A History of the Blüthner Company

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s l1600 11 200x300 - A History of the Blüthner CompanyFamily owned since being founded in 1852 by Julius Blüthner, Blüthner Pianos, or Julius Blüthner Pianofortefabrik GmbH, is based out of Leipzig, Germany. Blüthner operated the largest piano factory in Europe by 1900, until the factory was bombed in World War II during a British air raid in 1943. Blüthner pianos used several unique and special methods and tools in their manufacturing, such as the Aliquot string – a sympathetically vibrating 4th string tuned in unison, a cylindrical soundboard, and hammers that were angle cut. These methods developed the distinct and beautiful voice of Blüthner pianos. Read more »

How to Avoid the Most Common Pitfalls when Buying A Used Grand Piano

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Shopping for a grand piano is daunting, and shopping for a used grand piano can be riddled with hidden complications. While our showroom is stocked with many beautiful and well cared for used grand pianos for sale, we realize not everyone has the opportunity to come in, and so we offer this list of common mistakes that get made in the used piano market. Truly, while expert knowledge is a boon while shopping for any piano, it is nearly a necessity when shopping for used grand pianos. While our customers can shop with confidence while looking through our stock on our show floor or while browsing our huge warehouse, we invite you to read the following:

The Most Common Mistakes and Pitfalls when buying a used piano and how we can help you avoid them.

1) Don’t under-commit with quality of lessons or quality of piano.

You or your progeny are excited to learn, that’s beautiful, the piano is truly an enriching pursuit. But getting your kid a month’s worth of lessons from the cheapest provider in town after buying a wonderful used piano is a recipe for disaster, or for an over expensive coffee table. Read more »

Mason & Hamlin – Excellence in Design and Durability – The Artist’s Grand Piano

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A History of Mason & Hamlin

mason and hamlin 225x300 - Mason & Hamlin - Excellence in Design and Durability - The Artist's Grand PianoBased in Haverhill, Massachusetts, Mason & Hamlin was founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1854 by the son of famous American hymn composer Lowell Mason, Henry Mason and Emmons Hamlin, to manufacture melodeons, a type of pump organ. However in 1855 they debuted the organ-harmonium, a flat topped cabinet organ that served as the basis for the popular American style reed organ, which relied on suction. In the 1870’s they were the largest and most important reed organ manufacturer, having a roster of employees numbering around 500 and pumping out nearly 200 organs a week. Building organs for many successful composers, they named their patented selective sustain mechanism – sillier to the sostenuto in pianos, after arguably their most famous client, Franz Liszt. Read more »

Bösendorfer Pianos – The King of Piano Manufacturers

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Established in Josefstadt, the eighth district of Vienna, in 1828 by Ignaz Bösendorfer, L. Bösendorfer Klavierfabrik GmbH – commonly referred to as Bosendorfer – is one of the oldest and most prestigious piano manufacturing firms in history. Its pianos were so fine that in 1830 they were vaulted to the status of the Official Piano Maker to the Emperor of Austria. From its headquarters in Vienna, Bosendorfer produced a range of the highest quality instruments, so good that one of the earliest grand pianos built by Bosendorfer, and signed by master craftsman and founder Ignaz Bösendorfer himself, is displayed at Millstatt Abbey in Millstatt am See, Austria, where it is still played regularly for concert goers. Truly this manufacturer of grand pianos is among the finest in the world, and despite changing ownership many times over the years Bosendorfer pianos of any vintage are highly prized and unparalleled musical instruments. Read more »

The Baldwin Piano Company – The Legacy of American Grand Pianos

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At one time the largest piano manufacturer in the United States, Baldwin Piano Company touted themselves as “America’s Favorite Piano.” Although the company’s history is mired in financial difficulties, the Baldwin pianos are exemplary of the “American Sound” – a warm tonal signature common in the best American made pianos – and the American made pianos remain excellent choices today.

From Retail to Manufacturer

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Originally founded as a piano dealership in 1857, the Baldwin Piano Company started manufacturing pianos in 1889 when founder Dwight Hamilton Baldwin swore to build “the best piano that could be built,” and founded Baldwin Piano Company, and Hamilton Organ, which built reed organs. After Baldwin’s death in 1899, his partner Wilson purchased the estate and continued the shift from retail to manufacturing, and in 1900 the company won it’s first big award, the Grand Prix at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. It was the first time an American manufacturer won such an award. Continuing to win awards, including top awards at the Louisiana Purchase Expo, by 1913 Baldwin’s business was swelling with their piano’s popularity, being distributed throughout the US and expanding into 32 countries internationally. Read more »

Why Buying A Used Grand Piano Is The Smart Move

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Many people dream of filling their home with the warm and beautiful tones of a grand piano but are intimidated by the cost and pomp associated with its purchase. Some folk outright can’t afford it, balking at the enormous prices of some grand pianos. There is a simple solution, friends, and we’re going to talk all about it – buying used grand pianos.

Why Buy Used Grand Pianos?

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There are some stigmas surrounding used pianos, and many of these are spread by the piano manufacturers themselves. Why don’t piano manufacturers want you to buy a used grand piano?

Simply because, if they make a quality product, they become their most fierce competition. In the case of Steinway – read more here – as they build so many pianos a year the used market becomes rich with high quality used grand pianos, and the pianos monetary value depreciates far more quickly than the quality of said piano when purchased new. Read more »

Used Steinway Pianos – What Makes The Steinway & Sons Brand So Special

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Founded in Manhattan in 1853 by German piano manufacturer Heinrich Engelhard Steinweg – later known as Henry E. Steinway – Steinway & Sons is a pillar in the world of grand pianos. Their success in New York led to the founding of another piano factory in Hamburg, Germany. Steinway  Sons concert grand piano model D 274 manufactured at Steinways factory in Hamburg Germany 300x289 - Used Steinway Pianos - What Makes The Steinway & Sons Brand So Special

The factory in New York produces pianos for the United States while the factory in Hamburg produces pianos for the international market.

Produced mainly in Asia, two other brands targeted lower market segments, Boston and Essex pianos are manufactured under the supervision of Steinway, but with lower cost materials and labor.

Steinway Grand Pianos – Mass Produced Perfection

All named with letters, Steinway in New York produces a wide variety of grand pianos: The D at 8’ 11 3/4” – Their concert grand piano; the B at 6’ 10 1/2”, A at 6’ 2”, and the O at 5’ 10 3/4” comprise their line of parlor grand pianos; and the S at 5’ 1” for their baby grand piano.Also producing upright pianos, Steinway in New York sells the 4510 at 45”, the 1098 at 46 and 1/2” and the K-52 at 52”.

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History of the Grand Piano – From Ancient Sumer to Today

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Invented around 1700 by Bartolomeo Cristofori, the piano has a rich history of predecessors from which it evolved dating all the way back to Ancient Sumer and, according to some, Pythagoras.

From Ancient History to the Modern Grand Piano

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Considered in its simplest form, a piano is a vibrating string stretched over a reverberating medium. If we follow that concept all the way back through history we arrive in Ancient Sumer, where writings describe the monochord, or a single string stretched over a resonance box. In his mathematical studies Pythagoras, according to some historians, Pythagoras used this design to develop his theory of Pythagorean

tuning. Thissimple design has popped up all throughout history as the Gugin in China, the Koto in Japan, the Veena in India, and the Dan Bay in ancient Vietnam. These stringed instruments culminated in the Clavichord sometime in the 1300’s, widely considered the grandfather of all keyboard instruments.

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Anatomy of a Grand Piano

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What makes a grand piano grand?

Widely considered the pinnacle of achievement for musical instruments, grand pianos of any size – from baby grand pianos all the way to concert grand pianos – produce an unparalleled and distinct sound. But what contributes to such a signature musical capability?grand piano parts 35831 300x271 - Anatomy of a Grand Piano

The Rim – The Grand Piano’s Shape and Size

Made from spruce or maple in the finest pianos, the rim is the piece that gives the grand piano its distinct shape. The unique acoustic environment, size of the body, and length of the strings produce a signature sound in grand pianos. If string material and tension are similar between two pianos, the grand piano with longer strings will have less inharmonicity Read more »