The Steinway Model A Family | What’s the Difference?
Question: “I was looking at Steinway Model A pianos and noticed that there are pianos labeled Model A-1, A-2 and A-3 and it is getting a bit confusing. What is the difference between these models of Steinway pianos?
The First Model A Grand Piano | 1878
The Model A family of pianos consists of several 6′ variants in Steinway’s line of grand pianos. The A-1, A-2 and A-3 are all in the same family, yet there are some distinct differences, and even differences within those models. Steinway & Sons was founded in 1853 and the first Model A, the A-1 was first introduced back in 1878. This piano measured 6’ in length. This piano was an 85 note piano and the scale design was scaled down from the larger Model B. When first introduced the Model A was actually the smallest of all of the grand pianos built and sold by Steinway. (This was before the introduction of the Models S, O, L or M.) The scale design was crafted by C.F. Theodore Steinway, an innovative man credited with many of the patents and technical advances introduced by Steinway in their early days of operation. This model was fairly historic in terms of innovation and introduced the bent-rim case construction, which allowed for a better transfer of soundboard vibrations, a technique still in use today.
The 85 note Model A-1 was replaced in 1892-93 by the 88 note Model A-1. The original scale design was modified by Henry Ziegler. This new 88 note Model A-1 did not last that long and was replaced in regular production by the year 1897.
Recently we have been updating our website’s portfolio section with some of the projects, both past and current that we have completed here at Chupp’s Piano Service. I encourage you to view the portfolio section on our site, to see the caliber of work we strive to complete daily here in our workshop. From one of a kind art case pianos, to unique concert hall ready pianos, our work spans a wide gambit. Embedded below are some highlights from our portfolio:
This Model A-II Grand Piano is the only Sketch #425 ever manufactured by Steinway & Sons. Featuring a stunning Tiger Oak veneer and ornate case carvings, this piano has a long and rich history as well! We completely rebuilt this unique and truly one of a kind piano. Click the photo below to read more.
January PTG meeting held at Chupp’s Facility
We regularly host Piano Technicians Guild meetings in our rebuilding facility here in New Paris, IN. The local PTG held their January meeting here at our shop and I hosted the lessons and discussions. We went over some Tips, Tricks and Techniques for minor piano repairs. Also discussed was how to deal with difficult and distasteful situations when going into customer’s homes to work on their pianos. (Mainly disruptive or aggressive animals, ect.) The highlight of the meeting was a comparison of five sample hammers on one of our rebuilt Steinway Model A-II Grand Pianos from five different manufacturers. Blind tests were conducted among the technicians to determine which hammers produced the best tone. We also played and assessed the power and tone of Steinway Model D #269017. This fully rebuilt and restored concert grand piano features a custom action and a unique and powerful Western Red Cedar soundboard.
Attached are several photos from the January Northern Indiana PTG Meeting.
About the Steinway Model B Grand Piano
The First Model B Grands
The Steinway & Sons Model B is considered by many to be a perfect balance of size and power making it a very versatile instrument. Measuring 6’11” in length, 58″ in width and weighing well over 700 pounds these pianos are much larger than a Steinway Model S, M, L. (And a bit larger than the somewhat comparable Model A-II.) The Model B ‘Music Room Grand’ was introduced in 1878 as a replacement for the piano that Steinway called the Monitor Grand. (The first several Model B pianos were built in the style of the Monitor Grands.) In 1891 #73212 the first Model B with an 88 note scale was introduced and in 1897 the Steinway Hamburg factory began production of the Model B.
Model D #269017 | A Unique Steinway Piano
In the early 1980s, I had a long conversation with Fred Drasche the former head service technician at Steinway. As we discussed the history of Steinway and their instruments, he told me that around 1950, Steinway produced two Model D grand pianos with Western Red Cedar soundboards. The red cedar was used in place of the regular spruce soundboards.
His words were “those were two of the best sounding Steinway Ds I ever heard.” For many years, we here at Chupp’s Pianos wanted to install a western red cedar soundboard. This goal was something which we were finally able to accomplish recently! Out of five pianos in which we installed western red cedar soundboards, Steinway Model D #269017 is the most powerful of them all. Some of the finest acoustic guitars incorporate western red cedar tops to obtain optimal tonal quality so utilizing this material in musical instruments is not uncommon. Attached is a link to more information about the piano and photos are embedded below.
Schools Need to Have Pianos Restored Too – Full Potential – Affordable Price
It is common for music-based and regular schools alike to have pianos that need to be restored. Often times, schools have pianos that are not performing at their full potential. Pianos in schools are typically used regularly and are often neglected wherein the instruments gradually lose their sound quality. The consistent, frequent playing on these pianos results in wear that many home pianos never see.
Playing music on a piano that needs to be restored is not a pleasant experience, as the piano simply will not produce the rich, full sound that it could. When a piano inside a school is working as it should, everyone using the instrument and listening to it will have a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
12.28.15 | Piano Video Highlights
As the month of December (and the year) come a close here are some of the month’s piano music video highlights via YouTube! Hopefully the new year brings with it even more musical joy!
Philip Balke performs a beautiful arrangement of Carol of the Bells on a fully restored 1925 Steinway L grand piano.
In this video Philip performs the Prelude to the Prodigal Son Suite by Keith Green. The piano in the video is a fully rebuilt Steinway & Sons Model D Concert Grand Piano. On this video we spent more time on the production which we think payed off!
Mason & Hamlin artist Jarrod Radnich performs a beautiful Star Wars suite. (In a stunning, dry location!)
Philip performs an original piece #18 on a beautiful restored Steinway Model D. This piano features a unique, Red Cedar soundboard.
For more piano videos be sure to check out our Chupp’s Pianos YouTube channel!
My Young Chang piano doesn’t seem to hold a tune and I have heard that the plate and pinblock aren’t aligned correctly. What can I do?
My Young Chang piano doesn’t seem to hold a tune and I have heard that the plate and pinblock aren’t aligned correctly. What can I do?
The pin block in a grand piano is obviously an important component to both the stability of tone and structural integrity of the instrument. About 40,000 pounds of tension is put on this piece of composite wood by the piano strings. Logically, care must be taken during the manufacturing and re-manufacturing process to ensure a secure and tight fit between the pin block and the cast iron plate. Recently we have come across a number of pianos where care was NOT taken during the factory manufacturing process. We have began/completed work on a number of Young Chang grand pianos where the fit between the plate and the pin block quite frankly was almost nonexistent as you can see in the photos below. Young Chang utilizes a very fine quality pinblock, so the bad fit is rather unfortunate.
The photo above shows that the only part of the pin block that is actually touching the plate is the small bead of glue/putty that was applied. (Near the bottom of the pinblock.) If the components are fit together as they should be, almost the entire face of the pinblock should fit snugly against the plate. As these pinblocks were probably cut quickly en mass at the factory, this resulted in parts that did not fit correctly. This then results in tuning instability and overall it reduces the structural integrity of the instrument. This instability results in a piano that slips out of tune very quickly and makes a stable tuning impossible. Unfortunately, this issue is normally discovered either near the end or after the termination of the factory warranty. Recently we began the repairs on two Young Chang manufactured grand pianos that have this issue.
We have a lot going on (as usual) here at Chupp’s Pianos. As chilly winter weather continues to push fall into the rear view mirror, progress and new things continue to happen here at our facility. New Steinway & Sons rebuilding projects have recently begun. This includes a rare, 1885 Steinway & Sons Model D Concert Grand. According to records, this piano was the 58th out of around 300 produced in its style. It was the first concert grand in the Steinway line to feature the Henry Z Steinway semi modern scale design! We are excited to begin work on this piano quite soon.
Also of note, is a Steinway & Sons Model B Grand Piano. This particular Model B grand is in a gorgeous Circassian Walnut veneer! The grain detail is quite distinctive and will be absolutely beautiful once we begin the refinishing process. Click here to view more photos of it ‘as is.’
We recently completed re-furbishing a number of high quality upright pianos. Including a Mason & Hamlin Model 50 Professional Upright and a Kawai UST-8 Upright Piano. Both of these instruments are a perfect choice for those looking for a slightly less expensive piano that is still of premium quality. We also are continuing work on several client repair/rebuilding projects. These include Baldwin, Steinway, Mason & Hamlin and Young Chang pianos. These projects range from simple repairs to full, premium restorations. Tuning, moving and other piano services also is keeping us moving.
Here at Chupp’s Pianos we truly enjoy preparing and delivering clients the piano that they have always dreamed of playing. And we are excited to push forward through the New Year!
“NEW TO YOU” UPRIGHT PIANOS IN STOCK HERE AT CHUPP’S
A high quality piano can bring years of music and joy to your life! Especially during the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas season.
Now is the perfect time to select and purchase a brand new to you piano, just in time for the holidays! Looking for something that is high quality yet still within a slightly tighter budget? We have the instrument for you! We recently placed a select number of pre-owned, high quality upright pianos into our showroom inventory. Of particular note are a Mason & Hamlin Model 50 upright and Kawai UST-8 upright piano. These instruments have been fully refurbished by our piano technicians! The actions have been repaired and concert regulated. The key tops have been repaired and cleaned and the cabinets have been repaired and hand rubbed to a satin sheen. Also in stock is a Wurlitzer upright piano in a satin walnut finish.
We also have MANY brand new Kawai Upright and Grand Pianos in stock, as well as our premium restored Steinway & Sons pianos. (We may also have a few Steinways in original condition as well, depending on when you call/email us.) No matter what your budget or personal taste, we have a piano that will fit for you.
The Mason & Hamlin and Kawai upright pianos are priced to move BEFORE Christmas. So if you are interested in these or other pianos, get in touch soon! (Click the button below to email us, or give us a call @ 1-574-831-5820.)
Steinway & Sons | A Basic History
In the early part of the 20th century there were more than 300 piano manufacturers in the United States alone, churning pianos out of factories large and small at a rapid pace. A piano was THE luxury item that everyone wanted in their home. If you didn’t have one already you wanted one and if you had one, you probably wanted to upgrade to a better one. Today, few of these companies remain in business, victims of changing taste and economic swings. However Steinway & Sons continues on.
The Steinway name is everywhere. From the cabinets of living room baby grand pianos to the foremost concert venues in the world, the mention of Steinway still commands a deep respect for the instruments and the music artists create with them. Here is a basic history of this famed business.
The Founding of Steinway:
The company was founded on March 5, 1853 by Henry Engelhard Steinway. An immigrant from Germany, he had already built 482 pianos by the time he founded the new company in New York, New York. His first Steinway & Sons piano sold to a local family for the price of five hundred dollars.
The company grew rapidly. So rapidly that within a year he moved the business to a larger facility on Walker Street. By the 1860s a new factory housed the piano manufacturing and a workforce of 350 were producing over 1,800 pianos a year. In the early days of Steinway, new ideas and innovation were key to their success. The famed duplex scale, overstrung bass strings and many other industry changing designs were developed during this time.
Recently we provided a restored Steinway & Sons Model B Grand Piano to Catherine Walker in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Here is what she had to say:
When I decided to begin the process of “active replacement” for my personal piano, I knew that there was only one call I needed to make. My experience with Chupp’s Pianos, while purchasing pianos for my school some years ago, was stellar and inspired complete confidence in my decision to return to your company. My hope was to upgrade to a more professional instrument but the acquisition of a Steinway seemed like a an unrealistic fantasy. That being said, here I sit with a gorgeous Steinway B in my home. I am still overwhelmed by this gorgeous piano and I still feel like I must be dreaming.
This was only possible with your help and guidance.
My entire experience with Chupp’s Pianos was first-rate from beginning to end. Every detail was anticipated and handled in a timely and professional manner. Your expert skills as a technician and artist combined with the beauty of this instrument has a created an piano which is truly magical. I fully appreciated your desire to customize this instrument for my specific tastes and desires as an artist…..and that you did! I am having difficulty walking past this piano without stopping to play it. Needless to say, other tasks lay in wait while I continue to go through my repertoire hour after hour. I am also excitedly planning to learn new repertoire because I think it would sound so gorgeous on this instrument.
Once I made the decision to purchase this instrument, I was concerned about moving the piano to Ann Arbor and shifting my current instrument to a new location. Once again, I was assured that Chupp’s Pianos delivers all over the country and again this process exceeded my expectations. The delivery was smooth as silk and the team was professional, helpful and personable. They attended to every detail and took great care moving both instruments.
In addition to the piano and the move, I appreciated you attention to other details that I desired such as a cover, the climate control system, an artist bench, a hygrometer, the polishing cloth and my very own Steinway mug…..which I have used everyday.
I am endlessly pleased with my entire experience at Chupp’s Pianos and will continue to highly recommend you and your company to others, as I have done in the past. This experience has simply confirmed what I have known for the past fifteen years. Dennis and all the folks Chupp’s Pianos make this company truly exceptional! What a gem in the heart of Indiana!
Catherine A. Walker
Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI
Cheyenne Civic Center’s Piano Ready for Upcoming Shows:
Recently Chupp’s Pianos restored a Steinway & Sons Model D Concert Grand Piano for the Cheyenne Civic Center. The piano was carefully rebuilt and regulated by our expert piano technicians to bring back the iconic Steinway tone we all know and love. Tim Chupp recently traveled out to Cheyenne, Wyoming to make some finishing touches to the instrument in its new home. Attached below is a photo of the instrument sitting on the concert venue’s beautiful stage.