Pianos in a roomThe new shop has been coming along nicely, becoming more organized, more functional and more representative of me. I’ve been very focused on an August Forster 215 that I’ve been reconditioning, if you call a new pinblock and bridge repair reconditioning. Some of the earlier heavy lifting really bogged me down, but after stringing it moved into the area where I can work more quickly and efficiently.

While getting the 215 going, I had neglected some of the other pianos I have here and I recently put in the concentrated effort it takes to get them all sounding good. What a surprise!

It turns out that this is a fascinating collection of pianos to have in the same room and under my control. I’ve found exploring the tone of these pianos so interesting and fun that I decided to write about it, mainly as a way of recording my thoughts and observations. After all I do hope all of these instruments find forever homes soon!

Great…more writing about how pianos sound. Futile I know, but interesting none the less to perhaps somebody. A fair number of people seem to stumble on this site so I thought I’d give you a taste of the inside of these kinds of discussions.

So, the pianos are:

  • Feurich 172  handmade in Germany
  • Feurich 178  Ningbo with modifications
  • Feurich 218 Ningbo, with modifications
  • August Forster 215
  • Bosendorfer 225

I know…what a collection, right?!

This is not a “which one is best” investigation. They all have their place. This is more of a  chance to explore how pianos from different makers sound different and what are the characteristics that make up families of piano tone, in this case Eastern European and  Asian/American.

There were 2 main take-aways. One was how the Ningbo models changed dramatically with the addition of a good set of cold pressed hammers. To me it shows that pianos with excellent design and craftsmanship still needs high quality in critical  action components to show their true character.

The second is seeing 3 members of the “we sound different” club in the same room. One a brash young upstart, another a middle aged college professor and one a grizzled veteran who just had some reconstructive surgery.

Which is which? You’ll have to stay tuned.