Recitals, concerts and folks just meeting up to play piano!

 

One of the great features at Michelle’s Piano Company is our recital hall.  This concert space conveys a warm acoustical environment in which the performer and audience are able to connect.  Michelle’s Piano is proud of the fact that we host our area piano teachers and their students for their recitals.  Students are given the opportunity to perform on a world class Steinway owned C & A instrument.  he C & A means Concert Artist instrument this piano,  is owned by Steinway New York.

Steinway has designated the C & A  for select markets across the United States.  This  group of instruments are known as the “piano bank.”  Each of these instruments are four years or younger.  It is important to note that the word’s best concert venues and artist only play on instruments that are not very old.  The Concert Artist piano that resides here at Michelle’s Piano is simply known as #286. Michelle’s piano also has a  C & A Steinway B #828   When world renown artist come to Portland, OR they are entitled to a Steinway piano from the local authorized representative.   These piano receive concert tuning and attention before performance.  The Steinway Concert Artist piano receives special designation because of its unique inherent tone quality, resonance and projection.  The benefit of this instrument is innumerable to both teachers, students and performers.

For the student many of them have never had the opportunity to perform their piece on a world class instrument.  Perhaps to the younger student, they just have never played anything quite this large!  The overwhelming feeling that a child to some extent is amazing.  To the more advanced and experienced student it is the realization that they will be able to play and hear their piece come alive.  For the performer they will enjoy the silkiness of the smooth action and the power of a V12 engine that follows every nuance that they command the instrument to do.

Like the times of old when Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin would entertain in the great halls of kings and nobleman or piano salons of the wealthy, as they used to be called.  The listener can be transported back to something of timeless beauty and magnificence in our recital hall.  Many comment on the old wood beams, the concrete floors and open space of the skylights.  This environment combined with the Steinway Concert Artist D creates a pleasing and memorable experience for all involved.

So whether your are a student, teacher, pianist or someone who enjoys live music, we invite you to come and experience our recital/performance space for yourself.  You can go to event page to see when the next upcoming concert is.

Linda Barker piano recital this past fall 2014

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The “Golden Age” Myth

They are rebuilders, technicians, and non-Steinway dealer who will claim that Steinway pianos built during the “Golden Age” are the best Steinway pianos ever built.   This is a myth that has been around since Steinway started building pianos.

Are older Steinway piano really better that new ones?

As the late Henry Z. Steinway, great grandson of the founder of Steinway & Sons, often said, “Steinway pianos crafted 40 years ago were always from the “Golden Age.” It didn’t matter which year- 1900, 1920, 1950, 2008- the ‘Golden Age’ was always forty years ago!

Why the myth exist?

There are very few piano dealers that are authorized to sell new Steinway pianos throughout the world (only about 68 in North America) but many piano dealers who can acquire used Steinway piano to resell.  Since they cant sell new Steinway pianos, it is to there benefit to advertise that their used Steinway from the ‘Golden Age is more desirable than a new one.

Artist demand the best

The myth of the ‘Golden Age’ is easily disproved.  Just look at the concert halls throughout the world who cater to the most discriminating pianist of our time. How old are the pianos you are hearing? On average, they are less than ten years old.  If the world’s most prominent pianist felt that pianos from the ‘Golden Age’ were superior to those produced today, we would not see new Steinways pianos on these stages.

These post is taken from Casey Saliba’s pamphlet titled “A Grand Guide to Buying A Used Steinway Piano”

Sound Advice on Pre-Owned Steinway

The soundboard lies at the heart of a Steinway grand or upright piano, which  is why Steinway & Sons takes great care in its design and in the selection of the wood used.  The soundboard is critical component in producing the imitable “Steinway Sound” you desire.

About the Sound Board

Closed-grained, quarter sawn Sitka spruce, with a prescribed minimum number of annual growth rings is the wood used for Steinway soundboards.  These close-grained lines enable the sound-producing energy to travel more efficiently to the end of the soundboard.  When combined with the soundboard  being gradually tapered from the center to the edge, which permits the freedom of movement, it creates a sound unparalleled richness, sonority, and sustain.

Steinway Never Sells Its Soundboards

Steinway sells their soundboards to no one, since the skills, expertise and machinery necessary to replace a soundboard is only available at the Steinway factory.  So if a used Steinway was restored somewhere other than the Steinway Restoration Center, it may still have the Steinway & Sons trademark logo on it, but if it doesn’t have a genuine Steinway & Sons soundboard, it has lost the internal magic that makes it a Steinway.

Soundboards From Scratch

Steinway d0es not buy their soundboards, instead the buy the spruce planks to the make their soundboards.   Steinway’s strict standards for soundboard spruce and their yield factor on the prime-grade planks they purchase is only 50% .   Meaning, of all the spruce that Steinway inspects and purchases, only 50% of that spruce goes into the making their soundboards.  This allows Steinway to build each soundboard to their standards not the lumber supplier’s.

From A Grand Guide to Buying A Used Steinway Piano-Casey Saliba

If It Doesn’t Have 12,116 Genuine….

…Steinway Parts, It Isn’t A Steinway!

“Used, vintage, and restored Steinway pianos are often prized for their unique beauty and enduring value. However, for years, non- Steinway dealers and unauthorized piano rebuilders have created a great deal of confusion in the piano industry.  Many piano rebuilders use inferior non- Steinway parts, seriously compromising an instrument’s performance and investment value.”- from A grand guide to buying a used Steinway piano,  pamphlet.

One of the easiest analogies to compare this issue is,  the auto repair industry. We often hear commercials that admonish us not to just trust  any auto repair shop to do repairs if they do not use OEM parts (Original Equipment Manufacturer.) Those of us who have had any repair to our automobiles with an authorized OEM shop who truly practice this ethical business practice are completely surprised as to  how much the repair is when we see the bill!  The same can be said of Steinway rebuilds using genuine parts!

Built For  A Steinway Piano

For more that 161 years, Steinway & Sons has been on a continued quest to improve the Steinway piano.  Continuous improvement means finding the perfect balance of the many thousands of parts which make up a Steinway piano. When a Steinway piano is rebuilt it is imperative that Steinway parts be used in the process if the piano is to play and sound as a Steinway should play and sound.

A Steinway piano is designed to use genuine Steinway parts, and it performs its best when these parts are used .  If the parts are not 100% Steinway, then the piano is not 100% Steinway and its performance and investment value will be compromised.

Why Do Some Rebuilders Use Non-Steinway Parts?

Non- Steinway replacement parts used in the rebuilding of a Steinway piano are purchased for one reason only: They are cheaper , both in price and in quality. There is no other reason.  Below is a comparison of genuine Steinway parts vs. non- Steinway parts for a Steinway Model O (5’10”) grand piano.

Price Comparison

Steinway vs Non- Steinway Parts

Hammers

Steinway & Sons   $540

Abel “Lite”  $275

Abel “Standard”  $310

Abel “Select”  $ 425

Imadegawa  $225

Repetitions (Whippens)

Steinway & Sons $1,250

Tokiwa “Steinway Style”  $875

Wrestplank (Pinblock)

Steinway &  Sons   $819

Generic “Single”  $445

Hammershanks with Flanges

Steinway & Sons  $650

Abel “Steinway Style” $419

Tokiwa “Standard”  $425

Backchecks with Wires

Steinway & Sons  $255

Tokiwa “Steinway Style”  $195

Soundboard

Steinway & Sons  Not for Sale

Generic Soundboard  $695

Generic Pre-Crowned Ribbed Soundboard  $2,170

As you can see, there is a significant cost difference between genuine Steinway parts and non- Steinway or “Steinway style” parts and this is the reason why there is such a great deal of confusion when shopping for a used Steinway piano.

The pre-owned or used Steinways for purchase at Michelle’s Pianos are either in original shape or have a verifiable “Steinway & Sons Parts Carton”  Our pre-owned Steinways will have received meticulous inspections of parts-they are cleaned, lubed and regulated.  Some voicing, needling the hammer heads, may be done.  Further voicing might be done at the request of the future customer.  Case work and cleaning is essential in making the piano “showroom ready.  When purchasing a used or pre-owned Steinway your safest, most confident and most satisfied peace of mind is with your local authorized Steinway representative.

For Those Whose Desire For a Used Steinway Piano is 100% Genuine

We at Michelle’s Piano Company have encountered many people looking for a used Steinway for their home or their studio.  Unfortunately, many people are simply misinformed when purchasing a used Steinway  and then make an unwise decision in the purchase of such an instrument.  Steinway & Son of New York strongly recommend when considering the purchase of a used Steinway that you look to one of their appointed partners in your geographic areas.

Simply put, you can only purchase a used Steinway piano with confidence from the authorized Steinway representative with true peace of mind.  Perhaps, I can use a car analogy.  If I am looking for a high end notable luxury car I would go to the authorized dealer in my area to preview and purchase one. For many reasons; they were selected by the manufacturer as having a very high standard in the areas of business practices, customer satisfaction, dependable and honest service work and a reputation that exceeds expectations.  Though I can purchase that car at any given car lot I will have the most success and pain – free relationship with the authorized car dealer. The same pragmatic rational thought and plan can be given to the purchase of a used Steinway from the authorized Steinway representative in a given area.   In this post we are going to look at seven types of USED STEINWAY PIANOS: (the following taken by pamphlet written by Casey Saliba www.usedsteinwaypiano.com or www.steinway.com)

1- Shell-  A used Steinway piano that has never been restored. typically, the piano is not in playing condition, if it will play at all. The piano has been neglected, damaged, or compromised, and has had no annual maintenance for an extended period of time.

2- Repaired-This is a Steinway that has had parts repaired over time without replacing any major components. The piano has been maintained and is still capable of being played daily, but major parts will likely need replacing in the future.

3- Rebuilt- A rebuilt Steinway is a piano in which all the components have been rebuilt to its original condition.  Some major components commonly rebuilt are the soundboard, bridges, and action parts, as well as the case.

4- Stein- Was – A Stein- Was is a used Steinway piano that has had one or more parts replaced with non- Steinway parts.  Therefore, it was a Steinway piano; now it isn’t.

5- Original- An original used Steinway is one that has never had any parts replaced since it was manufactured.  Typically, these are less than 20 years old.

6- Factory Restoration-  A Steinway piano that was restored by the Steinway Restoration Center in New York City and had the original parts replaced with genuine Steinway parts.

7- Heirloom Collection- Steinway Heirloom Collection piano are available through authorized Steinway dealers.  each Heirloom carries the same five year warranty as new Steinway, has genuine Steinway part and is distinguished by a medallion on the inner rim and a Certificate of Authenticity.

New Web Site is Live

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Our new web site is live!  We worked with Azunga to create a new web site that was easy to find new products, allows us to add new functionality to the site over time, and is scalable for the future.  We’ve added a ton of new pianos (both new and pre-owned), updated many, many piano pictures, and updated our piano listings to now include piano videos!  Now you can see and hear your favorite pianos from the comfort of your computer.

In addition to the new piano listings and the new web site management system we have a new events management system in place.  Now you can see all the details about a new piano event in a list, on a calendar, or see a history of the previous events we’ve held.  Our new event management system even allows our visitors to export the dates to their favorite calendar so that they never forget about that next big piano recital at Michelles.  Keep a look out for new events in the future.