Different Piano “Sounds”

Even though any one piano maker may offer many different models of pianos ranging from spinets to concert grands, there often seems to be a certain quality, or “family resemblance”, among all the products of one brand, especially with regards to tone quality. Each piano maker seems to cultivate a certain unique sound or tonal character that differentiates the instruments bearing his name from those of all the other brands. At one time or another, you have probably heard pianists talk about that “Steinway,” “Baldwin,” “Yamaha”, or “Young Chang” sound.

This is not just sales hype. Whether the original maker consciously intended to cultivate a particular sound, or whether it was just a natural outcome of each individual maker’s unique way of approaching piano design, each piano brand does tend to exhibit certain characteristics, or traits, peculiar to its family of origin. For this reason, a competent technician may be able to adjust (voice or regulate) let’s say, a Baldwin so that it sounds or feels “close to” or “more like” a Steinway (or vice-versa), but the two brands can usually never be made to sound “identical”, because each has certain deep-down qualities that cannot be changed due to fundamental differences in the basic design.

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