This beautifully restored 1920 Steinway & Sons Model O Grand Piano is one of the last of the original Model O Steinway pianos built prior to 1924 when the model was replaced by the Model L. As such, it has many of the refinements not found in earlier production models, most notably being adjustable rear duplexes, a curved bass bridge, and an increase in size to 5’-10 ½ “ in length.
This piano was rebuilt by Atlantic Music Center in 2020, and both the piano and the original matching bench have been refinished in a high polish ebony finish.
*AMC Certified Rebuilt/Refinished Pianos include refinished case, new hammers, shanks and flanges, new strings and felt, tuning, voicing and action regulation. All brass has been polished to like-new or has been replaced.
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Sound & Playability:
My first impression when I first laid eyes on this piano was that it was either a new or fairly new piano as it had a high gloss ebony finish and looked to be in excellent condition. I was quite surprised when I saw the Steinway & Sons logo on the fallboard and even more surprised when I discovered that this particular piano was built in 1920, making it exactly one hundred years old this year.
1920 was a pivotal year for American music. It marks the beginning of the Jazz age and the start of what has been termed the “Roaring 20’s”, and this piano was built right in the epicenter of where it was all happening – New York City, by America’s preeminent piano manufacturer – Steinway.
That alone was enough to impress me, but it was the first few runs up and down the keyboard that made me fall in love with this beautiful instrument. My biggest gripe with most restored vintage pianos usually has to do with a sluggish or unresponsive action, but this one was a delight to play on. It is tight, extremely responsive, and handles very fast repetitions with ease. The bass notes growl just like a Steinway should, the notes in the treble section ring out with exceptional power and clarity, and the quality and duration of the sustain is remarkable. Most pianos being manufactured today simply do not possess the qualities that one finds in a piano like this one. The fact that it looks, plays, and sounds this good for a hundred year old piano is amazing in itself and is true testament to the design, materials, skill, and craftsmanship of this iconic American piano manufacturer and to the skilled craftsman who built Steinway pianos.
Restoration and Refinishing:
This piano was rebuilt in 2020 and has all new German action parts including Renner hammers, whippens and flanges (same as those installed in Hamburg Steinway pianos). All of the dampers have been replaced. The plate has been refinished gold and all markings hand painted, the original soundboard and bridges have been sanded and refinished, a brand new pinblock has been installed, the piano has all new tuning pins and the strings have been replaced with high quality Mapes piano strings. The action has been regulated, hammers voiced, and the piano has received a minimum of four tunings. This helps insure that the restored piano sounds superb, remains extremely stable, and stays in tune.
The case, lid, desk, fallboard, legs, and original matching bench have all been refinished in high polish ebony finish, all metalwork has been polished, and brand new premium quality castors have been installed on the legs.
This piano qualifies as an AMC Certified Rebuilt/Refinished Piano. Rebuilding work is performed in the United States at Atlantic Music Center (atlanticmusiccenter.com) located in Melbourne, Florida.
History of the Steinway Model O Grand Piano:
The first Steinway Model O Grand Piano was manufactured at the New York Steinway Factory in 1900. Henry Ziegler (1857 – 1930) designed the Model O as well as the Model M and the Model L. Henry Ziegler was the grandson of Henry Engelhard Steinway (1797-1871) who founded Steinway & Sons in New York in 1853. The Model O grand piano was marketed as a “miniature grand” and is the first Steinway grand to exhibit the squared-bottom legs that are now a standard identifying feature of all Steinway grands.
Steinway stopped production of the Model O in 1924, replacing it with the Model L (the L is 1/4″ shorter and 1/4″ wider). The Model O remained out of production for more than 80 years until it was brought back into production by Steinway & Sons in 2006. In 2005, Steinway discontinued production of the Model L at its New York factory and replaced it with the piano it had superseded decades before. The Model O was reintroduced and has been manufactured ever since at both the New York and Hamburg factories. This was probably done to consolidate the models and increase overall company efficiency. The early models are historical pianos for several reasons and are highly desirable and deserving of restoration and repair.
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