Buying a Steinway L or M : LUSENET : Everything About Teaching and Learning the Piano : One Thread


I presently own a Yamaha GT-10 (hybrid piano) and after 4 years of learning I now feel that it is time for me to buy an acoustic grand piano. I tried the Kawai, Yamaha, August Forster and Steinway piano. I think that my choice now is stopped on the Steinway but still don't know if I should get the L or M model.

Also as I live in Quebec, Canada the temperature and humidity varies a lot going from -30oC to +30oC. During the winter we use a central humidifer and try to keep the humidity in the house from 40% to 50% but when the temperature outside is -20 or less we have to lower the humidity to 20% if not the windows get foggy. Will it be better to install a micro-climate system in the piano? Or 2-3 weeks at 20% humidity is ok for the piano.

thanks for the answer. Sylvie

-- Sylvie Marchand (, February 02, 2004


I own an L and love it, but I also tried an M that was lovely. Play each and decide which one you just can't live without!

-- Arlene Steffen (, February 02, 2004.

Sylvie, I'm curious if you had the opportunity to try out any Boston pianos (they are designed by Steinway, manufacturing is overseen by Steinway, and considered part of the "Steinway family"). They are made in Kawai facilities, but our Steinway rep stressed that Boston should not be considered a "Kawai piano." My piano came with the Steinway warranty. I bought a Boston GP 178 a couple months ago and I am thrilled with it. My piano tech says my piano is one of the nicest pianos (in terms of sound and feel) that he has ever worked on. Cost difference aside (my dear husband said I could buy any piano I wanted, but Boston's lower price was a plus to me), I truly liked the sound and feel of this particular Boston better than any of the Steinways that the dealer had on the floor.

-- annie (, February 03, 2004.

Hi Annie,

Yes I did try the Boston. I don't know exactly what size it was but it was just beside the Steinway so I played on both back and forth. I did like it (the touch and the sound) but still prefer the Steinway sound as I mostly play classical music. I wouldn't mind buying it but I would still think about the Steinway piano. When I bought the Yamaha GT-10 I was sure if was for live. What a mistake... The next piano I'm going to buy I hope it will be my last one... Thanks anyway for your reply Sylvie

-- Sylvie (, February 03, 2004.

Hey that's great that you got to try one. I know what you mean about wanting this piano to be the "one" for life! I bought a piano 5 years ago that I soon realized was not a good choice for me, so I tried lots and lots of pianos this time around. I felt like the people at the piano store were probably getting tired of me coming in and playing for an hour or two at a time! But a piano isn't something to be decided on quickly---you have to try a wide variety of pieces on every piano you're remotely considering....well, you know the routine I'm sure. Hope you can have your "perfect piano" in your home soon!

-- annie (, February 03, 2004.

Hi, Sylvie:

I spent a year looking at, reading about, and listening to pianos before I bought my Steinway B last July. I simply love it - both the tone and touch are absolutely marvelous. The Boston is a fine piano as well, but (to me) the Boston does not have quite the rounded, rich sound of a Steinway. Of course, tone is a matter of personal preference and many people prefer a brighter tone than offered on the typical Steinway.

Concerning your questions on humidity, I've learned a fair amount on this subject by talking to tuners and reading technical material. First, any piano is made largely of wood, and wood expands and contracts with significant changes in humidity. I'm told that the "safety zone" for pianos is 35 to 50 percent humidity and the ideal humidity level is at approximately 42 percent. If your piano is maintained outside the 35 to 55 percent range, problems may occur. It is very important to install a Damp Chaser (or similar) humidity control system on your piano. The Damp Chaser system will help control the humidity level around the soundboard, helping to preserve its tuning. But many piano owners, including me, will add room humidifiers in the winter and dehumidifiers in the summer. These machines help protect the remainder of the piano. After all, regardless of your piano make, it represents a significant investment and every reasonable precaution should be taken to protect it.

I hope this was helpful.


-- Philip Tilton (, August 13, 2004.

Micro-climate systems such as Dampp-Chaser are very helpful. But they should be installed by a technician who understands them well. I agree that a good room humidifier and dehumidifier are also very important. I never achieved sufficient winter humidity until I bought a large Bemis unit with two bottles. This is a system that blows air through a honeycomb-shaped paper wick. Two bottles are essential to prevent running dry. If you get this unit, be sure to use the Bemis filters. Third-party filters are not nearly as good.

-- Stuart Leitch (, November 16, 2004.

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