before I heard about Steingraeber (due to press about their carbon fiber soundboard). And as I kind of expect a music student plopped in front of a piano that doesn't have "Steinway" "Baldwin" or "Yamaha" on the fallboard, the name just completely glossed me by. I probably assumed it was some Chinese stencil brand trying its best to capitalize on sounding like "Steinway and Sons." I'll be honest, I only really learned about them at the beginning of this year when I started getting serious about shopping for an acoustic. So I totally believe that they are still generally unknown in a lot of markets.
Originally Posted by WilliamTruitt
Youth is indeed relative, Yojimbo. Steingraeber has been around since 1852, and havebuilt only about 40,000 piano in all that time. I don't think they began being known in the U. S. until the early 2000's. I had never heard of them before I saw their pianos at the NAMM show in 2000 in Anaheim. I was hugely impressed with the tone and quality of the instrument.

I like your moniker, Yojimbo. You must be a Kurosawa fan. (Me too). Great film, and a great cast - Toshiro Mifune, Isuzu Yamada, Takashi Shimura, Tatsuya Nakadai, and others

That I am, a Kurosawa fan. But the name I took mostly because of fond memories playing Final Fantasy X.

Originally Posted by Gombessa
I actually heard about Phoenix Piano before I heard about Steingraeber (due to press about their carbon fiber soundboard). And as I kind of expect a music student plopped in front of a piano that doesn't have "Steinway" "Baldwin" or "Yamaha" on the fallboard, the name just completely glossed me by. I probably assumed it was some Chinese stencil brand trying its best to capitalize on sounding like "Steinway and Sons." I'll be honest, I only really learned about them at the beginning of this year when I started getting serious about shopping for an acoustic. So I totally believe that they are still generally unknown in a lot of markets.

I'm sure Steingraeber is still a small name relative to S&S and Yamaha and many others. But I'm amazed at their fame and reputation in relation to how few pianos they have actually made, and how short a time they have sat in the top markets, especially the concert grand market. I hear more people talk about them than say, Grotrian or Seiler, who were two of the biggest german manufacturers during the 70's-90's.
The answer to Yojimbo's question is somewhere in this year by year history of Steingraber: https://www.steingraeber.de/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/History-of-the-manufacturers-ENG-2020.pdf

Quote
I loved the clarity of the Steingraeber sound, especially the clarity of the top two octaves, and the beautifully dark richness of the lower register.

Here are Jürg Hanselmann's recording of his romance I mentioned yesterday:

STEINGRAEBER E-272


STEINWAY D-274
When I was growing up in Chicago many decades ago, the top venues offered nine-foot pianos by Steinway, Baldwin, and Boesendorfer. I wonder what’s packed in those lockers now?
Originally Posted by ClsscLib
When I was growing up in Chicago many decades ago, the top venues offered nine-foot pianos by Steinway, Baldwin, and Boesendorfer. I wonder what’s packed in those lockers now?

I feel like there is more variety now in performance worthy 9ft+ concert grands than ever before (or is it that the players just change over time)?
Originally Posted by Withindale
The answer to Yojimbo's question is somewhere in this year by year history of Steingraber: https://www.steingraeber.de/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/History-of-the-manufacturers-ENG-2020.pdf

Thanks very much for this.
Ian,

Thank you for posting the videos. A lovely piece and performances. I understand the comments about the clarity in the upper octaves of the Steingraeber. Beautifully pure and clean without sounding hollow or thin.

There is a warm familiarity to the Steinway sound which is almost comforting in its own way. That said, from these examples, my preference would be Steingraeber. I hope to experience one in person someday.
Lovely performances by Herr Hanselmann. I found the bass on the Steingraeber more immediate and better balanced than the Steinway bass. The treble on the Steingraeber, on the other hand, could have been brighter. Given how Hanselmann in each bar was able to bring out the right hand melody against a subdued ornamentation (1-2-5 fingering, or 1-3-5), on either of the instruments, it appears the actions are about the same. On the whole, the sound was very similar between these instruments, but the Steingraeber has a slight advantage. I would have a very hard time deciding between the two without playing a lot of other repertoire.
Originally Posted by VinV
The virtual tour on Steingraber website is also a nice exploration
https://www.steingraeber.de/en/about-us/virtual-tour/

Yes, and they offer factory tours on the first Thursday of every month. Now that the corona situation is improving (at least the rules are being relaxed), I will stop by there in the foreseeable future. A good hour's drive from where I am. Just have to find out whether you have to register in advance (which I suspect). I’m very excited. smile
Originally Posted by Numerian
Lovely performances by Herr Hanselmann. I found the bass on the Steingraeber more immediate and better balanced than the Steinway bass. The treble on the Steingraeber, on the other hand, could have been brighter. Given how Hanselmann in each bar was able to bring out the right hand melody against a subdued ornamentation (1-2-5 fingering, or 1-3-5), on either of the instruments, it appears the actions are about the same. On the whole, the sound was very similar between these instruments, but the Steingraeber has a slight advantage. I would have a very hard time deciding between the two without playing a lot of other repertoire.

On the other hand I was amazed how different the sound was between the two even when listening on crappy little laptop speakers first time around. Based on these recordings I would most definitely prefer the rather lovely Steingraeber but I do suspect there might be recording differences as well as the tonal differences between the pianos - there is just so much detail and vibrancy in the Steingraeber whereas the Steinway is all a bit muffled and lacking in immediacy. Maybe my choice 'in the flesh' would still be the Steingraeber but I don't think there would be this much difference between them.
Originally Posted by gwing
Originally Posted by Numerian
Lovely performances by Herr Hanselmann. I found the bass on the Steingraeber more immediate and better balanced than the Steinway bass. The treble on the Steingraeber, on the other hand, could have been brighter. Given how Hanselmann in each bar was able to bring out the right hand melody against a subdued ornamentation (1-2-5 fingering, or 1-3-5), on either of the instruments, it appears the actions are about the same. On the whole, the sound was very similar between these instruments, but the Steingraeber has a slight advantage. I would have a very hard time deciding between the two without playing a lot of other repertoire.

On the other hand I was amazed how different the sound was between the two even when listening on crappy little laptop speakers first time around. Based on these recordings I would most definitely prefer the rather lovely Steingraeber but I do suspect there might be recording differences as well as the tonal differences between the pianos - there is just so much detail and vibrancy in the Steingraeber whereas the Steinway is all a bit muffled and lacking in immediacy. Maybe my choice 'in the flesh' would still be the Steingraeber but I don't think there would be this much difference between them.

So you see. I have hard time to withstand any Steingraeber recording. Unfortunately I have never a pleasure to play on those pieces of art. Played many Steinways, as they are all over and everywhere. Steingraeber (recorded) has some unpleasant clarity, almost to make me feel physical paint. Steinway is lush and full of overtones and colours. It has some calm, but you also see that there is thunder sleeping and only waiting to wake up... Tonality is very different, highs are more hard and straight on Steinway, mids are indeed bit muffled. Whatever, best piano I ever played was new concert grand C.Bechstein D282, I felt in love immediately. Didn't happen with almost any Steinway in my life.
Posted By: AJB Re: Can we talk about Steingraeber for a moment? - 03/13/22 07:16 PM
Interesting thread. I've been round the block with pianos, (Bosie, Faz, Boston, Steinway, Phoenix) and played a good few Steingraebers, mostly at Hurstwood, and met Udo a few times over the years.

In all cases the pianos are better than my capability. Everything sounds radically different when you get it home, and I find I get to love the sound of whatever I have chosen once the ability to compare in a showroom fades. In my experience a lot can be done by a decent tech to tweak the sound to personal taste.

I much prefer Steingraeber to Steinway, at equivalent size (D and B sized). I also think the attention to detail of Steingreaber is superb.

The Fazioli was used, I had it only briefly and was a divorce casualty but that was an outstanding piano with the best action ever apart from the Phoenix I use now.


Udo is clearly a very open minded man, works well with Richard Dain, and implements some great ideas. I must go and try one again.
Originally Posted by AJB
The Fazioli was ... an outstanding piano with the best action ever apart from the Phoenix I use now.

Is that Richard Dain's 3D printed action?
Posted By: AJB Re: Can we talk about Steingraeber for a moment? - 03/14/22 03:05 PM
No, it is the WNG action that Richard used to use before WNG made the action more flimsy. I prefer it to any Renner action I have ever played except for the Fazioli that sticks in my mind. The action on that was Renner I think but the Faz was a studio piano and had a lot of technician attention. Pretty sure it had a Kluge keyboard. Cosmetically the piano was typical of studio instruments (ie not cared for enough). I wish now I had kept it and had it refinished.


I do mean to try Richard's D3D action and discussed with Doug last time he came, but the Covid stuff has stopped me so far and the printed action only became available mid-2019 I think.
Yes do go and try the D3D action. My impression from a fleeting vist last autumn was it does "what it says on the tin".
See my thread on the new piano forum.

I set out to look at 130/138 when shopping for a new upright and ended up buying a privately sold E-272. I very nearly went for a C212 that Richard had for sale and was sold on his innovations, but there was something about the regular big Steingraeber that I simply fell in love with.

These are very special pianos, across the whole range.
Was that the one with the full second action included? What an amazing setup, I've never even heard of such a thing.
Yes thats the one... I will be having both actions regulated and the piano tuned this week. It's the first time I'll swap the actions since buying them both so will be very interested to compare in more detail now I know the instrument and action "one" that much better.
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