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I am a professional accompanist and piano teacher, and therefore not easy to please! Earlier this year it was necessary for me to replace my piano. It isn't often you get to buy a brand new piano and the whole family threw themselves into the task with great enthusiasm.
I looked at many dealers and types of piano. I began to feel like I had been to the perfume counter- so many smells that you couldn't tell the difference anymore! My piano tuner etc.then recommended a day to Wales, as Coach House pianos is apparently the only current importer of the Bechstein Euterpe. We live in Hampshire so we set off for the long journey to Swansea. I am so glad we did. The attention and service we received was far in excess of any we received elsewhere. My three daughters and I were there for three hours. They staff were so patient with us. We all four chose different pianos to try and played them simultaneously.
It was a dreadful cacophany!! In time we each played every piano, and worked systematically through a system of elimination. Eventually we had it down to two- the Yamaha U1 and the Euterpe. In the end one daughter and I played the same concerto swopping pianos after a page or two.We eliminated the Yamaha after a GREAT deal of playing! Then we realised that the two Euterpe's which they had in stock had a slightly different sound. Off we went again.... Eventually we settled on ours.
We were provided with refreshments, and Coach House Pianos also paid my travelling expenses.
Why did I choose the Euterpe?
Well, it's a fabulously responsive piano with a beautiful sound. It considerably outstripped it's rival the Yamaha UI. All my pupils want one now! The deal I was given was truly superb.I cannot recommend this piano or Coach House pianos enough.It has a more mellow european sound but still has the fire power if needed! I found the Yamaha too brash- great for a school but far too loud for a house. It was very strident. The Bechstein has a beautiful sound and a terrific action. It almost plays for you. It is also very even in sound and touch.My tuner was so thrilled he came to play it on his way to work very early one morning! We are all truly in love with this wonderful piano. It is in a similar price bracket to the Yamaha U1 so is not out of reach financially. Since purchasing my piano Bechstein have changed the name from Euterpe to Hoffman. Well, I suppose it has a more "classy" ring to it! There are still available with the Euterpe badge on at the moment. The cost is a bit variable as sometimes they will put a deal together for you. The normal retail price is approx £5,000.
The only drawback to the piano is that the name badge letters are put on over the laquer and after a few weeks began to very slightly peel off! I got really fed up with the sub-standard lettering and the backboard has gone back to Swansea to be sorted out.They were more than willing to immediately rectify the problem. I decided it might be better to have no name badge than one which had an inclination to peel off! To be honest, the name badge is more about snobbery than anything else! It says Bechstein Group inside the piano, so there is proof of what it is should you decide to sell.
The piano is now playing in well. They thought it would take much longer, but with me, my three daughters and all my pupils hammering (ooh- excuse the DREADFUL pun!) the living daylights out of it on a daily basis it has sped up the process. We are still really delighted with it. It is a pity it is not more readily available! I have been told it is giving Yamaha a real run for its money in Germany.
Well done Bechstein, well done Coach House Pianos.
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Just got myself a Bechstein and I love it. The thing that put me off the U1 was that the shop showed me 2 a new one and a 20 year old one and one I liked but the old one was horrid. I'm hoping my Bech will have a good longevity
MHam 15.10.2003 13:37
I think I could do with a new piano because my daughters excuse for not practising is that she can't get on because mummy is always using it and in fairness she has a point but she does go up to Grannys to practise M xx
ranson 18.11.2001 17:47
I am just so jealous of you. We had Yamahas to practice on at college and they were all really fierce - no sound or a really strident sound. At that time they also had very brilliant white keys that looked like they were going to eat me. Anyway, my piano now is almost dead and miles out of tune so you really made me upset. (g) Thanks very much for the op. Sue