Q: What is an agraffe and what does it do?
A: The innovation at the core of the Stuart & Sons design concept is the principle of vertical string coupling, by using a special device (agraffe) to anchor the strings to the bridge. The agraffe defines the strings' speaking length (frequency) and contains the reaction forces produced by bending the strings as they pass through the agraffe. This allows the soundboard to be designed on a speaker cone principle and not as a load bearing structure as found in the standard piano. This liberates the dynamic range; increases sustain and creates great clarity of tone throughout the entire frequency range.
View video "Introducing the Stuart Bridge Agraffe" Click here to view
read more from CSIRO …
read Stuart Piano Innovations…
Q: Why the extra pedal?
A: The Stuart & Sons dolce pedal, moves the hammers closer to the strings and reduces the travel of the keys, thereby reducing the intensity of the hammer strike. It is a significant addition for the player particularly in accompaniment and where textural effects and control over tone colour is sought. This pedal can be taken independently or simultaneously with the shift pedal to produce the most extraordinary effects.
read Stuart Piano Innovations…
Q: What is behind the design of the music rest?
A: The design of the music rest focuses on practical requirements particularly the extended scores of modern compositions. The light framed design facilitates sound radiation towards the player which the standard solid stand interferes with. The stand can be removed if required. The construction is light and strong. The candelabra stands inherited from the pre electricity days, positioned either side of the standard, solid rest board, have been removed as their real function has been redundant for more than half a century and they have become harbours for all kinds of paraphernalia that can easily slip in to the action and piano frame cavities.
Q: Do all Stuart pianos sound the same?
A: There is a generic sound produced by all Stuart & Sons pianos but each piano is individual and will have its own voice which will be more evident to those who play rather than listen to the sound. Much of the 'piano' experience is actually felt through the keys rather than heard.
Q: Has there been any research carried out to substantiate the reasons behind the Stuart and Sons unique sound?
A: Yes, Dr. Robert Anderssen, senior mathematician with the CSIRO – Australia's national science agency, evaluated the mechanics that contribute to the sound and produced a paper and a video on his findings.
In addition to this there has been a steady stream of discreet undergraduate projects completed through the University of Newcastle's Department of Engineering since the late 1990's.
read more from the CSIRO …
Q: What recordings are available?
A: The Demo CD was produced by Stuart & Sons as an unprocessed disc that reproduces the sounds as accurately as possible. Click here to order/download a Demo CD.
There are many other recordings and YouTube videos that have been produced by independent parties. Click on a name below to view the YouTube video in a new window
Fiona Joy Hawkins
Q: Why are there no 'big name' recordings using a Stuart Piano.
A: Unlike mainstream piano manufacturers such as Yamaha and Steinway, Stuart & Sons have purposely avoided seeking commercial and other kinds of exclusive alliances with performers. They believe that it narrows personal freedoms and diminishes other worthy musicians who, by choice, abstain from such devices. Stuart & Sons much prefer and are keen for natural alliances to form where the primary motivation is genuine interest in the instrument and its potential to create a new voice for the performance of both 'new' and 'old' music. To this end, Stuart & Sons, wherever possible, will actively assist to create and nurture such alliances without compromising the musical heart and soul of the individual which is the price one must pay for undivided loyalty to a brand name.
One of the outcomes of long standing exclusive alliances is that most mainstream recordings are made using the same brand of piano. This must result in interpretations and sounds which are limited by and restricted to the same type of piano. Stuart & Sons pianos, with their totally new musical paradigm, seek to break the shackles of such restrictions and provide a new and total freedom to both the performer and the recorded sound.
Q: The recordings on the Demo CD are all very close miked, is there a reason for this?
A: Yes, the purpose was to represent the sound heard from the players' perspective.
Q: Can I make a recording on the Stuart piano?
A: Under certain circumstances it is possible to record in the White Room, if you have a project you'd like to discuss, please contact us. Alternatively there are a number of Stuart pianos located nationally and globally in recording venues that are also available.
Q: What is the White Room?
A: The White Room at the Newcastle factory is a multifunctional space that is used as a showroom, performance space and a recording studio. The White Room has been constructed to provide an accurate acoustic space where you can experience the piano first hand.
The White Room presents the true sound and character of the Stuart Piano with no artificial enhancements. This multifunctional space is all white so that the pianos have a blank canvas, the lighting is neutral so the rich timber finish is unspoilt and the acoustic space is neutral to allow each instrument to speak in its own unique way. After all, the room is as much a part of the sound as the instrument itself.
Q: I want to visit the factory presentation room. How do I get there?
A: Our factory, which includes the White Room, is located in the city of Newcastle, NSW Australia, which is a 2 hour freeway drive from the state's capital Sydney. There are domestic link flights to Newcastle from Sydney.
Q: How long does it take to build a Stuart piano?
A: It takes over 12 months to assemble the resources and handcraft a grand piano. Many parts and components require extended seasoning and other careful handling long before the construction process commences.
Q: If I choose to custom build a piano from scratch, to what extent can I be involved in the building experience?
A: For specific orders, customers are able to choose veneers and finishes and where practical be involved in the construction process.
Q: Who buys a Stuart & Sons piano?
A: A common thread that links our customers is their interest in innovation, science and the arts. They have a deep appreciation for aesthetics and what it takes to achieve excellence. Such understanding is often the product of having travelled a similar path in their own careers and they seek to reveal this through their choices and associations.
Q: What is the cost of a Stuart Piano?
A: Depending on the model and selected veneer, pre tax pricing can range from $150,000 to $300,000 AUD. Please contact us directly for the price of our currently available pianos. A custom built piano will be priced upon request.
Q: How are the pianos delivered?
Pianos are delivered internationally via airfreight. For domestic delivery, the most effective method is used.
Q. How does Stuart and Sons service its pianos outside of Australia?
A. Stuart and Sons have access to an international pool of qualified technicians who support its product. Where this is unavailable we commission the piano and organise local support.
Q: Does a Stuart piano require special maintenance?
A: Stuart & Sons pianos are remarkably stable in their tuning. They require similar tuning and maintenance to standard acoustic grand pianos. The skill of the service technician is critical in maximizing the sound and playability of any piano so care should be taken in the selection of the service technician.
View video "How to Maintain a Stuart & Sons Piano" Click here to view