A most unique Steinway Model C piano

We are so excited to be offering this amazing 7’5″ Steinway Model C that we had to give it more attention than simply the listing in our used inventory. It has a quite the story to tell!

Steinway C no player

We originally acquired this piano in 1999 and began a restoration project that would go down in the record books. At that time, we had two model C’s in stock — the only time in 50 years that has ever happened. But that’s not all. The two pianos were very close in serial numbers and in condition. We wanted to see what it would be like if we rebuilt one using the original soundboard and one with a brand new Steinway soundboard — keeping everything else the same. Basically, we wanted to see what a new New York Steinway C would sound like vs. an old one, which is a comparison that cannot be made today since Steinway C’s haven’t been made in over 100 years.

In order for this comparison to be authentic, we had some expenses with this piano that we would normally not incur:
1) We wanted to give this piano a new, Hamburg Steinway soundboard (Steinway still makes this model in Hamburg, Germany)
2) For additional authenticity, we chose a unique way to procure the rebuilding and soundboard installation. We shipped the piano to Peter Mohr, a former Steinway employee and his father Franz Mohr, former Chief technician at Steinway and the personal technician to countless piano greats such as Vladimir Horowitz.

With this pedigree, it would be easy to argue that it is at LEAST as good as a new Steinway C — possibly better given the highly skilled attention it received. Both pianos then received new keys and a complete action from Steinway. They were then refinished to perfection and even received new, custom-made benches to match the Victorian legs on the pianos.

Steinway C Legs

To unveil the results, we brought the pianos to our Deerfield store and hosted a Piano Technicians Guild (PTG) meeting for the Chicago chapter. We let the technicians analyze them and share their findings. The results were interesting indeed. Both pianos were deemed beautiful instruments, but in the case of this piano, the consensus was that they felt like they were experiencing what a NEW New York Steinway Model C was like — clear and powerful, but with that vintage Steinway warmth. The other piano was very similar, but without the additional clarity and power that the new soundboard delivered.

One more interesting note — in the summer of 2000, after the restoration, we invited the legendary entertainer Steve Allen to perform a concert at our Deerfield location to celebrate our 50th anniversary. After the concert on this piano, he signed the piano’s iron frame. He died only a few months later.

Steinway C Steve Allen

If you think you might be interested in the most beautiful Victorian Steinway model C available anywhere, please contact http://www.chicagopianos.com at 630.584.5000.

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Chicago Pianos . com’s unique MIDI song files for pianos!

For most people interested in purchasing a Player Piano, the most important question is: “How do I get music for it?”  If you’re planning on buying a Yamaha Disklavier, PianoDisc system or QRS Pianomation, please read on!

Most new player systems today include a limited amount of music pre-installed and ready to play. When you’ve exhausted that music, there’s truckloads of more music available from the manufacturers, for purchase. And at an average of $2-3 a song, it can be an unwanted pinch, especially if you’re still licking the wounds from the purchase of the player piano!  🙂

midi-vault1This is why chicagopianos.com offers a most unique service — THE ONLY ONE OF ITS KIND and it attracts piano buyers from all over the country.  Back in 1997, we recognized the future demand for player piano “software” (or songs) and began compiling our own library of music — separate from what the manufacturers offer for sale in their own libraries.  This library is called our “MIDI File Vault” and it is available for FREE to our player piano customers through a password protected service.  Over the years our library has grown to include over 5000 selections, which means our library — if it were even purchasable — could arguably be worth upwards of $10,000 to each of our customers.

What’s in the library?
Some of the selections are public domain (MIDI file) performances that we have edited and converted into the specific type of MIDI format that player pianos read.  Other selections have been recorded for us by professional pianists.  We have regular contributors from all over the world so we are always adding to the library and it will always be FREE to our customers.  We all date the entries so you’ll know what’s new.  It is important to note that many of the selections are completely unique and are only available through our MIDI File Vault.  For instance, we have a 45-minute Christmas song medley performed by a pianist that covers many of the great Christmas tunes in one long medley.  There is no selection like this in any of the manufacturer libraries — for purchase or othewise.  It’s like having a cocktail pianist in your living room over the holidays; there’s a performance of Debussy’s First Arabesque performed by a 10 year old Hungarian boy who happened to be in our store many years ago when his family moved here to study with a famous professor.  It is the best performance of this piece we have ever heard and it’s magical (along with inspiring to children!) to know that it was performed by a 10 year old; there are downloadable ZIP files of the complete set of Chopin Preludes or Beethoven Sonatas for instance.  And that’s just the beginning.
We have the complete archived performances from the Yamaha Disklavier e-Competitions, where amazing young pianists from all over the world compete for scholarships through a competition that only exists in cyberspace:  The contestants record their performances into a Yamaha Disklavier from the short list of e-Competition official sites around the globe and the performances are adjudicated in the U.S. by a jury of piano professors.  Amazing!  Among other things, this shows the incredibly accurate recording and playback capabilities of a Yamaha Disklavier.
We make a point to include selections that are difficult to find or completely unavailable in the manufacturer libraries.  With all the amazing music that has been written for the piano, our MIDI File Vault expands the breadth of music from where the manufacturer libraries leave off.
midi-vault2It’s educational!
Many of the composer name headers are actually hyperlinks that provide you with the history of the composer and links to where you can buy the sheet music.  Some of the links even provide the history of the specific pieces — sort of like taking a Music Appreciation class…for free…and without having to leave your home.  As an axample, above the listing for Bach’s complete set of 2-Part Inventions, you can click on a link that explains the history of the pieces and what to listen for.  None of the player piano system manufacturers offers a service like this, even as a paid subscription!
It keeps you informed and updated!
We notify you about software updates for your player system, peripheral devices to enhance your system’s features and links to software that could help you enjoy your piano more.  Technology continues to open more doors to keep you enjoying your piano so it’s good to know about them!
The legal stuff…
When you receive a password to enter the site, you’ll be asked to accept the terms of the site, which include that the files are for personal use only by the original purchaser only and they are only to be used on the piano you bought from us.  We have agreements with our contributors that the files are to be used exclusively in this manner.  Due to these agreements, we cannot offer access to our library for a fee.  We can only give it to our player piano customers by assigning user names / passwords and by maintaining IP security on the site.
midi-vault3AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT MIDI FILES FOR PLAYER PIANOS!
Not all MIDI files are created equal and most don’t play properly (if at all) on player piano systems so be wary of a salesperson who says, “You don’t need to buy music, just go online — there are millions of songs out there for free.”  In theory, this may be true, but in reality it’s very far from it.  The risk of downloading a virus or malware from these unknown sites should be enough to deter you from going down this road.  And many sites claim to be free only lead you many pages deep into their site before letting you know that the particular selection YOU wish to download costs money.  Even if you do find a trusted site, most MIDI files on the web are not for solo piano.  They include the accompaniment from other instruments.  Even if you are a MIDI file expert and were able to strip away the accompaniment from an editing program, you would be left with the shell of a song.  Even “piano only” MIDI files aren’t necessarily coded correctly to be played back on an actual acoustic piano.  Finding good-quality MIDI performances for player pianos is painfully time-consuming.  This is why we have invested considerably over the years to provide a service that doesn’t exist elsewhere.
Thinking of buying a digital piano?
As it turns out, MIDI files are also how Digital Pianos play music. And when you purchase a digital piano from us, you’ll get free access as well.  And it’s easy!  Most new digitals can transfer MIDI files in and out of the piano through a common USB connection. This has also become the standard connection for player pianos to import music. Simply download the file from our website to a memory stick, plug, and play
The Cordogan’s MIDI Vault also offers tips, tricks, and software update information. Visit the MIDI Vault login page to learn more
Stop by or give us a call today at 630-584-5000 for more information.