A Letter to Udo Steingraeber

Dear Udo
It has been far too long since my last visit to Bayreuth. My son is 17 now and while he will someday treasure the photograph of himself at Wagners grave, alas, that day is not yet here.

I of course remember vividly my then 2nd visit to your works and your compelling description of the steps required to make a Steingraeber piano. I loved the Steingraeber sound before then and I love it to this day, even more so because I’ve had more opportunities to work on and become familiar with your fine pianos.


Steingraeber – Action and Reaction

Steingraeber is one of the world’s great pianos and I do not expect anybody with credibility to disagree with me. Like the other pianos at this level it has its own sound and style which may or may not appeal to you, but it is a great piano in any technical regard and has won enthusiastic followers the world over.

I really love the Steingraeber piano. I’ve played and worked on many and have found them to be amazing pianos in quality of  construction and tone and touch. I love the white key bushing felt instead of the customary red. I personally am reluctant to shape hammers with the extreme diamond point that frequently comes out of the factory, but I will happily maintain such a shape if Steingraeber says I should. Udo Steingraeber is one of the great men of the industry and Alex Karsten, his Klavierbaumeister, is skilled, friendly and down to earth.

Welcome to Retail – Allegro Pianos Manhattan

For the past 6 months I’ve been helping build a new high end piano retail store in New York City. Allegro Pianos Manhattan is an expansion of Allegro Pianos of Stamford CT. We represent Bosendorfer, Bluthner, Steingraeber, Estonia and Kawai. I split my time between maintaining all the pianos and working with customers.

It’s […]

2 basic concepts of fine piano tone

Let’s digress for a moment and speak in gross generalizations about concepts of piano tone.
I have come to the conclusion, specifically reinforced by Udo Steingraeber, that there are fundamentally 2 approaches to piano tone; high rim tension and low rim tension. (don’t bust my chops on theoretical details, remember this is gross generalization).
Low rim tension is characterized, IN MY OPINION, by Bosendorfer, Förster, and Blüthner, to name 3. These makers want no tension in the outer rim and to varying degrees want the rim to actually play an active role in tone production. These may be solid spruce like Bosendorfer, or layered like Bluthner, but they are not bent under great pressure when mating them with the piano. Again I’m open to correction, but Christian Blüthner himself described the layered/sectioned rim of a Blüthner as having “no tension”. […]

Frankfurt Music Show 2010

The Frankfurt Messe this year had a separate salon for piano makers, as well as the usual displays of accordion makers, brass and winds and combo gear. Overall the piano makers said business was up.

Visit to Steingraeber

Steingraeber is found in the bustling city of Bayreuth, which wears its illustrious musical heritage (both Wagner and Liszt are buried there) lightly..

Unlike some European makers, it’s hard to miss Steingraeber, being just off Steingraeber Passage.





Let’s see, isn’t there a piano company around here someplace?




My street cred must be higher, and my timing was […]

Travels – Florida

Fall means catching up on some travel and I headed south to the Orlando area and Naples. I flew into and out of Orlando, driving down to Naples and back. This is a bit of a drive but I had a pretty nice car due to an upgrade from Hertz.

I visited my dealer who […]

PianoGuy goes to Germany.

Just got back from a quick tour of 3 German manufacturers; Bluthner, Steingraeber and Schimmel. I’ve been wanting to visit these makers (and others) and took advantage of my son’s school break and a (relatively) cheap fare from Delta to fly from JFK to Berlin, rent a car, and spend 4 days driving through […]