Sauter-Vivace-Grand-PianoThis year in sunny Anaheim, California, the NAMM show once again had a fantastic display of beautiful pianos. From inexpensive to opulent, there are pianos for everyone to see and enjoy. Fazioli-Art-Case-GrandPresent this year (in alphabetical order of brand): Baldwin, Bluthner, Bösendorfer, Brodmann, Emerson, Fazioli, Geyer, Grotrian, Hailun, Hallet Davis, Hardman, Irmler, Kawai, Kayserburg, Knabe, Mason & Hamlin, Mendelssohn, Niendorf, Pearl River, Perzina, Ravenscroft, Ritmuller, Samick, Sauter, Schimmel, Schulze Pollmann, Schumann, Seiler, Wilh. Steinberg, Steinway, Weber, Yamaha and Young Chang. In the eye candy department, there were incredibly artistic grand pianos from both Sauter and Fazioli. And these spectacular instruments are as beautiful to play as they are to look at. Speaking of cosmetics, Samick Johannes-Seiler-Birdseye-MapleSauter-Peter-Maly-Uprightdisplayed a bird’s eye maple red Johannes Seiler piano which was visually striking. And where credit is due, again, Sauter’s upright took the prize for fashion statement, designed by Peter Maly. Both Steinway and Grotrian companies presented satin pianos with high gloss fallboards. The contrast is beautiful. Grotrian’s textured matt finish is a welcome alternative to the myriad of gloss finishes today. New at the show this year was a company called Niendorf – a re-established name and company located in Germany. The Schumann piano line (formerly part of Sejung and later Welkin Sound) also was released under new American ownership and distribution. Hailun Piano debuted their first Emerson grand piano – soon to be released as a full line of pianos this year. Pearl River has expanded their upper end piano line Kayserburg with several new models and have included Renner options.
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Piano Music for the Young @ Heart

Hailun-iPianoGrotrian, in 2017 debuted Friedrich Grotrian, a piano line whose frame, cabinet and strings are built in China and then finished in Germany. This year, they displayed Wilhelm Grotrian, a piano completely made with Grotrian specifications in China. An aside: Grotrian has the coolest slow-close “button” fallboard in the industry. Similarly, Wilhelm Steinberg has followed suit with instruments built in Germany and separate models built in China but also with Renner options. In technology as it relates to pianos, QRS unveiled a tiny but incredibly powerful device simply called Connect which allows you to record, upload to a cloud and connect for purposes of teaching evaluation or collaboration. Hailun presented their first iPiano with interactivity. Connected by bluetooth, the piano features teaching tools and exercises in hopes that there’s more BOB effect… I have to admit, I hadn’t heard of it either… it stands for Butts On Benches. In other words, the hope is that with technology, kids will experiment, will play and engage with the piano and spend more time on the bench. PTG-Display In other news, Pearl River is finishing their expansion to complete the largest piano factory in the world, exceeding 140,000 pianos annually. ETA will hopefully be some time in May. Boutique maker, Ravenscroft is also forging ahead with new plans but I’m sworn to secrecy 🙂 This year, the Piano Technician’s Guild (PTG) also displayed historic pianos and tools as well. At first glance, the Chickering piano on the right seemed like just another old piano until Shawn Bruce of the PTG told me to read the historic significance. It was the piano on stage present at the Ford Theatre when Lincoln was assassinated. Incredible. Steinway, Story & Clark (QRS) as well as Yamaha presented digital player pianos. I’ll leave you with a piano that Yamaha displayed – an interesting and interactive piano. The purpose? Just to connect sound with visual. You can actually see the amplitude waves as you play. Such fun!


How Old Is Too Old?

Nothing beats a new piano and Piano Price Point is dedicated to delivering the news about the makers of new pianos. But sometimes they are simply unaffordable, inaccessible or possibly even discontinued and so it necessitates buying used. But that begs the question, how old is too old? At what point do pianos no longer function the way they were originally intended? In my lifetime I’ve viewed and played several thousand pianos and as I ...
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Interview with Udo Steingraeber

You don’t need to look at the artist page of Steingraeber Piano for too long before you start to realize that their pianos are highly sought after and prized by world renown pianists. It begs the question, what are they experiencing that compels them to perform on their pianos? What goes into a Steingraeber piano that sets it above others? I had the wonderful opportunity of sitting down with Udo Steingraeber at this last ...
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Public Domain Sheet Music

If there were one word that I would use to describe myself it’s tactile. When I’m not in the garage working on a project, quite often I’m in the kitchen and if I’m not in the kitchen, I’m doing something related to the piano. I suppose that it’s due to the fact that I like to be active and that quite often tactile activities have tangible results. One of my pastimes (I know, it’s a ...
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Bösendorfer Secession Grand Piano

Definition: Secession - se·ces·sion /səˈseSHən/- to withdraw formally from an alliance, federation, or association, as from a political union, a religious organization, etc.
This definition of Secession piqued my curiosity as I had recently viewed the Bösendorfer piano with the same name. It’s based on this very famous building in Vienna, Austria. Why Secession? What was the need to withdraw from an organization? I dug a little deeper. In Vienna, Austria, during the 1860’s, there ...
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NAMM 2020 Trade Show ~ Pianos in Review

I suspect in the year 2020, we’re going to be hearing a lot of the phrase “Hindsight is 20/20”. Looking back on the last decade, a lot has changed in the world of piano manufacturing since I started attending the NAMM show (National Association of Music Merchants). While many could argue that pianos don’t really change from year to year, if you pay attention, you’ll find that they’ve changed drastically this last decade. Parts have ...
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What is a House Brand Piano?

If I would ask you to name 20 brands of pianos, how would you answer? Could you name 5 or possibly 10? Maybe you can easily name 20. Historically there are approximately twelve thousand brands of pianos! It is entirely possible to encounter brands that you’ve never heard of before. I’ve been in the piano business for several decades and I am still surprised by the number of piano brands that I’ve never encountered ...
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