I had a very very nice experience today and I think I may have found the dealer where I will get my instrument. 🙂
At first I visited a Yamaha Dealer in Berlin. I was interested especially in U1s. The dealer seemed a bit dishonest as he denied at first that a silent system alters the touch of an acoustic piano but then pedaled back when he realized I have more knowledge about pianos than his average customer. He also tried to sell me on silent systems when I made clear that I don't want one as I have a digital piano for silent practice and I am interested in acoustic pianos.
I played a new B3, U1, YUS1 and two used U1 (1985/2010) as well as an used Sauter Upright 122. I liked the touch of all Yamahas. It's just a good precise and tactile action. The B3 sounded a bit harsh, with piercing and metallic qualities and also lifeless, I didn't like it. The U1 and YUS1 sounded clearly better, more refined and transparent. It was a good piano sound, but not that (11.000 € and more) special. I liked the used 1985 U1 the best as it had the cleanest and roundest sound with a hint of warmth that the newer ones lacked. I really liked it and thought of it as a valid option for 5200 €.
As a bonus I played an C1X and S3X and didn't enjoy them as much as I expected. The S3X, basically the same length and in this configuration (Enspire) the same price as the August Förster (tel:190) I played a few days ago, didn't sound as dynamic, warm, open and clean as the August Förster. It had a nice base but also lacked in it compared to the August Förster. But the touch was really good! The used U1 I liked most wasn't finished properly so the dealer and I agreed to meet in a week or two when he finished his work on it.
After that I remembered that there was also another piano technician and dealer close by. I was there three years ago. At that time he had a used August Förster from 1938 or so that spoke to me like not other piano then. Due to the circumstances I described in the first post I didn't buy a piano back then but I thought it would be worth visit him. I called him up and he actually was in his workshop.
This was the best experience I had! He rembered me from the one visit a few years ago. He also thought that this August Förster was very special and he specialised more and more in used August Försters from all ages as he and his customers appreciated the special August Försters sound and also the longevity and build quality of these instruments. But he also has a few other quality brands like Blüthner, Bechstein and Pfeiffer.
Most of the upright pianos were Försters, some of them 100 years old, some 80, some GDR Försters from the 70s and 80s. He told me that the Försters are special because they had a rather clean, transparent powerful modern sound, but without any harshness, and they lacked the soft and muted sound compared to other very old restored uprights.
I can only agree. In the first post of this thread I wrote that I liked modern pianos more because of the cleaner sound, but these Förster Pianos combined the best of both worlds. I liked almost every piano I played there. All had a clean singing resonating and warm tone with a thick base and good dynamic capabilities. I liked one piano especially - it had such a crystal clear and bell like tone but without any metallicness or harshness. Amazing for a piano of that age. Interestingly this was also his favourite instrument, the most expensive upright (7900 € - I didn't see any price tag before) and also the one upright he rent for studio recordings as he works with many contemporary composers, for example with Nils Frahm (who also owns a Förster ge hot from him). He is also almost a bit hesitant to sell it. There were also other very very good pianos for fair prices, ranging from 3000 € to 7000 €. We agreed on the tone and strengths of every piano and he really loved every instrument for his special tonal qualities. He also had some grands for fair prices. Most of the pianos had still original parts, hammers and strings in good conditions.
He offers staggered payments and also that one can exchange the piano in the first year with another - also a cheaper one, with full refunds. He seems very interested in the satisfaction of his customers and I have a really good feeling with him.
So I will visit him again in the next week or two and will probably find my piano, most likely a Förster. Seems that I am a Förster guy as I also liked the new Förster uprights and grands really. But I also liked the used U1 and I am a bit hesitant to buy and 80 to 100 year old piano for thousands of € and would have a better feeling with a young upright. But they just doesn't sound as good.
Tomorrow I will play a used Feurich (Made in Langlau, W. Germany) upright that seems in good condition from photos sold by the first owner. I don't know the age and height, but might be a good deal for 700 € or less.