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Bösendorfer


Bosendorfer pianos have been made in Vienna Austria since 1828 and are widely regarded as one of the very best made pianos in the world. All my basic education on what it means to work with concert pianos and artists came from my long history with Bosendorfer. An Imperial Bosendorfer was the first real high end piano I ever saw and the image and sound stuck with me.

There is no question that Bosendorfer is one of the very finest pianos…musical instruments, really..anywhere. Even thought the Bosendorfer sound is rather idiosyncratic (as are all good high end pianos), it has found a strong audience in North America. Part of that comes from a corporate presence here far longer than any of its immediate competitors and another part comes from a strong appealing story and great quality.

Bosendorfer has some design and construction traits that makes them unique even in this select group including a inner and outer rim made of solid spruce, a unique removable capo bar and an extended keyboard in the models 225 and 290.

Bosendorfer makes 7 models of grand pianos

170 – 5’7″
185 – 6’1″
200 – 6′ 7″
214 – 7′
225 – 7′ 4″
280 – 9′ 2″
290 – 9′ 6″
and one model of vertical

130

Blüthner


Bluthner is also a low rim tension piano, coming from the piano wonderland of Leipzig Germany. Bluthner has the benefits of a long history in an extraordinarily important music city and continuous family management, even during the years of being part of East Germany.

  Bluthner pianos have been made in Leipzig Germany since 1853.  Since the reunification of Germany Bluthner has made great strides in quality and remains in family control.

Bluthner exhibits a number of unique features, including the 4th unison string in the treble, the combination of a sectioned and layered rim, and a cylindrical crowned soundboard leading to a very distinct sound. In addition to its low tension rim construction, the 4 string “aliquots” are only on some models. This 4th string is not directly struck by the hammer but vibrates sympathetically, adding another dimension to the tone. /p>

Bluthner makes 6 models of grand pianos

  • Model 1 – 280 cm – 9’2″
  • Model 2 – 238 cm – 7’8″
  • Model 4 – 210 cm – 6’10”
  • Model 6 – 191 cm – 6’3″
  • Model 10 – 166 cm – 5’5″
  • Model 11 – 154 cm – 5’1″

and 3 models of vertical pianos

  • Model B – 132.5 cm – 52.2″
  • Model A – 124.5 cm – 49″
  • Model C – 117.5 cm – 46.2″

Fazioli


Fazioli is the new company on the block, in business for less then 30 years. But in that time Fazioli has set a new standard for hand built concert pianos looking for a high tension rim tonal palet. Extraordinarily well designed and made, Fazioli pianos are built in the north if Italy, not far from Venice.

August Förster


August Forster have long been favorite pianos of mine, because of their north eastern German tone and construction details, not to mention its continuous family management. August Forster rims are very similar to Bosendorfer in that they are low tension, but August Forster rims are made of a harder beech. Forster also uses a “floating soundboard” construction on some of its larger grands.

August Forster Pianos

August Forster pianos are made in Lobau Germany which was part of the DDR, or East Germany during the years after World War 2.

After the fall of East Germany, Forster returned to family control and has made significant improvements in quality and availability. 

Forster makes  4 models of grand pianos:

  • 170 – 5’8″
  • 190 – 6’4″
  • 215 – 7’2″
  • 275 – 9’1″

Forster also makes  2 models of upright pianos. Each of these sizes come in a variety of cabinet styles and finishes.

  • 116 – 46″
  • 125- 49″

 

Grotrian


Grotrian pianos come from the North of Germany and show that tonal ideal. Very clear, Grotrian pianos exhibit little “splash” and even have a laminated bridge, something that few other high end makers use.

Grotrian pianos are made in the northern German industrial city of Braunschweig. They are known as Grotrian-Steinweg in Europe due to an early partnership between Friedrich Grotrian and Heinrich Steinweg. Grotrian pianos are well known in Europe and made in a modern factory with a careful combination of hand work and sophisticated machinery. 

 Grotrian makes  5 models of grand pianos

  • 165 – 5’5″      “Chambre”
  • 192 – 6’3″      “Cabinet”
  • 208 – 6′ 10″   “Charis”
  • 225 – 7’4″      “Concert”
  • 277 – 9’1″      “Concert Royal”

 and  6 models of vertical pianos

  • 112 – 44″      “Cristal”
  • 115 – 45″      “Canto”
  • 116- 46″       “Carat”
  • 123 – 48″      “College”
  • 124 – 49″      “Classic”
  • 132 – 52″      “Concertino”

Sauter


Sauter pianos come from Bavaria and have a continuous path of family management. Sauter comes from the south of Germany, almost on the Swiss border. I love the Sauter piano but associate its bright, assertive tone with Northern Germany pianos rather than those to the South like Steingraeber and very far south and East like Bosendorfer.

Sauter pianos are made in the bucolic rolling hills of Germany’s Black Forest in a modern factory. Originally founded in 1819 and led today by Ulrich Sauter, the company produces pianos with a careful mix of hand craftsmanship and modern wood working technology.

 Sauter incorporates such novelties as titanium bearing points on some models and inscribed lines on the soundboard to assist in the performing of modern music.  Sauter has also emphasized the modern cabinet designs of designer Peter Maly.

Sauter makes 4 models of grand pianos

  • Concert 275 – 9′
  • Omega 220 – 7′ 3″
  • Delta 185 – 6’1″
  • 160- 5′ 3″

and  4 models of vertical pianos

  • 112 – 44″
  • 116 – 46″
  • 122 – 48″
  • 130- 51″

Sauter Pianofortemanufaktur GmbH
Spaichingen Germany

 

Sauter has made a name for itself with original case design, often very modern and in association with an important artist or designer. Sauter can also build you a vertical piano designed to be tuned in 1/4 tones.

Steingraeber

Steingraeber is an old company with an illustrious history. Made in Bayreuth Germany, the home of composer Richard Wagner, the company is still under family leadership.Steingraeber features careful shaping of the thickness of the soundboard as well as a unique way of drilling the capo bar. 

Steingraeber makes 6 models of grand pianos

  •  E-272 – 8′ 11″
  •  D-232 – 7′ 7″
  •  C-212 – 7′
  • B-192 – 6′ 3″
  • A-170 – 5′ 7″

and 3 models of upright pianos

  • 138 54″
  • 130 – 51″
  • 122 – 48″

Steingraeber & Sohne