C.Bechstein Model 8
C. Bechstein Concert 8 World's Number 1 Piano!
The Concert 8 Upright from C. Bechstein is consistently touted as the world’s finest production upright piano. With the nuance of a grand, but the footprint of an upright, the Concert 8 is truly in a class by itself.
The C. Bechstein Concert 8 Upright Piano is widely regarded as the finest upright piano money can buy, and for good reason. Virtually every best-practice in a piano building (grand or upright) is found on the instrument, from full agraffes, vertically-laminated bridges, tapered Val Di’ Fiemme red spruce soundboard, fanatically balanced and regulated action, and bass response similar to that of a 6’ grand.
Bechstein likes to crow about this model, but it’s hard to blame them after having played the instrument for several hours…it really is a mind-blowing piano that removes virtually all of the musical advantages that a similarly priced grand might have held otherwise.
As much as one must marvel at the high price tag for this instrument, at over $70,000, you must also pose the question: even in a grand piano, could you purchase an instrument with a finer tone for less money? The answer, of course, is no. I’ve played the occasional Shigeru Kawai that may come very close, but by and large, most customers would, on average, need to spend 100k+ to achieve this level of finish and detail in a piano.
The C. Bechstein Piano Concert 8 upright concert piano has received a fundamentally new acoustic system that corresponds to the findings of the C. Bechstein grand piano masterpiece series. The C. Bechstein Concert 8 Upright Piano is as deserving of the claim “Finest Upright In The World” in 2019 as it was 50 or 100 years ago, and every bit worth a try if you can find one.
Just like the other Concert-series Upright and Grand Pianos C. Bechstein makes, the Concert 8 is equipped with their ultra-premium Gold Action – this is Bechstein’s top design and is refined over hundreds of hours. They feature the highest quality matured hardwood materials, dark walnut hammer crowns, double-felting, super-premium felt, and of course voiced and regulated to the max. This attention to detail ensures that C. Bechstein Concert Actions (Gold Action) are essentially perfect, right out of the crate. The action feels incredibly well balanced, and more than capable of executing every nuance with surgical precision.
Bechstein refers to the specific combination of weight and friction coefficients as their Friction Control System. Whatever the proprietary intricacies of the process may be, the Concert 8 undoubtedly has an incredibly responsive touch, capable of lighting fast passages and firm dynamic control. This is an upright imminently capable of demanding classical repertoire.
The tone of the C. Bechstein Concert 8 Upright Piano is complex, sustaining, and clear. Each note produces a vast array of well-balanced harmonics, and the soundboard is responsive enough to maintain the clarity of every tone even when pushed with thick chords at high volumes. The treble is strong with a beautiful singing attack with very low hammer noise, and the mid-range is lush with plenty of tonal palettes to play with. The bass is warm without being overly resonant, and the transition to the bass from the tenor is barely detectable, like a fantastic 6’ grand. Its acoustic assembly, sound volume, and colored voice, as well as its precise and highly responsive action, surprise even the most demanding musicians who are used to the touch and sound volume of grand pianos.
The bell-tones on the attack overall produce a shimmer that gives a visceral effect on a player, and the delicate details at low volumes make it a sheer delight to explore…these are aural artifacts and ‘easter eggs’ that most upright pianos simply can’t produce. But now the sound profile of the C. Bechstein Concert 8 upright has been improved and is now, even more, singing and enduring which makes the acoustic assembly of the C. Bechstein Concert 8 upright is similar to that of the grand pianos in the Masterpiece class.
If one wants confirmation about how fanatical Bechstein is about maintaining their exacting standards over virtually every aspect of the manufacturing process of their pianos, look no further than the hammers.
Not only is Bechstein the only remaining European manufacturer who makes their own hammerheads in-house, but they are also one of only three worldwide! Every single piano they produce, including the Zimmermann, full W. Hoffmann, C. Bechstein Academy and C. Bechstein concert series instruments feature Bechstein built hammerheads, customized for each individual piano.
Bechstein of course reserves their absolute best hammers for their Concert series instruments, and the Concert 8 utilizes no less than dark Walnut core hammers, the most premium material for hammers on the market. The hammers are covered with high-grade wool from New Zealand taking advantage of a secret Bechstein method passed down through the generations.
Before leaving the factory, the Concert 8’s hammers are extensively hand-voiced by Bechstein’s top craftsmen, resulting in a dynamic range and colour palette that you have to hear to believe.
At the heart of this magical tone is of course the Italian Red Spruce soundboard. This signature Red Spruce is sourced from the legendary Val Di’ Fiemme forest in Italy, slowly grown at elevations exceeding 1,000 meters. Stradivarius sourced the wood for his violins from this same forest, and the Concert 8, along with the rest of Concert series uprights, are the only upright pianos in the world currently to use this extremely exclusive wood.
The Concert 8 also boasts a unique soundboard design that directly contributes to the ‘Bloom’ like effect of the sound. After being tapered, the soundboard is attached to the frame as a membrane, with the surface altered to fit the acoustic assembly of the instrument as a whole, a technique appropriated from master violin craftsmen. The membrane approach greatly enhances the soundboards responsiveness.
C. Bechstein’s entire design philosophy centers around the concept of activating the cabinet to the max and minimizing as much energy loss as possible. This is done through triple joinery, long-aged woods that are highly stable and precision-fitted, and using a mix of hardwoods to ensure that no biasing occurs.
Starting with solid back posts secured by copper beech dowels at the joints, the sand-cast iron frame is built to withstand fifteen metric tons of tension. The structural stability reduces distortion, reinforces the sound, guarantees that the piano stays in tune and resonates with the rest of the structure. The structural integration of the back posts with the cast-iron frame contributes to the full bass and warm mid register. This structural integrity also makes it easy to produce and modulate partials and in the upper treble range.
Here at Austral Piano World, we have chosen one of the best current Bechstein models to add to the offerings in our upright piano showroom.
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