Q:What are your favorite piano brands and models and why?—Casey
I've enjoyed playing many different brands and models of pianos through the years. Each maker seems to have a particular idea of how to make a piano and they're all interesting. But the brands that have made their mark on the world and are mostly available as I tour around are Yamaha, Steinway and sometimes Bosendorfer. Since the '70s Yamaha has been my personal preference—at first because of the reliable service, but then, after the advent of the CF3, I preferred the touch and sound of Yamaha concert grands over all other brands.
That's not to say I don't enjoy playing well-prepared Steinways or Bosendorfers. As a matter of fact, the one concert grand piano I have owned since '81 is a Bosendorfer Imperial. It sits in my music studio along with the beautiful Yamaha CF3 that Yamaha has provided for me. Between these two lovely instruments, I have all I could ask in fine pianos.
As for models, after the larger grands, I do like to practice on good uprights. I find them sometimes backstage in my dressing rooms and like to play a bit before the show starts.
Digital pianos are very convenient for practicing and composing when an acoustic piano is unavailable. Yamaha makes great digital pianos—some light enough to travel easily.
One word about the continuing quality of pianos, though: after a piano is well designed and built and then delivered to its owner, without constant professional care and maintenance, the best-made pianos will soon start to sound worse and worse—as they go out of tune and out of "regulation." The moral of that almost-story is the basic principle that the competent piano technician is everything to the continuing quality of any piano. So my cheap advice is: find a great piano technician first, then have him help you choose and maintain any piano you buy.
Happy piano playing!
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