Instruments, Useful Information

The New, Upright Yamaha U3

It gets good reviews.

Guzélya’s opinion:

“Students have been pleasantly surprised by this excellent beginner’s piano.”

Overall opinion:

“The U3 has all the advantages of the U1: the same technology and quality of materials, but with increased height. Measuring 1.31m tall, this model offers greater power and better sound projection. Its frame design renders richer bass sounds and ultra-smooth mid-highs. It has a very precise and dynamic touch across the entire keyboard. Recommended for professionals. There are times when top of the range upright pianos are accessible at affordable prices.”

See the YAMAHA Centre website

The Steinway B211

The Excellence of the Grand Piano.

Guzélya’s opinion:

“The keyboard in ivory has a sensitive, delicate touch.”

Overall opinion:

“…and now I’ve just had my first lesson on the Steinway B211. Well, with Guzélya’s teaching and the Steinway, I’ve got to say that I’m in Nirvana.
I can already say that it’s probably, no definitely, the best piano I’ve played. (Blast! I’m going to blaspheme. I would happily trade my Pleyel pianos for this Steinway.) First of all, there’s the amazing depth and sustain of the bass sounds and, well, I’m just going to have to repeat that whole thing about “the Steinway’s singing mids and pearly trebles.” You know, it’s not a hype. And there’s also the staggering accuracy of the mechanics. You feel as if you could add endless nuances of light and shade. I’m starting to understand why most concert performers prefer the Steinway. I had already played it in the shop at Guzélya’s request (she had kindly asked me to come when she went to try it out) because she wanted to hear what it sounded like from a distance. To say there was only Jean-François, her husband, would be an understatement… Also present were his mother, who has a very good ear; her daughter, who is also a good pianist; Mr. Auday, the shop owner; two employees, including the boss’s sister who showed up when they heard Guzélya playing; the technician-tuner, and a customer who stayed when Guzélya started playing… Pressure? What pressure? Yet, despite all this, I still thought it was superb at the shop. We compared it with the Bechstein baby grand and the poor old Bechstein, although it had a nice tone, just could not compete. (And to think I had believed it was so good when I’d played it before!).
What is more, the piano has now been voiced twice by Fred, Auday’s technician (he’s really good at what he does and he voices and tunes some of the concert Steinways in the region, for, amongst others, the late B. Engerer and A. Queffelec, no less), once in the shop to make some basic improvements according to Guzélya’s instructions and once in situ. (It was impressive to see Guzélya going from register to register, explaining how the piano played and how she wanted it to be. I had the same impression when I saw Alain Prost explaining to his racing engineers how the car behaved corner by corner and how he wanted it to be.) In short, if there exists a ‘piano lesson paradise’, it must look like this.
Guzélya played me the first movement of Beethoven’s Sonata 17, and what is so nice is that in the Fortississimo parts the sound remains fully defined with incredible precision (and, believe me, when Guzélya plays Fortississimo, she means business).”

Mr. Michel Bérit-Debat writing /under the pseudonym of Hoffman 13,
in an article from Sunday, the 4th of November, 2012

“It’s very simple: produce the best pianos in the world! Obtain the highest possible level of quality to ensure that the piano you play sounds like a Steinway. The make’s tonal colours can be heard upon the initial adjustments, thanks to the choice of wood and the overall build. However, ultimately, when you play several new Steinways put next to each other, you will always end up preferring one in particular! So, it is indeed the pianist who imposes his or her personality.”

Read more from the article by Mr. Bernard Desomières

“The B-211 has a peerless reputation amongst pianists. It is appreciated in all musical styles due to its true versatility and expressive capacity. It can be found in many conservatories for advanced students, in small concert halls, and it is played by professional pianists and demanding amateurs the world over. The make’s image ensures that the model enjoys the value of a long-term investment: a Steinway depreciates very little over time.”

The Pianist Website

“And then, the ‘must of musts’ is to have spent a week with the Steinway B211 model, which is unquestionably an outstanding piano. I agree with Loïc and his very accurate comments regarding the description of the piano. It’s the second time in my life that I’ve been able to play on Steinways of this size, and what strikes me most about these pianos is how player-friendly they are. They have a natural, easy and most pleasant touch; no need to overdo it to get a pretty sound. Suddenly, these are pianos which “carry” you along and help you as you play to produce your best performance. Everything seems to be easier to do and after having already experienced this feeling on a Steinway during an exam, I can tell you that you gain confidence when you feel “assisted” in this way.

I also thought that the piano’s balance seemed to be ideal: there are extremely deep basses (you can play very loud without having an aggressive sound), and the trebles are very pearly and crystal clear, which make it much easier to get melodies singing out. And then the tonal palette, the possibility of adding nuances of light and shade, seems to be so vast that you know in advance that you won’t tire of this piano any time soon. You’ll need a lot of time to acquaint yourself with it, and find out what “proportions” are suitable to use at any moment.”

Benoît Flaurac writing under the pseudonym of Why note,
on Pianomajeur

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Last edited: 2012-12-21