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Upright Piano for the Studio

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Anonymous
July 30, 2004 6:16:16 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I really don't know a hell of a lot about pianos, but I'd like to get
an upright for the studio. It would be mostly for pop/rock and some
jazz. No classical, so an upright should be sufficient. What should
I be looking for? What kind of considerations, what makes, what
models, etc.? I'm thinking of spending no more than about $2,500.

More about : upright piano studio

Anonymous
July 31, 2004 2:02:21 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<< It would be mostly for pop/rock and some
jazz. No classical, so an upright should be sufficient. What should
I be looking for? What kind of considerations, what makes, what
models, etc.? I'm thinking of spending no more than about $2,500. >>



Don't bother. I brought our family's Baldwin baby grand to the studio,
figuring small would be better than nothing at all. Little pianos sound like
little pianos. Unless you're recording Old West Saloon music or kitschy
ragtime, you'll miss the mark.

In the context of a dense rock or pop arrangement, the studio's Roland RD600
has been adequate. I go across the street and rent time at Vermont Public
Radio's performance space when I need a real piano. They have a well
maintained Yamaha C5 which sounds pretty good. Any smaller than that and the
low end falls apart, IMHO.


Joe Egan
EMP
Colchester, VT
www.eganmedia.com
Anonymous
July 31, 2004 2:48:07 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<< I'm thinking of spending no more than about $2,500. >>

That's a tough price point. I'd look for a used Charles Walter. They record
incredibly well. I'm not going to say what big name studio it was, but the
owner thought mine sounded better than his $40,000 Yamaha! And I'm not
kidding.
Related resources
Anonymous
July 31, 2004 5:41:28 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

jroberts258@hotmail.com (J. Roberts) wrote in message news:<50f89045.0407301316.72cc31cd@posting.google.com>...
> I really don't know a hell of a lot about pianos, but I'd like to get
> an upright for the studio. It would be mostly for pop/rock and some
> jazz. No classical, so an upright should be sufficient. What should
> I be looking for? What kind of considerations, what makes, what
> models, etc.? I'm thinking of spending no more than about $2,500.

In my limited experience (since I mostly play guitar :) , the Yamaha U1,
U3, U5 etc. are moung the best upright pianos. Though certainly they
don't sound like a grand, they are at least real instruments.
Anonymous
July 31, 2004 8:48:44 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I've gotten some great sounds with an upright.

I've had to play with taking various parts off and mic from further
than i expected. Some compression can bring out a lot.

The single most important thing is getting it tuned before the
session. That will competely change the way the overtones interact.
Anonymous
August 1, 2004 2:56:08 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

In article <953629a1.0407311241.576d3f4f@posting.google.com>,
Gary Flanigan <gary_flanigan@ce9.uscourts.gov> wrote:
>jroberts258@hotmail.com (J. Roberts) wrote in message news:<50f89045.0407301316.72cc31cd@posting.google.com>...
>> I really don't know a hell of a lot about pianos, but I'd like to get
>> an upright for the studio. It would be mostly for pop/rock and some
>> jazz. No classical, so an upright should be sufficient. What should
>> I be looking for? What kind of considerations, what makes, what
>> models, etc.? I'm thinking of spending no more than about $2,500.
>
>In my limited experience (since I mostly play guitar :) , the Yamaha U1,
>U3, U5 etc. are moung the best upright pianos. Though certainly they
>don't sound like a grand, they are at least real instruments.

Steinway used to make an upright piano years and years ago, and they were
really nice sounding instruments. The best upright I have ever played, though,
was a Petrov, and I think the Petrovs are very underrated.

I disagree with the person who said it's not worth buying a piano at all if
you have to buy an upright. There are some good uprights out there that are
actually useful for something other than a cheesy tack piano sound. You have
to do some looking, though.
--scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
Anonymous
August 1, 2004 2:56:09 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Scott Dorsey wrote:

> Steinway used to make an upright piano years and years ago, and they were
> really nice sounding instruments. The best upright I have ever played, though,
> was a Petrov, and I think the Petrovs are very underrated.
>
> I disagree with the person who said it's not worth buying a piano at all if
> you have to buy an upright. There are some good uprights out there that are
> actually useful for something other than a cheesy tack piano sound. You have
> to do some looking, though.

I had an old Steinway upright years ago. It sounded better than some
grand piano's I've played.
Anonymous
August 1, 2004 6:43:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

For that kinda money, look into Kawai MP 9000 series stage piano...you can
DI with perfect piano sounds plus strings etc....

Talk with Gerard at Carillon Music
7050 King George Hwy.
Surrey BC
604-591-1161

-bg-

--
www.thelittlecanadaheadphoneband.ca
"J. Roberts" <jroberts258@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:50f89045.0407301316.72cc31cd@posting.google.com...
> I really don't know a hell of a lot about pianos, but I'd like to get
> an upright for the studio. It would be mostly for pop/rock and some
> jazz. No classical, so an upright should be sufficient. What should
> I be looking for? What kind of considerations, what makes, what
> models, etc.? I'm thinking of spending no more than about $2,500.
Anonymous
August 1, 2004 11:08:51 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

J. Roberts wrote:
> I really don't know a hell of a lot about pianos, but I'd like to get
> an upright for the studio. It would be mostly for pop/rock and some
> jazz. No classical, so an upright should be sufficient. What should
> I be looking for? What kind of considerations, what makes, what
> models, etc.? I'm thinking of spending no more than about $2,500.

My piano tuner recommends reading "The Piano Book" by Larry Fine. It's
about buying and owning a piano. I'm sure it won't tell you what to
buy, but it will give you some information that might make you at least
feel well-informed if/when you buy one.

By the way, from what I understand, the author was threatened with a
lawsuit after the first edition came out. Seems he gave out information
that a certain manufacturer didn't want the public to have, or something
like that. On a totally unrelated note, I'm not sure I'd buy a Baldwin
piano.

Now some info from a total amateur:

(1) Look at how tall the piano is. Generally, uprights with longer
strings sound better. Some uprights have really short strings.
(2) Some pianos stay in tune well; some don't. Whether it's in tune
will vary based on how long since it has been tuned and whether
it has been moved since then. In theory you could ask for the
name of the piano tuner they use. My piano tuner keeps records
of when/what he tunes, so others may as well, so this might be
a way to get an assessment of whether it stays in tune, as well
as other info about its condition.
(3) Play every single note on the piano. Are all the keys level?
(Put your head near the keyboard and look horizontally across
to see if they line up.) Do they keys have a uniform feel when
you hit them? Do any stick? Is there extra resistance on
some keys?
(4) Can you play the piano softly and loudly, or is it just always
loud or always soft? As pianos age, the felt on the hammers
hardens, and that means the strings get struck harder, which
screws up dynamics.
(5) When you release a key, does the string ring a little bit?
Listen for overtones that persist after the note is supposed
to stop. This can be due to hardened felt on the dampers
(I think), but it is also a design thing.
(6) Does it sound good when you play it? Of course, that's kind
of the ultimate test. Although, pianos (like cars) require
maintenance and not just tuning, so it's not the only important
thing. Cheap pianos get noticeably worse as they age.

You may get better results by asking this same question in another
newsgroup, like maybe rec.music.makers.piano.

- Logan
Anonymous
August 1, 2004 11:12:03 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<< In my limited experience (since I mostly play guitar :) , the Yamaha U1,
U3, U5 etc. are moung the best upright pianos. >>

I'll second that. They are the best uprights I've run across.


Scott Fraser
Anonymous
August 1, 2004 11:31:48 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

Scott Dorsey wrote:
> Steinway used to make an upright piano years and years ago, and they were
> really nice sounding instruments.

Did they stop making them? I was in a piano store just a couple of years
ago, and I saw one or two of them that looked brand new. And I agree that
they did sound nice, by the way...

- Logan
Anonymous
August 2, 2004 12:06:24 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

J. Roberts wrote:
> I really don't know a hell of a lot about pianos, but I'd like to get
> an upright for the studio. It would be mostly for pop/rock and some
> jazz. No classical, so an upright should be sufficient. What should
> I be looking for? What kind of considerations, what makes, what
> models, etc.? I'm thinking of spending no more than about $2,500.

I just bought a good condition 1905 C. Bechstein upright for equiv US$600
incl freight 200 miles (arrives Tuesday !). You should be able to get a
reasonable quality used baby grand for 2K5 I would think, or a highly
up-market upright (Bechstein, Lipp, Yamaha, etc. Steinways probably
disproportionately pull more dosh used than they are worth...).

geoff
Anonymous
August 2, 2004 5:33:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

<< I disagree with the person who said it's not worth buying a piano at all if
you have to buy an upright. There are some good uprights out there that are
actually useful for something other than a cheesy tack piano sound. You have
to do some looking, though. >>




You're probably referring to my post. Aside from the difficulty in miking
them, Most uprights I've recorded have sounded like caricatures of pianos in
the final mix. I'm sure there are exceptions to this. For $2500, though, I
think you'd be hard pressed to find a good sounding, playable uright piano that
recording musicians would be eager to hire for a recording session.


Joe Egan
EMP
Colchester, VT
www.eganmedia.com
August 2, 2004 10:19:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

I'll second the opinion that a decent upright is better than none at
all. I have an unremarkable Wurlitzer spinet that has served pretty
well for me. For rock & roll, especially the early 60's/50's
influenced stuff my band plays, I think that an upright is possibly
preferable to a grand because of the lack of overtones. I've gotten
the best results by taking off as much wood as possible and sticking
an M-88 under the keyboard or behind the piano micing the soundboard.
This technique works well when you're using the piano as a rhythm
instrument blended in with the rhythm guitar (which is how I usually
use the piano). I've also got a surprisingly full "lead" piano sound
by sticking an E-47 in fig.8 a few feet out from the high end of the
piano (the null actually pointing towards the piano). This placement
happened by accident when I left the E-47 on after a vocal take and
the piano sounded better through the "ambient" mic than the one I had
placed.
The other thing to consider is simply that having a "real" piano IMO
and experience (albeit limited) is that it is much more inspiring for
musicians to play than an electronic keyboard. There have been several
occasions when a band that has no real intentions of using a piano on
a track will decide to use it after fooling around and being surprised
with how good it sounds. And although I haven't heard too many
high-end electronic keyboards in a studio setting, my Wurlitzer still
sounds more like a "real piano" than any electronic simulation I've
heard. As far as brands to look out for, I've played a nice Yamaha
studio piano (P-38?) and a Steinway upright that I'd definitely prefer
over my Wurlitzer.

good luck,
Bill
Anonymous
August 2, 2004 11:12:42 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

EganMedia wrote:
> << I disagree with the person who said it's not worth buying a piano
> at all if you have to buy an upright. There are some good uprights
> out there that are actually useful for something other than a cheesy
> tack piano sound. You have to do some looking, though. >>


>
>
> You're probably referring to my post. Aside from the difficulty in
> miking them, Most uprights I've recorded have sounded like
> caricatures of pianos in the final mix. I'm sure there are
> exceptions to this. For $2500, though, I think you'd be hard pressed
> to find a good sounding, playable uright piano that recording
> musicians would be eager to hire for a recording session.
>
>
> Joe Egan
> EMP
> Colchester, VT
> www.eganmedia.com
Anonymous
August 2, 2004 11:13:41 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

EganMedia wrote:
> << I disagree with the person who said it's not worth buying a piano
> at all if you have to buy an upright. There are some good uprights
> out there that are actually useful for something other than a cheesy
> tack piano sound. You have to do some looking, though. >>


>
>
> You're probably referring to my post. Aside from the difficulty in
> miking them, Most uprights I've recorded have sounded like
> caricatures of pianos in the final mix. I'm sure there are
> exceptions to this. For $2500, though, I think you'd be hard pressed
> to find a good sounding, playable uright piano that recording
> musicians would be eager to hire for a recording session.
>

I can't imagine many pianists would be after an upright at all. Unless you
painted it rainbow.

geoff
Anonymous
August 4, 2004 10:35:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

For that kinda money, look into Kawai MP 9000 series stage piano...you can
DI with perfect piano sounds plus strings etc....

Talk with Gerard at Carillon Music
7050 King George Hwy.
Surrey BC
604-591-1161

-bg-

--
www.thelittlecanadaheadphoneband.ca
"J. Roberts" <jroberts258@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:50f89045.0407301316.72cc31cd@posting.google.com...
> I really don't know a hell of a lot about pianos, but I'd like to get
> an upright for the studio. It would be mostly for pop/rock and some
> jazz. No classical, so an upright should be sufficient. What should
> I be looking for? What kind of considerations, what makes, what
> models, etc.? I'm thinking of spending no more than about $2,500.
!