Welcome to Retail – Allegro Pianos Manhattan

For the past 6 months I’ve been helping build a new high end piano retail store in New York City. Allegro Pianos Manhattan is an expansion of Allegro Pianos of Stamford CT. We represent Bosendorfer, Bluthner, Steingraeber, Estonia and Kawai. I split my time between maintaining all the pianos and working with customers.

It’s […]

2 basic concepts of fine piano tone

Let’s digress for a moment and speak in gross generalizations about concepts of piano tone.
I have come to the conclusion, specifically reinforced by Udo Steingraeber, that there are fundamentally 2 approaches to piano tone; high rim tension and low rim tension. (don’t bust my chops on theoretical details, remember this is gross generalization).
Low rim tension is characterized, IN MY OPINION, by Bosendorfer, Förster, and Blüthner, to name 3. These makers want no tension in the outer rim and to varying degrees want the rim to actually play an active role in tone production. These may be solid spruce like Bosendorfer, or layered like Bluthner, but they are not bent under great pressure when mating them with the piano. Again I’m open to correction, but Christian Blüthner himself described the layered/sectioned rim of a Blüthner as having “no tension”. […]

Frankfurt Music Show 2010

The Frankfurt Messe this year had a separate salon for piano makers, as well as the usual displays of accordion makers, brass and winds and combo gear. Overall the piano makers said business was up.

The Frederick Collection and the world’s great piano builders

Click here for a great Slate article, make sure you read to the end.

Factory visits

To recap my philosophy, I do not see the worlds true high end makers as competitors. With the idea of “tonal diversity” firmly in mind, I think these makers support each other in trying to reach prospects who might otherwise have, from pure marketing exposure, a narrow idea of what represents true quality in […]

Bluthner 3

And the 3rd unique feature, in my opinion, is the 4th unison string in the treble. This string is raised above the level of the other 3, so the hammer does not strike it. It’s purpose is to vibrate sympathetically, contributing to the unique Bluthner tone.

It even has it’s own little damper.

Bluthner 2

Bluthner was the only maker of the 3 that allowed me to take photos. As Christian said, one can take all the photos one wants, you still won’t be able to build a Bluthner, and he’s right.

The factory is a familiar sight of individual craftspeople working on individual pianos, with a mixture of machines […]

First stop, Bluthner

Wednesday morning was a visit to Bluthner, where Christian Bluthner met us with his customary hospitality. This was the hardest day for my son, who had to endure a number of hours of piano related talk before getting on to the good part, but he was a trooper.

I’m not short, Christian is tall!

Pianos in recordings

I’ve been trying to come up with some examples of recordings where the non-Steinway piano is notated, AND it is a good representation of that makers sound.

I have many Bosendorfer examples, mostly Garrick Ohlsson’s vast output. I have also found some bad examples, such as good piano sound but bad playing (no, not Garrick) […]