1

Topic: How about a Baldwin Piano?

Hello there fellow players of the pianoteq forum, I would like to ask your opinion for the old trustworthy sound of a baldwin piano, a sound that we have heard in so many recordings including Ray Charles, Professor Longhair, Nina Simone etc.

I believe that it would be a great opportunity for Modartt to release an upright or even a grand, baldwin piano.

Opinions?

2

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

Any new piano including Baldwin, or new update already there pianos which will be more closer to acoustic sound is fine for me. If I must to choose I will like to see Grotrian Steinweg grand piano. Anyway, you have my vote.

Last edited by slobajudge (18-06-2016 16:53)

3

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

Steinweg is also a great piano, I have played once a grand on institute Goethe in Athens.

4

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

1+ for an older Baldwin grand or upright.  I don't know if Baldwins were popular in Europe, however. Here in the States, we associate them with popular music, but I don't know if they are well-known elsewhere.

5

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

Everyone who is aware of recordings in the USA studios, is aware of Baldwin pianos...a must have in my opinion for the pianoteq series

6

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

But are there many older, good Baldwins in France? I really don't know, but Modartt would need to have extended access to one. Baldwin may not have marketed heavily in Europe, given the strong competition from German and French makers.

7

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

I would love to see the Baldwin added to PTQ!

8

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

I have a Baldwin SF10 model from about 1970. It is a grand with approximately the same scale as Steinway B. I've played quite a few of both of those models. It of course depends on the particular piano and how it is voiced, but to my ears the SF10 sounds very similar to Steinway B, except for the extreme bass and treble. The very treble end is a little different, because of the different strategies for dealing with non-speaking portions of the strings. The extreme bass on SF10 is somewhat bigger in volume than on the B, and not quite as clear. However, in the "heavy traffic" middle of the keyboard compass, the two models are very very similar. I'm sharing this because I think overall the excellent PTQ Model B emulates both the Steinway B and the Baldwin SF10 pretty well.

9

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

TimN wrote:

I have a Baldwin SF10 model from about 1970. It is a grand with approximately the same scale as Steinway B. I've played quite a few of both of those models. It of course depends on the particular piano and how it is voiced, but to my ears the SF10 sounds very similar to Steinway B, except for the extreme bass and treble. The very treble end is a little different, because of the different strategies for dealing with non-speaking portions of the strings. The extreme bass on SF10 is somewhat bigger in volume than on the B, and not quite as clear. However, in the "heavy traffic" middle of the keyboard compass, the two models are very very similar. I'm sharing this because I think overall the excellent PTQ Model B emulates both the Steinway B and the Baldwin SF10 pretty well.


Hello Tim,

You bring up an excellent point regarding the way any particular acoustic piano is voiced.  Of course, there is variation from piano to piano within any model series of a given brand.  Restated, there are good Steinways and there are not-so-good Steinways, just as there are good Baldwins and not-so-good Baldwins.  Personally, I am glad for you that your SF10 is vintage c1970, when Baldwins were still considered to be competition against Steinway.

The good people at Modartt chose a Hamburg Steinway B to model that came from the "Martha Argerich Edition," one of 25 pianos that Argerich selected and signed, based on especially good musicality.

Cheers,

Joe

Last edited by jcfelice88keys (24-06-2016 16:04)

10

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

I don't want to spoil such enthusiastic requests. 
But if a Baldwin is very close to Steinway in sound, why do we need that now if we already have two good steinway models on pianoteq ?

Last edited by Beto-Music (24-06-2016 22:07)

11

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

Beto-Music wrote:

I don't want to spoil such enthusiastic requests. 
But if a Baldwin is very close to Steinway in sound, why do we need that now if we already have two good steinway models on pianoteq ?

I agree, with regard to the Baldwin SF10 vs Steinway B. The PTQ Model B covers them both, in my opinion. However, those are the only Baldwin and Steinway models I have experienced enough to compare. The Baldwin SD10 model was comparable to Steinway D, but I have never played either one, alas....Perhaps someone else here has experience with both of these and can comment?

12

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

Perhaps Modartt could create something with just few work, a special preset.

If the main difference of the respective Baldwin models to the Steinways are in the deep trebble and extreme bass, and considering pianoteq main engine have even more options of adjustments than Pro version, like adjustmens only the programmer have access, maybe they could create a very well and wise preset to get close to the Baldwin.  A Steinway BW preset...

It would take much fewer time, compared to a new whole add-on model, and could please a lot of people. And they would save time, energy and money for a new model of a piano with more distint (singular) sound in relation to what is already available.

Just my humble opinion.

TimN wrote:
Beto-Music wrote:

I don't want to spoil such enthusiastic requests. 
But if a Baldwin is very close to Steinway in sound, why do we need that now if we already have two good steinway models on pianoteq ?

I agree, with regard to the Baldwin SF10 vs Steinway B. The PTQ Model B covers them both, in my opinion. However, those are the only Baldwin and Steinway models I have experienced enough to compare. The Baldwin SD10 model was comparable to Steinway D, but I have never played either one, alas....Perhaps someone else here has experience with both of these and can comment?

13

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

Some perspective in recent history:

The Baldwin company, in Ohio, USA, which goes back to 1857, fell on hard times and went bankrupt at the turn of the century.

They sold themselves to Gibson (the guitar company) in 2001. Gibson's financial backing enabled Baldwin to resume production of their models in their Ohio factory in 2001, but Gibson saw that sales and business for these American-made pianos could not be sustained, and started implementing a plan to have Baldwin-branded pianos manufactured in China. Since 2008, they no longer build pianos in their USA factory, and all new Baldwins are built in China.

If Pianoteq wanted to develop a Baldwin model, I think they would do well to model it on an example of a properly-maintained USA-made Baldwin manufactured well before 2001.

There is a problem that would need to be addressed. Gibson, Inc. is very protective of their trademarks, patents and copyrights, and they own the Baldwin name. If Pianoteq were to market something as a model of a Baldwin, they would have to obtain a trademark licensing agreement with Gibson, Inc.

Last edited by Wheat Williams (27-06-2016 23:04)
Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America
macOS 10.12 Sierra
Apple MacBook Pro (mid-2012), 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5 3210M "Ivy Bridge", 16GB RAM
PreSonus AudioBox USB external audio interface

14

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

Wheat Williams wrote:

If Pianoteq were to market something as a model of a Baldwin, they would have to obtain a trademark licensing agreement with Gibson, Inc.

Or, they could eschew the trademarks and go with a letter, like they did so far? B10 for their SD-10 full-size grand? Ehehe. Remember even the current D4 model doesn't flat-out say it's a Steinway D model. The only really authorized and endorsed model is Blüthner Model One.

Hard work and guts!

15

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

I'm not sure that I hear a Baldwin as sounding all that similar to a Steinway B. I think of an older U.S. Baldwin as having a richer, but less bright, and more woody midrange. But I must admit that I have never been able to play a Baldwin grand and a Steinway B that were sitting side by side.

16

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

Let's try to find out some vídeos of Baldwin and Steinways to compare.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP1XxVKISbU

Last edited by Beto-Music (28-06-2016 00:58)

17

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

I think that the Baldwin in your video is a fairly new piano, BetoMusic. The typescript of the Baldwin name looks recent. I tried to find a video of an older Baldwin, but instead found a recording of Marian McPartland's show with Bill Evans. Both are playing Baldwins. The timbre is a little brighter, to tell the truth, than I expected. Great playing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zufMaufJZo

What I like here is the articulated midrange. The sound is percussive but each note has body and presence. And listen to those sustained chords on "Reflections," which begins at about 30:30.

Last edited by Jake Johnson (01-08-2017 16:28)

18

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

Jake, it's from 1997, at least it's what the author of the video said:

"Amazing Concert Grand piano! Check out new video posted on the profile page.
Built in 1997, I came across this piano during the Washburn bankruptcy auction and I was blown away by the sound. In fact, I had the opportunity to acquire a Steinway 9' in the same price category but I chose the Baldwin because this particular instrument was superior in both touch and overall sound. Our technicians want to see it go to a larger performance hall or church, my hope is that we can find an owner who can truly appreciate the power and complexity of this piano. We will arrange delivery to anywhere in the US within 10-14 days of the purchase. If you are local, I would be willing to place the instrument in your home or venue for up to a 12 month play period. This will give you time to explore the instrument, raise funds, and start playing right away without any financial risk. Check out the video and please call us if you have any further questions. This piano is special! I have references from a couple concert pianists if you need a 3d party to vouch for the personality and playability of this piano."

Last edited by Beto-Music (29-06-2016 13:55)

19

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

I do like the sound of modern Baldwin grands, too, and I've read that their baby grands have a good sound. The older Baldwins, however, have a distinct, unique voice. But these views come just from listening to recordings and from having played an older Baldwin here and there. I have not had the opportunity to play an older Baldwin and a recent one side by side.

Let's hope that other people will post videos or recordings.

Last edited by Jake Johnson (01-08-2017 16:30)

20

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

I think there are too many uncontrolled variables in random recordings and videos to permit generalizations about the sound of Baldwin vs Steinway grands. You would need the same mics, mic placements, pianist, room acoustics, condition and voicing of the instruments, etc.  However, you may wish to visit the archives of the Piano World forum, and search for the threads on Baldwin SF10 and SD10 pianos.  As I recall, one of the designers of those pianos participated in the forum, and offered information about the design of the string scales, the issues with the oddly laminated bridges, the unique hitch-pin system, and what the golden years of Baldwin manufacturing were. Plenty of disparate opinions on that forum, too, about relative sound and merits of Baldwin vs. Steinway.

21

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

A current thread on the Keyboard Corner forum supports the need for a Baldwin:

http://forums.musicplayer.com/ubbthread … ost2869384

22

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

Gibson should be very, very interested in this kind of opportunity to market the Baldwin sound to the people. What good is it to own a piano brand if it is not accessable to most of the people. Makes no sense at all.

http://livingpianos.com/pianos/baldwin- … no-245276/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RIzRpjXcfwY

I would say let's go for it. You have my vote also.

thx,

Otis

U4, YC5, D4, K2, Pianoteq Standard 5.8.1

23

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

Jake Johnson wrote:

... a recording of Marian McPartland's show with Bill Evans. Both are playing Baldwins. The timbre is a little brighter, to tell the truth, than I expected. Great playing.

Two absolutely great piano talents. What a great video. Thanks for posting.

24

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

Otis wrote:

Gibson should be very, very interested in this kind of opportunity to market the Baldwin sound to the people.

I don't think it is Gibson choice. It's not as if Modartt would be infringing some patent... it would be reverse engineering of the sound on an entirely new medium, more like being inspired (modeled ''after'' Gibson xyz etc.) rather than a clone. It just has to name it G or something similar. Most of the sound generated by piano's are probably not copyrightable... two piano's can be of entirely different brands with their specific patents, yet generate sounds which are similar...

So I guess it's up to Modartt to model after Baldwin.

Last edited by Lucy (02-08-2017 16:06)

25

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

I'm a Baldwin enthusiast, too...I have an SF10. I'm not opposed to a Pianoteq model of a 9-foot SD10 or 7-foot SF10 Baldwin, which I believe are the best Baldwins. However, I honestly don't think a Baldwin model would greatly differ from the existing (Steinway) D, (Steinway) B and K2 models, except for more prominent bass. What do you hear that distinguishes Baldwin grands from these?

Also, there is the issue of finding an excellent Baldwin for the Pianoteq team to measure, sample and model. Are there any Baldwins in Europe?

26

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

---

Estonia, Fazioli smile

Estonia grand pianos
http://www.estoniapiano.com/274.html

Fazioli grand pianos
http://www.fazioli.com/en/pianoforti/model/f308

However, I imagine that it can sometimes be challenging to obtain a piano manufacturer's permission and cooperation to create a virtual-instrument version of one of their grand pianos and to use their brand name. Without the manufacturer's cooperaton, If the Pianoteq developers were to model an Estonia and Fazioli, they might need to refer to them without the brand name, as perhaps "Estonian grand 274" and "Italian grand F308," if some grateful benefactor were to buy and donate or loan one of those Estonia or Fazioli grand piano models to the Pianoteq team. smile

I'm grateful that Bluthner and Grotrian cooperated with Pianoteq. Both the Bluthner and Grotrian grand pianos in their current version in Pianoteq sound magnificent, and in my opinion draw positive attention to those piano brands.

---

Last edited by Stephen_Doonan (04-08-2017 15:17)

27

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

TimN wrote:

I'm a Baldwin enthusiast, too...I have an SF10. I'm not opposed to a Pianoteq model of a 9-foot SD10 or 7-foot SF10 Baldwin, which I believe are the best Baldwins. However, I honestly don't think a Baldwin model would greatly differ from the existing (Steinway) D, (Steinway) B and K2 models, except for more prominent bass. What do you hear that distinguishes Baldwin grands from these?

Also, there is the issue of finding an excellent Baldwin for the Pianoteq team to measure, sample and model. Are there any Baldwins in Europe?


The clear, melodic, loud, "thick" midrange, to me, is the telling quality of a good Baldwin, and I suspect that is why they are often found in popular music (from Ray Charles to L. Bernstein). The articulateness of the midrange lets the piano be heard well with a singer's voice and then slip into a solo in the tenor to octave-above-middle-C range and be heard well. And the sustain is wonderful--again, listen to Bill Evans on the radio show.

I'm not sure if there is anything different in the construction that contributes to this midrange--a later break, thicker strings, the number of strings in the unisons, a different strike position on the strings? People hear and like the difference from Steinways, but I haven't seen a discussion of what exactly causes the difference that people hear.

I, too, worry that there may be few good Baldwins in Europe, given the many good piano manufacturers there. On the other hand, jazz is more popular in France and England than in the U.S., apparently, so there should be a club or seven with a Baldwin.

(I do wish someone had thought to videotape Marian McPartland's shows. The audio quality is usually excellent, but we would have a large library of videotapes of almost every 20th century jazz piano player. And I wish someone would restart the show.)

Last edited by Jake Johnson (02-08-2017 20:38)

28

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

It is very interesting to read all these kinds of suggestions about pianos, Baldwin, and other instruments. And of course Modartt read them too, always. It is good that we can give them ideas. But in my opinion it is self-evident that Modartt choose what to model. By the way, in 1970s (Finland) my pianoseller offered a Baldwin piano to my school (he said something like ” how about a Baldwin piano? It is a very hot thing in America now”), but school had not money enough, unfortunately, we had to buy a cheeper instrument, Rösler.

29

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

One interesting thing about newish Baldwins is that they have adjustable hitch pins. You can change the height of each string individually, and thus change the down-bearing on the bridge for each string. See: http://livingpianos.com/piano-brands/wh … itch-pins/

30

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

Jake Johnson wrote:

One interesting thing about newish Baldwins is that they have adjustable hitch pins. You can change the height of each string individually, and thus change the down-bearing on the bridge for each string.

For people like myself (not at all versed in the details of piano mechanics), what I'd appreciate an idea as to what this means in terms of sound production, or indeed maintenance ?

31

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

Jake Johnson wrote:

One interesting thing about newish Baldwins is that they have adjustable hitch pins. You can change the height of each string individually, and thus change the down-bearing on the bridge for each string. See: http://livingpianos.com/piano-brands/wh … itch-pins/

Baldwin pianos seemed a rave of my youth which largely was dedicated to 60’s and 70’s music.  Fondly I remember my always seeing one Baldwin or another, as I was a drummer er percussionist in the former state and national championship now defunct L.A.P.D. Junior Concert and Marching Band, the Los Angeles Unified School District Honor Band, and nearly every Southern California orchestra —excluding the LA Philharmonic. 

While within those orchestras I represented a minority; in them I was the only minor playing with adults!

Today as a jazz drummer who uses Pianoteq to learn and simulate some live jazz recordings, I am definitely after a Baldwin sound.  Specifically, I seek to match the sound of a Baldwin that was owned by Paul Desmond and played by pianist Kenny Barron. 

You may hear that Baldwin piano as it was played on Kenny’s Live at Bradley’s CD.

Only one word, the word “singing” came to my mind just as I sought to become descriptive of the piano’s sound and duplicate it in Pianoteq —though unsuccessfully.  I heard some singing; that maybe was present in the sustained notes or reverberations as I listened to the CD.

Anyway, afterwards I do feel I’ve identified or associated the Baldwin’s sound correctly; via Jake Johnson's post I just discovered Robert Estrin at www.LivingPianos.com also uses the word “singing” to describe a Baldwin’s sound.

Thank you, Jake Johnson.

Last edited by Amen Ptah Ra (10-08-2017 16:51)

32

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

sjgcit wrote:
Jake Johnson wrote:

One interesting thing about newish Baldwins is that they have adjustable hitch pins. You can change the height of each string individually, and thus change the down-bearing on the bridge for each string.

For people like myself (not at all versed in the details of piano mechanics), what I'd appreciate an idea as to what this means in terms of sound production, or indeed maintenance ?

I'm not qualified to give a thorough explanation, but I can try to convey my own understanding. The term itself describes the pressure that the strings exert on the bridges, which transfer the string vibrations to the wooden soundboard, which then transfers the vibrations to the air, and thus to our hearing. If the down-bearing of a string is too great--if strings push too hard against one of the bridges--they compress the soundboard, making it more rigid, and thus dampen the vibrations. The tone goes dead or the piano does not react proportionately to the strength of the key strike. Soft blows do not stimulate the soundboard enough; hard blows push the vibrations into the wooden soundboard too fast--hard strikes "break up" into a percussive sound. (The amplitude and tonal dynamics, in other words, are compressed.)

If the down-bearing is too light, the vibrations are not conveyed to the soundboard efficiently, and the energy is instead dissipated in the strings and in their movement over the bridge--the strings can slide around over the bridge very slightly with each vibration. Energy is lost before the vibrations even reach the sound board, in other words. So the ideal down-bearing is neither too heavy nor too light. It would seem almost simple to find this sweet spot, but other factors weigh into the equation--the soundboard is often not the same thickness all across its carved area, and its irregular shape, carved to best vibrate under the strings of various lengths and thicknesses above it, means that different pressures can be needed for different strings. And minute changes in the pressure at any spot can have large consequences on the tone. And all of the other physical elements of the piano weigh in--the string thickness and wire type, the hammer hardness and height, and almost everything else. So there is no single, ideal down-bearing pressure that can be applied to the bridges of all pianos. The makers instead calibrate all of the elements to create what they hear as the ideal sound.

(Steinway uses a low down-bearing, in the sense that it is calibrated to be exactly enough to convey the string vibrations to the bridge and sound board without dampening the sound. Steinway in other words, uses the terms "low" to mean "low in comparison to a too-heavy down-bearing.")

So...What Baldwin may make possible is more control over the amplitude and tonal dynamics of each key. But...

This note-by-note adjustment of the string height CANNOT be responsible, exactly, for "the Baldwin sound," if we mean the sound of the older grands. Baldwin only filed the patent in 1966. (See https://www.google.com/patents/US3478635 ) On the other hand, the company was surely experimenting earlier. The new hitch pins had to come out of research into varying string heights, or previous practice.

Last edited by Jake Johnson (07-08-2017 04:44)

33

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

If Pianoteq were to make a Baldwin piano model available to customers, it would have a clear advantage over any possible sampled library from a Baldwin, simply because a Pianoteq model of a Baldwin (having the Accu-just hitch pin system) could allow the system adjustment parameter, right where you now adjust duplex resonance in the standard Pianoteq version —but, individual note adjustments of the Accu-just hitch pin system in Pianoteq Pro.

Clearly, at this level, no sampled piano library is more capable than Pianoteq, to make a fully capable VST completely and even mechanically representative of a Baldwin piano!

Last edited by Amen Ptah Ra (12-08-2017 19:59)

34

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

Check this video :

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHqpKGL2opY


I can see people starting to require pianoteq to get option to ON-OFF wrapped in the begining of the treble strings...

Last edited by Beto-Music (06-08-2017 15:33)

35

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

I removed a reply and instead searched a little bit more on this, being myself ignorant of all the terms and mechanism involved. Vertical pins does not seem to be unique to those Pianos, from what I have found, Charles Walter makes them too. Also, seems that the decision was taken to simplify the manufacturing process and that the mechanism has brought its share of problems (defective pins etc.)

accu-just hitch pins adjustments:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jImiLGEdz4A

Found discussions on the potential problems, here is one:

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads. … uesti.html

36

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

Thanks for posting these videos. I was surprised to see that the strings themselves must be pushed up or down to make the adjustment. I had assumed that the newer hitch pins were just screws, so that the pin itself was moved.

37

Re: How about a Baldwin Piano?

Just to say thanks to everyone who has supplied info on the purpose of the previously mysterious hitch-pins.  Fascinating how something like that can have such an effect on the sound.